Beautiful, historic and charming, Florence is an absolute feast for the senses. Known as one the best places to visit in Europe, Florence will sweep you away with its sumptuous cuisine, romantic charm and elegant sights. From world-class museums to its striking architecture, Florence flaunts a host of impressive Renaissance treasures. As a matter of fact, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back to the 14th century if it weren’t for the chic shops and fashionable Italians. Trust me, you’ll find a world of delightful experiences, as you explore this architectural, artistic and cultural Tuscan gem.
Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo)
A great way to kick-off a trip in Florence is to visit the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, or simply known as the Duomo. Not only is it the city’s religious epicenter, but it’s also, hands down, the most recognizable landmark in Florence. Set right at the heart of Florence, this humongous Gothic cathedral will enthrall you with its iconic dome and wondrously intricate architecture. And, while its interiors aren’t as lavish as its exterior, it still is fairly impressive. For a memorable pit stop at the Duomo, climb to the top of the cathedral’s dome, and be mesmerized by its spectacular city views.
Check out Piazzale Michelangelo
Overlooking Florence from its perch, the plaza is, no doubt, one of the city’s trendiest viewpoints. And, it’s truly a worthwhile visit, especially if it’s your first time in Florence, Italy. Billed as one of the most popular attractions in Florence, the ornate square is well-known for its towering replica of the famous Michelangelo’s David as well as its breath-snatching views.
Getting to the plaza can be quite the hike. There’s, after all, an intimidating flight of stairs that lead from the Piazza Poggi. But, guess what? Every step is totally worth it, thanks to the incredible panoramic views of the city. And, besides, there are vendors at the plaza selling souvenirs and drinks should you need a little refreshment.
See the exhibits inside Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
No list of the best things to do in Florence, Italy is complete without the inclusion of Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. With three floors and about 60,000 square feet of land area, the museum houses over 700 works of art that cover around 700 years of history. The thing is, the museum serves to house and preserve the brilliant art masterpieces that were on display once in the famed Duomo. Highlights from its immense collection include the Pieta from Michelangelo and the Baptistery’s Gate of Paradise.
Swing by Uffizi Gallery
Created at the end of the 16th century by the Medici family, the Uffizi was the first modern museum in Europe. Today, the treasure trove is a paradise for art lovers, displaying the prominent art collection from the family. Here, you’ll get to lay eyes on majestic masterpieces, such as the “Venus of Urbino” by Titian, “Madonna of the Goldfinch” by Raphael and “Birth of Venus” by Botticelli. Since the museum has tons of incredible works of art, you’re going to spend some time inside this museum.
See the Baptistry
The Battistero is Florence’s oldest building, and though its current façade dates from the 11th century, many historians believed it was built in the fifth century. While it has yet to be proven, some say that this octagonal building was a temple once dedicated to the Roman god of war, Mars. Nowadays, this ancient building is deemed as a must-see Florence attraction for art lovers. Once you’re inside, you’ll likely spend some time looking at the elaborate frescoes on the ceiling. To make things even better, the building has massive and artsy doors as well as feature some inspiring works of art.
Visit Galleria dell’Accademia
There’s no art museum in Florence quite as popular as Galleria dell’Accademia. Every day, flocks of travelers from all over the world come to the museum for one simple reason – the David. As you visit this art museum, you’ll have a rare shot to see one of Michelangelo’s finest and most beloved works all in his authentic glory. But, you’re not alone on this mission, as the gallery can get crowded and flooded with tourists who are also eager to see this renowned piece of art. So, while waiting for your turn, spend some time checking out the lesser-known works of the artist, such as the unfinished Prisoners or Slaves.
Enjoy the goodies at Mercato Centrale
Browse or stock up on some delectable Italian culinary treats at Mercato Centrale. Built in 1874, the market’s ground floor features a bunch of vendors selling vinegars, olive oil, fish, cheese, meats, fresh produce and other local goodies. Upstairs, you’ll discover a modern food hall with vendors selling everything from gelato to pizza. Here, visitors can take a seat and enjoy the food they’ve picked up at the market. In addition, the market is surrounded vendors selling souvenirs, clothing, leather, jewelry, pottery and artwork.
Want to add something on our list? Think we missed a Florence attraction or two? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas on the comment section!