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Top Rated Attractions in Florence

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Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria has been the hub of Florence's political life since the Republic at the end of the 15th Century. This L-shaped square is surrounded by its most famous buildings. The Palazzo Vecchio, head of the Florentine government, the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio are some of the most famous landmarks around here. Look around you to see reproductions of Michelangelo's David and the original fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati. Enjoy a full view of the Piazza from the terrace of the Loggia dei Lanzi. The place is a good starting point to begin your tour of the city.

Via de' Tornabuoni

The lovely Via de' Tornabuoni is situated right in the center of the centro storico, and is a shopping mecca for those who visit Florence. Named from the famous Tornabuoni family whose palace lines the street and is currently a private apartment complex. Via de' Tornabuoni was once the premier shopping street in the city, but recent development has forced many of the independently operated businesses out, i.e., Seeber International Bookstore, Doney's. Nearby is via della Vigna Vecchia, an off-shoot of Tornabuoni which leads down towards the Arno, which also has numerous swanky, luxurious shops. Nonetheless, many major shops line these two streets, such as Loro Piana, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Emporio Armani and Tiffany's.

Uffizi Gallery

One of the most prominent art museums in the world, the Uffizi Gallery is located in the Uffizi Complex that dates back to 1581. Much of the collection was bestowed upon the state of Tuscany by the Medici family in the 1700s to ensure that the work of some of Italy's greatest artists would remain where it belonged for the benefit of its people. The gallery consists of 40 rooms showcasing the work of some of the world's most renowned Renaissance masters, including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Caravaggio and also includes Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Primavera. Works of distinguished Flemish, Dutch and German painters are also on display here. The corridors and ceilings are anointed with splendid frescoes and lined with 16th-century Roman sculptures. Originally built to house legislative and administrative offices, the Uffizi Complex is a work of art in itself, designed by the noted architect, Giorgio Vasari.

Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze

Founded in the year 1784, the Galleria dell'Accademia is perhaps best-known for Michelangelo's David, removed after four centuries from Piazza Signoria, and now exhibited in a specially constructed hall. Other works by Michelangelo include some of his Slave series and his sculpture of San Matteo. Also featured is an impressive collection of paintings from the 13th to 16th Centuries. Among the gallery's most noted works: a Sienese school Crucifix from the 13th Century, 24 panels by Taddeo Gaddi representing scenes from the Life of Christ and St Francis, as well as Giovanni da Milano's Pietà. Embodying the artistic culture of Florence, this remarkable gallery is a must-have on the itinerary.

Ponte Vecchio

This pedestrian bridge is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks, home to a charming collection of jewelry shops that rest atop the mighty stone arches that span the Arno. The Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, was built in 1345, but its architect is unknown. Until the 13th Century, the bridge was lined with shops of every kind, including butchers, fishmongers and tanneries, each adding to a stench that eventually induced Grand Duke Ferdinando I to issue an edict replacing all shops with goldsmiths. Additional improvements were made when the Medici family moved to Palazzo Pitti in the 1500s and commissioned Giorgio Vasari to design and construct a separate passage for their use. The resulting overpass, dating back to 1565 above Ponte Vecchio's shops, is now known as the Vasari Corridor. Miraculously, Ponte Vecchio was the only one spared by the retreating Germans on August 4, 1944, and remains a revered historic landmark. Today, the bridge is a popular choice for evening strolls, sightseeing and jewelry shopping.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Renowned for its panoramic views of Florence and the Arno valley, this terrace is a popular spot with locals and tourists. Created as part of major restructuring of the city walls, Giuseppe Poggi's sumptuous terrace is typically 19th-century. In 1871, Poggi designed a monument base dedicated to Michelangelo. The monument itself was to be composed of copies of Michelangelo's works, including David and the Medici chapel sculptures from San Lorenzo. When the terrace was finished, Poggi designed the hillside building, now a restaurant, as a museum for Michelangelo's works.

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