Italian adventure. Things to do in Florence
We arrived to Florence on a very hot day, there were about 45* Celsius outside and we felt like we were melting. After we checked in we went to discover the city and since we like to do that by walking a lot, it turned out that it wasn’t the best idea we had in that heat, but we didn’t let that ruin our day and we still had fun.
We should tell you a few things about Florence…it is the „capital” of Tuscany province and it has about 400,000 inhabitants, being considered the birthplace of the Renaissance. The family that encouraged and mostly financed the artworks was the Medici family who started to gain power in the XIIth century and ruled Florence until 1700.
Like all the other old Italian cities, the most important sights are close to one another and you can easily visit them. We made a list with the most important sights in Florence that you should visit. We’ll definitely keep it in mind for our next visit to Florence because we didin’t have enough time to visit them all.
- Santa Maria del Fiore Dome, or the Dome of Florence. Although Santa Croce Basilica is bigger, the Dome is more famous and attracts more tourists, judging by the long queues at the entrance. It is one of the biggest cathedrals in the world and it was built between 1296-1436.
- Piazza della Signoria. Piazza della Signoria was created in XVIIIth century and became one of the most important squares in Florence, making you feel like you’re in an outdoors sculpture museum because of all the statues that surrounds it. The most known one is the statue of David, Michelangelo’s work, created in 1504, situated in front of Palazzo Necchio. In 1873 the statue was replaced by a replica, the original one being moved at Galleria dell’Accademia.
- Palazzo Vecchio is in fact the city hall, built at the beginning of XIVth century in Piazza dela Signoria. It also has a 94 meters tower where you can go by elevator and where you can see Florence from above. Between 1st of May and 31st of October the digital exhibition „Magnificent” takes place. It’s a 20 minutes animated movie that tells you the history of Florence from its beginnings.
- Ponte Vecchio stretches above Arno river, being the only bridge still standing from Florence’s medieval era, dating from 1345. You’ll find here the traditional souvenir shops but also many jewelery stores. The best time to visit it is at dusk, you’ll leave with much more beautiful photos than the one taken earlier in the day.
- Santa Croce Cathedral is the biggest Franciscan church in the world, built in 1294. It is also the place where 270 of the most important people in Florence are buried, Galileo, Michelangelo or Machiaveli included.
- Piazzale Michelangelo offers a panoramic view to the city and you can find here replicas of Michelangelo famous works of art. We chose to go by foot there and so we discovered a little of Oltrarno, on the other side of Arno river, a quieter neighborhood.
- Palazzo Pitti, dating from XVth century is closer to Ponte Vecchio in Oltrarno. It was bought by the Medici family and today it hosts one of the biggest modern art collections. We didin’t have time to visit it, we left it for our next visit.
- The traditional cuisine. Meat lovers should try bistecca alla Fiorentina, Florence’s T-bone steak. Another traditional dish is crepes alla fiorentina, some crepes filled with ricotta cheese and spinach with bechamel sauce. And lastly, gelato. We’ve tried everywhere we went the pistachio gelato from the gelaterias artigianales, with fresh and organic products. You can really taste the difference.
- The Uffizi Galleries, one of the oldest museums in the world, built in 1560, hosting the biggest Renaissance art collection in the world, most of the artworks being bought by the Medici family between XVIth-XVIIth centuries. Unfortunately, after seeing the long lines and our limited time we decided to skip this and visit it next time we go to Florence.
- Boboli Gardens, near Palazzo Pitti, dating from the XVth century, obtained by the Medici family in 1549, another sight you should see and that we left for our next visit.
Florence was one of our favorite medieval cities and we will definitely come back to see all the sights that we missed this time.