Arriving in the beautiful Italian city of Florence we were surprised to find it a lot smaller than we expected and the nearest airport a train ride away in Pisa. While we did pay a short visit to the leaning tower, the main attraction was the quaint little Tuscan city that entranced us with its cultural history.

Affectionately known to the locals as “the cradle of Italian Renaissance”, Florence boasts museums, monuments and galleries that showcase an array of Italian art and culture. Naturally, we were not able to visit all of them, but we sped around as many as we could within our limited time in the city. The Uffizi Gallery features a huge collection of works by artisans including Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Filippo Lippi and Caravaggio. We also visited the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens, the 16th century residence of the Medici family that was turned into a museum.

Santa Croce is another church in Florence which houses tombs and cenotaphs belonging to esteemed Florentines. Here we were able to pay homage to the likes of Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini and Machiavelli.

There are many spots with breathtaking views of the city, although the best ones require some climbing to get to. Hiking up the Duomo, one of the largest cathedral churches in Italy, allowed us to admire the overhead fresco and sceneries that one might see in Assassin’s Creed. Likewise, Piazza Michelangelo grants postcard-perfect panoramas of Florence. The sunsets are especially stunning and the locals normally sit outside until the evening dissolves into night and the street lamps start twinkling on the streets.

Charmingly enough, it is not simply the landmarks that emanate artistic air but also the unusual shops along the way, the graffiti and even the adorable street signs. One such gem we came across was a paper shop that looked like any other regular art shop until the storekeeper demonstrated the techniques of making marbled paper and explained how the designs were inspired by the city’s romantic atmosphere.

Spending a week in the Tuscan metropolis gave us enough time to familiarize ourselves with the area. We got to experience Florence at a relaxed pace, immersing in all that the city has to offer.