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Suggested Itinerary for a Florence Holiday
A one-day Florence tour basically involves a visit to the more popular museums in this city. With 70 or more museums alone, it would take a lifetime to see all of the works of art in Florence. Add to that the numerous architectural marvels standing side by side in this beautiful city, and the visit could turn into boredom if one does not choose the attractions carefully.
To avoid disappointment and make the most of your Florence holiday, choose the sights that you can cover in a day or two. And if you are really pressed for time, you must visit the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, and the San Lorenzo Church. Add to that the Boboli Gardens.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, More famously known as the Duomo, it is fondly called the Queen of Florence Museums, first stop of your Florence holiday.
The Duomo took hundreds of years to construct. It is famous for Brunelleschi’s Dome and is the world’s third largest nave. The Dome offers unparalleled view of the city. The baptistery is famous for its Gates of Paradise, ornate bronze doors created by Ghiberti and the lunettes that were created by Luca della Robbia.
This cathedral is also famous for its 44 stained glass windows that produces a dazzling light display during certain times of the day.
While here, include in your Florence holiday a visit to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and Michelangelo’s Pieta.
Visit between 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m., avoid Sundays and Catholic holidays, and wear walking shoes if you plan on climbing the 450 steps to the top of the dome for a view of Florence. Nearby is the Santa Reparata site, the Florentine cathedral that the Duomo replaced.
Admission to the cathedral is free, but prepare around $50 to be able to see the other attractions.
The Campinile Bell Tower
The Campinile bell tower, is at the Piazza del Duomo. The first story was designed by Giotto and it is commonly called Giotto’s Campinile. Buy a ticket and climb the 414 stairs (no lift) for great views of the Cathedral and its dome, the city of Florence and surroundings, and for a lasting memory of your Florence holiday.
The Uffizi Gallery
If the Duomo is the “Queen of Florence Museums”, this would be the King of Florence Museums.
This was once the administrative office of the Medici administration. It holds the most art per square inch than any other museum in the world. Visit this museum at least two hours before it closes, so you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the works of Giotto, Boticelli, Raphael, and Da Vinci.
This is a most crowded museum, so buy your tickets in advance by contacting the museum booking office and avoid the long lines, save time, and proceed smoothly to the next stop of your Florence holiday.
The Church of San Lorenzo
Located at Piazza San Lorenzo, and just a few blocks south of the Duomo, this is the oldest church in Florence with the internal facade designed by Michelangelo. The facade of this Florence museum designed by Michelangelo was never finished.
Attractions include the following work of these artists:
- Bronzino for the fresco of The Martyrdom of St Lawrence in the north aisle
- Desiderio da Settignano for the Pala del Sacramento and the tabernacle in the south aisle
- Donatello for the two bronze pulpits and the and bronze doors in the Sagrestia Vecchia
- Antonio del Pollaiuolo, for the wooden crucifix in the south transept chapel
- Fra Filippo Lippi, the altarpiece of the Annunciation in the north transept chapel
- Rosso Fiorentino, Marriage of the Virgin at the south aisle chapel, and
- Verrocchio, tomb of Giovanni and Piero de Medici in the Sagrestia Vecchia.
Next stop of your Florence holiday is the Galleria dell’ Academia, one of the most popular Florence museums.
Here Michelangelo’s David and other works of art await you.
Also foremost among Florence museums is the Santa Croce.
the Church of Santa Croce in Piazza Santa Croce, is the largest Franciscan church in Italy. The vast interior contains some exceptional stained glass windows and frescoes which you can not find in any of the Florence museums.
One of Brunelleschi’s most important work, the Cappella dei Pazzi, is in Santa Croce.
Admission includes the museum and tours. Audio tours are extra.
Ponte Vecchio, the Old Bridge
The oldest in Florence and the only one that was not destroyed during WWII.
If you were not able to climb the Dome, here you can have a spectacular view of the city without huffing and puffing. This is a very popular spot and is always crowded.
Before leaving for the gold and silver shops and the boutiques in the area, and with your companion, add a padlock to the bridge, near the statue of Cellini, to seal your love for your wife or sweetheart, and as a memorial of what a wonderful time you have during your Florence holiday – one of Europe’s most beautiful city.
Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio
This square, Florence’s most famous, one of city’s many open air museums, is in the heart of the historic center and a site of free open-air sculpture exhibit. The Loggia della Signoria holds some important statues including a copy of Michelangelo’s David. The piazza has been Florence’s political center since the middle ages and Florence’s town hall, the medieval Palazzo Vecchio, sits on the piazza. The palazzo contains elaborately decorated public rooms and private apartments.
Around the piazza are several cafes and restaurants offering a varied choice of Italian food.
Boboli Garden and Pitti Palace
This garden is located on the opposite side of the Ponte Vecchio. It is a huge park on a hillside in the middle of Florence behind the Pitti Palace. Here you’ll find beautiful gardens and fountains and a great view of Florence from the Forte Belvedere. Open daily at 8:15 (except some Mondays in winter) with seasonal closing times. A must visit.
The Pitti Palace, is Florence’s largest palazzo, once the seat of the Medici family. Here in one sweep, you can visit eight (8) different galleries, including art, costumes, jewelry, and apartments. One of the best of Florence museums. Another option to include in your Florence holiday.
Also drop by the Piazzale Michelangelo and enjoy the view before concluding your Florence holiday.
For Dante Fans
The address of the recently opened Casa di Dante.
After a tour of the museums, you might want to attend a theater presentation to add romance to your Tuscany tour in Florence.
Enjoy your stay and have a memorable Florence holiday.