Often called the "Cradle of the Renaissance," Florence is steeped in art and architecture, where visitors can see first-hand the work of Michelangelo, tour eons-old churches and mansions, and people-watch from a cafe. Due to its small and manageable size, there's no need for a car. From your Florence hotel, you can walk or take an electric bus to virtually everything. Book a room near Via Nazionale or Faenza, and be sure to grab a city map from your hotel which will direct you to such attractions as the Uffizi, where the works of Giotto, da Vinci, and Raphael, among others, are one display. Then, pay a call at the Pitti Palace on the south side of the city, where five galleries of portraiture, silver, and modern art span the width and breadth of the city's artistic heritage.
Cheap hotels in Florence can be found around Giardino della Fortezza in the southeast section of the city. Wander southwest along some of the oldest streets in the city until you reach the Arno River and cross the Ponte Vecchio—the "Old Bridge"—which has a host of shops built around its edges. Come mealtime, put together a picnic and find a sunny spot in Giardino della Boboli just behind the Pitti Palace. And don't leave Florence without seeing the Galleria dell' Accademia near Campo della Carita, famous for its Michelangelo collection, including the David statue. When night falls, venture out from your hotel in Florence to the church of San Miniato al Monte, where some of the most enchanting views of Florence can be found.
Under the Tuscan Sun
For those visitors who want a taste of both the city and the country, cheap Florence hotels, inns, and farmhouses in the surrounding hills at the outskirts of the city round out the perfect Italian getaway. After you've had your fill of Renaissance galleries and medieval churches, explore Chianti Hills and the charming hamlets and towns of Montefioralle, Volpaia, Panzano, Radda, and Castellina, each of which have their own distinctive character. The multitude of wineries in the area offer free tastings, and be sure also to pick up some locally produced olive oil during your tour. Those feeling particularly adventurous should rent a bike in the town of Greve and pedal through the sun-dappled hills and valleys of the beautiful Tuscan countryside.