Florence is known as the “cradle of renaissance.” You’ll find historic sites, museums, and beautiful parks to explore. Here are several you have to see
Il Duomo (the Cathedral): The cathedral is the 4th largest in the world, after St. Peter’s in Rome, St. Paul’s in London and the Duomo in Milan. You’ll want to see these pieces of art while you are there:
- Giorgio Vasari’s frescoes of the Last Judgment (1572-9) (which is the biggest piece of art there). Dante Before the City of Florence by Domenico di Michelino (1465) which shows a scene from Dante’s Divine Comedy
- The Funerary Monument to Sir John Hawkwood by Paolo Uccello (1436)
- The Equestrian statue of Niccolò da Tolentino by Andrea del Castagno (1456)
The Baptistery of Saint John (also known as “the Baptistry”): The Baptistry is one of the oldest buildings in the city, constructed between 1059 and 1128. Its roof is in the shape of an octogen and the interior is covered in mosaic. It’s known for its three sets of bronze doors that include relief sculptures. They were so well-made that Michelangelo called the ones on the east the “Gates of Pardise.” The poet Dante Alighieri (who wrote “Dante’s Inferno”) as well as the Medici family were baptized here.
The Uffizi: The Uffizi is a prominent art museum in Florence. The building of Uffizi complex was begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 to create space for the offices of the Florentine magistrates, hence the name uffizi, “offices”. It holds some of the world’s most well-known works of art including Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus,” “Laocoön and his Sons” by Baccio Bandinelli and “Medusa” by Caravaggio.
The Bargello National Museum: The Baregllo was formerly a barracks and a prison before the building was converted into a museum. It became the first national museum of Italy the focuses on artwork from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. This museum now holds some of the most important works in the world by top artists including Michelangelo and Donatello.
The Accademia Gallery: This museum includes giant marble sculptures created by Michelangelo, and is best known for his sculpture, “David.” It is smaller and more specialized than the Uffizi.
The Pitti Palace: The Pitta Palace actually houses several museums. The Medici family purchased it in 1549 and it became the chief residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Later generations collected many paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions that were housed there. It is 32,000 square meters. In the late 18th century, the palazzo was used as a power base by Napoleon and later served for a brief period as the principal royal palace of the newly united Italy.
The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce: Both churches have fascinating pieces of art worth seeing in person. The Santa Maria Novella is the first great basilica in Florence and you’ll find works created for the church by top artists of the time including Masaccio, Giotto, Filippino Lippi, Duccio di Buoninsegna and Ghirlandaio.
The Santa Croce is best known for being the burial place for Michelangelo, Rossini, Machiavelli, and Galileo Galilei. You’ll also find a memorial to Dante, but his sarcophagus is buried in Ravenna because he was exiled from Florence.
The Church of San Miniato al Monte: This is one church many people go to see not only for its own beauty but for the incredible view of Florence you’ll enjoy. It is a basilica that stands atop one of the highest points in Florence and has been called one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany.
The Ponte Vecchio: This is the oldest bridge in Florence. It’s known as a very romantic spot thanks to its beautiful views over the river. You’ll find mainly jewelry shops here.
The Boboli Gardens: The Boboli Gardens give another strikingly beautiful part of Florence. This park was opened to the public in 1766 and was originally designed for the Medici family. There is a large green area that functions as an open-air museum that contains statues of various styles and periods. You’ll also find large fountains and caves.
You’ll find something exciting and beautiful to see in Florence and that’s one of the reasons why it’s such a top tourist attraction. Whether you love history, art, or just incredible views, you’ll find it all here.
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