10 Beautiful Places In Florence That Make It Worth Visiting
In 2010, Forbes ranked Florence “The Most Beautiful City in The World” for its impressive artistic and cultural heritage.
One perfect example of Florence’s attractive heritage is Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral). It’s an architectural marvel with overwhelming beauty you must see at least once. However, it’s only Florence Cathedral that makes Florence beautiful and worth visiting.
Whether you want to know if Florence is worth visiting / what makes Florence attractive for tourists / where the beautiful attractions in Florence are—this post will give you answers!
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Aside from being a nature lover, I consider myself a history (and architecture) enthusiast. The first time I saw Florence, I was immediately captivated by its stunning iconic beauty. Honestly, some parts of Florence are beyond what words can describe.
In this blog post, I will share all the outstanding places/things in Florence I discovered. With everything I found and what you’ll find here, you may treat Florence as your paradise, especially if you love history, art, and architecture.
Before I show you all the beautiful places and artworks in Florence, let’s see first where Florence is in Italy. This way, you can know if it’s practical to get to Florence based on where you’re coming from or your itinerary.
Where is Florence?
If you have a map of Italy, you can start looking at northern Italy and zoom in to the Tuscany region. If you’re unfamiliar with Tuscany’s exact location, we can just say that Florence is halfway between Milan and Rome. It is a 2-hour train ride from Milan and a 1.5-hour train ride from Rome.
Being the capital of the Tuscan region, Florence also serves as the main hub of air travel in this area of Italy. Florence has an international airport, and it makes the city accessible even if you’re in other countries. You can go straight to Florence if you are from the following cities in Europe:
- Zurich (Switzerland) – 15 Reasons Why You Should Visit Zurich
- Geneva (Switzerland) – 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Geneva
- Paris (France) – 10 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Paris
- Munich (Germany) – 10 Beautiful Places In Munich
- Amsterdam (the Netherlands)
- London (the United Kingdom)
- Madrid (Spain)
- Vienna (Austria)
- Brussels (Belgium)
And several more airports.
Indeed, Florence is pretty accessible whether you are within or outside Italy. It’s one enticing factor why Florence gets so many visitors.
Is Florence Worth Visiting?
Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is worth visiting for its most remarkable 14th to 17th-century artworks and architectural marvels. Here you can find the world’s renowned masterpieces like Michelangelo’s Sculpture of David in Galleria dell’Accademia, The Birth of Venus in Uffizi Gallery, and Florence Cathedral.
Although there are thousands of beautiful artworks in Florence’s museums, you don’t need to come inside them to see awe-inspiring beauty.
Just proceed to Piazza del Duomo, and you’ll be awe-filled by Florence Cathedral, The Baptistery of Saint John, and Campanile di Giotto. Their outer appearance alone can make anyone’s jaw drop.
See all the best things to do in Florence here.
Honestly, it’s hard to explain Florence’s beauty in words and why it is so worth visiting.
This is why I have a discussion of 10 beautiful landmarks/attractions in Florence you will see after this section. There, I will explain the different aspects of Florence’s beauty and show you pictures as proof.
If you need a place to stay in Florence, here’s where you can find the best hotel deals in Florence.
Let’s go? Alright, let’s go!
10 Most Beautiful Places in Florence
Florence is beautiful in many aspects. But I find its charm most apparent in its architecture, artworks, and scenery. Are you wondering where they are in Florence?
Think no more.
Below is the list of the landmarks and tourist attractions where you can find Florence’s utmost beauty:
- Florence Cathedral
- Basilica of Santa Croce
- Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
- Palazzo Medici Riccardi
- Palazzo Vecchio (Hall of the Five Hundred)
- Palazzo Pitti
- Uffizi Gallery
- Galleria dell’Accademia
- Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte
Before you check each place mentioned above in the following parts of this article, I would like to share something first. In case you are looking for other places in Italy to visit, I suggest you check my articles about: (The links open in a new tab so you can read later)
- Verona, Rome, Venice, Milan, and Bergamo—You can find more attractions similar to what Florence has in their articles. So, if you like being fascinated by history and awe-filled by marvelous architectural sites, check ’em out below:
- Verona: 12 Good Reasons Why Verona Is Worth a Visit | How to Spend 1, 2, 3 Days in Verona
- Rome: 10 Beautiful Landmarks That Make Rome a Beautiful City
- Venice: 10 Most Beautiful Buildings in Venice + Google Maps Location
- Milan: 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Milan
- Bergamo: 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Bergamo
- Do you like visiting scenic places where you can relax with the sea/lakes? Try Lake Como, Lake Garda, and Cinque Terre. You can also find stunning landmarks and historical sites in them.
- Lake Como: 10 Best Places To Visit In Lake Como
- Lake Garda: 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Lake Garda | Lake Garda Itinerary
- Cinque Terre: 10 Spots With The Best Views of Cinque Terre
- Is it the awe-inspiring and breathtaking destinations in Italy you want to see? You must be looking for Cortina d’Ampezzo, Bolzano, and Trento. You can also discover a culture with Italian, German, and Austrian influences from these places.
- Trento: 15 Things To Do In Trento Italy
- Bolzano: 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Bolzano
- Cortina d’Ampezzo: 10 Beautiful Places Around Cortina d’Ampezzo
Read the summary of these places from my article, Is Northern Italy Worth Visiting? 10 Reasons Why Must Visit.
1. Florence Cathedral
Let’s kick off the list with Florence Cathedral – the most impressive structure you can find in the city. Its elaborate exteriors made up of polychrome white, pink, and green marbles should be one to prove Florence’s beauty instantly when you see it in person.
Florence Cathedral is a 15th-century church and one of the biggest churches in Italy. It is located in Florence’s historic city center, considered a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982. Here it is in Google Maps.
The geometric patterns in Florence Cathedral’s exteriors, the color combinations, and the overall craftsmanship have a beauty no words can describe. Not to mention its 19th-century facade – it is one overwhelmingly gracious sight you will ever behold!
The dome is another remarkable feature of Florence Cathedral besides its elaborate facade and mesmerizing exteriors. Notably, it is the world’s largest brick dome ever constructed. It is admirable both inside and outside!
The frescoes painted inside the dome tell the history of Christianity. Eyeing them seems like a peek into a gate to heaven, or what the early Christians believe so.
One of the best ways to observe the exquisiteness of Florence Cathedral is from the top of Giotto’s Bell Tower.
It is the tower beside the cathedral, another architectural marvel that defines the beauty of Florence. At first glance, it seems to be a part of the cathedral, but actually, it is separated.
You can’t afford to miss the terraces on top of Florence Cathedral when you visit Florence. Not only can you see up close the magnificent dome and other architectural details up there, but also breathtaking views of the entire city.
On Sundays, religious and cultural activities take place – most parts of the church are closed to tourists. Travelers alike can come inside from Monday to Saturday. Note that the opening hours vary, but you should be able to get inside from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Check the visiting hours of Florence Cathedral on the exact date of your visit from its official website. The entry fee depends on the type of pass you will buy. Learn more about how you can visit Florence cathedral and other landmarks nearby with the links below:
If the widget is not working you may book your visit to different attractions in Florence here.
The Baptistery in front of the Florence Cathedral is one of the ancient structures in Florence that characterize the city’s beauty. It may be dwarfed by the massive Florence Cathedral – but it is essentially an intriguing structure, combining faith, history, architecture, and art.
The Baptistery is called Battistero di San Giovanni in Italian. Though it has a name of a Christian saint, believe it or not, it’s a structure that dates earlier than Christianity. It was once a pagan temple.
Check the baptistry’s marble cladding and the columns holding up the trabeation to see some inscriptions that date back to Roman Florentia. The rest of the structure, or perhaps the most parts you’ll see, are already the conversion and renovation made to Battistero di San Giovanni in the 4th and 5th centuries.
Outside, the Baptistery looks simpler in terms of design when you compare it side by side with Florence Cathedral. Though it may be true, the spectacle inside the Baptistery is one that really counts as a manifestation of the beauty of Florence.
Battistero di San Giovanni is known for two things.
First, its bronze doors on the north, south, and east facades. The most notable is the East door, called by Michaelangelo the “Gates of Paradise.” It is a Renaissance masterpiece of Ghiberti with several panels having bas relief, depicting scenes from the Bible.
The second thing which the Baptistery in Florence is known for is the golden mosaic ceiling inside its octagonal dome. The mosaic reminds me of the Byzantine churches because of the style of portraying the images and characters.
It is a really impressive mosaic depicting many biblical stories, from the Creation story to the end of the world with Christ from the Last Judgement. There are images of the many angels and also Saint Joseph.
The visiting information should be the same as Florence Cathedral. You can check the opening hours of the Baptistery from the Florence Cathedral’s official website.
3. Basilica of Santa Croce
Another testimony to the beauty of Florence can be seen at the Basilica of Santa Croce, the world’s largest Franciscan church. This church is also called the Temple of the Italian Glories because it is where the most famous Italian personalities like Michelangelo, Galileo, Dante, and Machiavelli are buried.
The Basilica of Santa Croce is located in Piazza del Croce, 900 meters away from Piazza del Duomo. It is situated on the eastern side of the square – appearing like a jewel standing elegantly white in the middle of pastel brown houses. See its location in Google Maps.
If you ask me, the most stunning feature of the Basilica of Santa Croce is its choir full of murals.
It is brightened by gothic stained glass behind the altar. Not an inch of the choir was left blank – everywhere has either geometric elaboration or religious paintings to behold.
This basilica also boasts 16 breathtaking chapels, especially those that were painted by Giotto and his pupils with frescoes. And oh, you must see the pulpit of the basilica, too. I think its bas relief is worth admiring for a little while.
Like Florence Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Croce is within a complex you can visit when you buy an entry ticket. Opening hours are from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (last entry 5:00 pm) from Monday to Saturday except for Tuesday. During Sunday and religious holidays, tours are only allowed in the afternoon from 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm.
If you plan to visit, make sure to read the announcements/reminders indicated on the “visit page” of the official website of Santa Croce Basilica. The schedule for holiday closures, how to buy a ticket, and other services are well explained in the link I shared.
Save time on your trip to Florence by booking your passes to different attractions in advance. You can book your visit to the Basilica of Santa Croce below.
If the widget is not working you may book your visit to different attractions in Florence here.
4. Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
Half a kilometer west of Piazza del Duomo lies Santa Maria Novella Basilica, another church that makes Florence a beautiful place to visit.
Like Florence Cathedral and the Basilica of Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella Basilica has an imposing marble facade. The facade decorated with geometric patterns is definitely an eye-catcher in the lovely garden in front of it.
Here is the basilica’s exact location in Florence.
The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is a 13th-century church, the first great basilica in Florence.
It houses numerous art treasures and frescoes made by gothic and early renaissance painters. Some parts of the basilica are decorated with trompe-l’œil, and they will make you look twice to see if they’re just a painting or bas relief.
The nave exhibits gothic architecture, so it’s pretty plain.
Yet, the alternating black and white patterns should make it look unique. It’s the first thing you’ll see as you enter. Don’t get disappointed so fast as the real splendors await at the altar and the church’s chapels.
As mentioned earlier, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella houses numerous artworks. It is in the chapels and in the altar they are mostly found.
Definitely, the first that you will see is the choir. Like the Basilica of Santa Croce’s choir, it is all covered with beautiful murals – nearly no inch is left blank.
Among the chapels of the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, the Spanish Chapel and Filippo Strozzi Chapel are the two you can’t afford to miss. The Spanish Chapel is located on the north side of the Green Cloister. However, Filippo Strozzi Chapel is there at the right (east) transept.
Filippo Strozzi Chapel definitely has the most monumental murals and trompe-l’œil inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella.
There you’ll find the murals depicting St John the Evangelist Resuscitating Druisana, St Philip Driving the Dragon from the Temple of Hieropolis, Crucifixion of St Philip, and The Torture of St John the Evangelist.
The beautiful details of the paintings can’t be just explained by words.
The Spanish Chapel, on the other hand, has massive murals holding more than one story in it.
The chapel’s most famous murals are called the “Allegory of the Active and Triumphant Church and of the Dominican order.” It’s a painting dating back to the mid-14th-century, and it depicts the lives of the clergy with the image of Christ during the Last Judgement above them.
You must also see the cloister of the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella.
It should transport you back in time because of its fading murals, giving it an ancient appearance. The view there, plus the courtyard covered with grass, should be a really Instagrammable scene, especially when there’s strong sunlight.
Regarding opening hours, the church has different opening hours for different months. Take a look at the table below:
|Months||Monday to Thursday||Friday||Saturday & days before religious holidays||Sunday & religious holidays|
|April – June||9:30 am to 5:30 pm||11:00 am to 5:30 pm||9:30 am to 5:30 pm||1:00 pm to 5:30 pm|
|July – September||9:30 am to 5:30 pm||11:00 am to 5:30 pm||9:30 am to 5:30 pm||12:00 pm to 5:30 pm|
|October – March||9:30 am to 5:00 pm||11:00 am to 5:30 pm||9:30 am to 5:00 pm||1:00 pm to 5:30 pm|
Check for special announcements, holidays, and requirements before visiting the basilica from its official website. You can book your visit to Basilica of Santa Maria Novella using the widget below:
If the widget is not working you may book your visit to different attractions in Florence here.
5. Palazzo Medici Riccardi
We learned from the churches we discussed previously that the architecture and art exhibited in the city’s religious structures embody Florence’s beauty.
Though it is already clear that Florence is beautiful because of its churches, we can further prove Florence’s elegance by tapping into palaces in the city. We can start from Palazzo Medici Riccardi.
Palazzo Medici Riccardi is a Renaissance palace where the Government of the Metropolitan City of Florence seats.
It is located 250 meters north of Florence Cathedral, linked to Piazza del Duomo through Via de Martelli. Here is Palazzo Medici Riccardi’s exact location on Google Maps.
Aside from being a government office, Palazzo Medici Riccardi houses a famous chapel and art museum home to superb Renaissance murals, paintings, and sculptures.
However, you do not have to go inside to behold beauty. Palazzo Medici Riccardi’s exteriors exhibit a unique style designed by Michelozzo, an architect and a great pioneer of Renaissance architecture.
Palazzo Medici Riccardi has a relatively small museum compared to Palazzo Pitti and Uffizi Gallery.
Even though it’s true, I think you’ll still be surprised by the impressive artwork found everywhere inside. The whole building is a masterpiece, and you can find works of art even in the doorways or courtyard.
The palace has three floors containing permanent and temporary exhibitions ranging from Renaissance frescoes and paintings to archaeology and marble sculptures.
The museum occupies the palaces’ underground, ground, and first floors. If you ask me, the first floor is the most exciting part. It is where most of the Renaissance artworks are found.
If you like archaeology and are fascinated by the craftsmanship executed in ancient marble sculptures, proceed to the underground floor. On the other hand, Instagrammable scenes are what you can find on the ground floor with the Michelozzo Courtyard and Medici Garden.
On the first floor, you have 10 rooms to explore.
There is a simple route you will follow along when you visit. You’ll be passing by rooms with two doors, one leading to another.
The tour on the first floor of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi starts at a tiny yet remarkable Magi Chapel, where elegance is just all around you. From the golden ceiling of inlaid wood to the geometric floor mosaics and carved wooden stalls – you will be overwhelmed by beautiful details.
Details – they’re the most special about the murals in Magi Chapel.
The East and west walls of the chapel have exceptionally detailed paintings depicting a procession led by the three kings, Melchior, Balthasar, and Caspar.
The most breathtaking artworks in Palazzo Medici Riccardi await you in the first floor’s last two rooms.
There you will find the eye-catching painting of Filippo Lippi, Madonna With Child, and the breathtaking frescoes by Luca Giordano. The frescoes depict the Apotheosis of the Medici – and it shall keep your jaws on the floor as your eyes wander on it.
I prefer not to share photos (and don’t search for them) to excite you to visit “the beautiful Florence.”
Palazzo Medici Riccardi is open to the public all week from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm except Wednesday. Tickets for “Museum + Exhibit” cost 10 EUR and 6 EUR for Museum only. Don’t forget to check for announcements and some requirements from the official website of Palazzo Medici Riccardi before you visit!
6. Palazzo Vecchio
The tallest structure in Florence is Palazzo Vecchio, and it’s another palace aside from Palazzo Medici Riccardi that confirms Florence’s beauty. Very briefly, Palazzo Vecchio is an imposing 13th-century fortification turned into a museum jam-packed with ornate decoration and artworks.
You can find Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza Della Signoria, 500 meters south of Piazza del Duomo, through Via dei Calzaiuoli.
Here is its exact location – see it from Google Maps.
In Piazza Della Signoria, you can also find Florences’ other landmarks like the Equestrian statue of Cosimo I, Fontana del Nettuno, and Replica of the Statue of David.
While standing in the Piazza Della Signoria, you’ll see Palazzo Vecchio like it isn’t a museum yet. But instead, an intimidating fortress with battlements and windows guarded by high-precision archers.
It looks so preserved that it shall transport you back centuries in the past.
Palazzo Vecchio looks intimidatingly imposing outside, but how about inside?
Expect to be overwhelmed with exemplary grandiose. It is, especially when you see the Hall of The Five Hundred, the largest room in Italy made for a civil power palace.
On the walls of the Hall of The Five Hundred, you’ll find expansive paintings depicting the battle victories of Florence over Pisa and Siena.
Look above, and there’s the ceiling consisting of 39 splendid panels showing the Great Episodes from the life of Cosimo I – artworks painted by Vasari and his assistants. After you visit, you can really say that Florence is indeed beautiful.
The Hall of the Five Hundred is only one of the rooms with staggering elaboration inside the Palazzo Vecchio, though it is undoubtedly the highlight.
The palace has three apartments, each having five to seven rooms. They contain sculptures, antiques, fleurs-de-lis decorated ceilings, and more frescoes.
Like Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Palazzo Vecchio has beautiful courtyards called the First, Second, and Third Courtyards. The First Courtyard, designed by Michelozzo, is the one you can’t afford to miss seeing.
The beauty of the First Courtyard emanates from the ornate pillars filled with stuccoes and frescoes within the arcades. The frescoes you’ll see on the walls of the First Courtyard depict Austrian cities during Habsburg Rule.
The museum in Palazzo Vecchio is open all days of the week. Every Thursday, you can only enter the museum from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm. But, for the rest of the week, the museum is open from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm.
The ticket office closes 1 hour before the closing hour.
You can also go inside Torre di Arnolfo, which has the same opening hours as the museum. It just closes earlier, by 5:00 pm. Most importantly, there is no access to the tower when it rains.
Before you visit, make sure to read the announcement from the website, cultura.commune.fi.it. Sometimes The Hall of the Five Hundred isn’t available for tours because it will be used for some events.
Below are the different ways you can explore Florence with Palazzo Vecchio. Click to learn more:
Book your visit to Palazzo Vecchio in advance (and without hassle) using the widget below:
If the widgets are not working you may book your visit to different attractions in Florence here.
7. Palazzo Pitti
The beauty of Florence is not confined to its historic city center only.
From there, cross the river Arno, and you’ll find Palazzo Pitti. It is a stunning Renaissance palace that houses countless artworks of European and Italian masters.
If you’re wondering where Palazzo Pitti is in Florence, this link should lead you to its exact location on Google Maps.
In my opinion, Palazzo Pitti is absolutely the epitome of magnificent Italian Renaissance architecture. Its rusticated stonework is one of a kind – it’s hard not to admire. And because of that, I consider Palazzo Pitti one of the reasons why Florence is such a beautiful place to visit.
Did you know that Palazzo Pitti is the largest museum complex in Florence? If I were not mistaken, it has 7 galleries inside its complex. Palatine Gallery, its main gallery, alone houses more than 500 beautiful Renaissance paintings.
Those 500 Renaissance masterpieces are stored in the 28 rooms of the Palatine Gallery. Some were created by the famous Renaissance artists Correggio, Peter Paul Rubens, Pietro da Cortona, Raphael, Titian, and Perugino.
Most of the paintings you’ll see are portraits and interactions of different personalities from the 15th to 17th centuries. However, I bet the architecture, frescoes, and other decorations of the rooms where these paintings are exhibited will impress you more.
In my judgment, the three rooms of the Palatine Gallery worth seeing are the Hall of Mars, the Hall of Saturn, and the Hall of Venus.
The frescoes and stuccoes on the ceiling of these rooms are jaw-dropping and neck-breaking! I’m blown away by the massive frescoes in the Hall of Mars.
Aside from Palatine Gallery, Palazzi Pitti’s other galleries are the Royal Apartments, Treasury of the Grand Dukes, Gallery of Modern Art, Costume Gallery, Carriages Museum, and Porcelain Museum.
Based on their names, I know you already know what is exhibited in them.
Entry to Palazzo Pitti is free of charge for kids and teens below 18 years old. You can visit every week, aside from Mondays, from 8:15 am until 6:50 pm.
For adults, here are the ways you can visit Palazzo Pitti:
Palazzo Pitti is one of the most visited places in Florence. I recommend booking in advance before the tickets sell out. You may use the widget below to quickly book your entry passes:
If the widgets are not working you may book your visit to different attractions in Florence here.
Tip. Buy combination tickets for Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens (the beautiful garden behind Palazzo Pitti), and Uffizi Garden (we’ll discuss next) to save some Euros. Learn about more deals, entry requirements, and other announcements from Palazzo Pitti’s website.
8. Uffizi Gallery
In the beginning, I mentioned that artworks in Florence are one of the things that speak of Florence’s beauty the most. It’s where the world-admired culture of the city is instilled and still can be admired despite the centuries passed.
Do you know where you can find most of them?
It’s in Uffizi Gallery – the beautiful place in Florence housing more than 100,000 prints and drawings, paintings, antiques, and sculptures. It has the finest collection of Italian Renaissance art you will ever behold.
Uffizi Gallery is located beside the Arno River and south of Palazzo Vecchio. These two beautiful attractions in Florence are just a few steps away from each other. Here is the Google Maps location of Uffizi Gallery.
According to the official website of Uffizi, the artworks of the masters listed below are inside Uffizi Gallery:
- Simone Martini
- Piero della Francesca
- Beato Angelico
- Filippo Lippi
… and there’s a lot more! Other artworks were made by some European painters from Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium.
If you want to get a list of every artwork that you can expect to see from Uffizi, check out this link to the official website of Uffizi Gallery. However, I do not recommend you only see the masterpieces from your screens – to see them in person is a whole different experience!
If you’re an art enthusiast, Uffizi Gallery is probably the paradise you’re looking for. Frankly, when I was reading reviews of Uffizi Gallery, I learned that some art lovers have spent almost 2 days in the gallery. They even said they needed more time!
However, for ordinary travelers like me, 3 to 4 hours of a visit should be enough to see most and the bests of the artworks in Uffizi. If you ask me, what masterpiece should you not miss seeing? Here’s the list:
- Adoration of the Magi
- Annunciation (by Leonardo da Vinci)
- Venus of Urbino
- Birth of Venus
- Doni Tondo
- Statue of Saint Lawrence
- Medusa (by Caravaggio)
- The Tribuna (an octagonal room with sculptures and paintings)
Click the links to see their full description.
Learn all the necessary details for your visit from the official website of Uffizi Gallery. But in short, Uffizi Gallery is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:15 am until 6:50 pm. Teens and kids below 18 years old are free to enter.
For adults, you may book your entry to Uffizi Gallery and find more things to do in Florence here.
9. Galleria dell’Accademia
A day is not enough to see every splendid artwork or architecture that makes Florence a beautiful city.
The number of masterpieces is just unbelievable! Aside from the Uffizi Gallery, discussed previously, Galleria dell’Accademia is another gallery packed with Renaissance masterpieces that visitors must not miss seeing.
Galleria dell’Accademia, or the “Gallery of the Academy of Florence,” is a museum home to a massive collection of artworks created by Florentine artists. It is Italy’s second most visited art museum, next to Uffizi Gallery.
Here is where we can find Michelangelo’s original sculpture of David, making the gallery so famous.
Here is the exact location of Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence (see it on Google Maps). The gallery is located northeast of Piazza del Duomo, about a 6-minute walk through Via Ricasoli.
There are numerous other sculptures and paintings inside the Galleria dell’Accademia. Musical instruments and historical archives are also kept in the gallery.
But indeed, the statue of David gains the most attention. It should surprise you when you see it in person!
I hate to spoil you, but I think the first thing that will surprise you about the statue of David is its size. In some pictures, it looks like just the size of an ordinary man. In reality, this masterpiece is 517 centimeters or 17 feet tall!
Historians and scholars believe that Michelangelo is just 158 centimeters tall (5 feet and 2 inches). With the Statue of David three times his height, it is absolutely wondrous how Michelangelo created this masterpiece.
The Statue of David’s size is one surprising factor.
Another is the detail.
Michelangelo’s attention to detail is beyond any praising words.
Focus on David’s hands, hair, eyes, and tensed muscles. All are sculpted with accuracy and precision – absolutely worth seeing!
The sculptures made by Giambologna and Gipsoteca are archived in Galleria dell’Accademia too.
The works of Lorenzo Bartolini, like the Scorpion Nynpm, Emma and Julia Campbell, and La Riconoscenza, are only a few other impressive sculptures to see aside from the Statue of David.
Also, there are the works of Giotto, Giovanni da Milano, Agnolo Gaddi, and many more. Of course, there are Renaissance paintings here made by Filippino Lippi and Paolo Uccello, too…
Galleria dell’Accademia is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:00 am until 6:45 pm. You have to come at least 30 minutes before the closing time. Learn more visiting information from the official website of Galleria dell’Accademia.
Here are the ways you can enter and explore Galleria dell’Accademia. Click one to learn more.
Because Michelangelo’s statue of David is known everywhere, countless people from everywhere come to Galleria dell’Accademia. Literally, you can often find long lines of people on the counter wanting to enter Galleria dell’Accademia. Skip the line by booking online using this widget:
10. Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte
Another reason why Florence is a beautiful place to visit is because of Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte. It’s an abbey and a church with a facade having architecture and design similar to Florence Cathedral, Basilica Santa Croce, and Basilica Santa Maria Novella.
Perched on a hilltop, you’ll get a beautiful view of the historic city center of Florence from Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte. It is the advantage of this church when compared to others. But perhaps, what makes it different from the rest is its choir raised on a platform above the large crypt.
At the same time, unlike the first mentioned churches, Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte has interiors that share the same style as its facade. You’ll find geometric patterns on its walls above the arches and some parts of the altar and choir.
If you are in photography and looking for the most “dramatic” spot of the Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte, the primary portal of the church is the spot you should see.
Step back a bit inward, and face towards the entrance. The dotted door of the church should be a good part of the frame of the scenic views of the city afar.
Anyhow, Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte is full of unique features. An example is the raised choir. Another example is the “presbytery” with an early 13th-century Romanesque pulpit.
The church houses several admirable frescoes too. Some were created by Taddeo Gaddi, which you can find in the vaults of the crypt. Its sacristy has frescoes, too, depicting the life of Saint Benedict – an artwork painted by Spinello Aretino.
But perhaps, the first artwork that I believe you’ll notice first as you enter the church is the mosaic in the apse.
The mosaic unbelievably dates back to 1207. It depicts Christ in between the Virgin Mary and Saint Miniato, who holds the crown in the mosaic.
I recommend exploring the entire Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte church if you decide to visit Florence because the chapel to the left of the nave is a must-see. The chapel is called Cardinal of Portugal Chapel – and is regarded as “one of the most magnificent funerary monuments of the Italian Renaissance.”
Cardinal of Portugal Chapel in Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte is worth visiting for the immense amount of creativity expressed in the chapel. Its beautiful mosaic floor, elegant ceiling, and superb frescoes will really impress you! You’ll be so lucky if you see sunlight entering its windows.
Admission to the Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte is free. However, you have to travel a little far from the city center to get here. Here is the exact location of the church on Google Maps.
Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte is open from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, it opens a little early, at 8:15 am. See the Eucharistic celebration schedules and more visiting information from its official website.
Bonus: Piazzale Michelangelo
Aside from Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte, Piazzale Michelangelo is another place where you can behold the skyline of beautiful Florence’s historic center. This 19th-century square sits on top of a hill overlooking the entire city.
Here is its exact location in Google Maps.
If you’re like me, who always looks for such a place full of scenic beauty in a city, Piazzale Michelangelo is the place to be. From here, you can clearly see several iconic landmarks in Florence. Perhaps, almost every beautiful place we discussed previously.
The views from Piazzale Michelangelo stretch from the medieval walls of Florence to River Arno, Ponte Vecchio to Basilica di Santa Croce, Palazzo Vecchio to Florence Cathedral, and to the rolling hills and mountains from afar. It’s just the panorama you can’t afford to miss, especially during the sunset and golden hour.
Since it is a park or garden dedicated to Michelangelo, you can find replicas of his best artwork here, the Statue of David. The park has cafes too. The view plus the meals they offer should offer you one beautiful and memorable relaxing experience in Florence.
I just want to share… are you like me? I love cities with panoramic views like Florence. Seeing such scenery gives me a weird feeling, like I did not miss anything during my visit. Here are other European cities which also have panoramic views:
- Lyon (from La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière): 14 Best Reasons Why You Should Visit Lyon
- Avignon (from Jardin des Doms): 10 Best Reasons Why You Should Visit Avignon
- Bern (From Rose Garden): 22 Best Things To Do In Bern
- Nuremberg (from Imperial Castle): 15 Reasons Why Nuremberg Is Worth Visiting
- Stuttgart (Stuttgart TV Tower): 10 Best Reasons Why You Should Visit Stuttgart
So, that’s all! Those are the beautiful places in Florence. If you decide to visit Florence now, you can also consider having these insightful and relaxing tours. Click on one of the activities below to learn more.
See all the best things to do in Florence now.
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