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Florence tours and excursions

Florence tours

Bicycle tours

I Bike Italy offers two hour city tours by bike, as well as excursions into Chianti on mountain bikes. Full-day tours (0900-1700) include lunch and a tour of one of the local vineyards. Bookings are taken in English over the telephone and a pick-up point in Florence is arranged.

Tel: +39 342 935 2395.
Website: http://www.ibikeitaly.com

Walking tours

Visitors can arrange a private walking tour or book one of the group tours around Florence's key attractions online at www.walksinsideflorence.it, Walks include a tour of the Uffizi Gallery, departing from the reservations entrance at 1330 (Tuesday-Saturday); an Orientation tour for first visitors, a Florence in one day tour, a Michelangelo tour; Medieval Florence and its Basi. The walking tours range from two to three hours and don't include entry tickets.

Website: http://www.walksinsideflorence.it

Florence excursions

Cinque Terre

Once you clap eyes on Cinque Terre, you will never want to leave. Made up of five separate villages each with their own charms and all connected by train, this is one of Italy's gems. It is also a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore steep hills flanked by colourful pastel-coloured homes overlooking the azure waters of the Mediterranean. Delight in the views as you tuck into freshly caught seafood meals. To reach this area, take the train from Florence to La Spezia from where you have to catch another train to Riomaggiore.

Website: http://www.cinqueterre.it/en

Pisa

Visit Pisa and its legendary 54m-high (177ft) circular Leaning Tower. Intrepid visitors can hike up to six floors, with open galleries but there are 294 lung-gasping steps to the top. Make sure you leave time to visit the city's oft-ignored other landmarks, including: Piazza dei Miracoli, one of Europe's greatest groups of Romanesque buildings; the 11th century Duomo; the Botanical Gardens, amongst the oldest in Europe; and the former Benedictine convent of San Matteo.

Website: http://www.turismo.pisa.it/en/

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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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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.

Hotel Lungarno

Hotel Lungarno has views to die for. Anywhere closer to the Ponte Vecchio and guests would be on top of it. The recently renovated 59 rooms and 14 suites of this lavish hotel have classic interiors with contemporary touches, and merge strong and serene colours. Little betters a glass of fizz on a private balcony here as the River Arno twinkles by.

Villa Cora

The home of Baron Oppenheim, this incredibly ornate villa has been the smartest address in town for 150 years. Now a luxury hotel, with the only open-air swimming pool in Florence to stay open all year round, guests can choose from rooms adorned with roses, antiques or a 1940s-themed suite.

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.