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Top Florence Attractions Families, Couples - What to do in Florence Attractions Map

Popular Florence Attractions Map - What to Do in Florence

OVERVIEW OF TOP FLORENCE ATTRACTIONS MAP FOR FAMILIES, COUPLES

Florence is a wonderfully romantic Renaissance city, with centuries of beautiful architecture at every turn, never failing to inspire. One thing you can’t miss is the complex of buildings in the Piazza del Duomo, including the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore with its magnificent dome offering comprehensive views of the city, the Campanile Bell Tower, and the Baptistry of St John with its famously ornate carved bronze doors. Of course there are many museums and galleries. You can’t leave without seeing Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell’Academia. The San Lorenzo and Little Piggy markets are great for shopping and you can relax in one of Florence’s many parks. Tuscany enjoys a very hot climate, so for a break from city sightseeing why not head to the beach at Viareggio, which is accessible in under one and a half hours by car or train. The Crocodile Water Park in Arezzo offers lots of fun with slides and whirlpools.

Top Free Attractions Map in Florence - What to Do in Florence

Basilica di San Miniato del Monte (Free)

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This stunning Romanesque structure is located on a hill just outside the city centre. Be prepared for a good bit of walking to get there, but it’s well worth it for the fantastic views over Florence as well as the church itself. It was built between the 11th and 13th centuries in honour of St Miniato, a Christian martyr who was said to have been thrown to a panther in the Amphitheatre, but the panther refused to attack him. He was then beheaded by the Roman Emperor and apparently picked up his head and walked up the hill to the spot where the Basilica now stands. It is rumoured that his bones are contained in the crypt. The church is decorated with wonderful frescoes, mosaics, and a painted pavement depicting the signs of the Zodiac. There is a shop selling liqueurs and honeys made by the Olivetan monks who have occupied the Basilica since 1373.
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Opera at St Mark’s English Church (Paid)

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For a splendid cultural experience in Florence, why not take in an opera concert at this fine 19th century church. The building is compact, making for fine acoustics and an intimacy to proceedings. There are no elaborate sets, but a rousing performance is guaranteed. All ticket costs are donated to a charity helping orphaned children in India. During its regular work, the church also ministers to Florence’s homeless. The singers are accompanied by virtuous pianists, and together they perform complete operas such as La Traviata and The Marriage of Figaro. There is an explanation in English and programme notes available in Italian, English, French and German. St Mark’s was founded by the Reverend Charles Tooth in 1877, converting an existing house. It was later extended to include a 15th century palazzo once owned by Machiavelli, making for an intriguing architectural mix.
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Galleria dell’Academia with Statue of David (Paid)

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This gallery is most well known for housing the globally famous statue of David by Michelangelo. Undoubtedly it forms the centrepiece of the museum and is most people’s primary purpose for visiting. It has been here since 1873, after being moved from its original location in Piazza della Signoria (where a copy now stands). However, there are several other interesting sights in the Gallery, including four unfinished sculptures of prisoners and one of St Matthew, also unfinished, which give an insight into his working methods. There are also Renaissance paintings by Uccello, Botticelli and Giambologna, and a collection of Russian icons. It’s well worth taking a guided tour of the gallery for a small extra charge, as this avoids the queue and allows you to learn more about the meaning and creation of these masterpieces.
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Campanile Bell Tower (Paid)

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Part of the Cathedral (link) complex on the Piazza del Duomo (link), the Campanile offers spectacular views across the red-tiled roofs of Florence after ascending the 414 stone steps to a height of 278 feet. It can be narrow at times, and you need a reasonable level of fitness, but there are opportunities to stop at the different levels. Be aware that it can be a squeeze with people using the same stairs to go up and down. The Campanile is coated in marble and is decorated with an abundance of statues and reliefs, depicting Biblical scenes as well as representations of the arts and medicine. The tower was begun in 1334 to a design by Giotto, and was completed in 1359. It houses seven bells. The tower can be visited on a combined ticket with the Duomo (link), Baptistry (link), Crypt of Santa Reparata in the Cathedral, and the art gallery.
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Cathedral of Florence (Free)

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Entitled the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, this cathedral with its massive brick dome is a world famous symbol of Florence. It was constructed over a 140-year period, although the dome (Duomo) was not added until almost the end of this time. The facade of magnificent red, green and white marble was added in the 19th century. The complex, situated in the Piazza del Duomo (link), also includes the Campanile bell tower (link) and the Baptistry (link). It’s free to go in the Cathedral, but for a combined ticket you can climb up inside the Duomo, as well as visit the bell tower and Baptistry. It’s well worth it for the stunning views over the city and a closer look at the fresco on the walls of the Dome depicting the Last Judgement. There is an array of priceless artwork in the main Cathedral, including 44 stained glass windows by Donatello among others, and the painting Dante Before the City of Florence.
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Santa Croce (Paid)

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One of the most awe-inspiring sights in Florence, this medieval church has a wealth of stunning artwork including original frescoes by Giotto. It is particularly worth a visit to see the lavishly decorated tombs of such Italian luminaries as Michelangelo, Galileo, Dante and Machiavelli. The church was started in 1295 and finished almost 150 years later. The cloister was built by Brunelleschi (who also designed the dome of the Duomo (link)) and is an excellent example of Gothic architecture. The gleamingly white neo-Gothic facade was added in the 19th century by Nicol? Matas, a Jewish architect, hence the prominent Star of David. In addition, there is a museum and a leather workshop occupying the former dormitory of the Franciscan Friars. Here you can watch master craftsmen forge wallets, belts and other items, which you can then buy in the adjacent shop.
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Bargello Museum (Paid)

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This museum houses a vast collection of the finest Renaissance sculpture, including Donatello’s David and works by Gemiti and Giambologna. It was converted from a palace which was begun in 1255 - the oldest public building in Florence. At first a magistrate’s court, it was later the police headquarters and prison. In addition to sculptures, there are also collections of ceramics, tapestries, ivory carvings, silver and old coins. The architecture of the building is interesting in itself, with its slightly forbidding, crenellated look. The inner courtyard, which once saw executions, is now a restful place to relax and perhaps throw a coin in the central well. Compared to other Florentine galleries, the place is not too crowded, allowing for a more serene pace to admire all the artwork.
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Squares of Florence (Free)

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There is a wealth of beautiful squares in Florence, all with different features and points of interest. Let’s start with the famous Piazza del Duomo. Here you will find the Cathedral (link), Campanile (link) and Baptistry (link), as well as Dante’s Stone where according to legend the great poet lay and commented on the building of the Cathedral. The Piazza della Repubblica features the Column of Abundance with a statue of the goddess Dovizia. Piazza della Signoria was a place of execution and features an engraving of a condemned man, apparently by Michelangelo. Piazza del San Lorenzo features a market (link) and a statue of Giovanni delle Bande Nere. Piazza del Carmine has many bars and clubs. Piazza Santa Maria Novella, where the Walking Tour starts (link), has a sculpture of the meeting between the Dominicans, who built the Church of Santa Maria Novella (link) and the Franciscans, who built a homeless shelter on the other side. This ended years of hostility.
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Baptistry of St John (Paid)

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This octagonal building is the oldest of the structures in Piazza del Duomo (link) (built between 1059 and 1128 in the Romanesque style) and is world famous for its elaborately decorated bronze doors, displaying many Biblical scenes, various saints, and John the Baptist. The east doors were named “The gates of paradise” by Michelangelo, a tag which has stuck. Like the neighbouring Cathedral (link) and the Campanile (link), the Baptistry is clad in marble in green and white. This marble decoration continues in the lavish interior which also features mosaics on the floor and ceiling. On the floor, there are detailed geometric patterns including the signs of the Zodiac. The eight-sided ceiling is dominated by a depiction of the Last Judgement with a massive image of Christ and souls going either to Heaven or Hell. Also shown are various stories from Genesis, the life of Christ, and St John the Baptist.
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Santa Maria Novella (Paid)

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Despite its name translating as “The New Saint Maria”, this is the oldest basilica in Florence. It is so called because it replaced the 9th century oratory of St Maria. Work began around 1246 and was completed about 1360, under the direction of Dominican monks. There are numerous chapels with medieval and Renaissance artworks, stained glass windows and well-preserved frescoes. You can see the funerary monuments to prominent Florentines, who financed much of the church’s fine decoration. As with the Cathedral (link) and Santa Croce (link), the beautiful exterior is finished in marble, this time in black and white. However, Santa Maria Novella gets less traffic than those sights. It is still well worth seeing if you have the time, or wish to avoid the crowds!
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Pitti Palace (Paid)

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This imposing Renaissance palace was built for the Pitti family beginning in 1458. After time as a headquarters for Napoleon and as a royal residence, today it houses a vast collection of art and other valuables, divided into several museums. The Palatine Gallery holds over 500 Renaissance masterpieces including works by Titian and Raphael. There is a suite of Royal apartments used by the Medici family, who occupied the building after the Pittis. These contain portraits of the Medicis. The Gallery of Modern Art contains works dating up to the early 20th century, but be prepared as this is no longer considered “modern” art by most standards. Then we have the Silver and Porcelain Museums, holding priceless artefacts amassed by the Medicis including ancient vases. The Costume Gallery has a collection of theatrical costumes going back to the 16th century. Finally the Carriages Museum focuses on the often extremely ornate modes of transport used by the occupants.
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Green Florence (Free)

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There is an abundance of beautiful green spaces in Florence: over 200 parks and gardens where you can wander and take in the scenery and gorgeous views. Let’s look at a few of those available for free. First of all, there is the Cascine Park, the largest in Florence. It has sporting facilities including running, swimming and tennis, and also hosts a popular market (link) every Tuesday. The Piazza Tasso, located in the Oltrarno area, is a popular space which only gets busier towards nightfall, as there are no closing hours. It has a “calcetto” (5 on 5 football pitch), benches and picnic tables, as well as a bar enclosed in the medieval city wall on one side. The Piazza d’Azeglio is a 19th century park near to the Sant’Ambrogio market. It’s great for kids, with an original carousel and more recent playground equipment. The Carraia on Via dell’Erta Canina is an expansive space with football pitches, playgrounds and an impressive 19th century stairwell. Please see Cascine Market (link) for directions to Cascine Park; the notes below refer to Piazza Tasso.
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Florence Walking Tour (Free)

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This highly popular tour provides an ideal introduction to this beautiful city. Two tours operate every day: the Renaissance Tour at 11am and the Medici Tour at 2pm, both meeting at Santa Maria Novella church (link). These tours feature knowledgeable and friendly guides who can offer a wealth of information on the sights being seen. They operate on a tips-only basis, so you only pay what you think the tour is worth. The Renaissance Tour takes in many of the major landmarks of the Renaissance era, including the Duomo of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (link) and Piazza della Signoria, and ends at the Church of Santa Croce (link), with many more along the way. The Medici Tour looks at buildings associated with the great Medici family such as the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, and Palazzo Pitti (link). Each tour lasts between 1.5 to 2 hours, so sensible walking shoes are advised.
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San Lorenzo Market (Free)

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This popular market specialises in leather goods and is a great place to pick up a present for yourself and others. It occupies the streets around San Lorenzo church, with a multitude of stalls where haggling is encouraged. You can pick up a leather jacket for 100-150€ as well as tourist t-shirts, belts, wallets, tapestries, jewellery, shoes, handbags and more, often at lower prices than in the shops. If you buy several items from one vendor, there is more chance of them lowering the price. It’s a colourful and lively place to wander about. As with any crowded area, make sure to be on your guard for pickpockets; and don’t buy from walking vendors or people selling goods on the pavement. If you keep this in mind, you can spend a pleasant hour or so here and there’s a definite satisfaction in acquiring a quality item at a knockdown price.
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Mercato delle Cascine (Free)

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Situated in the expansive Cascine Park next to the Arno River, this market takes place every Tuesday. There is a huge number of stalls selling everything from clothing, shoes, fruit and veg and homeware to antiques and souvenirs. It’s known as the cheapest market in town, and opens only on Tuesdays from 7am-2pm. Get there early to grab the best bargains. On a summer’s day, it’s great to wander through the stalls and take in the sights and sounds, followed by a stroll through the park. The park was created by the Medici family as a farming estate. The name originates from “cascio” meaning cows, as these animals were kept here. In the 18th century, fountains, pavilions and an amphitheatre were built, and the park was opened to the public in the early 19th century. In August 2013, a new visitor centre was opened. The park also has many sporting facilities including tennis, football, cycling and swimming.
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Etruscan Tomb of La Montagnola (Free)

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This fascinating burial site dating from the 7th century BC is located about 15km from Florence city centre, in Sesto Fiorentino. Discovered in 1959, the complex consists of a covered passageway or “dromos” with a “tholos” chamber, featuring a false dome constructed with a central pillar and a series of concentric stone circles, joined at the top. It is one of the best preserved examples of the numerous Etruscan tombs found along the River Arno, alongside the nearby Mula tomb. It is likely that La Montagnola was the resting place of Etruscan nobles, and the design shows that they were an advanced race, on a par with the Ancient Egyptians. It’s well worth a day trip out of Florence.
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Little Piggy Market (Free)

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This market in Loggia del Mercato Nuovo is so named for the bronze statue of a boar, known as Il Porcellino, that sits in a fountain here. A popular symbol of Florence, it is traditional to put a coin into the boar’s mouth, which then falls through to the grating below, and rub its snout to guarantee a return to Florence. This has kept his nose and shiny while the rest of him has faded. It’s a very popular activity, often with a queue of people. The market itself is smaller in size than San Lorenzo (link), but is still a great place to pick up souvenirs including straw items, handstitched embroidery, leather wares, t-shirts, wooden pieces and flowers. Haggling is encouraged in order to secure a great bargain. Across the street from the market is a lovely bookshop featuring a large selection of English language titles on a central table.
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Oblate Library and Cafeteria (Free)

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This is a popular meeting spot for Florentines and visitors alike and has fantastic views of the Duomo (link). Located in a former convent, the building represents an intriguing marriage of old and new architecture. Its original cloisters with Gothic capitals are still visible as part of the complex which was opened in 2007, inspired by Paris’ Pompidou Centre. As well as a huge range of books, there are several interesting features in the library. The Section of Conservation and Local History on the ground floor holds a collection of documents from Florence’s past. There is a Museum of Prehistory on the first floor, which also contains three large reading rooms with free internet access. The cafeteria on the second floor has inexpensively priced refreshments, a brunch service and also hosts concerts. Also on this floor is the original washing terrace from the convent and the children’s section which holds regular workshops for kids.
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