Whether this is the first time you visit Italy or have been there multiple times, it doesn’t matter; you can never pass from visiting Florence.
Without any doubt, Florence is one of the most important cities to go to if you want to find streets with incredible historical memory. In this Italian city, tourists fall in love with all its corners.
What to see in Florence?
Florence is a fantastic city in the northern part of the central region of Italy. This city arose at the height of the Renaissance, and today it is marked by art and culture.
Florence stands out for having a historic center loaded with a lot of symbolism and unique history. It also has a reasonably noticeable Gothic style.
The Arno river runs through Florence and is well known for its picturesque view of medieval bridges, fantastic architecture, and beautiful scenery.
Visiting Florence will be an opportunity for you to broaden your perception of the world and for you to be in contact with a different beauty.
Ponte Vecchio is one of the most famous bridges globally and one of Florence’s first places to visit.
This bridge was built between 1335 and 1345 by the Romans. The surprising thing is that it is still standing.
It became famous around 1403 when the city authorities decided that only butchers could sell their goods there, but since then, the bridge has been known as “the bridge of the goldsmiths.”
Ponte Vecchio is also one of the very few bridges to have survived World War II.
Today, tourists have a kind of ritual when they visit the Ponte Vecchio. It is about hanging padlocks as a sign of eternal love. Almost all couples who visit this bridge seal their love in this way. It is quite a romantic tradition!
Visit Ponte Vecchio and admire its Renaissance architecture, which will make you feel like time stops right here.
La Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze
The grand sculpture of Michelangelo’s David is something no one should miss on a trip to Florence. And I mean the original David, which you will find in the museum known as the Accademia Gallery, located near the monumental Duomo square.
You should know that you will see various versions of Michelangelo’s David, life-size sculptures exhibited throughout this beautiful Tuscan city on your visit to Florence.
But to see the original sculpture of David, you must visit La Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze.
Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore
This cathedral is a symbol of power and wealth.
Santa María del Fiore is a must-see in Florence. Its imposing architecture will undoubtedly impress you.
No matter what religion you practice, all tourists should visit the Santa María del Fiore Cathedral. This cathedral, in addition, is within the declaration of the historic center of Florence as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
The Cathedral of Florence dates from between 1296 and 1436. This time took on several forms: Gothic, Romanesque, Filippo Brunelleschi’s Renaissance construction that dominates sixteen chapels encircling a dome inspired by Rome’s Pantheon.
Visit the Museum of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Duomo Shop, and don’t forget to go up to the very top of the dome for a panoramic view of Florence.
Also, don’t forget to visit the baptistery!
Piazza della Signoria
The Piazza della Signora not only stands out for being a lovely place, but it is also ideal if you are looking for what to see in Florence at night.
In this square, the nightlife is bustling, and you will always find something to do. The Piazza della Signoria becomes a musical stage for hundreds of artists who delight tourists and locals every night. This environment is much better on hot nights.
Situated on Piazza della Signoria are two statues: David – created by Michelangelo lived with it inside his house for four years – and Hercules – a Roman copy made by Vincenzo de’ Rossi after an original attributed to Lysippus.
It is located in the central part of medieval Florence, south of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The Piazza della Signoria took its current form in the middle of the 13th century.
This museum has the particularity of being located outdoors, and it is one of the best museums to see in Florence.
Among the things you can see here are the equestrian statue of Cosimo I, the Fountain of Neptune, and the Loggia della Signoria
Santa Maria Novella
The Santa Maria Novella church is one of the most popular to see in Florence. Like Santa María del Fiore, it has an architecture that stands out. Due to its excellent interior decoration, it is considered a perfect example of the Tuscan Gothic style.
You will find the Santa Maria Novella church in the northwest of the old part of the city, in the square of the same name.
Something surprising about this church is that inside is the Santa María Novella pharmacy. It is located in this place since 1221 and is the oldest in Europe. The Church of Santa María Novella is famous, too, because its interior has a Latin cross plan with typical characteristics of Gothic architecture.
One of the first places that attract the attention of visitors in Florence is the Palazzo Vecchio.
Its facade stands out above everything else, and you will be dazzled by this place since your very arrival.
Upon entering Palazzo Vecchio, you will see the Salone del Cinquecento, which includes works by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The entire tour of the Palazzo Vecchio is about splendorous art.
Here, you will find the famous Arnolfo del Palazzio tower, which has a bell tower whose weight makes the place slightly inclined, according to popular belief. The effect is somewhat similar to what happened with the Tower of Pisa.
Palazzo Vecchio is the oldest political building in Florence and was the residence of the Medici family, who used it as their town hall.
Visit Palazzo Vecchio to see collections from the 14th century onwards, including Taddeo Gaddi, Arnolfo di Cambio, and Michelangelo.
Climb up to its rooftops for a panoramic view of Florence!
Piazzale Michelangelo is an almost obligatory stop to do in Florence since it is the best way to see Florence from above.
This mythical site is preferable that you visit it at noon so that you can take good pictures. The sunset looks beautiful from Piazzale Michelangelo, but it is not ideal for capturing photos as you will be backlit.
Also, if you are looking for what to see in Florence at night, this place is an excellent option. Here you will find a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David. In the same way, you can complement your walk by sitting in one of the cafes and restaurants close to the place. In this viewpoint, you can see the historic center of Florence and the Ponte Vecchio.
Piazza del Duomo
In the historic center of Florence, you will find the Piazza del Duomo. Anyone visiting Florence has to go to this square. You will find several attractions, including the Florence Cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, and the Museo dell ‘Opera del Duomo.
Entry to most of these sites is free, but we recommend that you go for a guided tour. This way, you will be able to know the history and curiosities of the place. This site is rich in culture and has exceptional historical value.
You cannot visit Florence and miss the Uffizi Gallery, even if you are not an art enthusiast.
In the 16th century, this gallery was open only to visitors who requested a permit. However, in 1765 it opened its doors to the public as a museum.
Some of the works that you cannot miss here are Bacchus by Caravaggio, Tondo Doni by Michelangelo and La Venus de Urbino by Titian. However, the museum is quite large, and it contains an impressive number of pieces.
Once you enter the Uffizi Gallery, you will realize that the gallery tour is organized chronologically.
Basilica de San Miniato al Monte
The Basilica of San Miniato al Monte has the title of ‘minor’ basilica, a title given to some catholic churches.
Construction of the current church began in 1013.
Like many others in Florence, this site has an imposing façade inspired by a geometric classicism taken from the marbles of Roman buildings.
The geometric proportions of this basilica are highlighted by the dichromatic alternation of white and green marble from Prato.
You will not regret visiting the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte! Inside it has the original structure of three naves separated by pillars and columns. In the central nave, you will find the Chapel of the Crucifix, created by Michelozzo.
Michelozzo di Bartolommeo
Michelozzo di Bartolommeo is a Florentine architect and sculptor of the Early Renaissance, and he is a contemporary of Brunelleschi.
Michelozzi was the capomaestro of Florence Cathedral (1446–55) and supervised the building of the lantern on the great dome. He designed the fortress-like villa at Cafaggiolo, Mugello (c.1452), the much more elegant Villa Medici, Fiesole (c. 1458–61), remodelled the Palazzo Comunale, Montepulciano (1440), and designed the Hospital of San Paolo dei Convalescenti, Florence (1459).
Piazza di Santa Croce
Piazza di Santa Croce is one of the most famous and splendorous piazzas in Florence. It owes its name to the Basilica Santa Croce, located in this same square and is its main attraction.
It is one of the great Franciscan churches in Italy. Like many of the places to see in Florence, it has a solid Gothic style.
Its construction began on May 3, 1294, on the ruins of a small church.
It is a symbol of Florentine art.
In addition to the basilica, you will find the monument dedicated to Dante Alighieri made by Enrico Pazzi. Other important buildings in the square are the Palazzo Cocchi-Serristori and the Palazzo Antella.
Without a doubt, Piazza Santa Croce manages to arouse the interest of travelers, who consider that much of the beauty of Florence can be found in this place.
Here you have 11 places to visit / things to see that you can’t miss on your next trip to Florence.
Check out my 2021 Bucket List with updates on the places I get to visit during this year.