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Any travel plan to Italy would be incomplete without a stopover in the sun-drenched region of Tuscany. Red-roofed villas dapple the rolling hills, where blankets of vineyards and olive groves unfurl toward the Mediterranean. In the city of Florence, this romantic vision was carved into marble and splattered onto easels when the Renaissance sprang forth. Today, Florence is a manageable, not-too-urban city that offers travelers a concentrated dose of incredible art, stunning architecture, wonderful food, and laid-back Tuscan living.
Florence’s abundance of history and culture has a universal draw, so it’s not surprising that travelers flock there year round. That appeal is enhanced by the city’s walkability—all of the main sights, from the Accademia (home of Michelangelo’s David) to the impressively domed Duomo, are located within a compact city center. Bridges arch gracefully over the River Arno and provide picture-perfect views for romance-seekers. Sprinkled among the landmarks is a wealth of restaurants that serve up hearty meat dishes with delectable glasses of Chianti.