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Florence, Italy: The must-see sights of Florence

Updated on December 5, 2010

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 café, 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

Recommended reading - Stones of Florence - A personal favorite

Photo credits

Ponte Vecchio - artorusrex (flickr)

Duomo - Lorraine DarConte

Thanks for Visiting! Any Comments? - Any comments, questions, feedback, suggestions?

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    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      One of my best friends lived in Florence for couple of years... I am still waiting to have a chance to go there. Thanks for your kind info:-)

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      panduro1972 6 years ago

      Love Florence! Have you been to lake Garda?

    • profile image

      crstnblue 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens and Florence is from far one of the best travel destinations in the world!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love florence studied Italian, Art history and wine there two years ago. Check out things to do in Florence

    • globedancer profile image

      globedancer 6 years ago

      Lindrus, queenmbeautycosmetics, MaxwellScott, TourItalyNow, and KimGiancaterino - Many thanks for dropping by while I was on the road - traveling and loving every bit of it!

    • profile image

      Lindrus 6 years ago

      Great lens! Florence definitely is on my travel list.

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      queenmbeautycosmetics 6 years ago

      great lens

    • MaxwellScott LM profile image

      MaxwellScott LM 6 years ago

      Florence is one of my top 3 favourite cities in the world!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      The last time I was in Florence we were running around getting papers stamped and approved for our wedding. It was a bit crazy, but we still loved it. Next time ... no stress. Just beautiful sights and museums.

    • globedancer profile image

      globedancer 6 years ago

      @Dinostore: Thank you and I'm glad you like it. Florence is wonderful!

    • profile image

      Dinostore 6 years ago

      What a beautiful place, I'd love to visit! Great job on this, thumbs up and fav'd.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Love Florence, love the lens.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Have been to Florence several times and will go again when we are in Italy. It is one of my favourite places.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Have been to Florence several times and will go again when we are in Italy. It is one of my favourite places.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      This is great - Florence is lovely beyond one's dreams.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I'll have to add another vote for the photos here - good job collating these pieces. I'm not surprised however as Florence had always been top in my list for awesome travel destinations - Keep it coming globedancer!

    • globedancer profile image

      globedancer 7 years ago

      @natnickeep lm: Thanks for your comment! Florence is indeed a wonderful place. :-)

    • Meloramus profile image

      Meloramus 7 years ago

      A wonderful lens! Brings back some fantastic memories.

    • isabella lm profile image

      isabella lm 7 years ago

      It is said that Florence is a very romantic city and mostly visited by artists. I think that Italy is in general a romantic country and artist would love to visit every little corner of it! Here is my lens about another really romantic destination,

    • Bella Stella profile image

      Bella Stella 7 years ago

      Nice lens! I am planning my trip to Rome in January and now I think I'll combine it with Florence. Have you ever been to Greece? If you come in summer, pick an island but if you visit in winter, Athens is a good choise or a village up the mountains. CHeck out my lens if you are interested in finding out more about Athens.

    • natnickeep lm profile image

      natnickeep lm 8 years ago

      Great lens! Very well put together. I love the beauty and History of the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. I made sure to give you 5* and lensroll your lens!! Awesome job.