Sightseeing guide for Florence
Duomo - Santa Maria del Fiore and Baptistery
Work on the Gothic cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore began in 1296 and was completed by Brunelleschi in 1436 with the famous Dome, which was painted inside with frescoes by Vasari and Zuccari. The square Bell tower designed by Giotto in 1334 stands on the right side of the Cathedral and is covered in white, green and red marble. The Baptistery of San Giovanni, one of the oldest monuments in Florence (1128), is located opposite the Cathedral and is built in Florentine Romanesque style.
Basilica di Santa Croce
This church following the Gothic-Florentine style was built in the second half of the 12th century. Santa Croce contains several masterpieces such as the frescoes by Giotto, the Crucifix by Cimabue and the Cappella dei Pazzi, a chapel built by Brunelleschi. The Basilica is famous mainly due to the fact that some famous personalities such as Alfieri, whose tomb was sculpted by Canova, are buried here.
Basilica di San Lorenzo
The interior of this church was completed by Brunelleschi and later on by Michelangelo. The Basilica di San Lorenzo' s facade is still not finished. There are some works of art inside like the two pulpits built by Donatello when he was already 74 years old, the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana and the Tombe Medicee by Michelangelo, the Cappella dei Principi chapel with its magnificent decorations in marble and semi-precious stones.
Santa Maria Novella
Built in the 13th century according to the wishes of the Dominican monks, the Church' s facade is built according to the Gothic-Romanesque style, with white and green marble. Important works of art are the frescoes by Masaccio portraying the Holy Trinity, the Crucifix by Brunelleschi and one by Giotto.
Galleria degli Uffizi
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the largest museums in the world. It was built in during the 16th century, following a project by the architect Giorgio Vasari and still houses some of the most famous works of art by Italian and foreign painters from the 13th to 19th century, such as Tiziano, Cimabue, Giotto, Masaccio, Tintoretto, Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Piero della Francesca, Raffaello, Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt, Duerer and Goya.
Galleria dell' Accademia
This Gallery was founded in 1784 by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, who declared that all the schools of painting should be joined together in a single Academy. One of the most popular museums in Florence, the Gallery houses many sculptures by Michelangelo, including the famous David.
The National Museum is housed in a building that used to be the city prison back in 1200. It hosts some of the best sculptures from the Tuscan Renaissance era. Some works of art you will admire are David by Donatello, Mercury by Gianbologna and the bust of Brutus by Michelangelo.
The collection of artifacts in the Museum belonged to the Medici family, and more specifically to Cosimo il Vecchio. The majority of them belong to the Etruscan period and are terracotta ornaments and sculptures in marble and bronze, including the Chimera di Arezzo and l'Arringatore. The Egyptian section, that was created thanks to the collection from another important family, the Lorena, is worth visiting also.
History of Science Museum
This is an important collection of scientific instruments that is proof of the interest in science there was durng the 13th century in Florence. The collection includes sun dials and night-clocks, compasses, microscopes and a series of original instruments made by Galileo Galilei.
This palace was rennovated in 1612 by Michelangelo Buonarroti, who decorated all the interior of the building on his own, as a tribute to his ancestor. Some early masterpieces by Michelangelo such as the Madonna della Scala and the Battaglia dei Centauri can be seen here.
This bridge is the oldest in Florence. It was firstly built before the 11th century, but was destroyed by a flood of the Arno. The bridge was rebuilt in solid stone in 1345. Its banks are still full of goldsmiths', silversmiths' and jewelers' laboratories whose art has been passed down from generation to generation.
Piazza della Signoria
The magnificent Piazza della Signoria is surrounded by Palazzo Vecchio, with its 16th century hall full of frescoes by Vasari, the Fountain of Neptune by Ammannati, and the copy of Michelangelo' s David. On the right hand of the square there is the Loggia della Signoria that contains some fine statues such as the bronze "Perseo" by Cellini and "Il Ratto delle Sabine" by Gianbologna.
Giardino di Boboli
The Boboli Gardens belong to the Palazzo Pitti. The Medici family ordered their design in 1500. The gardens host some charming monuments such as the amphitheater, the Grotta del Buontalenti and the small island with the statues of the dancing country folk.
The San Lorenzo Market
The Central San Lorenzo Market is housed inside a huge iron and glass building that was built in 1874. On the ground floor there are several delicatessen shops, selling Florentine and Tuscan delicacies. On the first floor there are flower stalls and fruit and vegetable stalls where all the local seasonal production is displayed.
This palace was built for the banker Luca Pitti during the 15th century. Because he went bankrupt, the building was bought by the Medici family, who decided to turn it into their residence. The family improved the building, starting with the large courtyard designed by Ammaniti. The Medici collected their Baroque and Renaissance works of art here. The Palace houses other important museums too like the gallery of Modern Art, the Silver Museum and the Costume Gallery.