Florence, Italy: The must-see sights of Florence
Florence - Birthplace of the Italian Renaissance
The capital city of Tuscany, Florence lies along to the Arno River. This jewel of a city is known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.
Rich with history and culture, the city is home to some major architectural landmarks, as well as a number of museums housing some of the most famous works in the world. If you're planning a trip to the beautiful city of Florence, Italy, make sure to include some of the following attractions in your list of places to see.
Florence: Top 3 sights
* The Duomo - The main cathedral church of the city, Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. This church, which dominates the Florence skyline even today, was built by the Florentines to surpass the churches built by their Tuscan rivals. The most notable characteristic of the church is its dome, which was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and features an octagonal design crafted from bricks. This was an engineering marvel in its day.
* The David - The one and only! One of Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo's greatest works, the David is housed in Florence's Gallerie dell'Accademia. A 17-foot high marble depiction of the Biblical King David in the nude before he battles Goliath, the statue was unveiled in 1504 and originally stationed outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence. Built as a symbol of the city, the statue represented Florence which, at the time, was a small state being threatened by giant rivals.
* Uffizi Gallery - Housed in the Palazzo degli Uffizi, the gallery is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world. The home of several famous paintings by artists such as Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, the gallery was finished in 1581. Before becoming a museum, it used to house administrative offices and the state archive. I'm sure it's much more interesting now -- definitely a Florence must-see. You can buy museum tickets online before your trip, and save yourself some time standing in line when you get there.
Florence - More must-see sights
More things to see in Florence, Italy
* Ponte Vecchio - Suspended over the Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio is a medieval arch bridge that uniquely houses several shops and merchants. Made entirely out of stone, the bridge has been destroyed and rebuilt several times throughout the centuries, and is now a great place for tourists to admire the cities architecture while shopping for authentic Florentine jewelry, art and souvenirs.
* Piazza della Republica - Located in the heart of the city, the Piazza della Republica is the perfect place to sit down at a sidewalk cafÃ©, relax and take in the sites. Though the square barely resembles its original state, it has become a haven for artists, writers and street performers who enjoy entertaining the many tourists who flock to the square.
* Giotto's Bell Tower - Standing tall next to the Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto's bell tower (also called the Campanile) is 277 feet tall and features several different colored marble layers. Divided into five levels, the tower is not only notable in architecture but also features several works of art that have been incorporated to both the outer walls and inside of the tower. For a grand view of the city, visitors can climb the 414 steps for a small fee.
* Church of Santa Croce - Home of the tombs of historic Italian innovators, including Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Dante, the Santa Croce is the principal Franciscan church in Florence. The church is the largest Franciscan basilica in the world and was quickly associated with being a place of worship and patronage for famous Florentines, though other notable Italians have been buried there as well.
* Boboli Gardens - Located behind the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens feature a lavish number of vibrant flowers, ancient sculptures, and beautiful pools. Offering an expansive view of the city, the gardens, which have been described as an outdoor museum, were built in the 16th century and also house an amphitheater as well as several fountains.
Video of Florence - A quick tour of Florence
- Florence, beyond the Duomo - escape to Fiesole
When I think of Florence, I think of Fiesole. When you've had your fill of churches, museums and street vendors, Fiesole allows you to escape to higher ground.
- Tuscany trip for women - Living La Dolce Vita
Tuscany women's trip - Explore Italy past & present on an active travel tour for women. Scenic hikes, medieval hilltowns, historic hotels, Etruscan ruins, Renaissance Florence, and much more.
Recommended reading - Stones of Florence - A personal favorite
Ponte Vecchio - artorusrex (flickr)
Duomo - Lorraine DarConte