Florence, a city at the heart of Tuscany, rivals Rome in terms of beauty. Impressive art collections in varied disciplines share the stage with a food culture that has legions of fans.
The whole city is a museum in itself, but if you’re short on time, it’s a good idea to get organised so as not to miss any of the essential sights.
We’ll begin our route at the impressive cathedral located in Piazza del Duomo. It’s considered one of the most beautiful in Europe and its facade will leave you breathless. An icon of gothic art and the Italian Renaissance, it was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982. The 45-metre wide dome is especially impressive and, despite the fact that the interior is more sober than you might expect, there’s an interesting crypt containing the body of Brunelleschi.
From the most religious area, we move into an area considered the liveliest and most bustling in the city. This is the Piazza della Signoria where local artists perform for locals and tourists all year round.
The emblematic building here is Palazzo Vecchio which welcomes you with sculptures of Adam and Eve, as well as a copy of David’s Michaelangelo and representations of Hercules and Cacus.
In the same plaza, you’ll find Logia della Signoria, an open-air museum in the square’s arcade. It displays sculptures such as the Rape of the Sabine Woman and Perseus with the Head of the Medusa. Here you’ll also find the Fountain of Neptune and Cosimo’s equestrian statue.
From here, we reach one of the most famous bridges in the world – Ponte Vecchio – a symbol of romanticism whose hanging houses now feature jewellery shops and goldsmiths. It was one of the few bridges in the city that wasn’t destroyed during World War 2. In most peoples’ minds, the bridge is full of padlocks left behind by loving couples, and even though that’s still true to an extent, they are removed from time to time by the authorities for security reasons.
It’s an ideal spot to take a break and watch the sunset.
Continuing on our route, we come to the Iglesia de Santa Croce, the largest Franciscan church in the world. Inside, you can see paintings by artists such as Brunelleschi and Donatello. It’s located in the plaza of the same name, and you’ll find a variety of activities available throughout the year.
Here you’ll also find the Florence Pantheon, with close to 300 tombs containing the bodies of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo Galilei, and more.
Now we’ll head to the Boboli Gardens, the largest in Florence at 45,000m2. The area is closely related to the Medici family that once occupied the Pitti Palace located in front of the gardens.
Taking a walk in the gardens will reveal marble statues, grottos, fountains, and even a small lake and ancient amphitheatre.
If you’re looking for great views, you’ll find nowhere better than the Piazzale Michelangelo, an elevated square from which you can contemplate the whole city. There’s also a bronze replica of Michaelangelo’s David in the square.
Our route around the city is even more pleasant if you accompany it with a visit to typical “trattorias” where you can try local food topped off with a typical “gelato”, available on every corner.
After reading about the delights of Florence, can you imagine discovering the hidden corners of this impressive city for yourself? We’re sure you can, and you’re already wondering where you’ve put your suitcase!