Ponte Vecchio, 58 R, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
We will begin our tour on the banks of the Arno River. There are plenty of parking lots if you are driving, and there are public transportation stops here, making for a good place to get underway. Follow your navigation and we will begin shortly.
Let's cross, using the Ponte Vecchio. This bridge isn't just any old river-crossing; it's a survivor of wars, floods, and the kind of tales that feel more like legends. As you wander its cobbled path, you're not just walking – you're weaving through a little piece of history.
Back in the day, this spot was home to butchers and tanners, but today, it's a treasure trove of jewelry shops and crafts that kind of feel like they've got a story to tell. You can almost picture the folks who've walked here before you, centuries back, with the Arno River flowing beneath and a city full of life on either side.
Wander to the east side, and there's a covered corridor, like a secret passage in plain sight. It's the Vasari Corridor, the city's captivating enigma. Picture this: the Medici clan created it, weaving it high above the shops, a private walkway connecting the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery to the grand Pitti Palace across the river.
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Our next point of interest is The Uffizi Gallery, a symphony of masterpieces that resonates through time, drawing art enthusiasts and wanderers alike into its hallowed halls.
Situated in the heart of Florence, this treasure trove of creativity holds within its walls a captivating narrative of human expression. As you step through its majestic entrance, you're transported into a realm where the Renaissance's finest minds come alive on canvas, sculpted in marble, and etched in history. From Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus," to Michelangelo's intense "Tondo Doni," every corner whispers the names of legends who shaped the artistic legacy of the world. This is one of the most famous museums in Italy. Established in the 16th century, it’s also one of the oldest museums in the world. This ‘galleria’ gave name to all the art galleries in the world.
We will now be making our way towards some striking architectural structures, and delving into more history of this wondrous city.
P.za della Signoria, 2r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Get ready to tilt your heads up. The Torre di Arnolfo stands tall beside the Palazzo Vecchio in the heart of Piazza della Signoria. This tower is more than just an architectural wonder – it's a storyteller of centuries gone by.
Constructed in the 13th century and named after its legendary architect Arnolfo di Cambio, the tower's robust stone form has weathered the passage of time, witnessing the ebb and flow of the city's fortunes. Its commanding presence isn't just for show – it was once a vital watchtower and beacon of authority.
I highly suggest doing a climb of the Arnolfo Tower for one of the best views of Florence. From this tower, you get a spectacular view of the Duomo. (While if you go up the Duomo, which you can also climb... there are beautiful views of Florence. This one happens to get the Duomo in it as well!)
Via Vacchereccia, 11R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Directly ahead is Piazza della Signoria, the heart of Florence's civic life, brims with history and echoes of power. Nestled between the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Vecchio, this grand square is a living canvas of Florence's political and artistic evolution.
The square unfolds itself almost like a outdoor art gallery, boasting the Palazzo Vecchio and the Arnolfo Tower, the captivating Fountain of Neptune, and the remarkable sculptures gracing Loggia dei Lanzi, among other captivating highlights. Interestingly, Michelangelo's original intent was for David to grace this very spot, and today, a replica stands as a nod to his genius.
Palazzo Vecchio served as Florence's active city hall since ancient times and is still the city's active city hall even today. With its commanding presence and distinctive crenelated tower, the palace has served as the focal point of civic life since the Middle Ages. Within its walls, the Palazzo Vecchio houses a wealth of artistic treasures, echoing the voices of rulers, artists, and citizens who have shaped Florence's narrative over the centuries.
Via Por Santa Maria, 84 R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Oink, Oink. With its ancient Roman roots and a touch of modern magic, the Fontana del Porcellino isn't just a fountain; it's your chance to snag some Florentine fortune. The fountain's history dates back to the Roman era when it was likely used as a public drinking fountain. Step into the heart of Florence and meet the Fontana del Porcellino, the city's very own good luck ambassador! This is an iconic bronze sculpture and fountain of a boar.
They say that rubbing its nose will bring you luck. The legend says that if you put some money into its mouth, it will guarantee that you will return to Florence one day! This fountain is all about vibes – just give that bronze boar's snout a friendly rub, and you're practically inviting good luck to join your journey.
Legend has it that the more polished that snout gets, the luckier you'll be – so don't be shy, give it a shine! The tradition of rubbing the boar's nose for luck also has ancient origins. In Roman culture, touching certain objects, particularly those associated with animals, was believed to bring good fortune.
Piazza della Repubblica, 1, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Straight ahead is the next stop on our tour. Once the site of the ancient Roman forum, the Piazza della Repubblica has evolved over the centuries into a hub of activity, blending the old and the new in a captivating way.
The grand arches of the triumphant marble colonnade frame the square, creating a theatrical entrance. As you wander through the square's open spaces, cafes, and boutiques, you're not just experiencing a place – you're stepping into the rhythm of contemporary Florence. The Piazza della Repubblica marks the former site of the Roman Forum of Florence, and it was the center of the city in the time of the Roman Empire.
The square's transformation in the 19th century aimed to give it a more modern and elegant appearance, but it still pays homage to its Renaissance roots. The Colonna dell'Abbondanza, a Roman column once used as a market measuring standard, stands as a reminder of the square's historic commercial importance.
Today, it is a beautiful square that is home to a gorgeous carousel, so be sure to stop by and snap some photos, and even jump on a horse if you like!
Via Roma, 3, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Hope your necks aren't too sore, because its time to tilt them up again. Named after the renowned painter and architect Giotto di Bondone, this freestanding tower in front of us boasts a striking design that harmoniously complements the nearby cathedral.
Rising over 84 meters (275 feet) into the sky, the tower's intricate marble façade showcases a mesmerizing array of sculptures, intricate reliefs, and Gothic architectural flourishes. What's fascinating is that Giotto's Bell Tower wasn't completed in one masterstroke. The construction spanned generations, beginning in 1334 under Giotto's visionary guidance and later carried forward by other skilled architects.
Each level of the tower bears the signature style of its respective architect, resulting in a harmonious fusion of artistic expression and architectural evolution.
Piazza di San Giovanni, 30, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
The stunning white structure ahead, The Baptistry of St. John, was built between 1059 and 1128. The Baptistry of St. John has a unique and exquisite octagonal form, is adorned with intricate marble detailing, and evokes a sense of timelessness. The bronze doors, including the famous "Gates of Paradise" by Lorenzo Ghiberti, stand as masterpieces in their own right, with intricate biblical scenes that narrate stories from the Old and New Testaments.
This baptistry is not just a place of worship, but a testament to the artistic brilliance and spiritual significance that have defined Florence's cultural heritage across the centuries. Dante Alighieri and members of the Medici family were all baptized here. The Baptistery is famous for its sets of bronze doors. However, several of the original bronze doors are located inside the Opera del Duomo Museum, making this museum worth the visit.
Piazza del Duomo, 6n, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Welcome to the heart of Florence, where Piazza del Dew wohmoh takes center stage. While this certainly is Florence's most iconic locale points, it is also one of Italy's paramount landmarks. When you're out here in Piazza del Dew wohmoh, make sure to stop into the cathedral if you haven't already. One of the best things to do in Florence is to climb the steps to the top of the dome, (the cupola). Not only do you get to see the inside of the cathedral, you also get awesome views of the frescoes on the inside of the dome, plus 360 degree views over Florence. (You must have a reservation to do this. you cannot just show up.)
Any Silence of the Lambs fans out there? In the film, we see Hanibal Lecter has done a drawing of the Dew wohmoh. He tells Jamie Fosters character - That is the Dew wohmo, seen from the Belvedere,” As Lecter already knows, the serial killer she is searching for lives in Belvedere, Ohio. A belvedere, is an architectural structure designed to take advantage of another view, in this case the dew wohmoh, or cathedral, in Florence.
Let's indulge you in a lesser-known nugget of information regarding this magnificent structure. When Filippo Brunelleschi designed the dome, he had to come up with innovative solutions to support the massive structure without traditional wooden scaffolding, which would have been impractical for such a large dome. To solve this problem, he created a unique herringbone brickwork pattern in the dome's construction.
The herringbone pattern involves arranging bricks diagonally in opposing directions, creating a crisscrossing effect that distributes the weight and pressure evenly. This design allowed the dome to support itself as it was built, without the need for extensive wooden support structures that were commonly used in large-scale construction at the time.
The dome's success with the herringbone pattern set a precedent for innovative structural solutions in architecture, that would influence later generations of architects and builders.
Via dei Servi, 51 rosso, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Ahead and on our right will be the Museo da Leonardo da vinci. The museum is known for its interactive exhibits that showcase Leonardo da Vinci's inventions and designs. These exhibits often include working models of his machines, allowing visitors to see how his ideas could potentially function. This hands-on approach helps visitors gain a deeper understanding of Leonardo's innovative concepts.
Da Vinci was not just a painter; he was a true polymath with interests and accomplishments spanning multiple fields such as engineering, anatomy, architecture, and more. The museum strives to showcase this diverse range of talents and interests through its exhibits.
In addition to showcasing his inventions, the museum may also display replicas of some of Leonardo's most famous artworks, such as "Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper." These replicas offer visitors a chance to appreciate the beauty and detail of his artistry.
The museum often aims to provide an educational experience for visitors of all ages. It's not only about viewing the exhibits but also about learning about the historical context in which Leonardo lived and the impact of his ideas on subsequent generations.
Via Ricasoli, 68r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
To our right is the famous sculpture of Michelangelo's "David." The statue is currently housed in the Accademia Gallery, though it was originally intended to be placed on the roof of the Florence Cathedral, (Duomo), but was eventually placed in the gallery to protect it from the elements.
"David" stands at over 17 feet (5.17 meters) tall, making it a remarkable example of Renaissance sculpture. The statue's imposing size reflects its subject's triumphant and heroic nature. Michelangelo carved "David" from a single block of marble. The marble used for the sculpture was considered flawed by other artists, which only highlights Michelangelo's mastery of turning imperfect materials into a masterpiece.
Michelangelo's "David" depicts the biblical story of David and Goliath. The statue captures the moment before David's battle with the giant Goliath. David is shown in a contemplative pose, standing confidently and ready to face his adversary. The intricate details of the statue, including the muscular definition and facial expression, demonstrate Michelangelo's unparalleled skill in portraying the human form. "David" is often seen as a symbol of the strength and resilience of the Florentine Republic. The city of Florence identified with the story of David's triumph over the stronger adversary, symbolizing the victory of the underdog against great odds.
Michelangelo's "David" is celebrated for its anatomical accuracy, the realistic depiction of human proportions, and the artist's ability to convey a sense of movement and emotional depth in stone. The statue's realistic representation of the human body was groundbreaking, and marked a new level of accomplishment in sculpture.
Via Camillo Cavour, 22R, 50129 Firenze FI, Italy
Coming up on our right is The Palazzo Medici Riccardi, a historic palace that holds significant importance in the history of the city, particularly during the Renaissance.
The palace was commissioned by Cosimo de' Medici, the patriarch of the powerful Medici family, in the early 15th century. The Medici family was prominent and influential in Florence, known for their patronage of the arts and their political power.
The Palazzo Medici Riccardi is an exemplary representation of early Renaissance architecture. It features a harmonious combination of elements from classical Roman architecture and the emerging Renaissance style. The palace's façade is characterized by smooth, rusticated stonework on the ground floor and more delicate detailing on the upper floors.
The palace's interior courtyard is one of its most notable features. It is surrounded by arches and columns, showcasing a sense of symmetry and proportion that was characteristic of Renaissance architecture.
The Chapel of the Magi, located within the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, is a notable artistic space. It features frescoes by the renowned artist Benozzo Gozzoli, depicting the journey of the Magi to Bethlehem. These frescoes are rich in color and detail, providing insights into the art and culture of the time.
The palace played a significant role in the Medici family's rise to power and their influence in Florence. It served as a center for political and cultural activities, hosting important events, meetings, and gatherings. Cosimo de' Medici used the palace to showcase his family's wealth and influence.
As the Medici family continued to gain prominence, they also expanded the palace and added more rooms and decorations to reflect their status. The Medici family was renowned for their patronage of the arts, and the Palazzo Medici Riccardi served as a hub for artistic and intellectual exchange. Many prominent artists, writers, and thinkers of the time were associated with the Medici court.
Piazza di San Lorenzo, 17 R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Ahead and to our left is the next point of interest on our tour. The Basilica di San Lorenzo, a cornerstone of Florence's heritage, stands as a significant religious and architectural landmark. This historic church, initially commissioned by the Medici family, boasts a design that blends both Renaissance and Romanesque styles.
Inside, the elegant simplicity of the interior speaks of a profound connection to faith and history, while the Old Sacristy, designed by Brunelleschi, and the New Sacristy, sculpted by Michelangelo, offer a glimpse into the talents of the Renaissance's greatest minds. As you walk through its hallowed halls, the Basilica di San Lorenzo unveils layers of devotion, artistic innovation, and a unique tapestry of time that captures the essence of Florence's cultural evolution.
The monument to Giovanni delle Bande Nere, is a Renaissance equestrian statue located in the Piazza di San Lorenzo, just outside the basilica. Giovanni delle Bande Nere, whose full name was Giovanni de' Medici, was a 16th-century military leader and condottiere, and mercenary captain from the Medici family. He was also the father of Cosimo I de' Medici, the first Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Via dell'Ariento, 22/24R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
The Cappelle Medicee, a striking representation of the Medici family's influence, graces Florence with its remarkable artistry. These grand chapels, found within the Basilica di San Lorenzo, are not only places of worship but also stunning displays of Renaissance craftsmanship. Sculpted by Michelangelo, the Medici tombs exude a sense of enduring beauty, while the New Sacristy, or the Medici Chapel, offers a captivating blend of architecture, sculpture, and meaning.
Beyond their religious importance, the Cappelle Medicee serves as a living tribute to the Medici dynasty's impact on art and culture, inviting visitors to explore a world where marble and history entwine in a timeless narrative.
Via dell'Ariento, 22/24R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
No teary eyes, but we've arrived at the final destination of our tour today. There's lots to do and see here, so it's a nice place to finish up.
As one of Florence’s oldest markets, the bustling Mercato di San Lorenzo is an excellent place to people-watch, purchase small souvenirs, and photograph all of the overflowing stalls that are bursting with leather goods. The historic food market is located in a covered hall, but the surrounding streets are lined with market stands as well. Make your way between all the market stands on the street and walk to the market itself.
This market is all about the food: whether you want to photograph the beautiful fruit stands, pick up some olive or truffle oil to ship home, buy a large block of cheese, or purchase a hot meal from one of the many stands selling pasta and other goods, Mercato Centrale has you covered. Here, you’ll find many small cafes and various places selling food. On the top floor, there’s also a food hall where you can try all kinds of Italian specialties from various regions.
Well, that about wraps it up. We hope you have enjoyed this walking tour of Florence. Once again my name is Dave, and it was a pleasure showing you around. Have a wonderful rest of your day and journey.