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Essential Florence

Destination(s): Florence

Florence is a city of art. Preparing for a visit to Florence can feel a little like that Art History course from the first year of college. Fortunately, Florence is very kind to its visitors and attracts an ever increasing number of them because it is so easy and wonderful to visit. Whether you are staying for two days or two weeks Florence will keep you charmed and relaxed. With just two days at your disposal there are some points of interest that could be labeled as mandatory. In this trip I have chosen some that I feel are critical for even the shortest of stays in Florence. read more about Essential Florence

Battistero

Battistero

  • Piazza San Giovanni
  • tel:+39 55 230 2885
  • Visit website
  • Florence, 50129
Gallerie degli Uffizi (Uffizi Galleries)

Gallerie degli Uffizi (Uffizi Galleries)

  • Piazzale degli Uffizi 6
  • Off Piazza della Signoria
  • tel:055-238-8651
  • Visit website
  • Florence, 50122
Piazza del Duomo

Piazza del Duomo

  • piazza del Duomo
  • tel:+39 055 2 3320
  • Visit website
  • Florence, 50122
Loggia dei Lanzi

Loggia dei Lanzi

  • piazza della Signoria
  • Florence, 50122

The Loggia dei Lanzi or Loggia della Signoria is a wide-open gallery of great works of art and sculpture.  It brings together the piazza with the Uffizi Gallery flowing down into the Arno River.  As the Florentines adored this masterpiece, Michelangelo suggested having loggia encompass the whole Piazza della Signoria.  The artist or designer of the Loggia dei Lanzi was Orcagna.  He built it between 1376 and 1382 when Benci di Cione and Simone Talenti took over.  The name Loggia dei Lanzi came from the years the Grand Duke Cosimo I was in power, it was used to keep his Lanzichenecchi(Italian) or Landsknechts(German).  Shortening it to Lanzi, these were German mercenary pikemen.  As the Uffizi was nearly complete, the Loggia's roof was constructed as a terrace for the Medici so they could watch ceremonies in the piazza away from the peasants.  The Loggia's roof was designed by Bernardo Buontalenti. Today, the sculptures of divine beauty that are located inside are Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus, Giambologna's Rape of the Sabine Woman and the Rape of Polyxena by Pio Fedi.  Loggia dei Lanzi is gorgeous at night.  Take a stroll after dinner to see the Loggia light up.
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San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo

  • piazza di San Lorenzo
  • Piazza San Lorenzo
  • tel:055-216-634
  • Visit website
  • Florence, 50123
Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Florence, 50125

You can't miss the most recognizable landmark of Florence, the Ponte Vecchio.  Constructed in 1345, the Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge still standing in Florence, hence the name.  The multicolored structure bridge was first home to butcher shops. As the noble bankers would cross the Arno river to their offices, there was a rancid smell of pigs blood and rotted meat which extremely offended them.  In an effort to improve the area, the Medici stepped in and ordered the lower class shopkeepers out and moved goldsmiths and diamond-cutters in. Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge that escaped the bombing by the Germans in WWII.  Today, now a pedestrian bridge, the shops shimmer and shine with necklaces, rings and charms of the most expensive kind.  Tourists can enjoy an early morning walk over the bridge before the shops open or at sunset where lovers stare at the horizon as musicians sing and be merry.
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Osteria de' Benci

Osteria de' Benci

  • Via de' Benci 13r
  • At the corner of Via de' Neri
  • tel:055-234-4923
  • Florence, 50121
Osteria del Caffè Italiano

Osteria del Caffè Italiano

  • Via Isola delle Stinche, 11r
  • tel:39 55 28 9368
  • Visit website
  • Florence, 50122
Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella

  • piazza Santa Maria Novella
  • Piazza Santa Maria Novella
  • tel:055-215-918
  • Visit website
  • Florence, 50123
San Miniato al Monte

San Miniato al Monte

  • Via del Monte alle Croci 34
  • Via del Monte alle Croci/Viale Galileo Galilei (behind Piazzale Michelangiolo)
  • tel:055-234-2731
  • Visit website
  • Florence, 50125
Loggia del Mercato Nuovo

Loggia del Mercato Nuovo

  • Via Porta Rossa
  • Florence, 50122

Loggia del Mercato Nuovo or Loggia del Porcellino, was built in the middle of the 16th century. Walk a few steps towards the Duomo, you will find Piazza della Repubblica and following the crowds towards the Arno river, the Ponte Vecchio. The stalls used to sell more of silk and luxury goods, but today all you will find is leather bags, coats and tourist souvenirs. The main focus is the Fontana del Porcellino, which was by Pietro Tacca in the 16th century, the original wild boar sits in the Palazzo Pitti. If you rub the nose of the boar it is said you will receive good fortune, after of course leaving a coin in the mouth of the boar as well. Superstition implies that the wish will be granted if the offering tumbles through the grate whence the water flows. Check out the Loggia at night as well. Without the stalls, it is somewhat peaceful.


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Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo

  • Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Florence, 50125

The vista which one can see the whole valley of Florence and of the surrounding hills is a must see.  The climb up is rewarding, the view is breathtaking. There are buses available to take you to Piazzale Michelangelo. Tourists, tourist groups and tour buses all congregate at this panoramic view.  Vendors set up early in the morning with cool beverages for the parched tourists and souvenirs for the eager shoppers. A sunset visit is for the romantics, bringing a wine bottle and gazing at the Florentine sky as it ends another day. There is never a bad time to visit Piazzale Michelangelo, there is always something to see from this height
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Taverna del Bronzino

Taverna del Bronzino

  • Via delle Ruote 27r
  • Between Piazza Indipendenza and San Marco
  • tel:055-495-220
  • Florence, 50129
Santa Croce Church

Santa Croce Church

  • Piazza Santa Croce 16
  • Piazza Santa Croce
  • tel:+39 055 244 619
  • Visit website
  • Florence, 50122
Hemingway

Hemingway

  • Piazza Piattellina, 9r
  • tel:39 055 24 4781
  • Visit website
  • Florence, 50124
Della Signoria

Della Signoria

  • Via delle Terme, 1
  • tel:39 55 21 4530
  • Visit website
  • Florence, 50123