To experience Florence is to experience a slice of the Renaissance era of western history. Much of the spectacular architecture of that pivotal period in history remains unchanged, in a very good way.

The richness of the architecture isn’t too ornate and overdone, it is just ornate enough to be inspiring even in today’s busy world. Florence is an art lover’s paradise, with paintings, sculpture, statuary, and architecture busting at the city’s seams. A holiday in Florence is a trip back in time, but yet an opportunity to appreciate where architecture, engineering, science, and advanced thought began, all while experiencing the beauty, culture, cuisine, and attitude that is ideally Italian.

Thanks to its popularity as a centre of tourism, as well as being a gathering place for fashionistas and other business types, Florence is definitely not short on a wide variety of lodging options. There are comfortable accommodations for every taste and budget, most of which come with a view of some spectacular Florentine landmark or the Arno river.

Antica Dimora Johlea is a quaint hotel, featuring sweeping views, colourful rooftop terrace from which you can take in the historic views, and spacious (by Florentine standards) rooms. The best feature by far is the reasonable rates.

Another colourful and budget-conscious option is the Hermitage, located near the Arno. The lobby is welcoming and pleasant, and the rooftop terrace boasts come of the city’s best views. The rooms are comfortable, and breakfast is included.

For a truly luxurious experience, JK Place gets rave reviews. Muted tones and comfortable furnishings provide a relaxing atmosphere, and the amenities are the cherry on top. Excellent service and a large daily breakfast are par for the course.

If you bring nothing else on your holiday to Florence, be sure to bring your appetite. There is unfortunately a glut of dining options in the city, many not very good. But, there is delicious Italian cuisine to be found in Florence. It definitely pays to research your options, talk to the locals, and make reservations when you do get a good recommendation.

Ora d’Aria gets high marks for its faithfulness to Tuscan cuisine, but also the twists to be fund on the menu.

The menu really is a love letter to Tuscan fare, and if you love food, especially Italian food, this place is not to be missed.Mario is a favourite among the Florentines, so you know you can’t go wrong at this cozy trattoria. It’s often crowded, but the food is decadent and wonderful, and is exactly what you think of when you think of dining in Italy.

Art meets food at Taverna del Bronzino. The former 16th century studio of Renaissance master Bronzino, this elegant taverna has been converted effortlessly into something special. The Tuscan cuisine is perfectly executed and served with perfection.

The prospect of exploring Florence can be downright daunting. There is such a huge number of sights to see, you might think it impossible to get through them all. From architectural landmarks to libraries to museums to the vast quantity of public art displays, there is more to see in Florence than humanly possible in one trip.

The Duomo, part of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is widely considered to be one of the most spectacular works or art and architecture in the world. Brunelleschi’s dome and cupola are nothing short of awesome. The Gothic interior of the cathedral is, well, a religious experience.

Don’t visit Florence without walking the halls of the Uffizi, which is home to the most impressive collection of Renaissance-era art in the world. Masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Fra Filippo Lippi, Piero, and Raphael are among the works on display there.

Other sights of interest, and not to be missed, include the numerous Palazzos, San Lorenzo, and the Laurentian Library, designed by Michelangelo.

Stroll along the Arno, and you will bump into public art displays and colourful Florentine people. The Oltrarno, Santa Croce, and San Lorenzo to the Accademia quarters of Florence are particularly satisfying to explore. If you love art, architecture, and feats of the human mind, Florence is the best choice for your holiday.

The summers in Florence are hot. The ideal time to visit, weather-wise, is in April. Spring in Florence is temperate and beautiful.

The city is the least crowded in January and February, the coldest months of the year there.