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Best attractions in Florence: Top 25

After reading our review, you will know what to see in Florence every tourist should see. We will not only list the main attractions in Florence, but also give you a brief description with photos.

What to see in Florence first

To tell about all the interesting places in Florence could be endless. Therefore, we have included only the most popular and visited excursions in Florence:

1. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral in Florence Bruce Stokes on Flickr

As well as many other sights in Florence, you can see this one in photos in guidebooks and souvenir postcards. The Church of St. Mary is the city’s calling card and its true treasure. The interiors are no less luxurious and majestic than the unique facade of the building. There are priceless paintings by Donatollo, “Mary Magdalene” and Michelangelo, “The Mourning of Christ” inside. Visitors are allowed to go up to the upper level of the building - here is a great observation deck. Guest reviews of a visit to this temple are invariably rapturous.

Official website:

2. Cathedral square

Cathedral Square in Florence Helder da Rocha

If you don’t know what to see in Florence in 1 day, come to Piazza del Duomo. Here you’ll find architectural masterpieces such as the Town Hall, the Cathedral, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the Campanile of Giotto, etc. Most of the buildings were created in the “late Gothic” style. Even a simple walk through the Duomo turns tourists into an unforgettable journey.

3. Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery in Florence

When listing the best attractions in Florence for art lovers, one always starts with this wonderful gallery. Each year the number of its guests is approaching 2 million people. In the exhibition halls are truly precious works, including those created during the development of European art. You can admire Da Vinci’s The Adoration of the Magi, Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, as well as works by other great masters of the world.

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4. Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti in Florence

Guides in Florence advise you to be sure to visit this largest castle (and at the same time the largest museum) in the city. The Pitti is home to parkland, a variety of palatial buildings, buildings with museum displays and gallery exhibitions. It is impossible to see all the sights of this palazzo in a day. It is best if your trip here is a two-day trip.

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5. Ponte Vecchio or Old Bridge

The Old Bridge in Florence

The city’s most popular and famous bridge. The structure stretches across the waters of the Arno. Every day in the evening hours it turns on a multicolor illumination. Here you can make the best photos as a memento of your journey.

Take a look at the splendid views of Florence in this beautiful video!

6. Basilica of St. Lawrence

Basilica of St. Lawrence in Florence

The basilica originally served as a church for members of the Medici family. Incidentally, this Renaissance structure is still the last refuge for some members of this great family. The building, designed by the architect Brunelleschi, is unfinished. However, thanks to its rich history and imposing scale, it is included in all lists of “major attractions in Italy“. The interior decoration of the huge halls is in the Renaissance style. The architectural complex includes a bell tower, which was added to the main building in 1740.

Official website:

7. Academy Gallery

Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence Dimitris Kamaras

The date of the foundation of the museum complex is the 16th century. The gallery’s exhibits are examples of fine art. The local collection is considered the most extensive and valuable not only in the country, but also in Europe. It houses some of the Earth’s most priceless sculptures and paintings, including Michelangelo’s original masterpiece, David. In addition to paintings and sculptures from the 13th and 14th centuries, polyptychs and triptychs, carved Gothic monstrances (tabernacles) and tapestries are on display. If you don’t know where to go in Florence but want to make your trip more educational and cultural, go here.

8. Giotto’s Bell Tower, Giotto’s Campanile

Giotto's Campanile in Florence

The structure is part of the complex of the church of Santa Maria del Fiore. It is a true work of art, over 80 meters high. At the top of the bell tower is an observation deck. To climb it you have to overcome four hundred steps. However, such a long way pays off entirely: from the platform you can see the sights, stores, nature and hotels of Florence.

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9. Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) in Florence

The castle is within walking distance of the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. The palazzo was intended by the architect to be a defensive fortress. Eventually, however, the palazzo came into the possession of the Medici family as a temporary residence and reception place for important guests. Today the palazzo is used as the town hall. In spite of this, visitors to the Vecchio will be offered an insight into both the facade and the interiors of the building. The interior decoration of the castle is made in the constant traditions of Italian aristocracy. Particular attention should be drawn to the exquisite Hall of Five Hundred. Here one can find paintings by the most celebrated artists of the Renaissance and inimitably beautiful frescos.

Official website:

10. Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Basilica Santa Maria Novella in Florence

An architectural masterpiece of the 13th-14th centuries, erected on the former site of a Romanesque temple. Today this basilica is considered the main Dominican church of the city. Its facade is decorated with openwork prints and resembles the painting of a souvenir box. The interiors feature marble bas-reliefs and ancient Greek frescoes.

Official website:

Florence sights: what else to visit in Florence?

We have listed for you the main attractions in Florence briefly. However, our recommendations don’t end there:

11. Santa Croce Basilica

Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence

Another “popular” name for the basilica is the City Pantheon. This name was given to the object due to the fact that the most famous Florentines - cultural figures and politicians - are buried here. The total number of tombs inside the temple is about 300 units. Each tomb depicts a buried inhabitant of Florence. The building, built during the Renaissance period, has a solemn and monumental appearance.

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12. Piazza Michelangelo

Piazza Michelangelo in Florence Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

A famous tourist attraction that will give you a colorful panorama of all of Florence. A particularly mesmerizing sight awaits you if you arrive at the square at night: during those hours when the entire city is illuminated by numerous lights. It is in Piazza Michelangelo that Florentine artists create their major works. Note that the work of the masters can always be seen here. The piazzale itself is decorated by a bronze sculpture of David, a highly accurate copy of one of Michelangelo’s creations.

13. Fort Belvedere

Ancient Forte Belvedere in Florence

Florence’s largest defensive structure, built in the late 16th century at the behest of F. Medici the First. The fortress was intended to demonstrate the power and majesty of the Florentine republic to all around. For the same reason the location of the site was chosen - the peak of the Boboli Gardens.

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14. Piazza della Signoria

Piazza Signoria (Piazza della Signoria) in Florence Samuli Lintula

The square is well known for the important historical events and cultural monuments that once took place here. If you come here, you can see the figures and sculptures of famous Italians, including the brilliant Donatello and Michelangelo. It was here several centuries ago that those who became inconvenient to important politicians or representatives of the Holy Inquisition were burned at the stake.

15. Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens in Florence

Not sure what to visit in Florence? Then go for a stroll through this wonderful garden and park area. The man-made natural landmark features a beautiful fountain, a small pond, parterres, a porcelain city museum and an olive grove. The development of the area began on the orders of Cosimo the First. This area is very beloved by city residents, but not so popular among travelers (because not every tourist will know about it). Let’s say right away that entrance to the Boboli Gardens is not free. You must buy admission tickets in advance, in a nearby gallery.

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16. San Giovanni Baptistery

Medieval San Giovanni Baptistery in Florence's Cathedral Square Txllxt TxllxT

Walking around the important historical site of Florence’s Cathedral Square, it is impossible to ignore the Baptistery of San Giovanni. Since its founding in the 5th century the baptistery served as a baptistery for almost all Florentines throughout the 14 centuries! The baptistery itself bears the name of the famous biblical saint - John the Baptist, who is also considered the heavenly patron of the city. On the outside it is a rather modest building, but its gates, located on three sides of the world, are a true masterpiece - their finely crafted bas-reliefs can be viewed for hours, admiring the finest art. The interior décor is fascinating - the white marble dome is a really striking sight - the ceiling edges converge at a single point where the image of Jesus is surrounded by angels, and the other surfaces are painted with scenes of the Last Judgment and other scenes from Holy Scripture.

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17. San Lorenzo Basilica

A view from the west of the 15th century San Lorenzo Basilica in Florence sailko
The interior of one of Florence's oldest churches, San Lorenzo Basilica Nathan Hughes Hamilton

In the top 10 sights of Florence worthy to enter the Basilica of San Lorenzo, located in the square of the same name - the ancient city temple, where almost all members of the Medici family are buried. Architects of world renown worked on the creation. The first building on this site appeared here back in the 4th century, it was the city’s cathedral. Extensive reconstruction, financed in the 15th century by Giovanni de’ Medici, had as its goal the arrangement of the tomb for the Medici family. The facade of the basilica is rather ascetic, while the interior furnishings are striking in their richness, in tangible contrast to the exterior decoration. The floor is decorated with drawings of ecclesiastical themes, the ceiling with white relief caissons with gilding, the bas-reliefs, doors, pulpits and cherubs in bronze are by Donatello, while the Princes’ Chapel and the library were the work of Michelangelo himself.

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18. San Marco Monastery and Church

Facade of San Marco Church on the side of St. Mark's Square in Florence sailko

In the northern part of the city, in Piazza San Marco is the ancient building of the monastery of the same name, which was abandoned in the 19th century by the monks of the sylvestrin order. The order was once founded by St. Dominic as a community of preachers whose aim was to protect society from the temptation of false doctrines. At the end of the 19th century, the monastery was turned into a museum and an important spiritual center of Florence. According to historical data, the buildings of the church of St. Marks and the monastery were built in the 13th century and the talented architect Bartolomeo took part in their restoration. The painter Beato Angelico also worked within the walls of the monastery, leaving here the largest collection of his paintings in the world, which are now in the exhibition of the museum. Among the paintings painted by Angelico on the boards, the famous “The Descent from the Cross” and “The Last Judgment” are kept for visitors.

19. The Bargello Museum

One of the rooms of the National Bargello Museum Nicola Quirico

Florence’s museums are some of the most visited in the world, where the masterpieces of the illustrious Italian masters await you. And in addition to world-famous institutions such as the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, other galleries are worthy of their place, unique in their own way. For example, the Bargello Museum, located within the walls of the medieval castle, throughout its history has served as the residence of the chief judge, the palace of justice, and served as a prison, it even held executions. In 1865, the Museum of Medieval and Renaissance Art founded by King Victor-Emmanuel began its work in the castle. The main focus of the museum is sculpture and arts and crafts, so since the 19th century treasures of many demolished churches and museums - bas-reliefs, statuettes, medals - were brought here. The most valuable part of the exposition is the hall of Donatello, masterpieces of Michelangelo, as well as collections of weapons, objects of Venetian glass and ivory.

20. Stibbert Museum

A comprehensive collection of armor from Eastern and Western civilizations at the Stibbert Museum sailko

Charming Florence, whose museums are famous throughout the world, in one of the old original villas holds an invaluable collection of artifacts and historical artifacts collected by an art lover, Frederick Stibbert.

The collector once lived in this luxurious villa consisting of 57 rooms, and his main dream was to turn his own house into a museum, so he devoted his whole life to collecting weapons and antiques, which he bought up on numerous trips to different parts of the world. The walls of the villa-museum are upholstered in tapestry and leather, and the 60 rooms contain paintings, portraits, porcelain, uniforms of Napoleonic soldiers, pieces of furniture, Tuscan crucifixes and much, much more. The largest collection represents the armor and armaments of the armies of Japan, Europe and the countries of Islam. Before his death, Stibbert bequeathed all this wealth to the Museum of Florence.

Official website:

21. Palazzo Davanzati

Exhibition of the Museum of Ancient Florentine House Sailko

As you walk around Florence, in the heart of the city you can see a number of medieval houses united in a common architectural ensemble. This is Palazzo Davanzati, a Florentine palace that today houses an ancient house museum. It was built in the 14th century for the Davizzi family and changed hands several times, until in the 16th century it was sold to the Davanzatti family, who owned it for several centuries. Only at the beginning of the 20th century it was passed into state ownership. The distinctive feature of the palace is its architecture, which is a vivid example of a residential building of the 14th century. The interior of the palace-museum is designed by floors - there is a huge hall for receptions, marriage rooms, dining room. All the interior furnishings recreate the original look of the house - for example, in the bedrooms there are chests with linen, in the closets - ancient pottery, in the kitchen you can see utensils, knitting loom and spinning wheel.

22. Dante Alighieri House Museum

The House-Museum of Dante Alighieri in an ancient stone house in downtown Florence sailko

The great Italian poet Dante Alighieri once lived in a beautiful Florentine mansion in the ancient medieval quarter, but today’s building is an elaborate replica recreating a 13th-century residential structure. The expositions on the 3 floors of the house contain objects that reflect not only the work, but also the cultural and historical environment in which Alighieri lived. For example, the expositions on the first floor are devoted to the apothecaries’ guild, where he was a member, and the political life of Florence in the 14-15 centuries. Collections on the second floor tell of the poet’s exile, another room shows the poet’s bedroom, the third shows a film of the “Divine Comedy” with drawings by Gustave Doré.

To make the planned tour a success, we should not forget that Florence is resting on Monday, and for many museums in the city this day is a day off, no exception is Dante Alighieri, which from October to March is open from Tuesday to Sunday.

23. Palazzo Medici Riccardi

The Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence Sailko

The Palazzo Medici Riccardi was once the ancestral castle of the Medici family and the first Renaissance building in Florence whose appearance was carefully thought out and designed by the architect Michelozzo. The simple yet elegant building, finished in golden stone, is captivating in its laconic restraint. The palace was originally designed by another architect, Brunnelleschi, who conceived a sumptuous building with ornate decoration. However, Cosimo de Medici rejected the project, not risking to tease his compatriots with his wealth. The first floor is occupied by a courtyard with an arcade around the perimeter and the Medici Garden with lemon trees. The first floor of the museum contains ancient frescoes, busts, and objects from the Roman era. On the second floor are the Chapel of the Magi with frescoes illustrating the birth of Christ, the Gallery of Mirrors, painted by Luca Giordano, and the room with the painting “Madonna and Child.”

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24. Bardini’s Garden

Flowering wisteria in the garden of Villa Bardini on the banks of the Arno River in Florence g.sighele

A great place for walking and contemplation is the Bardini Garden, a corner of silence, peace and serenity with a beautiful view of the Arno River and the historic center of the city. It has magnificent green arches of hanging vines and laurel, while hedges divide it into three zones: an Italian, an English garden and an agricultural area. Although of the latter here remained only fruit trees - most of the grounds have long been ennobled, gardens have been created, fountains and grottoes are erected, and a coffee house is equipped. Visiting this area, you can feel yourself floating above the fantastic clouds of flowers. The English garden stands out with picturesque elements of the water system in the form of a long pond and beautiful waterfalls. The English entourage here is also supported by characteristic clipped lawns and landscape-style flower beds.

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25. Kashine Park

The area of Park Cascine is a popular vacation spot for Florentines sailko

Visitors to Italy are primarily interested in tourist Florence, reviews of which often testify to the historical uniqueness of some parks, among them the Cascine Memorial Park. Once it belonged to the influential Medici family, who allocated most of the territory for agriculture - right here lived and worked peasants who grew fruits and vegetables, mowed the grass and put it in special barns - kashina, hence the name of the park. In the late 18th century, with the advent of the fashion for landscape design, the former meadows, vegetable gardens and arable lands began to be ennobled, and alleys with rows of trees, benches, pavilions, fountains and flower beds appeared in their place. The park became the place for ceremonial receptions of the local nobility, and only in the 19th century was access to the general public. The 160-hectare park has space for a hippodrome, velodrome, swimming pool, tennis courts and summer school.

We hope that you will want to see for yourself all the sights of Florence, photos with names and descriptions of which are now in front of you. Read also about sights of Venice and be inspired for your further trip to Italy.

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