City Life

Florence has a wonderfully blessed climate and a hidden chest of artefacts - Michelangelo's sculpture David for one never failing to impress. It is the wellspring of the art of opera and the Renaissance patronage and resides in the constant glow of a prosperous past. The city breeds beauty, harmonises nature, and favours exclusivity, scoring highly among an endless stream of holidaymakers and intrigued visitors.

On the top of anyone's itinerary must be the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Otherwise known as Duomo di Firenze, this commanding structure occupies the centre of a historic UNESCO World Heritage site and reverberates with the Florentines. Climbing some 500 steps to the Cupola, built in 1436, is physically challenging but grants you access to a fabulous spot. Giotto's belltower, lying adjacent to the Duomo, also rises to a winding height. Talking of churches, Santa Croce has a reputation for commemorative monuments. There, tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Dante, and others accompany elaborate artistic fixtures and exude pride in excellence.

Heat strokes can occur but are not as notorious as the Stendhal syndrome. The symptom is described as feeling otherworldly. A condition induced by the glossy arsenal of art and culture dotting Florence. Listing some of the 80 museums and galleries responsible is the easy bit. The repository of fine art, Galleria degli Uffizi, has Renaissance treasures and queues rivalling celebrity appearances. The tradition of preserving the old is continued at the Accademia Gallery and Bargello. The Pitti Palace is the former residence of the Medici family who wielded considerable political clout and sponsored artisan families. Jewellers of that time and high-end retailers like Gucci and Armani are doing business on the bridge Ponte Vecchio which does more than linking two ends of the river Arno. The bridge has survived World War II, the flooding of Arno, and is a beacon of its architectural heritage. Lastly, the seat of power, Palazzo della Signoria can open up Vasari's frescoes and Cellini's Perseus.

Taking a stroll with visually attractive landmarks and bursting crowds is ideal in Florence. Non-resident driving is strictly controlled in the centre, sizable plazas with cafes can be used for people-watching or pigeon-feeding, and walkways stretch out in a range of directions. Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace and the hilltop Piazzale Michelangelo are tried and tested favourites.

Centre contacts

ESE Florence

Borgo Santi Apostoli, 19

50123 Florence

Tel: +39 055 217050

Fax: +39 055 26 45 515

E-mail: ese.firenze@uniese.it

  • London

    ESE London

    4 Mandeville Place London
    W1U 2BG United Kingdom

    Tel: +44 2079353896

    E-mail: info@eselondon.ac.uk

  • Rome

    ESE Rome

    Via della Cordonata 7

    00187 Rome - Italy

    Tel: +39 06 48 90 66 53

    Fax: +39 06 48 98 90 05

    E-mail: ese.roma@uniese.it

  • Milan

    ESE Milan

    Via Tortona, 27

    20144 Milan - Italy

    Tel: + 39 02 365 04 235

    Fax: + 39 02 365 04 236

    E-mail: ese.milano@uniese.it

  • Florence

    ESE Florence

    Borgo Santi Apostoli, 19

    50123 Florence

    Tel: +39 055 217050

    Fax: +39 055 26 45 515

    E-mail: ese.firenze@uniese.it

  • Madrid

    ESE Madrid

    Calle Serrano Anguita, 10 3º Derecha

    28004 Madrid

    Tel: +34.91.737.75.92

    Fax: +34.91.565.41.44

    E-mail: info@esespain.com

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