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 Florence Guide
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The Renaissance town of Florence is seeped in beauty, history and culture. Look at it from a distance from the hills covered with olive trees and cypresses where its possible to distinguish the outline of its monuments and reddish roofs on both sides of the Arno.

A town so rich in works of art its hard to know where to begin to sightsee. The Gothic Cathedral in front of the Baptistery of San Giovanni is beautiful. The Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Sigonoria represents Florentine medieval architecture. The Uffizzi Gallery housing art from the Middle Ages to Renaissance should not be missed. Beyond the Arno, through Ponte Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Strozzi and Palazzo Medici, all well worth a visit. Santa Maria Novello, Basilica di San Lorenzo, the Medici Tombs by Michelangelo, Santa Croce – rich in Giotto's frescoes, are to name but a few more churches that must be seen.

There are three renowned festivals. On Easter Sunday a dove descends on a wire from the high altar of the cathedral and ignites a cart full of fireworks to commemorate the First Crusade. Floats are paraded and crickets are sold in cages and released on the Sunday after Ascension Day. The ‘Maggio Musicale Fiorentino' runs from late April to early July and is the major festival of classical music, opera and ballet.

The hotels work on a graded system, five stars being the best. Three stars will offer a nice comfortable room with en-suite bathroom. Florence also has youth hostels as well as ‘albergo diurno' which are day hostels.

The nightlife is full and varied. Whatever you are looking for, you will be able to find it. Parking is hard in Florence, so better wander around on foot or with the help of a taxi.

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