Top 10 Attractions in Florence, Italy
Top 10 Attractions in Florence, Italy
1. The Galleria degli Uffizi
The Uffizi may be a major tourist trap, but it's not an overrated Florence attraction by any means. This gallery is home to one of the most impressive collections of fine Renaissance art in the world. In the Uffizi Gallery, visitors can see first-hand the mastery of Botticelli, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and many other Italian masters. Be sure and get tickets in advance, because even with tickets, you have to wait in line. No tickets? Two lines. Don't let this happen to you.
2. The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is usually just referred to as the "Duomo," which means "cathedral," because if you're looking for a cathedral in Florence, this is probably the one you're looking for. The Duomo's famous cupola was designed by Brunelleschi and is one of the most recognizable and celebrated pieces of Italian architecture, making it a must-see Florence attraction. The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore also features the stunning Giotto's Bell Tower. You can wander inside the Duomo and the tower and admire the view of Florence, then pay homage to the statue of Brunelleschi in the square outside.
3. The National Museum of the Bargello
The Bargello is a Florence attraction located near the Piazza della Signoria and houses some of the most incredible sculptures from the leading artists of the Renaissance era, including Donatello's great big bronze David circa the 1440s. You'll also find works by Michelangelo, Ammannati, Bandinelli and others inside this well-beloved museum.
4. The Accademia
Now that you've seen Donatello's David, check out Michelangelo's David at the Accademia. This is another gallery for which you'll definitely want to get tickets in advance. Other highlights of this Florence, Italy attraction include five other Michelangelos, as well as works by Botticelli, Giambologna, Filippino Lippi, Pontormo, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Bronzino. Leave your camera at the hotel, because no pictures are allowed inside.
5. Pitti Palace
South of the Arno, the enormous Pitti Palace houses several galleries, as well as the Boboli Gardens. If you've had enough of the Renaissance, check out the costume gallery for a history of fashion, including a Madonna costume from the 90s. The building itself has quite a history, having been owned by Medicis and also used as a residence by Napoleon during the French occupation. Be prepared to spend a long time at this Florence attraction -- you won't want to leave.
6. Ponte Vecchio
The only bridge to survive World War II and the oldest bridge in Florence, the Ponte Vecchio is currently under renovations but still operational. You'll probably end up using this bridge to get to Pitti Palace, so put it on your agenda for the same day. As you cross, you'll be dazzled by the endless jewelry shops -- but don't expect to find a good deal here. Saying you bought something on the Ponte Vecchio comes at a price.
7. Santa Croce
Here at this Franciscan church, you'll find the monumental tombs of some of the most notable and respected figures in Italian history, including Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Dante.
8. San Lorenzo
Nine Michelangelo sculptures can be seen in the sacristy of this agrarian church, and the stained glass windows are some of the finest in Florence. The church's facade was never fully completed, so it looks deceptively simple from the outside -- stepping into this Florence attraction is a breathtaking experience. Come for the Michelangelos, stay for the windows.
9. Santa Maria del Carmine
The Santa Maria del Carmine is most famous for its collection of inspired frescoes by such artists as Masaccio and Masolino da Panicale. It's home to the Brancacci Chapel (known as "the Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance") and the extravagant, Baroque style Corsini Chapel.
10. Ponte Santa Trinita
This bridge, near the church Santa Trinita, is the oldest elliptic arch bridge in the world and was designed and constructed by famed Florentine Bartolomeo Ammanati. The original bridge was destroyed by German troops in August of 1944, but it was rebuilt in 1958 with stones from the original construction. Like the Ponte Vecchio, if you want a picture of it, you'll have to head to a nearby bridge to get the full effect, but it's a lovely bridge to stroll across with some fresh fragola gelato.
Photo by Annie Scott.