Popular Things to Do in Florence, Italy

Popular Things to Do in Florence, Italy

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  1. Florence, Italy is a beautiful city nestled around the Arno river, and is filled with enough history, art and food to keep anyone entertained.  Churches, historical sites, museums and palazzos fill the city, and all are within easy walking distance of most hotels.  Florence was ruled by the great Medici family from the end of the 14thcentury until the last family member died in 1743, and was a favorite location for such renaissance artists as Michaelangelo, Boticceli, Leonardo da Vinci, Dante and Donatello.  Visitors wandering the streets can easily immerse themselves in the history of the city by visiting some of the most popular destinations in Florence listed below.


    No visit to Florence is complete without a visit to the city’s famous cathedral, Il Duomo.  Its famous orange tiled dome makes a striking photograph from many areas of the city.  Tours are available, and you can even climb to the top of Brunelleschi’s dome or the 276 foot Campanile.  Views from the top of both are breathtaking.  The Baptristy lies adjacent to the cathedral, and you can walk through its famous 4thcentury bronze doors to tour the inside where you will find ornate 13thcentury mosaics covering the walls.

    The gothic Santa Croce church contains tombs of many famous Italians such as Galileo, Michaelangelo and Machiavelli.  It is worth a visit just to see their grand resting places carved impressively from marble and other stone.


    The Uffizi art gallery is housed in what a building that was originally the offices of Duke Cosimo I.  It is filled with such famous art as Boticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’, Michaelangelo’s “The Holy Family’, Caravaggio’s ‘Baccus’ and Rafael’s ‘Madonna of the Goldfinch’.  Many other gothic, renaissance and other paintings and scultptures fill the galleries, and it is a must for a history or art lover.

    The  Museo Galileo – Institute and Museum of the History of Science is filled with some of the oldest and most unique astronomical, navigational and mathematical instruments, and focuses especially on Galileo.  Especially impressive are two of his original telescopes. 

    The Galleria dell’ Accademia houses the impressive David statue carved by Michaelangelo when he was just 29 years old!  Various other paintings and sculptures grace the Accademia, but perhaps some of the most amazing to see are some of Michaelangelo’s unfinished sculptures.  It is simply amazing to imagine the amount of time, work and talent put into turning a block of marble into a lifelike sculpture. 

    Ponte Vecchio

    ‘The Old Bridge’ is a centerpiece of Florence and is bustling with tourists strolling across the Arno and shopping in one of the many jewelry stores that line the bridge.  This was the only bridge in the city to survive World War II, and it is a great place to enjoy picturesque views of the river and city.

      Piazza Signoria

    No trip to Italy is complete without enjoying a cup of cappuccino or taking a stroll through one of the thousands of piazzas scattered about the country.  Florence’s Piazza della Signoria houses several famous sculptures including Giambologna’s ‘The Rape of the Sabine Women’, Cellini’s ‘Perseus’, and a replica of the famous ‘David’ statue.  The Palazzo Vecchio (built in 1332) and the Loggia dei Lanzi border the piazza, and the Palazzo Vecchio was even the setting for a scene in the movie ‘Hannibal’.  The Fontana di Nettuno (Neptune’s Fountain) sits adjacent to the Palazzo as does the Uffizzi Art Museum.  Be sure to locate the plaque in the sidewalk near the Loggia remembering the execution (he was burnt at the stake) of the religious leader Girolamo Savonarola.

    Florence is also an easy bus ride to many locations such as Pisa (visit the leaning tower!) and Siena (famous for its unique cathedral and stunning ceramics), and you can be back in time for wine, pasta and a cup of gelato.

    You can get a wonderful overview of the city in just a few days by visiting the above landmarks.  If you have more time to spare, you will undoubtedly discover some of the many other museums, piazzas, palazzos, and historical buildings while wandering about the cityIt is nearly impossible to not completely fall in love with this city that is so full and rich of more than 200 years of history.

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