what to see in florence - florence museums - monuments in florence


Hotel Orto de’ Medici is right in the heart of Florence: all the city's museums, art galleries, and monuments are within easy walking distance.



The Galleria dell’Accademia, just 5 minutes’walk from our hotel, is the home of Michelangelo’s most celebrated sculptures. There is the stunning original version of David, moved here in 1873, as well as his Prisoners and St.Matthew. Other important works can be viewed in the adjacent rooms, which were once part of an old monastery. These include beautiful paintings from between the 13th to 16thcenturies, a unique collection of gold-gilded paintings, late gothic polyptychs, plaster casts, and Russian icons. The gallery has recently acquired a collection of antique musical instruments which belonged to the Medici and Lorena Families.


Designed during the High Renaissance by Vasari and Buontalenti, the Uffizi Gallery was built in 1560 with the original purpose of housing all the administration offices of the Grand Duchy of Florence. 21 years later, in 1581, the Palace was converted into a museum, to become one of the most important in Italy and the world. The outdoor area, with its unique horse-shoe shape, holds sculptures of the most influential men in Florence, while the great Medici art collections are exhibited in the majestic rooms upstairs. The Uffizi Gallery is the largest museum collection in the world, with true masterpieces from the finest of artists such as Cimabue, Giotto, Gentile da Fabriano, Paolo Uccello, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, Leonardo, Perugino, Correggio, Mantegna, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Goya, and many more. You can admire nearly 5,000 works of art including miniatures, tapestries, and sculptures.


The construction of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore – better known as the Duomo and undoubtedly among the most beautiful sights in Florence – started in 1296. The original project is credited to the architect Arnolfo di Cambio, whose idea was to gift the city with a monumental gothic cathedral. He only had six years to work on the project and other great artists came after him, including Giotto, Andrea Pisano, and Talenti, while Brunelleschi took care of the planning and execution of the spectacular Dome. The mostly-bare interior reflects the stern Christian spirituality of the Middle Ages but still manages to contain important masterpieces like the 16th-century marble pavement and frescoes by Paolo Uccello and Vasari. Michelangelo’s famous Deposition sculpture is kept in the apse chapel.


The most famous bridge in the world dates back to Etruscan times. It was built at a strategic location, where the Arno river narrows. Over the course of centuries, the bridge was destroyed and re-built many times; until it was finally remade in stone, taking the shape we can still admire today. In its early years, the bridge housed mainly butcher and greengrocer shops which were later converted to jeweler and goldsmith boutiques, mainly thanks to Ferdinand I de’ Medici who wanted to make the bridge more glamorous and pleasant. The bridge’s fame and beauty were enough to even prevent the German Army from bombing it during the Second World War.


In the San Lorenzo area, these chapels were built to hold the tombs of the most important members of the Medici family, including Lorenzo the Magnificent, Giuliano de' Medici, Lorenzo Duke of Urbino, and Giuliano Duke of Nemours. The artists Vasari and Michelangelo were both involved in completing this majestic project, which was meant to celebrate the lives of the members of the most influential Florentine family of all time. A must-see inside the chapels are the beautiful statues of the Virgin by Michelangelo and the statues of Cosmas and Damian, the patron saints of the Medici.


Initially established in 1299 as the seat of the Priors of Arts and Craft, Palazzo Vecchio became, at a later stage, the Grand Duke’s Palace. Since then, this magnificent building has always represented the symbol of the political and economic power of the town. Faithfull to its antique roots, even today, it hosts Florence Town Hall. Its large halls and reception rooms are truly magnificent. Leonardo Da Vinci itself might have contributed to the beauty of the palace; in fact some art critics think that his famous Anghiari Battle could be still lying under Vasari’s paintings, located at the Salone Dei Cinquecento. Palazzo Vecchio overlooks Piazza della Signoria, the historic beating heart of the city since the end of the 13th century. At the center of the Piazza, stand out Giambologna’s equestrian statue of Grand Duke Cosimo I and Ammannati’s monumental Fountain. The remains of the Roman’s thermal baths and dyer workshops, testify the old tradition of Florence’s commercial vocation, which would mark the prosperous future of the city along the centuries.


The Basilica church of Santa Maria Novella, located behind the city’s central railway station, is principally famous for its wonderful Romanesque façade by Leon Battista Alberti. Completed in the second half of the 15th century, the church contains many masterpieces worth visiting; such as the famous fresco by Masaccio, crucifixes by Giotto and by Brunelleschi, and the frescoes by Ghirlandaio. Through the gateway on the left, you can enter the cloisterwhich houses some wonderful frescoes by Paolo Uccello. Read more about Santa Maria Novella


If you want to fully immerseyourself in the magnificence of Florence’s past, a visit to the Pitti Palace is highly recommended. This magnificent building was commissioned from Filippo Brunelleschi in 1440 by the powerful banking family. In 1550 the palace was taken over by Cosimo de’ Medici, who decided to finance a substantial enlargement of the building. He then made it the principal residence for his family and asked Ammannati to build the courtyard with its unusual windows and the wonderful Boboli gardens at the back. The Pitti Palace is today home to various museums and collections such as the Silver Museum, Costume Museum, Coach Museum, and the Gallery of Modern Art. The Palatine Gallery holds well-known masterpieces by Titian, Raphael, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Botticelli, Perugino, Canova, and Rubens.

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