If, as in the movie “We just have to cry” by Troisi and Benigni, you could go back to Tuscany between 1400 and 1500, you could meet Leonardo and Brunelleschi, Donatello and Michelangelo, Lorenzo the Magnificent and Savonarola among the streets of Florence. Characters who unwittingly and knowingly helped to transform this ancient small town on the Arno banks into a masterpiece, named the “Cradle of the Renaissance”.
Among the most famous cities in Italy in the world, the capital of Tuscany offers an impressive amount of artistic wonders: works, monuments, glimpses of such beauty to leave who must decide what to see in the embarrassment of choice. How to do so if you have little time available? We have selected for you the main points of interest to be included in your itinerary during a weekend in Florence.
The journey can only start at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, an absolutely must-see stop. The Florence Cathedral with Brunelleschi’s Dome is indeed an element of rare architectural beauty. The Cathedral square also offers Giotto’s Bell Tower and, of course, the Baptistery. The Brunelleschi’s Dome, with its more than 400 steps, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, and the Crypt of Santa Reparata are definitely worth visiting. From here, you can’t miss a walk along the elegant Via Calzaioli, one of the most visited shopping streets in Florence. After a few dozen meters on the right you will see Piazza della Repubblica: today it’s a modern square, but in reality it’s the oldest place in the city, because it’s here that the ancient Romans built their forum in 57 AD. The tour continues in Piazza della Signoria where Palazzo Vecchio stands and where you can see the Fountain of Neptune, the copy of Michelangelo’s David (the original is kept at the Florence Accademy) and the statue Perseus by Cellini. Next to this monument there is also the Uffizi Gallery, inside which are preserved works of inestimable value, such as the fourteenth-century paintings, the Spring and the Birth of Venus by Botticelli.
Look up and you will see the Vasari corridor, built by Vasari to connect Palazzo Pitti to Uffizi on the occasion of the marriage between Francesco De’ Medici and Giovanna D’Austria at the end of 1500, to allow the Grand Dukes to move between the two buildings. A few steps from Piazza della Signoria, you can easily reach Loggia del Porcellino (or Loggia del Mercato Nuovo), where you can take a picture with the famous fountain in the shape of a pig (a lucky charm in the local tradition). We are near Ponte Vecchio, a paradise for lovers of jewelry and craft creations in gold and precious stones, a result of the tradition of the ancient Florentine goldsmith masters. Crossing the bridge, you pass the Arno and you can decide whether to visit the characteristic district of San Frediano or if you reach Palazzo Pitti; during the summer, take some time for a walk to the Boboli Gardens. Covering 45,000 square meters, the park includes statues, various residences and museums and has an architectural-landscape structure that makes it unique in the world.
Another place of interest, near the Cathedral, is the Church of San Lorenzo; the most striking thing about this work is the rough facade that contrasts with the much more majestic religious buildings scattered around the city. The Medici Chapels, a commemorative monument for the Medici family, are part of the complex. The Church is surrounded by the characteristic San Lorenzo Market, which is nearby the Central Market, that nowadays is used for the typical Tuscan restaurants. A huge panoramic terrace, from which you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city, is Piazzale Michelangelo, dedicated to the Renaissance sculptor celebrated with a copy of its statue David, placed in the center of the square. A special and unforgettable experience is to discover Florence from the Arno river on one of the ancient barns of the “renaioli”, an opportunity to contemplate the city from an unusual and beautiful angle. Finally, if you are traveling a bit further, Florence is also a city full of unmissable museums and works of art.