It’s a question that undoubtedly divides many Italians and visitors to the region alike – what’s better? Florence or Venice?
Those lucky enough to have visited both cities know that it’s a difficult question to answer, as they each have a lot to love, yet we are talking about vastly different and unique cities.
First things first – Florence and Venice share enticing similarities.
And yes, these similarities feature as a main draw card to Italy in general – we’re talking unbelievably delicious and authentic dining, made by chefs creating family recipes that haven’t changed for generations, intricate and historical architecture, friendly locals, great nightlife, stunning wine regions and incredible history and culture.
Yet, to work out which is ‘better’, we need to draw some comparisons, and shine a light on what each city can offer individually.
So, what’s so special about Florence?
Florence has certainly cemented its place as a city worth visiting, and you don’t often run into people with anything bad to say about it. Known for the art galleries and playing a significant part in Renaissance history, Florence is home to the famous Duomo Cathedral, Uffizi Gallery and Michaelangelo’s ‘David’ marble statue – found inside the Galleria dell’Accademia.
Florence day tours are a great option to have you seeing and learning about it all, skipping lines, and enjoying a delicious Tuscan lunch.
High end shopping galleries, a bustling central market which is home to some of the best food you will eat in Italy, the world-famous panini shop All’Antico Vinaio, and the Ponte Vecchio above the Arno River are all sights to pop on your Florence list. Everything is easily accessible by foot, so wear your comfortable walking shoes and get ready to hit a high step count. Fortunately, you are in the right place to be able to reward yourself and all your steps with a pizza and a gelato… or 2.
Location, location, location.
We cannot talk about Florence and not mention the proximity to smaller, picture-perfect Italian towns. Travellers (rightfully) choose Florence as a base, as the location means you can venture off on day trips all throughout the Tuscan region. Starting in Florence, separate tours could see you spending the day in Cinque Terre, Pisa, Siena or in the Chianti wine region.
Take a look here for all the tours on offer in and around Florence through Sightseeing Tours Italy.
How does Venice compare?
When you think of Venice, chances are you are thinking of sprawling canals, gondola rides, and lots of bridges. This is a fairly accurate visualisation. The infrastructure of Venice is a sight to be seen, and when you realise this floating city has been built entirely on small islands and there are no roads – only the aforementioned canals – it really is mind blowing. The Grand Canal is beautiful, and the Bridge of Sighs and St. Marks Basilica are famous sights for a reason.
It goes without saying that you cannot go to Venice without hopping in a gondola. You can have a gondola to yourself, (you can book a private ride here) or share with a couple of others to save money. If you get lucky, you may even have a gondolier who will sing as they guide you through the canals.
No really, get lost! One of the next best things to do in Venice is wander through the city, getting lost in the streets and stumble into a small restaurant. You’ll no doubt get to enjoy a delicious meal and chat with locals over a glass of wine. If you want to know more about the city and it’s history and formation, walking tours are a popular choice, as the guides are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the city, and you don’t miss any of the good stuff.
Smaller islands Murano, Burano and Torcello are also great to visit and only about 30 minutes from Venice. These towns are vibrant and colourful, and Murano is home to the famous glass-making practice.
Deciding whether Florence or Venice is ‘better’ than the other may be entirely subjective, but it is a fair conclusion that one, if not both cities, are deserving of a visit during your next Italian getaway.