Mark Twain once said: “The Creator made Italy from designs by Michelangelo” and there is no more divine example than Florence. Nowhere in Italy is the act of looking at art more pleasing. A great city to get around on by foot, Florence is a veritable visual feast of culture, architecture and natural beauty. Want to know more? Here’s our must-know info before you go.
Generally speaking, Australian passport holders can holiday in Italy for up to 90 days without a visa. However, Australian passport holders looking to work in Florence must be granted a visa under the Working Holiday Maker visa program. Please note that these details are just guidelines and that visa requirements can change. As such, always check with your local Italian embassy before you travel.
Italy is part of the European Union and uses the Euro. The exchange rate between the Euro and Australian Dollar changes constantly, so it's a good idea to monitor the rate in the lead up to your trip and purchase Euros when the time is right. For safe spending, particularly for larger purchases, consider bringing a credit card or travel money card.
A meat lover’s paradise, Florence has a few traditional dishes sure to test even the most carnivorous – the Florentines do some special things with tripe and offal. More mainstream meat eaters will adore the classic Fiorentina T-bone steak or a slice of porchetta. On the street, pick up a panini bread stuffed with salami, gorgonzola and artichoke hearts. Vegetarians aren’t completely forgotten – barley salads, hearty vegetable and pasta soups, and pappa con pomodoro (bread soaked with tomatoes) are delicious options. When it comes to something sweet; you also can’t go past all the gelato! After all, it was invented here in Florence so it’s perfectly acceptable for you to taste the gelato rainbow. The best gelataria in Florence is said to be Gelateria de’ Neri near the Ponte Vecchio, but you better sample a few places just to check!
Sure Florence is famous for its churches and its art, but when the sun goes down, it's also a great city to dance and drink under the stars. With ample outdoor hotspots open from summer to autumn - often with a great view of the city - Flò Lounge Bar located in Piazzale Michelangelo is an under-the-stars fave. If you’re after the true European clubbing experience, head to Tenax for house and techno music, which is popular with locals and the hordes of overseas university students who flood the town each year. The compact plan of the city makes bar-hopping easy on the dancing shoes - club Twenty One is an unpretentious venue in the middle of the city's historic centre with a focus on the dancefloor . Yab is a little more glamorous, and Space Electronic is for dancing in the dark to pulsating electro. Just a stone’s throw from Piazza Santa Croce is Twice, a trendy yet inexpensive nightclub with a friendly vibe, or try The Blob Club near Museo Galileo - a cosy indoors venue that offers a relaxed club experience.