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Florence Travel Guide
Florence is the capital city of Tuscany in Italy and is a draw for travelers from around the world. Packed with history and natural beauty it is known as the 'cradle of the Renaissance' and is a popular place for backpackers to explore.

Sights

Florence is steeped in history with the medieval structure Ponte Vecchio, a covered bridge crossing the Arno, one of its most famous attractions along with the Medici Chapel in the Basilica of San Lorenzo.

A World Heritage Site, Florence is the home of inspiring Renaissance buildings such as the Duomo, or Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, which is free to enter, and the Fountain of Neptune outside Palazzo Vecchio.

A stroll past the Romanesque Baptistery and gothic Campanile illustrates perfectly to travelers the variety of historical eras encapsulated in the city.

Art

Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo are among the many artists with links to Florence. Walking tours can be an inexpensive way to re-create the early life of da Vinci, who was born in the region and lived there throughout his childhood.

It is easy to see why Florence inspires so many artists. Psychosomatic symptoms including dizziness and hallucination were recorded by Stendhal in 1817 when he observed the artistic treasures of the Uffizi Museum and is now a recognized condition called the Stendhal Syndrome. Travelers should be prepared to retreat to their Florence hostels should they be overcome!

The Bargello Palace was built by Michelangelo's granddaughter and contains rare works by the famous artist.

Going Out

Nightlife in Florence usually involves a relaxing walk through the square or an evening on the terraces of Florence hostels looking out onto the sights and sounds of people passing by.

A stroll across the Ponte Vecchio before stopping to sample some gelato, a traditional Italian ice cream, is a pleasant way to round off a day of sightseeing. Wine bars are plentiful in the city and some boast views across the Arno River for a truly intimate experience.

The buzzword when it comes to food in Florence is fusion, with international influences coming together to form hybrid restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines. More traditional Italian pasta parlors and pizzerias can be found and are often very reasonably priced.

Bars playing jazz, funk, blues and classical music make up a thriving entertainment scene. Backpackers watching their budget should take advantage of the aperitivo, which is popular in Florence and sees bars serving free food to customers at around 18:00 (local time).

Apart from eating, drinking and strolling, catching a game of Calcio Storico Fiorentino or Florentine football is a unique form of entertainment. Expect elbowing, choking and head-butting among the more unusual and perfectly legal tactics.
About the Author
Before settling down and becoming a copywriter for HostelBookers.com Paul Scottyn did a backpacking tour of Italy, he checked out a variety of hostels in Italy including some Florence hostels.
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