Join us for a first-hand look at Florence's extraordinary beauty and illustrious past during a visit to this Medieval City.
Long celebrated by artists and poets, Florence is home to spectacular streets, palaces, churches and monuments that reflect the glorious past and proud people of this historic Italian City.
Depart the pier with your English-speaking tour escort for the drive into Florence. Upon arrival, you will be met by a knowledgeable, local tour guide and begin your walking tour. You will start at the Piazza del Duomo for an inside visit to St. Mary of the Flower, a huge Cathedral featuring an impressive Tuscan marble façade. You'll also view the Baptistery, famous for Lorenzo Ghiberti's celebrated doors called the Gates of Paradise, and commissioned in 1401. Next, you'll continue on to see the Giotto Bell Tower, designed in 1334 and Florence's second major piazza. Piazza della Signoria is the political center of the town because of the presence of City Hall, or Palazzo Vecchio It is also referred to as an open-air museum, largely due to an abundance of exquisite statues that include Cellini's Perseus, Giambologna's The Rape of the Sabine Women, Ammannati's Neptune Fountain and a copy of Michelangelo's famous David.
After your Piazza della Signoria visit, you'll proceed to the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge. Ponte Vechhio dates back to 1345, and is the only bridge in Florence to escape being blown up during World War II. It originally housed the workshops of the butchers, but they were sent away by the Grand Duke, Ferdinando I, because of the terrible noise and stench they created. As a result, Ponte Vecchio was open only to goldsmiths and silversmiths that can be found there to this day.
Your next stop is the Piazza di Santa Croce, a large square dominated by the Franciscan Basilica. A visit will be made inside the Franciscan Basilica, which has been worked on by a succession of the finest Florentine architects and masters, including Brunelleschi, Vasari, Giotto and Donatello. For most of the year, the square is a peaceful open space, surrounded by stately palazzi and intimate pizzerias and restaurants. During the summer months, however, Piazza Santa Croce plays host to the Calcio in Costume, a historic version of football. Hefty men from the four quarters of Florence battle it out in an ancient mix of wrestling and soccer, and are cheered on by residents and visitors alike.
Following your guided tour, you will have some time to enjoy lunch on your own and do some shopping.
Please note: This tour does not include lunch. In case of long lines, the inside of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral will not be included in the guided tour. A walker's city, the center of Florence is a compact labyrinth of alleys and piazzas. Comfortable shoes are strongly encouraged. The driving time to Florence is approximately 2 hours in each direction. You will have approximately 3 1/2 to 4 hours of free time.