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Florence in a day

Florence: elegant, rich in history and culture, lively. A city which was the cradle of the Renaissance and which gave birth to great artists, from Dante to Boccaccio, from Michelangelo to Brunelleschi to Leonardo da Vinci. A city that step by step makes you dream of returning to the splendour of the Medici era.

The historic center of Florence is a real gem and can be easily visited even with little time available, because the various attractions are quite close to each other and can be easily reached on foot.

1. Chiesa di Santa Maria NovellaThe first stop on our itinerary to discover Florence in one day can only be the Church of Santa Maria Novella, just a few steps away from the railway station. The facade is one of the most beautiful in the city, with a Romanesque style and decorated with white and green marbles that draw geometric shapes. And the interior is no different, between Giotto’s cross on display and the very green cloister. Do you know that Michelangelo, speaking of this church, used the name “my bride” to underline its beauty.

2. Scoprire il quartiere di San LorenzoIn San Lorenzo you can breathe the Florence of the Medici, the merchants and the people. Take your time to browse the Central Market and to shop among the stalls of leather goods and leather jackets. And walk with your nose in the air so as not to miss a single detail of the elegant Renaissance palaces, from Palazzo Medici Ricciardi to the Medici Chapels to the Basilica of San Lorenzo, which was once the city’s cathedral and which today is very recognizable for its unfinished facade.

3. Il complesso rinascimentale di Piazza del DuomoPiazza del Duomo is an open-air museum. A triumph of Renaissance majesty and beauty. From the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with Brunelleschi’s Dome and the Opera Museum to the Baptistery of San Giovanni to Giotto’s Bell Tower. All collected in a few steps. There is no one element that predominates over the others and the constructions are in perfect harmony. The facade of the Cathedral is richly decorated in every part, from the rose windows to the entrance portal, while the interior is a bit disappointing in my opinion, it lacks that warmth and soft colors that I would expect from a sacred place.

The Baptistery, on the other hand, is simply beautiful both inside and out, it is no coincidence that one of the entrance portals is known as the “gate of Paradise”. The interior is a triumph of mosaics and frescoes in golden shades, which almost seem to shine with their own light. And finally Giotto’s bell tower, considered the most beautiful in Italy. Almost 85 meters high and 15 wide, white, red and green marble for a geometrically perfect construction.

4. Piazza della Signoria e Palazzo VecchioPiazza della Signoria is the heart of historic Florence, where hundreds of tourists flock at any time of day or night. An L-shaped square overlooked by one of the symbolic buildings of the city: Palazzo Vecchio. Built in the fourteenth century, today it is the seat of the administrative power of Florence and can also be visited inside, where the imposing Salone dei Cinquecento is located. In front of Palazzo Vecchio you can also admire the Fountain of Neptune and the perfect copy of Michelangelo’s David (the original is kept in the Galleria dell’Accademia), while on the side you can see the Loggia dei Lanzi which houses other splendid statues such as the bronze Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini.

5. Galleria degli UffiziThe Uffizi Gallery is one of the most important art museums in Italy and in the world and it is unthinkable to go to Florence without visiting it. Founded by Francesco I de’ Medici in 1581, today it houses a collection of works by painters from the 12th to the 18th century, from Giotto to Botticelli, from Raffaello to Michelangelo and many others. A visit capable of leaving even the most insensitive without words. The best rooms are dedicated to Botticelli, where you can find “The Birth of Venus” and “Spring”. And the geographical map room and the mathematics closet are also quite interesting, as well as curious, where various scientific instruments of the time are displayed.

The only drawback of the Uffizi Gallery? The endless queue every day and at any time, but to overcome this problem I’ll give you some advice later.

6. Ponte VecchioFrom the Uffizi we continue our one-day itinerary in Florence with another must-see: the very famous Ponte Vecchio, which connects the two banks of the Arno and which is the undisputed symbol of the city in the world. This is the first bridge built with a segmental arch structure, a solution that has made it possible to have only three spans but much wider than usual, so as to preserve the bridge itself from the debris carried by any floods.

Ponte Vecchio is undoubtedly one of the most romantic places in Florence, where you can stroll gently hand in hand, stopping from time to time to admire the shop windows and observe the flowing river.

7. Palazzo Pitti e Giardino di BoboliCrossing Ponte Vecchio you arrive on the left bank of the Arno, in the so-called Oltrarno area, perhaps one of the most authentic and true of Florence. With just a few steps you are immediately in front of Palazzo Pitti which, despite the name, is a vast museum complex. In fact, it includes the Palatine Gallery, the Modern Art Gallery and the Costume Gallery, the Silver Museum, the Carriage Museum and the Porcelain Museum and finally the rooms of the Royal Apartments. You understand therefore that in a single day itinerary it is unfortunately not feasible to think of visiting the interiors, unless you remove other stops or dwell only on some sections. Organizing well, however, it is possible to take a nice walk in the Boboli Gardens, the green heart of Florence, a wonderful example of an Italian garden, wanted by the Medici and then completed over the centuries also by the Lorraines and the Savoys. Elegant and refined, embellished with statues, fountains and grottoes, the garden rises along the Boboli hill to offer an unmissable view of the city from above. Since 2013 it has also been registered as a World Heritage Site.

8. Quartiere di Santa CroceThe central point of Santa Croce is the square overlooked by the Basilica which, is highly recommended. Inside, in fact, there are frescoes by Giotto and the tombs of artists of the caliber of Michelangelo and Machiavelli. And that’s not all. In fact, the church belongs to the complex of the Museo dell’Opera di Santa Croce, which also includes the Pazzi Chapel designed by Brunelleschi. Therefore, consider at least a couple of hours for a complete visit.

Then stroll through the streets, full of excellent restaurants and craft shops that evoke the trades of the past (framers, antique dealers). Here time really seems to have stopped and you will see that it will be very pleasant to browse here and there without being surrounded by too many tourists.

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