Top 10 Sights in Florence

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Duomo, Cupola and Battistero
Duomo, Cupola and Battistero

Completed in 1436, at the time the Duomo in Florence was the largest Christian church in the world. Today the religious building, the official name of which is “Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore”, is third in terms of dimensions after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Brunelleschi’s Dome, still the tallest construction in the city, is a symbol known all over the world. The Baptistery of St. John the Baptist is characterised by an octagonal plan, lined with a dome of eight segments, covered by a pyramid roof. The outside is decorated with white marble from Carrara and green marble from Prato, characteristics of the Florentine architecture of the Romanesque period. 

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Campanile di Giotto
Campanile di Giotto

84.70 meters high and around 15 meters wide, the Giotto’s bell tower is one of the four main components of the complex of Santa Maria del Fiore. Lined with white, red and green marble, the majestic square-based bell tower, designed by Giotto in 1334, can be visited by climbing no fewer than 414 stairs to the top, from where you can enjoy extraordinary views of Brunelleschi’s Dome.

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Piazza Della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio
Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio

This is the central square of Florence, the seat of civil power and the social heart of the city. Facing onto it are Palazzo Vecchio (the seat of the Municipal Council of Florence), the splendid Loggia della Signoria, the Tribunale della Mercanzia, Palazzo Uguccioni and Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali. Also prominent in the square are the Fountain of Neptune and a series of statues of Renaissance origin, representing one of the most important sculptural cycles in the world. The most famous is certainly Michelangelo’s David (this is a copy, whereas the original is conserved in the Galleria dell’Accademia).

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Galleria Degli Uffizi
Galleria degli Uffizi

This is one of the most famous museums in the world on account of its extraordinary collections of ancient sculptures and paintings (from the Middle Ages to the modern age). The Gallery occupies the first and second floors of the large building erected between 1560 and 1580 based on a project by Giorgio Vasari 5.

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Ponte Vecchio e Corridoio Vasariano
Ponte Vecchio and Corridoio Vasariano

The official date of foundation of the current Ponte Vecchio is given as 1345. For the entire Middle Ages the bridge hosted greengrocers’, fishmongers’ and butchers’ shops, who used the river to dispose of their waste in a hurry. At the end of the 16th century, however, when it became the “noble” zone of the city, goldsmiths and jewellers started to arrive, and they have been there continuously to this day. The Vasari Corridor is a raised walkway connecting Ponte Vecchio with Palazzo Pitti. It is a rather narrow passage, the entrance to which is at the beginning of the second corridor of the Uffizi Gallery; it then stretches along the Arno, over the Ponte Vecchio, finally arriving at Palazzo Pitti. It was built in 1565 by the great Florentine architect Giorgio Vasari. On display along the Corridor are over 1,000 paintings. 

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Palazzo Pitti and Giardino di Boboli
Palazzo Pitti and Giardino di Boboli

The symbol of wealth and power, the building was inhabited by the Medici, then by the Habsburg-Lorraines and, after the Unity of Italy, by the Savoy family. The original architecture dates back to the 15th century and “Pitti” is the surname of its first owner. The building is located in Oltrarno, at the foot of Boboli Hill. The Boboli Gardens are one of the most important examples of Italian-style gardens in the world. 

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Santa Croce
Santa Croce

One of the “great basilicas” in Florence, a point of reference of the Franciscan order. Giotto painted some of his great masterpieces here, and the French writer Stendhal experienced that profound artistic agitation that has been known since then as the “Stendhal syndrome”. The basilica contains the monumental sepulchers of Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli. 

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Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella

A point of reference of the Dominican order, the church, with its elegant façade by Leon Battista Alberti, is a harmonious synthesis of Gothic and Renaissance styles. It hosts exceptional works of art by Masaccio, Giotto, Brunelleschi, Filippino Lippi, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Paolo Uccello. 

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Santo Spirito
Santo Spirito

A point of reference of the Augustinian order, the church has given its name to the entire surrounding neighbourhood, “Borgo Santo Spirito”. A jewel of Renaissance architecture, the church was the last great project by Filippo Brunelleschi. 

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Mercato Centrale
Mercato Centrale

Built at the end of the 19th century, the Central Market is a building of a certain architectural merit. The project was entrusted to Giuseppe Mengoni, the architect of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, who was inspired by Les Halles in Paris. Today, it is a point of reference for informal but good quality cuisine for both Florentines and tourists. 

By WhereTraveler Staff

Within its historic centre (declared a UNESCO World Heritage site en bloc), Florence contains a unique concentration of historical and artistic attractions.

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