Florence is my hometown, the city I chose as such years ago, after almost a year of backpacking across Europe.
Here I work as a painter and also as a licensed tour guide endorsed by the Tuscany region within museums and on walking tours of the city.
After reading this article you will know what are the essential things to see, what to do and you will surely understand why, like me, many people from all over the world come to this city and decide to stay, who for a short period and who for a lifetime.
Florence is famous above all in the artistic sphere as the cradle of the Renaissance, home to many great minds such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarrotti among others. In Florence you basically breathe Art and it is that many elements contributed to forming this magnificent atmosphere for centuries: economic, cultural, the birth of patronage, the presence of wealthy families such as the Medici and a good relationship with the papacy.
We are talking about a relatively small city, in which it is not necessary to use public transport to visit the historic center, so you can go to any relevant place on foot Without further ado, here is my list of the things you cannot miss in Florence:
1: Monumental complex of the Duomo.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
From 1296 Florence began the construction of this imposing Cathedral, symbol of its cultural and economic hegemony in the entire region during these years, however it will be concluded as we see it today only in the second half of 1800. It is almost 600 years of construction!
Admission is Free!
* A ticket is required to access the rest of the monumental complex (see opera del duomo's website)
Saint John's Baptistery
The oldest building in the square, the first documents that testify to its presence are from the 9th century. Dante Allighieri mentions it and recalls scenes from his life in the divine comedy, “il bel san Giovanni”.
Building dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, patron saint of the Florentines, built on an ancient Roman Domus. An absolute architectural gem, the interior has one of the best examples of mosaic art and a tomb made by the great Donatello.
Giotto's Bell tower the famous Giotto bell tower named after its famous builder Giotto di Bondone, started in the 14th century, has some of the best views of the city. Santa Reparata The cathedral preceding the current one, its remains are just below the current cathedral and can be visited! Inside you will also find the tomb of the first genius of the Renaissance, Filippo Brunelleschi. Opera del Duomo Museum Instituted to preserve all the treasures of the Cathedral, including works by the famous Donatello, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi and many others! It is here that the original doors of the baptistery and the preceding facade of the Cathedral are also preserved. In practice here all the treasures that one would expect to see in a cathedral as imposing as Santa Maria del Fiore are preserved.
2: Signoria Square
The political and civil square of Florence, here all the celebrations related to the city take place, and it is also an open-air museum and the sculptures that adorn it are practically all original! There are only two exceptions, plus each sculpture represents different political periods. Going around the square during the day and then at night is like visiting two different squares, in short, this square is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy so you cannot miss it.
3: Uffizi Gallery
The most important painting museum in Italy and one of the most important in the world! Preserving the best examples of the glory period of Italian painting, the collection spans in chronological order from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century from medieval altarpieces to the cruel naturalism of Caravaggio through Boticcelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo and more. * price from 18 to 20 euros (depending on the period) 2 euros with European Union ID from 18 to 25 years old
4: Accademia Gallery
A space built in the 19th century to preserve Michelangelo's masterpiece, David. Work that summarizes the great tradition of ancient sculpture and raises a new modern thought about man. Everyone comes to this museum basically to see David but the museum preserves other masterpieces by the great sculptor, several important paintings, altarpieces, a collection of plasters and musical instruments of great historical value. * price from 8 to 16 euros (depending on the period)
5: Ponte Vecchio/ Vasarian Corridor
The Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in the city, of Roman origin but rebuilt in the 14th century, it is the only one that survived the Second World War and is currently the seat of the largest goldsmith and jewelery workshops in the city. It offers great views of the city from the river Arno and during the summer it is a very active area full of musicians and painters.
6: Pitti Palace
Last dynastic seat of the Medici Family, seat also of the Lorena Asburgo and the Savoia, it is the largest palace in Florence and has the best example of an Italian garden in the world, approximately 45,000 mq of garden, monuments, fountains, islands, caves etc. I recommend you visit the garden during spring, summer and autumn, you will enjoy it very much, the palace is recommended all year round and is divided into several museums dedicated to collections of paintings, sculpture, costumes, jewelry, etc. belonging to the dynasties that inhabited here.
7: Santa Maria Novella
Headquarters of the Dominicans in Florence since the late 1200s, one of the most beautiful churches in the city, preserves works by many great Renaissance artists, Masaccio, Brunelleschi, Filippino Lippi, Paolo Uccello, Ghirlandaio and more! A jewel for Art lovers. Santa Maria Novella is also the headquarters of the oldest pharmacy in Europe, it is still in operation today and can be visited for free! * Entrance to the Church costs 7.5 euros.
8: Santa Croce
The Church of the Holy Cross is the seat of the Franciscans, responsible for the importation of fur activity to Florence, even today this is the main production area of leather goods so famous throughout Italy and as Santa Maria Novella conserves. a large number of works of art by Donatello, Canova and Giotto among others. It is considered the main funeral monument of the illustrious of all Italy because here is the tomb of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Gaileo Galilei and many other great thinkers, scientists and artists. Absolutely worth a visit * admission to the church costs 7.5 euros.
9: Santo Spirito
Santo Spirito Square represents the Florentine way of life quite well, it is probably the most active and bohemian area of the city. Around the square there are bars, restaurants, trattoria and osterias with a good atmosphere and a good quality / price balance.
10: San Lorenzo
San Lorenzo is the historic Quarter of the Medici family, where their first residence and the Family tabernacle (Church of San Lorenzo) are located. However, in San Lorenzo the central market of the city is also located, a place full of colors, textures and aromas from the kitchens that offers all kinds of typical foods, it stays open until midnight so just go up to the second floor and You will find thousands of options for lunch and dinner. For more practical Recommendations in Florence click here All this in my opinion is what you cannot miss during your stay in Florence, so I hope this article can be of help to you and if you need more information you can contact me in the chat on this website or by writing to: email@example.com The best way to discover the stories and wonders of these places is by taking a free tour of Florence. The Nomadstour team offers two complementary tours of 2 hours each so that you can discover the whole city in the company of an expert in a pleasant and unforgettable way. You can book a Freetour at 10:00 focused on the history of art and the Medici touring the historic center from North to South by clicking here and another at 15:00 on Florentine Stories and Legends from West to East by clicking here If you travel with your friends or family and want to visit a museum, I recommend you take a tour with a certified guide who will help you understand and deepen the great artistic content of museums and churches at an unbeatable price, just contact the nomadstour team to organize your visit. If you also travel to Venice, don't forget to read the article: What to visit in Venice. The Essential in a few days