Birthplace of the Renaissance, home to Michelangelo?s ?David? and the works of Botticelli and Giotto, Florence has inherited a rich cultural heritage. A perfect choice for a short city break; even today, the Florentines and their city never fail to impress, a perfect holiday to Italy.
Perhaps the best views of the city are to be had from the Piazzale Michelangelo, reached by following the quiet landes from the Ponte Vecchio along the city walls rising towards the San Miniato church.
Try schiacciata, a type of Tuscan flatbread, for a snack or a light lunch, or sample the fare of the many fiaschetterie around the city for a plate of crostini, salami, and pecorino cheese accompanied by a glass of wine from the Chianti region. The traditional bistecca fiorentina, the Florentine T-bone steak, is a must if you enjoy a hearty portion of meat, whilst the delicate fresh courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta cheese are not to be missed.
Piazza San Lorenzo has a daily morning market that's a great place to pick up some bargains and traditional gifts. Good buys in Florence include baskets, leather gloves, jackets and handbags, beautiful paper goods, silk and lace. Food and drink are also good buys; bottles of herb-infused olive oil, dried porcini mushrooms and dried pasta in all shapes and sizes and colours all make welcome gifts.
As you would expect, all of the designer shops are here, from Gucci and Roberto Cavalli to Salvatore Ferragamo, so whether it is a special purchase or simply some window shopping, the Via Tournabouni is where you need to be. For a souvenir with a difference, visit the ancient Dominican apothecary of Santa Maria Novella, housed in a 14th-century chapel and stocked with a range of antique perfumes and soaps.
Includes the main cultural and historical sights of Florence, such as the Piazzale Michelangelo, the Accademia Gallery, the Duomo, Giotto's Bell Tower and the Baptistry.
Departs: daily except Mondays. Duration: half day.
Adult from £36, child from £18.
Visit to Siena & San Gimignano
Drive through Chianti, visit San Gimignano with its 13 medieval towers. Continue to Siena with its beautiful shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, and after a guided tour, some free time for lunch and shopping.
Departs: daily except Saturdays. Duration: full day
Adult from £51, child from £26.
Visit to Chianti with Wine Tasting
Travel through the rolling hills of the Chianti countryside before visiting a wine estate for some wine tasting and a tasty snack of crostini toscani.
Departs: daily except Tuesday and Thursday. Duration: half day.
Adult from £34, child from £17.
Cinque Terre Tour
Explore the five picturesque villages that make up the Cinque Terre, including Vernazza, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Suspended between sea and land, hanging from sheer cliffs surrounded by hills and vineyards, this is a spectacular scenic day out. (Apr-Oct only).
Departs: daily except Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Duration: full day.
Adult from £71, child from £37.