Florence is the city of the Renaissance in Italy, it is full of great jewels in sculpture, architecture and painting, made by great masters such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, among many others. It is a large open-air museum, but in addition to visiting palaces, squares and churches, it also has a delicious gastronomy with elaborate dishes such as paninis, pappardelle al sugo di lepre or charcuterie and cheese boards, which we are sure you will love!
We will give you a list of the best places to visit in Florence, so you don’t miss the most interesting things in the capital of Tuscany.
In the heart of the historic center is the Piazza del Duomo, where you can find the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Outside you can enjoy its impressive white and green marble facade full of details, as well as Brunelleschi’s famous dome built in 1420, which is considered a masterpiece in the history of architecture.
Inside is the tomb of Filippo Brunelleschi, you will be surprised by the scenes painted on the dome of the final judgment and you can see them more closely if you climb the 463 steps that take you to the top of the dome, where you can also enjoy a excellent panoramic view of the city.
Giotto’s Campanile was built by Giotto and Talenti between the years 1334 and 1359. The exterior of the tower stands out for its Gothic style of green, white and pink marble. But it also has wonderful bas-reliefs and niches that house preserved statues. It’s also worth climbing to the top for a fantastic panoramic view of Brunelleschi’s dome and the old town.
Baptistery of San Giovanni¶
The other treasure found in the Duomo square is the Battistero di San Giovanni, covered in green and white marble, where its three bronze doors stand out with immense artistic value, especially the Gate of Paradise that was made during 26 years by Lorenzo Ghiberti, made up of 10 panels with reliefs from the Old Testament, although you can only see a copy there, since the originals are kept in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (to keep them in optimal conditions).
The Mercato Nuovo is an old market built at the end of the 16th century and is currently dedicated to the sale of leather goods, souvenirs and flowers, among other things. Among the curiosities you will see a boar sculpture made of bronze, where the tradition says that if you rub its nose it will bring you luck and the Stone of Scandal, which is a marble circle where defaulters were punished in the Middle Ages, also at an architectural level it is very interesting. But if you want to buy quality Italian products, the recommendation is to go to the Central Market.
Della Signoria Square¶
Della Signoria Square is a vast open-air museum, where in medieval times it was the center of political and civil life in Florence. Surrounded by houses from the 13th century, it has several points of interest, starting with the Logia dei Langi, which has statues such as the Rapture of the Sabine Women or Perseus with the head of Medusa. Next to it you will find the impressive Fountain of Neptune, as well as the statue of Hercules and Cacus, as well as a copy of Michelangelo’s David, because the original is in the Accademia Gallery.
The Palazzo Vecchio is also located in Piazza della Signoria and was the residence of the Medici family. On the outside it stands out for its 94 m tower and its robustness, giving it the appearance of a castle, however, the real gems are found inside in the Sala del Cinquecento, where you can see beautiful frescoes by Giorgio Vasari that decorate its ceilings and walls, in addition to the sculpture of Michelangelo the Genius of Victory.
Church of Santa Croce¶
The beautiful Piazza Santa Croce is surrounded by grand palaces and the Church of Santa Croce. This temple is also called the Pantheon of Italian Glories, because it houses the tombs of such illustrious figures as Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Machiavelli, an empty tomb in honor of Dante Alighieri and a statue of the latter artist.
The Uffizi Gallery has one of the most important pictorial collections in the world. The palace that houses the gallery was the residence built by the Medici to move from the Palazzo Veccio, and is currently, together with the Vatican Museums, the busiest in Italy. This is because it contains works such as The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, Bacchus by Caravaggio, The Annunciation by Leonardo Da Vinci, The Holy Family by Michelangelo, the Virgin of the Goldfinch by Raphael and the Venus of Urbino by Titian, among others many others.
Ponte Vecchio is one of the most beautiful medieval bridges in the world and is considered to be the oldest in Europe. It is a stone bridge that has hanging houses and well-kept jewelry stores on both sides, with excellent views of the river from its central area and through it the famous Vasarian corridor crosses, which was a passageway used by the Medicis to move without having to go out into the street, from the Palazzo Vecchio to the Pitti Palace.
Crossing the bridge you will find the Oltrarno neighborhood which is characterized by its narrow streets, its low-rise houses, imposing 16th century palaces such as the Bianca Cappello Palace and most of which are located on Maggio street. Other interesting places in the area are the Basilica of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito, which was Brunelleschi’s last masterpiece, the former Cenacle of the Convent and in particular the Brancacci Chapel, also known for the quality of its frescoes the Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance.
The Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens¶
The Pitti Palace is a large building that houses important collections of paintings, sculptures and other valuables, especially within the Palatine Gallery that is located inside. After visiting the palace, we recommend you take a walk through the gardens and observe its highlights such as the Grotto di Buontalenti, the Grotta Grande, the Kaffeehaus, the Garden of the Knights and the Viottolone, which is full of cypresses and statues that will take you up to the Isolotto.
In this square, in addition to having the best views of Florence, you will find copies of Michelangelo’s David and four of his statues that are in the Medici Chapel. The square was built to honor the great artist Miguel Angel.
Church of Santa Maria Novella¶
This temple impresses with its green and white marble façade, the Green Cloister, the Santa María Novella Pharmacy considered the oldest in Europe, founded by Dominican friars in 1221 and inside it has great works such as the Crucifix by Brunelleschi, the frescoes of the Trinity and the Nativity of Mary.
The Gallery of the Academy houses the original work of David by Michelangelo and other unfinished works by the artist such as the 4 prisoners.
In the Medici Chapel are the tombs of the most powerful family in Florence for many years. A large part of the members rest in the Chapel of the Princes built with marble and semi-precious stone. On the other hand, the New Sacristy was designed by Miguel Angel but he was unable to complete it, even so it is worth seeing different sculptures made by this great master.
Florence is a beautiful city and full of masterpieces!