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Florence - Top Ten Attractions

Mar 22, 2012  What we love about Florence
5.0 of 5 stars based on 11 votes

After a fair number of trips to Florence, we decided to come up with our personal Florence Top Ten for this magnificent city.

With many very good to excellent attractions in Florence, this was a difficult list to create and many will find some of the personal favorites not included. These are simply the places we have enjoyed most over the year, something we hope will prove helpful to others in researching and planning their own travels to Florence.

Inclusions are ordered by their proximity or association to other top attractions in Florence, instead of favorite to least favorite fashion.

Top Ten Attractions in Florence

1.) Piazza della Signoria
2.) Galleria degli Uffizi
3.) Galileo Science Museum
4.) Museo Nazionale del Bargello (Bargello)
5.) Piazza del Duomo
6.) Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo)
7.) Basilica di Santa Croce
8.) Brancacci Chapel (at Santa Maria del Carmine church)
9.) Piazzale Michelangelo (Panoramic view of Florence)
10.) Boboli Gardens

We have written reviews (w/pictures) for each of the attractions that can be found below this list.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Florence
  • Category: Perfect day
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Shopping, Active/Outdoors, Never been before, Repeat visitors, Theater
  • Appeals to: Business travelers, Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Large groups, Seniors, Students, Budget travelers, Active/adventure, Tourists, Pet owners
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Piazza della Signoria
    Piazza della Signoria, Florence

    Piazza della Signoria is one of the two most important centres of attractions in Florence, along with the Piazza del Duomo. Lined with classic and iconic statues, this square is just fantastic, a place many visitors return numerous times during their trips to Florence for picture taking and to enjoy being around classic statues and world famous museums.

    This is where you find Cosimo I di Merdici in the centre of the square, as well as the famous replica of Michelangelo's David, Hercules and Cacus and the gorgeous Foutain of Neptune, which each rest along the Plazzo Vecchio building.

    If this weren't enough, less than a stone's throw away is the very impressive Loggia dei Lanzi, an outdoor museum of sorts, you will find another collection of outstanding statues, including the famous Rape of Sabine Women, Ercole and Centaur, Perseus, amongst others.

    Just around the corner, you have one of the finest museums in the world, the Uffizi, helping make the Piazza della Signoria a truly special place.

  • 2. Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi)
    Uffizi Gallery, Florence

    The Uffizi needs no introduction, being one of the finest museums in the world.

    The link above offers hints on how to best visit and maximize your time at this excellent and memorable collection.

    Do consider combining the Uffizi with the excellent Museo Galileo, Institute and Museum of the History of Science, just around the corner after existing the Uffizi. Here you will see many of the old scientific instruments and devices that were once housed in the Uffizi building. Together these two attractions make a remarkable pair.

  • 3. Galileo Science Museum
    Museo Galileo - Institute and Museum of the History of Science, Florence

    Unlike the Da Vinci museums (exhibitions) that have sprung up all over Italy, the Museo Galileo - Institute and Museum of the History of Science is the real deal!

    Here you find scientific instruments and devices that used to be housed in the Uffizi in centuries past. Now they are here. And don't miss the fantastic Globe Room!

    Hint: We suggest visiting the Galileo Science Museum along with the Uffizi Museum, collectively. This way you can mix art and science, seeing what the Uffizi houses today in the form of art and what it housed in the past in the form of scientific instruments and devices for experimentation. Together, we felt these two museums, complimented each other very well and made a great way to spend a few hours.

  • 4. Museo Nazionale del Bargello (Bargello)
    Museo Nazionale del Bargello (Bargello Museum), Florence

    Within the Bargello, you will find a large collection of very impressive sculptures, making it an excellent compliment to the art filled museums (and churches) in the city.

    Some of the collection found here include Jason and the Golden Fleece (outdoors on the second floor), Donatello’s bronze statue of David, Giambologna’s bronze Mercury statue and Michelangelo’s Bacchus and the historically important Baptistry Door panels created by Brunelleschi and Ghiberti.

    Overall, this is a great museum, especially if you like sculptures!

  • 5. Piazza del Duomo
    Piazza del Duomo, Florence

    Piazza dell Duomo is where you find the stunningly beautiful Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) and its accompanying Companile (Tower) and Baptistry buildings, which collectively offer a visual feast, difficult to match. It is one of the two most important squares in Florence, along with Piazza Dell Signoria and perhaps one of the most beautiful squares in all of Italy (if not Europe)!

    Overall, its difficult to say if the Piazza dell Duomo is better than Piazza della Signoria but its certainly a must see place in Florence because of the attractions and outstandingly beautiful facades found here. This is why you come to Florence!

  • 6. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo)
    Duomo - Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore, Florence

    If you only had time for two attractions in Florence, the Duomo would be one of them, along with the Uffizi Museum. The Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) is one of the most easily recognizable churches in the world, its incredible outer facade is just breathtaking and that bronze dome is just a big 'wow' for those who see it for the first time. Looking at the exterior of this church just never grows tiring!

    Hint: Try visiting the Duomo a couple times during your trip if you can. Its in a rather tight space and looks so wonderful when the sunlight is shining on the facade with a blue sky background. If you don't see it under ideal light conditions, its worth coming back on another day for better shots.

  • 7. Basilica di Santa Croce
    Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence

    A bit of a surprising star on the Florence church and museum with some very impressive and important things to see like the tombs of Michelangelo and Galileo along with some beautifully frescoed chapels, very good sculpture works and a good museum with even more beautiful works to see.

  • 8. Brancacci Chapel (at Santa Maria del Carmine church)
    Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

    An absolute masterpiece, this place is so special that it is often referred to as 'the Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance'. This should be no surprise as none other than Michelangelo himself came to study and learn at the Brancacci Chapel, to learn from the works of Masolino da Panicale and later finished by Filippino Lippi, who started and finished the Brancacci Chapel located at the Santa Maria del Carmine church in Oltrarno.

  • 9. Piazzale Michelangelo (Panoramic view of Florence)
    Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

    There are several great view points of the city centre from the Oltrarno side of Florence but the views from Piazzale Michelangelo are the best in our opinion.

    This is where the iconic postcard pictures of the city of Florence are made.

  • 10. Boboli Gardens
    Boboli Gardens, Florence

    Here you can see an interesting amphitheater that remains, a grotto structure that includes some works by Michelangelo among others, a lovely cypress avenue and small circular lake lined with statues. There are many small walking paths in the wooded areas of the gardens, giving the impression of being in an actual woodland area. We found a number of lawns as well that must have hosted some very impressive balls in centuries past. Statues of various degrees of quality and decay can be found throughout the gardens as well.

    Some very nice views of the city are found at the Boboli Gardens as well.

    Boboli Gardens is located behind the Piti Palace in the the Oltrarno district of Florence.