Things to see in Florence, among famous monuments and hidden trasures
A small vademecum for the perfect visit to Florence
Florence is located in a privileged position in the Arno valley, surrounded by hills full of elegant mansions. The city, which has its roots in prehistory, has flourished in the Middle Ages and become the cradle of the Renaissance and the capital of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and, later, the Kingdom of Italy. This long and glorious past is witnessed by countless museums, palaces and churches. Florence is well connected throughout Tuscany and can be reached from Siena in about an hour and a half by car, train or bus. You should not plan your visit during the months of July and August, when the tourists are particularly numerous and the heat can be annoying.
Florence: things to see in 1 day
Florence features several very famous monuments before which thousands of tourists flock every day. We can start from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with the famous dome designed by Brunelleschi, continuing with Piazza della Signoria, where the David by Michelangelo stands, and from which you access the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery; then we can cross the Ponte Vecchio to get to Palazzo Pitti. In addition to this classic route, there are alternative routes for those who do not like crowds, or those who simply have a single day available and do not want to spend it in the queues at the ticket offices. Connoisseurs will love the Ognissanti Church, founded in 1251 and rebuilt in the seventeenth century: its walls are decorated with frescoes you might not expect, such as the Sant’Agostino by Botticelli or the San Girolamo by Ghirlandaio, who also decorated the nearby Cenacolo di Ognissanti. The church also houses the remains of the great Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci and Botticelli. Crossing the Arno via the nearby Vespucci bridge, we get to San Frediano. This was once the popular neighborhood of Florence, today it is an area where you can find the most authentic side of the city, between narrow streets and simple workshops. In the area there we can find the church of Santa Maria del Carmine, with the Brancacci chapel frescoed by Masaccio and Masolino. Among the many museums in Florence, we recommend the Horne Museum, that offers visitors not just the classic exposition of works of art, but instead the reconstruction of a Renaissance palace, with furnishings, artworks and antique tools. A unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the daily life of that period.
Florence: things to do
Florence is not only art, but also fashion, crafts and food. Inevitable destinations for high fashion lovers are the Gucci Museum and the Ferragamo Museum, as well as the shops of Via de’Tornabuoni. Those who prefer crafts can lose themselves in the streets of the center in search of ancient shops, or they can visit the International Crafts Show, held every year in the Fortezza da Basso. At the beautiful Central Market, designed by the same architect of the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery in Milan, you can buy products from the local farms: fruits and vegetables, cured meats and cheeses, bread and pasta, meat, oil and wine. If you do not feel like cooking, you can find the specialties of the area ready to eat in the several restaurants of the city. Don’t miss the Florentine steak and the Ribollita, a soup made with bread, black cabbage and beans. If you are in a hurry, you should try the lampredotto, a sandwich stuffed with cattle stomach sold in the kiosks along the streets.