Top 5 Things To Do in Florence
Fairly small in size, Florence -- called "one of Italy's most enchanting cities" by Conde Nast Traveler -- still manages to pack a big punch when it comes to sights and attractions. Here is a list of our top five things to do there:
- Uffizi Gallery: No visit to Florence would be complete without a trip to the Uffizi Gallery, called the "jewel in Florence's crown" by Lonely Planet. A large room for Botticelli artworks and another of Leonardo da Vinci pieces are just the tip of the iceberg, so it's best to set aside at least three hours to take in the whole gallery. If you get peckish midway, there is a café -- we recommend sitting outside (if the weather's nice) to take in the wonderful views from the rooftop. Tickets are about $15 per person, but to avoid some long queues, you might want to pre-book tickets for about $5.50 extra.
- Piazza della Signoria: Filled with sculptures and overlooked by the Palazzo Vecchio museum and tower, the pretty and historic Piazza della Signoria is a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike. The square is beside the Uffizi Gallery and lined with cafés and restaurants for pre- or post-gallery grub. We lost a good few hours sitting in one of the restaurants, snacking on pizza, taking in the sights and watching the world go by.
- The Doumo: Unlike most other sights in the city, you can go inside the Doumo, Florence's cathedral and the city's most iconic landmark, for free. In truth, the pink, green and white marble exterior of the dome is probably fancier than the interior, though Giorgio Vasari's and Frederico Zuccaro's frescoes on the dome's ceiling are impressive.
- Gallerie dell'Accademia: Head to the Gallerie dell'Accademia to see Michelangelo's famous David statue, described by Fodor's as "so poised and graceful and alert -- so miraculously alive -- that it is often considered the definitive sculptural embodiment of the High Renaissance perfection." Michelangelo carved the statue, which is over 16 feet tall, from one block of marble that had actually been used and discarded by two other artists some years 40 before. Tickets to the gallery are about $15 each, but as at the Uffizi, pre-booking is recommended to bypass the line.
- Piazzale Michelangelo: The Giuseppe Poggi-designed Piazzale Michelangelo is the place to go for great panoramic views of the city. The monument, set atop a hill south of the Arno River, was built as a dedication to Michelangelo and houses a bronze copy of David. You can reach the piazza by walking up the hill or catching the No. 13 bus from the Santa Maria Novella train station.