5 Historical Sites In Florence That Will Make Your Trip Unforgettable

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio are among some of the best historical locations to visit in Florence.

Sometimes dubbed “la culla del rinascimento,” or “the cradle of the Renaissance,” Florence’s historical significance reaches back centuries. The city is home to many historical sites dating back to the Renaissance era and beyond, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in centuries-old architecture and art. When traveling to this gem of a city, there are several must-see locations. Visiting each of them in a trip to the Tuscan metropolis will allow for an unforgettable journey.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Image by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay

The third largest church in the world, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is approximately 500 feet long and 376 feet high. Although the first stone of the façade was laid in 1296, construction on the church lasted until the early 15th century. The façade took its present appearance in the 1800s, and consists of white, green and red marble from Tuscany. The church’s departure from its previous façade assists in its placement among the most beautiful structures in the city.

Baptistery of San Giovanni

Baptistery of San Giovanni
Baptistery of San Giovanni. Image by pixabairis from Pixabay

Sitting opposite the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery of San Giovanni rivals the basilica in its beauty. The baptistery’s bronze doors depict episodes from John the Baptist’s life and scenes from the New Testament, along with portrayals of the Christian virtues. The East Door, or the Gates of Paradise, as Michaelangelo called it, is particularly beautiful, as it is the work of Renaissance artist Lorenzo Ghiberti and his assistants, which included Lucca della Robbia.

Inside, the baptistery’s dome contains marvelous mosaics of Jesus Christ in Judgement and the Last Judgement.

Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria. Image by Dylan Garton from Pixabay

Dating back to the 14th century, Piazza della Signoria has been the political and social center of Florence ever since. Home to Palazzo Vecchio, the Neptune Fountain and the Loggia dei Lanzi, along with many restaurants and cafes, there is no shortage of things to do in this public square.

Palazzo Vecchio’s medieval characteristics contrast with the Neptune Fountain and Loggia dei Lanzi, which were constructed in the Renaissance, while the eateries allow visitors to take in the sights while eating lunch or dinner.

Basilica di Santa Croce

Basilica di Santa Croce
Basilica di Santa Croce. Image by user32212 from Pixabay

Erected in the 15th century, Basilica di Santa Croce has undergone several renovations since then, with its most recent being the façade and campanile in the 1800s. Interestingly, the church’s original stained-glass windows, which range from the 14th to 19th centuries, still remain.

Many well-known Italians are buried in the basilica, including: Galileo, Michaelangelo and Leon Battista Alberti. The church’s historical significance, along with its beauty, make it an essential location to visit in the City of Lillies.

Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio. Image by Sara Monni from Pixabay

Originally built to house the Priory of the Arts and Gonfalonier of Justice, Palazzo Vecchio has had many different functions since its creation in the early 14th century. It was ordered to be used as a ducal palace by Cosimo I de’ Medici in the 16th century and later hosted the Guardaroba (where the ceremonial outfits were stored) until it became the seat of Florence’s City Council.

The tower of Palazzo Vecchio is one of the oldest parts of the building and reaches approximately 312 feet into the air, cementing itself as one of the fixtures of Florence’s skyline.

Ray visited Florence in 2017.

Ray Lewis

Content Editor Associate

Originally from New Jersey, Ray developed a passion for traveling through his adventures in Europe. He created unforgettable memories in Greece and Italy, but is looking to explore more countries in different parts of the world as well.

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