Florence is one of the most famous cities in Italy primarily because of the art (Statue of David, for example) and some stunning buildings which are dotted around the city.
What you do in Florence really depends on how much money you have and whether or not you have a keen interest in art. Florence is home to hundreds of the world’s most famous paintings from such artists as Leonardo Da Vinci and if you want to see them, you have to pay. Perhaps the most famous of these museums is Uffizi. You’ll need to pay many euros to enter and for the privilege you will get to see some fantastic pieces of artwork. They have exhibitions regularly so you will need to check their website before you visit to see what’s on display.
We’re not keen lovers of art and more prefer to soak up the atmosphere of a place so we wandered around town, picking up a gelato or two, found a quiet corner and sat down and observed the ebb and flow of the crowds. When it came time to get back into the tourist masses we chose to go to perhaps the most famous landmark of Florence called the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore. This magnificent building looks great from every angle and is free to enter. To be honest, it looks better from the outside rather than the inside — the inside is slightly bare and boring to look at. It’s also possible to explore the old foundations of the previous church on this site and also climb to the top of the dome. But for this privilege you’re going to have to pay 10€. For us we didn’t need to do that, but many other people thought this was worth doing.
From the middle of town where Duomo is located, it’s possible to cross the bridge over the river to the other side of the city. The best bridge to use is called Ponte Vecchio which in itself has a rich history. Apparently a former leader of the city order the construction of shops on the bridge so that he could build a secret passageway above them so that he wouldn’t have to leave his castle to cross the river. It’s these shops on the bridge which make the bridge an interesting site. The best place for a photo of the bridge or in fact the Duomo is from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Piazzale Michelangelo is view point on high up on a hill in the southern part of town which affords views over the entirety of Florence. You’ll find hundreds of people climbing the narrows streets below the hill before sunset in order to arrive at the top to see the sun go down. For us, this was an incredible part of time in Florence. Such a peaceful yet amazing experience.
Florence is perhaps one the best cities in the world for lovers of art and art history. If you’re not into that, it’s also a fantastic city to just wander around, eat some gelato and see the Duomo. Worth a day or two.