Attracting millions of visitors each year, Tuscany's capital Florence, is one of the most visited cities in the world. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, the Italian city is known as the cradle of the Renaissance, the residence of the Medici family, famous for its architecture, culture and history. The layout and structure of Flor...
Attracting millions of visitors each year, Tuscany's capital Florence, is one of the most visited cities in the world. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, the Italian city is known as the cradle of the Renaissance, the residence of the Medici family, famous for its architecture, culture and history. The layout and structure of Florence was designed as an army camp in the Roman era, but the majority of the city was built during the Renaissance. Its well-known bridge Ponte Vecchio, carries the elevated Vasari Corridor, connecting the famous Uffizi Gallery and the Old Palace to the world-renowned museum complex and former Medici residence, Palazzo Pitti. The palace is home to several galleries, including the Modern Art Gallery, the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments, the Silver Museum, the Porcelain Museum, the Carriage Museum and the Costume Gallery displaying famous frescoes, paintings, sculptures, jewelries, porcelains and other luxurious items. Its famous garden and outdoor museum, the Boboli Gardens behind the palace, is one of the first and largest royal European gardens planned in 1550, offering a collection of 16th to 18th century sculptures with an exceptional view of the city. Florence has numerous other famous historical landmarks as well, including the Bargello National Museum, the San Marco Museum, the Accademia Gallery, the Chiesa di Santa Monica, and the Romanesque fortress-palace, town hall and art museum Palazzo Vecchio, on Piazza della Signoria, a historical site of world-famous statues.
The Galleria d'Arte Moderna (Modern Art Gallery), open to the public since 1928, has collections of modern and contemporary art from the 18th century to the 20th century on the second floor of the large museum complex Palazzo Pitti, close to Ponte Vecchio in Florence.
The palace, built in 1458, was originally the residence of Luca Pitti, and it was owned by the Medici family since 1549. During the centuries, the palace became a treasure house of paintings, sculptures, jewels, porcelain and other luxury items, and today it is one of the most famous museum complexes in Italy.
The collections of the Modern Art Gallery include masterpieces by Pietro Tenerani, Francesco Hayez, Camille Pissarro, Giovanni Fattori and other famous artists.
Piazza de' Pitti, 1, 50125 Florence
Bus: Lines C3 and D
The Teatro Verdi is one of the most famous theatres in Florence, Italy. It opened in 1854 with 806 seats, built over what was once the 14th century Stinche Prison.
It was originally called Teatro Pagliano but it was renamed in 1901 in honour of the great composer Giuseppe Verdi.
The theatre, which has been operating since its creation, has expanded its programme to include popular performances, dance, concerts, plays, monologues and musicals.
Via Ghibellina, 99, 50122, Florence
Bus: lines C2 and C3 (Teatro Verdi - Ist. Fiorentino Analisi)
The Auditorium al Duomo is in the heart of Florence on Via De Cerretani and is a convention centre for cultural events which can accommodate up to 500 people in its Vasari Hall and Amphitheatre Hall Andrzej Tomaszewski.
Part of the building was the Oratory of the Pizzicagnoli in the 14th century, while other parts were built in the 1880s. The building included a cinema until 1931. After decades of work, restoration and different uses of the space, the building has been used for concerts, shows and performances since 2003.
Via de' Cerretani 54R, 50123 Florence
Bus: Line C2 (Olio)
The Opera di Firenze is a state of the art, avant-garde music centre designed in 2011 by Paolo Desideri (of the Studio ABDR in Rome) for the 150th anniversary of the Italian Republic. It can be found between the Leopolda Station and the Cascine Park.
The new Opera House offers one of the most spectacular views of Florence, with space for over 2000 spectators and a large stereo-metric hall of 1800 seats which provides exceptional acoustics.
Piazza Vittorio Gui, Florence
Tram: T1 (Porta Al Prato)
Bus: 37, 371A, 131O, 131R (Porta a Prato)
Saint Mark's English Church was founded in 1906 by Reverend Charles Tooth. It was the second Anglican church to be built in Florence, and now the 400 seat venue is used for classical music concerts and opera.
The church was severely damaged by floods in 1966, which destroyed part of the 19th century stencil work on the walls, though fortunately some parts have survived. The Pre-Raphaelite style church on Via Maggio is also where you can marvel at Jason Arkles' white marble statue "Apotheosis of Saint Mark" which is the first work of an American sculptor to be displayed in a public place in Florence.
Via Maggio, 16, 50125 Florence
Bus: Lines C3 and D (Coverelli)
In 1442 Ubertino de Bardi was desperate to be a father, and donated the Chiesa di Santa Monica to Santa Monica (mother of St. Augustine) in the hope that after this good deed, his prayers would be answered.
In the 16th century, Camilla Martelli, first the lover and then second wife of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de'Medici and mother of Virginia de'Medici (Duchess of Modena) had her early education in this convent.
After centuries of history and extensive remodelling, the church that once belonged to the convent of the Augustinian nuns of Santa Monica now provides a dramatic backdrop for concerts and performances.
Via Santa Monaca, 6, 50124 Florence
Bus: Lines C3 and D (Sant'Agostino); Line 11 (Serragli)
The Uffizi Gallery, on the Piazzale degli Uffizi in Florence, is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in Europe. Architect Georgio Vasari designed the building in 1560 as offices for Cosimo I de'Medici and the Florentine magistrates, and it was finally completed in 1581 by Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti.
It is famed for its internal courtyard, where Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo would come for rest and relaxation, and was later crammed full of sculptures of famous artists in the 19th century.
Over the years, the House of Medici filled the palace with their ever-growing collection of famous paintings and sculptures. These masterpieces are no longer the reserve of the Medici family, as the museum officially opened to the public in 1765.
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 50122 Florence
Bus: line C1 (Galleria Degli Uffizi); lines C3 and D (Ponte Vecchio)
The Romanesque fortress-palace Palazzo Vecchio, is one of the most famous museums and town halls of Tuscany and has a sublime view of the Piazza della Signoria and the gallery of statues in the Loggia dei Lanzi.
Originally called Palazzo della Signoria, it was built in the 13th century. The oldest part of the palace was designed by architect Arnolfo di Cambio, while its famous clock tower, containing two cells in which Cosimo de'Medici was imprisoned in 1435, was designed by Torre d'Arnolfo.
The building has a rich history; it rests on top of the ruins of the destroyed Uberti Ghibelline towers and the ancient theatre of the Roman colony of Florentia. The palace had several names throughout the history, but it was officially named "Palazzo Vecchio" (Old Palace) when Cosimo I de'Medici moved to Palazzo Pitti in 1540.
Piazza della Signoria, 50122 Florence
Bus: Lines C2 (Condotta); Line C1 (Galleria Degli Uffizi)
The Museo di San Marco (San Marco Museum) was built in the middle of the 15th century for Cosimo de' Medici by Michelozzo. Cosimo de'Medici had a cell in the convent for his personal retreat, while the library was a favourite meeting point for Florentine humanists. Over the years it has played host to famous Dominicans including the painter Fra Angelico and the preacher Girolamo Savonarola.
The San Marco Museum, on the Piazza San Marco in Florence, was built on what used to be a Vallombrosan monastery in the 12th century, which later belonged to Benedictine monks and then finally to Dominicans.
Today, the convent boasts an exciting collection of paintings by Fra Angelico. This includes the ‘San Marco’ commissioned by the Medici in 1440, a great number of small and large frescoes, and his 1442 masterpiece the Crucifixion in the Capitular Hall. The museum also exhibits works by Domenico Ghirlandaio, Alesso Baldovinetti, Giovanni Antonio Sogliani and Fra Bartolomeo.
Piazza San Marco 1, 50121 Florence
Bus: Line 10 (San Marco Rettorato); lines 1, 7, 10, 14, 17, 20, 23, 25, 31 and line C1 (Piazza Di San Marco)
The Accademia Gallery in Florence was founded in 1784 by Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke of Tuscany and is world-renowned thanks to its claim to fame of having Michelangelo's famous sculpture David on display since 1873. The sculpture can be seen alongside other masterpieces, including the unfinished Prisoners, a statue of Saint Matthew by Michelangelo and Renaissance paintings by Paolo Uccello, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Sandro Botticelli and Andrea del Sarto.
Via Ricasoli 58, 50122 Florence
Bus: Line 10 (San Marco Rettorato); lines 1, 6, 7, 11, 14, 17, 19, 20, 23, 31 and C1 (Piazza Di San Marco)
The Museo Nazionale del Bargello (Bargello National Museum), in the 13th century Bargello Palace (a former prison), was founded in 1865.
It displays the largest Italian collection of Gothic and Renaissance sculptures, including masterpieces such as Michelangelo's Bacchus, Tondo Pitti and Brutus; Giambologna's Flying Mercury and Bronze Animals; Donatello's David, St. George, Bust of Niccolò da Uzzano and Atys-Amor; Verrocchio's David, and Lady with Posey; and Cellini's Bust of Cosimo I.
Works from the Baroque period can also be found here, as well as a significant collection of ceramics, textile, ivory, silver and armour.
Via del Proconsolo, 4, 50122 Florence
Bus: line C2 (Ghibellina - Baiana Viaggi)
The Galleria Palatina (Palatine Gallery), part of the large museum complex Palazzo Pitti in Florence, has 28 rooms filled with famous works. Here you will find paintings by Raphael and Titian along with other masterpieces, as well as the Royal apartments with original decorations from the 16th century, when the palace was the principal Medici residence.
A part of it was still used in the early 20th century by the King of Italy, when he visited Florence. From 1458 the building has undergone significant changes, and eventually becoming a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures, jewellery, porcelain and other luxury items. Today the Palazzo Pitti is one of the most famous museum complexes in Italy.
Piazza de' Pitti 1, 50125 Florence
Bus: Lines C3 and D (Pitti), line 11 (San Felice)
The Palazzo Pitti, built in 1458, is one of the most famous museum complexes in Italy, and is just a stone’s throw away from the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.
It started life as Luca Pitti's private residence, but later came to be owned by the Medici, the Lorraine and the Savoy dynasties. Over the centuries, the palace became a treasure trove of famous frescoes, paintings, sculptures, jewellery, porcelain and other luxury items, which are displayed across the Royal Apartments, the Palatine Gallery, the Modern Art Gallery, the Silver Museum, the Porcelain Museum, the Carriages Museum and the Costume Gallery.
Its famous garden, the Boboli Gardens, can be found behind the palace. They are one of the first and largest royal European gardens. Planned in 1550, the Boboli Gardens offers an outdoor museum exhibiting a collection of 16th to 18th century sculptures amongst an Italian-style geometrical garden and an English-style romantic landscape-garden, all with an exceptional view of Florence.
Piazza de' Pitti 1, 50125 Florence
Bus: Line 11 (San Felice), lines C3 and D (Pitti)