Dante Alighieri walked the streets of Florence, Italy, where he was born. He quoted,
Rejoice Florence, seeing you are so great that over sea and land you flap your wing
Florence is often called the “Cradle of Renaissance” and has a rich history of unparalleled renaissance art and architecture. The remarkable sons of Florence contributed to its Renaissance age and Revival moments; Lorenzo Medici, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Dante, Donatello, Raphael, and Galileo.
And that’s not all! Piazzale Michelangelo forms an integral part of the Risanamento 19th-century urban revitalization project that affects its development by adding more squares, boulevards, public spaces, etc.
Today, Florence and tourism are accompanied by some 13 million people who visit the city each year.
A city of such divinity and richness is less likely to be found at any other location on earth; imagine walking through the romantic streets of the European city witnessing the finest art and ancient architecture dating back to the Renaissance era.
Galleria dell Accademia is where you can find the original statue of David standing tall and glorious in all its aspects.
So, this article will take you on a brief tour of all things to do in Florence.
1. Santa Maria Del Fiore, Florence Cathedral, Italy
It stands as the third largest Cathedral in the world.
A prominent landmark of Florence, it was dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore, the virgin flower, an allusion to the lily, the symbol of Florence. It holds century-old history, and the dome is a spectacular masterpiece ever created by man.
The vast structure represented the Gothic style of design of Arnolfo di Cambio and was completed by 1436, with the majestic dome, added in the 15th century, engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi.
The exterior is covered with a decorative mixture of pink, white and green marble. The interior, on the other hand, is beautiful and clear but very pleasant on warm summer days as the temperature inside is usually cold.
Visit The Duomo
One way to visit the Duomo is under a tour guide, who can take you into special areas and narrate all the details, legends, and curiosities.
Entry is free! You have only to buy the sole “Grande Museo del Duomo” pass to visit the other monuments in Piazza del Duomo (climb up the Dome and the bell tower, the Baptistery, and the museum).
2. Giotto’s Bell Tower, Florence, Italy
This freestanding campanile is a marvellous specimen of Florentine Gothic architecture of the 1300s, containing 6 centuries of precious history. The tower extends to 84.70 meters in height and stands next to the Duomo.
It distinguishes itself as its’ entity as it is incredibly overwhelming when viewed both from afar and up close! If you dare, you can climb the 414 stairs to the top! And we promise it’s going to be worth the efforts, the panoramic view atop is simply breathtaking, with the entire city before your vision, encircling green hills, and a different view of the awe-inspiring beauty of the Cathedral.
Carved ornaments outside the tower are extremely rich in details, in the form of a hexagon or diamond or a rhombus shape with bas relief and life-size sculptures. The Company has 7 bells. The largest is called Santa Reparata, in honour of the saint when the first church was dedicated.
History buffs or art history lovers, be sure to include this in your things to do in Florence.
3. Piazza Della Repubblica, a Historical Landmark in Florence, Italy
The former Roman city centre and also the centre of public life in Florence following the Unification of Italy.
The Piazza Della Repubblica is the centre of Florence. The turning point in Roman history never failed to impress all visitors to the Italian capital. It is easy to imagine walking through ancient galleries, theatres, and temples, walking about in ragged streets wearing a toga or watching a battle to the death.
The treasure of the modern Roman crown is its architectural heritage – something that is impossible to fully comprehend without first learning something about the long and dynamic history of the city.
Delve into this experience by making this one of your things to do in Florence.
Around the Piazza
Among the important buildings around the piazza is the Basilica of Santa Maria Degli Angeli Dei Martiri or Saint Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs. What looks like a ruin outside looks perfect with doors.
It has large sculptures and marble columns of various colours, and it is the only Renaissance church in the whole of Rome (free entry). In the same area, you will find the Baths of Diocletian, whose day had a capacity of 3,000 people.
Another convenience offered here is the easy availability of the great hotel, Italian food, and other amenities. The hotel offers great views and is well-rated by many visitors.
Piazza Della Repubblica is surely an unmissable part of your things to do in Florence.
4. Piazzale Michelangelo, Plaza in Florence, Italy
Before even describing this transcendent and splendid piece of art, we urge you to include this in your Florence itinerary or your list of things to do in Florence.
Why? Because it’s worth every moment, you’ll ever spend here.
Did you know that Piazzale Michelangelo was initially believed as a museum of Michelangelo’s works? The Florentine Piazzale Michelangelo is a tribute to the famous Michelangelo Buonarroti, the most legendary artist humanity has ever produced. The climb-up of the hill will lead you to the most heavenly view of Florence and its vast skyline.
There are many things to see in the Piazzale and many more in downtown Florence. Being close to the historical attractions in your favourite area makes it possible to spend your time with a little knowledge and planning. Here are the essentials to visit.
Piazzale Terrangelo Terrace
Behold a spectacular view of Florence from the open space of the Piazzale Michelangelo terrace. Piazzale Michelangelo is mainly crowded at sunset when the view of the day descending into night enraptures the imagination of the human.
You cannot miss this precious piece; make it one of your things to do in Florence.
The Rose Garden & Iris Garden
Also, called Giardino Delle Rose & Giardino dell ‘Iris is open to visitors for free. Iris Garden stays open only when the flowers bloom in late April to late May. You can visit the Rose Garden at any time of the day.
PLAN a day trip to this wonderful place & include this on your list of things to do in Florence.
The Holy Spirit Basilica di Santo Spirito and its Piazza Santo Spirito
At noon, visit Brunelleschi’s Baroque Basilica di Santo Spirito with a wooden cross carved by the famous Michelangelo himself. It has a small cloister, a modest exterior, and a well-decorated interior.
Spend the night near Piazzale Michelangelo at Piazza Santo Spirito, in the Oltrarno region with many restaurants and bars. Enjoy dancing, crowds and music for free!
Pitti Palace Tour
The Pitti Palace was initially the home of the Medici family and the Hapsburgs. To date, it contains many remnants of their lifestyle like household items, paintings, costumes, Galleries, and well-maintained private spaces.
So, with so much to see, how can you not be tempted to have this as a part of your things to do in Florence.
5. Loggia Dei Lanzi/ Loggia Dei Signoria, Florence, Italy
You would have to fathom by now that with so much of destinations to visit in Florence, a single-day trip will not suffice. You’ll need to set aside at least a week to tour around these places.
Florence is called an open-air museum undoubtedly; this meaning will become more clear when you read about Loggia Dei Lanzi.
A wide arch opens the Piazza Della Signoria, which meets the Uffizi gallery, and includes sculptures made by artists such as Giambologna and Benvenuto Cellini. Those splendid arches seem to have influenced Brunelleschi as he planned the first renovation building.
From the 16th century, during the time of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, Loggia became a manifestation of the power of the Medici family. The sculptures were chosen not only in terms of beauty but also to confirm and represent a certain political meaning.
The Loggia harbours many ancient masterpieces; the terrace of the Loggia is now a part of the Uffizi gallery. Art admirers, start planning ASAP, and don’t forget to include this in your things to do in Florence.
Inspired by many Greek mythical tales, these statues are objects of admiration and reverence for the coming of all ages.
So, we’ll take you through some of the myths associated with the flawless artworks of that era-
A fountain depicting the god of the sea represented the power of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the Mediterranean. It was given in 1559 by Cosimo I of the Medici Dynasty after the construction of a new city corridor. The statue was designed by Baccio Bandinelli and created by Bartolomeo Ammannati.
The Florentine Republic has always had two very ancient symbols: the lily and the “Marzocco”, or heraldic lion with a lily shield on its right paw.
We find it in front of Palazzo Vecchio, to the right of a copy of Michelangelo’s book David.
Behold the flawlessness of this sculpture by making it one of your things to do in Florence, Italy.
The painter was Giambologna (the Italian name for Jean Boulogne), who came from Flanders and moved to Rome in 1550 to study ancient painting and modern works, especially those of Michelangelo.
Another Giambologna artwork is an impressive carved marble work, regarded as the foremost ‘group of sculptures’ in European history and gives a complete view of any angle and sides. It is the largest piece ever been transported to Florence.
As long as we talk about the Trojan War, we cannot fail to mention the Polyxena Rape, which is the only modern work between ancient art and Renaissance in the Lanzi loggia. It is a group of marvellous statues sculpted by Pio Fendi.
6. Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy
The throbbing centre of Florence is not merely the biggest church of the city, but it is a multitude legacy of the artists, politicians, and Popes.
This rustic-looking unfinished facade once stood as the Cathedral of Florence and is the oldest in Florence, with the estimation reaching 393 AD, consecrated by Saint Ambrose of Milan – the most influential Christian of the 4th century AD.
The church was referred to as the Duomo for 3 centuries before Santa Reparata took over the title. It still never lost its glory owing to its reputation of being the Parish Church of the Medici Family.
There is so much to explore here; let’s take a brief overview of this amazing place in the wonderful city of Florence.
An enchanting lush green complex, another of Brunelleschi’s masterpieces, called the Cannon’s Cloister, allows one to gaze at the Florentine skyline and enjoy the iconic structure simultaneously. This place deserves to be a part of your things to do in Florence.
The St. Lawrence Treasure & the Cellar
Often referred to as the crypt, it recommends a collection of church materials and basilica essentials.
Medicea Laurenziana Library
A wonderful example of Michelangelo. Core’s Mannerist architecture is a collection of over 3,000 manuscripts collected by the Medici family.
It is regarded as the “first realization of the cultural and artistic message of the Rebirth” – the only thing enough to put the church on the list of things to see!
San Lorenzo is the burial ground of the great Medici family in the so-called Medici Chapels.
It’s the right time to plan your visit to Florence, or your first trip, visiting these famous works needs to be on your things to do in Florence, Italy.
7. Palazzo Vecchio & Piazza Della Signoria, Townhall, Florence, Italy
A symbol of civil power, it takes you through a journey of three ages as you’ll find the Roman Ruins, Medieval Fortress, and Renaissance art.
Various sculptures are lined up in front of Palazzo Vecchio, including a copy of Michelangelo’s David, along with Hercules’ band and Bandinelli’s Caucus.
Salone dei Cinquecento, 1494 (Hall of Five-Hundred )
Built during the republic of a friar, it is the most valuable of all in its artistic and historical value with panelled ceilings, large wall frescoes, intricate decorations, and imposing structures.
Fountain of Neptune, Florence
The Fountain of Neptune is located in front of Palazzo Vecchio. The work of Bartolomeo Ammannati (1563-1565) and other assistants, such as Giambologna, was commissioned during the marriage of Francesco I de ‘Medici and Grand duchess Johanna of Austria in 1565.
Take a Tour
The Palazzo Vecchio is humongous and has so many secret hidden places that taking a trip is a must to make sure you see everything. In the 90 minutes of the Palazzo Vecchio Morning Guided Tour, you will get to learn the history of the palace as your guide leads you to the secret corridors and great salons, pointing out the art treasures and hidden symbols that inspired Dan Brown’s broadcaster ‘Inferno.’
75-minute tour through the rooms highlighting the works of Medici and architect Giorgio Vasari to one of the most re-imagining scenes from Dan Brown’s novel, Inferno.
8. Ponte Vecchio, Closed-spandrel Arch Bridge in Florence, Italy
Open at all times, it harbours within a long and rich history and is also called the ‘Old Bridge’.
Built very close to the Roman crossing, Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence until 1218. The current bridge was rebuilt after it survived the devastating floods of 1345.
We know, however, that the bridge was built as a defence system, and the windows and artefacts we can now recommend have been added after the shops were sold to retailers.
Ponte Vecchio is a romantic destination in Florence, with its magnificent views over the Arno river.
Shop & See
Known for its glittering gold and high-end shops overflowing with rings, watches, bracelets, and all sorts of other precious gems. Buyers can negotiate with gold traders. Shop everywhere before giving in to temptation.
You obviously cannot miss this luxurious shopping destination, including shopping here as one of the things to do in Florence.
If you have seen the film Inferno based on Dan Brown’s book, you may recall that Robert Langdon crossed a river in a secluded way, one of Florence’s inferno areas. Built in 1564 by the Medici family, the Vasari Corridor is a highway walkway connecting Palazzo Vecchio and Pitti Palace, passing through a church on the road and providing beautiful views of the river and the city.
All Dan Brown fans are sure to make a trip here. So, include this in your things to do in Florence.
9. San Miniato al Monte, Basilica in Florence, Italy
Located high above the city of Florence, the San Miniato al Monte basilica is one of the most harmonious pieces of Romanesque architecture in Europe. Look behind its richly decorated walls and enter the history of this magnificent building.
Today, the shining gold of the apse illuminates the basilica and its surroundings as it did centuries ago, creating a spirit of divinity within the walls of the church. And with its incomparable beauty and a prominent seat above the city, San Miniato al Monte truly serves as a decorative crown over the splendour of Florence buildings.
It surely temps you to have it in your things to do in Florence.
An exhaustive list indeed! We have given you so many things to do in Florence; it’s your chance to choose your favourites.
Get ready to immerse in the rich experience of Renaissance art, glorious architecture, cultural events; shop at the high-end shop in Italy in Florence.
Visit Florence and experience Divine! Gear up to visit Florence and delve into every unique experience of every attraction of Florence.
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