Florence, fondly called as the ‘cradle of the Renaissance’, is a bewitching mixture of architecture, art galleries, history, culture, shopping, fashion, food and romance. The charming city has sculptures and monuments that would love to whisper their stories to you, it has architectural marvels that would like to impress you with their grandeur.
What to do and what to see in Florence, Italy!
1. Admire the Florence Cathedral and Giotto’s Campanile
The Florence Cathedral, also known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, or simply the Duomo, is a marvelous example of Gothic and Gothic Revival architecture. Dating back to the 1400s, this cathedral is an imposing sight amidst the several other medieval buildings that surround it. One of the popular Florence attractions is housed within the Florence Cathedral – Giorgio Vasari’s fresco of the Last Judgment.
A standalone building that is a part of the religious complex of the Florence Cathedral, Giotto’s Campanile is a Gothic bell tower that boasts of intricate polychrome marble decoration. Designed by famous artist Giotto, the Campanile is a picturesque little gem in Florence.
2. Marvel at the Palazzo Vecchio at the Piazza Della Signoria
The elegant Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence. In its entrance you will find the delicate sculptures of Adam and Eve, a replica of Michelangelo’s David, and you will also find statues of Hercules and Cacus welcoming you into the Palazzo Vecchio. Built between 1299 and 1314, Palazzo Vecchio houses several government offices as well as the Museo dei Ragazzi (Children’s Museum). This ancient building overlooks the Piazza Della Signoria which is a bustling place and one of the main town squares of Florence.
3. Appreciate the mixture of art and faith at the Battistero di San Giovanni
One of the top attractions in Florence, the Battistero di San Giovanni, also known as the Baptistery of Saint John or simply Florence Baptistery, is one of the most ancient churches in Florence. Octagonal in shape, the baptistery’s interiors boast of precious mosaics – if you observe carefully, you will find that these mosaics tell the stories of the creation of the world, of Jesus and of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of Florence. The baptistery is also home to three sets of marvelous bronze doors, and you should definitely check them out.
4. Take a walk across the Ponte Vecchio
The Ponte Vecchio, also known as the Old Bridge, is a bridge over the Arno River that dates back to the medieval ages. Lined with a number of shops that were built into the sides of the bridge so that they hang over the water, a stroll across the bridge provides one with a lot of souvenir shopping opportunities as well as some shopping for gold prospects! The Ponte Vecchio is also home to the Corridoio Vasariano which is a corridor above the shops that used to help the Medici travel discreetly from the Uffizi to the Palazzo Pitti over the river. Also, did you know that until 1218, Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge across the river in Florence?
5. Praise art at the Uffizi Gallery
Located just off the Piazza Della Signoria, the Uffizi Gallery is home to invaluable works of art that date back to the Middle Ages, with special displays dedicated to the Italian Renaissance period. The building inside which the gallery is housed in was itself gorgeously designed by famous Italian artist Giorgio Vasari. On display within the Uffizi Gallery you will find masterpieces by celebrated artists and sculptors like Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, Michelangelo, Giotto and Piero della Francesca, to name a few.
6. Be amazed by the colossal Palazzo Pitti & the appealing Boboli Gardens
A luxurious palace to the royals once upon a time, the colossal Palazzo Pitti is now open to the public and is home to 4 museums – the Treasury of the Grand Dukes, the Palatine Gallery and the Imperial and Royal Apartments, the Museum of Costume and Fashion and the Modern Art Gallery. One of the best things to do in Florence is to dedicate an entire day for the exploration of this precious tourist attraction.
The Boboli Gardens are attached to the Palazzo Pitti and are possibly the green lungs of Florence. Boasting of quaint walkways and brilliantly landscaped greenery, the Boboli Gardens are also host to magnificent ancient and Renaissance statues that add charm to the gardens’ splendor.
7. Visit the Galleria dell’Accademia for its most famous occupant
The Galleria dell’Accademia, or the Gallery of Academy of Florence, is an art museum which is, without a doubt, visited by thousands of tourists who just want to catch a glimpse of its most famous occupant – Michelangelo’s sculpture of David. But once you are done admiring Michelangelo’s masterpiece, you should definitely check out the rest of the museum for its huge collection of paintings, sculptures and statues, musical instruments and Christian art.
Ready to lose your heart to the cradle of the Renaissance? Other tourist attractions in Florence include the Basilica of Santa Croce, the Piazzale Michelangelo, the Palazzo del Bargello, the Church of Santa Maria Novella and the Fountain of Neptune, and you should definitely add them to your Florence itinerary.