Florence is the capital and most populous city of the Tuscany region in Central Italy. It’s considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance art movement and you can literally feel the influence of its most famous artists in every part of the city.
Back in the Middle Ages, Florence was one of the biggest cities in Europe and one of the wealthiest as well. Therefore, the city has been given the nickname “The Athens of the Middle Ages” by some historians.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most famous historical sites in Florence, landmarks that define a period in which some of the greatest minds in history were at play!
Related: Check out some of the most famous historical sites in Rome!
Most famous historical sites in Florence
1. Florence Cathedral
Florence Cathedral was originally known as the “Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore,” or “Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower.” It’s one of the most fascinating landmarks in the city and its wonderful dome, completed by the founding father of Renaissance architecture Filippo Brunelleschi, is its most prominent feature that can be seen from anywhere in the city.
2. Pitti Palace
The Pitti Palace, better known as the “Palazzo Pitti,” is one of the most fascinating palaces in the world and is located just south of the River Arno on a small hill overlooking the historical center of the city. Most of the palace was completed in the 15th century but it was expanded when it became the property of the Medici family in the 16th century in the Renaissance architectural style. It currently houses a museum with numerous works of Renaissance art.
3. Palazzo Vecchio
The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of the city of Florence. Just in front of the building, we can find a copy of Michelangelo’s David where the original statue, which was supposed to decorate the roof of Florence Cathedral, was placed. The building used to go by various other names and received its current name when the Medici Family permanently moved to the Pitti Palace in the 16th century.
4. Ponte Vecchio
The Ponte Vecchio is one of the most remarkable bridges in the world and is one of the ultimate symbols of the city. The shops that were built on top of the bridge used to be occupied by butchers and farmers. This has changed, and they are currently used by jewelers and souvenir shops. The bridge and its surroundings are one of the most picturesque places in all of Florence!
5. Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous and popular museums in the world and one of the first modern museums in the world as well. It welcomes well over 4 million visitors a year. It’s located in the area of the Palazzo Vecchio and houses some of the most famous works of Renaissance art including works of da Vinci, Botticelli, and a painting by Michelangelo called Doni Tondo.
6. Florence Baptistery
The Florence Baptistery is an octagonal religious building in the center of Florence, right across from Florence Cathedral. It’s one of the oldest buildings in the city as it was constructed between 1059 and 1128 in the Florentine Romanesque style. One of the most fascinating features of the building is the 3 large bronze doors which feature relief sculptures. Michelangelo once described these doors as the “Gates of Paradise.”