The top 10 Florence sights at a glance
- Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral
- Uffizi Gallery
- Ponte Vecchio
- Palazzo Vecchio
- Piazzale Michelangelo
- Piazza della Signoria
- Palazzo Pitti
- Mercato Centrale
- Palazzo Medici-Riccardi
- Capelle Medicee
1. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The most impressive building in Florence is probably the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. With its size and beauty, it has been the symbol of the city for centuries. We think it is a justified number 1 attraction.
The mighty cathedral was completed in 1368. At that time, however, the striking dome, which is the heart of Florence Cathedral, was still missing.
The dome of the cathedral
The entire 114-meter-high dome was only built over 50 years later. Above all, it impresses with a magnificent interior painting. A unique painting extends over a total area of 4,000 m². The bell tower right next to the Florence Cathedral is also worth seeing!
Visit Santa Maria del Fiore
Admission to the cathedral is free, but you have to expect longer waiting times (also remember not to have too short pants or free shoulders – otherwise you will not be allowed in). With a combined ticket you can climb the dome and visit the cathedral museum, the crypt, the bell tower and the baptistery.
2. Uffizi Gallery
Originally the home of the authorities, the magnificent building was later converted into a private collection of paintings at the request of the ruling Medici family.
Today the Florence Uffizi Gallery (“the offices”) is one of the most famous historical art museums in the world. Here you can admire paintings from the 13th to the 18th century in 50 rooms. The focus of the exhibition is – how could it be otherwise – on the Italian Renaissance.
Paintings and sculptures by famous Italian artists
Here you will also find works by da Vinci, Raffael and Michelangelo as well as Botticelli’s famous “Birth of Venus”. There are a number of Greek and Roman statues on the wide corridors that connect the halls.
3. Ponte Vecchio
It is one of the most famous and most beautiful bridges in the world: the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. The current bridge was built in 1345 at the narrowest part of the river.
What makes the bridge so special?
There had been other bridges in this place before. The development with small overhanging bridge shutters makes the Ponte Vecchio unique. Seen from the bank or the Arno, the Ponte Vecchio looks almost like a tiny city hanging over the water.
Who is acting on the bridge?
In the past, butchers mainly traded their goods here, but when the ducal family moved to the nearby Palazzo Pitti at the end of the 16th century, they decreed that only jewelry retailers were allowed to do their business on the bridge. Because they felt disturbed by the smell of the meat.
And even today you will mainly find gold and silversmiths in the small shops on the Ponte Vecchio.
4. Palazzo Vecchio
In the immediate vicinity of the Ponte Vecchio you will also find the Palazzo Vecchio, which should not be missing on your Tuscany trip.
After its construction, the palace with its battlements and the 94-meter-high tower was initially the official residence of the highest officials and thus the center of power in Florence. The medieval palace was later converted into the residence of the Medici Grand Duke family.
Today the splendid palace houses the city hall of Florence.
April – September daily except Thurs 9 a.m. – 11 p.m .; Thu 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
October – March every day except Thurs 9 a.m. – 7 p.m .; Thu 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
5. Piazzale Michelangelo
Almost every metropolis has a place from which you have the most beautiful panoramic view of the city. This is usually an overpriced bar in a skyscraper or the gondola of an expensive cable car.
In Florence, this is one of the most beautiful squares in the city, which is a 20-minute walk from the Uffizi Gallery and is completely free. The Piazzale Michelangelo dates back to the time when Florence was the capital of Italy and houses some copies of Michelangelo’s statues – including the large statue of David.
The Piazzale Michelangelo
The walk through Viale Giuseppe Poggi, which winds up the hill to the square through greenery, is worth the walk. Once at the top you will be rewarded with a wonderful view over Florence.
Our tip: buy a bottle of wine and visit Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset. The cityscape bathed in golden light, the hills rising behind it and the reflection of the setting sun in the Arno is a romantic sight that is guaranteed to be the highlight of your Italy holiday.
6. Piazza della Signoria
The most famous and largest square in Florence, Piazza della Signoria, not only attracts with the sights directly adjacent to it, such as the Palazzo Vecchio.
Statues in Piazza della Signoria
No, it impresses above all with a large number of statues, which you can find all over the square, but can be found especially in the loggia. The impressive Neptune Fountain by Bartolomeo Ammanati is particularly beautiful.
Much is reminiscent of the Florentine and Italian history, which was decided for a time mainly from this place.
7. Palazzo Pitti
Palazzo Pitti is a former palace on the southern bank of the Arno that is nowadays used as a museum. There are several museums in the Palazzo Pitti, the most famous of which are the Gallerina Palatina, Galleria d’Arte Moderna and the Gallerria del Costume. Another part is furnished with period rooms.
Palace of Museums
The colossus among the many palaces in Florence is the Palazzo Pitti with a facade that is over 200 meters long and 36 meters high. He was also the residence of the Florentine Grand Duke until 1859.
For a long time the Medici private collection, Palazzo Pitti now houses 7 museums and collections full of impressive paintings.
The Boboli garden
Behind the palazzo is the huge and beautiful Boboli Gardens. In this incredible park you will find grottoes, garden temples and even an amphitheater with an Egyptian obelisk. If you leave yourself enough time for a picnic in the tranquility of the garden, the relatively high entry costs are definitely worth it.
8. Mercato Centrale
The pretty 19th century market hall is not a museum like most other sights in Florence, but is still a market. With a very modern concept, the market hall attracts visitors and locals around the clock for a wine, a delicious meal or a shopping spree.
The huge selection of culinary delights is particularly popular and is offered here for a relatively small price. The Mercato Centrale is just right for a short break from sightseeing or an extensive Florence shopping trip.
9. Palazzo Medici-Riccardi
The Palazzo Medici-Riccardi is the former residential palace of the de’Medici family who later sold it to the Riccardi family. Today, part of the palace serves as a museum and part is used as office space for the municipality of Florence.
One of the most famous rooms of the former palace is the Capella dei Magi. This chapel is famous for its murals by Benozzo Gozzoli. The drawings owe their fame to the fact that a large part of the de’Medici family can be found in these paintings.
The Luca Giordano room is another famous space in the Palazzo Medici-Ricardi. This room was only built in the seventeenth century. On the ceiling of this room you can see a fresco by Luca Giordano. Other areas and rooms of the palace are furnished as a style room. They still have the same appearance as a few centuries ago.
10. Cappelle Medicee
The Cappelle Medicee stands behind the St. Laurens Basilica in Florence. This chapel consists of three parts. When you enter you will arrive at the museum of the chapel. Paintings and sculptures can be found in the museum showing various members of the de’Medici family.
In addition to the museum, the chapel consists of two religious spaces. First the Sagrestia Nuova or the New Sacristy. There are some tombs of members of the de’Medici family in this room. These tombs were designed and made by Michelangelo.
The most impressive area of the Cappelle Medicee is the Capell dei Principi. This space consists of a beautiful marble decorated walls floors while the ceiling is beautifully painted.