What are the 10 must-see sights in Florence?
Florence can easily be considered the heart of Tuscany, in addition to being “the cradle of Italian art and architecture”, mainly of the Renaissance period. Florence is unarguably the most famous Tuscan city in the world. Every year, millions of people go to the “cradle of the Renaissance” to visit the city’s main museums, stroll through its streets, observing the monuments, churches, palaces and places of greatest interest. So understanding which are the 10 must-see sights in Florence is not so simple, but I will try to guide you 🙂 Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”
This city undoubtedly has a lot to offer, if you are a fan of architecture and are in Florence, you cannot miss strolling through the downtown streets and observing the beautiful squares and historic buildings of the city. All this thanks to some of the most important artists of the past, such as Michelozzo, Andrea di Cambio, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo – who contributed to Florence being so rich in artistic wonders. But what are the top 10 monuments to see in the beautiful city of Florence? Below, we list the ten most important attractions of this Tuscan city. See also our Post The 20 most visited tourist monuments in Italy?
1) What are the 10 must-see sights in Florence? MICHELANGELO SQUARE
Let’s start on the terrace of Florence: Michelangelo Square (Piazza Michelangelo). This great overlook offers breathtaking views of Florence and its monuments. Designed by the Florentine architect Giuseppe Poggi, the Michelangelo Square has a beautiful panorama of the city and the Arno River, it is certainly a mandatory stop for both tourists and locals. Read here “How to buy tickets to the main monuments in Italy?”
Tribute to Michelangelo
Poggi built the square as a monument in honor of Michelangelo and his works, which should be exhibited here – both “David” and the sculptures by Lorenzo II de Medici. The building never became a museum, today it houses a famous panoramic restaurant. Now, the square is full of tourists, stalls and there is a large bronze replica of Michelangelo’s “David”.
It is possible to access the square with bus lines nº 12 and nº 13 coming from the center, or else with the tourist bus (the one with two floors). An alternative is also to go on foot, going up the grand staircase of Poggi Square (Piazza Poggi), just below Michelangelo Square. Let’s get to know Tuscan Enogastronomy?
2) What are the 10 must-see sights in Florence? LORDSHIP SQUARE
Another important monument in Florence is the Lordship Square (Piazza della Signoria), which is the heart of the city. It is from here that you can access the main museums, the Old Bridge (Ponte Vecchio) and the largest basilicas in Florence. It is the most important square in the city, the center of Florentine public life.
Around the square are also the most important palaces, such as the Old Palace (Palazzo Vechio) – currently the seat of the City Hall. In the past, it was the residence of the Medici family. Among the monuments that embellish the square, the two most important are undoubtedly: the Fountain of Neptune (also known as “Biancone” – whitey – for its color) and the famous statue of “David”, by Michelangelo (this is just one replica, the original is in the Academy Gallery).
3) What are the 10 must-see sights in Florence? UFFIZI AND ACADEMY GALLERIES
And what about the Uffizi Gallery? One of the most important art galleries in Italy and the world, with an invaluable collection such as: “Spring”, by Botticelli; “Medusa”, by Caravaggio and “Annunciation”, by Leonardo – a unique tour among the masters of the art history. The other rooms are organized chronologically and also based on the source of the works (some from Italian regions and others from several European states).
Uffizi Gallery (Gallerie degli Uffizi)
In addition to being fascinating, the entire route of the collection has an enormous educational appeal. If you don’t have so much time available in the midst of so much artistic greatness, you need to at least pay extra attention to some unmissable works. The exhibition at the Uffizi Galley is undoubtedly very wide, with a visual route that goes through several centuries of history. A unique gallery that invites visitors from all over the world. Learn more about the Uffizi Gallery by clicking here!
Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell’Accademia)
Founded in the second half of the 18th century as an Academy of Fine Arts, where the works that belonged to some churches that were desecrated together with a part of the private collection of the Medici and Lorenas family (family that ruled Florence after the death of the last Grand Duke Mediceo) served as models for new artists, students of Fine Arts to study and copy and thus learn from the great artists of the past. Find out more about the Accademia Gallery by clicking here!
4) What are the 10 must-see sights in Florence? PITTI PALACE
Now we will visit the Pitti Palace, an unmistakable masterpiece of the Florentine Renaissance, in relation to its structure (such as the Boboli Gardens, the Grotto of Moses, the Artichoke Fountain, the Theater of Rondò di Bacco, the Lion Fountain and the wonderful Pitti Square), forming a unique collection. In fact, there are countless exhibition spaces inside the palace, each offering an extraordinary route between the masterpieces of all times: the Royal Apartments, the Palatine Gallery, the Costume Room, the Silver Museum, the Museum Porcelain and the Carriage Museum. Find out here How many days do I need to visit Italy?.
About the Palace
The Royal Apartments consist of 14 (fourteen) rooms that were part of the Medici family’s residence. Over time, the decoration changed according to the tenants who lived in the palace, such as the Grand Dukes of Asburg-Lorraine and the Savoy family, in the brief period when Florence was the Capital of Italy.
The Palatine Gallery
The Palatine Gallery, centered mainly in the 16th and 17th centuries, is the gallery of portraits of grand dukes and is among the most important art galleries in Italy. In addition, it is probably the most visited museum in the Pitti Palace and the centerpiece of the entire collection. The Palatina Gallery houses some of the most beautiful halls on the palace’s Noble Floor, with the walls almost completely covered by extraordinary works of Renaissance, Mannerism and Baroque.
The Palatine Gallery, located to the left of the palace, was created between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century by the Lorena family, who placed in the meeting rooms masterpieces mainly from the Medici collections, which are still displayed in various environments today. It is an extraordinary collection that includes works by Raffaello, Tiziano, Caravaggio, Rubens, Pietro da Cortona and other great masters.
5) What are the 10 must-see sights in Florence? CATHEDRAL OF FLORENCE
Now we are visiting another Florentine masterpiece: the “Duomo” of Florence, that is, the cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower (Santa Maria del Fiore), consecrated in March 1436. The highlight of this monument is the dome of Brunelleschi. The cathedral is located in the square of the same name and is the postcard of the city, in addition to being one of the symbols of Italy.
About the Cathedral
The church has a peculiar architectural design, composed of a typical basilica plan in three naves that face an enormous triconic roundabout and support the immense Brunelleschi Dome (from 1436, the largest masonry vault ever built). Inside the dome it is possible to see the large surface decorated with frescoes from 1572-1579, by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari. The cathedral was started by Arnolfo di Cambio and started to be built in 1296. With his death, the project was passed on to Giotto, who dedicated himself especially to the Bell Tower, all colorful, a panoramic point of the city. Find out more about Florence Cathedral by clicking here!
6) What are the 10 must-see sights in Florence? OLD BRIDGE (PONTE VECCHIO)
Now let’s look at one of the symbols of Florence: the Old Bridge, which crosses the Arno River. First and only bridge built during Roman times, around the middle of the first century BC, the Old Bridge is one of the symbols of Florence. It is the only bridge that came out unscathed by German bombers during the 1944 withdrawal in World War II. Today it is an attraction for tourists from all over the world; an ideal place to walk and watch the jewelry that sits on top of the bridge. You can’t miss such a characteristic part of Florence like this.
7) What are the 10 unmissable sights in Florence? BASILICA OF THE HOLY CROSS (BASILICA DI SANTA CROCE)
After the walk over the Arno River, we go to Basilica of the Holy Cross, another wonderful example of the Italian Gothic movement. Here geniuses of caliber like Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo, Ugo Foscolo, Vittorio Alfieri and Gioacchino Rossini are buried.
About the Basilica of the Holly Cross
The Basilica of the Holly Cross, founded in 1294 under the design of the great architect Arnolfo di Cambio, is one of the oldest and grandest Franciscan basilicas, it is the maximum expression of the Italian Gothic movement. Next to the church, there is a monastery with two convents, the novitiate, a refectory and the chapter hall known as the Pazzi Chapel. In 1966, with the great flood, the church suffered significant losses in relation to its artistic collection, among them the Crucifix by Cimabue. Later, the church underwent a complete restoration and its original splendor was resumed, becoming a symbol of the resurgence of the city of Florence.
8) What are the 10 must-see sights in Florence? BASILICA OF SANTA MARIA NOVELLA
The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is one of the most important churches in Florence and is located in the square of the same name. Santa Maria Novella was for Florence the point of reference for another mendicant order: that of the Dominicans. In terms of architecture, it is one of the most important Gothic churches in Tuscany. The façade is the work of Frei Jacopo Talenti and Leon Battista Alberti.
About the Basilica
The basilica houses extraordinary masterpieces inside, among them: the “Holy Trinity”, by Masaccio (one of the first works to show the technique of perspective); Ghirlandaio’s frescoes in the Tornabuoni Chapel; “The Crucifix” by Giotto; “The Crucifix” by Brunelleschi (made between 1410-15, a competition with his friend Donatello) and “Mystic Nativity”, one of Sandro Botticelli’s first works. Inside, the basilica appears to be spacious thanks to the use of colored arches in the center of the plant. The project is attributed to Brunelleschi (the same architect as the Cathedral Dome).
9) What are the 10 must-see sights in Florence? CHURCH OF SAINT LAWRENCE
Another monument that cannot be missed is the church of Saint Lawrence, the oldest in Florence. The church was consecrated in 393 by Saint Ambrose and dedicated to the martyr Lawrence. Little has been preserved of its original construction. In fact, the church of Saint Lawrence, was rebuilt twice, once in 1059 (in a romantic style) and the second thanks to the contribution of the Médici family – who wanted to have a private church according to the Brunelleschi project (executed between 1418 and 1421), which after his death was completed by Antonio Manetti in 1461. The last restructuring, which we can now observe, is considered one of the best buildings in the Renaissance. The façade remains unfinished (although there was a Michelangelo project that was never put into practice).
10) What are the 10 must-see sights in Florence? MEDICI CHAPEL
The tenth monument that we will visit is the Medici Chapel, which is part of the monumental complex of Saint Lawrence. The project for the realization of the family tomb began in 1520, when Michelangelo started working at the Sacristy Nova, starting from Brunelleschi’s original plant. It was Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici (future Pope Clement VII) who ordered the construction of a mausoleum to provide an appropriate burial for some members of his family: Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino.
About the Chapel
The structure was completed in 1524, characterized by white walls and details in light stones (according to Brunelleschi’s designs). Entering the back of the church of Saint Lawrence, the chapels are separated into three distinct elements: the Crypt, the Chapel of Princes and the New Sacristy (Sagrestia Nuova). In the crypt, less illustrious members of the Medici family are buried. The Chapel of Princes has a large dome designed by Buontalenti (which started in 1604, but was completed only in the 20th century). Six Grand Dukes of the Medici are buried here. The New Sacristy was created by Michelangelo between the years 1520 and 1524 and it is a witness to the greatness of the Medici.
Map with 10 must-see sights in Florence
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What are the 10 must-see sights in Florence? Florence is one of the most famous cities in Tuscany, and represents an unmissable destination worldwide when traveling to Italy. Considered the “cradle of the Renaissance”, it houses in its historic center (declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO) a large collection of monuments, museums, palaces and statues.
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