San Lorenzo Market
San Lorenzo Market is a permanent market. It is possible to visit it every day from 7 am to 7 pm, except Monday, the day on which all business are closed in Florence.
In San Lorenzo Market you will find above all clothes, with a good selection of vintage clothes and, the real speciality of Florentine clothing: leather clothes at low prices.
The Semplici Garden
Via Micheli,3 – free entrance
This garden, which is set around a great marble basin, was designed by Tribolo.
Originally there were strange and unknown plants inside, in the likeness of 16th-century naturalist collections.
Today it is a botanical garden with an arboretum, where you can enjoy pleasant walks.
The Cascine (farmhouses), the green heart of Florence
The Cascine park is still the green heart of Florence, the place where all Florentines go to take a walk, jog, skate or cycle.
During summer, it is possible to find people tanning or playing soccer on the grass near the amphitheatre.
Every Tuesday morning in the Cascine park there is a huge market where you can find many bargains, from designer clothes to typical Florentine agricultural products.
Santa Maria Novella district
Santa Maria Novella Church
Behind the beautiful front designed by Alberti, there is the majestic gothic nave, lit by coloured glasses, decorated by many important Renaissance artists.
Do not forget Masaccio’s wonderful Trinità, Filippino Lippi’s frescoes inside the Strozzi Chapel and Ghirlandaio’s frescoes inside the Tornabuoni Chapel, as well as Brunelleschi’s wooden crucifix.
The Dome, heart of Florence
Santa Maria del Fiore Dome
Started at the end of the XIII century, it was finished in 1434, when the Brunelleschi dome was inaugurated.
You can climb up the stairs of the dome and get a spectacular view of Florence (entrance charged).
Inside this Baptistery, in amongst the multicoloured marble caskets and the golden mosaics, Florentine babies were baptized during a ceremony that was held only twice a year.
The Baptistery can be accessed through three huge bronze doors created by Andrea Pisano (South) and Ghiberti (North and East); the most beautiful is the door of Paradise.
The Mediaeval Florence, Dante’s district
Via del Proconsolo, 4 – Entrance charged
This simple mediaeval construction was the residence of the leader of the people. Today it is a museum housing Tuscan XVI and XVII century sculptures.
Near Michelangelo’s Bacco ubriaco there are works of important Renaissance artists such as Donatello, Cellini and Giambologna, in addition to a beautiful ivory collection.
Via Santa Margherita, 1
The author of the Divine Comedy, the first work written in Italian in 1302, was born in this mediaeval-style home. Near this house is Santa Margherita church, where Dante met Beatrice, his muse and his unattainable love, for the first time.
Piazza Santissima Annunziata, Renaissance pearl
Built by Michelozzo, Cosimo De’Medici’s favourite architect, the sanctuary houses, in a little marble temple, the miraculous fresco of the Annunciazione.
The hall, that shelters the many votive offerings, was painted by Andrea Del Sarto and his brilliant pupils, Pontormo e Rosso Fiorentino.
Piazza Santissima Annunziata, 12 – Entrance charged
The terracotta medallions at the entrance decorated with wonderful babies, herald the ancient vocation of this children’s home financed by silk workers, who took care of the education of these abandoned children.
On the first floor, there is a gallery housing works by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Piero di Cosimo and Pontormo.
Semiprecious stone factory
Via degli Alfani, 78 – Entrance charge
One of the most beautiful museums of the city, where there are beautiful works such as the semiprecious stone juxtaposition to form landscapes, bouquets and still-lifes that reveal a myriad of nuances.
Santa Croce district
Piazza Santa Croce
A huge gothic basilica stands in the place where people went to listen to Franciscan sermons. Michelangelo, Ghiberti, Leonardo Bruni and other Renaissance artists are buried in this chapel, a place of pilgrimage for art and literature lovers. In this church there are beautiful frescoes by Giotto and an Annunciazione by Donatello.
Cappella de’ Pazzi and Santa Croce museum
Piazza Santa Croce – Entryance charged
On the side of the church, there is a little “secret garden” designed by Brunelleschi: the Cappella de’Pazzi, a perfect jewel of the V century, with its wonderful cloister and delicate columns.
The refectory has been turned into a museum of works that survived the terrible flood of the Arno river in 1966, like Cimabue’s Crocifissione.
Piazza della Signoria, an art must
Piazza della Signoria
It has been the setting of both splendid celebrations and awful tortures. It is perhaps the most beautiful square of the town in which it is possible to appreciate many famous statues. Together with a reproduction of the famous Michelangelo’s David (replaced as a consequence of acts of vandalism), the Giuditta, the Marzocco, the Ercole and the white Neptune in the middle of the fountain, there is even Cosimo de’ Medici riding his own horse and looking down at the people walking by.
Piazza della Signoria – entrance charged
Palazzo Vecchio, which seems like a fortress surmounted by Arnolfo’s Tower, symbolizes the power of the middle-class. Behind its rock façade hides the lightness of the garden decorated for Francesco de’ Medici’s wedding day and the marvellous apartments in which The Grand Dukes of Tuscany lived before moving to the other bank of the Arno (Oltrarno).
Museo degli Uffizi
Piazza della Signoria – entrance charged
We must be grateful to Francesco de’ Medici because he changed the Grand Duke of Tuscany’s offices (Uffizi) into an art gallery. A wonderful place to preserve the works of artists like Botticelli (the supreme Primavera, enormous in size), Paolo Uccello, Tiziano, Caravaggio and Raffaello. In order to avoid massive queues of tourists going to visit the Museum, it is advisable to book the visit.
Borgo Santi Apostoli
Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence. Today, the bridge is home to numerous jewelleries, and it is without doubt the most photographed monument in the town (and perhaps the most romantic one). In ancient times, Cosimo I had a gallery built over it to go from Palazzo Pitti to Palazzo Vecchio without any hassles.
Loggia del Mercato Nuovo
The ancient fruit and vegetable merchants that once crowded this loggia have now been replaced by souvenir-sellers. All their activities take place under the watchful eye of the Porcellino (pig); a bronze statue representing a wild boar - considered to be a real institution in the city. If you are nearby, it is a must to stop and stroke the animal’s snout. In front of the Loggia the ancient traditional herbalist sells handmade cosmetics.
Piazza della Repubblica and its surrounding area
Piazza della Repubblica
Characterized by its famous celebrative arch, this square is surrounded by literary Cafés such as the Giubbe Rosse, and Paszkowski, commemorating the period in which Florence was the Italian capital.
Via de’ Tornabuoni
Via de’ Tornabuoni is full of important buildings and, after the XV century, it became the most aristocratic street of the town. It is considered as the lounge of Florence, and still today it is possible to find the most important Italian designer shops here.
Via della Vigna Nuova, 18.
This building, created by Leon Battista Alberti, has a wonderful façade lightened by pillars. It has become the symbol of the Renaissance period. The Ruccellai, a remarkable family of Florence, are still the owners of the building. They were made famous by the oricello, an intense red colouring used to dye fabrics.
Oltrarno, the Pitti district
Gallerie Palatine di palazzo Pitti
Via Romana, 37 - entrance charged
The Medici’s created this building to represent their new title of Grand Dukes to house their huge art collection. The luxury apartments, frescoed with mythological subjects, are an exceptional picture gallery in which it is possible to find many of Raphael’s works.
Giardino di Boboli
The entrance is in the Court of Palazzo Pitti, via Romana, 37 – entrance charged
Tribolo, decorator and set designer of the court feasts, created this garden, which is a clear example of the talented artist’s creativity: tree labyrinths, terraces, water-features, irreverent statues, false caves, and islands animated by mythological marine creatures. Boboli is also a terrace from which it is possible to admire the city-landscape
Santo Spirito’s Church
This is considered to be one of the best Churches of the Renaissance. It is a kind of materialization of the mathematic harmony theorized by Brunelleschi. The sobriety of the space, cadenced by columns, and the grey rock allow to better appreciate the numerous masterpieces conserved in this building.
Cenacolo di Santo Spirito
On the left side of the church is the entrance to the convent. Nowadays, only two cloisters and a refectory remain, where it is possible to appreciate the Crocifissione and some fragments of La Cena, a gothic fresco attributed to Andrea Orcagna.
Rione San Frediano
Santa Maria del Carmine Church – the Brancacci Chapel
Masaccio’s contemporaries had already recognized the genius of this artist who was actually the man who gave birth to Renaissance art. Masaccio was only 23 when he helped Masolino to paint frescoes describing the life of St. Peter. His characters are very human and moulded with a natural light - they are inspired by his master’s precious work. This work was excellently completed by Filippo Lippi.
From Ponte alle Grazie to Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato
San Niccolò Oltr’Arno
In this wonderful Renaissance church sacristy it is possible to admire a little tabernacle hosting a painting by Piero del Pollaiolo, showing the Virgin together with St. Thomas. The Republican, Michelangelo, took refuge inside this church when the imperialists entered the city in 1530.
Despite the abundance of people and tourist buses, this terrace overlooking the city offers the best view of Florence, the Arno river and, in the background, Fiesole and the Apennines. The best time to visit this place is at sunset or at night.
San Miniato al Monte
Thanks to its white and gold façade, it is easily recognizable. This little romantic jewel, located on an isolated cypress hill is a nice monument to visit both inside and outside. Inside, you will find the floor with Zodiac constellations and the crypt with columns. The nuns of the adjacent convent make herb-based remedies with herbs picked from the hills nearby.