Florence the birthplace of the Renaissance is a city that tourists flock to in their droves. This comparatively small city that rests on the River Arno is a mecca for art lovers and romantics alike. Its narrow streets evoke times gone by, streets that have changed so little over hundreds of years that you can almost imagine Dante walking behind you composing his masterpiece “The Divine Comedy”.
This city has long resided on the lists of “must see cities” of the world and it is not surprising why. With such a wealth of historical and architectural wonders you are almost at a loss as to what to see and do first but often when time is limited you have to narrow it down to picking out some key attractions so let’s have a look at 3 of the best that really need to be explored.
Florence 3 of The Best Places To Visit
1. The Uffizi Gallery.
Nobody should travel to Florence without exploring the beauty that is The Uffizi Gallery. This stunning building built between 1560 and 1580 to house the government offices of the day now boosts one of the greatest art collections in the world.
The Uffizi is one of Italy’s most visited Galleries with over 1.5 million going each year. This does mean that it is always busy, especially weekends and mornings but it is worth the wait to get in. The gallery is currently undergoing an expansion that will eventually see its size of the exhibition space almost double and so until it is completed you should expect there to be changes in some rooms whilst others will be closed completely.
The gallery is laid out in chronological order dating from sculpture from Ancient Greece up to Venetian paintings of the 18th Century but its main draw are the paintings of the Renaissance. Housing some of the world’s greatest treasures such as Botticelli’s ” The Birth Of Venus” and works by Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Raphael the wealth of Art is truly breathtaking.
Whilst in The Uffizi you can take a tour of The Vasari Corridor that runs for 1km and which links the Palazzo Vecchio and The Uffizi. To walk down The Vasari Corridor is to walk in the footsteps of The Medici’s who used this corridor to escape walking amongst the commoners outside.
If you find that all of the Art work gets a little overwhelming then head to the out-door roof top terraced cafe for a breather and to sample the delights of the city below.
2. Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens.
The Pitti Palace built in 1457 became the family residence of The Medici’s in 1549. This vast Renaissance Palace has served as everything from the house of some of the city’s most influential rulers of the day to what it is now. Today the Pitti Palace houses some of the most important museums in Florence. On the ground floor and Mezzanine level is the Silver Museum which has on show a vast collection of the treasures from the Medici household. The first floor is The Palatine Gallery which has a large collection of 16th and 17th century paintings and the top floor houses the Gallery of Modern Art. The final stop at the top of the Palace is the Galleria del Costume which chronicles fashion from Cosimo de Medici to the haute- couture of the 1990s.
Standing below the Pitti Place is arguably one of the most famous gardens in the world. The Boboli Gardens span from the 15th century to the 19th century in their development and have influenced some of the other great gardens of the world such as Versailles.
The Egyptian obelisk brought from Luxor which sits in the middle of the Amphitheatre has stood proud since 1789 and beyond this as you climb up the hill you will spot Neptune’s Fountain. If you are looking to escape the harsh Summer Florentine sun then head back down the steep sloping avenue towards Porta Romana where you will find a collection of terraces and tunnels that will offer shade and somewhere to sit down to catch your breath. The gardens are quite steep to climb so good footwear is recommended and if you are looking for amazing views of Florence here you will get some of the best on offer.
3. Duomo – Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
Think of an image of Florence and what will undoubtedly come to mind will be the Duomo which must be the cities most iconic landmark. The Duomo which dominates the Medieval city was begun by Arnolofo di Cambio who began working on it in 1296 but it was a further 150 years before it was completed. This breathtaking construction has a facade of green, pink and white marble and the red tiled cupola and bell tower dominate the landscape.
The interior holds frescos by Vasari and has a large number of stunning stained glass windows. If after observing the exterior and its beauty, you might be somewhat surprised by the almost stark interior in comparison . A visit down the stairway near the main entrance will take you to the Cripta Santa Reparata or crypt where parts of the 5th-century Chiesa di Santa Reparata were discovered when excavation work began. The Duomo is beautifully decorated and a trip to the top of the dome to see the outstanding view is something that shouldn’t be missed.
Florence 3 of The Best Places To Visit