When staying in Florence then choose the historic center. Florence is such a walkable city and you should enjoy the ambience of this lovely city.
There's only one Florence. You can visit a shopping mall anywhere else in the world and get better prices(like the States).
Florence city center is fun, lively,small & easy place to get around. There is so much to see & do and its all walkable. I second staying in the historic center areas. The shopping is great. There are many boutiques, brand name stores & the Porcellino Market is the best & my favorite place to shop! I have found things there and some stands around there that I have not seen anywhere else. Enjoy
Very busy and far to many tourists for my liking.
I do Firenze from Lucca and enjoy the best of 2 worlds.
A bit of a curved ball but thought it was .......just my bobs worth
The historic center is indeed the place to be. Keep in mind, though, that within the center there are many neighborhoods, each with its own character. If you're looking for young and lively, check out Sant'Ambrogio and Santo Spirito. Fashionably "establishment", Via Tornabuoni and Piazza Ognissanti. On the fringe of the center are the "grande dames" of the hotels, the Four Seasons and Villa Cora. One thing's for sure - Florence is Florence, unlike anywhere else, so don't expect Sant'Ambrogio to be Roppongi or Via Tornabuoni to be Fifth Avenue!
As for outlets, I've not been to the ones in Milano but suspect they're not much different from the ones near Florence. Though I don't discourage anyone from going to them (I've scored many a bargain at Barberino), I would advise you not to give up precious Florence time for them if you're only going to be here a short while.
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