Florence offers an array of accommodation options. If you stay in the historic center around Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio, you will be within walking distance of most major attractions and the best shopping in Florence.
Hotels in Italy are rated from one to five stars. A three star hotel is a mid-range hotel, however, the services you may get vary. A four or a five star hotel is in the luxury category.
Hotels in Italy will usually let you confirm your reservation by fax or e-mail. You will usually have to provide a credit card number. Cancellation policies vary greatly, anywhere from 24 hours to one week. Before making a reservation, find out whether taxes and breakfast are included in the price.
During low season, between November and March and in July and August, hotel prices in Florence are negotiable. You can e-mail the hotel you are interested in and find out if is offering special rates. During the low season it is possible to find a better price at a four-star hotel by inquiring about specials than at a three-star hotel.
Florence with its renaissance palaces and squares is in itself a living museum. Many squares, such as Piazza della Signoria exhibit famous statues and fountains.
The most famous museum in Florence is the Uffizi which houses works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian and Rubens. Other great art museums include the Pitti Palace, Galleria dell'Accademia and Palazzo Vecchio.
Where to Eat: Restaurants and Cafes
Tuscan cuisine is very different than food in the rest of Italy and is well worth getting to know. As a starter, try a mixed plate of crostini - pieces of toasted bread covered with tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, or other spreads.
In addition to pasta, the first course in Tuscany is usually a thick soup with vegetable ingredients. "Ribollita," a thick soup with beans, vegetables and bread, is one of the local favorites. House wine is usually a Chianti grown in the Tuscany region.
At night, Italian and foreign university students gather at bars and clubs for a drink and a snack. Many popular bars are located in the historic center. For the latest hot spots, pick up a copy of the magazine Firenze Spettacolo once you get to Florence. Another resource, Florence Today, is distributed freely twice a month.
Clubs and discotheques usually have an entrance fee of around US $10 which comes with a free drink.