How not to fall in love with Florence? Visitor numbers to the beautiful city have soared in recent years, and we’re going to tell you why…
Florence, the capital city of Italy’s Tuscany region, has welcomed a noticeable influx of tourists in recent years. In 2019, a whopping 15 million visitors flocked to the city – and we’re not surprised! Florence isn’t just beautiful cobbled streets, tuscan wine and gelato; it is home to some of the world’s finest Renaissance arts and architectures.
Arguably its most iconic Renaissance landmark is the Duomo, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The Duomo has proudly dominated Florence’s skyline ever since it’s completion in 1436, and the Brunelleschi Dome has become one of the city’s most recognised structures.
Another of its largest Renaissance buildings is the Palazzo Pitti. The palace has had many well-known residents, from the Florentine banker, Luca Pitti, to the palace being used as a power base by Napoleon. It’s also a symbol of royal heritage after the site and its contents were donated by King Victor Emmanuel II. To really dive into its extraordinary history, you may choose to opt for a guided walking florence city tour, so you don’t miss a thing!
The Uffizi Gallery is an equally incredible visit, home to one of the largest and most famous collections of Renaissance arts worldwide. In 2019, the museum attracted over 4 million visitors, making it one of the most visited art museums in history. With its incredible collection and magnificent architecture, we can see why!
Another unmissable art museum in Florence, is the Accademia Gallery. It is home to one of the city’s most important monuments, the David of Michelangelo sculpture, which was created by Michelangelo himself. The statue is an important Italian masterpiece symbolizing strength and beauty, and continues to draw in millions of visitors every year. Another tourist hotspot, named after Michelangelo, is the Piazzale Michelangelo located in the Oltrarno district. If you’re looking for the perfect instagram photo, we certainly recommend stopping here! Offering incredible panoramic views, the Piazzale Michelangelo is extremely popular in the evening, as travellers flock here to watch the sunset over Florence’s skyline.
If you’re looking to see something a little different during your trip, stop off at Ponte Vecchio. It is one of the city’s most unique structures, consisting of a medieval bridge which is home to souvenir shops, jewellers and even art dealers! Located along the Arno river, it’s the oldest bridge in Florence and definitely one you should tick off your ‘things to do’ list!
Florence is also home to some important religious venues; its most recognised being the Basilica of Santa Croce. It’s picturesque exterior alone makes it worth a visit, but the church’s interesting history and interior is even more fascinating. Santa Croce is the burial ground of some of Italy’s most iconic and famous artists, including Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo.
The city’s most popular sights for tourists are certainly ones we recommend, as you can tell! But, we also love the hidden gems that Florence has to offer. If you’re walking by Palazzo Vecchio, keep your eyes peeled for Michelangelo’s secret carving! According to historic tales, the famous artist decided to carve the face of a man who he conversed with, rather than actually listening to him!
Another hidden gem nearby is the statue of Perseus with the Head of Medusa, located in Loggia de’ Lanzi. The statue was designed by another spectacular sculptor, Cellini, who carved a portrait of his own face into the back of the statue – which has gone unnoticed by many of its visitors! To ensure you don’t miss out on such special discoveries, why not try an escorted walking tour that is led by a local expert?
We could carry on for hours describing array of things to do, and how to fall in love with Florence, but these are definitely our favourites!