Firenze (it somehow sounds more ‘dramatic’ to me than ‘Florence) is one of my favourite places in Italy. I already felt over excited the moment we stepped out of the station and dragged our suitcases along the paved pedestrian to the hotel which was located very close to Cattedrale Santa Maria del Fiore.
It was already getting dark and cold when we arrived. So we just dropped our luggage at the hotel, changed clothes and went out for dinner. And the view before me was breathtaking. Towering majestically to the completely dark, silent and cloudless sky were il Campanile di Giotto (the Bell Tower) and the Duomo (Cathedral). For a moment I forgot that I was hungry.
The exterior of the building was a beautiful combination of green serpentine, red limestone and white marble. The colours were quite subtle that they just sort of “merged” and lightened the surrounding in contrast to the dark sky.
Being the capital of arts, the place of birth and work of artists and geniuses and where the Italian Renaissance began, one can never run out of places to see and things to do. The admission fees to some of the historical places and museums are not exactly cheap, though, so if you are on a budget (like I was), it would be just fine to pick only a few places to enter. Another option is to come on the first Sunday of the month to some of these museums – free admission!
Il Duomo di Firenze
Admission: € 18 (access to all monuments – the Museum, Cathedral, Brunelleschi Dome, Giotto Bell Tower and Baptistery within 72 hours. Tickets can be purchased on their official website).
I would suggest to start with the museum first (Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo) to get a better understanding on the history and what to find in the other monuments. The museum has housed hundreds of art works and masterpieces from the Duomo for centuries. Read more here.
Admission: € 10 (I bought on site in March 2017. Now it’s around € 12-16.75 when you buy it here or here).
While Michelangelo’s Davide is the main reason for people to go here, there are still tons of art works to enjoy. Read more here.
Palazzo Vecchio & Loggia dei Lanzi
Overlooking Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio has stood for over 700 years! It has been called by different names, like Palazzo dei Priori and Palazzo della Signoria. It was the center of power in Florence and has been used for different political functions over the centuries.
Loggia dei Lanzi is right next to Palazzo Vecchio. It is basically a free, open-air exhibition area displaying sculptures and statues from the Renaissance era. Read more here.
Admission: free (I went here on Sunday! On the other days, check here – can be combined with admission to the Uffizi Galleries).
Standing in the line for 20 minutes was totally worth it. The palace was so amazing, displaying a lot of art works in so many rooms – it was quite overwhelming to me that I didn’t regret not visiting Uffizi in this trip. The visit was ended with a walk in the famous Boboli Garden. Read more here.
Built in the 15th century, this was the main residence of Medici family before they moved to Palazzo Vecchio at Piazza della Signoria in 1540. The palace was later sold to Riccardi family in 1659 (hence the name). It was the first Renaissance building in Florence and the Riccardis had made some alterations to the original layout.