How to spend a day in Florence?

Danta Maria dei Fiori, the cathedral of Florence with the Baptistery and the bell tower

Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region, is one of the most characteristic cities in Italy. Thanks to mainly the patronage of the banker Medici family, Florence abounds in world-famous artistic masterpieces. Ideally, you should have more days to visit Florence; however, if you only have one day, this is how you can make the most of your stay.

The cathedral of Florence and the Baptistery San Giovanni are the landmarks of Florence. The cathedral was built in the 13th century and took 200 years to complete. The massive structure was aimed to manifest the growing wealth of Florence. The dome designed by Brunelleschi is the most peculiar part of the church, which was the first octagonal dome in history to be erected without temporary wooden support. There are several legends about how Brunelleschi got the noble task. Climbing the dome passing between its two layers is a truly extraordinary experience.

Lorenzo Ghiberti’s magnificent bronze doors adorn the Baptistery right next to that, which Michelangelo named the ”Gate of Paradise” with ten scenes depicting stories from the Old Testament.  The 85-meter-high bell tower of the cathedral, designed by the famous architect, Giotto, is also worth the climb for the fantastic view.

Ponte Vecchio

The Gallery of Uffizi is home to one of the world’s most outstanding collections of sculpture and paintings. Giotto, Piero della Francesco, Botticelli, Correggio, Raphael, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci, and many international painters are represented there.

You cannot miss the Santa Croce, the largest Franciscan church in the world, which is interestingly the resting place of some of Italy’s great creators, including Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, and Machiavelli.

If you want to see the original statue of David, one of the first works of Michelangelo, head to the Galleria Dell’Accademia. David is the prototype of the perfect human body. Still, the public did not appreciate the naked depiction of a human being at first and threw stones at this masterpiece, forcing Michelangelo to cover the sensitive part.

The fountain of Neptun at Piazza della Signoria

The Palazzo Vecchio towers like a medieval fortress in the center of Florence, the symbol of Florence’s civic power, where Governor Cosimo I de Medici resided. Today it houses the town hall and a museum with Roman ruins, Renaissance paintings, lavish secret galleries, and the striking Salone del Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred).

The Ponte Vecchio, spanning over the river Arno, is another landmark of Florence. When the Medici family moved to the Pitti Palace on the other side of the Arno, they decided to build the Vasari corridor that runs over the bridge to avoid mingling with the crowd. The king’s decree issued in the 16th century expelled butchers, fishmongers, and tanners from the bridge and allowed goldsmiths and jewelers exclusively to open shops on the bridge to avoid the horrible smell.

The Baptistery (Battistero)

Florence has other noteworthy temples, such as the Santa Maria Novella with Giotto’s Crucifix, Masaccio’s The Trinity, and Ghirlandaio’s frescoes. The Basilica San Lorenzo accommodates the sculptures by Donatello and Michelangelo and serves as the burial place of some great Medici rulers.

Finish your day by driving up to the Piazzale Michelangelo on the other side of the Arno, from where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the city.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *