Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Nicknamed “the cradle of the Renaissance”, Florence was home to many of history’s most famous artists, including Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
The city is relatively small compared to other cities (like Milan or Venice), but there’s no shortage of things to see and do. In all fairness, a person could spend weeks—even months—exploring Florence’s rich history and incredible architecture. Unfortunately, most people who visit the city don’t have the kind of time that a city like Florence deserves.
If you find yourself in Florence with a travel schedule that prevents you from spending more than a day or two exploring, there are three things you must see before you leave:
1) Michelangelo’s “David”
Michelangelo’s statue of the biblical hero David is one of Florence’s most popular tourist attractions. The fourteen-foot marble depiction of the famous biblical hero is located in Florence’s Academia di Belle Arti di Firenze (“Academy of Fine Arts of Florence).
In 1991, a mentally disturbed man attacked the sculpture with a hammer, damaging the statue’s left foot in the process, but the work of art has since been restored. Considered one of Michelangelo’s greatest masterpieces, the statue epitomizes beauty and inner strength—two of the major themes of the Italian Renaissance.
2) The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is one of the most famous churches in Italy. Currently serving as the city’s primary Dominican church, Santa Maria Novella was also the first great basilica ever built in Florence. The architecture of the basilica itself is fantastically intricate, as are the stained glass windows, which date all the way back to the 14th and 15th century.
The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella also has enormous historical significance. The pulpit located inside the church was the pulpit from which the accusations of heresy against Galileo Galilei, the famous astronomer, first originated. An iconic landmark that embodies both the elaborate beauty and colorful history of Florence, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is a must-see for anyone who happens to be passing through the city.
3) The Palazzo Vecchio
The Palazzo Vecchio, an enormous fortress-palace that overlooks the famous Piazza della Signoria, is the town hall of Florence. Like many of famous buildings in the city, the Palazzo Vecchio is a notable architectural landmark.
Inside the Palazzo Vecchio is the Salone dei Cinquecento (“Hall of the Five Hundred”), an enormous hall decorated with elaborate frescos that depict the military victories of the Florentine Republic. The ceiling depicts important scenes from the life of Cosimo de’ Medici, who was the Grand Duke of Tuscany during the middle of the 16th century. Well worth the crowds that gather there, the Palazzo Vecchio is arguably one of the most beautiful buildings in Tuscany.
This is a guest post written by Sarah Murphy:
Sarah Murphy has worked in Dublin for the last two years as a blogger, web content manager and marketing coordinator. A journalist by training and traveler by nature, she frequently travels to Italy for the business and pleasure of Touring Florence, where she mostly spends her time scavenging the ruins or gallivanting across the countryside.
If you have any question for Sarah, post a comment and do not miss our Free E-book Top 10 Places to visit in Tuscany!