Commonly known as, “The Duomo”, Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore is impossible to miss. It is the skyline of Florence. Building began on the huge Gothic duomo in 1296 and it was consecrated in 1436.
Inside Brunelleschi’s Dome you will find one of the most breathtaking pieces of art you will ever see. It is well worth the stairs you will climb to walk around the inner walls to see the paintings up close and to see an amazing view of the city from the outside.
The Campanile, bell tower, is in Piazza del Duomo. You can climb the 414 stairs to get an incredible view, but if you are choosing between climbing the duomo and the tower, go with the dome.
The Baptistery is from the 11th century and one of the oldest buildings in Florence. Here you will find Ghiberti’s famous bronze doors, the “Gates of Paradise” (they are reproductions, the originals are in the Duomo Museum).
The Galleria degli Uffizi holds the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art. It is essential to buy reservation tickets before going to avoid the long line. Trust me on this one, the line can be hours, as they only allow so many people in the museum at one time.
Your reservation is not a ticket, just a pass to get in the much shorter line to enter. In the museum you will see works from Michelangelo, Giotto, Botticelli, da Vinci, and Raphael.
Florence’s Galleria dell’ Academia, holds Michelangelo’s David, easily the most famous sculpture in the world. One of my favorite parts of this museum is the collection of musical instruments, I never tire of this exhibit. It is also quite advisable to get reservations for this museum.
On the other side of the Arno River, you will find Giardino di Boboli, a beautiful and sprawling English style garden on a hillside behind the Pitti Palace. It is a lovely place to slow down and enjoy the greener side of Florence.
Palazzo Pitti, Pitti Palace, is Florence’s largest palazzo, once owned by the Medici family. You can visit 8 different galleries in the palace. Be prepared, it is massive and can wear you out quickly.
Piazza della Signoria, the historic and political center of the city, is just off of the River Arno and next to the Uffizi Gallery. Here, you will find statues including the Fountain of Neptune and a replica of the Statue of David.
I love watching as tourists stand in awe, clicking away at the breathtaking show of art filling the piazza! It was this square where the famous Bonfire of the Vanities was held.
Protected by an imposing statue of Dante, it sits with its beautiful facade in front of a modest piazza. The Santa Croce was built for the common citizens of Florence, just a 15 minute walk from the much more grand Duomo.
This is my favorite church in Florence. It houses tombs of the likes of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini and the empty tomb of Dante. For this reason, the Santa Croce is also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell’Itale Glorie).
Florence keeps the empty tomb of Dante in hopes that one day it shall be filled with his decayed remains. They are currently housed in the city of Ravenna, his final resting place, after being exiled from Florence.