What to see in Florence

Florence museums, ruins, monuments, churches, and other top attractions

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"The Birth of Venus" (1484–85) by Sandro Botticelli (Photo Public Domain)
Uffizi
Florence: Centro Storico

Visiting the Gallerie degli Uffizi is like taking Renaissance 101: A smorgasbord of paintings by Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, and Botticelli—including his iconic "Birth of Venus"

 
★★★
 (Photo by Viktória Nižninská)
Free
The Duomo
Florence: Centro Storico

Florence's Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Brunelleschi's dome

 
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"The David" (1501–04) by Michelangelo (Photo by Jörg Bittner Unna)
Galleria dell'Accademia
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia has long lines for one reason—Michelangelo's David—but is packed with other artistic delights, from Michelangelo's amazing unfinished Slaves to works by Giambologna, Andrea del Sarto, and Botticelli

 
★★☆
The front of the Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace) in Florence (Photo by Avital Pinnick)
Palazzo Pitti
Florence: Oltrarno

Florence's princely Renaissance Pitti Palace was once home to the Medici, the Lorraines, and the Savoy Kings of Italy—now a whole series of museums

 
★★★
The steps up to the top of the dome (Photo by Sailko)
The cathedral dome
Florence: Centro Storico

Climbing up between the cathedral dome's two layers to spectacular city views

 
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The Salone dei Cinquecento, with Vasari frescoes and statues by Michelangelo, Giambologna, and others (Photo by Juan Carlos Peaguda)
Palazzo Vecchio
Florence: Centro Storico

Florence's Palazzo Vecchio is a Gothic town hall decorated by Renaissance masters

 
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The medieval shop-lined Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) over the Arno River in Florence (Photo by Gary Campbell-Hall)
Free
Ponte Vecchio
Florence: Centro Storico

Florence's "Old Bridge" is a medieval span lined by tiny goldsmith shops

 
★★☆
The statue-filled upper hall (Photo Public Domain)
The Bargello
Florence: Centro Storico

A flock of Donatellos and other great works in this sculpture gallery annex of the Uffizi

 
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Recreation of Arnfolo di Cambio's original facade for Santa Maria del Fiore (Photo by Sailko)
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo
Florence: Centro Storico

Florence's Duomo Museum is filled with works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, and other Titans of the early Renaissance

 
★★☆
Michelangelo's Tomb of Giuliano de' Medici, Duke of Nemours, featuring the figures of "Day" and "Night" (1524–34) (Photo by Avia)
Medici Chapels
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

The Michelangelo-adorned tombs of the Medici in the Sagrestia Nuova and the ornate Cappella dei Principi (Chapel of the Princes) of San Lorenzo

 
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The Basilica of Santa Croce on Piazza Santa Croce (Photo by Augusto Mia Battaglia)
Santa Croce
Florence: Santa Croce

Santa Croce church is the Westminster Abbey of Florence: The tombs of Renaissance giants Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, and Rossini (plus some great Giotto frescoes—and a renowned leather school)

 
★★☆
 (Photo by Allan Parsons)
Santa Maria Novella
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

This Florentine church puts painting in perspective—literally, as home to some of the most groundbreaking frescoes of the early Renaissance

 
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"Communion with the Apostles" (1440–42) by Fra Angelico in Cell No. 35 (Photo Public Domain)
Museo di San Marco
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

San Marco is a Renaissance monastery frescoed by the angelic Fra' Angelico and haunted by the memories of the demonic "Mad Monk" Savonarola

 
★★★
 (Photo by Marc Buehler)
Free
Piazza della Signoria
Florence: Centro Storico

Florence's main square is a public living room filled with ancient and Renaissance statues and fountains

 
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Detail of "The Tribute Money" (1425) by Masaccio in the Brancacci Chapel (Photo Public Domain)

The amazing Masaccio frescoes of the Cappella Brancacci

 
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"Presentation to Pontius Pilate" (1460s) on the Pulpito della Passione by Donatello (Photo Public Domain)
San Lorenzo
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

The Medici family church, with Donatello sculptures and architecture by Brunelleschi and Michelangelo

 
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Mosaic ceiling inside the Battistero di San Giovanni (Photo by Ricardo André Frantz)
The Baptistery
Florence: Centro Storico

Florence's Battistero di San Giovanni and Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise

 
★☆☆
The 4C BC Chimera di Arezzo (Photo by Alex Berger)
Museo Archeologico
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

This embarrassingly rich collection of exquisite antiquities from around the world is overlooked by most Florence visitors who are in full-throttle Renaissance mode

 
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The Campanile di Giotto (Photo by Txllxt TxllxT)
Giotto's bell tower
Florence: Centro Storico

The Campanile di Giotto is one of Italy's loveliest bell towers

 
★☆☆
 (Photo by Mac9)
Free
San Miniato al Monte
Florence: Oltrarno

A gem of a Romanesque church perched atop a hill overlooking Florence

 
Florence tours
 
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Activities, walks, & excursions links
Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for sightseeing

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is?... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the museum il museo eel moo-ZAY-yo
...the church la chiesa lah key-YAY-zah
...the cathedral il duomo [or] la cattedrale eel DUO-mo [or] lah cah-the-DRAH-leh
     
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
Closed day giorno di riposo JOR-no dee ree-PO-zo
Weekdays (Mon-Sat) feriali fair-ee-YA-lee
Sunday & holidays festivi fe-STEE-vee
     
ticket biglietto beel-YET-toh
two adults due adulti DOO-way ah-DOOL-tee
one child un bambino oon bahm-BEE-no
one student uno studente OO-noh stu-DENT-ay
one senior un pensionato oon pen-see-yo-NAH-toh

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).