Known worldwide as the birthplace of Renaissance, Florence is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Very rich of art and culture, Florence has hosted artists, thinkers, writers, and world-renowned scientists: just think of Leonardo da Vinci, who created here masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa, and then Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Machiavelli, Filippo Brunelleschi, Galileo Galilei.
The center town is UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the most important architectural works of the world, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio, the Palazzo della Signoria and Palazzo Pitti.
Florence, one of the most famous and appreciated cities in the world, is in the centre of Tuscany, very easy to reach from Hotel Certaldo. Florence is a never-ending feast for the eyes of every visitor, so much to be considered an open-pit museum.
Here below are some general advices for guests of Hotel Certaldo who wish to visit Florence.
Hotel Certaldo’s guests can leave their car in our private parking and conveniently reach Florence by train! Certaldo’s railway station is only a 5-minutes walk from our Hotel, with regular routes for the centre of Florence. The train trip from Certaldo to Florence lasts approximately 50 minutes and the main Florence railway station – Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Firenze S.M.N.) – is right in the centre of Florence, the best starting point to visit this marvel of Renaissance.
The guests of Hotel Certaldo can have all the train timetables free of charge at our Reception Desk, open 24/7. Another way to reach Florence is by car or by taxi, which can be also booked free of charge at the Reception.
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella in Florence
The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella in Florence is one of the most important Gothic churches in Tuscany, with an internal exhibition of magnificent works of art, such as The Holy Trinity by Masaccio, Giotto’s and Brunelleschi’s Crucifixes, the Early Nativity and the pulpit by Sandro Botticelli, the Strozzi Chapel, the Tornabuoni Chapel and the great cloister.
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is one of the most important museums in Tuscany and in Italy as well. A visit to Florence calls for a visit to this marvelous Gallery. We advice to book your visit some days in advance, in order to avoid the long queues in front of the museum. The guests of Hotel Certaldo can book the ticket free of charge at the Reception. The Uffizi Gallery in Florence hosts an enormous number of artworks, which were for a long time the private collection of the Medici family of Florece, and are kept today inside the numerous halls of the building. It is possible to find works of major Italian artists: Sandro Botticelli, Filippino Lippi, Titian, Cimabue, Giotto, Fra’ Angelico, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Masaccio, Michelangelo, Parmigianino, Raphael.
Furthermore, it is possible to visit the Vasari Corridor (Il Corridoio Vasariano), which connects Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery to Palazzo Pitti. Aproximately 1 km long, the passageway allowed the Medici family of Florence to move freely and safely from the government palace (Palazzo Vecchio) to their private residences (Palazzo Pitti).
Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze
The Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence is mostly known for the worldwide famous work of Michelangelo: the David. Other artists worth mentioning are: Giambologna, il Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi, il Perugino, Pontormo, Botticelli and Bronzino.
Palazzo Pitti and the Palatine Gallery in Florence
Three different dynasties lived in Palazzo Pitti, Florence, through the ages: the Medici family, the Lorraine family and the Savoy family, last sovereigns of Italy. Inside Palazzo Pitti in Florence we can find – aside from the royal residences – the Palatine Gallery, created in time by the Lorraine family collecting the different works of art which had belonged to the Medici family of Florence.
The Brancacci Chapel in Florence
Brancacci Chapel in Florence is inside the church of Santa Maria del Carmine, which has the characteristic incomplete façade, just as the church of San Lorenzo in Florence. The Chapel shows a series of frescoes representing the story of Saint Peter, commissioned by Felice Brancacci – rich merchant and political man in Florence – in the year 1400.
State Museums in FlorenceHere you can find the list of Florence state museums:
- The Uffizi Gallery – Florence
- Galleria dell’ Accademia – Florence
- Museo Nazionale del Bargello - Florence
- Museo delle Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapels) – Florence
- Museo di San Marco – Florence - Palazzo Pitti – Florence
- Galleria Palatina (Palatine Gallery) – Florence
- Galleria d’Arte Moderna – Florence - Galleria del Costume (Costume Gallery) – Florence
- Museo degli Argenti – Florence
- Museo delle Porcellane (Porcelain Museum) – Florence
- Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens) – Florence
- Museo di Palazzo Davanzati – Florence
- Museo di Casa Martelli – free entrance, but compulsory booking for 3€ - Florence
- Church and Museum of Orsanmichele – free entrance – Florence
- Sala del Perugino (Perugino’s Hall) – free entrance – Florence
- Le Ville (The Villas) – free entrance – Florence
- Giardino della Villa Medicea di Castello – Florence
- Villa Corsini a Castello – Florence
- Villa Medicea della Pietraia – Florence
- Villa Medicea di Poggio a Caiano e Museo della Natura Morta – Florence
- Villa Medicea di Cerreto Guidi e Museo storico della Caccia e del Territorio – Florence
- I Cenacoli e i Chiostri – free entrance – Florence
- Cenacolo di Ognissanti – Florence
- Cenacolo di Andrea del Sarto – Florence
- Cenacolo di Fuligno – Florence
- Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia – Florence
- Chiostro dello Scalzo – Florence
- Museo delle Carrozze (Carriage Museum) – Florence
- Collezione Contini Boncacossi – Florence
- Corridoio Vasariano (The Vasari Corridor) – Florence
Palazzo Davanzati in Florence
Palazzo Davanzati in Florence is an imposing building dating back to the 14th century and purchased in the mid -1500’s by Bernardo Davanzati, rich merchant and Florence patron. The vast dwelling, still intact from the 14th century, is a superb example of architecture, furnishing and lifestyle of the 16th-century Florence. It is possible to visit the loggia, the bedrooms, the halls and the study.
Il Chiostro dello Scalzo in Florence
Il Chiostro dello Scalzo in Florence is the entrance hall to the chapel of Compagnia dei Disciplinati di San Giovanni Battista. Built in 1376, the cloister ows its name to the fact that the monks inhabiting it used to walk barefoot during processions. Interesting frescoes on the inside.
Boboli Garden in Palazzo Pitti in Florence
Boboli Garden in Florence is a marvelous green area, a true monumental park inside the city of Florence and inside Palazzo Pitti. Fountains, sculptures, flourishing vegetation and flowers make this place a pearl of Florence, an open-pit museum. The design of Boboli inspired later gardens, such as the ones in Versailles.
Villa della Petraia in Florence
Villa La Petraia in Florence is a beautiful villa commissioned by the Medici family, with a beautiful and blooming garden and view over the city of Florence. Over time, the building has belonged to the Medici family of Florence, the Brunelleschi family, the Strozzi family and ultimately to the Savoy family, last sovereigns of Italy. The internal courtyard is fully covered in frescoes of the Renaissance period; this and the garden themselves deserve a visit. There is the possibility to have a free guided tour and the entrance to the villa is free. A true gem, not to be missed during your holiday in Tuscany.
Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Florence
Scientist, inventor, sculptor, painter, architect, astronomer…one of the most multifaceted personalities oh human history! The museum is only a few steps away from Piazza del Duomo in Florence and hosts many in-scale reproductions of the machineries and devices designed and built by Leonardo himself.
The Medici Chapels in FlorenceThe Medici Chapels in Florence are part of the complex belonging to the church of San Lorenzo, right in the centre of Florence, and became over time the mausoleum of the Medici family of Florence. The building and decoration of the chapels were entrusted to artists like Buontalenti, Michelangelo, Montorsoli and Baccio da Montelupo.
The Museum of Bargello in Florence
The Museum of Bargello in Florence hosts an important collection of artworks from the Renaissance, masterpieces of Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Verrocchio, Cellini, Giambologna, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti and many others. It is located in the heart of Florence, inside the imposing Palazzo del Bargello, built in 1255.
Museo Opera del Duomo in Florence
This museum in Florence is unfortunately seldom mentioned in the city guides and it is not included in the usual tourist itineraries. A true shame, for this museum is a true gem. It was created in 1981 to host the different artworks which, in time, were removed from the Florence Duomo or from the Battistero.
The Magi Chapel in Florence
The Magi chapel in Florence is located inside Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, in the center of Florence. The chapel is on the first floor of the building. It used to be the small private chapel of the Medici family, with a splendid series of frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli whose style appears to be very similar to the Flemish tapestries. The Magi theme takes up most of the space of the chapel, hence the name of it.
The Saint Marc Museum in FlorenceThis museum is located inside the old Dominican convent of St. Marc in Florence, a splendid example of 15th-century convent. There are also some works of Fra’ Angelico.
Monuments of Florence
Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence
From Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence it is possible to enjoy the best view of Florence! In visiting Florence, you cannot skip this beautiful square: an elevated panoramic terrace from which the full view of Florence is under your eyes is a must-see!
Palazzo Vecchio and Arnolfo’s Tower in Florence
The Palazzo Vecchio in Florence has always been the symbol of political power of Florence. Designed by the Tuscan artist Arnolfo di Cambio in 1299, the building has its foundations on an ancient roman theater of the 1st century, which is still visible in the dungeons of the palace. Worth noticing are undoubtedly the 16th-century hall with its ceiling coffers and the Arnolfo tower, 95m high.
Piazza della Signoria in Florence
Piazza della Signoria in Florence is one of the historical squares of Florence since the 14th century, overlooking Palazzo Vecchio. The beautiful Loggia dei Lanzi embellishes the square, with the exquisite sculptures under its vaults: a copy of the David, the Rape of the Sabine Women, the Perseus.
Ponte Vecchio in Florence
The Ponte Vecchio in Florence is one of the main defining traits of Florence: built in 1218, it was the first bridge which allowed to cross Florence and which still maintains today its original characteristics. Along the whole length of the bridge are the famous goldsmiths’ shops, which were assigned to settle here during the 16th century. Until that time, the Ponte Vecchio was the place where the butchers’ shops were located. They were replaced by goldsmiths after the Vasari Corridor was built in order for the Medici family to move swiftly from Palazzo Vecchio, the centre of power, to Palazzo Pitti, their private residence. The stench coming from the meat market was thought to be most unsuitable for the illustrious guests to perceive, as passage near Ponte Vecchio was inevitable.
Piazza Santa Maria Novella in Florence
Piazza Santa Maria Novella in Florence was built in 1287 as a decorative element for the same church, and it soon became the perfect space for gatherings, festivals and theatre plays. On the opposite side of the square is the Loggia of the Ospedale di San Paolo.
Piazza della Repubblica in Florence
Piazza della Repubblica in Florence is one of the main squares of Florence, modified at the end of th 19th century when Florence was declared capitol city. This was the original place of the Roman settlement where the two main roads which were the backbone of the city, the cardo and the decumanum, met. This is still visible by the fact that there are two main roads perpendicularly intersecting and thus forming the square. Today this place is often animated by the performances of street artists, and here are the historical cafés of Florence: Caffè Gilli, Caffè Paskowski and Caffè delle Giubbe Rosse (Red Coats’ Café).
Churches of Florence
Il Duomo di Firenze – Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence
Florence cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, is an imposing Gothic-style building. The construction began during the 13th century by the Tuscan artist Arnolfo di Cambio, while the impressive dome of Florence was built only in the 15th century. The façade of Florence cathedral is peculiar also for the colours of its materials: pink, white and green marbles, while the internal part of the church is more austere.
The Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence
The basilica of Santa Croce in Florence is also called “The temple of Italian glories”, due to the many illustrious graves which are located on the inside. Here it is possible to find the tombs of many famous Tuscan personalities: Michelangelo, Rossini, Machiavelli, Galileo Galilei and a symbolic tomb of Dante Alighieri. Inside the church the magnificent works of Gaddi, Giotto and Donatello increase the value of this beautiful basilica. The façade as we see it today was designed and finished in mid – 19th century, and it is one of the few – if not the only – Christian church to show a symbol of another creed: the star of David, symbol of Hebraism.
The Baptistery in Florence Florence
Baptistery was probably built on the ruins of an ancient Roman temple and directly faces the cathedral of Florence. It has a Romanic Tuscan style with octagonal shape and is decorated with white Carrara marbles and green marbles from Prato.
The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella in Florence
The basilica of Santa Maria Novella in Florence is one of the most representative buildings of Gothic style in Tuscany. The external part was entrusted to Fra Jacopo Talenti and Leon Battista Alberti, while on the inside the marvelous works of Masaccio, il Ghirlandaio and Giotto contribute to the exquisite beauty of this church.
The Church of Orsanmichele in Florence
The church of Orsanmichele in Florence is thus named after the Oratory of Saint Michael, San Michele in Italian. The building dates back to 1336 and it was early used as a market and as grain storage. The first floor was later converted into a church. Le artworks which are visible outside were commissioned to Verrocchio, Ghiberti, Donatello and Della Robbia. On the inside, the main focus is on the Tabernacle of Orcagna.
The Brancacci Chapel in Florence
The Brancacci Chapel in Florence, which takes a small space in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine, features an unfinished façade just like the one of the San Lorenzo church in Florence. It has been recently restored, thus showing vivid-coloured frescoes.
The Church of Santa Trinità in Florence
The church of Santa Trinità in Florence stands out on the square carrying the same name, along Via de’ Tornabuoni, one of the most elegant streets of Florence. It was commissioned by the monks of Vallombrosa and in the beginning it used to be outside the city walls of Florence, which absorbed it in 1172 with Florence conquests. It is very rich in interesting artworks inside the different chapels.
The Abbey of San Miniato al Monte in Florence
The abbey of San Miniato al Monte in Florence, built on a hilltop, boasts a wonderful panorama of the city of Florence which can be enjoyed from the terrace facing the church. The façade is decorated with white and green marbles which remind the style of Florence cathedral and the Santa Maria Novella church in Florence. The inside is in Romanic Tuscan style, with a beautiful 13th-century marble floor.
The Church of San Lorenzo in Florence
The church of San Lorenzo in Florence was built by Brunelleschi in 1419, and the façade should have been made by Michelangelo. Unfortunately it remains unfinished still today. This was the Medici family’s church, which then became a mausoleum – the Medici Chapels – of the most important members of this old Florentine dynasty.
The Church of San Marco in Florence
This church of Saint Marc in Florence is less known in comparison to the other religious places of Florence, but it surely deserves a visit. Beato Angelico, Dominican friar and Renaissance artist, lived here. He was the author of the beautiful Annunciation to the Virgin Mary which is exhibited here.
Shopping in Florence
San Lorenzo Market in Florence
The San Lorenzo market in Florence takes place in the very same neighbourhood, only a few steps away from the center of Florence and Florence train station, Santa Maria Novella. The market of San Lorenzo in Florence is divided in two parts: outwardly you can find clothes, various objects, souvenirs, handcrafted goods, jewellery, ceramics and leather goods. Inside, this market is known as mercato centrale, central market, and is completely dedicated to food and typical products of Florence and of Tuscany.
Il Mercato delle Cascine in Florence
Il mercato delle Cascine (the market of Cascine) in Florence is one of the biggest markets in town and is held every Tuesday morning inside Parco delle Cascine, a lovely green area along the banks of Arno river. Here too is possible to find clothes, home décor items, shoes, souvenirs, flowers and delicious Tuscan food!
Luxury Brands in Florence
Via Tornabuoni in Florence is the main street for high-end fashion and luxury shopping: boutiques, jewellery stores, luxury brands like Gucci, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Pucci, Cartier, Bulgari etc…also worth a visit are Via della Vigna Nuova and Via del Parione, a few minutes from the city center.
Shopping for antiques in Florence
Still in the luxury theme, regarding craftsmanship in Florence we advice you Via de’Fossi and Via Maggio, with beautiful shops of antique objects and furniture.
Leather goods in Florence
Florence is full of places where it is possible to buy high-quality leather products: shoes, clothes, bags, accessories and much more! The most suitable places are the San Lorenzo market or the area close to Santa Croce, where you can also visit the School of Leather. Observe the quality of the leather and…negotiate!
Jewellery in Florence
Ponte Vecchio in Florence is your place: goldsmiths’ shops where jewels are designed and handcrafted, for a top-notch quality.
Guided tours in Florence
Susanna Probst : Guided walking tours in Florence and the Tuscan countryside.