Before getting started to give you details of this beautiful city, Florence, I would like to suggest you to read Inferno, which is one of the books of Dan Brown, and watch a few episodes of Da Vinci's Demons. There is also movie of Inferno, too. You might have an idea about history of Florence and I'm sure you'll be curious!
According to history books, we can call Florence the place where the Renaissance began. If we think of Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Botticelli, the greatest artists of Renaissance, born and grown up here, we can say that it is true! The Medici family, who were extreme interested in art, provided the environment for the work of these great artists and gave them unlimited opportunities. Therefore, they worked without any obstacles and started the Renaissance.
In addition, it is also the city of one the greatest poet, Dante! Thanks to him, world literature has a masterpiece, Divine Comedy. He wrote many other poems in Latin and Italian. You can visit his house (it is a museum now), Casa di Dante, in Florence.
Florence’s unique and symbolic building is Florence Cathedral, originally The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. You can see this beauty wherever you go in the city. It has different parts such as Cathedral, Baptistry, Dome, and Bell Tower and there is a combined ticket for 15 euros to visit of them. You should buy tickets in advance. I didn't have the opportunity to enter, but next time I will for sure!
When you walk around the Cathedral, there are many shops and there is a small, cozy place where the best sandwich is made. I am talking about Panini Toscani. They make sandwiches according to your choices: of ham, cheese, etc. The good thing is they firstly introduce you to all of the options and you decide which one you want, after trying all of them. They also give you information about them: where it came from, how famous it is, etc. I strongly recommend you to try it!
After visiting Piazza Del Duomo, Cathedral and surroundings, I suggest you to walk towards to Ponte Vecchio, another symbolic place of Florence. However, before arriving to this famous bridge, you should stop at Piazza della Signoria because there are many things to pay attention to, such as open-air sculpture museum, Loggia dei Lanzi; Palace of Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio; Fountain of Neptune and replica of David. This Palace has a few parts to visit and you can select your tickets according to your interests. For the rest of them, you can stare and examine as long as you want because they are in the square during the whole day.
Galleria degli Uffizi, which is located at the one corner of Piazza della Signoria, is another place that must be seen. Many masterpieces of great artists (for example Michelangelo, Raffaello, and Botticelli) are waiting for you in this gallery! Some people claim that Da Vinci was inspired when he visited this gallery.
If you walk a bit further from Uffizi, you can finally reach Ponte Vecchio. This bridge is referred to as Hitler’s favorite one because it’s the only one Germans didn’t bomb in World War II. If you think that Germans destroyed all of the bridges except this, you might have an idea how important it is. There are many jewelry shops on it and a corridor above it.
Vasari Corridor is a passageway between two palaces, Vecchio and Pitti. It starts from Palazzo Vecchio, joins Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio, then it ends at Palazzo Pitti. Dukes and other rulers used this corridor for changing palaces without local people interference. The bad thing is that most of the corridor can't be visited.
Palazzo Pitti is another important palace for Renaissance. It is a vast museum with lots of masterpieces of Raphael and other greatest artists. It has different parts such as Modern Art, Palatine Gallery, etc. Unfortunately, when I checked for entrance tickets, I saw 20-25 euros. So it is expensive to visit this museum.
The Boboli Garden is behind of Palazzo Pitti and it was made by the Medici Family. There is 360 VR tour for this garden. You can check the website: link
There are a few other places to visit like Piazza della Repubblica, San Lorenzo Basilica... However, I would like to mention another place.
Piazzale Michelangelo is the best place for me in Florence because you have a very nice view of the city. There is also another replica of David in this square. By the way, the original David sculpture was taken under protection in Accademia.
Here a few tips and tricks about Florence:
- You should buy tickets in advance because Florence is one of the most touristic places in Italy.
- Don’t forget to adjust a budget for museums, palaces. They are great!
- Italy is not the best place to drink beer but, if you’d like to try different kinds of them, you should go to BrewDog. There are lots of options and it has 2 floors, one is for relaxing and the other one is for live music
- If you are on budget but you want to eat a very tasty pizza, go to Gusta Pizza. It serves very fast and pizzas are amazing!
- Florence is famous for its leather bazaars. You can check it if you are interested in leather clothes, accessories...
- There are many hotels and hostels near to the Santa Maria Novella train station. We stayed in Hotel Margaret and we were quite satisfied. It is a good location to stay.