If you want to experience a city that will melt your heart in moments, you should visit Florence. The capital of the Tuscany region is one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, the ideal destination for art and culture lovers all without breaking the bank.
If you know where to look, on Florence city breaks you can find all the art, history and culture you’ll need, without spending too much money.
Wander the streets
A classic free pastime in this charming city is a simple walk through the medieval streets. Admire the architecture or wander along the banks of the Arno river to the Ponte Veccio bridge, which is a must see destination. Visit it at sunset to see the buildings bathed in that wonderful orange glow as you walk along the shop lined bridge.
Consider your seasons
Florence is less crowded and also cheaper during the off season, particularly in winter or early spring. If you’re there to see the art galleries, then the chill in the air shouldn’t be too much of a problem — and you’ll definitely save money on transport and accommodation by avoiding the popular summer months.
Buses for day trips
If you’re in Florence for a while, you might want to explore nearby areas such as Siena and Pisa. These are easily accessible from the city, and you’ll save money by getting the bus instead of the train or renting a car: bus services between these destinations are frequent and reasonably priced, and you’ll get to tick two extra destinations off your list!
If you’re planning to visit lots of art galleries, look online to see if it’s cheaper to buy tickets in advance. The other consideration is buying a Firenze Card, which allows you entry to 60 museums and galleries for 72 hours! This includes the Galleria dell’Accademia and the Uffizi Gallery, the two most popular galleries in Florence. The card will also allow you to bypass the big queues and enter the short queue for card holders.
Food and drink
Of course you’re going to want to eat the wonderful Tuscan cuisine and wine while you’re in Florence! But to save money, consider picnic lunches or buying pizza by the slice from street vendors when you’re in need of a snack, instead of sitting in a restaurant for every meal.
Where to stay
There’s a lot of budget accommodation to the west of the train station, and you can also think about the option of staying to stay in an abbey or with other religious groups who often offer their spare rooms at prices cheaper than hotels.
Florence is a truly beautiful destination which can certainly be experienced without spending a lot of money. With just a little planning you can have the trip of a lifetime, on a shoestring!
Images by brad.coy, used under Creative Commons licene.
Michelle Lowry is a 42 year old travel journalist who loves to be on the move. Armed with her laptop and digital camera, she enjoys diarising her experiences and photographing the world’s wonders, great and small.