Florence is the know for its historic beauty, renaissance architecture & art, and the rich culture that is found within the city. When in Florence these four tourist destinations are worth visiting and will provide the experience of going back in time.
1. Piazza del Duomo
Starting at the famous Duomo might be one of the most touristy things you can do when visiting Florence, but it sure is worth it.
The Duomo was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and was built between 1296 and 1436 in a Gothic, Romanesque, and Renaissance style that encapsulated Florence during those periods of time. 'The Dome', also known as the Duomo, is the tallest standing building in Florence and holds the title of one of the oldest buildings in the city. It's also one of a few buildings designed by Filippo Brunelleschi during this time.
The Duomo is easily recognizable by its orange tiled Dome which is actually a dome inside a larger dome, all built without a supporting structure, which at the time of construction was a great feat in the city. Once you enter the building you can look up and see painted on the dome beautiful frescoes painted on the walls by Giorgio Vasari and Frederico Zuccari picturingThe Last Judgment. Visiting the Duomo is worth the long lines.
Pro Tip-- be prepared by purchasing tickets for tours online through their official website for Brunelleschi’s Dome
2. San Lorenzo Market
San Lorenzo Market is an amazing place to visit while in Florence! This market is actually comprised of two different markets, the Mercato Centrale (also known as the indoor market), and the outdoor market that runs along the beautiful streets of San Lorenzo.
Stepping inside the two-story indoor market, you will be taken back in time and feel how Florence got its start as being a merchant town. The building was designed and built by Giuseppe Mengoni in 1870 and was completed in 1874. During this time, Florence was the capital of Italy. The indoor market offers the options of prepared quick bites and lunches, or you're also able to grab fresh-cut meat, fresh produce, delicious cheese and so much more all located in one building. The vendors located inside the market have lots of knowledge about what they are selling and can even offer advice on what specialty meats and cheeses you can bring back as a great gift for friends and family.
In the outdoor market, it appears more like a local farmers market you would see in the US but on a much larger scale. It can be overwhelming at first-- there are so many vendors selling various souvenirs and garments, but if you have an eye for quality pieces like leather purses or wallets, visiting is worth your while! One of the main tricks with this market is to take your time. After taking a few laps around the market to see what you want to purchase, don't be afraid to bargain with the vendors a little.
Be sure to check out this market before you leave, because you will find tons of great gifts to bring back with you!
Pro Tip-- The outdoor market is only open Tuesday through Saturday, and inside the vendors will have their own schedule. Be sure to talk with them if you see something you want to come back for.
3. Piazzale Michelangelo & Piazza Poggi
Located across the Arno there is one place you should definitely visit! Built in the 1860s by Giuseppe Poggi, the Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the best sites to look at the sprawling skyline of Florence and take in all of the history and beauty Florence has to offer.
Piazzale is inspired by its namesake Michelangelo, and holds many copies of his work within the grounds (including a replica of one of Michelangelo’s most famous pieces, the David!). This site is perfect if you want to be able to take in the beauty of Florence in a more peaceful and relaxed way.
In order to reach the Piazzale Michelangelo, you can take a bus or car. If you're trying to get your steps in for the day, you can also walk up the Piazza Poggi (which is another must see destination in Florence). The Piazza Poggi, also known as "Poggi’s Ramps", is a landmark that lies at the bottom of the Piazzale Michelangelo. It's lined with beautiful fountains that are definitely worth seeing. If you love being in nature and need a break from the bustling life of the city, this is the perfect spot to visit.
4. Uffizi Gallery
One of the most famous galleries in the world, the Uffizi Gallery holds up to its name and holds one of the best collections of ancient art and books in the world. Plus-- the building itself is a masterpiece.
The gallery is located in the historic heart of Florence and was constructed in 1560 for the Medici family, whom ruled Florence at that time. This massive building was originally constructed as a sort of office or housing for the cohorts of the family. When the Medici family left power, their art collection was given to the city of Florence and the Uffizi became one of the world’s first modern museums. It's now one of the world’s most visited places in Italy!
The Uffizi Gallery features a few of the most famous Italian artists in the world such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Raffaello.
The Uffizi is one of those places that tourists flock to and for very good reason. The lines tend to be long but it certainly is worth it.
The museum is open only Tuesday through Sunday and closes at 6:50 pm, but ticket offices close at 6 pm. Pro Tip #1--Pre-book your ticket using the Uffizi site
Pro Tip #2-- A great time to go is the first Sunday of every month because it’s free admission!
When in Florence there is beauty all around you, in each direction you look. And although these destinations can be labeled "touristy", they can't be written off as places you won't be amazed by.
Discover these stunning Italian destinations during your international internship in Florence!