Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the Metropolitan City of Florence. The cradle of Renaissance, it was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time. The Historic Centre of Florence attracts 13 million tourists each year, and Euromonitor International ranked the city as the world's 89th most visited in 2012, with 1.8 million visitors. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.
The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics. Due to Florence's artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Florence's museums, palaces, and churches house some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world. The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are veritable art galleries, and the library of San Lorenzo is a magnificent exhibition of Michelangelo's architectural genius. Wander some of the oldest streets in the city until you reach the Arno River, cross the Ponte Vecchio, and experience the "newest" area of Florence, the Oltrarno. When you grow weary of museums and monuments, head outdoors. Spend a day at the Boboli Gardens or climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte to experience an enchanting view of Florence.
Florence's Amerigo Vespucci international airport, known to locals as "Peretola" has good connections to the center of the city, which can be reached in about fifteen minutes by taxi or bus. The Ataf-Sita "Vola in Bus” one way, and makes the circuit between the airport and the central train station every half an hour from 5:30AM to 8PM, then once an hour afterwards. There is a taxis from the airport to any place in the historic center of Florence. They will charge extra for each piece of luggage handled by the driver.
Much cheaper flights to destinations throughout Europe can be found at Pisa airport. Low-cost airlines which fly to Pisa include Thomsonfly, Easyjet, Ryanair, Transavia, Wizzair and HLX. Pisa airport and Florence are connected by rail and by bus. Both leave from and arrive at the main entrance to the airport. The bus station in Florence is immediately across the street from the main railroad station, "Firenze SMN".