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Exploring Florence with 9  Best Things to do

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Florence is the capital city of Tuscany Region in Italy. In the Middle Ages Florence was a significant center of culture, art, economy and finance. Here began the blossom of the Renaissance and artists like Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and  Michelangelo. Also there were times when the powerful Medici family ruled the city. Highlight of the city is Duomo, Florence cathedral with its huge size and amazing architecture. I really love Florence even more than Rome. It is more calm than Rome, with ancient vibes and its tiny streets. So, let’s check what the main attractions Florence will show us.

Continue your journey to Rome? Read my post about Best Places to Visit in Rome.

Piazza del Duomo

As I mentioned below, the heart of Florence is the Cathedral Duomo. Its architecture is amazing and the size impressing. You can photo or sketch it from different angles and it is great. Highly recommend to climb on the cupola of the Cathedral to see the city from the bird sight. Also in the Piazza del Duomo located Giotto’s Campanile and Baptistery of St. John.

Plan your climb on Duomo’s Cupola in advance here.

Giotto’s Campanile is a bell tower that was designed by the artist Giotto. It was built in the 14th century in Gothic architectural style. From the tower you also can observe a beautiful view, but you should take a challenge of 414 steps to the top.

Baptistery of St. John as well is a part of the Duomo’s complex. It has a status of minor basilica and is the oldest building in Florence. Baptistery was constructed in 11th- 12th centuries in Romanesque style. One of highlights of the Baptistery are their bronze doors with relief sculptures. South doors made by Andrea Pisano, north doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti. And the east doors “Gates of paradise” made by Michelangelo.

Best way to visit all of these attractions is to take a Duomo guided tour.

Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio was a town hall and most important administrative building in Florence. It was built in the 13th century by architects that designed Duomo Cathedral. The palace situated on Piazza della Signoria, and earlier had been named Palazzo della Signoria. Nowadays it holds a museum where you learn about the history of the city, art, and observe the residence of the Medici family.

Take a Palazzo Vecchio Guided Tour. Explore Medici’s Palace, and hear stories, legends.

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio, a famous bridge in Florence, Italy, has been standing for centuries, since the 14th century. It’s unique because it’s lined with shops and boutiques, a tradition from long ago. As you walk across, you’ll see jewelry, art, and souvenirs for sale. The bridge has a special charm, with sunlight reflecting on the water below and the city’s sounds in the background. It’s not just a bridge but also a reminder of Florence’s rich history and culture, where the old and new come together.

Treat yourself with Arno River Cruise with a Live Concert. Enjoy the views and the music.

Basilica of Santa Croce

Basilica of Santa Croce or Basilica of the Holy Cross is a minor basilica that is located on the Santa Croce Square. Her facade is very similar to Duomo’s, and it has a Gothic architectural style. Interior it’s not less amazing than the exterior, so I recommend you to visit it. Also Basilica of Santa Croce known as Temple of the Italian Glories. Because here buried most important Renaissance artists like  Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and others.

Plan your visit to Basilica in advance here.

Uffizi Palace and Gallery

The Uffizi Palace and Gallery in Florence, Italy, is a famous place filled with beautiful art and history. Originally built as offices in the 16th century, it became an impressive art gallery later on. Inside, you can see incredible paintings and sculptures by famous artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and Raphael. Walking through its grand halls, you’ll feel like you’re traveling through time, exploring the wonders of Renaissance art.

Explore the Uffizi Gallery in Florence with a pre-reserved timed-entry ticket.

Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti is a huge palace that dates to the 15th century, built in Renaissance style. Formerly the residence of the banker Luca Pitti. In the 16th century Palazzo Pitti was bought by the Medici family. It was a treasure house that contained art, jewelry, cutlery ,and other luxury things. In the 18th century Napoleon used Palazzo Pitti as a power base. Now it’s a large museum with many galleries inside that hosts Renaissance artwork of famous artists such as Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Caravaggio and others.

Enjoy priority entry to Palazzo Pitti, Palatine Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo is square with a great view point to the whole Florence and Arno river. It’s a really great spot for photos and sketches. The square is located near Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens. Bronze David sculpture stands in the center of the square, also here artists and sellers present their goods. You can get here by bus, from the central station or by walk, but it will take time.

A unique pleasant way to discover Florence, is E-bike tour with Michelangelo Square. You will enjoy beautiful landscapes of while taking a relax bike ride with your guide.

Church of Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella church consists of different architectural styles in its exterior. In front of the Piazza Santa Maria Novella, the exterior is completely Renaissance and very similar to the Duomo cathedral style. From the railway side, the exterior and the bell tower are combined in Romanesque and Gothic styles. Interior of the church is amazing too, the marble that decorates the church, frescoes of artists such as Ghiberti and Botticelli. So it is worth it to enter and enjoy its beauty.

Skip the lines with ticket to Santa Maria Novella, learn about its history with an audio guide, and admire its art.

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens were designed for the Medici family. It is one of the classic examples of Italian Gardens. Later it will inspire other rulers in Europe to make gardens in a similar way. Boboli  Gardens are like an open air museum with different styles and sculptures, fountains and caves. The Gardens were opened to the public in 1766, connected to Palazzo Pitti. If you want to rest a little bit from the crowded city, this place is for you.

Explore this open-air museum with ease, with a timed entrance ticket.

This was the only a glimpse to Florence. For sure you will enjoy Florence and have fun.

Have a great trip!

Santa Maria Novella Hotel
Hotel Burchianti
Granduomo Charming Accomodation

Recommended hotels in Florence

Santa Maria Novella Hotel
Hotel Burchianti
Granduomo Charming Accomodation
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