If you want to discover Florence in only one day, we help you to pick the highlights of this beautiful town, cradle of the Renaissance. Park your car outside the town, restricted area for not residents, and take a bus or walk to the centre to discover artworks around every corner!
Monuments you can not miss
The heart of Florence is a small area, where the most important monuments are at walking distance. Strolling around the medieval quarters between the Piazza del Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio you will find the highlights of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Piazza del Duomo, religious heart of the town
Our monumental cathedral, dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore, was started in 1296 by the gothic architect Arnolfo di Cambio. You will be surprised by the inlay work in three different colours of marble, that decorates its external walls: you can find the same decoration also on Giotto’s bell tower. The church is crowned by the famous dome, started in 1418 by Filippo Brunelleschi, first architect of the Renaissance: the secret of the construction method used by Brunelleschi has not been discovered yet!
Don’t miss the Baptistery, dating back to the 9th century: here you can admire a copy of the masterpiece of Lorenzo Ghiberti, famous sculptor of the Florentine Renaissance, the bronze door called by Michelangelo ‘the gate of paradise’.
Piazza della Signoria, political centre of Florence since the Middle Ages
Piazza della Signora is dominated by the severe palace, built at the end of the 13th century by Arnolfo di Cambio, for the Signoria, the government of Florence. Later the residence of the Medici family, it is now our town hall. The Piazza is an open air museum, decorated with artworks of famous sculptor of the Renaissance: the fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati, the bronze statue of granduke Cosimo I on horseback by Giambologna, the copy of Michelangelo’s David that replaced at the beginning of the 20th century the original statue transported to the Galleria dell’Accademia.
The loggia (portico) on the southern side houses the Rape of the Sabine woman, by Giambologna and the bronze Perseus, masterpiece of the sculptor and goldsmith of the Renaissance Benvenuto Cellini.
Ponte Vecchio, the golden bridge
Everybody wants to be at least once on the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence. The bridge was built by the Romans in the first century before Christ and has been renovated many times as it was often damaged by the floods of the river Arno. The bridge we walk on today was rebuilt in 1345 and the famous small shops were added during the second half of the 14th century. The butchers, who rented the shops in the beginning, had to leave in 1594, when the Medici granduke Ferdinando I decided that he preferred goldsmiths on the bridge.
The original statue of David in the Galleria dell’Accademia
Do you want to meet Michelangelo’s masterpiece from close by? Visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, where a large monumental room is dedicated to the genius. David is his most famous Florentine work: Michelangelo worked on the statue between 1501 and 1504, and represented a handsome youth symbolizing the struggle of the Florentine republican party against a giant, the Medici family, on the way to become the official dictators of Florence. Next to David, admire the dramatic prisoners or slaves by Michelangelo: the powerful figures, struggling against the marble block to come out of it, were originally destined to the tomb of pope Julius II in Rome. Due to the very long lines, reservation is highly recommended. Ask your host for it.
Galleria degli Uffizi, the most important gallery of paintings in Italy
If you have a couple of hours left to dedicate to art, visit the Uffizi Gallery, to see the most famous masterpieces of Florentine painting of the Renaissance. The more than one hundred rooms of the museum illustrate, through works of celebrated artists, the history of Italian painting from the Middle Ages to the mid 18th century. According to your schedule, pick up the musts of the gallery.
The musts: the room of Giotto, first gothic painter, the room dedicated to the early Renaissance, with paintings of Paolo Uccello, Piero della Francesca, Filippo Lippi, the two worldwide known masterpieces of Sandro Botticelli, the Primavera and the Birth of Venus, the Tribuna or treasure room, Leonardo’s paintings and the only documented painted panel by Michelangelo, the Doni Holy family and in the same room the paintings by Raffaello.
Have a break on the terrace overlooking the Signoria square and then you can either go out or continue you visit on the first floor of the palace, to admire the Florentine and Venetian Cinquecento, with paintings by Bronzino, Andrea del Sarto, Pontormo, the Venus of Urbino by Tiziano to finish your tour with the revolutionary Bacchus and Medusa by Caravaggio, dating back to the very end of the 16th century. Due to the very long lines, reservation is highly recommended. Ask your host for it.