10 Must-See Attractions in Florence

Located in central Italy, Florence is home to nearly a third of the world’s artistic treasures and is the birthplace of a classical folk tale.

Florence was home to writer Carlo Collodi and his fictional creation Pinocchio, a wooden puppet who desperately wants to be a real boy. Now a cultural icon, it’s possible that Collodi drew his inspiration for the beloved puppet from marionette theatre which flourished during the Renaissance period. This was in part due to a reawakening of the church, which saw religious figures humanised, as demonstrated by the many pieces of art centred around the human form, and the use of puppets to perform the Church’s morality plays. Like Pinocchio, Florence owes much of its popularity to religion and the development of high Renaissance art.

It is no wonder that the creator who brought us Pinocchio was a Florentino by birth. A place of imposing history and enchanting artwork, Florence is underlined by a romantic ambience, which would make anyone feel inspired.

To find your own inspiration check out our top ten, must-see attractions in the list below.

  • Galleria Degli Uffizi

    Galleria degli Uffizi

    A building filled with the some of the most important artworks in the world. The Galleria was constructed between 1560 and 1580 and offers an outstanding two-floor collection of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and archives. Single tickets cost just $20, granting access to a timeline of masterpieces, from ancient Greek sculptures to 18th century Venetian paintings. Feast your eyes on the works of different European painters, the infamous da Vinci and Botticelli and an invaluable sculpture collection from the Medici family who inspired and funded the Italian Renaissance. Any art lover will find it hard to find a more impressive collection of works, so take your time and explore each room, corridor and ceiling with care.

  • Duomo di Firenze

    Recognised by its large dome structure, Florence Cathedral is a stunningly intricate building made up of large marble blocks in various shades of pink, white and green. Construction of the gothic style cathedral began in 1296, but was not be completed until 1436, with the addition of its dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, a founding father of Renaissance architecture. The engineering of the dome took careful consideration, as well as the development of a mathematical technique called linear perspective. The time and precision that went into the build explains why it remains the largest brick dome ever constructed. It dominates the city skyline and can be seen on many tourist souvenirs and postcards as a symbol of Florence.

  • Ponte Vecchio

    The Ponte Vecchio, meaning the “old bridge” in Italian, is a medieval, segmented arch bridge which sits over the Arno River. The bridge is so picturesque that Adolf Hitler allegedly deemed it too beautiful to destroy during World War II. Today, it operates much like it did in the past, with shops and merchants selling their goods to passers-by. Whether you fancy a shop or not, the bridges’ beautiful symmetry is highlighted by the river which runs centrally through it, and the green banks, lights and shops either side of the water create a bewitching scene.

  • Galleria dell’Accademia

    Galleria dell'Accademia

    The queue which marks the entrance to this art museum in Florence is for one reason – David. The famously impressive and breathtaking sculpture crafted from a single block of marble by Michelangelo continues to be marvelled by visitors around the world. There’s only one way to take in the detail of this masterpiece, and that’s with the naked eye.

  • Mercato Centrale

    A large open-air market made of a cast iron structure serving fresh produce that is waiting to be loved and shared. Delicious aromas fill the air tempting you at every stall to try the variety of foods on offer. Join locals and tourists in a bubbling hub of energy, music and a shared passion for good, authentic food and drink.

  • Giardino di Boboli

    Known in English as the Boboli Gardens, this historic park, originally designed for the Medici family, is an excellent example of a traditional Italian garden. The vibrancy of the garden’s beautifully cut grass and pruned flowerbeds will make you want to get lost wandering around its carefully crafted footpaths which mark its Tuscan style design. Lose yourself in a Florentino dream, as the garden fills your senses with citrus scents, bird song and soft-flowing fountains.

  • Museo di San Marco

    Museo di San Marco, or the San Marco Museum, is a religious complex made up of a church and a convent. Get away from the tourist rush by taking a trip to this local gem. With a handful of works by Fra Angelico, Giovanni Antonio and Mariotto Albertinelli, the monastery also offers a look at the cells used by monks on the upper floor, all decorated with Angelico’s paintings.

  • Palazzo Vecchio

    Palazzo Vecchio

    The town palace or fortress overlooks some of the city’s main attractions and was the home of Florence’s supreme governing body for six centuries. Its significance is demonstrated in its service as the city’s town hall and museum, which hosts several spectacular artworks, as well as three beautiful courtyards. To experience the city from a new perspective, begin climbing the many steps to the top of the tower to revel in an unforgettable view.

  • Basilica di Santa Croce

    Also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories, it is the resting place of some of Italy’s most illustrious figures, from the artist Michelangelo to the composer Rossini. The Basilica is an awe-inspiring building and the largest Franciscan church in the world. The delicately decorated interior and presence of such remarkable men is not to be missed.

  • Palazzo Pitti

    Situated on the south side of the River Arno, the Palazzo Pitti was built in 1457 for the Pitti family, before being sold to the Medici family in 1549. The palace is now the largest museum complex in Florence, hosting an impressive collection of artistic treasures, with significant works by Filippo Lippi and Sandro Botticelli. Become a member of the Medici family for the day as you wander the palace gardens before enjoying a sweet treat in the café.

Related article: What is Florence famous for?

Language »