When planning your holidays in Tuscany you cannot miss to spend a few days in Florence, the capital of the region and one of the most famous cities in Italy for its undoubted beauty and elegance.
Florence is well known for being the cradle of the Renaissance which historically was born here thanks to the open-mindedness of the Medici family, the lords of the city for many centuries and above all great lovers of art and architecture.
Even though the city offers many attractions to see, we can assure you that it is not very big and it is very easy to visit on foot or by bicycle in a few days.
It is made of four historic districts which also represent the various teams during the medieval events and they are: Santa Maria Novella, San Giovanni, Santa Croce and Santo Spirito. If you explore them during your stay you can say that you have truly experienced Florence!
Below we want to suggest the best places to see during your vacation in Florence and the best attractions and museums to visit.
Piazza del Duomo: this is the most important religious Square that offers unrivalled attractions to explore as the Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori (Saint Mary of the Flowers) with the ascent to Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giotto Bell tower, masterpieces of genial artists and architects. In the same area you can also visit the old Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Opera del Duomo museum. If you visit the official website you can find all the information on how to buy the tickets.
Basilica di San Lorenzo: is placed not far from the Cathedral and it is very important because it houses all the tombs of Medici family: Medici’s Chapels. This has always been their headquarter. That’s the reason why in front of the church there is also the Medici Riccardi Palace. Behind the basilica you can explore the Central Market of San Lorenzo where you will find many stands on the ground floor and street food on the first floor.
If you want to buy the tickets of the Basilica and Chapels visit the official website
The church and the square of Santa Maria Novella are located in front of the main Train Station which takes the same name. The square is rather spacious and has been recently renovated, and it gives an elegant welcoming to the travellers at their arrival to Florence. The main attraction is the gorgeous Dominican church with a renaissance façade and many artistic treasures inside. If you wish to visit the Church, you can find all the information to buy the ticket on the official website.
Moreover, closeby in via della Scala you can visit the most ancient pharmacy in the world that the Dominican friars founded in 1221 which is very famous for the perfumes and fragrances still today made.
The Accademia and the Uffizi Gallery are the unmissable museums that you must see during your visit to Florence. In Accademia you can admire the colossal statue of David, a magnificent masterpiece of Michelangelo which calls travellers from all over the world. In the Uffizi gallery you get to know some of the most important paintings of artists like Botticelli and his Venus or Leonardo Da Vinci, Caravaggio and many others. We recommend you reserve your ticket at https://www.uffizi.it/en/ and https://www.galleriaaccademiafirenze.it/en/.
Signoria Square, the most famous square in Florence which has been the emblem of Florentine political power since the 14th century. It has also been the set of many international movies like the Inferno of Dan Brown. The square is embellished by many sculptures, artworks of important artists like Donatello, Benvenuto Cellini e Giambologna. The majestic Palazzo Vecchio has been standing here for centuries and surely deserves a visit. If you want to see the interior of Palazzo Vecchio please check the website.
Ponte Vecchio, just a few steps away from the Signoria Square you must visit the bridge that has become the symbol of Florence itself, which is featured by the curious houses and old jewellery shops. A nice walk over the bridge is a must of day trip to Florence.
Santa Croce is the name of the eastern district, the Church and the Square that is one of the oldest in Italy founded by the Franciscan monks. The square is also famous for hosting important medieval tournaments and beautiful noble buildings. If you want to visit the interior of the church which houses the tombs of the most important characters, see the website.
Sant’Ambrogio Food Market is located in the eastern side of Florence and it is a fresh food market where both locals and tourists buy their food. You can experience the bustling day of the vendors, learn about Tuscan food and taste typical products.
Palazzo Pitti is located on the other side of the Arno river, it used to be the Medici residence outside the city centre. The palace and the square are enormous and inside you can visit the Palatina Gallery and above all the famous Boboli Garden: check the website for reservations. The area around is known as Oltrarno and it is very popular among Florentines for its local restaurants and nightlife.
Piazzale Michelangelo, the popular spot from which to admire Florence and the skyline from the top. This terrace is the belvedere of the town and gives incomparable views and romantic moments. You can reach the top of the hill by taxi, bus or walking along a city path. Once you are on the top you shouldn’t miss a visit to the old Church of San Miniato which overlooks the city.
If you visit Florence in the next future and you wish to experience the city with a local guide have a look at our page
How to reach Florence city centre
From Florence Airport you can reach Santa Maria Novella Railway Station, by taxi, by shuttle or by the new tram line just outside the terminal.
From Pisa Airport you can take the shuttle outside the terminal which takes you to Santa Maria Novella Railway Station.
From Milan or Rome take the Frecciarossa fast train to the Santa Maria Novella Railway station. The Station is very close to the city centre that you can reach by walk or by taxi.
From the A1 Autostrada (motorway) take the Exit Firenze and follow the direction to centro città (city centre). You can park the car at your hotel or at the public parkings of Porta al Prato or Sant’Ambrogio.
Blog created by our tour guide Chiara Degano!