When it comes to visiting Florence, there are many places that you should not miss. The city is home to some of the most stunning art in the world, but it also has a lot of quaint cafes and food markets, plus old ancient buildings to explore.
One of these places is the Uffizi Gallery, which houses some of Renaissance art history’s most iconic paintings. Spend a few hours here to get the most out of your visit.
The Duomo, or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is the largest church in Europe. Its towers, statues, and art are impressive, but its fame rests on the dome that was built during the Renaissance.
In 1420, Filippo Brunelleschi won the competition to build the dome, which was considered revolutionary at the time because it was the first great dome built in Europe in more than a thousand years. The dome was bonded together using a rib and ring system that prevented the bricks from crumbling.
There are a few ways to view the dome, but one of the most interesting is to climb it. This requires you to purchase a ticket for the whole complex and you can do so online or in person. Once you have your ticket, you can then reserve a date and time to climb the Dome.
Giotto’s Campanile, or Bell Tower in Florence, is one of the city’s most renowned landmarks. It’s an incredible edifice that sits alongside the Duomo and is considered a masterpiece by art historians worldwide.
It’s known for its hexagonal panels, relief carvings set in diamond-shaped lozenges and 16 life size statues placed in niches. These sculptures reflect the values and interests of fourteenth century Florence.
The top of the tower is a viewing platform with sweeping views of the rooftops, the cathedral, and the city’s crowded skyline. The climb to the top is a little grueling, but it’s worth it for the stunning views!
One of the most famous landmarks in Florence, Brunelleschi’s Dome stands majestically at the top of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. It’s a dazzling work of art and a major architectural masterpiece ahead of its time.
It was built without the use of centring (a wooden or iron structure that would support the weight of the masonry). As a result, it was able to stand taller than any other dome at the time.
Despite the skepticism of fellow architects and engineers, Filippo Brunelleschi was convinced that his invention of vaulting techniques could be the solution to building the Duomo’s octagonal dome without centring. He also designed the machinery and equipment required to carry out the construction.
Piazza del Duomo
Located in the historic center of Florence, Piazza del Duomo is home to three of the city’s most iconic structures: the cathedral, baptistery and campanile. Together they form a cultural triangle that’s both a religious and political landmark.
The cathedral, a 14th-century church erected on the site of the former Roman Santa Reparata, is a stunning structure that combines classical Gothic architecture with Arab influences. Its red-tiled dome, designed by Brunelleschi, is one of the most iconic sights in Italy.
The baptistery, a separate structure that was built to serve as a baptismal font, is also an important place of worship. Its design reflects the importance of Christian rituals in Florentine society.
Piazza della Signoria
The historic, artistic and political heart of Florence sits atop ancient Roman ruins in this L-shaped square. A plethora of historical treasures, statues and works that seem almost life-like can be found here.
The city hall, Palazzo Vecchio, overlooks the square. It was home to the Signoria of the Florentine Republic and then the government centre of the Medici grand dukes of Tuscany.
The square has played host to numerous important events and conflicts throughout history. It also houses some of the most beautiful artwork in the city. One of the most important is Michelangelo’s David, carved from a single 17-foot piece of Carrara marble.
Located in the Oltrarno neighborhood, the Palace of Pitti is a popular tourist attraction and one of the most impressive palaces in Florence. With its impressive history and numerous art galleries, the palazzo is a must-visit during your trip to Italy.
The Pitti Palace was first built by the banker Luca Pitti, who commissioned the design of the palace from Filippo Brunelleschi. His plans for the Medici family were rejected by Cosimo de’ Medici due to their excessive size and cost, but the Pitti decided to go with his own plan anyway.
Over the centuries, it served as a residence and treasure house for all the ruling families of Tuscany. Later, it was used as a power base by Napoleon and briefly served as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. Eventually, the palazzo was donated to the Italian state by King Vittorio Emanuele III in 1919.