Home to more than 1 million works of Renaissance art and a vibrant shopping scene, the Italian city of Florence was voted the best city in Europe in this year’s Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards, taking the No. 1 spot in the category for the tenth time in the last 11 years.
Cities were ranked by T+L readers based on a variety of factors that include a destination’s landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.
The birthplace of the Italian Renaissance is teeming with famed artworks ranging from Michelangelo’s “David” to “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli, not to mention its array of classical sights that include the famed Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo.
An “open-air museum,” as the city’s tourism website calls it, Florence is dotted with towering cathedrals and a network of museums that together include the greatest concentration of artworks in all of Italy, and one of the largest in the world.
Aside from its historic offerings, Florence is also famous as the birthplace of some of fashion’s most noted names, including the likes of Gucci, Pucci, Roberto Cavalli, and the Ferragamos.
Head to sights like the Museo Ferragamo, where you can see where Salvatore Ferragamo first set up shop and browse through some 10,000 pairs of shoes that make up the museum’s permanent collection.
When it’s time to shop for yourself, head to sections like Oltrarno, on the southbank of the Arno River, where you’ll find an array of craft studios specializing in wood products, jewelry, and metal vases. In San Frediano, a neighborhood in Oltrarno’s west end, you’ll find traditional offerings like hand-wrought silverware, hand-made shoes, and antique glassware.
Florence is also home to a buzzing food scene, where you can sample everything from fresh mozzarella and pasta to bread and ornate chocolates at locations like the Mercato Centrale.
To try your own hand at cooking Italian specialties, head to Desinare, where you can take cooking courses that will teach you how to prep delicacies like hand-rolled ricotta and spinach ravioli and tiramisu, with wine pairings and a course on food photography included in the mix.
Heading to Florence also gives you access to the Tuscan countryside, where you can enjoy your days sampling Chianti wines amidst a lush natural landscape.