Florence, or Firenze as the locals call it, is synonymous in most people’s minds with culture, art, and style. With a border of rolling Tuscan hills and a cityscape of fabulous architectural triumphs, this UNESCO World Heritage site is the perfect way to combine urban and rural living in one well-chosen property. If the city’s endless attractions temporarily exhaust your enthusiasm for indoor pursuits, the pretty hilltop villages and leafy vineyards are always on hand, offering an ideal escape route back to nature. Florence has always been a tempting second home destination, but the falling Italian house price index means there’s no time like the present to finally make that investment.
Florence’s galleries and museums offer an unparalleled insight into Italy’s extraordinary cultural legacy. From the splendour of the world famous Uffizi, housing Botticelli’s Primavera and Titian’s Venus of Urbino, to the private collection at the lesser known Horne museum, you could lose yourself for weeks among the paintings, sculptures and artefacts from across the centuries.
Art abounds even outside the main tourist attractions – step into any one of Florence’s miniscule churches and you’re likely to find true hidden gems behind unassuming facades. In the city centre, the architecture is an attraction in itself. The duomo of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is one of Italy’s most recognisable landmarks, but even this is just one of a staggering array of delights that encompass every style from the pre-historic to the contemporary, via the Renaissance, the Romanesque and the neo-classical. Watch the sun set over the horizon from the Piazzale Michelangelo, and you’re certain to fall in love with this unique city.
Although Florence itself is filled with attractions, it’s worth taking the time to venture away from the city to explore the surrounding area. The tiny village of Artiminio hides some excellent restaurants and a charming Tuscan community, and just north of the city lies the Villa Demidoff, once owned by the notorious Medici family. The adjoining Pratolino Park is open to the public and is a wonderful place to stroll, relax and admire the view.
Italy is equally famous for its food and Florence certainly lives up to this reputation. Florentines are fiercely proud of their culinary heritage, with some even declaring their city as the birthplace of all western cuisine. In the city centre you’ll find plenty of world-class pizza, pasta, gelati and other tourist-friendly fare, but seek out a real Tuscan restaurant that’s frequented by locals to truly understand the regional cuisine. With several courses and rich flavours, the meals are designed to be savoured slowly, served with wine aged to perfection and lively conversation. Just remember never to order a cappuccino after your meal – the Italians view this as a breakfast drink, and cannot comprehend foreigners’ insistence on drinking it after noon.
With so much to see and do in Florence, it’s impossible to enjoy it all on one trip. To ensure that you don’t have to, visit the Engel & Völkers website for a glimpse of our extensive portfolio of luxury properties in Florence. With a strong presence across the region, you’re guaranteed expert advice on every aspect of your purchase, from the initial inquiries to setting the move-in date.