The famous medieval, house-bearing bridge that would probably win the prize as the most photographed Florence icon. It spans the Arno in the centre of the city and probably affords the best views of this often disappointing river from its central open arches. The houses are now mostly shops selling jewellery, leather goods and other expensive designer items, but it’s not obligatory to buy anything of course. After all, it is just a bridge, and still works perfectly well as such.
Spent a few months in Florence as a student back in the 90s, a wonderful city which can be more beautiful out of season, even if the weather isn't so good. If you get a chance, try the little city of Fiesole a short bus ride up into the hills. It has a Roman amphitheatre which is still used and some delightful restaurants. A great day out if you want to get away from the busy streets of Firenze!
Fiesole us 5 miles (8km) from Florence. Bus no. 7 travels there from Piazza del Duomo. www.arca.net/tourism/toscana/fiesole.htm
If you like your sculpture al fresco, then this is the place to come. It all seems slightly surreal, particularly the ‘Loggia dei Lanzi’, which is a specially built raised area housing the famous Rape of the Sabine Women, Perseus and a clutch of Roman priestesses. Near the wall of the old council chamber is a copy of Michelangelo’s David next to Bandinelli’s Hercules. To top it all off is the Neptune fountain and the Grand Duke Cosimo further out into the square. I’m not sure why there’s such a concentration on stonework at this spot, but at least it saves on the shoe leather.
Centre of the city
After the Duomo, this is one of the most interesting of the churches as it contains the tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli among others. It was completed in 1294 and sits at the eastern end of the large square that takes its name, casting long Gothic shadows over it if you happen to be there in the morning.
Piazza di Santa Croce.
One time home of the Medici family who bought it from the eponymous rival family after it bankrupted them. This is opulence Italian style, all the trappings of people for whom money was no object are here, including paintings by Titian and Raphael. The Boboli gardens at the rear are pleasant enough, but if you have limited time, the Palace is much more interesting.
Any trip to Florence must include a visit to the Duomo, as a thumping great example of majestic architecture and for its stunning views. But a strong note of caution if you find heights uncomfortable. To get to the top you have to walk, or in my case trot blindly, around two levels of very narrow wooden gallery, set to the inside of the dome. This offers an intimate view of the impressive ceiling mural but also places you uncomfortably close to God.
Turn up early (7.30, 8, 8.30 services) and listen to mass or Lauds in the cathedral. The early light makes the stained glass glow, and when the bells start ringing the whole building seems to vibrate with thunder. A little time out before a day of busy tourism.
Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza del Duomo;
This clever card ("Friends of the Uffizi") gets you into all the state galleries for free - Uffizi, Accademia, many more. Plus - and this is the best thing - you get to jump all of the massive queues! It lasts for a year and it's genius.
25 euro for the under-26s, 60 euro for those above, and a family deal for 100 euro.
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org