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You are here:   HomeExperience FlorenceArt & Culture

Major museums and monuments in Florence

Florence is unique: so small but so rich in art and culture.

No city in the world can be proud of such a concentration of works of art, monumental buildings, beautiful landscapes, gardens, squares and churches.

Florence is the cradle of the Renaissance, famous for works made by Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Dante. From here started all the ideas of modernity that have transformed the Western world.


The beautiful view of the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, the oldest churches and many elegant buildings in the narrow alleys of the old city centre will surely leave you enchanted.

» Here is a list of what you must absolutely see if you come to Florence: the most beautiful churches, museums and monuments.

Museums

Uffizi Gallery - The first modern museum in Europe that collects the masterpieces of the 'Medici family. The gallery facing the Arno River was founded by Francesco de' Medici as a private walk among Renaissance paintings of inestimable value, including works like Sandro Botticelli's "The Spring" and "The Birth of Venus", Leonardo's "The Annunciation" and endless masterpieces by Giotto, Piero della Francesca, Mantegna, Raphael, Michelangelo and Caravaggio.



When you're tired take a break with a cup of coffee on the panoramic terrace which offers a splendid view on Piazza della Signoria and the historical centre of Florence

Ask your hotel to book your tickets in advance to avoid the frequent queues at the entrance.

Academy Gallery - the second most visited museum in Florence is home of the original statue of David by Michelangelo. The most famous statue in the world, a symbol of rebirth and pride of Florence, was carved by a young Michelangelo, who was just a little more than 26 years of age. From a massive marble block, which seemed unusable to other sculptors, came one of the greatest masterpieces of civilization. Do not miss also the Prigioni, a corridor that hosts a series of incomplete sculptures by Michelangelo.

Bargello Museum - The Bargello displays the largest Italian collection of gothic and Renaissance sculptures (14–17th century). This former fortress / prison now offers two wonderful rooms devoted to Michelangelo and Donatello, and houses some masterpieces by Luca della Robbia, Verrocchio and Cellini.

 

Palazzo Pitti - the colossal residence of the Medici family on the opposite bank of the Arno. Hosts 5 museums and also entry to the Boboli Gardens. With one ticket you can visit the magnificent royal apartments and the Galleria Palatina where you can see works by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, luxurious rooms showing the original furnishings of the Medicean past of Florence.

Monuments

Piazza del Duomo - the heart of Florence is composed of 3 exceptional monuments: the Duomo, the Baptistry and Giotto's bell tower.

The Duomo of Flroence is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the fourth largest church in Europe. Brunelleschi's extraordinary genius gave birth to the massive Cupola that crowns the skyline of Florence. Arriving in Florence, from any part of the city you can marvel at the red dome that stands out above the roof tops of the historical centre.

Alongside the Dome is Giotto's bell tower, one of the most beautiful in Italy. This gothic bell tower allows, after a staircase of 414 steps, to have a close look the dome by Brunelleschi in addition to a wonderful panorama of the city.

In front of the Duomo is the Baptistery, the baptismal font where for centuries were baptized young Florentines. The building is characterized by succession of finely carved bronze doors; the doors of Lorenzo Ghiberti have been described by Michelangelo as the "gates of Paradise".

Piazza della Signoria - the point of origin of the Florentine Republic is one of the most evocative places in Florence.

 

Here is Palazzo Vecchio, a mighty fortress that is the gothic town hall of Florence. Apart from the great sculptures lined up in front of the facade of Palazzo Vecchio (among them the copy of David by Michelangelo), we can hardly avoid noticing the Fountain of Neptune by Ammannati. Nearby, a round marble plaque on the ground marks the exact site where Fra Girolamo Savonarola was burned at the stake on May 23rd 1498. The square however is not just the "civil" centre of Florence, it is also a splendid open-air museum. The square of the Uffizi stretches out on the south side, towards the Arno, with the eye-catching Loggia dei Lanzi, (1376-1382), whose late Gothic roof covers 13 statues which also include Benvenuto Cellini's wonderful Perseus holding up the head of the Medusa.

Ponte Vecchio - Is the oldest (1345) and most famous bridge in Florence. Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge crossing the Arno that survived the Nazis's bombing during World War II, allegedly for a direct order by Hilter that wanted to save its extraordinary beauty.

Along Ponte Vecchio you find padlocks locked almost everywhere, especially to the railing around the statue of Benvenuto Cellini. There's an old legend in Florence: if you want to make your love eternal, you have to chain a padlock to Ponte Vecchio, and then throw the key in the Arno. Ponte Vecchio remains the most romantic place in Florence and there are no words to describe the wonderful emotions that you will feel while walking on this enchanting bridge at sunset...

Churches

San Lorenzo - One of the oldest churches in Florence, immersed in the famous market of leather clothing. It houses many masterpieces: the Old Sacristy painted by Donatello, the New Sacristy and the Laurentian Library.

On the backside is the entrance to the Medici Chapels: a triumph of marble, inlays and precious stones to commemorate the most powerful family in Florence. The hemispherical red dome of San Lorenzo is visible from everywhere in Florence, second only to the Brunelleschi's Dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral.

 

Santa Maria Novella Church - Near the central train station in Florence, the church of Santa Maria Novella is noted for the white marble and green facade by Leon Battista Alberti. Here you can't miss the Trinity by Masaccio, who was the first to implement the rules of mathematical perspective (developed by Brunelleschi). The result was so real that many Florentine people believed there were holes in the walls!

Santa Croce Church - The church of Santa Croce houses the tombs of famous Florentine People such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli. It’s hard to believe that the tomb of Dante is not here, but he died in exile in Ravenna, so in his honor there's only a memorial monument and a statue in front of Santa Croce.


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