The City’s Architecture
Without doubt the main highlight of Florence is its architecture.
The historic heart of the city is full of buildings dating back to its golden age, during Medieval times when Florence was a thriving city and the center of the Italian Renaissance.
Of course there are landmarks dating from other periods in history too, but the main ones to head for include the following:
Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore
(Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower), or more simply, Florence Cathedral is the chief landmark of the city, not only for its size but for its beauty.
Originally called ‘Duomo’ they started construction on this grand building in 1296 and finally finished in 1436.
Located on the Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral along with the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile are all part of the city’s World Heritage Site.
The exterior is beautiful with many fine details in the workmanship, while inside the cathedral is vast.
Be sure to climb the 414 steps to the top of the belltower. It actually stands separate to the cathedral and features wonderful Florentine Gothic architecture.
Of course, the views from the top of the campanile are breathtaking!
The River Arno crosses through Florence and among its famous bridges is Ponte Vecchio, meaning Old Bridge.
This too dates from the medieval period and what sets this bridge apart is what’s on top of it – it’s lined with shops.
Originally these would have all been butchers, now there are souvenir stores, jewellers and art dealers here.
Palazzo Vecchio, meaning ‘old palace’ is the town hall of Florence and another major landmark.
It looks more like a fortress with its small windows and battlement-like roof line.
Just outside is the replica of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ statue, just where the original once stood, and inside there are many works of art.