The 10 most important places in Florence
Are you planning to visit Florence? Then you cannot miss these 10 most important places in Florence! Once you read this article, you will have much more clear what deserve a visit on the cradle of Renaissance, which owe its importance to a prestigious noble family like the Medici, across more than 300 years.
The very 10 most important places in Florence
1. Santa Maria del Fiore
The symbol of Florence par excellence dominates the panoramic view of the city. The cathedral with the dome is called Duomo. It’s the largest masonry dome in the world, made by Filippo Brunelleschi, and is dated back to 600 years ago. In front of Santa Maria del Fiore it’s impossible not being astonished by its amazing Gothic façade of green, white and red marble. And what about the interiors with majestic decorating like mosaics, stained-glass windows, bronze statues and frescoes. From the top of the dome is possible overlooking the view of Florence and its valley. Next to the Cathedral there is also the Giotto’s bell tower and the impressive Baptistery.
2. Ponte Vecchio
It’s the most photographed and oldest bridge in Florence and cross the Arno river. At first the bridge was built by the ancient Etruscans, but then in the 14th century was rebuilt by the Florentines. It is famous for its arches and the jewelry shops that flanks it on both the edges. We suggest you a walk on the bridge when the lights reflect a beautiful image on the water surface.
3. The Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria dell'Accademia
The Uffizi is one of the most important art museum of the world. The palace that hosts the museum originally was the house of the office of the magistrate of Florence, just off Piazza della Signoria. But after the Medici family lost their power, the palace become an art gallery for the amazing collection of Renaissance art treasures, that opened its doors since 1765. Here is where you could stare at Michelangelo Buonarroti, Titian, Sandro Botticelli, and Leonardo da Vinci art works. The Galleria dell’Accademia is famous to hosts the masterpiece of the Master or the Renaissance, Michelangelo Buonarroti and his handsome David.
4. Piazza della Signoria
This beautiful square in past was not only the site of several historic episodes, but it was also an important center for politics affairs. It hosts even today some of the major attractions of Florence. From here you can easily reach the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio, or just admire the important buildings around like Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Uguccioni and the Loggia dei Lanzi. How not advise you about all the sculptures you can find here, such as the copy of the Michelangelo’s Statue of David (the original is in the Accademia Gallery), Perseus with the Head of Medusa, the magnificent Fountain of Neptune and the Hercules and Cacus.
5. Palazzo Vecchio
It is one of the most important building of Florence. This palace overlooking Piazza della Signoria was built during the 12th century. It housed the Medici family until they relinquished their power, as supreme governing body of the city for six centuries. But in 1872 Palazzo Vecchio started to host the city hall and a museum. This place deserve a visit especially for its beautiful frescoes, its intricate carving and tapestries depicting all historical and Biblical events, plus all the painted ceilings, and sculptures, in few words a wealth of artifacts and art works.
6. Basilica di San Lorenzo
This is one of the oldest churches of Florence, and is the burial place of the principal members of the Medici family. To reach this church you have to move into the main market district. The “inventor of perspective”, Filippo Brunelleschi, designed the church in the 15th century, and it represents one of the first example of ecclesiastical Renaissance architecture. Unfortunately, the façade of the church has never seen his completion. This is why you could probably consider it a bit rustic, but just try to enter inside and you will experience a “jaw dropping”, because its interior is a pure Reinassance neo-classical artwork!
7. Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens
This palace is dated back to 15th century, and is situated on the south bank of the Arno river, a lovely corner of quietness. Until 1919 it was the residence of the Florence’s rulers. Then the Palace was transformed from a Royal residence into a historic residence owned by the State, after Italy became a Republic. Palazzo Pitti overlooks Florence from an elevated site, and still contains all its noble and luxurious atmosphere thanks to its private collections.
When the Medici Family financed the creation of Boboli Gardens in the 16th century, were looking to astonish the visitors with the incredible beauty of this garden. You easily find it just behind the Palazzo Pitti. They are also included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites list together with other Medici Villas and Gardens. And it’s here that you will find the peace, loosing yourself into the various Italianesque garden, surrounded by fountains and statues, included some Roman antiquities.
8. Piazza Santa Croce
The Piazza is one of the main squades in Florence. It hosts the Basilica di Santa Croce and many aristocratic buildings. Originally this area was an real island into the Arno River and was chosen by Franciscans in the late 1200 because was isolated from the rest of the city. During the Renaissance, being huge and with a regular shape, became an ideal place where organize festival, knights carousel and games, such as the Calcio Storico Fiorentino that still takes place every june.
9. Piazzale Michelangelo
If you visit Florence this is the place where you have to be to enjoy one of the best panorama of the world from a dominating point of the town. To reach Piazzale Michelangelo, you have to drive through “Viale dei Colli”, one of my favorite boulevards in Florence, that runs on the San Miniato hill and it represents the rebirth of the bourgeoisie.
10. The New Market
In the center of Florence, you could visit the “Nuovo Mercato” (New Market), that is a covered market in Piazza della Repubblica. It takes this name to distinguish it from the “Mercato Vecchio” (Old Market). The New Market is the place to be if you are looking for souvenirs and leather goods, but initially it was intended for the sale of the famous straw hats, and luxury goods such as silk.A legend says that if you rub the pig nose of the “Fontana del Porcellino”, (Piglet Fountain), you will ensure to return to Florence almost once again in your life. Then do not forget to do it. The original of this statue of the 16th century can be found at Palazzo Pitti.