Best 20 Attractions in Florence | Elena Kazantseva's blog 2btraveler

Florence is one of the most popular tourist cities in Italy along with Rome , Venice, Milan. Millions of people from all over the world annually come to Florence to see with their own eyes  “the cradle of the Renaissance.” For a superficial acquaintance with the city you need at least 3 days, and even better – a week. This is not always possible, because you want to visit other cities in Italy in one trip.

In this article I will talk about 20 popular attractions of the city ​​that are worth a look in Florence. If you are in the city for just a few hours then you will have time to see at least the first 5! 

Article content:
What to see in Florence in 1 day
What to see in Florence in 2 days
What to see in Florence in 3 days

What to see in Florence on your own in 1 day.

Duomo | Santa Croce | Piazza Signoria and the Palazzo Vecchio | Uffizi Gallery | Promenade Arno and Ponte Vecchio |

The main attractions are concentrated in the historic city center. They are located quite compactly, therefore, you will not need public transport . This is a huge “plus” of Florence. The “minus” is that there can be huge lines stretching for several hours at the entrance to almost all the sights . If you only have one day in Florence and want to get to any of the attractions listed below, you should book or purchase tickets in advance, even if you overpay a few euros. Below I will give links to sites and services that will help save your time in Florence.

So, what you should definitely see in Florence .

№1. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo)

The Duomo is the main cathedral of Florence and one of the five most magnificent cathedrals in the world. The dimensions of the cathedral are staggering: length – 153 meters, width – 90 meters, total height 114 meters, and the height of the dome (Brunneleschi dome) – 90 meters!

santa maria del fiore florence
Santa Maria del Fiore is Florence’s most popular attraction
dome brunelleschi florence
The height of Brunelleschi’s dome is about 90 meters

The construction of the Cathedral began in 1310, and was completed only four centuries later! The need to install a dome generally suspended work for 40 years, because there was no technology to build such a huge dome at that time (15th century).

By the way, this era of Florence, the search for an architect and the construction of a dome are well shown in the series “Medici – Masters of Florence”, I recommend watching 🙂

sights of florence

As for the dome, it was designed and installed by the brilliant architect Brunneleschi, whose name the dome still bears.

View from the observation deck of the Dome

The appearance of the Cathedral is also amazing! Polychrome facing marble was used for decoration; its colors seemed to shimmer from white to gray, green and pink.

cathedral santa maria del fiore
Amazing color combination!

The interior of the Cathedral, in comparison with the luxury of appearance, at first glance seems very, very modest! However, inside there is something to see: frescoes of the 15th century, busts of famous Florentine figures (including Brunelleschi himself), as well as unusual 15th century watches that still go on. The clock hands move in the opposite direction, which makes them look like the clock of the town hall located in the Jewish quarter of Prague .

 

Read also the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) in Florence: photos, review, opening hours, tickets

 

Santa Maria del Fiore is not only the Duomo itself, it is a whole complex of buildings on Cathedral Square. In addition to the Cathedral, it includes:

  • Campanile di Giotto’s bell tower is almost 90 meters high. The foundation of the bell tower was laid in 1298, but Giotto himself, by whose name the campaignana is named, built only its first tier. Today, the bell tower is considered an example of Florentine Gothic architecture, and one of the observation platforms is also located in the bell tower.
what to see in florence
Giotto’s bell tower rises to the right of the Cathedral
View from the observation deck of the bell tower
  • The Duomo Museum (Museo dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore). The museum exhibits the originals of the masterpieces of the Cathedrals
At the Duomo Museum
  • The Baptistery of John the Baptist (Battistero di San Giovanni) is the oldest building in the Duomo Square (5th century). It was intended for christening and was used for its intended purpose until the 19th century. Baptistery was lined with marble in the 11-12th centuries, and its doors are decorated with golden bas-reliefs. The South Gate depicts scenes of the life of John the Baptist and the main virtues, the North are decorated with bas-reliefs with paintings from the New Testament, and the Oriental (“The Gates of Paradise”) – the most famous of all – demonstrate biblical stories.
    Florence sights on your own
    The Baptistery is the oldest building on Cathedral Square in Florence
    what to see in florence in 1 day
    “The Gates of Paradise” – this name was given to the gates by Michelangelo himself

    Inside the baptistery

Working hours

Cathedral: Monday-Wednesday, Friday: from 10:00 to 17:00, Saturday: from 10:00 to 16:45, Sunday: from 13:30 to 16:45.

Dome: Sunday – Friday: from 8:30 to 19:00, Saturday: from 8:30 to 16:40 (book in advance)

Museum: Monday – Saturday: from 9:00 to 19:00, Sunday: from 9:00 to 13:45, the first Tuesday of each month the museum is closed

Baptistery: Monday-Saturday: from 08:15 to 10:15 and from 11:15 to 19:30, Sunday: from 8:30 to 13:30.

Ticket price:

  • Entrance to the Cathedral is free, it is only necessary to defend the queue (on average 2-3 hours).
  • Entrance to the Cathedral without waiting in a queue + a small tour in English – 15 € Buy a ticket >>> 
  • A comprehensive ticket for all attractions – 18 €. With a complex ticket, each of them can be visited only once. Buy a ticket >>>   Book a time to climb the dome >>> 
  • If there are no tickets on your site on your date (as a rule, it is difficult to buy a ticket day-to-day and the next), you can buy a ticket through agents >>> . The time of ascent to the dome can be selected from the available: 9:30, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30, 16:30. Ticket price 30 €.
  • Integrated ticket + priority entry + excursion (English) – 34  Buy a ticket >>>

Official website: https://www.ilgrandemuseodelduomo.it

 

№2. Santa Croce Church (Basilica di Santa Croce)

Basilica di Santa Croce (Church of the Holy Cross) is the largest Franciscan church in the world , one of the most popular attractions in Florence. The construction of the church began at the end of the 13th century, but throughout the time the church was rebuilt several times.

obligatory sights of florence
Santa Croce Basilica – Florentine Pantheon

Until now, the frescoes of Giotto and Giamboloni, as well as the architectural works of Brunelleschi and the altar, in the design of which Donatello participated, have been preserved in the interior of the church.

Of the 16 (!) Chapels of the Basilica of Santa Croce , the Pazzi chapel , built by Brunelleschi in the courtyard of the monastery, deserves special attention .

The Santa Croce Basilica is also the Florentine pantheon – about 300 famous Florentines are buried here, including Galileo, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Rossini and many others.

Florence attractions what to see
Sculpture of Dante at the entrance to the basilica

Working hours

Monday-Saturday: from 9:30 to 17:30, Sunday: from 14:00 to 17:00

Ticket price

8 € full, 4 € children (11-17 years old), children under 11 years free. Audio Guide 1,5 €

№3 and №4. Piazza Signoria and the Palazzo Vecchio

Signoria Square is an open-air museum . In addition to the fact that it is here that the Palazzo Vecchio is located, there are many sculptures (almost all sculptures are copies) of the famous masters in the square: “David” by Michelangelo (the original is stored in the “Academy Gallery”), “Hercules, who defeated Cacus Bandinelli, Neptune’s fountain by B .Ammanati (the first public fountain in the city) and a composition of 15 sculptures in the Loggia of Lanzi.

Florence Signoria Square
Signoria Square is always crowded

loggia lance florence

In the Loggia of Lanzi you can see a composition of 15 sculptures

The main building on the square is the Old Palace (Palazzo Vecchio), which served as a government building. As you might guess, the Palace was not always called “Old”. After construction, it was given the name “New”, then – Palace of Signoria; in 1540 (when Cosimo Medici moved to the Palace) he became “Ducal, and already twenty-five years later, when the residence of the dukes was moved to the Pitti Palace, the Palazzo became known as the Old.

palazzo veccio florence
The Old Palace was not always “old”

Today, having bought a ticket, anyone can visit the Palace. The most popular hall of the palace is the Five Hundred Hall . The walls of this hall in which the meetings of the People’s Council were held were painted by Leonardo Da Vinci himself. However, during the reconstruction, the fresco of Da Vinci was replaced by the work of another master – Vasari. Tourists are also attracted by Elemental Apartments, Saturn Terrace, the dining room and Eleanor’s boudoir.

Working hours

In the summer from 9:00 to 23:00 except Thursday, Thursday from 9:00 to 17:00, in the winter from 9:00 to 19:00, on Thursday to 17:00

Ticket price

  • Entrance to the courtyard is free (through the main entrance or the side door from Via dei Gondi ), there are also ticket offices.
  • Museum visit – 10 € full, 8 € reduced
  • Museum visit + tower visit – 14 € full, 12 € reduced,
  • A visit to the museum + a visit to the tower without a queue – 19 € buy online >>>
  • A visit to the museum + a visit to the tower + a visit to the archaeological zone – 18 € full, 16 € preferential.

№5. Uffizi Gallery.

The art gallery number 1 in Florence , the most popular museum in Italy and one of the most famous museums in the world. The Gallery’s architect was J. Vasari.

uffizi florence
Uffizi Gallery – No. 1 Art Gallery in Italy

 Initially, the Gallery was built, of course, not for storing paintings and other works of art, but in order to collect all the government agencies in Florence in one place. However, Vasari was fond of art, so he designed the Gallery with long corridors, in which it would be possible to place artwork. Later, various works of art from all the houses of the Medici began to be brought to the Uffizi, and gradually the government building turned into an art gallery.

The most popular work in the Gallery is “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli . In addition to this sculpture, the works of Raphael, Caravaggio, da Vinci, Michelangelo are presented.

Working hours

Tuesday – sunday: from 8:15 to 18:50, the ticket office until 18:05.

Ticket price

  • A visit to one museum, a ticket can be bought at the box office (large lines)

– in the summer period (01.03-31.10) 20 € full, 10 € preferential.

– in winter (01.11-28.02) 12 € full, 6 € preferential.

 

The first Sunday of the month admission is free (you must get a ticket at the box office).

A visit to the Archaeological Museum (Piazza Santissima Annunziata n. 9b) is included in the ticket price

  • Complex ticket (Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens)

– in the summer period (01.03-31.10) 38 € full, 21 € preferential.

– in winter (01.11-28.02) 18 € full, 11 € preferential.

  • Booking tickets – + 4 € by phone +39 055 294883 or  online >>>
  • A comprehensive ticket and a skip-the-line pass (it is necessary to visit the Uffizi in the first place, other attractions can be visited within the next 2 days, also without a queue) – 38 €. Buy a ticket >>>

Official website : https://www.uffizi.it/gli-uffizi

 

See also “Where to go from Florence for 1-2 days”

 

№6 and №7. Ponte Vecchio (or Old Bridge) and the Arno River Embankment

Going to the Old Bridge (Ponte Vecchio), be sure to take a walk along the embankment of the Arno River . Firstly, it is just nice, and secondly, it is from here that the best views of the bridge itself open.

golden bridge florence
Florence’s oldest bridge – Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio – indeed, is the oldest bridge in the city. It existed in the era of ancient Rome. Once its function was simply to cross the river, later the bridge became a cluster of Florentine butchers, who, because of the terrible smell, were sent away from the houses of the local nobility (then they called the bridge “smelly”). Now the second name of the bridge is “Golden” , it is here that the city’s most expensive jewelry boutiques are located.

old bridge florence
The second name of the bridge is Golden.

The bridge itself has a rather interesting appearance, many houses seem to protrude above the river (these are butchers, limited in size, were forced to build their shops in this way). And above the “houses” you can see small windows. There is the Vasari Corridor connecting the Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti. Today, originals of more than 700 paintings of the 16-17th centuries are stored there.

As of 2018, the work is being redistributed between the Corridor and the Uffizi Gallery, so it is impossible to get an excursion into the corridor (previously it was possible only with a guide).

 

Read also the article “Florence Airport: how to get to the city”

 

What to see in Florence in 2 days

Santa Maria Novella | Mercato San Lorenzo | Basilica of San Lorenzo | Academy Gallery | Republic Square | Porcellino Fountain | Dante Museum | Piazzale Michelangelo |

Not far from the train station is the church of Santa Maria Novella – one of the most popular churches in the city, the main Dominican church in Florence.

№8 Basilica di Santa Maria Novella (Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 18)

This openwork church was built in the 14-15 centuries. in place of a small chapel. The initiators of the construction of a new church and monastery were the monks of the Dominican Order. Later, in the 15th century, the church was rebuilt. Architect Leon Battista Alberti, commissioned by local merchant Giovanni di Paolo Rucellai, rebuilt the portal and the upper part of the facade.

The most famous works of art that can be seen today in the church: The Crucifixion (Brunelleschi, 1410), the Gondi chapel, the Altar of the chapel Maggiore with the bronze Crucifixion (Jambolonia, 16th century), the Monument to Blessed Villana (Rossellino, 1451), the Terracotta bust of St. Antonin, The tombs of Bishop Fiesole (Tino da Camaino) and Philippe Strozzi (Benedetto da Mayano, 1491), the Madonna with the Rosary (J. Vasari, 1568), Frescoes depicting the Last Judgment in the Chapel of Strozzi Mantova.

Church Hours:

  • Monday – thursday: from 9:00 to 19:00 (summer), until 17:30 (from October to March)
  • Friday: from 11:00 to 19:00 (in summer), until 17:30 (from October to March)
  • Saturday: from 9:00 to 17:30, Sunday and holidays from 13:00 to 17:30.
  • The cash desk closes 45 minutes before closing time.

Ticket price: 7.5 € – full, 5 € – preferential, children under 11 years old – free of charge.

Official site of the attraction: http://www.chiesasantamarianovella.it/

A five-minute walk from the church is the next attraction, which I recommend visiting in order to feel the atmosphere of the city . The face of the city is always the market, and in Florence it is the Central Market of San Lorenzo.

№9. Mercato di San Lorenzo (Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 6)

The San Lorenzo Market is the central market of Florence. The market was opened in 1874, today you can find leather goods, souvenirs, products, as well as Tuscan cuisine in the recently opened food court.

According to tripadvisor reviews, the “clothing” part of the market does not cause much delight among visitors, since prices are too high, sellers come from India and Pakistan, and things are not always of good quality.

But I recommend visiting the gastronomic part: in different shopping areas you will find dairy and meat products, pastries, pickles, fruits and vegetables

Da Nerbone is a historic cafe on the market. It has been working since 1872! Here you can taste real Florentine dishes in a special atmosphere. Panino con lampredotto (sandwich with lampredotto – cow ventricles, as well as with green or spicy sauce) is especially popular. Sandwiches – about 5 €, a glass of wine – 2 €, soups, salads, risotto, pasta – from 4 €. Open from 8:00 to 14:00 except Sunday.

Market hours: Monday – Friday from 7:00 to 14:00, Saturday from 7:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00.

Second floor (food court): daily from 12:00 to 24:00.

№10 Basilica di San Lorenzo (Piazza di San Lorenzo, 9)

The Basilica of San Lorenzo is the oldest church in Florence (construction dates back to the 4th century AD) and the family crypt of the Medici clan .

basilica san lorenzo florence

From the 4th to the 7th century, the Basilica of St. Lawrence was the Cathedral of Florence. The global reconstruction of the Basilica began in the 15th century, it was financed by the reconstruction of influential Florentines, the most generous of which was Giovanni Medici. Filippo Brunelleschi was appointed the architect, who worked on the construction of the Old Chapel, however, work continued only until 1429, when, due to the death of J. Medici, finances were not enough. The old chapel is decorated with bas-reliefs of Donatello, here are the tombs of two members of the Medici family – Giovanni and Pietro.

Only a century later, in 1520, a new architect, Michelangelo Buanorotti, was hired to build New Sacristia. In addition to the New Sacristia with the tomb of Lorenzo and Giuliano Medici, the library of Laurenzian was also built according to his project. The Cappella Dei Principi began to be designed by Matteo Niggetti in 1604, but the design was never completed.

Church opening hours: Monday – Saturday: from 10:00 to 17:00, Sunday from 13:30 to 17:00.

Ticket price: entrance to the basilica and crypt 5 €, entrance to the library 3 €, entrance to the Medici Chapel 8 €.

№11.Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze (Via Ricasoli, 58/60)

This place is known, first of all, because it is here that the original David sculpture by Michelangelo is stored (the sculpture of David by the Palazzo Vecchio is just a copy, the original was moved to the Academy Gallery in 1873).

Other famous works of art stored in the Gallery are Michelangelo’s “Prisoners”, “The Abduction of the Sabine Women” by Jambolony (a copy is also on Piazza Signoria), works by Botticelli, Perugino, Bronzino. The Gallery also has a collection of Russian icons from the 16-18th centuries.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday: from 8:15 to 18:50.

Ticket price: 12 € full, 6 € preferential. For reserve tickets by phone +39 055 294883 and purchase online  on the official website http://www.galleriaaccademiafirenze.beniculturali.it a fee of 4 € is charged. Ticket price when buying through an agency  – 20 euros.

Audio guide (in Italian, English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese) – 6 €, double audio guide – 10 €

№12. Piazza della Repubblica

square of the republic of florence

Republic Square is literally a 3-minute walk from the Duomo. The Roman Forum, then the Old Market and the center of Florentine trade, today has become a lively place with many cafes and restaurants, musicians and a colorful carousel that children really like.

№13. Fontana del Porcellino, Piazza del Mercato Nuovo

Literally a few steps from Signoria Square, there is a small fountain in the form of a boar , which the Italians affectionately call porcellino (wild boar). Be sure to rub the nose of the hog to come back to Florence. Checked – it works! The fountain is located next to the Mercato del Porcellino.

№14. Museo Casa di Dante (Via Santa Margherita, 1)

300 meters from the Republic Square is one house, which would be wrong to avoid. This is the Dante House Museum . However, you should not expect to see the house in its original form – the building in which the house-museum is located was built only in 1910, but exactly at the place where the famous Florentine’s house used to be. On the three floors of the museum there is an exposition telling about the life and work of Dante, about his relationship with his beloved Beatrice Portinar, about his writing of the “Divine Comedy”, and about the era as a whole.

museum house dante florence

Working hours:

  • Winter period (01.11 – 31.03): Tuesday – Friday: from 10:00 to 17:00, Saturday – Sunday: from 10:00 to 18:00
  • Summer period (01.04-31.10): daily from 10:00 to 18:00.

Ticket price: 4 € full, 2 € preferential, children under 6 years free.

Official website: http://www.museocasadidante.it/

An evening in Florence I recommend to spend in a very beautiful place with a gorgeous view of Florence. This place is Piazzale Michelangelo.

№15.Piazzale Michelangelo

square michelangelo florence what to see in florence in 2 days

Michelangelo Square is located on a small hill on the south bank of the Arno River. Probably, in the case of this square, its history is not particularly interesting (by the way, it was built in 1869 according to the project of Giuseppe Poggi, and the sculpture “David”, or rather, its copy, standing in the middle of the square, was discovered in 1873) .

Of greatest interest is the modern life of this place – many tourists, stalls, musicians and, of course, the panorama of all of Florence , which can be enjoyed for more than one hour.

You can get to Piazzale Michelangelo on foot (but in this case, get ready to climb up the stairs), or by buses No. 12, 13.

What to see in Florence in 3 days

№16.Palazzo Medici – Riccardi (Via Camillo Cavour, 3)

Palazzo Medici was built for 20 years – from 1444 to 1464, was the family castle of the famous family, in addition, it was the first Renaissance mansion . Some rooms of the Palace still retain their original appearance.

The most famous place in the palace is a small family chapel – the Chapel of the Magi , painted by Benozzo Gozzoli: it is decorated not just with a lot of frescoes, but rather with a single decoration, the plot of which unfolds directly on the walls of the chapel.

The middle name in the name is also not accidental; in 1659 the Medici family was forced to sell the palace to the Riccardi family.

Opening hours: Thursday – Tuesday from 9:00 to 19:00, Wednesday – day off.

Ticket price: 7 € adult, 4 € child.

№17 and №18. Piazza San Marco, Museo di San Marco

Piazza San Marco Florence

The small square of San Marco in Florence is known for the complex of the same name – the church of St. Mark and the convent , built in the 13th century. The monastery today is turned into a museum and attracts tourists from all over the world. First of all, everyone is eager to see the frescoes of Fra Angelico, with which each cell of the former monastery is decorated. Another interesting work is The Last Supper by Ghirlandaio, located in the refectory.

Museum opening hours: Monday – Friday: from 8:15 to 13:50, Saturday: from 8:15 to 16:50. The cash desk closes half an hour earlier.

Ticket price: 4 € full, 2 € preferential.

№19. Palazzo Pitti Museum of Art (Piazza de ‘Pitti, 1)

The second most popular and important art museum in Florence – Palazzo Pitti is located on the south bank of the Arno River and is the largest Florentine palace of the 16th century.

palazzo pitti florence

It is named after the first owner – the banker Luke Pitti, who dreamed of building a palace that exceeded the size of the palaces of the ruling dynasty. After the death of Pitti, the unfinished palace was bought by the Medici and became the residence of the Dukes of Tuscany, and later – the Italian kings. Today, the Art Museum is located in the Palace building.

Tourists from all over the world are attracted to the Pitti Palace by the works of Renaissance mastersthe largest collection of works by Raphael Santi , canvas by Titian, Rubens, Botticelli, Caravaggio, sculptures of the 18-20th century, Museums of silver, carriages and fashion. The latter has a collection of more than 6,000 items of clothing, accessories, underwear and jewelry.

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday: from 8:15 to 18:50, the ticket office until 18:05.

Ticket price:

Visit to one museum

– in the summer period (01.03-31.10) 16 € full, 8 € preferential.

– in winter (01.11-28.02) 10 € full, 5 € preferential.

The first Sunday of the month admission is free (you must get a ticket at the box office)

 

When buying a ticket before 08:59 and entry until 09:25, a 50% discount

Complex ticket (Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens)

– in the summer period (01.03-31.10) 38 € full, 21 € preferential.

– in winter (01.11-28.02) 18 € full, 11 € preferential.

Booking tickets – 3 € by phone +39 055 294883 or online

Official website: https://www.uffizi.it/

№20. Giardino di Boboli (Piazza Pitti, 1)

Right behind Pitti’s Palace is a unique park – Boboli Gardens, which is considered an open-air museum of landscape gardening . The development of the park began at the end of the 16th century, after the Medici family acquired the Pitti Palace. A lot of sculptures, fountains, alleys and centuries-old trees under which you can relax on a hot summer day – all this attracts hundreds of tourists. By the way, the park itself, the decoration of which eminent architects worked on, was a model for the construction of many European parks, including Versailles.

Working hours:

  • November – February: from 8:15 to 16:30
  • March, October: from 8:15 to 17:30
  • April, May, September, October: from 8:15 to 18:30
  • June-August: from 8:15 to 19:30

The first and last Monday of the month, as well as December 25 and January 1, the park is closed.

Ticket price:

Garden Visit

– in the summer period (01.03-31.10) 10 € full, 5 € preferential.

– in winter (01.11-28.02) 6 € full, 3 € preferential.

 

The first Sunday of the month admission is free (you must get a ticket at the box office)

 

Access to the Bardini Gardens is included in the ticket price.

Complex ticket (Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens)

– in the summer period (01.03-31.10) 38 € full, 21 € preferential.

– in winter (01.11-28.02) 18 € full, 11 € preferential.

Booking tickets – 3 € by phone +39 055 294883 or online

Official website: https://www.uffizi.it/

That’s all. Share the article on social networks and add to bookmarks!

Interesting Florence to you!

You can also like

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *