Florence stands at the heart of Tuscany and fills the famous region with the luster of its Renaissance influence lining the Arno River. As your flight descends into the Florence airport, you will see the cypress trees and vineyards that rise along the rolling hills of the countryside. Your private transfer will meet you at the baggage claim and lead you along the cobblestones of Florence’s city center. The massive dome of the Florence Cathedral soars above the palaces and historical buildings of the city. Your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby to show you the wonders of Florence on an introductory walking tour to highlight the city’s open-air museum characteristics.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto’s Campanile, and the Baptistery rise from the heart of the Piazza del Duomo. The inlaid marble shines pink, white, and green in the passing sunlight. The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo hides in an antique palace that borders the square behind the Cathedral’s main entrance. The Cathedral is often considered the symbol of Florence, from its incredible dome designed by Brunelleschi to the sheer magnitude of the church, which reaches a length of nearly 500 feet long. The interior contains hints of frankincense that linger from mass earlier in the day.
The 44 stained glass windows from the 14th and 15th-century continue to glow with sharp hues that bring a rainbow of light into the nave. Lorenzo Ghiberti, who designed the bronze panels of the baptistery doors, also created the stunning Biblical depictions in the three rose windows. Your elaborate introductory tour of the city ends at the Church of San Miniato that overlooks the Tuscan countryside and Florence. The aroma of lush cypress trees overtakes the air outside of the entrance. You walked up the hill that bordered the city, which provides access to Piazza Michelangelo. Inside the church, the local monks still chant nightly, as they have since the church’s inception in the 11th-century.