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Things to do in Florence

Go horse riding in the Chianti hills

Take a day trip from Florence and spend it horse riding in the pretty Chianti region. Florence Town (tel: +39 55 281 103; www.florencetown.com) can take expert riders through rolling Tuscan countryside, vineyards, olive groves and Middle Age villages.

Head out into the Chianti region

Just 30km (18 miles) from Florence are the rolling vines of the Chianti region, which is of course famous for its wine. Take a tour with Tuscany Pass (www.tuscanypass.com) and you’ll get a front row stall for the production of Chianti Classico, Reserve, and Vin Santo, with plenty of opportunities to try the good drink.

Hit the markets in Piazza del Ciompi

If your chosen method of therapy is retail, then be sure you visit one of Piazza del Ciompi’s markets. There’s a daily flea market (supposedly starting 0900 but times do change), and every last Sunday of the month the market takes over the surrounding streets, with around 100 stalls to browse through. Treasure awaits the patient.

Learn all about the Medici Dynasty

Lean back and take in the Medici Dynasty Show (medicidynasty.com) in the ornately decorated library of the former Convent of Sant’Onofrio, which is today the Il Fuligno complex, Via Faenza 48, in the heart of Florence. The showroom is the perfect setting for this Renaissance multimedia theatre piece in English that lasts one hour.

Sample the best of Florence’s food

Florence is as famous for its food as its mopeds, and there’s no better way to dive into the local cuisine than the Florence Food Tour (www.walksofitaly.com/florence-tours/florence-food-tour). This three and half hour tour will take in markets, restaurants, wine and even some gelato. Don’t eat before, basically.

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24 hours in: Florence

As the birthplace of the Renaissance period, opera and even gelato, Florence has enough cultural heritage to fill a whole lifetime.

Featured Hotels

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Hotel Brunelleschi

Imaginatively reinvented from a Byzantine tower and a medieval church, this 4-star-hotel combines swish modernity in a romantic setting, right in the heart of Florence. Located just off Piazza Signoria, its architectural characteristics of exposed brickwork and wooden beams are retained throughout, giving a pleasing sense of history.

Palazzo Magnani Feroni

On another level of luxury, this fantastical palace harbours 12 theatrical suites on four floors, filled with antiques and lavish furnishings, mammoth mirrors and frescoed rooms. A stay is like being immersed in the world of Florentine royalty. The city views from the rooftop over are incredible. Look out for offers that make it affordable.

Ville Sull’Arno

On the banks of the river Arno, this spa hotel is the perfect retreat from the bustle of the city. Highly affordable for a 5-star, many of the large rooms here come with river views and each has elegant furnishings. It also has indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna and steam room as well as a top-notch restaurant serving Tuscan treats.

Gallery Hotel Art

This chic art hotel stands on a small square not far from the Ponte Vecchio and attracts a host of funky young designers and artists. Cool modern interiors are a world away from the medieval rat race outside. Communal spaces display rotating collections of contemporary art and the guest library contains over 400 books.

Hotel Alessandra

Set in 16th-century building on the River Arno, this charming hotel on a quiet back street is within a 10-minute walk of top sights such as the Uffizi Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo. The rooms feature antique furniture, Wi-Fi access and air-conditioning, and most have private bathrooms; some have river views. Breakfast is included.

Orcagna Hotel

Located outside the historic old town of Florence but only a 15-minute walk from the Duomo, this budget hotel makes its guests feel welcome with friendly staff and spacious, modern rooms (some with balconies and/or jacuzzi tubs). Breakfast and Wi-Fi access are included in the room rate, and the hotel provides parking, although free spaces can usually be found in the surrounding streets.