Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is located just 30 kilometers from our Chianti holiday villa with swimming pool. Its historic center has been included by Unesco in the World Heritage List with this motivation: “a unique artistic creation, an absolute masterpiece, the result of a continuous creation that lasted six centuries. Here we find, in addition to the Museums […] the strongest concentration of works of art known all over the world“. There are so many attractions to visit that a month would not be enough to see them all. But here is a fascinating one day itinerary in Florence, recommended for all those who have little time available.
The first stop on the itinerary is Piazza del Duomo, the place where so many pages of Florentine history have been written. Here you can admire the most important religious buildings of the city. The square is the stage for the majestic Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo. Besides being one of the symbols of Florence, it is one of the greatest masterpieces of Italian Gothic architecture. The building is characterized by the covering of colored marbles and by Brunelleschi’s dome, which stands proudly in the Florentine sky. Next to the cathedral stands Giotto’s bell tower, considered the most beautiful in Italy, while opposite stands the fascinating Baptistery of San Giovanni, whose current appearance is the result of the expansion of a primitive baptistery, dating back to the IV -V century. In the square there is also the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, which houses an extraordinary collection of masterpieces by the likes of Michelangelo, Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Brunelleschi and Ghiberti.
The next stop on the itinerary is the Basilica of Santa Croce, the most monumental of the Franciscan churches. Located in the homonymous square, it is also known as the “temple of Italian glories” because it houses the funeral monuments of absolute geniuses of the Bel Paese such as Galileo, Michelangelo, Alfieri, Machiavelli, Rossini and Leon Battista Alberti. Inside there are works of particular prestige such as the frescoes of the Bardi and Peruzzi chapels made by Giotto. The Museo dell’Opera di Santa Croce is housed in the space of the ancient refectory and in the wing of the Franciscan convent that divides the two cloisters.
From Piazza Santa Croce, continue first along Borgo dei Greci and then on Via dei Gondi to reach Piazza della Signoria, which looks like an open-air art gallery. There are some of the most famous buildings in the city, starting with Palazzo Vecchio. Inside there is a museum that traces the history of Florence. Among the works present in the building are the Judith by Donatello, the paintings by Bronzino in the Chapel of Eleonora and the Genius of Victory by Michelangelo. In front of the palace, the Loggia della Signoria, which houses sculptures of inestimable artistic value. Instead in the center of the square are the equestrian monument of Cosimo I sculpted by Giambologna and the Fountain of Neptune made by Bartolomeo Ammannati.
In the immediate vicinity of Piazza Signoria there are the Uffizi, considered by far the best museum in the world. The gallery, which occupies the first and second floors of a building designed by Giorgio Vasari, houses an exceptional artistic heritage, including one of the most important collections of ancient sculptures and paintings (from the Middle Ages to the modern age). After admiring the masterpieces of the Uffizi, the itinerary continues with a walk on Ponte Vecchio, another of the symbols of Florence and the oldest crossing of the Arno. The first construction dates back to Roman times but its current version is due to the reconstruction of 1345, perhaps based on a project by Taddeo Gaddi. In the two side arcades it houses exclusively goldsmiths and jewelers’ shops.
Finally, the last stop on the itinerary is Palazzo Pitti, the largest of the Florentine palaces. Although it was inhabited by the Medici, the Habsburg-Lorraine and the Savoy, it still bears the name of its first owner, the Florentine banker Luca Pitti, who had it built in the 15th century. It currently houses: the Treasury of the Grand Dukes and the Museum of Russian Icons, with the Palatine Chapel, on the ground floor; the Palatine Gallery and the Imperial and Royal Apartments on the noble floor; and the Gallery of Modern Art and the Museum of Fashion and Costume on the second floor. Behind Palazzo Pitti extends the Boboli Gardens, one of the most important and ancient examples of an Italian formal garden. Inside, the following stand out: the eighteenth-century pavilion of the Kaffeehaus, a rare example of Rococo architecture in Tuscany; and the famous cave built by Bernardo Buontalenti.