Ah, Florence! With some of the most world-renowned art museums, arguably the most famous dome in the world, Renaissance treasures around every corner, high quality leather, excellent food and wine, Florence is a wonder to behold.

Florence is also, however, the Italian city that seems to bewilder tourists more than any other.  I was recently asked by yet another traveller and friend, how on earth one manages to get around in this city and see everything it has to offer.

When travelling in Italy I have three rules of thumb. First and most importantly, stay in a centrally located hotel. Second, take breaks to absorb the culture and give your feet a rest. Third, always ask for recommendations from locals and experts who know the area well.

So, you’ve arrived in Florence, dropped your bags at your hotel, and now David, Dante, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Giotto and Ghiberti all beckon you.  Where to begin?

A wonderful way to introduce yourself to Florence is to head to Giotto’s bell tower around the top of the hour.  Climb, keep climbing, I promise the view will be worth it.

If you have timed it right, you will be at the top of the tower, overlooking the Duomo, the Baptistery, the famous piazzas and the Tuscan hills in the distance. As the view takes your breath away the bell begins to ring above.

Notice the pink, green, and white marble and the intricate work on the facade of the campanile and the Duomo itself.

Take a map, find where you are, easy from this location, and orient yourself from above before you choose which sights to see next.

This is an exciting, gorgeous, and helpful way to begin your Florentine experience.  Choose some stylish, comfortable walking shoes, and enjoy the treasures that await.

Lindsay Sinko