City Guide: Florence

lorence View from Porta San Niccolò

At the beginning of this year I was able to squeeze in a trip to visit my friend that studies in Florence. I have never been to Tuscany before but fell immediately in love with this Italian city – and not just because of the good food.

Florence Arlo River

Florence Arlo River

I was blessed with gorgeous weather during my stay which made strolling through the city all the more enjoyable. There are so many beautiful piazzas and buildings that I will try to concentrate on pointing out the most important ones in this city guide, but all I can really suggest is just take your time and wander around, it is so worth it!

The Duomo

So let’s start at one of the most prominent sites of Florence: the Duomo, also know as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. This is the main church of Florence, which was built in a green and pink Gothic façade.

Florence Duomo

Florence Duomo

It is located in the Piazza del Duomo and also includes the Baptistery as well as the Giotto’s Campanile.

All buildings fall under the UNESCO World Heritage. If you want to visit the Duomo from the inside, you will have to queue up – that’s something I’ve kept on my list of things to do next time I get to visit Florence as there was just too much I wanted to see in too little time.

Piazza della Repubblica

Another popular square nearby the Duomo is the Piazza della Repubblica. This square is in the historic centre of city and was remodeled during Florence’s short period as a capital between 1865 and 1871.

Just look at how beautiful this historic carousel looks in this setting!

Palazzo Vecchio

Continuing from the Piazza della Repubblica you can make your way to the Palazzo Veccio, which is nowadays the town hall of Florence.

It overlooks yet another square, the Piazza della Signoria.

Ponte Vecchio

Florence Ponte Vecchio

Florence Ponte Vecchio

From there onwards be sure to walk to the Ponte Vecchio, which is THE bridge in Florence.

The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval stone bridge crossing the Arno River.

Lots of little jewellery shops are found along this bridge. While you can enjoy beautiful views from this bridge, it is also nice to check some of the other bridges along the river.

Especially the lit up bridge at night is very beautiful!

Florence Ponte Vecchio by night

Florence Ponte Vecchio by night

Palazzo Pitti, Boboli and Bardini Gardens

Once you’ve made it to the other side of the bridge you can keep on walking towards the Palazzo Pitti. This palace was originally build as a town residence of the Florentine banker Luca Pitti. It was then bought by the Medici family in 1549 and was since then the major residence of the Medici. Later on it was used by Napoleon and briefly also used as a royal palace.

Today it hosts different museums and galleries inside. But if you are lucky and it is sunny during your visit instead you can also opt to visit the Boboli and Bardini Gardens. These are located just right behind the palace and offer a tranquil, green oasis – most likely even prettier during spring and summer when all the flowers are blooming!

Porta San Niccolò

All the above we visited on one day, so our feet were hurting after walking around for hours. As we were planning to catch a glimpse of the sunset from the Porta San Niccolò, we made a late lunch break in the late afternoon to have some salad and then continued to walk upstairs to the Porta.

Of course, here it was overcrowded with tourists, but we managed to find some good spots for taking pictures.

My overall impression of Florence

I absolutely loved my visit to Florence – the city is stunning, the weather was great and not to forget, there’s plenty of pizza, pasta and ice-cream to indulge! I could spend hours and hours walking through the streets admiring the architecture, plus there’s lots of opportunities to buy some nice leather souvenirs. This was definitely not my last visit to Florence and I hope to also see some more of Tuscany next time.

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