Florence, Italy is home to some truly incredible Renaissance art from masters like Michelangelo and Botticelli. It’s also the birthplace of Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy and the man responsible for the modern, unified version of the Italian language.
With a history like that — and that world-famous Duomo everyone is always dying to get a photo of — Florence is a great spot for history buffs and art lovers alike.
Read on to find out more about the capital of Tuscany, and why you should visit this gem of Italy.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Florence, Italy?
The best time to visit Florence is between May and September. Although there are fewer tourists in the winter months, there is also a higher chance it will be too cold to go out and walk around much.
In the summer months, you’ll find lots of open-air markets and art fairs, as well as plenty of restaurants where you can sit outside and soak up the same sun all those famous Renaissance painters did when they were inspired to create their masterpieces.
Our Favorite Things to Do in Florence, Italy
You can’t visit Florence without stopping in at some of its many art galleries and museums. The most famous of these are The Uffizi Gallery and La Galleria dell’Academia, both of which have some of the most famous paintings and sculptures in history on display, but these aren’t your only options. There are multiple museums around full of great art, but you don’t just have to stop there. There is art everywhere in Florence, even in places like the Branacci Chapel, which looks a bit plain on the outside, but holds some truly incredible frescoes from the 1400s inside.
Visit Dante’s House
For lovers of both literature and history, the Casa di Dante museum is an amazing place to spend an afternoon. This small-ish museum is full of artifacts from Dante Alighieri’s life, as well as actual written documents penned by the man himself. In addition to the museum, visitors can walk around the house where Dante lived as they learn about his life. Which, for writers like us, is a pretty cool experience!
Check Out the Greenery
While most people come to the city to see the architecture and indoor art, it would be a shame to neglect Florence’s natural beauty as well. The city boasts several gardens that visitors can enter, the most popular of which is Giardino Boboli, which was originally designed for the ultra-sophisticated Medici family. You’ll find more space and fewer crowds at Giardino Bardini, though, where the wisteria arch is like something out of a fairy tale.
Some of the Best Attractions in Florence, Italy
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
If you have seen any pictures of Florence, you will surely have seen the stunning architecture of its famous Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. It is also known simply as “the Duomo” due to its dome, which is decorated with terracotta tiles, giving it almost a hand-drawn look. It is the third-largest church in the world, and was the largest in all of Europe when it was built in the 1400s. It is an artwork in and of itself, but it is also filled with priceless sculptures and paintings from the Renaissance. Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Donatello are just a few of the legendary artists whose work you can see here.
Keeping with the theme of art you can’t see anywhere else, the Galleria dell’Accademia contains more of Michelangelo’s artwork than any other museum or gallery on Earth. This includes his incredibly lifelike marble statue of David, which towers over visitors at a height of 5.17 meters. There are replicas of it all over the city (and the world), but this one is the real, original David.
By this point, you might be thinking “is everything in Florence about Michelangelo?” But Piazzale Michelangelo isn’t about the artist: it’s about the view. From this spot, you can get a panoramic view of the entire city of Florence, from the Duomo to the chapels to the houses to everything in between. This is the absolute best place to take a photo in the entire city, and a great place to see a landscape that will take your breath away.
Other Sights Worth a Visit in Florence, Italy
Florence is one of the top sights in Italy… and sometimes full of tourists. If the Galleria dell’Accademia is too crowded on the day you visit, you can see copies of the statue of David in Piazzale Michelangelo and Piazza della Signoria that look almost identical to the real thing.
Ponte Vecchio is also worth a visit. Unlike most of the other architecture in the city that dates back to the Renaissance, this bridge is from the Medieval period of history. Today, it is lined with jewelry shops whose sparkling trinkets are almost as beautiful as the view.
Visiting Florence gives you the chance to see so many artistic masterworks in person when many others will only ever see them in books and on television. It is impossible to leave without feeling just a bit more refined and sophisticated than you were before.