The Florence Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) in Italy is the best touristic attracion in Florence. When you visit this Cathedral you will be amazed by the history of Italy.
The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is the main church of Florence, Italy. Il Duomo di Firenze, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style with the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi.
Brunelleschi, Dome of the Cathedral of Florence.
For those visiting Florence for the first time, or even for those returning for seconds, here are the highlights, the top attractions of the city.
Top attractions in Florence
1. Piazza Duomo
Piazza Duomo should be at the top of every visitor’s list. For the piazza, or square, is not only at the heart of Florence, in the city’s Historic Centre, but it is dominated by Florence’s foremost, most recognizable attraction, the Florence cathedral, or Cupola Duomo. The cupola stands 100 meters high, with its massive, red-ochre dome (41.5 meters in diameter!) visible from virtually any vantage point in the city. Built between 1418 and 1434, this was the signature piece of architect Brunelleschi. Be forewarned, though, that the lines here are long. Admission to the cathedral is 6 euros, which is well worth it, if only for the spectacular views from the top.
2. Galleria degli Uffizi
The Galleria degli Uffizi, housed in the Palazzo degli Ufizzi on Piazza della Signoria, is Florence’s largest and most famous art museum, and among Europe’s most prestigious galleries. In two galleries, the East Gallery and West Gallery, in no fewer than 45 rooms, the Uffizi houses priceless collections of works representing both the Florentine and Tuscan schools, and virtually every art movement in Italy and Europe. Again, this is a hugely popular tourist draw and can easily overwhelm the first time visitor. Museum admission: 8.50 euros per person.
3. Palazzo Vecchio
Also located in the city’s Historic Centre, Palazzo Vecchio’s claim to fame is its domineering, 14th-century military-style town hall. Designed by Amalfo di Cambio and distinguished by its 94-meter-high tower, the fortress look-alike was originally built to house the Signoria, or the highest ranks of the city government. Inside, you can view several impressive frescoes describing the history of the Medicis, the ruling family which also once occupied these quarters.
4. Galleria dell’Accademia
This is Florence’s second most visited art museum, which, most notably, is home to Michelangelo’s ‘David’, as well as six other marble sculptures by him. Among other must-sees, the museum houses a fabulous collection of works by Benozzo Gozzoli, Uccello, Botticelli and Filippino Lipi. The museum is located just off Piazza San Marco. Admission fee: 8.50 euros.
5. Piazza Repubblica
An impressive square, populated with historic cafes, notably Donnini, Gilli, Giubbe, Rosse and Pazzkowski, which during the 19th century were popular among the known artists, writers and intellectuals of the day. Today, Piazza Repubblica is a veritable tourist haunt, and a great place for an espresso and pastry. As an added bonus, the area to the south and east of the square is packed with luxury shops and restaurants, all of them housed in historic buildings.
6. Museo Nazionale del Bargello
Here is Florence’s National Museum, filled to the rafters with Renaissance sculpture and a plethora of Florentine art. Among important works here are those by Ghiberti, Donatello, Verrocchio, Amanati, Cellini and Brunelleschi, as well as Giambologna, principally his bronze ‘Mercury’. The museum is housed in the Palazzo Bargello, located in the city’s Bargello district, Museum admission: 4 euros.
7. Giardino di Boboli
The Boboli gardens are a showcase of Italian landscaping at its most splendid, with fountains, grottoes and scores of stunning sculptures. Chief attractions here are the Isolotto, the small island in the middle of the water garden, Buontalenti’s grotto, the 18th-century Kaffeehaus pavilion, and the life-sized amphitheater where opera was born. Admission to the gardens is 2 euros each.
8. The Oltrarno
A warren of narrow, windy, cobbled streets, crammed with Florentine antique dealers, restorers, craftsmen’s and artisans’ workshops, and funky little restaurants and trendy nightspots, this is one of Florence’s most colorful and lively neighborhoods where you can literally breathe in the Florentine culture. Now also a focal center for the city’s vibrant youth, the quarter’s principal attraction is the 15th-century Palazzo Pitti, the largest palace constructed during the Renaissance.
9. Piazzale Michelangelo
Go to Piazzale Michelangelo for the view, for it offers perhaps the city’s best vantage point, with a lovely, expansive panorama of the city, particularly at dusk. Filled with souvenir sellers of every stripe, the square also has a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s ‘David’.
10. Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio, or ‘Old Bridge’, is an outstanding example of medieval architecture, and easily the most famous and most picturesque bridge in Florence. Originally built in 1345 over the River Arno, the bridge has been home to jewelry traders since the 17th century.