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Florence Cathedral
Photo ©Rob Zand

Discovering Florence’s historic centre

Must-see gems in one of the world’s most beloved cities

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Florence’s centre is home to outstanding historical treasures, which is why, in 1982, UNESCO declared the area a World Heritage Site. It’s not hard to agree with that decision: a visit to piazza Duomo and you’ll be treated to incredible traces of the Renaissance, like the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, built in a typically Italian Gothic style, and Giotto’s famed bell tower. 

The cathedral’s imposing dome, built by Brunelleschi, remains an outstanding example of architectural genius. Next, head to Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the first Renaissance building in Florence, designed by Michelozzo. Nearby, you’ll come to the Basilica of San Lorenzo, which the Medici commissioned Brunelleschi to build. Inside, the church is home works by Donatello and Michelangelo. But for Buonarroti’s most famous pieces, make sure to visit the Accademia, where you can see Michelangelo’s David in all its magnificence. Just steps away is piazza Santissima Annunziata and the Istituto degli Innocenti.

Walking down via dei Calzaiuoli, you’ll come to piazza della Signoria, the city’s historical-political centre and home to Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery, where masterpieces of Renaissance painting are conserved. The Basilica of Santa Croce is not far away now. Once you’ve crossed the Ponte Vecchio, you’ll find yourself in the Oltrarno, home to historic artisan shops, where craftsmen still use traditional techniques to produce their high-quality products. While in Florence, don’t forget to visit Palazzo Strozzi and the Church of Santa Maria Novella. An international mecca for culture, the city is truly one-of-a-kind!

Art and Culture