Home » Toscana » Florence: top 10 things to see

Florence: top 10 things to see

italiaelamiasorella-6-of-1Florence is famous for its cathedral and its dome and, of course, for history and art. The birthplace of the Renaissance; it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world; It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982; city contains numerous museums and art galleries; The language spoken in the city during the 14th century was accepted as the Italian language; the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany.

Florence was established by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 80 BC as a settlement for his veteran soldiers. In the 15th century, Florence was among the largest cities in Europe, considered rich and economically successful. Florence was home to the Medici, one of history’s most important noble families. Lorenzo de’ Medici was considered a political and cultural mastermind of Italy in the late 15th century.

Florence replaced Turin as Italy’s capital in 1865 and, in an effort to modernize the city, the old market in the Piazza del Mercato Vecchio and many medieval houses were pulled down and replaced by a more formal street plan with newer houses. The country’s second capital city was superseded by Rome six years later, after the withdrawal of the French troops made its addition to the kingdom possible.

Nowadays Historic Centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments.


Population: 367,796, with 1.5 million in the metropolitan area;

From 1865-71 the city was the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy;

It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982;

Cradle of Renaissance;

The capital of Tuscany;

Some notable people: Dante Alighieri, Sandro Botticelli, Filippo Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Giotto, Galileo Galilei, Donatello, Roberto Cavalli, Guccio Gucci, Niccol? Machiavelli, Medici family, Florence Nightingale, Raphael, Giorgio Vasari, Amerigo Vespucci, Leonardo da Vinci.

Famous worldwide for: Cathedral, historic center and its history.

italiaelamiasorella-58-of-110. Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

The first great basilica in Florence. The church, the adjoining cloister, and chapterhouse contain a store of art treasures and funerary monuments. Especially famous are frescoes by masters of Gothic and early Renaissance.  Building began in the mid-13th century (about 1246), and was finished about 1360 under the supervision of Friar Iacopo Talenti with the completion of the Romanesque-Gothic bell tower and sacristy. At that time, only the lower part of the Tuscan gothic facade was finished. The church was consecrated in 1420.

The square in front the church was used by Cosimo I for the yearly chariot race (Palio dei Cocchi). This custom existed between 1563 and late in the 19th century. The two obelisks marked the start and the finish of the race.

italiaelamiasorella-17-of-19. Dante’s house

The sublime poet’s, who wrote Divine Comedy, and the Father of the Italian language, house is in the heart of Florence’s oldtown.

Is between the church of “S. Martino” and “Piazza dei Donati”.

Address is Via Santa Margherita – 50122 Firenze, web address of museum:


italiaelamiasorella-55-of-18.  Basilica of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito

It is located in the Oltrarno quarter, the building on the interior is one of the pre-eminent examples of Renaissance architecture. It was founded in 1250 received its present form in the 15th century when it was built after a model by Brunelleschi who had conceived it as a twin to the church of San Lorenzo. The facade however was never finished and is still only a rough plastered wall with an undefined silhouette at the top.





1-img_54647. Pitti Palace and Boboli gardens

Boboli Gardens is a beautiful park that is home to a collection of sculptures dating from the 16th through the 18th centuries, with some Roman antiquities.  The garden lacks a natural water source. To water the plants in the garden, a conduit was built from the nearby Arno River to feed water into an elaborate irrigation system.

Palazzo Pitti is situated on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker. The palace was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the chief residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It grew as a great treasure house as later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions. The palace and the Boboli gardens house the Palatine Gallery, the Silver Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Museum of Carriages.



6.  Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo (Michelangelo Square) is a famous square with a magnificent panoramic view of Florence and is a popular tourist destination in the Oltrarno district of the city. From here you can see the same view on the postcards. Designed in 1869 by Florentine architect Giuseppe Poggi. The Piazzale Michelangelo is dedicated to the city’s most famous Renaissance artist Michelangelo Buonarroti.


Campanile. View from Dome

Campanile. View from Dome

5. Giotto’s Campanile

Campanile is a free-standing campanile (bell tower) that is part of the complex of buildings that make up Florence Cathedral on the Piazza del Duomo, the tower is one of the showpieces of the Florentine Gothic architecture with its design by Giotto, its rich sculptural decorations and the polychrome marble encrustations. It was completed in 1359. It attains a height of 84.7 metres and has 7 bells. The top, with its breathtaking panorama of Florence and the surrounding hills, can be reached by climbing 414 steps.

The Uffizzi gallery. Courtyard

The Uffizzi gallery. Courtyard

4. The Uffizzi gallery

Uffizi is one of the main museums and among the oldest and most famous art museums of Europe. The building of Uffizi was begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de’ Medici so as to accommodate the offices of the Florentine magistrates, hence the name uffizi, “offices”. The museum now comprises the rooms on the second floor of the building, that display in chronological order paintings ranging from the 13th to the 18th centuries. In addition to paintings, the Uffizi exhibits a fine collection of Roman sculptures (portraits, emperors and divinities) that are displayed in the corridors decorated with frescoed and sculptured ceilings of the 16th and 17th centuries.




Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio

3. Palazzo Vecchio in piazza alla signoria

Palazzo Vecchio   is the town hall of the city and a museum, it remains the symbol of local government: since 1872 it has housed the office of the mayor of Florence, and it is the seat of the City Council. Built at the turn between the 13th and 14th centuries as the seat of the Priors, the oldest part of Palazzo Vecchio was originally designed by Arnolfo di Cambio (1245-1302). The later additions of the 15th and above all of the 16th centuries changed the scale of the rear part of the palace, without however modifying the massive appearance of the huge blocks, projecting gallery and asymmetrical tower.

Piazza della Signoria was already a central square in the original Roman town Florentia, surrounded by a theatre, Roman baths and a workshop for dyeing textiles. In this square is Palazzo Vecchio, but is also shared with the Loggia della Signoria, the Uffizi Gallery, the Palace of the Tribunale della Mercanzia (1359) (now the Bureau of Agriculture), and the Palazzo Uguccioni (1550, with a facade attributed to Raphael, who however died thirty years before its construction). Located in front of the Palazzo Vecchio is the Palace of the Assicurazioni Generali (1871, built in Renaissance style).

The Fountain of Neptune, nickname Biancone, situated beside Palazzo Vecchio. This work by Bartolomeo Ammannati (1563-1565) and some assistants, such as Giambologna, was commissioned on the occasion of the wedding of Francesco I de’ Medici with grand duchess Johanna of Austria in 1565. The Neptune figure, whose face resembles that of Cosimo I de’ Medici, was meant to be an allusion to the dominion of the Florentines over the sea. The figure stands on a high pedestal in the middle of an octagonal fountain. The pedestal in the middle is decorated with the mythical chained figures of Scylla and Charybdis.

Loggia dei Lanzi is effectively an open-air sculpture gallery of antique and Renaissance art including the Medici lions.

Ponte Vecchio2. Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) is the oldest bridge in the city. The bridge spans the Arno at its narrowest point where it is believed that a bridge was first built in Roman times, when the via Cassia crossed the river at this point. In order to connect the Palazzo Vecchio (Florence’s town hall) with the Palazzo Pitti, in 1565 Cosimo I de’ Medici had Giorgio Vasari build the Vasari Corridor above it.


1. Duomo

Florence Cathedral is the main church in Florence and major attraction to tourists visiting the region of Tuscany. The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is one of Italy’s largest churches, and until development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed.

Architects are Arnolfo di Cambio and Filippo Brunelleschi. The first stone was laid on September 9, 1296, by Cardinal Valeriana, the first papal legate ever sent to Florence. The building of this vast project was to last 140 years, the collective efforts of several generations; Arnolfo’s plan for the eastern end, although maintained in concept, was greatly expanded in size. The cathedral was consecrated by Pope Eugene IV on March 25, 1436

Brunelleschi won a structural design competition to build Dome. Work started on the dome in 1420 and was completed in 1436. Brunelleschi used more than 4 million bricks in the construction of the dome. The conical roof was crowned with a gilt copper ball and cross, containing holy relics, by Verrocchio in 1469.

Author: Emilija
Author’s blog

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲