Florence is always on the list if you are asking what the best places to visit in Italy are. Before deciding to travel, you might be curious about what to visit in Florence. It is a city that best represents Italian culture and art, and there is also much more going on!
Best attractions in Florence
There is a lot to see and get impressed with in Florence, but, you will need a full week to explore everything! To make it easier, we have preselected some attractions to see in Florence that are definitely a must-visit. Take a look!
The locals call it Piazzale Michelangelo and it is the square that overlooks the whole city. This terrace above the city is the perfect spot to take that typical photo with the cathedral in the background.
To enjoy it best, you should visit it in the late afternoon or early evening; it’s especially lovely at sunset. Although the panorama from the dome of the cathedral is amazing, only from this spot, can you fully appreciate how the cathedral dominates the city center.
Piazzale Michelangelo also lets you see the main spots of the city: Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Croce, and other landmarks. This terrace is accessible by bus or on foot by climbing the riverbank through the gardens.
Duomo Square and Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
Duomo Square and the surrounding buildings gather some of Italy’s greatest artistic treasures into a really small area. The Duomo Complex is made up of the bell tower, the cathedral, and its museum, it is where you’ll see some of the best-known masterpieces of architecture and art by the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance — Ghiberti, Giotto, Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Michelangelo.
First, walk around the exterior of the buildings and be enchanted by the colorful marble-work, then step inside each building to look more closely at the stained glass works of art that greet you wherever you look.
If you don’t like waiting in the long lines to get a ticket, consider a Skip the Line Ticket.
St. John’s Baptistery
The 12th-century octagonal baptistery is an amazing work of art from any point of view. A marble façade, the mosaics in the interior, and the artworks inside are definitely a must-see.
The bronze panels of the doors facing the cathedral that Ghiberti created are a standout entryway. The also called Gates of Paradise have been worked with such exquisite expression.
Ponte Vecchio – The old bridge of the city
The Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge that existed in the Arno river in Florence until 1218. It was extremely damaged during a major flood and the bridge that is seen nowadays in Florence was built in 1345.
If you plan to visit Florence, you can’t miss an evening walk on Ponte Vecchio. The bridge is now a shopping zone with art stores, jewelry shops, and souvenir stalls. Make sure to walk by at night, the atmosphere on the bridge becomes even more suggestive and romantic and really cannot be missed!
Palazzo Della Signoria
Palazzo Della Signoria is a fortress-like palace in the center of Florence where the city/republic was ruled. History, art, and power echo in every corner of the rooms and grand galleries. It was the house of the powerful Medici family and it was designed and decorated by the leading artists and architects of the day.
Quick TIP: Make sure to sign up early so you will have the opportunity to see some of the secret passages the Medici used to move among the rooms; save your ticket to climb to the roof to get sunset views of the city.
Florence is the city of 72 museums, and yes, once you are there you should see at least some of them. We are mentioning the three main museums that you wouldn’t want to miss.
Accademia Gallery houses Michelangelo’s best-known artwork, the original David statue. As a result of an attack on the sculpture, you will now find it behind glass, but it is still gorgeous and inspiring.
Here you will also find Michelangelo’s other pieces of art, the four unfinished slaves, meant for a tomb in Rome, St. Matthew for Florence cathedral, also unfinished. You’ll want to look in the other galleries to see highlights by 13th- to 16th-century Florentine artists, especially if you do not plan to see the Uffizi Gallery collections. Sandro Botticelli’s Madonna is a highlight.
You can save time waiting in the long lines at both of these outstanding art museums with a Skip the Line: Florence Accademia and Uffizi Gallery Tour that takes you straight to the entrance, or you can consider a guided tour.
Visit Florence Uffizi (offices)
Located just a few steps from the Piazza Della Signoria, the Uffizi Gallery is an art museum and it is considered one of the most important museums in Italy and around the world. Inside the museum, you will find an amazing collection of Renaissance art from artists such as Da Vinci, Titian, Botticelli, and Raphael.
The Renaissance art collection is the greatest in the world and it features art pieces that are simply fantastic such as The Baptism of Christ by Da Vinci, the Adoration of the Magi by Botticelli, and the Sacrifice of Isaac by Caravaggio.
Uffizi Palace will provide hours of amusement for lovers of art and history.
National Museum Florence Italy – Il Bargello
The National Museum is one of the oldest buildings in Florence. It dates back to 1255. The building was first used as a National Museum in the mid-19th century. Today it houses works of sculpture from the grand-ducal collections and examples of ‘minor” Gothic decorative arts.
Here you will also find many other treasures: works of art by the Ressman, Carrand, and Franchetti collections or arts that are distributed among the several rooms of the Palace. Several Roman and Byzantine examples, and German and French gold works, Renaissance jewels, Islamic examples of damascened bronze, grand ducal collections, and Venetian glass.
The museum displays several treasures including unique panel pieces and wooden sculptures. To be noted are also the majolicas, arms, and small bronze statues.
Below we are mentioning some popular areas/sites near Florence!
While being in Tuscany you might want to explore more, keep Pisa’s Leaning Tower and Campo Dei Miracoli, Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Siena, Lucca’s Walls and Centro Storico (Historic Center), The Towers of San Gimignano, Etruscan and Roman Volterra, Arezzo, Elba, Montepulciano, Medici Villas and Gardens
Tips for your Florence trip
Make sure you have the proper items with you to make everything easier and more comfortable.
- Stay safe – bring face masks and hand sanitizer!
- Water bottle – one or two.
- Camera – document your trip and make it easier to remember.
- Comfortable shoes – For sure!
- Cozy clothes – choose clothes that make you feel good.
- Battery pack – keep your phone and/or camera charged.
- 1 Best attractions in Florence
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- 3 Tips for your Florence trip