10 “Must See” Monuments to Visit While Staying in Florence
Nestled deep in the heart of Tuscany, Florence is known throughout the world as being the birth of place of the Renaissance movement and home to some of the worlds most recognizable art and monuments. From Michelangelo’s statue of David at the Galleria dell’ Accademia to the stunning views of the Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo), Florence never ceases to amaze the millions of tourists that decide to visit this great city every year! The combination of the plaza filled streets, bustling downtown area, breathtaking architecture, and the thousands of café’s and sandwich shops. Florence is the perfect place to experience true Italian culture, and to help you do so we have compiled a list of the 10 “Must See” Monuments to visit while staying in Florence.
Santa Croce Church
Along with being the the world’s biggest Franciscan Church, the Santa Croce Church is the burial place to some of Florence’s most distinguished citizens such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. With 16 chapels, amazing detail, and illustrious tombs, this 14th century church will take your breath away the second you lay your eyes on it.
Designed by Giuseppe Poggi in 1860, the Pizzale Michelangelo is a large partially pedestrianized square located in the Oltrano district, on the South bank of the Arno river. The square offers fabulous panoramic views of the entire city, and is home to amazing tree-lined paths and gardens. While visiting make sure to check out the tasty restaurant and snap a couple photos of the marvelous views.
Basilica di San Lorenzo
Located in the center of Florence’s main market district, the Basilica di San Lorenzo is the burial place of all the main members of the the renowned Medici family. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 15th century, and is one of the oldest and largest church’s in Florence. The façade of the church was never finished giving it a rustic look, but the interior is chalk full of pure renaissance magic.
Piazza della Signoria
The Piazza della Signoria is a beautiful L-shaped square centered among some of Florence’s top attractions. It is located in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, and is the main point of origin for the Florentine Republic. The square opened in 1330, and has been tied to Florentine politics ever since. While visiting the Piazza della Signoria make sure to checkout the fascinating statues littered throughout the square.
San Miniato al Monte
Standing atop one of the highest points in Florence, the San Miniato al Monte is the oldest church in Florence. Construction finished on the church in 1018, and it is a cornucopia of stunning art, medieval frescoes, and wonderful marble finishes. The San Miniato al Monte has been described as one Italy’s finest Romanesque structures, and is definitely a must see when it comes to monuments throughout the city.
Situated behind the Palazzo Pitti, the Boboli Gardens is a beautiful and diverse park that showcases some of Florence’s best outdoor sculptures and fountains. The gardens were created by the Medici family in the 16th century, and feature outdoor artwork from the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries. The Boboli Gardens are great place to soak in authentic Italian culture while outside in the beautiful Florentine sun.
The Palazzo Vecchio overlooks the Piazza della Signoria, and is known as one of the most important buildings in Florence. It housed Florence’s supreme governing body for six straight centuries, and is currently the active town hall of Florence. With rich ties to the Medici family, the Palazzo Vecchio has been at the center of Florence’s political proceedings since its creation in 1299. Stop by the Palazzo Vecchio to experience the inner workings of Florence, and Tuscany as a whole.
Giotto’s Campanile is a free standing bell tower that is part of the complex of buildings that make up the Florence Cathedral on the Piazza del Duomo. The tower was designed by renowned architect Giotto di Bondone, and was completed in 1359. It is one of the most prominent showcases of Florentine Gothic architecture, and can be seen from all over the city due to its massive height. The Giotto’s Campanile is not your everyday bell tower and with its amazing views and sights it’s definitely worth devoting some time to check it out.
Spanning over the Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio is a medieval stone arch bridge famous for having shops lining each edge of the bridge. After its construction in 996, and its reconstruction in 1345, the main tenants that occupied these shops were butchers. However, today high-end jewelers, art dealers, and souvenir merchants are the main occupants along the sides of the bridge. The Ponte Vecchio truly is a beautiful structure that can’t be found any other place in the world, and definitely is a must visit when staying in Florence.
Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo)
Dominating the panoramic view of Florence, the Santa Maria del Fiore is known as the main attraction of Florence. It is the world largest masonry dome, and it features over 600 years of stunning architectural detail and works of art. From its beautiful red, green, and white marble to its brilliant stained-glass windows, the Duomo is truly a must-visit monument when spending any time in Florence. While the area around the Duomo can get extremely crowded and tourist heavy a visit to the Santa Maria del Fiore is well worth it.