It really is very simple – if you want to see the birthplace of the Renaissance, then you must see the Italian city of Florence or Firenze as it is known in Italy.
Probably no other place in history between the 14th and 16th century holds greater responsibility in contributing to the modern art, style and design world of today than Florence. However if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to go there, what are the best things to see, do and experience?
In this Love Italian Life Blog article, we will share with you our careful selection of 8 fantastic things you can do in Florence.
8 Fantastic Things To Do In Florence:
Probably one of if not greatest treasures that Florence has to offer, The Duomo is considered to be one of the world’s largest churches and is a true sight to behold after it’s construction in 1296. From viewing the red-tiled dome from outside, the sheer scale of the green, pink and white mosaic hits you immediately.
When inside it is possible to see the restored frescoes by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari which are a reenactment of the Last Judgement. Be sure to check out the range of terra cottas by Luca della Robbia. Excavations in recent years have also unearthed the ruins of the ancient Cathedral of Santa Reparata which has uncovered amazing hidden columns and tombs.
It is possible to get a free guided tour if you are lucky enough to find a volunteer.
As the oldest structure of Florence and one that was named after John the Baptist, this sight is internationally famous for having a unique triple set of Roman bronze doors which are said to mirror historic scenes from the New and Old Testament such as Adam and Eve.
Many leading historians agree that ‘Old Palace’ is without doubt the most commanding Palazzo in Florence which was originally built by Gothic design legend Arnolfo di Cambio in 1302. A wonderful sight to behold is the 94m tower which many experts regard to be an engineering feat of brilliance at the time of construction. The really interesting sections of the palace to look out for are the Hall of the 500 (Salone dei Cinquecento) as well as Michelangelo’s Victory.
If you want to experience the real Florence after dark in terms of exciting entertainment then be sure to visit from early May to mid-June which is the popular period for a festival of concertos, operas and ballets with many taking place in Florence’s main theatre, Teatro Comunale di Firenze. This venue also plays host to Italy’s most historic festival which is the famous Maggio Musicale.
This beautiful church contains the tombs of all the key Italian legends such as Michelangelo, Dante and Machiavelli and has the famous reputation of being the church of the Franciscans. Inside the Trecento frescoes and Bardi Chapel are the must-see sights.
Legend has it that Giotto was the ugliest man in the history of Florence, however nobody can question the beauty and splendour that encapsulates the Campanile he ingeniously designed. The tower had to be finished off by the Italian gothic guru Andrea Pisano where he added classic Tuscan elements including colours that resemble the Duomo.
We recommend that you take the time and effort to climb to the top of the bell tower to witness the fantastic view which demonstrates the true heart of the Florence city and countryside.
The city of Florence is eternally grateful to the last Medici grand duchess, Anna Maria Ludovica who kindly donated a selection of mesmerising gems of Tuscan Renaissance Art. These included priceless paintings and sculptures that were United together as a collection in a Palazzo commissioned by Duke Cosimo de’ Medici in 1560. The Uffizi Gallery has a unique lobby which connects to galleries made up of two upper floors that house an exclusive collection of Italian and European Art in over 25 rooms. Some of the most famous exhibits includes the likes of Giotto’s Ognissanti Maesta, Birth of Venus by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci’s unfinished masterpiece Adoration of the Magi & Michelangelo’s glorious Holy Family painting.
8. Take a Guided Tour
As one of the greatest cultural and Artistic cities in Europe – it would be a crime to not explore everything that Florence has to offer, so why not book an officially guided walking tour?
Whether you are alone, in a group, looking for a brief introduction to all the main highlights or require a detailed professional guide overview – it is a really worthwhile experience. The big guided tour operators include CafTours and Walks of Italy.
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About Anna Floriani
Anna writes about everything that makes Italian culture so special. Having lived and worked in Ireland and the UK for many years she is originally from le Marche in Italy while her zest and passion for life comes from raising her young family.