All the essentials for the next time you’re traveling through Florence.
“This is the fairest picture on our planet, the most enchanting to look upon, the most satisfying to the eye and the spirit." -Mark Twain
The beauty of Florence lies in the legacy and layers of history which enrich each city street. Even if you're just planning a quick trip to Florence, you can still cover a ton of local art, history, and architecture in 24 hours. Here are some locations that are easy to experience just by going on a long walk!
As you wander Florence, you can also listen to Gesso’s GPS-triggered audio walking tour, Florence in a Day.
Santa Maria Novella Station
This station is one of the newer additions to the city, and its architecture is a connection between the philosophies of the Renaissance and those of the modern age. Stepping outside, notice the differences and similarities in the architecture, materials, and textures around you. Not too far away is the Santa Maria Novella Church, which the station is named after.
Chiesa di Ognissanti
Walking into the Chiesa di Ognissanti, you’ll find tons of hidden gems inside. For example, in the left wing above the stairs, is a well-lit crucifix that was discovered to be the work of Giotto di Bondone, dating to 1315.
In the central section near the front are two paintings facing each other, both dating to 1480. On the left is St. Augustine by Botticelli, and on the right is St. Jerome by Ghirlandaio.
Botticelli actually lived his entire life on this street and is said to be interred with his family to the right of Jerome, marked by the round seal with the gold lion.
In view of the Second World War, when much of the city was blown to pieces, it's a miracle that the Ponte Vecchio still exists at all. The safety of the bridge is in part attributed to Gerhard Wolf, the German consul in Florence, who saved the bridge, countless paintings and, most importantly, many lives.
Piazzale degli Uffizi
Along the river is the Piazzale degli Uffizi, notable for its 19th century statues.
Started by Vasari and finished by Bernardo Buontalenti in 1581 after Vasari’s death, the “Uffizi” in “Uffizi Gallery” means “offices” because that’s what these were originally: a workspace for the Medici family, gradually converted into an art gallery by Francesco I de’ Medici.
The Uffizi Gallery is home to works by all the greats: Giotto, Botticelli, Cimabue, Caravaggio, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. You can learn more about the Uffizi’s collections here.
The Palazzo Vecchio has been the seat of Florentine government since the start of the 1300s. It’s a building that marks the symbolic end of a longstanding war between the city’s two feuding factions, the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. When the former managed to run the latter out of the city, they bulldozed their towers and built this on top.