Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, has captivated travellers for centuries. Home to some of Italy’s finest museums and galleries, it is obvious why Florence is a popular destination with art and history enthusiasts. However, the cultural and historic appeal of Florence is not limited to the museums and galleries. Indeed, walking around Florence it is hard not to be impressed by the magnificent architecture and the iconic Duomo which occupies the heart of Florence’s historical centre.
What to Do in Florence
No trip to Florence is truly complete without visiting the iconic Duomo (cathedral) which dominates the city’s skyline. With red tiled roofs and façade made from green, pink and white marble, the Duomo is a work of art. Inside the Duomo there are a number of beautiful frescoes and stained glass windows designed by some of the Italy’s finest artists. However, the main achievement of the cathedral is the dome or capula. Developed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the dome was revolutionary at the time as it does not have any scaffolding. You can ascend 463 steps to the top of the Duomo for an unforgettable panorama of the city and a perfect photograph opportunity.
There are plenty of other beautiful landmarks and buildings to visit in Florence. There are two basilicas of note: Basilica di San Lorenzo and Basilica di Santa Croce. The former is regarded as the purest Renaissance church in the city and has a beautiful interior. The latter has a colourful marble exterior and a gothic interior adorned with frescoes. Other highlights in the city include the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. The gardens are have a number of grottos, fountains and path, making them perfect for an afternoon walk and the palace is now home to a fascinating collection of museums.
Although much of Florence’s charm lies in its cultural assets, the appeal of Florence is multi-faceted. Shopping lovers are probably already aware that major fashion houses such as Gucci, Roberto Cavalli and Ferragamo have a presence in the city. In addition, there are some great local outlets in Florence where you can pick up Florentine goods such as leather produce and marbled paper.
Florence also has a great gastronomical scene with plenty of restaurants to choose from, many of which specialize in seafood. While there are bars in Florence, they tend to serve as late cafes. As well as alcohol and coffee, these bars also serve typical Italian bar food such as paninis, pizza and pasta dishes.
As mentioned in the introduction, there plenty of great museums and galleries to visit in Florence. Some of city’s highlights include: Galleria degli Uffizi and Museo del Bargello. Situated in the 16th Century Palazzo degli Uffiz, Galleria degli Uffizi is home to the Medici collection and is the finest gallery in Italy. The world-class collection specializes in Renaissance art. However, the collection includes works which span from ancient Greece all the way up until the Eighteenth Century. Housed in Palazzo del Bargell, Florence’s oldest public building, the Museo del Bargello is home to an important collection of Tuscan Renaissance paintings and some of Michelangelo’s earliest works.