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Exploring Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance

The capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence is famed for its Renaissance art and architecture. Between trips to the Duomo and traditional trattorias, visitors can venture into the city’s more modern watering holes

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The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore 

Where to stay:

 

Contemporary elegance meets Renaissance charm in the Riva Lofts Florence, which overlooks the River Arno. The boutique studios were designed by Florentine architect Claudio Nardi, whose daughter now serves as the hotelier. It offers nine studios decorated with antique mirrors and Louis XIV chairs alongside modern artworks and furnishings. Each studio has a private entrance that is accessible from the garden, making the hotel a private, tranquil retreat just across the river from the city centre.

What to eat:

 

Nothing guarantees fresh produce at a restaurant quite like a handwritten menu signed with the date. Trattoria Sergio Gozzi produces rustic dishes that give diners a taste of traditional Tuscan gastronomy, from lombatina di vitella alla griglia (grilled veal chop) to bollito misto (a classic Northern Italian stew). The Gozzi family opened the restaurant in 1915, and still runs it today. Another sign they’ve kept up tradition is the classically Italian opening hours: the restaurant is only open for lunch.

Places to drink:

 

For arguably the best Caribbean cocktails in Florence, visit Sabor Cubano. With its vintage decor and bohemian vibe, the bar transports its visitors to 1940s Cuba. Its zingy mojitos and margaritas are made with fresh citrus, of course, but are updated with unusual additions such as tamarind and pomegranate. In celebration of its heritage, the bar has a concept store where retro garments and accessories are on display: these are Latin in design, but manufactured locally.

The must see:

 

Buontalenti Grotta is a 16th-century grotto built in Florence is famous Boboli Gardens. The grotto, with its man-made stalactites and hollows, mimics the appearance of a natural cave but is filled with statues and frescoes depicting beautiful landscapes and fantastical animals. At the Museo Galileo, visitors can access a vast collection of artefacts relating to the Italian polymathís work and life, from his telescopes to his severed middle finger.

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