Florence attractions include masterpieces of Renaissance art. Its food and wine are justly famous. Florence is a romantic town with narrow streets and heritage buildings. Visitors from around the world throng the town.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
Cathedral of Florence is a major landmark. You can easily view its dome with red terracotta tiles. Visitors can climb to the top of the dome by a staircase with 463 steps (no lift). The cathedral is a 12 minute walk from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station.
The interior is vast. There are beautiful stained glass windows and paintings. In front of the cathedral is the Baptistry of St. John. It has an octagonal plan. It is famous for its three bronze doors which depict the life of John the Baptist.
Basilica of Santa Croce
This is a beautiful and historic basilica. It is 1 km to the east of Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The church holds the tombs of some Italian greats: Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini and others. The place is not crowded. There is no need to pre-book tickets. Entry is free if you hold a Firenze Card.
It is the principal Franciscan church of Florence. St. Francis founded the church. Construction of the present church may have started in 1294 and was funded by the city’s wealthiest families.
It is a vast church and well-known for its Florentine art. On the walls are frescoes by Italian masters: Giotto, Donatello and Toddeo Gaddi. Outside the church you will come across some fabulous restaurants and gelatorias.
Ponte Vechhio – Florence Attractions
Ponte Vechhio or Old Bridge is a romantic spot in Florence. It has great views across River Arno. On both sides of the bridge are jewellery shops. Guests cram the shops during the day. At night, the bridge is a lovely place for a stroll.
This was the only bridge across River Arno until 1218. The bridge was reconstructed after the flood in 1345. It has withstood the ravages of World War II and the catastrophic flood of 1966.
Today there are several bridges across the river. You can see them when you look out from Ponte Vechhio. The views are fantastic, more so at sunset.
Accademia Gallery draws visitors from all over the world. Its foremost claim to fame is Michelangelo’s David. It has been housed in the museum since 1873. The beautiful marble sculpture is nearly 4.5 metres tall. It is an exquisite work of art.
There are other famous sculptures and Renaissance paintings by Florentine masters of 14th and 15th centuries. The glazed terracotta sculptures shown below are by Andrea Della Robbia and Luca Della Robbia the Younger. Early sixteenth century.
Uffizi Gallery One of the Florence Attractions
This is one of the great art museums in Europe. It is a must see for Renaissance art. Many of the works of art have a religious flavour. Masterpieces of Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli, among others, are on display. The sculpture of Hercules and Centaur Nessus is credted to Giovanni Caccini, celebrated Tuscan sculptor.
The Tribuna (Tribune) is one of the prime attractions in the gallery. The octagonal room was completed in 1584. Several priceless artworks are on display here. Visitors cannot enter the room. We could however view the exhibits through a grill door.
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is the main square and one of the Florence attractions. It has an L-shape. Around it are many sculptures. The Neptune Fountain (1575) is the work of sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati. Visitors will see a copy of Michelangelo’s David in the square. Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabines is one of the many beautiful sculptures here.
Palazzo Vechhio is the town hall of Florence. It looks across Piazza della Signoria. The architecture is remarkable. Entry is free. There are many shops and restaurants in the area.
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