Against blue-tinged Tuscan hills the ornate Medici buildings are bathed in a golden light, the Duomo Cathedral providing an elegant centrepiece. There may be artworks of astounding beauty in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, but there is none more splendid than the city itself. Climb the hill to the Romanesque San Miniato Monte Church for spectacular views. Arrive at sunset, and the atmosphere is enhanced by the melodic chants of Vespers. Back down in the centre, stroll along the Ponte Vecchio. Little shops jut out of the sides of the bridge, populated by jewellers and goldsmiths, as they have been since the middle ages.
The Italian language was born in Florence. Dante created it, drawing inspiration from his native Florentine dialect.
At night, seek out a cosy trattoria, a place with dripping candles and the heavenly aroma of bistecca fiorentina – a succulent steak large enough to share. It is perfectly paired with a bottle of the local Chianti.