If you make your way to Firenze and aren’t sure what to do or where to start, the following are five things to do in Florence. If you don’t do anything else, these five activities will give you an excellent feel for this beautiful and historic city.
This post is on sightseeing and historical things to do. If you’re looking for the best restaurants to eat, you can check it out on another post here. Florence and Rome have no shortage of incredible museums, landmarks, cathedrals, etc., and one week is hardly enough time to do it all (but we somehow managed to do it!).
I won’t go into too much historical detail or information because 1) this is a fun blog and 2) I’m not a historian, and all of this stuff can be found on a site called google.com.
1. Boom! Il Duomo, one of the most defining features of the Florence skyline. If you don’t know about the Medici family, they were a highly influential political family in Florence that turned the city around during the Rensaissance. They were patrons of the arts, and commissioned the Duomo to be built. Their name is also tied to other influential painters such as Michelangelo, Donatello, and Leonardo Da Vinci. You can see the Duomo from so many different angles throughout the city, and if you have a chance you definitely need to go in there to take a look.
2. The Basilica of Santa Croce is a stunning cathedral that is situated a little over half a kilometer south-east of Il Duomo. It’s the principal Franciscan church in Florence, and the largest Franciscan church in the world. It’s also the burial place of many famous Italians, such as Dante Alighieri, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, and some of the Bonaparte family members, just to name a few!
3. No trip to Florence is complete without being able to take a peek at the Michelangelo’s David in all his splendor (you’re not supposed to take pictures). He can be found in the Accademia Gallery, along with other notable works of art and sculptures from other famous names like Giambologna and Boticelli.
4. If you happen to come across an incredibly busy bridge full of tourists and jewelry stores, you’re on the Ponte Vecchio, supposedly the only bridge that survived the bombings during WWII. The picture at the top was taken from a tour that I did at the Ufizzi museum, if you’re lucky (and I was), you’ll get to see the Ponte Vecchio from the Vasari Corridor, which is very exclusive, and was built by the Medici family (atop the Ponte Vecchio) to use as an escape route if they ever needed it.
5. Last (at least for me on this trip) but certainly not least, the Pitti Palace. The Pitti Palace is the former residence of the grand-dukes of Tuscany and later of the King of Italy, and I believe the Medicis may have lived there at one point as well. It sits on the south side of the Arno River, very close to the Ponte Vecchio. It was at one point used as a power base by Napoleon, and now a days it’s a museum showcasing minor collections as well as more artwork and pieces that belonged to the Medici family.
Pitti Palace opens up into Boboli Gardens, a series of lavish, beautiful gardens that include an amphitheater, sculptures, grottos, fountains, and the like. The design of the gardens was used as the basis for all royal gardens in Europe, including Versailles. What do you think about these things to do in Florence? Although I listed five, you really end up seeing so much more. Have you had a chance to go? What would you say are your favorite things to do in Florence?