The mere mention of Florence conjures images of beautiful bridges, breathtaking vistas and world-class art galleries and museums. Florence after all is the “cradle of Renaissance,” Tuscany’s pride and one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. For first-time visitors, Florence may be one overwhelming place to see, but the best place to start is always at the center – the Centro Storico, or the historical center where one can find most of the place’s tourist attractions.
Here are five top Florence sightseeing attractions that should not be missed.
Piazza della Signoria
The piazza has been Florence’s political center as well as an exquisite open-air museum. The square holds some of Florence’s renowned statues like a copy of David, the bronze equestrian statue of Cosimo and the Fountain of Neptune among others. It is also within walking distance to other popular tourist attractions like the Uffizi Gallery, Loggia dei Lanzi among others.
Right in front of Piazza della Signoria is the Palazzo Vecchio, the impressive medieval fortress-palace that serves as the town hall. Literally meaning “old palace”, it features courtyards with ornate sculptures, private apartments and chambers with exquisite frescoes. From the terrace, one can also get a fabulous view of the whole city of Florence.
Photo: Debora Ferraz
Ponte Vecchio is Florence’s historic bridge over the Arno River. Aside from a marvelous view of the river and beyond it, the bridge is lined with stalls selling jewelry, art and souvenir items.
Piazza del Duomo
The Cathedral Square is said to be one of the most visited places in Europe and around the world. One can find historic buildings such as Giotto’s Campanile or the Bell Tower, the Baptistery of St. John, the Opera del Duomo Museum, Loggia del Bigallo and many others.
Photo: Helder da Rocha
Giardino de Boboli
The Boboli Gardens are located behind the Palazzo de Pitti and are another landmark of Florence’s medieval landscape architecture – gardens, fountains, courtyards and a great view of the city from the Forte de Belvedere.
Recommended Sightseeing Tours & Day Trips in Florence
- Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence
- Sienna and San Gimignano Day Trip from Florence
- Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour
- Chianti Region Wine Tour from Florence
- Tuscan Cooking Class and Dinner in Florence
- Florence Bicycle Tour
- Uffizi Gallery Walking Tour
- Pisa and the Leaning Tower Day Tour from Florence