Florence, the Renaissance city that is home to many of the greatest artistic masterpieces in the world, is the most important and popular destinations in Tuscany. Ask the Isle Blue location specialists for suggestions if you are touring the city on your own, or book an excursion to see the highlights.
Florence and its magnificent art treasures awaits! A walking tour will include many of the major sites. These are some of the must-see attractions:
• Piazza Duomo and Giotto’s Belltower: This “Cathedral Square” is the historic center of Florence among the most popular destinations in the world. The complex is highlighted by the Florence Cathedral with the landmark Cupola del Brunelleschi, a symbol of Florence, and the octagonal Baptistery which features reproductions of the Ghiberti doors known as the Gates of Paradise. Climb up the Campanile di Giotto, the belltower, for fantastic views of the red roofs of Florence.
• Michelangelo’s David: The magnificent colossal statue of David is one of the most recognized Renaissance works, extolling the beauty of youth. But more than that, the sculpture of the Biblical hero references the David and Goliath story and symbolizing the civil liberties and independence of the Republic of Florence. Michelangelo’s David can be viewed in the Galleria dell’Accademia.
• Uffizi Gallery: The Uffizi Gallery began as an office complex commissioned for Cosimo I de Medici and designed by Vasari in 1560. Now an art museum, the Uffizi Gallery features masterpieces by artists including Giotto, Fra Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Caravaggio.
• Pitti Palace: This Renaissance royal palace is set on the River Arno not far from the Ponte Vecchio. The building dates back to the mid 1400’s, and became the residence of the ruling Medici family and later by Napoleon. The palace houses several museums, including a costume gallery and a carriage museum. The building and its contents were given to the Italian people in the early 1900’s by King Victor Emmanuel III.
• Boboli Gardens: Located behind the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens is a park that features sculptures from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries as well as a collection of Roman antiquities. The park is a pleasant place to spend a warm afternoon, with old oak trees, impressive fountains and formal gardens with blooming flowers. There is an amphitheater and an authentic Egyptian obelisk from Luxor.
• Ponte Vecchio: Walk across the storied Ponte Vecchio or Old Bridge, the only way to cross the Arno River until 1218. Italian goldsmiths and other jewelers in little shops still line both sides of the bridge.
• Museo Galileo: Situated in the Piazza dei Giudici on the Arno River close to the Uffizi Gallery the Museo Galileo features scientific artifacts used by Galileo, who advanced the understanding of the universe and contributed to modern science in the early 1600’s. There are also collections of scientific instruments belonging to the Medici’s.
If time allows, you will also want to visit some of the important piazzas that dot the city, including the Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza Santa Maria Novella and the Piazza Santa Crose. Climb up the hill to the Church of San Miniato al Monte for a spectacular view of the city.