just so stuffed full of culture that it could actually burst. The
major Renaissance cities do unfortunately suffer as a result and Florence
is becoming something of a nightmare with queues to rival those of
Versailles or Granada. Despite that, it is such an impressive city that you
really have to go; I spent a month there and determined to see at least
one major sight every morning and another every afternoon. Still I
failed to see all I planned! Top of the list if you have limited
time would be the Cathedral, Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi (the queue is horrendous and even
if you arrive before it opens you will have to wait at least a couple of
hours) and the Pitti Palace with its impressive, if rather austere,
gardens. Also probably worth walking up to the Piazzale Michelangelo
to get a panoramic view of the city.
out of the cities though, it is still possible to find quiet little towns
also containing the odd masterpiece, but not on the primary American
tourist route so much less stressful and definitely worth a visit.
The food and wine are right up there with
the best of France or Spain and, like those countries, they have managed
to retain local food without becoming too precious about it. So,
genuine local produce and decent wine, pizzas that actually taste of
something, and a general absence of restaurant chains; at least that was
when I was last there..