Overview

The Medici. Botticelli. Dante. What do these names, familiar to anyone who has studied history, art, or literature, have in common? All of them were natives of Florence, and their presence endures in the city today. As the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and an epicenter for high culture, Florence has become one of the artistic trea- sure troves of the world. You can barely walk along the streets and piazze without running into famous works (or their replicas), and the myriad museums are rivaled in number by dozens of churches that house priceless artwork and frescoes all their own. But this city is so much more than that: you can sip regional Chianti at the many cafes and bars, enjoy traditional Tuscan cuisine in trattorias and ristoranti, and view spectacular live performances of everything from music to theater. This is a city of purely Florentine sights, tastes, and customs, and if you allow yourself to embrace that culture, you’ll no doubt leave feeling like a true fiorentino.

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The Florence Top 5

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  • The Bargello

    Though you’d never know it from the inside, the Bargello was once the first public building in Florence: a brutal prison. The statues here seem to know this—most are mid-kill, mid-struggle, or mid-sprint.

  • Museo di San Marco

    The entrance courtyard features barely-there frescoes and some portraits that prove people had bad picture days before Facebook, too.

  • Ponte Vecchio

    This bridge has been called the “old” bridge for, oh, 400 years or so, ever since the Florentines built a second bridge over the Arno and had to find a way to distinguish this one from their new ponte.

  • Boboli Gardens

    Imagine you’re a 17th-century Medici strolling through your gardens—but don’t imagine your way into a corset, ladies, because the gardens are raked at a surprising incline.

  • Il Duomo

    Construction of Florence’s Duomo began before anyone had come up with a solution to actually build and support the signature red dome that now pokes its head above the city.

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