The beauties of Florence

The beauties of Florence

One of the oldest churches in the city, founded in the 4th century. Here you can see the tombs of the Medici clan in all the pompous splendor of the marble statues. Note the magnificent pulpits by Donatello.

Basilica of Santa Croce

The Basilica of Santa Croce is primarily famous for the “Pantheon of Florence” – the graves of the city’s famous residents, for whom Florence has been unusually generous. Galileo, Dante, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Rossini and many others rest here.

San Giovanni Baptistery

The Baptistery of San Giovanni is the oldest building in Florence’s historic center, dating back to the 5th century. Its modern form, an octagonal building of white and green marble, dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries; it is older than even the famous Duomo.

Academy Gallery in Florence

The Academy of Fine Arts in Florence is one of the most popular and well-known museums not only in the capital of Tuscany, but also in all of Italy, if not Europe. Its collection boasts a very respectable age – the date of the founding of the Academy of Fine Arts dates back to the middle of the 16th century, namely 1561.

Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most popular tourist destinations and there are often long lines at the entrance, but it’s worth the wait to see the unique architecture of the museum and more importantly, the unique works by the world’s greatest artists.

Giotto’s bell tower

In Duomo Square, 30 meters from the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Giotto Bell Tower is probably the best attraction of the city, compared to the Cathedral itself. There are several explanations for this: firstly, its sparkling mosaic patterns can be seen from almost every corner of the city.

Palazzo Vecchio

In addition to housing numerous masterpieces of painting and sculpture, the Palazzo Vecchio is an architectural gem in its own right, complete with rich interiors. Here you can also see a copy of Michelangelo’s famous “David” Michelangelo.

Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti is the largest palace and one of the largest museum complexes in Florence. To enter the Medici treasury, the costume and porcelain museums, and the Boboli Gardens, a separate ticket is required.

Palazzo Strozzi

Florence is a true gem of the Italian Renaissance, as it concentrates literally everything that the era is famous for. One of the main features of the city, creating its peculiar – luxurious, opulent and at the same time strict “Florentine” style

Piazza della Signoria

Situated in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, it’s the focal point for a mass of interesting sculptures, from Michelangelo’s David Michelangelo to Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes and Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa.

Ponte Vecchio

The oldest bridge in Florence and one of the most popular “postcard” views of the city. Along the bridge are numerous jewelry stores dating back to the time of the Medici.

Boboli Gardens

The Boboli Gardens, near the Palazzo Pitti, residence of the Medici dukes, are a museum of garden sculpture. At one time they served as a model for all European royal parks, including Versailles.

Santa Maria del Fiore

One of the oldest and most recognizable buildings in Florence is the Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. This jewel of world architecture has been striking for seven centuries with its elegance and grandeur and is a true jewel of the city.

Santa Maria Novella

The Church of Santa Maria Novella is known for its light openwork facade, reminiscent of an inlaid casket. The interior is full of works of art: Greek frescoes and marble tombstones.

Church of Orsanmikele

The church of Orsanmikele was built in the 14th century and was used not only as a temple, but also as a mountain granary. The name of the church comes from the name of the convent that was located on the site and was called “San Michele in the Garden”.

Laurentian Library

The ancient Florentine Laurentian Library houses a collection of books and manuscripts from several generations of the Medici. Its history is closely tied to the twists and turns of the fate of the famous dynasty: founded as the home library of Cosimo de’ Medici in 1444, it was given to the Convent of San Marco.

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The Davanzati Palace

The Davanzati Palace is called by many the cherry on the cake of Florence and is definitely worth a visit to experience the spirit of the true Italian Middle Ages. The house dates back to the 14th century, the Davanzati family acquired it in the 16th century and owned it for 300 years.

The House of Giorgio Vasari

The house of Giorgio Vasari in Florence is one of the two iconic residences in the life of the great painter and art historian of the Italian Renaissance. In the house in Arezzo Vasari was born and spent his youth, in Florence – met the end of life and died June 27, 1574.

The House Museum of Dante Alighieri

One of the most beloved landmarks of Florence by fans of literature, the House Museum of Dante Alighieri is actually somewhat indirectly related to the great Renaissance poet. The building was only built in 1910 on the foundations of Dante’s House, so don’t get too excited about the “original” setting

Hall of Fame of Italian soccer

The main male attraction in Florence, the Italian Football Hall of Fame is located in the Football Museum in the contemporary Florence district of Coverciano. Although the Hall of Fame did not open long ago – in 2011 – it boasts a remarkable number of visitors.

Sunny Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is famous for being the place where Europe stepped into the Renaissance. It is said not in vain that you cannot set foot here without visiting a museum: the number of attractions in this European city is incredibly large, and it absolutely makes your head spin. If you’ve seen Florence on postcards or on book covers, the first thing you’re likely to think of is Ponte Vecchio, the bridge over the Arno River.

Ponte Vecchio was first built back in the days of ancient Rome: then it was a wooden bridge, it collapsed and washed away by floods, rebuilt again and again, but to this day it has retained its original appearance. And when you stand over the river and look at it, it feels like time is flowing through you.

As you ascend the spacious, elevated Piazza Michelangelo, you are sure to feel your heart stop pounding for a moment. Below, right before your eyes, Florence spreads out in all its beauty, its grandeur, its uniqueness. One of the most beautiful in Italy, the Piazza della Signoria is another of Florence’s famous sites, a place of striking harmony and the accumulation of works of art. It is here that the Palazzo Vecchio and the “Fountain of Neptune” with its marble god of water are located. Most of the masterpiece sculptures that adorn Piazza della Signoria are copies, but that in no way diminishes their mesmerizing beauty.

Climbing up to the spacious, elevated Piazza Michelangelo, you’re sure to feel your heart stop pounding for a moment.

Adjacent to the Medici residence are the world-famous Boboli Gardens, a stunningly beautiful park with terraces, elegant fountains and romantic pavilions, whose paths are lined with sculptures that recall the antiquity to the 17th century. From here you can also admire Florence, an ancient and beautiful city that you want to return to again and again.

The dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (otherwise known as the Duomo) can be seen from almost anywhere in the city: walking along the street and suddenly from the gap between the houses appears this majestic and stunning vault of one of the largest basilicas in the world. The cathedral is interesting also for its interiors: its walls and dome on the inside are painted with magnificent artistic scenes by great masters. Now there’s a museum in the cathedral, where you can see such paintings as Michelangelo’s The Mourning of Christ and Donatello’s Mary Magdalene. If you have the energy to climb up to the observation deck, you’ll get a breathtaking view of Florence.

The Basilica of San Lorenzo, one of the oldest churches in Florence, contains the tombs of the Medici clan. The Basilica of Santa Croce, with its incredible frescoes by Giotto and colorful stained-glass windows, is known for the “Pantheon of Florence,” where the tombs of such great men as Galileo, Dante and Michelangelo are located. Among the dozens of churches and cathedrals in Florence, there is even the Russian Orthodox Church of the Nativity and Nicholas the Wonderworker.

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Uffizi Gallery is considered one of the most magnificent museums not only in Italy but also in the world. The gallery exhibits unsurpassed works of such world masters as Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Masaccio, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Piero da Francesca, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens, Dürer, Goya, Rembrandt and many others. In the Palazzo Pitti there is a whole complex of museums. Among them are the Gallery Palantine, with priceless works by Titian, Raphael, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Botticelli, Velázquez, Van Dyck and Rubens; the Medici Treasury, the Gallery of Modern Art, silver, costume, porcelain and carriage museums. The Galleria dell’Accademia surpasses all museums in attendance: Michelangelo’s David and many paintings and sculptures by internationally renowned masters.

The most complete collection of paintings by Beato Angelico is preserved in the Convent of San Marco, where the artist once lived. The milestones in the history of Italian sculpture, from the Middle Ages onwards, can be traced in the Museo Nazionale di Bargello.

One can list for a long time the museums of Florence, among which are the Michelangelo Museum, the museum of the famous couturier Fondazione Roberto Capucci, the Museum of History of Science, where Galileo’s telescopes are kept, the Saint Mark Museum, the Museum of History of Photography, the Botanical Museum, and many other great museums that are worth visiting.

Attractions in Florence

Attractions in Florence

Florence is incomparable in the matter of beautiful views and historical sights. Most of the city’s curiosities would require a day, if not one, to fully explore it. The city, founded in the I century BC, is simply full of majestic cathedrals, chic villas and palazzos, green gardens and other amazing places.

For suggestions on how to plan your itinerary and get the most out of it, please refer to our guide to places of interest with names and descriptions.

If this is your first time in Florence:

Piazza Catedral

Piazza del Duomo is a piazza in the heart of the city with the Duomo, Florence’s cathedral and its bell tower and baptistery. Since ancient times this place has been a source of exclamations of admiration and the purest impulses of the soul. From here, it is well worth plotting the route of your walk in Florence.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is listed as number one in the “Highlights of Florence” section of any Florence travel guide. The imposing temple is located in the center of the old city, in the Piazza delle Sobre. From afar, the building stands out with its tall, about 90-meter terracotta dome. This masterpiece was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi himself.

The Cathedral of Florence

The Duomo is built in accordance with the Gothic canons. Particularly striking is the temple’s carved facing, made of marble in light colors. The construction of the cathedral lasted from 1296 to 1436. During this time the architectural appearance of the building was supervised by renowned masters: Arnolfo di Cambio and Giotto di Bondone.

Duomo Florence - interior design

The huge cathedral accommodates 30,000 parishioners. The interior is breathtaking in its exquisite beauty which transports the visitor back to Renaissance times. The vaulted nave of the Duomo leads to the painted dome with a painting of the Last Judgment by Giorgio Vasari. The solemnity of the interior is given by stained glass windows, sculptures, paintings and crypts in which the famous Italians rested.

Giotto’s bell tower

The Giotto Bell Tower, aka Campanile, complements the undeniable beauty of the Duomo. The slender silhouette of the bell tower duplicates the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The tower is 85 meters high from the foundation to the top of the spire. The entire space is lined with colorful marble slabs. High windows stretched to the top and the external decor – the embodiment of Gothic with a flavor of Italian Proto-Renaissance XIV century.

Florence - Giotto's Campanile

The author of the Campanile was the unforgettable Giotto, but most of the construction and finishing work was supervised by Andrea Pisano. The bell tower impresses with its multifaceted decoration – masterful bas-reliefs, carved medallions by Giotto, sculptures by Donatello. The breathtaking view of the city from the ancient tower deserves a special mention.

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San Giovanni Baptistery

The Battistero di San Giovanni is the third element in the architectural complex of the Florentine Duomo. The baptistery first appeared on this site in the fifth century AD. The modern wide building with an octagonal dome was built in the 12th century. The squat “barrel” baptistery stands at the forefront of the cathedral.

Florence - San Giovanni Baptistery

The exterior decoration of the baptistery harmonizes with the decor of the other buildings in the cathedral square. Visitors to the city admire the original decorations of the Southern, Northern and Eastern gates. Bronze engraved paintings of biblical themes decorate the door panels. Most impressive inside the baptistery is the painted dome depicting Jesus, the saints and the Last Judgment.

Piazza San Marco

Florence - Piazza San Marco

A small square (Piazza di San Marco) overlooking the facade of the Basilica di San Marco and the monastery of the Sylvestrin. Both buildings date from the XIII century, but in the XV century they were reconstructed by Michelozzo di Bartolomeo for Cosimo I.

San Marco Museum

The Museo Nazionale di San Marco, housed in a former church building, has a difficult history. For a long time in the walls of the former convent of San Marco there was a library, which several times changed hands from church to Medici and back again. The building finally passed into state ownership in 1866. In just a few years, the church library was turned into a national museum.

Florence - Exhibits of the San Marco Museum

Of great value to visitors are the frescoes on the walls and vaults from the 14th and 15th centuries. Paintings by Fra Beato Angelico, Ghirlandaio and Fra Bartollommeo are filled with faith and piety. Most of the paintings were also painted by novices of the monastery of San Marco and masters close to religion.

Palazzo Medici Riccardi

The 15th-century Palazzo Medici Riccardi is a peculiar demonstration of the power and wealth of the Medici family. Located in the center of Florence, the mansion was designed by the family’s favorite architect, Michelozzo. The three-story, light rusticated stone building has a lovely courtyard adorned with medieval sculpture and lemon trees.

The palazzo’s interior makes a strong statement about the Medici’s superiority over other influential 15th-century houses. The grandiose ceiling frescoes and paintings are breathtaking in their craftsmanship and scale. Of particular note is the Chapel of the Magi, which is devoted entirely to biblical paintings.

Palazzo Strozzi

Florence - Palazzo Strozzi -Installation in the courtyard

Palazzo Strozzi, the mansion of Florentine nobleman Filippo Strozzi, is a monumental and costly building made according to early Renaissance rules. The exterior of the building is a concise three-story palace.

The main beauty lies in the courtyard, as well as the interiors of the palazzo. Since the beginning of XX century in the palace take place various cultural events and exhibitions. The Center for Contemporary Art, located on the second floor of the building, regularly invites foreign exhibitions to Palazzo Strozzi.

Piazza della Signoria

Florence - Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria, symbol of power during the Florentine state, is impressive thanks to the stern castle-fortress. Decorated with Renaissance statues of Michelangelo’s famous David and Donatello’s Judith, it is worth seeing.

Palazzo Vecchio

Florence - Palazzo Vecchio, Room 500

Palazzo Vecchio – The old palace was built in the 13th century by Arnolfo di Cambio. Since its construction the building has been used for government purposes. The image of the palazzo is the embodiment of impregnability and power. The mansion is crowned with a toothed crown, and a clock tower rises above the roof. At different times in the palace met priors, lords, lived Duke of Tuscany Cosimo I (Cosimo I de Medici).

Florence - Palazzo Vecchio, Lilies Room

Palazzo Vecchio is interesting with the contrast of external and internal design. The elegant inner courtyard by Michelozzo di Bartolomeo is filled with views of European cities of the XV century.

Within the walls of the palace the grandiose Salone dei Cinquecento, dedicated to the military success of Cosimo de Medici, impresses. Other rooms are worth seeing: the coffered ceiling and frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio in the Room of Lilies, paintings, sculptures, an imposing globe, and a collection of ancient maps.

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Uffizi Gallery

The Galleria degli Uffizi is a 10-minute walk from Piazza della Signoria. On your own it is not difficult to find your way to the art gallery, you need to move in the direction of the River Arno. The medieval palace is filled with valuable paintings by Italian, European and Flemish artists. The founders of the art gallery were the Medici, thanks to their connections and wealth they got the real masterpieces.

Florence - Uffizi Gallery, Tribuna Hall

Uffizi is proud to present the works of Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Paolo Uccello, Raffaello Santi, Tiziano Vecellio and many others.

Ponte Vecchio Bridge

Florence - Ponte Vecchio Bridge

The Ponte Vecchio or Old Bridge is the most venerable bridge across the Arno in Florence. At the same time it is its main decoration. The bridge was built in the XIV century and survives almost unchanged today. By the way, the river and the Old Bridge that spans it is the next stop on the Florence walking route after the Uffizi Gallery.

The bridge is original for several reasons: firstly, there are houses on both sides of it, just above the water. Secondly, above the pedestrian arch, the Corridoio Vasariano was built in the 16th century to create a safe passage from Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti.

Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti is the largest palace Florence has ever known. It was built in the XV century by the powerful Medici family. The residence of the Italian dukes in modern times is home to several museums: an art gallery, an exhibition of modern art, as well as silver, porcelain, carriage making, the history of fashion and costume.

The austere, rusticated palazzo shines inside with baroque interiors, painted walls, colorful frescoes, remarkably fine moldings, silk wallpaper, and priceless Renaissance exhibits.

Boboli Gardens

Florence - Boboli Gardens

The Boboli Gardens are an emerald gem, hidden from the eyes of passers-by by the monolithic palazzo Pitti. And while the main attractions of Florence are embodied in stone, we should not forget the beauty of Italian nature. The huge park, covering the Boboli hill, was laid out in the 16th century and served as a place for walks of the Medici Duke of Tuscany, his family and guests.

Florence - Boboli Gardens

The territory of the park has expanded with each century, and now the green corner of Florence covers an area of 4.5 hectares. The Boboli Gardens are striking in their layout and multifaceted content. Numerous streets and paths cut through the dense vegetation. Statues, fountains, grottoes, columns and even an imitation of an ancient amphitheater are skillfully intertwined with the fragrant plantings. Traveling through this part of town is full of unforgettable pleasure and relaxation.

Church of San Lorenzo

Florence - Basilica di San Lorenzo

The Church of San Lorenzo (Basilica di San Lorenzo) is another Florentine landmark that deserves the prefix “the most”. This time we will talk about the most venerable basilica in the city. An early Christian church from the 4th century A.D., it was renovated in Romanesque style in the 11th century. In the Middle Ages it was significantly reconstructed by Brunelleschi. In the 15th century, the Medici family took over the church.

The basilica has an impressive interior, including a white and gold coffered ceiling, a painted dome, and the work of the best Renaissance architects. But it is best known as the resting place of the Medici princes. The last of them is in a sarcophagus in the New Sacristy (sacristy) of the temple.

Church of Santa Croce

The Basilica dedicated to the Holy Cross (Basilica di Santa Croce) is located near the historic center of the city. The beginning of the construction of the temple was in the last decade of the XIII century. There is a legend that the idea of creating this church belonged to St. Francis himself. The building was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt with the money of wealthy Florentines. Therefore, in the appearance of the temple there is a mixture of styles: Gothic and Proto-Renaissance.

Florence - Church of Santa Croce

The white marble Santa Croce is famous for the fact that its decorations are the works of famous masters: murals and sculptures by Giotto, works by Donatello and Antonio Canova. Dim daylight enters the building through large stained-glass windows, and the altar of the church is impressive. Santa Croce occupies a special place thanks to the extensive pantheon of tombs of prominent citizens of the city and country. There are about three hundred tombs under the vaults of the temple. The most important tombs are those of Niccolò Machiavelli, Dante Alighieri and Galileo Galilei.

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The Mall outlet mall

The Mall in Florence

The Mall is a huge department store turned into a fashion shopping paradise. Italy is a trendsetter and one of the undisputed attractions of the fashion world is located in the suburbs of Florence. Outlet shoppers get access to sales and incredible discounts on expensive branded goods: clothing, bags, perfume, cosmetics, shoes, accessories and more.

Consultation in Italy by an expert

Guide, traveler, marathon runner, journalist, creator of the site ITALY FOR ME. I live in Rome and Rome. I lead author tours at dawn so that everyone, like me ten years ago, fell in love with the Eternal City at first sight. I organize tours with great people, professional guides in Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Verona, Bologna, Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, Turin, Genoa. On the subject of the article, please ask questions in the comments. I try to answer everyone at least once a day.

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I want to share my experience. We decided to visit the complex of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. We were told to buy a general ticket for 15 euros, which gives the right to enter: the bell tower, the baptistery, climb the dome of the cathedral, the museum and somewhere else, where we never got. They said that the ticket office was inside the bell tower and in the museum. We chose the bell tower for some reason. It took us 2 hours without exaggeration to stand in line, so there was no time to look at the bell tower (as we had reserved a table in a restaurant). We were told that we can reserve the time of our visit on the Internet or in special machines, using the ticket number, and we will be allowed to go without queuing, so with a calm heart we went to lunch. At first we did not manage to make the reservation and we tried to pass the belfry without queuing, arguing that we already had the tickets which we had been standing in line for all morning. But nothing… eventually, I found out how to use the reservation, if you have a ticket (http://it.grandemuseodelduomo.waf.it/booking.php), and in half an hour we were inside. By the way, in the museum, there was no line at all for the same unico ticket. I was left a bit puzzled, what makes all these people stand in this endless line, if, using the Internet, you can get inside in 5 minutes? In addition, each of the objects of this complex has its own schedule, plus you need to set aside time to go over 400 steps to the dome and bell tower (if you still want to overcome this distance for the second time in a row), and then decide whether you need to spend those 15 euros at all? We only managed to visit half of it, but if we had been able to buy a ticket and reserve time in time, our visit would have been much more enjoyable and productive. And admission to the Duomo itself is free, only there is almost nothing inside – everything is in the museum!

Visited the Duomo, the cathedral is of course beyond praise! This carved box – just a masterpiece. The queue is unreal – surrounds the cathedral. We had tickets for a certain time (I think), I took them a month in advance, I do not remember the time. Just walked with the nearest group in the fast-line, the ticket was on the turnstile and we went inside. Perhaps we were lucky, but the fact is a fact – without a clear time there is nothing to do: half a day stand still, even if you come to 8 am. To the bell tower is better to come by two o’clock – there are almost no queues.

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