Florence, the symbol of the Renaissance, the capital of Tuscany and an incredible Mediterranean destination is situated one both sides of the river Arno and impresses thousands of tourists each year who come to admire its Renaissance art and culture and taste the delicious Italian dishes. So, if you plan to travel to Italy, forget about commercial Rome and Milan and explore these best tourist attractions in Florence.
The old city center joined the UNESCO World Heritage in 1982.
Built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence developed from economically and culturally during the fifteen and sixteen centuries due to the Medici family. The 600 years of artistic activity can be seen in all the major attractions of the city: the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi Gallery, Pitti Palace, works of some great artists such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo.
When to visit Florence?
The best times to visit Florence are spring or autumn. In spring, the city is surrounded by green hills that invite you to picnics in nature and in autumn you have to taste the famous wines of Tuscany.
Dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore, the cathedral is the result of many artists who have collaborated in its construction over the centuries. Work began in 1294 when Arnolfo di Cambio headed the construction of a new cathedral to replace the church of Santa Reparata. Between 1296 and 1375, the works were conducted by different architects such as Giotto, Andrea Pisano and Francesco Talenti. The construction stopped until 1420, the year in which Brunelleschi won the competition to build the huge structures. The works were completed 140 years after they started, but nowadays architects wonder how e Brunelleschi managed to lift the 37,000 tone dome without the benefits of modern technology.
One of the most beautiful squares in Italy was built between the thirteen and fourteen century and is dominated in the north by the Old Palace complex (Pallazzo Vecchio). On the right side of the square is the Loggia dei Lanzi, a Gothic building, built by Benci di Cioni and Simone Talenti, which houses an important group of sculptures, including the famous Perseus of Benvennuto Cellini and Giambologna’s Hercules and Centaur. To the left of Pallazzo Vecchio rises the statue of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati. Due to the size of this impressive sculpture, locals called it Il Biancone (The White Giant).
Built between 1294 and 1592, Palazzo Vecchio is a palace – fortress and residence of abbots. The palace is renowned for the famous Salone dei Cinquecento, ready to accommodate the Peoples’ Council.
If you travel to Italy, among the tourist attractions in Florence is the Uffizi Gallery. The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most popular art galleries in the world. They host art from the Florentine school of painting and sculptures, represented by important masterpieces of Renaissance.
This is the oldest bridge over the Arno river, not only because it is the only one that stood the test of time, but also because is was built on two other bridges: one of the Romans (which was demolished in 1117) and another destroyed the 1333 flood. The bridge, which is very much admired today, built by Neri di Fioravante, is a solid structure that houses chic jewelry stores and small apartment houses. Vassari Corridor which goes over the bridge, allowed Cosimo I to reach the Palazzo Pitti from Palazzo Vecchio without exposing himself to any risk.
The Gallery houses a collection of sculptures of extreme importance among which the most important being Michelangelo’s Palestrina Pietà (the fact that Michelangelo is the author, is a very controversial issue), St. Matthew (made for Florentine cathedral), The Four Slaves (for the tomb of Julius II in the St. Peter Church in Rome) and last but not least, David (1501-1504). The Gallery hosts an important collection of paintings and sculptures belonging to other artists as well.
The most important Florentine palace dates from 1457 and was designed by Brunelleschi. The palace houses the royal apartments, the Paltina Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Museo degli Argenti and Museo delle Carrozze. The Boboli Gardens are the most important natural monument in Florence and they go back to the seventeenth century.
Any visit to Florence should include a stop in the Piazzale Michelangelo, where you can see the whole view of the city.
- Sunday fair in San Lorenzo
- Palazzo del Bargelo
- Church of Santa Croce
- Palazzo Strozzi
- Church of Santa Maria Novella
- Church of San Lorenzo
- Medici Chapel
- Fiorentina football stadium
To visit these best tourist attractions in Florence is not something that can last a few days. You need some time to explore the incredible architecture, the fascinating landscapes this country has to offer.