There is so much to see in Florence, but don’t panic! Make yourself at home in the private rooms of one of the most notable literary couples of the Victorian Age and take a deep breath. Accept that you are never going to see all its treasures in one visit and will need to come back many times. Think art, food, shops, and follow your instincts.
You will be naturally drawn to the stature of Palazzo Pitti, once the court of the Medici Grand-dukes. Pay a visit to the Galleria Palatina, where you will find some of Raphael’s and Titian’s most amazing paintings, and meander around the Giardino di Boboli, one of the finest examples of Italian landscape architecture.
Your footsteps might lead you towards the Arno River to cross the Ponte Vecchio. Let your eyes catch the symbols of Florence’s glorious past, carved in the jewels shown in the bridge’s windows. You can turn right on the Lungarno and make your way to Piazza della Signoria, passing in front of the Galleria degli Uffizi. You will be able to appreciate iconic masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s ‘Tondo Doni’, Leonardo’s ‘Annunciation’, Botticelli’s ‘La Primavera’. Stop for an authentic Florentine panini at ‘I Due Fratellini’ in Via Cimatori.
From the Ponte Vecchio you can also go up Via Por Santa Maria and Via Calimala for high street shopping, have a look around the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo for leather goods and souvenirs. Luxury clothing brands can be found in the adjacent Via Roma and in Via de’ Tornabuoni. Here is a handy list of old Florentine shops. If you fancy a quiet cappuccino while perusing the most up-to-date fashion books and magazines, the glamorous Gucci Museo is the perfect place to take a break and learn about the history of fashion. Not far from here rises the medieval Museo del Bargello, one of the oldest buildings in the city, which houses Donatello’s ‘David’ and Michelangelo’s ‘Bacchus’.
Following Via del Proconsolo, you will end up on the majestic Piazza del Duomo. Enjoy the spectacular views from the Cupola or from Giotto’s Bell Tower, walking just over 400 steps (not recommended for those suffering from heart problems, vertigo or claustrophobia!). Head towards Galleria dell’Accademia to admire'to Michelangelo's breathtaking magnum opus, ‘David’. Finally, spend some time in the Basilica di Santa Croce where you can learn about Saint Francis looking at the amazing frescos or about Italian cultural history just observing the tombs of some of the most famous Italians.
Piazza, S.Felice, Florence, Italy