Things To Do In Florence
Florence's fairly compact cityscape belies its monumental reputation as the heartland of the European Renaissance. It's really not much of a stretch to state with confident certainly that 'the' best thing to do in the city is take a spirited stroll in its historical centre. Amongst the decorated squares and narrow medieval streets you'll encounter stacks of some of the most incredible cultural attractions in Italy.
Venture north of the Piazza del Duomo up Via Ricasoli street until you reach the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze. This institution dates back to the mid-1500s when it was founded, like many other things in Florence, by Cosimo I de' Medici. It is in the adjacent section known as the Galleria dell'Accademia that you can view Michelangelo's David, a masterpiece sculpture created over three years that still serves as one of city's most enduring symbols. The building also showcases the artist's unfinished statue of Saint Matthew as well as various paintings by Sandro Botticelli, Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Sarto.
Though the omnipresent dome of Florence Cathedral serves as a constant reminder of the city's most awe-inspiring religious structure the Duomo is far from unrivalled in looks and significance. Head east of the Palazzo Vecchio along Borgo dei Greci until you arrive at Piazza di Santa Croce. At the head of the square sits the much visited Basilica of Santa Croce. What makes this fairly unassuming building such as popular visitor attraction is that it contains the bodies of some of Italy's most famous historical figures. Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei and Gioachino Rossini are just three of the people interred within. Other names such as Enrico Fermi and Guglielmo Marconi are not buried here, but have had monuments erected in their honour.
On the opposite bank of the Arno River stands the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte. As the last part of the name suggests it sits atop one of the highest points in Florence, and has even been described as one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. Perhaps the easiest way to reach San Miniato is to arrive at the foot of the steps via hop-on hop-off bus. The City Sightseeing Florence tour is perfect for this, and you'll even be able to walk along to the nearby Piazzale Michelangelo scenic overlook.
It's possible to discover far more than is listed here on the City Sightseeing Florence tour. You still have the impressive bastions of Fortezza da Basso (stop 24, B line), the Great Synagogue of Florence (stop 4, A line) and Artemio Franchi Football Stadium (stop 15/20, Lines C/B). For a full list of stops and an extended things to do page simply follow the link in the first box below.