Things to See & Do in Florence
The main tourist information center is north of the Duomo at Via Cavour 1r (055-290-832 or 055-290-833). Hours of operation are Mon to Sat, 8:30am to 6:30pm (Sundays until 1pm). Another tourist center is located across the street from Stazione di Santa Maria Novella at Piazza della Stazione 4. It is open Mon to Sat, 8:30am to 7pm (Sundays until 2:00pm). The third center, which is usually less crowded, is located at Borga Santa Croce 29r. Open daily from 9am to 7pm (Sundays until 2pm).
Sights & Attractions
The most famous building in Florence is probably Il Duomo, or the cathedral. Located in the heart of the old city, this massive church is made of the beautiful green, white, and red marble that distinguishes the outstanding and unique buildings of Tuscany. Built by Bruneslleschi at the beginning of the Renaissance, the dome was then the largest in the world.
Il Duomo is open Mon to Fri, 10am to 5pm, Sundays 1:30pm to 4:45pm (free admission). Should you challenge yourself and climb all the way to the top of the dome, you’ll be treated to a stunning view of the city of Florence and its countryside. The Dome is open Mon to Fri, 8:30am to 7:00pm, Sat 8:30am to 5:40pm and is closed on Sundays. Dome admission is 8.
This pedestrian bridge across the Arno River might well be the city’s emblem. Once the home of the city’s meatpackers, it was when the Medici family decided that the river was made unattractive from all the blood from the cut up poultry that the meatpackers were replaced with gold jewelers. Today the jewelers remain among the markets and touristy shops.
On the west side of the Arno River are the Boboli Gardens, a wonderful respite from Florence’s dark and narrow streets. One can spend hours exploring the well-manicured paths and beautiful fountains. There are also fantastic views of the city.
The museums in Florence are exceptional and a must see. Florence was the center of the Renaissance, and accordingly, has the most famous works from this period displayed in various halls around the city.
Galleria dell’ Academia
Host to several brilliant Renaissance works of art, including the famous Michelangelo’s David, this museum is a must just for a peek at the star attraction. Via Ricasoli 60. It is open Tue to Sun, 8:15am to 6:50pm and costs 6.50.
The most famous gallery in Florence, it houses masterpieces from all the Italian greats such as Michelangelo, da Vinci, Raphael and Botticellis. Brave the lines, as you shouldn’t need more than a couple of hours once inside. You can also avoid lines by making a reservation in advance with the museum office for 3 extra. Open Tues to Sun, 8:15am to 6:50pm (closed on Mondays). Costs 6.50.
Known for its leather goods, wool garments and jewelry, Florence’s markets and shops are a great place to find terrific bargains. Check out the areas of San Lorenzo, near the Mercato Centrale, and the Ponte Vecchio.