All SEE in Florence

For its monuments, churches, buildings and squares, Florence is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Ponte Vecchio, the beautiful bridge over the Arno River, Palazzo Vecchio overlooking Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Pitti, the Basilica of Santa Croce, the Uffizi Gallery, the Basilica of San Lorenzo, and the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte are only a few, and it’s up to you to discover them all!

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    Palazzo Vecchio

    Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) is an imposing palace in Florence, located in Piazza della Signoria, near the Uffizi Gallery.   SHORT HISTORY At the end of the 13th century, the city decided to build a palace in order to ensure effective protection for its magistrates. The project was attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio, architect of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and of the Basilica of Santa Croce. The palace, called Palazzo dei Priori, was built on the ruins of Palazzo dei Fanti and Palazzo dell’Esecutore di Giustizia, formerly owned by the Ghibelline family of the Uberti. Arnolfo di Cambio began the works in 1299, but the palace was completed after his death, in 1314. On March 26, 1302, the palace became the seat of the Signoria (the city council headed by the Priors). Between 1342 and 1343, the Duke of Athens, Gualtieri VI of Brienne, enlarged the palace towards Via della Ninna. Other important changes took place between 1440 and 1460 under Cosimo de’ Medici, when Sala dei Dugento was decorated in Renaissance style. Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred) was built in 1494 during the republic of Girolamo Savonarola. Between 1540 and 1550, Palazzo Vecchio Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, commonly known as the Duomo of Florence, is one of the most famous churches in Italy and the world. When it was completed, in the 15th century, it was the largest church in the world, while today is the third in Europe, after Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary in Milan.   SHORT HISTORY In 1294, the government of Florence ordered the construction of a new cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flower), on the site of the city’s second cathedral dedicated to Santa Reparata. In 1296, the architect Arnolfo di Cambio was comissioned to design the cathedral, but he died only a few years later. In 1334, Giotto di Bondone was appointed as the architect of the cathedral, and he started the building of the bell-tower. Three years later, Giotto died. Starting with 1337, the construction was supervised by Andrea Pisano, until 1348, when the Black Death halted the works. Francesco Talenti, who took Pisano’s place in 1349, altered Arnolfo’s design, and completed the bell-tower in 1359. After 1366, Giovanni di Lapo Ghini joined him. In 1420, Filippo Brunelleschi Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Croce

    Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is a beautiful Franciscan church located in Piazza di Santa Croce, in Florence. The church is the burial place of Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the greatest sculptors of all time. Besides Michelangelo, inside the church are buried many famous people, including the scientist Galileo Galilei, the politician and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, the writer Vittorio Alfieri, the poet Ugo Foscolo and the composer Gioachino Rossini. Due to this fact, the Basilica of Santa Croce is also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell’Itale Glorie).   SHORT HISTORY According to legend, in 1211, Saint Francis of Assisi arrived in Florence. On a little island created by the Arno River, there was a chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross, which was donated to Saint Francis, and from which the current church borrowed the name. The building of the church started in 1294, after a project elaborated probably by Arnolfo di Cambio, one of the most important architects of that time. During its construction, many great artists worked here, such as Giotto di Bondone, Taddeo and Agnolo Gaddi, Maso di Banco, Giovanni da Milano, Filippo Brunelleschi and Michelozzo. Due to floods and Read more [...]

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    Ponte Vecchio

    Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is a medieval arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence. The bridge connects the northern bank of the river (Piazza del Duomo, Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi Gallery) with the southern bank (Palazzo Pitti and the Basilica of Santo Spirito).   SHORT HISTORY The first bridge on this site was a wooden one built in the year 966, that was destroyed by a flood in 1117. Reconstructed from stone, the bridge was swept away again in 1333. The current bridge was built in 1335, and was attributed to Taddeo Gaddi by the architect and historian Giorgio Vasari, but its origin is still disputed. Unlike all the other bridges in Florence, Ponte Vecchio was not destroyed by the Germans in the World War II, apparently, because of an order from Hitler himself.   ARCHITECTURE Ponte Vecchio is composed of three segmental arches: the main arch has a span of 30 meters and 4.4 meters in height, and the two side arches each span 27 meters and have a height of about 3.5 meters. Starting with the 13th century, various shops were built on the bridge. At first, there were all sorts of shops, from butchers to Read more [...]

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    Church of San Salvatore Al Monte

    The Church of San Salvatore al Monte is a Catholic church in Florence, located on the hill known as Monte delle Croci, not far from the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte.   SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 15th century, on this site was a Franciscan chapel. The chapel was enlarged in the first half of the century, and the works were completed around 1442. In the last decades of the 15th century, the church was renovated by the architect Simone del Pollaiolo, also known as Il Cronaca, by the will of the rich merchant Castello Quaratesi. The renovation started in 1499, and was completed in 1504. During the Siege of 1529, the church was badly damaged, and throughout the 16th century was left in a state of neglect. In 1665, the friars definitively left San Salvatore al Monte. In 1875, Piazzale Michelangelo was built nearby.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, very simple and framed by the typical Tuscan cypresses, has plastered surfaces interrupted only by the portal and the gable windows. Inside, the church has a single nave with five chapels on each side, marked by a double order of stone pilasters in Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santo Spirito

    The Basilica di Santo Spirito (Basilica of the Holy Spirit) is a Renaissance-style church in Florence, located in the Oltrarno district, in Piazza Santo Spirito.   SHORT HISTORY In 1250, Spinello Accolti and Omodeo di Guido donated to the Augustinian friar Aldobrandino a house and two vineyards in the Oltrarno area for the construction of a church, which was originally dedicated, in 1252, to the Virgin Mary, to the Holy Spirit and to all the Saints. In 1269, a community of Augustinian friars settled permanently in Florence, and began on this site the construction of a church dedicated to the Holy Spirit. Starting with 1397, the Municipality provided funds for the construction of a new basilica, but the work began only in 1434, when the project was entrusted to Filippo Brunelleschi. After the death of Brunelleschi in 1446, the construction site passed into the hands of his three disciples, Antonio Manetti, Giovanni da Gaiole and Salvi d’Andrea. In 1471, a serious fire destroyed many works of art in the church. Salvi d’Andrea built the dome between 1479 and 1481, and the internal facade between 1483 and 1487. Consecrated in 1481, the basilica was completed in 1487. Giuliano da Sangallo’s sacristy Read more [...]

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    Piazza della Signoria

    Piazza della Signoria is the main square of Florence, located in the historical center of the city, about 400 meters away from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.   SHORT HISTORY It appears that the area of the square was populated since the Neolithic, and it constituted an important fulcrum of the city of Florentia during the Roman times. In the 4th century, a large Christian basilica was built here, which remained in use until the 7th century. In the 8th century, the basilica was replaced with a church dedicated to Santa Cecilia. The square began to take its present shape around the year 1268, when the houses of the Ghibellines that resided in the area were demolished by the Guelphs who won the Battle of Benevento. Only in 1385, the square was paved for the first time. During the same 14th century, Palazzo Vecchio and Loggia della Signoria were built, and the square became the center of the political life of the city. The interventions in the following centuries mainly concerned the sculptural decoration of the square, and culminated during the Grand Ducal period with the transformation of Loggia della Signoria into an open-air museum. The construction of Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Lorenzo

    The Basilica of San Lorenzo is a beautiful church in Florence, located in the historical center of the city, in Piazza di San Lorenzo.   SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, the church was built during the 4th century outside the walls of the ancient city. In 393, it was consecrated to the martyr Lawrence, in the presence of Saint Ambrose and Saint Zenobius. For the next 300 years, San Lorenzo was the Cathedral of Florence, before giving up the status to the Church of Santa Reparata, where the remains of San Zanobi, the first bishop of Florence, were solemnly transferred. In 1059, the church was enlarged and rededicated, on the initiative of the bishop Gherardo di Borgogna, when he became pope under the name of Niccolò II. In 1418, the abbot Matteo Dolfini obtained permission to demolish some houses to enlarge the transept of the church. Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici, a wealthy banker, financed the construction and named Filippo Brunelleschi to direct the works. The sacristy was finished in 1428, but then the works were stopped. After 1441, Cosimo de’ Medici, Giovanni’s son, assumed the entire burden of the construction, and the direction of the works passed to Michelozzo, Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Miniato al Monte

    The Basilica of San Miniato al Monte is a Romanesque church in Florence, located on one of the highest points in the city, in Via delle Porte Sante. San Miniato (Saint Minias) was an Armenian soldier, who was killed in the year 250 AD by the Roman soldiers of Emperor Decius, because he converted to Christianity, and Christians were persecuted at that time. He is considered the first martyr of the city and his remains are supposedly kept today in the crypt of San Miniato al Monte.   SHORT HISTORY The oldest historical evidence of a church dedicated to San Miniato dates back to the year 783. The building was neglected and unsafe, and the Florentine bishop Ildebrando began to build a new one on April 27, 1018. The church was finished two hundred years later, in the 13th century. In 1373, the Olivetan monks arrived in Florence, called by the Pope Gregorio XI, and settled in the monastery, where you can still find them today. The Chapel dedicated to the Cardinal Giacomo di Coimbra (Cardinal of Portugal) was built between 1461 and 1466 by Antonio Manetti and finished by Antonio Rossellino, after his death. During the 16th century, with Read more [...]

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    Piazza della Repubblica

    Piazza della Repubblica is one of the main squares of Florence, located in the historical center of the city, about 200 meters away from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.   SHORT HISTORY Piazza della Repubblica was the center of the ancient city of Florence during the Roman times. Here, there was the Roman forum, which gathered the most important religious and civil buildings of that period. During the Middle Ages, Piazza della Repubblica was defined as a public space intended for trade, while the square of the Cathedral (Piazza del Duomo) was a place for politics, and Piazza della Signoria for civil affairs. In the 16th century, the square was renamed Mercato Vecchio (Old Market), due to the construction of Loggia del Mercato Nuovo near Ponte Vecchio. Here was also the Jewish Ghetto, where Cosimo I forced the local Jews to reside. The only evidence left of the Old Market square is Colonna della Dovizia (Column of Wealth), also known as Colonna dell’Abbondanza (Column of the Abundance). The current version of the column dates back to 1431 and has on top a statue representing the Abundance, made by Giovan Battista Foggini, who replaced the original by Donatello, irreparably Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

    The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is a wonderful Dominican church located in Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, in the beautiful city of Florence.   SHORT HISTORY In 1219, twelve Dominicans arrived in Florence from Bologna, led by Fra’ Giovanni. In 1221, they obtained the small Church of Santa Maria delle Vigne, so called for the surrounding agricultural land. In 1242, the Dominicans decided to start work on a new and larger church. On October 18, 1279, during the feast of San Luca, the laying of the first stone was celebrated, with the blessing of Cardinal Latino Malabranca Orsini. The construction was completed around the middle of the 14th century, but the church was consecrated only in 1420, by Pope Martino V. Leon Battista Alberti designed the large central portal and the upper part of the facade, in white and dark green marble, which was completed in 1470. After the Council of Trent, between 1565 and 1571, the interior of the church was redesigned by Giorgio Vasari, with the removal of the choir enclosure and the reconstruction of the side altars, which led to the shortening of the Gothic windows. Between 1575 and 1577, the Gaddi Chapel (Cappella Gaddi) was Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Pitti

    Palazzo Pitti is an imposing Renaissance-style palace in Florence, located in Piazza dei Pitti. The palace was the residence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and was inhabited, over time, by the Medici family, by the Habsburg-Lorraine and, after the Unification of Italy, by the Savoy. Palazzo Pitti hosts the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments, the Apartment of the Duchess of Aosta, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Treasury of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Carriage Museum. The museal complex of Palazzo Pitti also includes the Boboli Gardens.   SHORT HISTORY Luca Pitti, a rival of the Medici family, desired a more luxurious palace than the one built by Michelozzo for Cosimo the Elder. Around 1440, Pitti entrusted the project to Filippo Brunelleschi, but the architect died long before the construction began, and the project passed to his pupil, Luca Fancelli. The construction was started around 1458, but, due to various design problems and financial difficulties, the works were temporarily interrupted in 1465. Luca Pitti died in 1472. Around 1550, Buonaccorso Pitti sold the palace to Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici and daughter of the Viceroy of Naples. Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dell’Antella

    Palazzo dell’Antella is a palace with a beautiful frescoed facade in Florence, located in Piazza di Santa Croce, near the Basilica of Santa Croce.   SHORT HISTORY The first significant expansion of the palace dates back to the second half of the 16th century – the building was raised by a floor, including a mezzanine, and the wooden doors were replaced with stone ones, still visible today. The architect of the palace was probably someone from the circle of Baccio d’Agnolo. In the early 17th century, the palace passed to Senator Niccolò dell’Antella, through the dowry of his wife Costanza del Barbigia. In 1619, dell’Antella commissioned the architect Giulio Parigi to give a unified design to the properties the senator bought in Piazza di Santa Croce. To give a unified appearance to the adjacent buildings, the architect had the entire facade painted with frescoes. The paintings were made in just twenty days of work, between 1619 and 1620, by a team of thirteen young artists supervised by the painter Giovanni da San Giovanni. Dell’Antella died out in 1698 and, later, the palace passed by inheritance to the Dal Borgo family, then to Lotteringhi della Stufa and finally to de’ Nobili. Read more [...]

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    Uffizi Gallery

    The Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) is the most visited Italian museum and the 11th art museum in the world, by the number of visits, with over 3 million visitors in 2016. Situated near Piazza della Signoria, in the historical center of Florence, the museum houses a collection of priceless works of art, most of them from the period of the Italian Renaissance.   SHORT HISTORY The building of the Uffizi Gallery was erected starting with 1560, at the request of Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de’ Medici. The original architect was Giorgio Vasari, one of the leading architects of the 15th century. The initial role of the building was to shelter the municipal offices (uffizi), hence the name, but for the next two hundred years the space brought together under one roof the art collections of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. In 1737, the last member of the Medici family, Anna Maria Luisa, decided to leave the art collections to the city of Florence. In 1769, the place was opened to the public, the first in Europe to be called a “museum”.   ART The art inside the Uffizi includes ancient and modern paintings and sculptures, precious furnishings, Read more [...]