The Cradle of the Renaissance, Florence is one of Europe’s great art cities and one of the most significant and cherished cities in Italy. Giotto’s frescoes, Michelangelo’s David, canvases by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and a host of other greats in the Uffizi Gallery. There’s so much exquisite art and architecture, it’s difficult to know where to start but here is my suggested itinerary that aims to highlight the best Florence offers.
FLIXBUS. From Roma Tiburtina- Firenze.
Departing at 0815 Arriving at 1140.
Return: Departing at 2225 Arriving at 0155.
-Fortezza da Basso + Piazza di Liberta’
– San Marco
-Giardino dei semplici or Giardino della Gherardese
-Piazza della Santissima Annunziata
-Fountains of Mostri Marini, Palazzo Grifono and the Museo di Innocenti.
-Tempio Maggiore Isreaelitico
-Palazzo Medici Riccardi
-Basilica di San Lorenzo
-Piazza del Duomo
-Florence Cathedral with the Cupola del Brunelleschi,
-Loggia del Bigallo
-Opera del Duomo Museum
-Arcivescovile and Canonici’s palace.
-Piazza della Repubblica
–Piazza della Signoria
-Piazzale degli Uffizi
-Piazza di Santa Crocce
–Bilbioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze
-Piazza di Santa Maria Novella
-Piazza della Repubblica
Piazza della Signoria
This is the focal point of the origin and history of the Florentine Republic and even today still maintains its reputation as the political hub of the city.
The impressive 14th-century Palazzo Vecchio is still preeminent with its crenellated tower. The square is also shared with the Loggia della Signoria, the Uffizi Gallery, the Palace of the Tribunale della Mercanzia (1359) (now the Bureau of Agriculture), and the Palazzo Uguccioni (1550, with a facade attributed to Raphael, who however died thirty years before its construction). Located in front of the Palazzo Vecchio is the Palace of the Assicurazioni Generali (1871, built in Renaissance style).
The amazement continues as you enter the Uffizi piazza where your eyes are treated to more stunning works of art set within this mesmerising square, home to the Uffizi Gallery.
TIP: Of course, if you have more time definitely enter this gallery. However, we have only 24 hours! There is plenty to get inspired about just from the exterior, so do not feel the need to spend half the day inside!
Piazza di Santa Crocce
A short walk down the Via del Corso takes you to the pretty Piazza of Santa Croce, home to the Basilica di Santa Croce. Each building, including the Church, are perfect examples of the Renaissance style that flourished throughout Florence.
TIP: Take 5 minutes to relax with a gelato! From here, we walk towards the River Arno, passing the Bilbioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (Library).
Strolling down the river bank is a fantastic opportunity to admire Florence and its bewildering charm, such as the medieval Ponte Vecchio. Renowned for still having shops built along it, it was once common, that butchers would occupy the shops so the animal blood would flow away in the river. However today, the present tenants are jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers.
The journey continues as we walk back towards the station, where you can visit the Church of Santa Maria Novella, which is the first great basilica in Florence, and is the city’s principal Dominican church. The church, the adjoining cloister, and chapterhouse contain a store of art treasures and funerary monuments. Especially famous are frescoes by masters of Gothic and early Renaissance.
Florence isn’t the biggest of cities but in order to cover everything on this itinerary, speed is of the essence! So, to save your legs, take the 12 or 13 bus to Piazzale Michelangelo. As you climb to the top of the hill, you can see some spectacularly grand houses, brilliant examples of renaissance architecture. The romance of the Florence experience reaches an ultimate high once at the top of the hill. Sensational panoramic views of Florence against the mountainous backdrop fills you with an indescribable sense of enchantment. TIP: Here is a unique place for a picnic and there are plenty of shaded areas, just above from the piazza.
As the sun sets, gazing upon the impeccable cityscape below, you leave reality and enter the wondrous world of the Renaissance period, where art and literature flood from the body indulged in a sense of pure romanticism. This moment in this dream state is the perfect end to the most glorious of days.