Updated: 5 days ago
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Florence is the home of the Italian Renaissance, a movement that changed art and the world forever. Evidence of the renaissance is all over Florence, and for those inspired by it, there are a plethora of places to visit. Florence was my husband's favorite place on our two week Italy trip due its the calm, friendly nature. Despite having many things to do, the atmosphere was serene and inviting. Here are all of the things that we enjoyed doing.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, The Baptistery of Saint John, and Giotto's Bell Tower
These three wonderful buildings are listed together because they are close in proximity. Tickets to The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore can be booked online, and visitors can climb both the dome of the cathedral and Giotto's Bell Tower for a wonderful view of the city of Florence. The renaissance style church is most popular for its impressive dome, while the Baptistery of Saint John is renowned for its bronze doors. Close by is The Museum of Opera of Saint Maria of Fiore, a museum that showcases original artwork for the duomo.
The Accademia Gallery
The Accademia Gallery is home to Michelangelo's world-famous renaissance sculpture "David," built between 1501 and 1504. Though it's a must that you see "David" while you're in Florence, many people leave the museum without exploring the rest of it. While "David" is definitely the most impressive piece in The Accademia Gallery, the other artwork in the museum is well worth seeing.
It's not uncommon for The Accademia Gallery to have lines that stretch for hours during peak seasons. Luckily, we visited in January and were able to walk straight in with no problem. I suggest either visiting in a slow month or booking tickets online before visiting.
The Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery is a large art museum that houses some of the most important pieces of the renaissance. The gallery holds artwork from Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, and many more renowned artists. Among the most famous pieces are "The Birth of Venus" (photographed above), "Medusa," and "Primavera." The building itself is a piece of art as well, so it's important to look at every ceiling, every wall, and in every room. In fact, my biggest piece of advice for those in the Uffizi is to always look up! Like the Accademia, consider booking tickets online in advance.
Porcellino- The Lucky Boar
Located near Mercato del Porcellino is Porcellino, the lucky boar fountain that is associated with good luck. Similar to Rome's Trevi Fountain, it is said that if you rub the boar's snout, you will receive good luck and a return visit to Florence someday. While you're there, you might as well check out one of the many vendors.
Ponte Vecchio was once the home of several butcher shops that poured waste into the river below. Now, the bridge is home to high-end shops that only the most elite can afford. Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge in Florence that survived World War II, and Adolf Hitler reportedly enjoyed the view it offered of the city.
We almost didn't trek to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo, but a suggestion from a friend sent us hiking up around sunset for unrivaled views of Florence. Buskers were playing music, street vendors were selling goods, and we even witnessed a sweet proposal (she said yes). My favorite part of visiting Florence was definitely watching the sunset from the top.
Booking a hotel near main attractions is the most important thing for me when I go on vacation, which is what led me to make these suggestions. If you'd prefer to spend less on a hotel and more on excursions, I suggest Hotel Nella. If you want something closer to the city center, Hotel Roma is what you're looking for. The Grand Hotel Cavour is expensive but it's practically on top of the duomo.
Florence is an art lovers dream, and the perfect destination for any couple to enjoy a romantic adventure in a romantic city. The tranquil city is easily walkable, surprisingly slow-paced, and a nice break from the hustle and bustle of other Italian cities such as Rome and Milan. You should check it out.