Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and has a population of nearly 400,000 people. Each year people flock from all around the world to get a glimpse of its rich Renaissance history. The city is filled with many famous masterpieces of Renaissance architecture and art. Any trip to Italy will be incomplete without a visit to Florence. It has many beautiful galleries that have world-famous artworks. It is also one of the premier tourist destinations in the world, so it is filled with great hotels and amazing restaurants. It is the best place to taste Tuscan food in the region. Below are the best spots that you must visit on your trip to Florence.
1. Uffizi Gallery
This gallery is home to the greatest collection of Italian Renaissance art in the world. This gallery occupies the U-shaped Palazzo degli Uffizi, which was built in the 16th century CE. This massive collection was given to the city of Florence by the Medici family in 1743 on a condition that these masterpieces never leave the city. The gallery contains much notable artwork, including entire rooms dedicated just to Botticelli’s masterpieces. The gallery unfolds in chronological order, having everything from ancient Greek sculptures to Venetian paintings from the 18th century. The gallery is also home to numerous paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci, including Annunciazione, Battesimo di Cristo, and Adoration of the Magi. You can spend around four to five hours in the gallery, and it will cost you anywhere from $62 to upwards of $90. Once you have taken in the artworks and buildings to your heart’s content, you can then move to the rooftop cafe. This is where the Medici clan used to listen to splendid music performances on the square below. This cafe will give you a fabulous view, while also satiating your need for a drink. There is also a quick exit by the cafe if you have had enough of the gallery by then.
2. Basilica dr Santa Maria Novella
The Basilica di Santa Maria Novella is the front to an entire monastic complex; the complex comprises of romantic church cloisters and a chapel filled with frescoes. The Basilica itself is filled with many masterpieces, the most prominent ones of them being the frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio. The Basilica is a striking green-and-white marble facade from the 13th to the 15th century. None other than Leon Battista Alberti designed the upper sections of the Basilica. A tour around the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella will cost you up to $50. It is best that you book your tour online so that you don’t have to stand in the long queues that usually forms outside the Basilica.
This is without question the most iconic landmark in all of Florence. The iconic cathedral is capped by Filippo Brunelleschi’s red-tiled cupola; it is the most graceful building in the renaissance skyline of the city. The construction work on the cathedral began in 1296 by Sienese architect Arnolfo di Cambio, but it would be almost 150 years before it gets completed. The stunning interior boasts many beautifully stained windows along with frescoes done by Zuccari and Vasari. The building’s construction lasting many years has meant that it shows a variety of different architectural styles. The most recent addition has been Duomo’s neo-Gothic facade that was added in the 19th century. A visit to the Duomo complex can cost you anywhere between $50 and $120. The complex is open on all days of the week, but do take care to know the active hours for each day.
4. Giotto’s Bell Tower
The 414 steps long climb to the top of the cathedral’s 85m-tall campanile will provide you with one of the best views of the city’s skyline. The construction for the campanile started in 1334 by the Italian architect and painter, Giotto. The entire tower has many copied pieces. This includes the creation of Man and attività umane by Pisano. The upper story of the campanile consists of many sculpted prophets and Sibyls; these are copies of the work of Donatello and other artists. A visit to the campanile will cost you about $20.
5. Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo
This museum tells the remarkable tale of how Duomo and its famous cupola came to life. The museum contains many significant pieces of Florence history; this includes the original doors that were meant for the eastern and northern entrances. Porta del Paradiso is one of the most beautifully designed doors; it is a 16-meter tall door of gilded bronze. The museum is also home to Michelangelo’s achingly beautiful La Pietà, which he sculpted when he was almost 80 and had meant for it to adorn his tomb. Sadly, Michelangelo was not satisfied with his work and destroyed the left leg and arm of the figure. The sculpture was then restored by one of his students to its former glory. The place will also be home to the spectacular Porta Sud by Andrea Pisano from the end of 2019. The museum is open all through the week, and a guided visit will set you back about $50.
6. Galleria dell’Accademia
This gallery is home to one of the most iconic sculptures of the Renaissance, Michelangelo’s David. This masterpiece is worth its wait; the tiny details in the anatomy and change in expression as you move around the statue are mesmerizing. The work done by Michelangelo is just staggering. The gallery is also home to other works by Michelangelo, such as the San Matteo and the four Prigionis. The gallery also has additional rooms that are filled with artworks by Domenico Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi, Sandro Botticelli, Andrea Orcagna, and Taddeo Gaddi. The gallery is not open on Mondays, and it will cost you about $14 to enter it. A guided tour through will cost you about $50.