Last update: October, 2019.

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10 places to visit in Florence

Tourist Itinerary in Florence: where to go and what to see in 1, 2, 3 or 4 days.

Florence, Italy

If you could travel back in time like the protagonists of the film “Nothing Left to Do but Cry” by Roberto Benigni and Massimo Troisi, in 1984, at the beginning of the 1400s-1500s you could run into Brunelleschi and Michelangelo, Donatello, Masaccio, Lorenzo the Magnificent and many other celebrities right there in Florence.

They are all world-famous personages: architects, painters, sculptors, princes and orators. These people, going about their favorite profession, probably did not even think about the great contribution they were making to the development of a small city on the River Arno. Their masterpieces started the Italian Renaissance.

Until then Florence was a wealthy and quiet city. After the Renaissance began, it became the reference point for the “new people” that were emerging from the Middle Ages.

Thanks to the masters of every art form, there was a great increase in the numbers of palaces, museums, churches and bridges, all just a few kilometers / miles from each other. The paintings exhibited in the shops determined the change in history forever. All these masterpieces, whether created on stone, canvas or marble, are still preserved and are in perfect condition. They are accessible for inhabitants and tourists alike to see. The important thing is to be able to visit everything and find accommodation, something which is not always easy because of the large number of tourists who come to visit Florence. At the bottom of the page you will find the map of the city.

We propose 10 places to see during a holiday or a weekend in Florence.

Looking for accommodation in Florence? Use the convenient search system of booking.com. To save money, compare the prices of more than 50 sites on hotelscombined.com: you will find the lowest price for the room you select.

The Brunelleschi Cupola in Florence

1

The Brunelleschi Dome is the tallest and one of the oldest buildings in Florence. It was built on a project by Giotto who, however, never saw his work completed. The Baptistery was built in the IV century.

The dome of Brunelleschi in Florence, Italy
The dome of Brunelleschi in Florence

The building, with its beautiful doors, is like an illustration from the Bible. The enchanting facade of the Duomo in white and green marble captures the gaze of every passerby. There is no other place in the world which boasts so many special buildings. The buildings comprise what is called Santa Maria del Fiore.

It took about 170 years to build the Church, which is 153 meters / 500 ft. high, and it has always been the envy of the nearby towns of Siena and Pisa. The most famous artists of Florence were involved in the realization of this grandiose project: from Giotto to Brunelleschi, from Vasari to Talenti, from Arnolfo di Cambio to Lorenzo Ghiberti. Any sightseeing you do in Florence must start from here: as you look at the Campanile you will be astonished, and you will certainly wonder how they were able to create such a masterpiece.

It is possible to climb to the top of the Dome (there is no elevator).

Where is it? In the historic center of the city (see the map at the bottom of the page).

Price: here is the site for the purchase of tickets.

The Ponte Vecchio in Florence

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The Ponte Vecchio is one of the main attractions in Florence and is the oldest bridge in the city, built in 1345. Its external appearance has hardly changed since then. The Ponte Vecchio is considered the most photographed place in the city.

Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy
Ponte Vecchio in Florence

In 1565 Giorgio Vasari was commissioned by the Duke to build the unusual structure that he called the “The Vasari Corridor”. It was intended to connect Palazzo Vecchio (the seat of the government) to Palazzo Pitti (which was the residence of the governor’s family). The bridge is one-kilometer / 0.62 miles long. In 1938, as Hitler was arriving in Florence, a large panoramic square was set up here. Many of the bridges were destroyed during the Second World War, but the Ponte Vecchio remained intact. It is said that Hitler himself gave orders during the bombing to save the bridge.

Once there were butchers and grocery stores here, but when “The Vasari Corridor” was erected on the bridge, the butchers and grocers were banished. Today there are modern jewelry and souvenir shops along the bridge. Gold is the main symbol of Ponte Vecchio, as evidenced by the statue of Benvenuto Cellini (one of the most important goldsmiths of Florence) that is located on the western side of the bridge. It is a tradition in this place for lovers to hang “padlocks of love” here.

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence

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The Uffizi Gallery is the oldest art museum in Europe. The best works of the various historical periods are preserved here. The Uffizi Gallery is a wonderful place for tourists and all art lovers to visit. It is interesting to observe how the tourists patiently wait their turn in the never-ending queue, while a large part of Florentines have never visited the Uffizi.

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence

Although you lose time in the queue, it is worth it, even if it is only for the unique architecture of the interior of the building, not to mention the special works by the best artists in the world which are exhibited here. If you have ever dreamt of seeing a certain painting, very probably you will find it in this museum.

In this Gallery you can admire masterpieces by Leonardo, Perugino, Durer, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Signorelli. But in the Uffizi there are also exceptional works such as:

  • “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli
  • “The Venus of Urbino” by Titian
  • “The Annunciation” of Leonardo da Vinci

We recommend that plan your visit in advance, so you can dedicate an entire day to the Uffizi.

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday (8.15 am – 6.50 pm).

Closing days: every Monday, January 1, May 1, December 25.

Purchasing the ticket: on this site.

Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

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The first thing that must be said of the Palazzo Vecchio is that you cannot see it in its entirety, even if you are in the furthest point of Piazza della Signoria, and you will not be able to get the whole building in a single photograph, because the palace is too large and too high.

Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy
Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

You can’t go near Palazzo Vecchio and not take a photo because it is one of the most beautiful examples of civil architecture of the 1300s. With a height of 94 meters / 308 ft., it was built in 1310 and on the top flies the flag with the Florentine lily. At the entrance to Palazzo Vecchio a copy of the David (Michelangelo’s famous work) is installed. The sculpture is five meters / 16 ft. high, and transport and installation took four days.

This wonderful palace is a place that has long been considered “cursed”, because it stands on the territory of battles between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. Today, despite all the memories of the bloody past of this place, Piazza della Signoria is the heart of the social, economic and political life of the city of Florence.

Where is it? In the historic center.

Purchasing the ticket: on this site. If you climb to to the top of the tower you can enjoy a wonderful view over the city and the Cathedral with Brunelleschi’s cupola.

The Brancacci Chapel in Florence

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The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden: the man covers his face with his hand, weeping and trying to hide in shame while the woman’s face is contracted with pain and she covers her breast with her hands. This incredible work, preserved in the Brancacci chapel, is the main element of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine.

Brancacci chapel in Florence, Italy
Brancacci chapel in Florence

Masaccio worked on the fresco “The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden”, that decorates the ceiling. Masaccio once again, together with Masolino, was involved in all the other works located in the building. This is a teacher and his pupil. The paintings dated back to the era of the early Renaissance. The main themes of the works are the original sin and the life of the Apostle Peter. Today the Brancacci Chapel hosts 12 works that amaze both the faithful and non-believers.

The Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence

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Santa Croce is one of the most famous historical monuments. The Basilica, which is known as the “Pantheon of Florence” houses the tombs of famous personalities of the city. The interior of the building is decorated with fascinating frescoes by Giotto and stained-glass windows.

Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, Italy
Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence

At the entrance of the basilica is Michelangelo’s tomb, protected by three statues that represent painting, sculpture and architecture. Opposite is thetTomb of Galileo Galilei. Further on is the cenotaph of Dante whose mortal remains are located in Ravenna, where he died. The Basilica of Santa Croce is often called the place where “the mortal remains of great people” are kept.

Santa Croce is not just a collection of tombs of famous Italians; in the final part you find the chapel with frescoes by Giotto. In the Cappella dei Pazzi is the fresco by Cimabue, “Crucifixion”.

The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella in Florence

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The construction of the church began in 1278. Over time, the Basilica has become a particular example of the Romanesque style. It is known for the combined use of colored marbles. In the mid-fifteenth century the basilica was rebuilt on the initiative of a local merchant.

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy
Basilica of Santa Maria Novella in Florence

The interior has three naves, between which there is Giotto’s “Crucifixion” which immediately attracts the attention of visitors. In the Strozzi chapel you can admire a unique series of frescoes by Filippino Lippi. The famous cycle of Ghirlandaio’s frescoes that reproduce the portraits of all the personalities of that time can be found in the main chapel (Tornabuoni).

“Crucifixion” by Brunelleschi in the Gondi Chapel is the artist’s only work in wood. The most important work of all those conserved in the church is Masaccio’s “Trinity”, a totally revolutionary work.

Santa Maria Novella has made an enormous contribution to the culture of the city and the entire world. It is here that we meet the young people of the novel “The Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio, wanting to leave Florence during the plague.

The Accademia Gallery in Florence

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The gallery was founded by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Pietro Leopoldo, in the XVII century. It was opened to help students of fine arts at the Academy with their research on Florentine art. The works of famous artists and painters of the XIV-XVI century are currently preserved in the Gallery.

Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy
Accademia Gallery in Florence

The main work in the Gallery is Michelangelo’s “David” which, because of the damage caused by the action of wind and cold weather, was replaced in Piazza della Signoria with a copy. The statue represents the biblical hero who opposed the giant Goliath. It is the symbol of the victory of reason and manhood over strength. Michelangelo worked at this sculpture for two years, from 1502 to 1504. He used blocks of marble with which other masters had tried to work but, in the end, they had refused to use for a sculpture because it they considered marble a material too fragile to support the great weight and height of the statue. Michelangelo undertook several special experiments before creating “David”, which was later to become the symbol of formal perfection and eternal beauty, despite the cold marble.

What to eat in Florence?

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The Florentine cuisine is famous above all for the Florentine steak (bistecca alla fiorentina), but you will find many other offerings here as well. The dishes are created simply from man’s imagination, thanks to which special recipes are born from common ingredients.

Local food: Florentine steak, Italy
Local food: Florentine steak

A meal in Florence usually begins with a bruschetta with liver or oil and salt. Lampredotto, a piece of bread with abomaso (one of four stomachs of cattle) is very famous.

Among the first course dishes, pappa al pomodoro and the Tuscan soup, ribollita, are famed. The Fiorentina is the best of all specialties. According to the Florentines, the ideal weight of the steak must be at least one kilo.

The most famous main of Florentine cuisine is beef tripe with beans. With red meat you usually drink red wine. There is a wide choice of local wines:

  • Chianti
  • Brunello
  • Montepulciano

If you want to know where to eat well in Florence we recommend avoiding the restaurants in the city center, because a meal could be very expensive. To find good restaurants without spending too much, it’s sufficient to move away a little from the center of town.

Where to sleep in Florence?

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Since there are always many foreign tourists in Florence, we can say that the whole city revolves around tourists. This means that you will find a wide choice of hotels, B&Bs, rooms and houses for rent.

To find a room with a good ratio between quality and price you will need to search and book in advance.

In the historic center of the city there are many B&Bs and 3-star hotels where the average cost is approximately 100 Euros per night. In hotels close to the center (walking distance), the price will be lower.

Looking for accommodation in Florence? Use the convenient search system of booking.com. To save money, compare the prices of more than 50 sites on hotelscombined.com: you will find the lowest price for the room you select.

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