The crib of the renaissance, Florence has more ‘culture’ than you can throw a Vitruvian man at. However, while it is well known as a place to feast on world-class art (and gourmet Tuscan cuisine), it also – too often – takes a back seat to Venice, Rome, Portofino and The Amalfi Coast, when it comes to many tourists’ itineraries.
Some cities never go passé, though, and a stunning photo of Florence’s Duomo – otherwise known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – proves why. In a trending thread in Reddit’s r/travel community, one user posted the following remark, opening up one of the most popular discussions this week.
“Florence, Italy was the first place I ever went abroad, and it inspired a love of travel that has stuck with me ever since. This city was the heart of the Renaissance, and its stunning cathedral took over a century to build. I absolutely recommend everyone visit someday if they can.”
This came alongside a photo, which shows Florence’s Duomo in full bloom.
The comments show the appreciation for the Duomo – which took 140 years to complete and was conceived in 1293 – is a common theme among tourists, with some calling it the most beautiful piece of religious architecture in the world.
“Until I visited Florence, I didn’t know people built things like this. The amount of detail and scale is hard to convey if not in person,” one wrote.
“I swear the Doumo is the most beautiful temple I’ve ever seen… and I’ve seen many, many,” said another.
“Just stunning! I walked by it daily when I was in Florence and impressed me every time.”
The Duomo has over 4 million bricks, weighs over 40,000 tons, is almost the size of half a football field across at the base, and stands over 10 stories high. It is the largest masonry structure in the world and – as Culture Trip points out – “if it’s still a big deal today, imagine what it must have been like to see back then.”
Further top Reddit comments included:
“The first time I saw it, I had just rounded a corner and: boom, it filled my vision. Florence is a magical place. Easily my favorite Italian city.”
“The entire city is artwork.”
“My girlfriend studied abroad there. Her apartment was right across from the duomo and had an amazing view of it. I visited her over spring break. I want to go back.”
“I visited at 16 and decided to become an artist and had dreamed of studying art there the rest of my life! Last summer, I got a grant and studied drawing and painting at the Accademia del Giglio. This city is next level.”
“When I was there, I remember seeing an older couple come around the alleyway corner to finally see the Duomo. They both stopped in their tracks and just hugged each other while gazing at the building. Then they kissed, and cried. One of my most vivid travel memories.”
Other users pointed out the geographical benefits of visiting the city of Florence as a whole: “It’s a great hub city. It’s close to Assisi, Tuscany, and Cortana, and an easy train ride to rome and Venice! Amazing food, friendly people, and gorgeous views.”
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Another wrote: “My wife and I always fantasize [about] which city we’d live in if we won the Jackpot. While we both love Rome, Florence has the ‘hub city’ quality that makes me think it would be great. I believe its only an hour to Venice and an hour and a half to Rome on the high speed train. You can also quickly drive to Tuscany (as you mentioned), Luca, and Cinque Terre. Rome does have the convenience of a large airport.”
“A very good place to visit for couples. Very romantic.”
The Italian Tourism Board has said Italy’s tourism is ready to start again and to welcome tourists – both Italians and foreigners.
“It is now again possible to move freely within the whole country and use any normal service: museums and cultural centers, hotels, bars and restaurants have opened their doors; airports, railway stations and transport services are operational; campsites, mountain huts and beach resorts have made arrangements to safely welcome travelers.”
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According to World Nomads, “All travelers from a foreign location must arrive in Italy with a completed Self-Declaration Form, and you must show this to law enforcement officers if you are asked to do so.”
The travel insurance provider also points out the following:
Travel from European countries
Travel to Italy without quarantine is allowed from EU member states, the Schengen area, UK, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City, unless they have stayed in or transited a country where Italy requires self-isolation in the 14 days prior to arrival.
From 24 July, travelers who have been in or transited Bulgaria or Romania in the previous 14 days must self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival.
From 13 August, travelers who have been in or transited Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain in the 14 days prior to arrival must either:
Show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours OR take a COVID-19 test upon arrival within 48 hours, and quarantine until the results are received.
Travel from outside Europe
From 7 August, entry to Italy is allowed for the following third-country nationals: Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Rwanda, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. These travelers don’t have to justify a specific reason, but there is an obligation of health surveillance and self-isolation.
To travel to Italy from the rest of the world is only allowed for essential reasons, and ‘tourism’ is not an essential reason. Some countries have a total entry ban in place, with the exception of EU citizens, Italian citizens and their family members (who have been resident in Italy since before 9 July, 2020).
Restrictions and entry bans are being updated regularly. For the most up to date information, confirm with your airline or government travel advisory.
It’s also worth noting that just because you are allowed entry into Italy, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can go there. Australia is a good example of this – though the Antipodean nation is on Italy’s ‘allowed’ list there is a travel ban in place in Australia, meaning only those that are granted special exemptions by the Australian government can travel for essential reasons.