Florence is my most favorite city in Italy. When we were there it was like we took a step back in time and witnessed the Renaissance through all of our senses. This city is magical!
Florence, Italy was the home of one of Italy’s most influential families, the Medici. It is also the birthplace of the Renaissance. When strolling down its cobblestone streets there is art and history around every corner. Best of all, you can experience some of its historic sites for free!
I’m a huge Rick Steves’ Europe fan! He has a ton of information about planning trips to Europe including free guides for museums and walking tours that you can do on your own. You can download his audio tours and maps for your visit to Florence on his website and best of all – they’re free!
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore also known as Florence duomo, is the city’s magnificent cathedral. It is well known for its domed roof created by Filippo Brunelleschi and tower designed by Giotto. The artwork of the cathedral’s interior is just as stunning as the exterior. The entrance to the duomo is free but you do have to pay a few euros to climb to the top of the dome or tower. I will do another blog post in the future about the duomo. It’s fascinating!
San Miniato al Monte is a monastery that sits high on a hill. Many tourists stop at Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic view of Florence but to get an off the beaten path experience, walk higher uphill to visit San Miniato al Monte. If you’re unable to climb there is a bus you can take to Piazzale Michelangelo where the monastery is within a few minutes’ walk. The monastery has a beautiful cemetery and you can visit the interior of the church free of charge. If the timing is good, you can hear the monks’ prayer chants in the church. Also, the view of Florence from the top is amazing!
Florence is just a couple hours away by train from Rome so you can visit the major “tourist” sites on a day trip (most of them are within walking distance in the city center). However, stay for a few days if you can – there’s so much more to see and do in Florence! If you plan on visiting the Uffizi Gallery and want to see the famous Michelangelo’s David statue at Galleria dell’Accademia, I strongly suggest purchasing tickets in advance. The lines get very long!
I will do a few more posts in the future regarding Florence, so don’t worry there are plenty more pics where these came from! Happy travels!