Enjoy Firenze, starting from its main landmark attractions
A map of these venues follows
1. Duomo, Cupola, Campanile di Giotto and Battistero: the Religious Complex of Santa Maria del Fiore
Completed in 1436, at the time the Duomo in Florence, the official name of which is “Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, was the largest Christian church in the world. The Cupola, Brunelleschi’s Dome, is still today the tallest construction in the city, is a symbol known all over the world. The Campanile, the bell tower designed by Giotto, can be visited by climbing no less than 414 stairs up to the top, from where you can enjoy an extraordinary panorama. The Battistero di San Giovanni, or Baptistery of St. John the Baptist, is the building that completes the considerably striking appearance of the square. It has three famous doors, sumptuously decorated, and it was used in antiquity for the investiture of knights and poets. The near Museo dell’Opera del Duomo houses works designed and built for the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Bell Tower and the Baptistery.
2. Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, the David and the Loggia dei Lanzi
Piazza della Signoria is the seat of civil power and social heart of the city. Facing onto the square are Palazzo Vecchio, today the seat of the Municipal Council of Florence, the famous statue by Michelangelo, the David (this is a replica, whereas the original is conserved in the Galleria dell’Accademia), and the splendid Loggia della Signoria (or Loggia dei Lanzi).
3. Galleria degli Uffizi and Corridoio Vasariano
The Uffizi Art Gallery is one of the most famous museums in the world on account of its extraordinary collections of ancient sculptures and paintings ranging from the Middle Ages to the modern age.
The Vasari Corridor is the raised walkway the entrance to which is at the beginning of the second corridor of the Uffizi Gallery; the narrow passage then stretches along the Arno, over the Ponte Vecchio, finally arriving at Palazzo Pitti.
4. Piazzale Michelangelo, San Miniato al Monte and the panoramic gardens
Piazzale Michelangelo is the most famous and appreciated panoramic point in Florence, with its views seen all over the world in millions of postcards, reproductions and selfies. The design of the square dates back to 1869, when Florence was capital of Italy. Dedicated to the city’s most famous artist, the square has bronze copies of some of Michelangelo’s most famous sculptures.
The Abbey of San Miniato al Monte is a medieval religious building situated at one of the highest panoramic points in Florence. The most spectacular access is gained via the monumental flight of steps. The outside of the church is decorated with green and white marble, typical of Florentine Romanesque, while the interior, which is unusual and of great beauty, boasts one of the city’s bestbest-conserved original floors.
These two places are definetly worth a visit, as Florence must be seen from high up.
5. Basilica di San Lorenzo, Mercato di San Lorenzo and Mercato Centrale
The Basilica of San Lorenzo was founded in the 4th century AD. Its current appearance, however, is the result of the last major reconstruction work that took place in the 15th century at the wishes of the Medici and under the direction of the great architect Filippo Brunelleschi. the Medici Chapels include the New Sacristy by Michelangelo, the Chapel of the Prince mausoleum, the crypts, the funeral monument to Cosimo the Elder, and the Treasure of the Basilica. The outdoor street market of San Lorenzo is another nice place to visit, especially if you like leather goods. While the recently opened Mercato Centrale is a point of reference for informal but good quality cuisine for both Florentines and tourists. Built at the end of the 19th century, the Central Market is a building of a certain architectural merit.
6. Santa Croce
One of the “great basilicas” in Florence, a point of reference of the Franciscan order. Giotto painted some of his great masterpieces here and the French writer Stendhal experienced that profound artistic agitation that has been known since then as the “Stendhal syndrome”. The basilica contains the monumental sepulchres of Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli.
7. Santa Maria Novella
A point of reference of the Dominican order, the church, with its elegant façade by Leon Battista Alberti, is a harmonious synthesis of Gothic and Renaissance styles. It hosts exceptional works of art by Masaccio, Giotto, Brunelleschi, Filippino Lippi, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Paolo Uccello.
8. Ponte Vecchio
The official date of foundation of the current Ponte Vecchio is given as 1345. For the entire Middle Ages the bridge hosted greengrocers’, fishmongers’ and butchers’ shops, who used the river to dispose of their waste in a hurry. At the end of the 16th century, however, when it became the “noble” zone of the city, the goldsmiths and jewellers started to arrive, and they have been there uninterruptedly to this day.
9. Palazzo Pitti and Giardino di Boboli
The symbol of wealth and power, the Pitti Palace was inhabited by the Medici, then by the Habsburg-Lorraines, by Napoleon I and, after the Unity of Italy, by the Savoy family. The original architecture dates back to the 15th century and “Pitti” is the surname of its first owner. The building is located Oltrarno, at the foot of Boboli Hill. The Boboli Gardens are one of the most important examples of Italian-style gardens in the world.
10. Santo Spirito: the Basilica, the Piazza and Borgo Santo Spirito
The Basilica di Santo Spirito is a point of reference of the Augustinian order. The church has given its name to the entire surrounding neighbourhood, Borgo Santo Spirito, the city’s most bohemian neighbourhood crowded with young lovers of nightlife. A jewel of Renaissance architecture, the church was the last great project by Filippo Brunelleschi and conserves elegant and austere rationality in its architectural plan. In the interior, there is also a wooden crucifix, the present by a teenager Michelangelo who studied here corpses from the convent’s hospital.