Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance, that time of incredible artistic expression from the 14th thorugh and 17th centuries. Artists such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Bernini, and Botticelli had their start in this incredible city, encouraged by patrons such as the Medici’s. Because of this, Florence is almost always included in Italian itineraries.
1. Duomo & Baptistry – This stunning church, with its lovely pink, white and green marble, is usually a visitor’s first stop in Florence. The huge, red dome, designed and built by Brunneleschi is an icon of the city. Ghiberti’s Baptistry doors are also popular with tourists.
2. Uffizi Gallery – This incredible museum, a gift from the Medici’s, contains an amazing collection of works, especially from noted Renaissance artists. The Botticelli room is one of the favorites for most visitors. Purchase tickets online, prior to your visit to avoid the tremendously long lines.
3. Galleria dell’Accademia – This museum is famous for only one reason — the presence of the original copy of Michelangelo’s David, arguably the greatest sculpture in the world. Once again, lines are long, so obtain tickets online prior to your visit.
4. Piazza della Signoria – This square is very popular with tourists because of its proximity to the Uffizi (see above), and because it is a showplace for some other wonderful scuptures. Found in the Loggia dei Lanzi, on the south side, are Cellini’s Perseus, and Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabines and Hercules and the Centaur. In addition, on the square itself is another copy of the David and Ammanati’s Neptune Fountain.
5. Ponte Vecchio – This covered bridge across the Arno is actually a small bazaar with shops lining both sides of the bridge. Many of the shops are high-end establishments, but crowds of people can always be found here, browsing and people-watching.
6. Santa Croce Church – Another of Florence’s fantastic churches, this white marble structure is most famous as a tomb for many of the city’s famous sons. Michelangelo, Galileo, Macchiavelli, Ghiberti. and Rossini are all buried here. There is also a monument to Dante Alighieri, Italy’s most famous poet.
7. Santa Maria Novella Church – This unusual looking church with green and white stripes is loaded with artistic treasures inside, so must be explored to be appreciated.
8. Boboli Gardens – These formal 16th century gardens contain numerous sculptures and walkways, providing a pleasant getaway from the bustle of the city below. They are located across the Arno River from the city center.
9. Bargello Museum – This palace-turned museum is the oldest public building in the city of Florence. Highlights include several pieces by Michelangelo and Donatelli’s statue of David.
10. Basilica of San Lorenzo – this church contains the famous Medici Chapels and is the final resting place for many members of this influential family. The truly important members of the family can be found in the Chapel of Princes.
Other sights considered: