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All the Travel Guides of Florence: on paper, for Kindle, Apps, and online guides

The oleander on the wall
Grows crimson in the dawning light,
Though the gray shadows of the night
Lie yet on Florence like a pall. Oscar Wilde

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Florence remains rooted in hearts forever. After a trip to Tuscany, tourists take home photos, memories, a creased travel guide of Florence, towels stolen at the hotel, receipts of the restaurant to be recommended to friends, entrance fees to museums, the reminiscence of incredible human artifacts, stone, marble, paint, glass, but also leather, wicker, gold and silver. But nothing will be the same anymore :-)

Because Florence is unique. Not like Venice, for example, which has many duplicates, that of the North, of the East, the fake ones in America or Asia; or Rome, reproduced in larger or smaller scale somewhat wherever, and hackneyed by now; not to mention Naples, which has independently emigrated in all corners of the globe; and Milan, finally, is completely different.

But Florence... Florence is the cradle of Renaissance, the Middle Ages, Italian language and culture, of some of the greatest minds and human geniuses. Personalities of the likes of Dante Alighieri, Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Botticelli, Donatello, Amerigo Vespucci, all the enlightened dynasty of the De’ Medici and above all, the unforgettable Pinocchio.

A travel guide of Florence is never enough for giving luster to all the wonders that this city has to offer. Any guide of Florence can describe in detail all the landmarks of the city, from the Uffizi Gallery to Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and the Boboli Gardens. But it would never convey the atmosphere you can breathe by walking through the streets of the historical centre of Florence, the friendliness of Florentine shopkeepers, the luxury immersed in the history of Via de' Tornabuoni, the sturdy taste of Lampredotto – the poorest but tastier dish of Florence.

Just as few guides of Florence tell the truth, for example, on the famous “panca di via” (literally “bench on the way”) which is often found at the base of the outer walls of the sixteenth century palaces. Were they made to protect walls from impact of the wagons? Just an architectural finishing? A service offered by rich landlords to travelers?

However, the real challenge for the tourists travelling to Florence is another. Going to Piazza Santissima Annunziata and counting the bees carved at the base of the equestrian statue located in the square. Does your travel guide of Florence mention the exact number?

Anyway, to visit Florence in a smart way, a good guide is mandatory. They come in a wide variety, on paper, for Kindle, Apps for handheld electronic devices. The important thing is not simply believing what you read... but also what is seen, savored by the eyes and palate, thus rooting with the heart for ever and ever.

Florence on Internet

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Firenzeturismo.it

http://www.firenzeturismo.it/en/

Firenzeturismo.it is the official website of the Province of Florence, designed to help tourists better plan their trip to the city and its surroundings. The website provides directions to contact the Tourism Agencies in the area, information on getting around by car or by public transport, the dates of the various events and pageants, the opening hours of Florence villas and museums. Users will also find very interesting itineraries sorted by theme, to discover the surroundings of Florence, as well as its literature, history, architecture and even gastronomy.

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Polo Museale Fiorentino

http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/en/

The portal, created by the Superintendence for Historical, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage of the city of Florence, is a valuable starting point for deciding which museums and historic villas to visit in Florence. The website offers good information on schedules, fares and reductions, but especially provides cultural and artistic details about the single museums. The website is very well structured, with the possibility to enjoy virtual visits to the several museum halls and the description of the major works they contain.

Site Logo: www.thatsflorence.com
That's Florence!

http://www.thatsflorence.com

A web-portal dedicated to the Tuscan capital, to its historical and architectural wonders. That'sFlorence.com is a special travel guide of Florence that offers readers-tourists a different way of approaching this city, the birthplace of Italian and European Renaissance. That's Florence! presents Florence not only in its most “noble” appearance, that of the wonderful museums, hundreds of churches, and the routes around the squares enriched over the centuries by the Medici, Lorraine and Savoy families, but also the most “popular” Florence, that of the historic cafés, craft shops, and traditional gastronomy. Without neglecting the “luxury” side of Florence, of course, its magnificent luxury hotels and the boutiques on Via de’ Tornabuoni. All this, seasoned with interesting anecdotes and curiosities.

Travel Guides of Florence on paper

Here is a list of the major paper-based Travel Guides of Florence in English. The best of these, besides color images, also provide detailed maps of major tourist areas of Florence.

Rick Steves' Florence and Tuscany 2012

Avalon Travel Publishing - Rick Steves

The volume published by Rick Steves is not the classic travel guide of Florence, but rather a detailed set of recommendations and suggestions for moving around the capital of Tuscany and also Siena and Pisa. The book, written with a humorous tone, offers reviews on restaurants and hotels in Florence and Tuscany, information on how to get around by public transport, with accurate assessments of the value for money.

Knopf MapGuide: Florence

Knopf Guides

A handy Guide of Florence which describes the areas to be visited starting from a general map of the city. In the travel guide, Florence is divided into 6 districts and 6 maps, provided with several pages containing useful information and advice. The maps of Florence cover the following areas: historical centre, Santa Maria Novella area, San Lorenzo, Santa Croce, Santo Spirito and San Frediano, and finally San Miniato al Monte. The description pages mention the addresses of shops, hotels, restaurants, civic and religious monuments.

Fodor's Florence, Tuscany & Umbria

Fodor's

Published in August 2010, this full-color book is a guide of Florence, Tuscany and Umbria. The book is packed with over 200 photos and 57 maps. It also offers the possibility to plan the trip thanks to many reviews by other travelers. The volume includes excellent descriptions of Florence, Pisa, Assisi, with information on the main tourist attractions, the wineries to visit, the events and festivals that annually take place.

LUXE Florence

Luxe Asia Limited

A guide for hedonists. For those who even when visiting Florence do not want to miss none of the city’s chic, trendy and glamorous attractions. From the restaurants to the hippest clubs, from upscale boutiques to exclusive antique shops, shops where to buy the finest jewelry, leather and footwear, restaurants and wineries where to experience more than merely taste food and wine. All this, if desired, accompanied by experienced and trained guides, to visit Florence even in its most hidden and exclusive corners. In short, luxury stuff, without forgetting, of course, art and monuments... but carefully avoiding the crowds of normal tourists.

Frommer's Florence and Tuscany Day by Day

Frommers - Donald Strachan

Published in 2009, this travel guide of Florence by Frommer, offers 24 itineraries for so-called 'smart' tours, and 34 maps to move around Florence without getting lost. A travel guide to visit Florence and Tuscany in a few days, with themed trips according to tastes, and custom maps to meet individual travel needs. The guide comes with color photos and information on hotels, restaurants and clubs. The author, Donald Strachan, lives in London, but loves Italy, its art and its traditions.

Florence & Siena

Insight Guides - Sian Lezard

A Guide of Florence and Siena, which tells of the Tuscan cities starting from single districts, from the historical centre with all its monuments and places of tourist interest, to the more peripheral and popular ones. For each city, including the delicious Lucca and San Gimignano, the guide - by Sian Lezard - offers a brief but thorough historical essay and the description of the main monuments, clubs, restaurants, and some information on hotels and pensions.

Walk The Renaissance Walk - A Kid's Guide To Florence

Bellissima Publishing - Penelope Dyan

Telling Florence, in all of its historical and artistic forms, to children and adolescents. Penelope Dyan, the author of this guide of Florence, is a writer, poet and talented illustrator of books for youngsters. For this work she collaborated with John D. Weigand, great photographer and television director. In this volume children are invited to retrace the paths already traveled by Galileo, Michelangelo and all the great painters, architects and artists of the Renaissance and Middle Ages. Young readers are thus immersed in the atmosphere of a dreamy trip.

Secret Florence

Jonglez Publishing - Niccolò Rinaldi

A travel guide to a secret Florence, that which is hardly revealed in a classic tour of the city. The hidden side of the capital of the European Renaissance, the most mysterious places, the lesser-known masterpieces, monuments rarely visited by the mass of tourists. Plus all the little curiosities that make a visit to Florence a different experience, showing the aspects of the city which are closer to locals, including the clubs less frequented by tourists, but popular with Florentines. A curious and intriguing tour of Florence, passing by hidden gardens and vintage gas stations, a church housed in an old jail and a 'treasure hunt' to find the plates where the verses of the Divine Comedy are engraved.

Blue Guide Florence

Blue Guides Limited of London - Alta Macadam

Updated to 2011, this travel guide of Florence is very accurate and detailed, both from a historical and artistic point of view. The author, an art historian, has lived in Florence for many years, he knows the city very well and is able to give the best advice for a very special visit to Florence. Not only with regards to museums, monuments, churches and works of art, but even restaurants and bars where to taste the best Tuscan dishes.

The Rough Guide to Florence and the Best of Tuscany

Rough Guides - Tim Jepson, Jonathan Buckley

Published in 2009, this guide of Florence and the most beautiful landscapes and villages of Tuscany, is a useful companion to discover several smaller towns often not included in official tours. In addition to detailed descriptions, accompanied by excellent color photos of the main monuments of Florence, The Rough Guide offers valuable information about the surroundings of the city and the beautiful Tuscan countryside, the hills, vineyards, restaurants and hotels that are usually off the beaten track.

Time Out Florence & The Best of Tuscany

Time Out

2011 edition of the guide of Florence from the Time Out series, with a focus on the best you can find and visit in Tuscany. The guide provides tourists with all the information about the history, art and architecture of Florence, but also emphasizes how the city is perfectly placed in the contemporary world. In fact, as well as descriptions of the wonderful works of the Renaissance that abound in the city, the guide provides descriptions on contemporary aspects about food, music and literature in Florence and Tuscany in general.

Travel Guides of Florence for Kindle

Florence & Tuscany - Guidebook Chapter

Lonely Planet
Size: 4229 KB

Not so different from Lonely Planet classic style Guides, this is its Kindle version. This guide of Florence in electronic format provides detailed routes to visit monuments, museums, major attractions, but also provides reviews of hotels, restaurants and clubs. It shows some of Tuscany’s major cities and towns, like Pisa, Lucca, the Versilia, the Elba Island, Siena, Chianti Region, etc..

The Accessible Guide To Florence

Xlibris - Cornelia Danielson
Size: 1518 KB

Florence is one of the most beautiful and visited cities in the world, but, despite the improvement of infrastructure in recent years, it is not always accessible to disabled people. This guide of Florence provides a rich set of information for those who have a physical disability, use a wheelchair, have visual impairments, but also for those who suffer from intolerance to particular food. The guide offers a wealth of information about accessibility (or inaccessibility) of museums and historic monuments, for the rental of special equipment for disabled people, on easily accessible restaurants and hotels, but also, for example, information about museums where the blind can experience art through their hand. An indispensable guide of Florence which allows everyone to enjoy the beauties of this city.

Florence, Italy Travel Guide - What To See & Do

Kenneth Coates
Size: 252 KB

An illustrated guide of Florence, very easy to use, with direct links to the web sites of several locations. A quick and easy way to visit Florence, with detailed information on transportation, pedestrian routes, things to see and do in Florence, the main shopping streets, addresses of clubs, bars and restaurants, hotels, hostels and campsites, as well as emergency addresses and telephone numbers.

The Food Lover's Guide to Florence: With Culinary Excursions in Tuscany

Ten Speed Press - Emily Wise Miller
Size: 3336 KB

A guide of Florence completely dedicated to cooking, cuisine and typical local dishes. Very useful for tourists who don’t know the habits and culinary delights of Italy, the differences between restaurant, inn and tavern, the range of services offered and the several opportunities to drink an espresso or a cappuccino at the bar. The guide is also full of descriptions of photos of Tuscan specialties, as well as directions and information about vegetarian restaurants in Florence or Kosher restaurants.

Smart Guide Italy: Florence & Tuscany

Smart Guides - Alexei Cohen
Size: 244 KB

A quick Guide, very easy to navigate, providing useful information about cultural and social aspects, for those who visit Florence for the first time. Besides information on Florence monuments and museums, the guide mentions numerous addresses of restaurants and bars where to taste the great dishes of Tuscan cuisine, but also specialties from Maremma and some famous cities of the region, such as Pisa, Siena and the hinterland.

Florence in 1 Day, 2012, Travel Smart and on Budget, visit the most important monuments in as little as 1 day

Goran Rodin
Size: 3275 KB

Visiting Florence in a day is not easy, you need help. And that’s what Goran Rodin’s electronic guide aims to do, providing information and tips to maximize short stays in Florence. In particular, the guide helps tourists in visiting Florence, the most important monuments, the most interesting museums, the most historic and prestigious streets in just six hours. Plus, all the directions for getting around by public transport and getting to/from the airport and railway station towards the historical centre of Florence.

Florence & Tuscany Companion

CCM - Valerie Hayes
Size: 1798 KB

A completely different way to visit Florence. This guide, published by Hayes and Shaw, offers the opportunity to learn about the main historic monuments and churches of Florence through the eyes of famous people who have left their mark in the city. For example, Edward Morgan Forster tells about Santa Croce, Machiavelli explains Florence’s history, Aldous Huxley describes the Palio of 1924, DH Lawrence dwells on Michelangelo's David and poet Byron portrays the beauty of the Tuscan countryside.

Florence, Italy Travel Guide - Art, Culture & Off the beaten track - 3-Day Itinerary

Unanchor.com - Alexandra Korey
Size: 999 KB

A travel guide to visit Florence in three days. A useful tool for planning your trip to Florence and split over three days (and nights) everything there is to see in town. The author, Korey, has an excellent knowledge of the city of Florence and this guide derives from his experience. Besides the main monuments and museums of the city, the guide also describes quite unknown places that a classic tour of Florence could fail to mention. No shortage of information on shopping streets in Florence, and especially where to eat a delicious ice cream.

Vino con Vista Florence and Tuscany

Vino con Vista - EveAnn Lovero
Size: 2556 KB

Here's another monothematic guide, this time dedicated to lovers of good Italian wine. A guide that also mentions all the architectural and cultural beauties of the city, but focusing on food and wine, in Florence and other Tuscan cities and towns such as Pienza, Pisa, San Gimignano, Siena, Val d'Orcia, etc.. Those who enjoy good wine, will appreciate the presence of addresses of wineries and monasteries where you can sample truly unique vintages.

Travel Guides of Florence: iPhone, iPad, iPod Apps

Florence Explorer Screenshot
Florence Explorer

by Tobin Fisher
Price: $3.99
Size: 9.3 MB

App easy to navigate, with information sorted by categories and city districts. In particular, the guide provides information on accommodation and restaurants divided by budget, to facilitate the planning of a customized vacation.

Instant Florence Screenshot
Instant Florence

by Never Odd Or Even LLP
Price: $2.99
Size: 3.9 MB

Designed and published by a tour guides expert, Donald Strachan, Instant Florence app doesn’t mention all the major cultural and artistic attractions of the city, but only the most important ones. On the other hand, it includes some secret places of the city, often neglected by other guides of Florence.

Florence Travel Guide Screenshot
Florence Travel Guide

by Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd
Price: $3.99
Size: 20.9 MB

Even Lonely Planet has developed an App to get around Florence without getting lost and being able to visit all the main places of interest. This App is an electronic version of the paper guide of Florence, but with the added possibility to browse hyperlinks and connect to the Internet to supplement information.

Florence Street Map Offline Screenshot
Florence Street Map Offline

by OnDemandWorld
Price: Free
Size: 26.1 MB

Paper map... In electronic format for iPods, iPhones and iPads. A complete off line travel guide, which allows you to walk through Florence without having to be connected to the telephone network in order to localize the major tourist attractions.

Florence Walking Tours and Map Screenshot
Florence Walking Tours and Map

by GPSmyCity.com
Price: $3.99
Size: 27.4 MB

This App offers the possibility to choose between seven Florence itineraries, each with less than a dozen major sites of cultural and artistic interest. The single routes are very well described in order not to get lost in the beautiful Tuscan city.

Florence in my heart Screenshot
Florence in my heart - audioguide for travellers and tourists

by Fabiensen
Price: $4.99
Size: 117 MB

This App provides twelve different audio tours for as many places of tourist interest, including the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, Piazza della Signoria, etc.. When you arrive at one of the places presented in the guide, simply turn on the audio and follow with your eyes the information you’re listening to.

Uffizi Touch Screenshot
Uffizi Touch

by Centrica
Price: $9.99
Size: 329 MB

An unofficial guide of the Uffizi Gallery, but very well done. Several works of art are presented for each hall, with precise information about the artist and the work itself. The App provides high quality images.