Florence Hotels Articles

August 19, 2010

Top Ten Things to do in Florence

Florence, along with Rome and Venice, is one of the “must see” cities of Italy. It is the epicenter of Renaissance, the place it all revolved around. Any famous artist or architect of the time had a part in making this place more beautiful.

The treasures of Florence are not limited to the art that was commissioned for the public. Many of the old private palazzos and gardens were designed by the best architects and landscape artists of the time and decorated by the best known artists. Some of these buildings are now open to the public and are well worth a visit.

Most tourists can only spend a limited time in Florence, so here is a list of my top things to see (Or: what would I do if I only had 2-3 days in Florence).

1. Go to the top of Giotto’s Campanile
This bell tower was built in the 14th century. From the top of it there is a great view of the area. It is also a good location to take pictures from a different angle. There are 414 stairs leading to the top, so it is not recommended for people who are not fit.

2. The doors of the batistero
These famous decorated bronze doors were made by Pisano and they depict scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist.

3. The top of the Dome
Another climb – the top of the dome. Climbing to the top of the dome gives you another look at things from above. The dome is open daily 8:30 – 19:00

4. The Uffizi
This world famous museum is a must see even for people who would normally not set foot in a museum. It holds treasures of art such as drawings by Botticelli. It is recommended to order tickets in advance to avoid the long lines in front of the museum.

5. Palazzo vecchio
Don’t let the exterior of this building fool you. Inside you will find all the luxury of the renaissance. Until the 16th century this was the seat of the government. Then, Lorenzo De Medici made it his own palace, and stayed here until he moved to another palace (Palazzo Pitti).

6. Ponte Vecchio
When you leave Piazza della Signoria towards the Arno river turn right. You can’t miss the Ponte Vecchio. Stop and look at it from a distance. Then, go to the bridge itself and use it to cross the Arno to the other side. On the bridge itself there is usually a big crowd of tourists and a small street market selling tourist items. Personally, I don’t like it, but many people do.
If you like bridges and the view from them, Ponte Santa Trinita is a great option.

7. Bargello
This museum, less famous than the Uffizi holds great collections of renaissance art including Brunaleschi’s offer for the doors of the Batistero contest.

8. Museo Dell’Opera de Duomo
This museum is dedicated to the works of construction of the Duomo, and also displays artworks that were removed from the exterior of the Duomo to preserve them. Most important – Ghibretti’s doors of the Batistero.

9. Wine tasting
Wine is an important part of Tuscany culture. In Florence go to Enoteca Alessi (Via delle Oche, 27-29-31 ) for a great variety of local wines. There is a special wine tasting area and a friendly, knowledgeable staff.

10. Eating
Enjoy the local food. Lots of restaurant, trattorias, bakeries, cafes and food stands compete for the right to feed everyone. Impossible to make a short list of recommendations, but I have to. Trattoria Mario (Via Rosina 2) is a good place to get a meal for a limited budget. For higher end food – Cibreo (Via A. Del Verrocchio 8) is one of the top places in town.

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