If you haven’t been to the Tuscan capital lately, we have news: You no longer risk death by high-speed Fiat when you troll to the Duomo. In fact, pedestrian-friendly plazas, the brainchild of Mayor Matteo Renzi, are only one recent upgrade. You might even call this a neo-Renaissance for visitors.
Things to See in Florence, Italy: LA BELLA VISTA
Looking for a room with a view? The Westin Excelsior’s new sixth-floor SE•STO on Arno restaurant and bar is about as high-rise as it gets in the historic centro. The good news is you don’t actually have to stay at the hotel to enjoy the rooftop terrace. We suggest ordering some salt cod tripe pici pasta to keep your wine company.
Things to See in Florence, Italy: WHERE’S THE BEEF?
The same Chianina cattle that have made bistecca alla Fiorentina a local menu fixture are now on the casual end of the dining spectrum. In the trendy Oltrarno district, Lungarno 23 specializes in all things Chianina, including burgers, melt-in-your-mouth carpaccio, and tangy steak tartare.
Things to See in Florence, Italy: MUSEUM MAKEOVER
The throngs of patrons have long been a problem at the Uffizi Gallery, home to Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. But traffic is lighter now, thanks to a recent expansion: eight new galleries dedicated to foreign artists (like Velázquez and Rembrandt), and nine others showcasing Greek marble sculptures and 16th-century Florentine painters.
Things to See in Florence, Italy: FASHION FIXTURE
Opened last fall in the Piazza della Signoria, the Gucci Museum showcases the Florentine house’s contributions to design, from bicycles to Oscar evening gowns. Order an espresso at the café-cum-library, or refill your water bottle for free at the new Publiacqua fountain, dispensing still or sparkling H2O at the Palazzo Vecchio.
Things to See in Florence, Italy: DOOR RESTORE
Designed for the Baptistery in the Piazza del Duomo, Lorenzo Ghiberti’s 15th-century bronze relief doors have a new home. After a 27-year restoration, the “Gates of Paradise” are now safe from the effects of pollution and weather in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. So what’s in their place at the Baptistery? Exact replicas.