The city is considered the cradle of the Italian Renaissance, and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It has also become famous for being the birthplace of Dante Alighieri, author of the Divine Comedy, which is a landmark of universal literature and from which the modern Italian language draws many influences. In this poem he describes the city of Florence in many passages, as well as some of his famous Florentine contemporaries, such as Guido Cavalcanti, a friend who was also a poet and active in the political life of the city, who are also characters in the work. Also a Florentine is Cimabue, the last great Italian painter to follow the Byzantine tradition, and responsible for the "discovery" of Giotto.
Florence has its origins in an ancient Etruscan settlement, and was ruled by the Medici family from the early 15th century until the mid-18th century. The first city leader belonging to the Medici family was Cosme de Medici, who came to power in 1437. He was a protector of the Jews in the city, initiating the family's long relationship with the Jewish community. The Great Synagogue of Florence, also known as the Tempio Maggiore ("Main Temple"), is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. The many beautiful cathedrals of different periods and styles stand out. The city is also the setting for works by Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto di Bondone, Sandro Botticelli, Raphael, Donatello, among others. Popes Leo X, Clement VII, Clement VIII, Leo XI, Urban VIII and Clement XII were born in this city.
10 Places to visit in Florence
1. Piazza Michelangelo
Pozzi built the square as a monument in honour of Michelangelo and his works, which were to be exhibited here. The building never became a museum and today houses a famous panoramic restaurant. Now, the square is crowded with tourists and offers the best panoramic view of the city.
2. Galleria Uffizi
One of the most important art galleries in Italy and the world, with a priceless collection such as: "The Spring" by Botticelli; "The Medusa" by Caravaggio and "The Annunciation" by Leonardo - a unique tour among the masters of art history. The rooms are organised chronologically and also by artist.
3. Palazzo Vecchio
The Palazzo Vecchio is a palace in Florence, located in the Piazza della Signoria of the Tuscan capital. It is currently the seat of the Florentine town hall and inside it houses a museum exhibiting, among others, works by Agnolo Bronzino, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Giorgio Vasari.
The name Vecchio was adopted in 1565, when the court of Grand Duke Cosme I moved to the "new" Palazzo Pitti.
4. Galleria Palatina / Palazzo Pitti
Located on the noble floor of Palazzo Pitti, it was opened to the public between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century by the Lorraine family. The works exhibited in the various halls come mainly from the Medici collections. It is an extraordinary collection that includes works by Raffaello, Tiziano, Caravaggio, Rubens, Pietro da Cortona and other great masters.
5. Duomo / Cattedrale Di Santa Maria Del Fiori
The church has a peculiar architectural design, consisting of a typical basilica plan in three naves that lead to a huge triconic rotunda and support the immense Brunelleschi's Dome (finalised in 1436, the largest masonry vault ever built). Inside the dome you can see the large surface decorated with frescoes from 1572-1579 by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari. The cathedral was started by Arnolfo di Cambio and began to be built in 1296. Upon his death, the project was passed on to Giotto, who dedicated himself in particular to the colourful Bell Tower, a panoramic point of the city.
6. Ponte Vecchio
The Old Bridge, which crosses the river Arno. The first and only bridge built during Roman times, around the middle of the 1st century BC, the Old Bridge is one of the symbols of Florence. It is the only bridge that was unharmed by German bombers during the retreat in 1944 in the Second World War.
Today the Old Bridge is an attraction for tourists from all over the world!
7. Basilica Di Santa Croce
The Basilica of Santa Croce, founded in 1294 under the design of the great architect Arnolfo di Cambio, is one of the oldest and most grandiose Franciscan basilicas, and is the maximum expression of the Italian Gothic movement. Next to the church there is a monastery with two convents, the novitiate, a refectory and the chapter hall known as the Pazzi Chapel.
8. Basilica Di Santa Maria Novella
The Basilica di Santa Maria Novella is one of the most important churches in Florence and is located in the Piazza Homonima. Santa Maria Novella was for Florence the reference point for another mendicant order: the Dominicans. In terms of architecture, it is one of the most important Gothic-style churches in Tuscany. The façade is the work of Friar Jacopo Talenti and Leon Battista Alberti.
9. Chiesa Di S. Lorenzo
Another monument not to be missed is the Church of San Lorenzo, one of the oldest in Florence. The church was consecrated in 393 by St Ambrose and dedicated to the martyr Lorenzo. Little has remained of its original construction. The Church of San Lorenzo was rebuilt twice, once in 1059 (in a romantic style) and the second time thanks to the contribution of the Medici family - who wanted to have a private church according to Brunelleschi's project (executed between 1418 and 1421), which after his death was finalised by Antonio Manetti in 1461.
10. Cappella Dei Medici
The project for the realisation of the family tomb began in 1520, when Michelangelo began work on the New Sacristy, starting from Brunelleschi's original plan. It was Cardinal Giulio de Medici (the future Pope Clement VII) who ordered the construction of a mausoleum to provide a proper burial for some members of his family: Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino.
How to get There?
To get into the city, many travelers fly into Galileo Galilei Airport (PSA) in Pisa, making a pit stop at its Leaning Tower before taking the train to the main station, Stazione di Firenze Santa Maria Novella.
You can also fly into the small Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR) in Florence and take a bus or taxi to the city center.