Florence is one of the most magical cities in Italy and is a heaven for the lovers of Renaissance. Beautiful sights like Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and world famous museums such as Uffizzi and Accademia Gallery will definitely take your breath away and enrich your stay in Italy.
This Tuscan city combines picturesque landscapes, awe-inspiring artwork and architecture with its incredible charm. All these elements give life to a magical, romantic and absolutely unique city – Florence.
Florence has been a home for many artists, inventors, writers, scientists and explorers and the city is also known for inventing opera. The most outstanding residents of Florence included Machiavelli, the Medici family, Dante Alighieri, Michelangelo, Donatello, Galileo and Raphael.
One of the best things to do in Florence is to simply walk around the centre and admire the aesthetics of old squares and buildings, absorbing the beauty of the Renaissance era.
We hope that our list of places you should visit in Florence will help you navigate the city.
1. Santa Maria del Fiore
The symbol of the city and the most recognizable building in Florence is the Duomo di Firenze or Florence cathedral. The majestic building is known not only by its size and beauty, but it also has a hundred of years of history.
Take a tour to the baptistery, the museum, the cathedral, and the Giotto bell tower and you will come across some of the best-known masterpieces of architecture and art by the greatest artists – Michelangelo, Giotto, Donatello, Brunelleschi, and Ghiberti.
The biggest artwork within the cathedral is Giorgio Vasari’s frescoes of the Last Judgment: they were designed by Vasari but painted mostly by his student Frederico Zuccari by 1579.
2. Piazzale Michelangelo
If you are looking for the stupendous panoramic view of Florence, Piazzale Michelangelo is an absolutely must.
The square is dedicated to the great Renaissance artist Michelangelo and the bronze copy of the David is located in the center of the square next to the four allegories of the Medici Chapels of San Lorenzo.
Many mistakenly believe that this piazza existed since the birth of Florence or that it was designed by Michelangelo. Actually it is a rather recent addition to the list of monuments in Florence, created in 1869 by Florentine architect Giuseppe Poggi.
Witnessing how the sun falls from the Piazzale Michelangelo over the city of Florence and over the Arno River, is one of the most spectacular images that will remain in your memory for a lifetime.
3. Museo Stibbert
The Stibbert Museum is one of the most unusual places in Florence: this house museum is situated in the beautiful Villa di Montughi, built by Frederick Stibbert, a passionate collectionist and Anglo-Italian businessman from the 1800’s who used to reside in the villa.
There are almost 50,000 pieces in the collection at the Stibbert Museum, most of which was not only collected, but also arranged on display by Stibbert himself.
The Museums hosts the famous collection of weaponry, as well as artworks and objects of everyday life in European, Islamic and East Asian civilizations, especially Japanese.
4. Galleria dell’Accademia
The Galleria dell’Accademia will admire its visitors not only by housing the most glorious marble masterpiece of Michelangelo David but also by his marvelous Prisoners (Slaves), outstanding St. Matthew and a lot more.
The Galleria offers its visitors the works by great Italian artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pontormo, Andrea del Sarto, Allessando Alloriand Orcagna, to name just a few of the painters.
Most of the works were the part of the collection of the powerful Medici family and they were donated by the last of the Medici so that these magnificent pieces of art could be enjoyed by everyone.
The most recent section, the Museum of Musical Instruments, displays old, one-of-a-kind masterpieces by Stradivari and Bartolomeo Cristofori, inventor of the piano, also commissioned by the Medici.
5. Uffizi Galleria
One more wonderful place for the admirers of art and history, Uffizi Gallery. The gallery displays the most important and the most significant sculptures and paintings of Italian Renaissance.
Situated in the Piazza Della Signoria, it can be covered together with the L shaped beautiful square.
The art lovers will enjoy the most wondrous collection of Renaissance art in the world and many of the pieces are simply fantastic such as The Baptism of Christ by Da Vinci, the Adoration of the Magi by Botticelli and the Sacrifice of Isaac by Caravaggio.
6. Piazza della Signoria
The heart of Florence political life, Piazza della Signoria is one of the most fascinating squares in Florence.
The square is surrounded by some of the most famous buildings in the city. Visitors will especially delight in viewing the ‘Perseus’, Cellini’s masterpiece, and ‘the Rape of the Sabine women’ by Giambologna.
A copy of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ stands guard in front of Palazzo Vecchio.
Piazza della Signoria’s most impressive monument, and the square’s centerpiece, is the Fonte di Piazza, created by Bartolomeo Ammanati.
Piazza della Signoria is deserved to be known as an open air museum.
7. Ponte Vecchio
The Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), a medieval bridge spanning the river Arno is surely one of the great icons of Florence and one of the most famous bridges in the worldю
Musicians, portraitists, and other entertainers create a vibrant and unique atmosphere in the bridge.
The Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence. It is believed that a bridge already existed here during the Roman times. Houses were built on the bridge, a common practice in large European cities during the Middle Ages. Today the houses are used as shops selling a wide assortment of jewelry, ranging from affordable modern jewels to pricey antiques.
8. Basilica Di San Lorenzo
The Basilica of San Lorenzo is one of the oldest churches in Florence, it is believed to have been consecrated by St. Ambrose on Easter day, 393 CE, even though the building we see today dates to the mid-1400s upon a design by Brunelleschi.
It is well known for being the resting place of one of the most powerful families in pre-Unification Italy, the Medici.
The complex includes the New Sacristy with Michelangelo’s incredible Medici tombs, the 17th-century Chapel of the Princes with its huge dome and fresco arrangement and the famed Laurentian Library, whose staircase and reading room were designed by Michelangelo.
9. Palazzo Pitti
The original palazzo was built for the Pitti family in 1457, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and built by his pupil Luca Fancelli. In 1549, the property was sold to the Medicis and became the primary residence of the grand ducal family. The palace was then enlarged and altered; from 1560, Bartolomeo Ammannati designed and added the grandiose courtyard and two lateral wings.
Today the Palace is divided into four museums: the Treasury of the Grand Dukes on the ground floor, the Palatine Gallery and the Imperial and Royal Apartments on the first floor, the Gallery of Modern Art and the Museum of Costume and Fashion on the second floor.
10. Boboli Gardens
Directly behind Palazzo Pitti are the marvellous Boboli Gardens. It is more than just a garden, it is a place of historical importance for Florence.
The Boboli gardens are a spectacular example of “green architecture” decorated with sculptures and the prototype which inspired many European Royal gardens, in particular, Versailles.
The gardens are worth exploring for their own beauty and for the view of Florence from their highest point, the terrace of the Kaffeehaus. Visiting the gardens is one of the most popular things to do in Florence, with about one million visitors a year.
So why does Florence appeal so many tourists every year? The answer is obvious. Florence is an absolutely wonderful city with beautiful Renaissance architecture, art galleries,squares and parks.
The Tuscan city will blow everyone away with its magnetism and beauty!
We hope that you enjoyed our list of the best places to visit in Florence, the city that is proudly called a birthplace of the Renaissance!