Florence, Italy

A city of spectacular art and culture; Florence is without a doubt one of Europe’s most beguiling destinations. Countless art museums and public statuary, Renaissance architecture, and some of the best outdoor shopping in the world, are but three of this amazing locale’s many enticing elements.

Spend an hour or two treasure hunting at the San Lorenzo street market; boasting everything from leather goods to tapestries to jewellery, most of it at very affordable prices. Don’t be afraid to haggle; in fact, that can be part of the fun at this boisterous avenue of stalls and kiosks.

Make a stop at the iconic Duomo; the Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori; an imposing domed temple that is impressive both inside and out. Ascend the cupola for some staggering panoramas of the city, or take in the colourful frescoes on the interior walls, that date back more than 400 years.

Not surprisingly, Florence is host to countless quality Italian restaurants. To experience the very best however, dine at La Giostria. Located on Borgo Pinti; the restaurant has an earthy and romantic setting, and fare that takes a daring angle on Italian classics.

Florence is a trove of incredible museums, but if your time is limited, two of the best are Gallerie degli Uffizi and Galleria dell’Accademia. The former is simply one of the most impressive galleries of art on the planet, showcasing Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, plus creations from Da Vinci and Michelangelo; the latter is best known for Michelangelo’s statue of David (pictured); be ready for a line at the door!

Devote an hour or two to the lively Piazza Della Signoria; a lively L-shaped plaza, home to some superb statues that include the acclaimed Fountain of Neptune. This is a serious hub of street activity, and one of the city’s best places for people-watching and just hanging out.

Enjoy a night out with lively libations, by visiting some of the city’s renowned wine bars. Il Volpe e L’Uva in the Piazza de’ Rossi, is a wine-lover’s paradise, and the Pitti Gola e Cantina, in the Piazza Pitti, is a diminutive delight.

For a regal trip back in time, visit the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi; a gorgeous palace, constructed way back in 1444. As the site restricts the amount of visitors per day, show up early morning, or call ahead, to see this ancient wonder.

Bring a camera, as Florence is an incredibly photogenic locale.