Florence, situated in the heart of Italy, is considered one of the most historical and cultural cities in Europe. Known as Firenze to the Italians, it is the capital of the Tuscany region and the birthplace of the Renaissance. With every step, you are literally immersed in a sea of art and culture. It is a city that should definitely not be missed during your journey through Italy! As all the attractions are relatively close to each other, 1 to 2 days are enough to explore the city. Here, we share our top 8 favorite sights in Florence.

1. Admire the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

During a visit to Florence, this cathedral should undoubtedly be on your list. The beautiful cathedral, made of white, green, and pink marble, is unquestionably the city’s eye-catcher. It is one of Florence’s most visited tourist attractions and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Construction of the cathedral began in 1296 and took almost 140 years to complete. In 1436, the construction of the impressive dome was finished, marking one of the greatest architectural achievements of that time. The cathedral stands at 153 meters tall, accommodating around 20,000 visitors, making it one of the largest cathedrals in the world.

Entrance to the cathedral is free, but cover clothing (below the knees) is required; otherwise, entry may be denied. To visit adjacent buildings such as the Baptistry and the 84-meter-high bell tower, you need a ticket. The bell tower is worth a visit, and after climbing the 414 steps, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the cathedral and the rest of Florence. You can book your tickets here.

After visiting the cathedral and the bell tower, we enjoyed a drink at the View on Art Rooftop Cocktail Bar. From this rooftop terrace, you have a superb view of the cathedral and the rest of the city, perfect for capturing beautiful moments.

2. Visit the Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous art museums globally, featuring an incredible collection of Renaissance paintings and sculptures. Here, you’ll find works by artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli. The museum is housed in the Uffizi Palace, a historic building that originally served as offices (uffizi in Italian) for magistrates, officials, and artists during the Renaissance.

To ensure your visit, we recommend booking a ticket in advance, as there are often long queues. With a ticket, you can bypass the lines. You can book a ticket here.

3. Stroll across the Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio is a famous medieval bridge spanning the Arno River. The bridge dates back to the 14th century, though its current design is largely the result of reconstructions after a flood in 1333. It is one of the few bridges that survived World War II in Florence, as the Germans destroyed all other bridges over the Arno during their retreat in 1944. The bridge is home to various shops, particularly jewelers and souvenir stores. From the bridge, you have a beautiful view of the Arno River and the surrounding buildings. If you continue straight from the bridge, you’ll reach the imposing Palazzo Pitti and the adjacent Boboli Gardens.

4. Admire Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens

Palazzo Pitti is an impressive palace complex in Florence, located on the south side of the Arno River. The palace originally served as a residence for the wealthy and influential Medici family. Today, the building functions as a museum, showcasing princely rooms and various artworks by famous artists.

A highlight of Palazzo Pitti is the adjacent Boboli Gardens, laid out in the 16th century for the Medici family. These gardens feature beautiful sculptures, fountains, and terraced landscapes. It’s a peaceful and picturesque environment where you can escape the city’s hustle and bustle.

You can book your tickets here.

5. Visit Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria

Palazzo Vecchio, located on Piazza della Signoria in Florence, is a historic medieval palace that served as a town hall. Built in the 13th century, it is characterized by impressive architecture and houses artworks in rooms such as the famous Salone dei Cinquecento. You can visit the beautiful hall of Palazzo Vecchio for free. To admire the rest of the building, you’ll need a ticket.

You can book your ticket here.

The square in front of it, Piazza della Signoria, is known for its historical statues, including a replica of Michelangelo’s “David.” It is a busy and lively square with various terraces.

6. Admire the Basilica di Santa Croce

The Basilica di Santa Croce is an imposing church in Florence, built in the 13th century and known for its Gothic architecture and beautiful artworks. The Basilica di Santa Croce is also known as the “Temple of Italian Glories” due to the many famous graves of Italians such as Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Dante Alighieri.

You can book your ticket here.

7. Visit the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

Like the Basilica di Santa Croce, the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella is a beautiful church to admire. The Basilica di Santa Maria Novella is located on the square of the same name, Piazza Santa Maria Novella. This is a lively square with various terraces near the central station of Florence, making it easily accessible.

8. Enjoy a Beautiful View from Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo is a panoramic square in Florence, situated on a hill on the southern bank of the Arno River. The square offers a breathtaking view of the historic city and is considered one of the best viewpoints in Florence. Piazzale Michelangelo is especially popular at sunset when the warm glow of the setting sun illuminates the city, transforming the skyline into an enchanting spectacle. We found this square absolutely worth visiting, and you can capture beautiful photos from this vantage point.

How to Travel to Florence?

The city is in beautiful Tuscany, making it a part of your Tuscany tour. Check out this article for other beautiful attractions in the region. You can travel to Florence with your own transportation or choose to fly. The city is generally well-connected, with its own airport allowing direct flights from most European airports. Check for the cheapest tickets here. From the airport, you can opt for a bus or tram to reach the city center.

You can also choose to rent a car in advance, making it an excellent base to explore the surrounding region. Renting a car is possible through Sunnycars or Rentalcars. Keep in mind that the historic center of Florence has limited access for cars, so it’s advisable to park your car outside the center and use public transportation. There are several parking lots outside the center where you can park your car for a daily rate. The city is also easily accessible by train, with the train station a short walk from the city center.

Where to Stay in Florence?

In Florence, there are various accommodation options that fit different budgets and preferences. For those who want to experience the historical charm of the city, hotels near the historic center, such as around the Duomo, are an excellent choice. These locations offer easy access to iconic sights. Keep in mind that accommodations closer to the center are generally more expensive than those farther away.

Check the following link for accommodations in the area. You can also choose to stay in accommodation or a campground outside the city. This often saves a significant amount, and the city is easily accessible via public transportation. Prices are also higher in the summer, so you can consider traveling to Florence in the spring or fall.

Best Time to Travel to Florence

Florence is a beautiful destination throughout the year. However, we believe that especially spring and fall are good times to visit Florence. The temperatures are milder, and there are fewer tourists. In the summer, it can be crowded and hot. Keep in mind that some attractions may close or have limited opening hours during certain seasons.

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