What to see in Florence
Florence is considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and thanks to the works of its most famous artists such as Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the most visited cities in the world.
The best time to visit Florence is from March to June or from September to October avoiding the warmer months in which the Florentines themselves leave the city for vacation. Check out our guide to the monuments of Florence and find out what are the attractions not to be missed.
Piazza del Duomo and Piazza San Giovanni rise on a rectangular area forming two separate but communicating squares. In piazza del Duomo is located the famous basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore which is the third-largest cathedral in the world. The Square is among the most popular places in the city and can be considered the starting point for a visit to Florence.
Among the attractions of Florence, the Duomo is the most impressive monument and the tallest building in the city. This majestic Gothic cathedral was completed in 1464. Inside the dome of the cathedral, built by Brunelleschi, you can contemplate the famous Last Judgment painted by Vasari and Zuccari. Climbing the 463 steps of the famous staircase you can also admire the famous Tower of Giotto.
Piazza San Giovanni
In piazza San Giovanni stands the ancient baptistery, one of the oldest architectural monuments in Florence. Each exterior facade has three arches interspersed with windows and a series of smaller arches. The Baptistery was originally thought to have been a temple dedicated to the god Mars dating back to the fourth century.
Considered one of the most elegant examples of Italian Gothic architecture, the tower of Giotto was built in 1335 and completed in 1360 by Francesco Talenti.
We suggest climbing the stairs of the building to admire the wonderful panorama that you can enjoy from 86 meters high of the bell tower. The construction was designed so that the bells could hear well even at great distances to announce mass, religious celebrations or to warn citizens of imminent dangers.
Palazzo Pitti was built in 1441 for the Pitti family as a sign of challenge to the Almighty Medici family. Ironically, the Palace ended up being owned by the latter when Cosimo I's wife bought it with the park and the square annexed in 1551.
Cosimo called his architect Giorgio Vasari to build the famous secret passage, the Vasari Corridor, which made it possible for him to enter the palace without having to expose himself to the public. The building now houses six different museums.
The Ponte Vecchio was built in 1346 on the river Arno and is the oldest in Florence. It is the only bridge left intact following the Nazi bombing of World War II.
The structure hides a secret passage, called the vasarian corridor, which joins the Uffizi Gallery to the Pitti Palace. The corridor, built to protect the powerful Medici family, was reopened to the public in 1998.
The bridge today houses a large number of shops famous for the processing of gold and is one of the key points of Florentine shopping.
Piazza della Signoria
Considered for centuries the heart of Florence, Piazza Signoria is rich in magnificent ancient palaces and wonderful sculptures such as the equestrian monument of Cosimo I or the fountain of Neptune erected during the construction of the new aqueduct. The Square is easily accessible from Santa Maria Novella Station in just 8 minutes.
Casa Buonarroti was built by a great-grandson of Michelangelo Buonarroti. The property now houses a wonderful art collection with 23 rooms open to the public. Among the many sculptures, frescoes and bronzes worthy of note, are also preserved the famous “Battle of the Centaurs”, “Madonna della Scala” and the “wooden crucifix of S. Spirito”.
Located in Piazza della Signoria the Palazzo Vecchio was built by the Medici family and completed in 1323. This fortified building has a high tower built to warn the population of city events. Inside there is an important museum with works of European artists from the XV to the XVIII century.
Church of Santa Croce
Located east of Florence, The Church of Santa Croce was built in the thirteenth century. It was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect of the Cathedral, and is famous for hosting the tombs of the most famous Italian characters such as Michelangelo, Macchiavelli, Galileo, Rossini, and many others. In the cloister was erected the Pazzi Chapel, one of the masterpieces of the Renaissance designed by Brunelleschi in 1431.
Fortezza da Basso
Designed by Antonio da Sangallo, Fortezza da Basso is considered a building of great architectural value. Over the years the fortress lost its military function, becoming the symbol of the end of the attacks and later a prison and an arsenal. Nowadays this imposing pentagonal structure hosts several events such as The Jewelry Fair and Pitti Immagine.
Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella is one of the most important churches in Florence. Built in 1250, it was erected on the site of the ancient oratory of Santa Maria delle Vigne and completed in 1361.