The Florence city proper is where the best sites are located. The museums, palaces, churches and artistically designed buildings are all congregated. These are considered among the world’s treasures and should be visited whenever possible if you are touring Italy’s Tuscan region.
Seeing these sites on foot is the best way to do so. Since the locations are within close proximity to each other, it’s not too difficult and can be enjoyable especially if you’re visiting with friends.
Make sure to visit the following…
The Baptistery is popular for its bronze doors which were built by Andrea Pisano in the 14th century and Lorenzo Ghiberti in the 15th century. It has a gorgeous interior with a decorated vault filled with 13th century medieval mosaics.
The cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo di Firenze, is the city’s emblem. It has a huge dome which was engineered by Brunelleschi and it was such a Renaissance achievement of that time.
Nearby the Duomo is Giotto’s Tower which you can climb (at total of 414 steps) to see a 360-degree view of the Duomo in Florence and its surrounding area.
Palazzo Vecchio is an old palace in the city which is an artwork on its own. It has a replica of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ outside the main door. It also displays important Renaissance sculptures and paintings such as Verrochio’s Putto and murals by Giorgio Vassari at the Salon dei Cinquencento.
Other churches that boast of artistry and elegance are the Santa Maria Novella, Orsanmichele (or the Kitchen Garden of St. Michael), San Lorenzo, Santa Croce, and the Spanish Chapel.
Other sites and structures include the San Marco Convent which is home to Fra Angelico’s frescos and workshop.The Piazza Signoria is a plaza where you can find the ‘Fake David’ and it is a place to definitely see while in Florence. The Ponte Vecchio is another notable structure and it is a famous bridge over the Arno which survived WWII. The Boboli Gardens is landscaped with elaborate design and has interesting sculptures. It is just beside the Pitti Palace which also offers fantastic views of the city. Another garden to visit is the Bardini Gardens which offer a great view of the Duomo.
Not a good place to go on a road trip
However, it is difficult to drive in the streets of Florence because these are mainly one-way streets and traffic can become unpredictable. You should be aware of the ZTL zone and its policies especially when you’re in town. Hiring a campervan for a city tour is quite tricky and may pose a lot of hindrances aside from hassles. But don’t fret, there are other places outside the city centre which are as marvellous as the ones in town.
Day trips to Fiesole, San Gimignano, Lucignano, Lucca, Siena, Arezzo, and Volterra are great to begin with. For the wine-lovers, a visit to the Chianti zone, specifically Greve which is a great market town with a hilly backdrop and a working vineyard.
Camping in the Tuscan Region
As mentioned earlier, it is difficult to just roam around the city centre of Florence in a campervan or even a small car. While there are buses around, it’s going to be a challenge if you would like to hop in and out of your ride to another destination just outside the city. However, no need to worry because there are campsites available within the Tuscan region which provide facilities for RV campers.
You can either go to Campeggio Villaggio San Giusto (via Castra 17 in Capraia e Limite) or Camping Village Norcenni Girasole (via Norcenni 7 in Figline Valdarno). Both campsites offer power hook-ups, gas bottle exchange, wireless internet connection, food facilities (supermarkets, stores, snack houses, etc.), bathrooms, and sports/leisure areas for the family.
Make sure to prepare for long walks in the city centre, while you can drive along the outskirts of the city where driving is easier and better. Perhaps this is a trip to Florence with only the adults because of more street walking and less driving. But you will surely enjoy camping in your rented motor home at the end of each day.