Florence, one of the most popular travel cities in Italy, has many impressive sights and attractions. A Renaissance city in the heart of Tuscany, Florence has some of Italy’s best museums, beautiful cathedrals and churches, and interesting streets and squares with elegant buildings and shops.
Here are the top attractions tourists want to see. Most lie in Florence’s compactcentro storico. You’ll find their locations on thisFlorence Map.
•Il Duomo – Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
Florence’s most popular site is itsDuomo(cathedral), theCattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore. The huge Gothic duomo was begun in 1296, consecrated in 1436, and holds 20,000 people. Its exterior, made of green, pink, and white marble, has several elaborate doors and interesting statues. Inside, Brunelleschi’s Dome is a masterpiece of construction. Buy a ticket to climb the 463 steps to its top. See ourpictures of Florence taken from the Duomo Dome.
•Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio
Florence’s most famous square isPiazza della Signoria, the heart of the historic center and a free open-air sculpture exhibit. TheLoggia della Signoriaholds some important statues including acopy of Michelangelo’s David. Thepiazzahas been Florence’s political center since the middle ages and Florence’s town hall, the medievalPalazzo Vecchio, sits on the piazza. Inside thepalazzoare elaborately decorated public rooms and private apartments that can be visited. Around thepiazzaare cafes and restaurants.
The Baptistery of John the Baptist, from the 11th century, is one of Florence’s oldest buildings. Its exterior is made of green and white marble and has three sets of amazing bronze doors (reproductions – the originals are in the Duomo Museum, also worth a visit). Inside, are mosaics and a marble pavement of the zodiac.
•Campanile – Bell Tower
TheCampanile, bell tower, is inPiazza del Duomo. The first story was designed by Giotto and it is commonly calledGiotto’s Campanile. Buy a ticket and climb the 414 stairs (no lift) for great views of the Cathedral and its dome and the city of Florence and surroundings.
ThePonte Vecchio(old bridge), built in 1345, was Florence’s first bridge across theArno Riverand is the only surviving bridge from Florence’s medieval days (others were destroyed in World War II). ThePonte Vecchiois still lined with shops selling gold and silver jewelry. From the bridge, you’ll have a great view along the Arno River and beyond.
•Galleria degli Uffizi
TheGalleria degli Uffiziholds the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art but it’s also Italy’s most crowded museum so it’s a good idea to buy tickets ahead to avoid long ticket lines (use the link above for booking information orbuy Galleria degli Uffizi ticketsin US dollars from Viator). TheUffiziholds thousands of paintings from medieval to modern times and many antique sculptures, illuminations, and tapestries. Artists whose works you’ll see includeMichelangelo, Giotto, Botticelli,Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino, and Raphael.
•Galleria dell’ Academia
Florence’sGalleria dell’ Academiaholds important paintings and sculptures from the 13th-16th centuries. Michelangelo’s David, probably the most famous sculpture in the world, is in theGalleria dell’ Academiaas well as other sculptures by Michelangelo. You’ll also find an interesting collection of musical instruments, begun by the Medici family.Buy Academia tickets from Viatorin advance.
•Boboli Garden and Pitti Palace
Cross thePonte Vecchioto theGiardino di Boboli, a huge park on a hillside in the middle of Florence behind thePitti Palace. Here you’ll find beautiful gardens and fountains and a great view of Florence from theForte Belvedere. Open daily at 8:15 (except some Mondays in winter) with seasonal closing times.ThePitti Palace, Florence’s largestpalazzo, was once the seat of the Medici family. Eight different galleries feature art, costumes, jewelry, and the apartments.Buy Pitti Palace ticketsin advance in US dollars fromSelect Italy.
Santa Croce, inPiazza Santa Croce, is the largest Franciscan church in Italy and holds the tombs of several important Florentines including Michelangelo and Dante. The vast interior contains some exceptional stained glass windows and frescoes. One of Brunelleschi’s most important works, theCappella dei Pazzi, is inSanta Croce. Admission includes the museum and tours given by volunteers when available.