Tickets sell out fast for Calcio Storico matches and may be difficult to obtain but the pageantry of the pre-game parades and fireworks makes it worth visiting Florence for the annual tradition.
Sample the famous steak
The winning Calcio Storio team is awarded a prized Chianina cow. You can try the famous tender cuts of beef from the Chianina—known as bistecca alla fiorentina—grilled at Florence's traditional trattorias.
Quieter side of Santa Croce
Once the mobs leave, spend time exploring the piazza, which is a grand civic space often used for concerts and nationally-televised events, and the basilica, the largest Franciscan church in the world. Inside are the tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli, among other notable Tuscans, and chapels filled with Giotto fescoes.
Santa Maria Novella
is just a few minutes from the city's historic core, local buses connect the airport and city center. The international airport at Pisa is about an hour's train ride away. Most visitors arrive by train at Florence's station, just a few minutes' walk from the heart of city. In recent years, Italian high-speed rail has shortened Rome-Florence trips to just one and a half hours. Florence is a flat and easily walkable city, but summer heat and humidity can be intense. A variety of accommodations, from basic but homey pensiones to luxury, five-star hotels in restored Renaissance palazzos are scattered throughout the city's historic center.