After touring Venice, we traveled to the Tuscany Region with the intent to stay in Florence. I think the best lodging locations are close to the city center if you want to be able to really experience the city. Check out San Lorenzo Bed and Breakfast for a convenient city center location. However, if you would rather be located in the countryside, Al Podere Le Cave is a wonderful choice.
The city of Florence was of course the birth place of the renaissance and it and the surrounding area are packed with art, churches, and history from this period. The city center is dominated by the Santa Maria del Fiore and I have to admit it took my breath away. It lived up to all of my expectations. I was also amazed by how much art is packed into Florence. It is really an open air museum. You can see many great works of art just by walking the city.
If you are only in the city a few days, this is what I would suggest. Tour the Santa Maria del Fiore and climb to the top of the Dome. The views of the city and surrounding countryside are amazing. While in this location, take an hour to tour the Museum of the Cathedral to see Michelangelo's "Pieta." If you only have time to visit two major museums, make Galleria dell'Accademia (home to Michelangelo's "David") and The "Uffizi Gallery" home to numerous renaissance masters your top stops. I would suggest purchasing tickets ahead of time so that you can just walk into both museums rather than standing in line. If you like science, the Museo Galileo should also be on your list.
If you are a shopper, Florence is known for its leather. You can purchase a really well made leather coat, satchel, or shoes at the many stores located through out the city. Just make sure that you are buying Florentine leather, not a Chinese knock off.
Dining in Florence varies depending what you are looking for. There are numerous cafes located throughout the city where you can grab a slice pizza or sample some gelato. If you want a sit down dinner, you could pick just about and sidewalk cafe and do well. I had wonderful meals with extremely fresh vegetables, wonderfully seasoned meats, and delicious pasta all paired with a very simple house wine.