Situated in the heart of Tuscany, Florence, Italy is the jewel in the crown of Europe. From Cathedrals to art galleries to bridges that made it through World War II, Florence will inspire and delight you. Here are five must-see places in Florence, Italy.

Florence, Italy captured the imagination of this writer.
Photo by Beth Anne Freely Rauch.

When my sister asked me to go to Italy with her on vacation nine years ago, my answer was a resounding “yes!” We flew into Rome, visited the Vatican, took a bus to Florence, and saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa firsthand. Our weeklong trip ended in Barcelona, Spain, after a ferry ride across the Mediterranean Sea. We saw the Coliseum, the Forum, and the Trevi Fountain. We explored the Basilica and viewed the Sistine Chapel. It was a dream come true.

But for me, Florence, Italy held my heart.  Where Rome is touristy, Florence is not. The italian city is laid back with its mixture of old and new buildings. It inspired romance novel ideas with its shops, cafes, and fresh food markets. Its ambiance and warmth made me feel like I had come home.

When you visit Italy, you must go to Florence. And while you’re in Florence, visit these five places.

The Uffizi Gallery, Florence’s Answer To The Art Museum

If you love art, then the Uffizi Gallery in Florence is a must. From Leonardo da Vinci to Raphael and Botticelli, the Uffizi offers some of the most well-known pieces to view in Florence, Italy. Add to that italian sculptures and tapestries, you could spend more than a day here and never see it all. As the most popular museum in Italy, the Uffizi is always crowded. Consider purchasing your tickets in advance.

The Duomo, The Florence Cathedral

Florence Cathedral
You can see the Duomo from just about everywhere in Florence.
Photo by Beth Anne Freely Rauch.

One of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe, the Duomo is a big attraction in Florence. It is completely covered in colorful colored marble and if you are feeling adventurous, the climb to the bell tower is worth it. This italian cathedral offers visitors one of the most beautiful, panoramic views of the city. When you venture inside, make sure you look up to view the frescos that cover the ceiling.

The Accademia Gallery, Home To Michelangelo’s David

Probably one of the most well-known statues in history, Michelangelo’s David, is found in the Accademia Gallery in Florence. They house it in a room called the Tribunal, which was specifically built for it. As you look at the statue, you’ll notice how disproportionate the hands and feet are. Read the story behind that. Be forewarned: they do not allow you to take photos in the Accademia Gallery, so don’t expect to get one of this famous italian statue unless you sneak it.

Ponte Vecchio Bridge

One of the bridges in Florence, Italy
You get an idea of what this italian bridge was like in the Middle Ages.
Photo by Beth Anne Freely Rauch.

The Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence spans the Arno River and has been there since the middle ages. Shops line the italian bridge on both sides, built into the bridge itself. While the Florence shops are no longer the butcher shops of old, you can still find unique trinkets, artwork, and jewelry. The original bridge was built by the Romans and then rebuilt in 1345. According to the tour guide we had in Italy, the bridge in Florence was spared by the German troops during World War II because of its historic italian significance.

Palazzo Vecchio, the Town Hall of Florence

The Town Hall of Florence, the Palazzo Vecchio, is the home of the governing body of Florence. Part of it is a museum, and it leads to the Piazza della Signoria. The Piazza is filled with various statues including a smaller copy of Michelangelo’s David. The italian statuary alone makes visiting the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence worthwhile.

Have you been to Florence, Italy? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.

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