Nicknamed the "Athens of the Middle Ages," Florence is the capital city of Tuscany and one of the most visited cities in the world.
Florence is not just known for being the home of the Medici family. It also boasts masterpieces like the Duomo, a cathedral whose dome and bell tower were engineered by Brunelleschi and Giotto respectively. You will find Michelangelo's "David" sculpture in Galleria dell'Accademia while the Uffizi Gallery features Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation.”
Florence originally was a Roman city and is considered the birthplace of Renaissance.
When visiting Florence, don't just stop at the Duomo. Make sure you spend a few hours at Piazza della Signoria, a 13th-century masterpiece.
There, you will find a replica of Michelangelo's "David"; the massive Fountain of Neptune, which symbolizes Florence as a naval power; Palazzo Vecchio (Florence's city hall); and a very fine collection of outdoor sculptures.
The L-shaped square was an important spot for events, like shows, tournaments, and executions. It also remains the political hub of the city to this day.
Another point of interest is the Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross), which is considered the largest Franciscan church in the world. Its construction began in 1294.
The building was consecrated in 1442. The Basilica was built as an Egyptian cross and first used to house the graves of families living in the area. Then, the 15th century saw it become the resting place of a number of very famous Italians — Michelangelo, Leonardo Bruni, Julie Clary, Galileo Galilei, Niccolò Machiavelli, Gioachino Rossini, and Dante to name a few.
(Dante’s tomb is actually empty. The poet had been exiled for his political activities. His remains are buried in Ravenna and the city has refused to allow Florence to reclaim his body.)
The Basilica has an impressive façade and features work from major artists like Donatello, Giotto, Santi di Tito, Giorgio Vasari, and Domenico Veneziano.