Florence Video Travel Guides


Florence the city of art and culture - walk along the banks of the River Arno - visit the many museums, climb the Campanile and spend quality time within the Duomo.

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Santa Croce

Explore the area around Piazza Santa Croce and Piazza Vecchi , close to the River Arno, near its famous bridge.

Piazza Santa Croce

Santa Croce

The Piazza is the home of the imposing Gothic Church Santa Croce. The square is lined with a mix of restaurants and shops.The colour facade of the church is impressive and contrasts with the dull interior.

Visitations to the Basicalla and its ceremonies were so numerous that the area in front was cleared to make room for the overflow.

In the 15th 16th centuries outside of relgious worshipping times, the Piazza was used as a festival area, with josts, carnivals and other entertainment.

The Piazza is lined with cafes and restaurants and is a good resting place on a walking tour of Florence.

Santa Croce

Santa Croce

The church has many tombs and cenotaphs. It also houses the Museo dell'Opera di Santa Croce. In the church there is a memorial to Dante and the tomb of Michelangelo.

The museum and cathedral were flooed to a height of over 4 metres in 1966. Much damage was done to the works of art. Inside the church there are a serises of photographs showing the flood damage and restoration work. The crufix by Cimabue, after restoration, was moved to a higher elevation.

The front facade of the church was added in the 19th century.

The queues can be long during the summer period, so better to join the queue early, before opening time.

Palazzo Vecchio

Santa Croce

The town hall dominates this important square. Arnolfo's tower - the highest in the city - over looks the square.

The Palazzo Vecchio has been the seat of government since the 14th century. Later during the renaissance period in the 16th century, it was filled with works art many of which have survived to the present day.

History of Palazzio Vecchio is in the Wikipedia notes below.

Leave yourself an hour or two to visit the museum. Outside the peak season the ticket queue isn’t usually too long.

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The Duomo and its associate Piazza, with its campanile, bapistery, dome are some of the most famous landmarks in Florence, crammed into a relatively small space.



The impressive Duomo forms the geographical, cultural and historical centre of Florence. Construction started in 1296 and continued for almost another 170 years. The exterior is lined with white Carrara, green Prato and red Maremma marble.

Compared with the exterior, the interior is rather dull, with few exhibits lining the walls. Many of the orginal works are now housed in the Museo dell Opera del Duomo.

The central point of interest is the massive dome. Enjoy the view from the top after climbing the hundreds of steps.



The Baptistery is just across from the Duomo in Piazza del Duomo which is packed with things to see - the Duomo, Baptistery, Campanile, Cupola plus museums.

It is said that the Renaissance started here when in 1400, the cloth impoirters guild, Calimala held a competition to find an artist to create a pair of bronze doors for the north entrance. While Ghiberti won the competition.
The interior is massive and might remind you of the Rome's Pantheon, but dull and dark ( no hole in the ceiling ) lit only through small windows in the ambulatory and through the lantern. The interior is divided in a lower part with columns and pilasters and an upper part with an ambulatory.

Gates of Paradise
On the door facing the Duomo, there are 12 panels, which are replicas of Ghiberti's originals, the panel scenes depict bibical stories.The door is called for obvious reasons ( when you view the panels ) the "Gates of Paradise",

Within the Baptistery, the ceilling is covered with a magnificent mosaic. The earliest mosaics, works of art of many unknown Venetian craftsmen (including probably Cimabue), date from 1225.

Interior Duomo


The dull interior contrasts with the colourful exterior. Notable items are the backward running clock, whose days start at sunset. The dome looks even more breathtaking from the inside. The interior diameter is 44m.

The Duomo, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris.

The wikipedia artile below has massive amount of detail regarding the Duomo



Feel like a walk and a climb ? The 414 steps up the campanile will keep you fit. The view from the top or any of the 3 floors is well worth the exercise. The tower was designed by Giotto (1334).

The campanile has seven bells - the largest Campanone made in 1705 has a diameter of 2 metre.

The campanile was designed by Giotto di Bondone, he laid the foundation stone 1334. By the time of his death, in 1337, he had only finished the lower floor designed with geometric patterns of white marble from Carrara, green marble from Prato and red marble from Siena.

See the Wikipedia article below for much greater details.

Piazza del Duomo


The Piazza del Doumo is like an open air museum or art gallery the focal point being the Duomo with its Cupola del Brunelleschi , thought Giotto's Campanile, the Baptistery, the Loggia del Bigallo, the Opera del Duomo Museum, and the Arcivescovile and Canonici's palace are more than impressive.

Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral
Is the fourth largest church in Europe by size, its length is 153 m (501.97 ft) and its height is 116 m (380.58 ft).
Giotto's Bell Tower
Standing adjacent the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Baptistery of St. John, the tower is one of the showpieces of the Florentine Gothic architecture with its design by Giotto, its rich sculptural decorations and the polychrome marble encrustations.

Baptistery of St. John
The octagonal Baptistery stands across from the Duomo cathedral and the Giotto bell tower (Campanile di Giotto). It is one of the oldest buildings in the city, built between 1059 and 1128. The architecture is in Florentine Romanesque style.

Museo dell'Opera del Duomo
The museum is committed to the conservation of the Dome and other art works and stores works of Michelangelo, Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Luca della Robbia, Arnolfo di Cambio.

Further Reading on Wikipedia : Florence Duomo

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Santa Maria Novella

The dominican church of Santa Maria Novella houses a fabulous collection of art works, its Piazza is a place of relaxation.

Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella

Facing onto the Piazza of the same name and with its back to the railway station, the church is site between the calm piazza and the busy railway station. The facade was designed by Alberti 1465. Inside there is a large crufix by Gotti.

To the left of the nave, is Masaccio’s fresco Trínita (Trinity, 1427), sometines considered the first Renaissance painting.
Points of Interest
Sandro Botticelli ---- early nativity scene above the door

Works of Art
Baccio D'Agnolo ----- wood carvings
Bronzino ------the Miracle of Jesus
Filippo Brunelleschi ----- The Crucifix (between 1410 and 1425)

A full list of the art works and information about the Basilica is contained in the wikipedia article below.

Piazza di S. Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella

The recently restored Piazza in front of the S. Maria Novella church and museum, is a favourite place to relax. The piazza is close to the railway station but is an oasis of calm.

Like a number of other open areas in front of the churches or basilicas, the Piazza di S. Maria Novella, was cleared a number of times to cater for the huge crowds drawn to the Basillica.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Piazza hosted festival activities such as josting and chariot racing.

Further Reading on Wikipedia : Santa Maria Novella

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Piazza della Repubblica

Formerly a roman forum, formerly a ghetto, formerly the capital of Italy currently a meeting square.

Piazza della Repubblica

Piazza della Repubblica

During the period 1885 to 1895, large areas of the city's tenements were demolished to make way for a refurbished Florence. The Piazza della Repubblicia is one such square. In roman times it was the site of the forum and over the centuries became a ghetto.

During this rather short period, Florence was the capital of Italy.

There are a number of cafes on the perimeter of the Piazza, cafes such as Caffè Gilli, Paszkowski, Caffè Giubbe Rosse, and Caffè Gambrinus have literary associations.

Further Reading on Wikipedia : Piazza della Repubblica Florence

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Basilica San Lorenzo

Probably the best market in Florence is right outside the Basilica and stretches up towards the railway station.

Piazza di S. Lorenzo

Basilica San Lorenzo

The Church of San Lorenza is surrpunded by the city's largest market. The market brings colour and activity to this part of the city. The market sells clothes,leather goods and souvenirs.

Like in most cities, beware that there may be pick pockets about. Better to spend your euros on some good deals bought at the stalls.

This well known market is easily found as its right beside the Church of San Lorenza.

Further Reading on Wikipedia : Basilica of San Lorenzo Florence

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Copyright Trav Vid Mar 22 2018

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