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Region of Tuscany (toscani) - Province of Florence - City/Town of Florence (fiorentini)

 

City/Town of Florence

City/Town : Florence (Firenze)
Region : Tuscany
Province : Florence
Country : Italy
Continent : Europe
Gentilic : fiorentini
Population : 367,796
Area : 102.41 sq km
Latitude : 43°47′N
Longitude : 11°15′E
 
Visiting Florence

from WikiTravel.com

Florence is the capital of the region of Tuscany in Italy, with a population of about 366,500. The city is considered a cultural, artistic and architectural gem.

Florence was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Politically, economically, and culturally it was the most important city in Europe for around 250 years; from some time before 1300 until the early 1500s.

Sites to See

  • Ponte Vecchio - Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo di Firenze is the city's beautiful cathedral, the symbol of the city. Brunelleschi's huge dome was an engineering feat of the rennaissance. A statue of Brunelleschi is sited in the piazza, with his figure looking upwards towards his dome. It is possible to climb the Dome (entrance on the side of the church), which has 464 steps. €10 entrance fee (Feb 2014), and usually has a long lineup.
  • Giotto's Tower - adjacent to the Duomo, you can climb the tower for a magnificent 360-degree view of the Duomo, Florence, and the surrounding area.€6 entrance fee (May 2011), and requires some tenacity to climb 414 steps.
  • Baptistery - famous for bronze doors by Andrea Pisano (14th century) and Lorenzo Ghiberti (15th century) and a beautiful interior the vault of which is decorated with 13th century mosaics (the only medieval set of mosaics in the city. €4 entrance fee (May 2011).
  • Palazzo Vecchio - old city palace/city hall, adorned with fine art. The replica of Michelangelo's "David" is placed outside the main door in the original location of the statue, which is a symbol of the Comune of Florence. The site displays an important collection of Renaissance sculptures and paintings, including the Putto, by Verrochio, and the series of murals by Giorgio Vasari at the Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Houndreds) - the hall which used to display the now lost Renaissance masterpiece, that is, the so-called Battaglia di Anghiari, by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Galileo's Tomb, Santa CrocePonte Vecchio the oldest and most famous bridge over the Arno; the only Florentine bridge to survive WW2. The Ponte Vecchio (literally "old bridge") is lined with shops, traditionally mostly jewellers since the days of the Medici. Vasari's elevated walkway crosses the Arno over the Ponte Vecchio, connecting the Uffizi to the old Medici palace.
  • Santa Croce church contains the monumental tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Dante, and many other notables in addition to artistic decorations. There is also great artwork in the church. And when you're done seeing that, a separate charge will gain you admission to the Museo dell'Opera di Santa Croce, where you can see a flood-damaged but still beautiful Crucifix by Cimabue (Giotto's teacher), which has become both the symbol of the flooding of Firenze in 1966 and of its recovery from that disaster. The Pazzi Chapel, a perfectly symmetrical example of sublime neo-Classic Renaissance architecture is also worth visiting.
  • Santa Maria Novella, near the train station, is a beautiful church and contains great artwork, including a recently restored Trinity by Masaccio. Also, the Chiostro Verde, to your left when facing the front entrance of the church, contains frescoes by Paolo Uccello which are quite unusual in style and well worth seeing, if the separate entrance is open. Off of the church's cloister is the wonderful Spanish Chapel which is covered in early Renaissance frescoes.
  • Orsanmichele a beautiful old church from the 14th century, which once functioned as a grain market
  • San Lorenzo the facade of this church was never completed, giving it a striking, rustic appearance. Inside the church is pure Renaissance neo-classical splendor. If you go around the back of the church, there is a separate entrance to the Medici chapels. Be sure to check out the stunning burial chapel of the princes and the sacristy down the corridor. The small sacristy is blessed with the presence of nine Michelangelo sculptures.
  • San Marco Convent (1436) houses frescoes by Fra Angelico and his workshop. Fra Angelico painted a series of frescoes for the cells in which the Dominican monks lived.
  • Piazza Signoria: Home to the “Fake David”, Piazza Signoria is definitely a sight to see. Shops and cafes surround the plaza, but what makes Piazza Signoria special is the abundance of statues within the plaza. The statues represent antique renaissance art including a copy of Michael Angelo’s David. In this square you can also visit the Florence Town Hall, also known as, Palazzo Vecchio. This Romanesque Fortress is one of most significant public places in Italy.

On the south bank of the Arno:

  • A statue at the Boboli Gardens - Boboli Gardens, elaborately landscaped and with many interesting sculptures, behind the Pitti Palace. Wonderful city views. Don't miss the Bardini gardens. Entrance to that is included in the combination ticket price for the Boboli, and it's a short walk from the Boboli Gardens. There are great views of the Duomo from the Bardini gardens. A single adult ticket to the gardens costs €7.
  • Santa Maria del Carmine has famous frescoes (Masaccio’s Adam and Eve Banished From the Garden and others by Lippi and Masolino) in the Brancacci Chapel.
  • Piazzale Michelangelo (Michelangelo square) plaza on a hilltop with a great view of the city (go there by bus) or climb the stairs and paths from the Lungarno della Zecca.
  • San Miniato al Monte, uphill from Piazzale Michelangelo. The Sacristy contains frescoes by Spinello Aretino. In the cemetery near this church there are graves of famous people of Florence, including Carlo Lorenzi (Collodi) - author of the famous Pinocchio.
  • Santa Felicita, on the Oltrarno, or south side of the Ponte Vecchio, contains frescoes of the Annunciation and a painting of the Deposition of Christ by the brilliant and weird mannerist painter, Pontormo. They are to be found in the Barbadori Chapel, which is to your immediate right when entering the church.
  • Fiesole - see Florence from above, If you would like to see Florence from "above" then you should take a local bus (Bus 7) to Fiesole. This is a hill just 15-20 minutes outside the center to the east where you have a fantastic view of the total city. A perfect spot for a lunch or the sunset. Some restaurants are open the full day - and other regular siesta from 3-6 in the afternoon.Try pizza!

Museums & Galleries

  • Galleria degli Uffizi - Piazzale degli Uffizi, ☎ +39 055 294883, [7]. Tu-Su 8:15AM-6:50PM. One of the world's most famous fine art museums with collections of Renaissance paintings and sculptures from classical antiquity. Included is The Birth of Venus and Primavera by Sandro Boticelli, as well as Titian's Venus of Urbino. There are often long lines and several hours' wait is common, starting even before the doors open. You can call +39 055 294883 to make a reservation in advance and walk right in. The phone operator will give you an extension number which you quote at Gate 3 to pay (cash only) and get the tickets. Alternatively, there is a ticket office at the museum which will normally sell these same reservation tickets for almost immediate entry. Online booking is available but is much less convenient because it costs more, has a 24 hour waiting period, your specified time may change and you need to print an email. The restaurant/caffè has a large balcony overlooking the main piazza with good views of the Palazzo Vecchio. It is a great place to take a break for art lovers making a non-rushed visit to this fantastic collection. This cafe is rather expensive however. Street performers are often seen outside the Uffizi. Admission €11, phone booking €4 extra; Online booking [http://www.b-ticket.com/b-ticket/uffizi/default.aspx] €4 extra.  edit
  • The National Museu of Bargello, Via de Proconsolo 4, ☎ +39 055 294883, [8]. 8:15AM-1:30PM Tu-Su and the 1st, 3rd & 5th M of each month. Closed the 2nd & 4th M of each month as well as May 1st. This museum houses one of the best examples of Renaissance and Mannerist sculpture. The works of many great Renaissance sculptors are on display here, including Michelangelo, Donatello, Ammannati, Bandinelli, Andrea and Jacopo Sansovino, Desiderio da Settignano, Giambologna, and Antonio Rossellino. The museum is located near Piazza della Signoria and can be seen in a few hours.  Admission is €11.50.  edit
  • Accademia Gallery, Via Ricasoli 58-60,. Tu-Su 8:15AM-6:50PM. Highlights are Michelangelo's David and the unfinished  Slaves. The David was recently cleaned in a controversial project. No photography is allowed inside. Wait times can be under one hour in the off-season. It is possible to reserve at the academia in advance and save yourself the long line. If you only interested in see David and Rape of the Sabines,and are short on cash you can see similar replicas in Palazzo Vecchio where you can also take pictures. Please note that while restoring or repairing art the gallery often showcases the replicas (you can tell because the toenail is intact for David, for example), €11 (advance booking: €15).
  • Institute and Museum of the History of Science - Pitti Palace. On the quieter south bank of the Arno. The former Medici family palace contains galleries of their art and treasures. The Boboli gardens behind the palazzo offer wonderful walks and excellent views of the city and the countryside south of the city.
  • Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Piazza de Duomo 9 (Directly behind the dome end of the cathedral), ☎ Reservations +39 055 230 2885. The Cathedral Museum, with artworks formerly in the Duomo and surrounding religious buildings, including sculptures by Donatello, another version of the Pietà (different from that one of Saint Peter's Basilica, in Vatican, Rome) by Michelangelo, and the losing entries in the famous contest held in 1401 to design the doors of the Baptistery. Models and drawings of the Cathedral. Worthy. €6 Children under 6 free..  edit
  • Gucci Museum, ☎ (39) 055 759233027, [10]. 10a.m. to 8 p.m.. A recently developed museum located in Piazza Signoria can fill a few hours with enjoyment and excitement. Any fashion guru or aspiring fashionista will appreciate the Gucci Museum. With a collection of all styles created by the Italian company Gucci, originally founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence, Italy. This museum is equipped with a café, restaurant, bookstore, and a Gucci store filled with vintage items for sale.  Admissions: 6 Euros.  edit
  • Institute and Museum of the History of Science,. This museum shows the evolution of the instruments used in various scientific fields such as mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy. The room of Galileo Galilei shows some of his original instruments as well as models from his drawings. The room of Spheres and Globes houses an excellent cartographic collection. In a rather macabre twist the museum also has the middle finger of Galileo's right hand on display.  edit

For those making longer stays in Florence, the city also has an interesting archaeological museum (the Etruscan art collection is particularly good), a Contemporary Art gallery, seated in Palazzo Strozzi, and other collections.