Florence, Firenze or Florentia is certainly one of the most beautiful cities not only in Tuscany but in all of Italy, known worldwide for its great concentration of works of art by celebrated artists who over the centuries left their indelible mark and a legacy of inestimable value. The city of the Renaissance and Italian art is full of many unique tourist attractions, with the following being some of the most significant.
Where to go, typicall and cultural destinations
Piazza della Signoria is the heart of the city; from here one can easily reach the main museums, the Ponte Vecchio, and the greatest basilicas in Florence. The city’s most important buildings face each other across the square. Palazzo Vecchio, situated in Piazza della Signoria was once was the Medici family residence and is now the seat of the city council.
Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence, and the only one to have been spared bombardment during WWII. Today it is famous for its ancient goldsmith’s and jewellers’ shops and is crossed by thousands of tourists every day.
Palazzo Pitti, situated close to Piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio, was built for the Pitti family in 1457. It later became the Medici family residence and today is the site of important museums such as the Palatina Gallery, which houses works of art by Rubens, Caravaggio and Tiziano.
The Uffizi Gallery: one of the most important museums in the world. The Uffizi Gallery is usually one of the first places tourist plans to visit in Florence. The museum is located in a building designed by Giorgio Vasari for Cosimo I de Medici in the 16th century, and contains a magnificent collection of paintings by celebrated artists such as Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Caravaggio, and Rafael.
Il Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore (The Cathedral): the cathedral is located in the square of the same name in the heart of Florence’s historic center. Construction began in 1296 and finished in the 15th century when Brunelleschi’s stupendous dome was completed. Inside there are precious works of art by Andrea del Castagno, Donatello, Paolo Uccello, and Luca della Robbia.
The Battistero of San Giovanni (Saint John’s Baptistry): is in Piazza del Duomo, directly in front of the Cathedral. Inside is the Buffalmacco’s famous fresco of The Last Judgment which inspired Michelangelo’s frescos in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. The Baptistery is famous for the Porta del Paradiso (Door to Paradise), made in gold by Lorenzo Ghilberti in the 15th century.
Many traditional events take place every year: "The Entry of the Magi" (La cavalcata dei Re Magi) in the historic center on January 6th commemorates an old tradition from the 15th century.
"Lo Scoppio del Carro" is celebrated on Easter Sunday in Piazza Duomo; at noon, a dove-shaped rocket is fired from the main altar and hits a carriage to set off fireworks; "La Fiorita per Fra’ Girolamo Savonarola" takes place on May 23rd in Piazza della Signoria, in memory of the monk; Il Calcio Storico Fiorentino is held in June in Piazza Santa Croce. More than 500 actors and players gather in historical 16th century costume to participate in a very rough game of football. I Fuochi di San Giovanni (Saint John’s Fireworks), a pyrotechnic show on June 24th. La Festa della Rificolona, a celebration for children on September 7th when they carry lanterns called “rificolone” around the streets and squares. La Festa del Grillo (Cricket Festival) on Ascension Sunday. Cascine Park comes to life with a market where crickets are sold in brightly colored cages.
The city also offers concerts, theatre and a vast variety of cultural shows.