What to see in Florence: city guide

Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is one of the main cities of art in the world, adorned with statues, sculptures, historic churches and palaces. But what to see in Florence?

The city looks like an open-air museum. In every corner you can see masterpieces of art, churches and buildings in white marble, squares full of sculptures and monuments, splendid bridges over the Arno river ...

Florence is one of the most aesthetically pleasing cities in Europe and tourists choose it as a destination for their travels not only for its remarkable architectural and artistic heritage, but also for its unbeatable romantic charm.

We have made a list of the essential places to see in Florence.

What to see in Florence

Il Duomo

Duomo di Firenze - Image from Pixabay

The most popular place to visit in Florence is certainly the Duomo, or the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Construction on this huge Gothic cathedral, which can seat up to 20.000 people, began in 1296. The exterior, in green, pink and white marble, features beautiful elaborate doors and interesting statues.

The Cathedral is surmounted by the largest dome brick ever built, with a diameter of 45 meters, designed by Brunelleschi. Next to the Cathedral you can admire its high bell tower, known as the Giotto's Campanile.

Admission to the cathedral is free but to climb to the top of the dome, which offers a magnificent view of the city, you need to purchase a ticket which costs 10 €. This ticket also allows you to climb the Giotto's bell tower, to enter the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Crypt of Santa Reparata.

Buy your ticket here

Piazza della Signoria

The monumental Piazza Della Signoria, the most famous square in Florence, looks like an open-air museum. The square has a medieval character, while the buildings that surround it are from different eras. The two main buildings are the Palazzo Pinocchio, with its imposing Sala del Cinquecento, and the beautiful one Lanzi Loggia.

The Loggia houses a series of statues, such as the famous Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini and the Rape of the Sabines by Giambologna.

Il Palazzo Vecchio, built between the end of the XNUMXth and the beginning of the XNUMXth century, it serves as a town hall and includes the office of the mayor of Florence and the city council, but most of the building is a museum that can be visited. Inside the palace there are richly decorated public rooms and private apartments.

Giotto's Campanile

The Campanile tower is located in Piazza del Duomo. The first floor was designed by Giotto, hence its name. Beautifully decorated, the tower is 85 meters high. To climb its 414 steps and enjoy a breathtaking view of the entire city of Florence, you need to buy a ticket.

Old Bridge

Ponte Vecchio, Florence - Tuscany -

On the Arno river stands one of the most beautiful medieval bridges in the world, the Ponte Vecchio. Its hanging houses on the sides, which today have become jewelers and other luxury shops, are part of its charm. This was one of the few bridges that were not destroyed during World War II.

The Ponte Vecchio is crossed by the famous Vasari corridor, a passage used by the Medici to pass from Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti, without going out into the street. The Vasari Corridor is closed at this time. Its definitive opening to the public is expected in 2020.

Uffizi Gallery

What to see in Florence - Uffizi Gallery - Photo from Pixabay

The Uffizi Gallery contains one of the most important art collections in the world. Initially built as a palace for the Medici, it has become a museum with great works of art by Italian artists. Here you can admire works by famous artists such as Michelangelo, Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino and Raphael. The building itself is impressive.

The Uffizi Gallery is the most visited museum in Italy and that is why it needs to be buy the ticket in advance to avoid long queues.

The Galleria dell'Accademia

The Accademia Gallery has important paintings and sculptures from the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries. Do not miss Michelangelo's David, probably the most famous sculpture in the world, together with other masterpieces by the same author such as "San Matteo" and "The prisoners".

The museum also houses an interesting collection of musical instruments, begun by the Medici family. Queues are also long in this museum and it is advisable to book one in advance skip-the-line ticket.

Basilica of the Holy Cross

Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence - Image from Pixabay

The Basilica of Santa Croce is the largest Franciscan church in Italy and one of the most important churches in Florence. Its construction began in 1294 and was completed in 1385.

Inside it houses the tombs of some important Florentines including michelangelo e Rossini, but also those of Machiavelli e Galileo. There is also a memorial to Dante Alighieri, but his sarcophagus is empty, Dante was buried in Ravenna.

The vast interior contains stained glass windows and exceptional frescoes. One of Brunelleschi's most important works, the Pazzi Chapel, is located here in Santa Croce.

Baptistery of San Giovanni

The XNUMXth century Baptistery of San Giovanni Battista is one of the oldest buildings in Florence and one of its most visited monuments. The exterior is in green and white marble while inside there are beautiful mosaics.

But what is most striking is the Door of Paradise by Ghiberti, which depicts scenes from the Old Testament in 10 bronze panels (they are actually reproductions, the originals are in the Duomo Museum).

Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the most famous places from which to enjoy a panoramic view of the whole city. It is located in the Oltrarno district (left bank of the Arno) and has been reproduced on postcards and photos over the years. To get there, you have to go through the streets of San Niccolò.

Palazzo del Bargello (and its museum)

This museum is housed in an old prison. It is possible to admire important works such as Michelangelo's Bacchus and Donatello's David. Despite the Bargello collection both world-class, the museum tends to be overlooked by most tourists, making it an excellent choice for those who don't like being in a crowd.

Palazzo Pitti

within the Palazzo Pitti there are other extraordinary works. This Renaissance palace is the largest museum complex in the city, with hundreds of Renaissance paintings displayed in sumptuous rooms.

Former residence of the grand dukes of Tuscany and kings of Italy, it includes galleries and museums, magnificent collections of paintings and sculptures, art and porcelain objects. Behind the Pitti Palace are the Boboli Gardens, gardens that with an area of ​​45.000 square meters represent the largest green area in Florence.

The Medici chapels

As mentioned above, the Church of Santa Croce houses several tombs of famous artists who were born or worked in Florence. One family whose tombs must be visited is that of the Medici. Adjacent to the Basilica of San Lorenzo, three chapels they house the family tombs: the New Sacristy, the Princes' Chapel and the Treasury Chapel.

After visiting the chapels you shouldn't miss the Laurentian Library with its large and beautiful staircase designed by Michelangelo.

Brancacci Chapel

Another important work of art is the Brancacci Chapel, inside the church of Santa Maria del Carmine. Its frescoes have led it to be called the "Sistine Chapel of the Early Renaissance".

Other attractions to see in Florence:

Leonardo da Vinci Museum
Museo galileo
Basilica of Santa Trinita
Palazzo Strozzi
The Medici-Riccardi Palace
Badia Fiorentina
The Basilica of the Holy Apostles
Hospital of the Innocents

Where to sleep in Florence

For a first weekend in Florence, we recommend choosing a hotel located in the historic center. This is the best area to visit the city entirely on foot. It would be a shame to choose a hotel outside the city and have to take a bus to / from the hotel every time.

As in other important Italian tourist cities, even in the city of Florence hotel prices and rates are not cheap so it is better to book immediately, as soon as you decide the dates for the trip, to be able to find a well-located hotel and not too much. costly.

Find a hotel in Florence

What to visit around Florence

Tuscany is full of beautiful small villages and wonderful landscapes, so, if you have the opportunity, try to dedicate 2 or 3 days to discovering these villages: San Gimignano, Sorano, Pienza, Pitigliano or Ghizzano. But also Chianti, Prato, Fiesole, Lucca, Pisa, ...

How to get to Florence

Getting to Florence is very simple, as it is very well connected with the main means of transport.

If you want to get to the city, you can use theAmerigo Vespucci International Airport from Florence. The Tuscan city is not served by low-cost airlines. The latter have decided to serve the Pisa airport, which is nearby.

You can reach Florence by high-speed trains from Rome, Venezia, Naples, Milan and other important Italian cities. They can also use the regional trains to visit other Tuscan cities such as Pisa, Siena, Lucca, among others.

Florence, Tuscany -

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