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TOP 10 Things to do in Florence by Marco Secchi


Duomo/Baptistry/Bell Tower

Commonly known as, “The Duomo”, Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore is impossible to miss.

It is the skyline of Florence. Building began on the huge Gothic duomo in 1296 and it was consecrated in 1436.

- The Duomo

Inside Brunelleschi’s Dome you will find one of the most breathtaking pieces of art you will ever see.

It is well worth the stairs you will climb to walk around the inner walls to see the paintings up close and to see an amazing view of the city from the outside.


- The Campanile, bell tower, is in Piazza del Duomo.

You can climb the 414 stairs to get an incredible view, but if you are choosing between climbing the duomo and the tower, go with the dome.

- The Baptistery is from the 11th century and one of the oldest buildings in Florence.

Here you will find Ghiberti’s famous bronze doors, the “Gates of Paradise” (they are reproductions, the originals are in the Duomo Museum).

- Uffizi Gallery

The Galleria degli Uffizi holds the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art.

It is essential to buy reservation tickets before going to avoid the long line. Trust us, the line can be hours, as they only allow so many people in the museum at one time.

Your reservation is not a ticket, just a pass to get in the much shorter line to enter.

In the museum you will see works from Michelangelo, Giotto, Botticelli, da Vinci, and Raphael.


- Accademia Gallery

Florence’s Galleria dell’ Academia, holds Michelangelo’s David, easily the most famous sculpture in the world.

One of the best parts of this museum is the collection of musical instruments. It is also quite advisable to get reservations for this museum.

- Boboli Garden

On the other side of the Arno River, you will find Giardino di Boboli, a beautiful and sprawling English style garden on a hillside behind the Pitti Palace.

It is a lovely place to slow down and enjoy the greener side of Florence.

- Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti, Pitti Palace, is Florence’s largest palazzo, once owned by the Medici family. You can visit 8 different galleries in the palace.

Be prepared, it is massive and can wear you out quickly.

- Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria, the historic and political center of the city, is just off of the River Arno and next to the Uffizi Gallery.

Here, you will find statues including the Fountain of Neptune and a replica of the Statue of David.

- La Basilica di Santa Croce

Protected by an imposing statue of Dante, it sits with its beautiful facade in front of a modest piazza.

The Santa Croce was built for the common citizens of Florence, just a 15-minute walk from the Duomo.

The church houses tombs of the likes of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini and the empty tomb of Dante.

For this reason, the Santa Croce is also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell’Itale Glorie).

Florence keeps the empty tomb of Dante in hopes that one day it shall be filled with his decayed remains. They are currently housed in the city of Ravenna, his final resting place, after being exiled from Florence.

- Piazzale Michelangelo

It is a must to see the sun setting over the city from Piazzale Michelangelo!

This is, by far, the most famous view overlooking the city and has been reproduced on countless postcards and photographs. You will also find a bronze replica of David that is thought to be safeguarding the city.

You can either take the hike up to the top, take the bus, or hire a cab.

If you choose to walk to the Piazzale, make sure you wander through the Oltrarno, the neighborhood on the other side of the Arno river from the duomo, which is all too often overlooked.

At the very least, try to walk down after the sun sets.

- The Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio was Florence’s first bridge to cross the Arno River and is the only surviving bridge from Florence’s medieval days.

Lined with shops selling gold and silver jewelry, you’ll have a great view of the city along the Arno River.

This bridge is a true landmark of the city of Florence.

At night, it can be quite romantic to take in a local musician busking at the center of the bridge, while gazing upon the city lighting up the river.


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- The Bargello

The Bargello is the national sculpture museum, located in Florence.

The castle-like building was built in 1255–1350 as the original seat of government. It contains the greatest collection of Renaissance sculpture in Florence and is one of the best collections in Italy.

What you must see here is the huge room filled with Donatello’s masterpieces.