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Florence is one of those city breaks that offer real magic when you visit. But what makes it so fantastic?
The city has a tight network of streets in its busy centre opening up into squares littered with renaissance art, palazzos and street side cafes to sit back and take in the atmosphere.
The giant dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, or Duomo, looms over the hotchpotch of squares below.
The grand Piazza della Signoria is the perfect meeting spot for dates at the Uffizi Gallery next door. Catch a glimpse of the piazza's copycat David statue before you see him at the nearby Accademia gallery.
If you travel up to the Michelangelo Gardens you can get a classic photo of the roofs and domes of the city below with the river in front.
From Florence's airport, ATAF public buses whizz you to central Santa Maria Novella station in 25 minutes. The quick taxi ride takes just 15 minutes. Many more people arrive at Pisa airport which has a low cost airline base from which many UK flights arrive. Trains take you from the station via Pisa Central into Florence in around an hour.
To get around in the city, start off on foot. It's a very walkable centre. Otherwise there are hop on hop off buses, or you can take advantage of the good bus system with orange ATAF electric minibuses zipping along Florence's central, narrow roads to the Duomos doorstep.
Find the best time of the year to travel to Florence to ensure you make the most of your holiday...
Summer sizzles in Florence when temperatures can reach a hot and humid 30C. If you're hoping to explore the city and would prefer cooler temperatures, spring and autumn are more comfortable. Winter sees temperature lows of around nine degrees and rain is possible throughout the year.
Florence is jam-packed with historic sights, art and culture, and is also located in a fantastic setting between the hills...
Here are some ideas for getting more out of the city.
Active types: Got a head for heights? Snap that classic Florence postcard shot from the rooftop of Brunelleschi's vast Duomo. To get there you'll have to climb 463 spiral steps, but you can stop for close-ups of Vasari's golden fresco as you catch your breath.
Romance: Stroll arm in arm through the endless corridors as you gaze at passionate Renaissance paintings like Botticelli's Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Gallery. Sweeping views of the River Arno framed by the gallery windows round off your hot date.
Shopping: Soft, handmade leather gloves, Murano glass ornaments and gold Venetian masks are just some of the Italian souvenirs in San Lorenzo Market. If you miss the real Michelangelo's David, you can find him there on a tea towel or moulded in mini-porcelain.
Free & cheap: Florence's many Renaissance churches double up as top museums but charge much less. Step off the sunny square into Gothic Santa Croce church for Giotto's Bible story frescoes, Henry Moore's warrior statues and Michelangelo's tomb.
Families: Most kids - and grown-ups - find it hard to resist mouth-watering, homemade gelato, or ice cream, on short breaks to Florence. Each cinnamon or pistachio scoop is an art form at famous ice cream parlours like Grom and Vivoli.
The exuberant Italians know how to party, and where better than in Florence, the 'cradle of the renaissance'?
Epiphany, January: January 6 commemorates the coming of the Three Kings and is the big day on the Christmas calendar. It is the day when families give each other presents, and a parade takes place in the city with people dressed in renaissance costumes.
Winetown, May: Florence is known for its fabulous wine, and during May the streets of the city allow you to sample a tipple or two from various wine merchants. And as no event in Italy would be complete without food, you will also be able to experience some culinary delights, as well as enjoy entertainment.
Sesto d'Estate, June-July: Sesto Fiorentino is a location close to Florence and offers a number of outdoor concerts including theatre, music, culture and dance events.