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The Uffizi Gallery is one of the world's greatest, most treasured cultural institutions. Their extensive collection includes works by the likes of Caravaggio, Titian, Rembrandt, da Vinci, Raphael, and Velázquez, all displayed in the former palace's two elongated wings. The surrounding area is pretty impressive too; this is still very much the historic center of Florence, only this time a little further south of the Duomo and closer to the banks of the River Arno. Didn't fancy queuing up for hours to see Michaelangelo's David in San Marco? Well, walk through the courtyard to the other side of the Uffizi and you'll see a replica on Piazza della Signoria, just in front of Palazzo Vecchio. This was actually where the original sculpture stood until it was moved indoors in 1873. Nobody at home will know the difference when you show them your photos. The covered Ponte Vecchio and its assortment of jewelry and souvenir shops are also on your doorstep. Snap a photo of this and then stroll across to explore the characterful and much less crowded Oltrarno neighborhood, while you can reach Santa Croce by enjoying a pleasant walk along the Arno.

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Stories about Florence

Peek over the walls and you'll see the real Florence

Peek over the walls and you'll see the real Florence

“Rome is a whore,” says Giambaccio, a ploud Florence native. It has just gone midnight, and we have wandered through the moonstruck streets around Florence’s Piazza San Spirito for hours before winding up here: in a haphazardly cluttered art studio Giambaccio has modeled on a ship’s deck. “She opens her legs for everybody. But Florence...” He mimes chastity – the shutting of two knees – with his fingers. “We are a walled city. We are closed.”