architecture is highly lauded throughout the world. The capital city is a living museum, with majestic buildings, medieval palaces and impressive monuments. With so many architectural marvels to take in, it can be hard to know where to begin, so we’ve compiled a list of six of the most impressive buildings to help guide you.
Santa Maria del Fiore
Capped by Filippo Brunelleschi’s red cupola, Santa Maria del Fiore is among the city’s most iconic and breathtaking landmarks. One of the biggest churches in the world, it contains the best of Gothic-Renaissance architecture. Italian sculptor and architect Arnolfo di Cambio designed it at the end of the 13th century, but the dome wasn’t added until the 15th century. The church façade features pink, green and white marble, which complement the 14th century bell tower. Inside, you’ll find mosaic pavements and frescos, such as the Last Judgment by Giorgio Vasari. Climb to the top of the cupola for dazzling views.
Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza Duomo, 17, Florence, Italy, +39 055 215380
Palazzo Vecchio is a Romanesque building with many gothic elements. Completed in 1302 as the seat of Florentine government, it eventually served as the Medici family palace, but has since been returned to its original purpose. As such, only portions of the building are open to the public. Inside you’ll find courtyards, salons, artistic works and stunning chambers. Arguably the most imposing chamber is Salone dei Cinquecento, built in 1495 by the Florentine architect Simone del Pallaiolo. You might consider celebrating your wedding inside this beautiful space—think about it.
Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy, +39 8224 055276
Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, is a wonderful closed-spandrel arched bridge that crosses the river Arno at its narrowest point. It’s believed to be the first bridge built in the Roman Empire but is first mentioned in the year 996. Originally constructed in wood, the bridge was destroyed in the flood of 1333 and rebuilt in stone. The hidden path along the top, Corridoio Vasariano, was used by the Medici to cross the city without exposing themselves to the public. Ponte Vecchio is most famous for being the only bridge in Florence not destroyed during World War II and for its fancy jewelry shops.
Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
Galleria degli Uffizi
Despite the crowds, you can’t miss the Uffizi Gallery. Florence’s most iconic museum and one of Italy’s most celebrated art galleries is housed in what was originally the Medici’s administrative centre. Touring this museum is surely one of the highlights of visiting Florence. Inside, works by some of the most important artists in the world, such as Michelangelo, Raffaello, Tiziano and Botticelli, will keep you occupied for hours. The building itself is a piece of art that offers great views over Ponte Vecchio and the river Arno.
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy, +39 055 23885
Campanile di Giotto
The Campanile, or bell tower, is made of pink, white and green marble and is a splendid example of Florentine gothic architecture. Construction began in 1334 by Giotto, however, despite its name, the architect only actually worked on it for three years before his death. Andrea Pisano picked up the work, and finished the first two floors. Francesco Talenti then completed it in 1359. The decorations and statues on the façade are extremely rich in details. Climb to the top to admire the stunning vistas over Florence.
Campanile di Giotto, Via della Canonica, Florence, Italy, +39 055 2302885
Palazzo Pitti is one of Florence’s largest architectural monuments. Filippo Brunelleschi designed the palazzo for the family it was named for. In 1549, the property was sold to the Medici family and later became the primary residence of the Grand Ducal family. Today, Palazzo Pitti houses museums. On the first floor is The Palatine Gallery, which contains a broad collection of paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, and the Royal Apartments with furnishings from the 19th century. On the ground floor, the Silver Museum hosts a vast collection of Medici household treasures. The Gallery of Modern Art is on the top floor, as well as the Porcelain Museum and The Costume Gallery, which is a fashion museum.
Palazzo Pitti, Piazza de’ Pitti, Florence, Italy