There are many things to do in Florence, Italy. We’ll cover Santo Spirito, the Duomo, the Mercato Nuovo, and the Basilica of Santa Croce. But you should also visit the Ponte Vecchio, a popular photo spot. It’s quieter during the morning, but at night, it offers fantastic photo motives.

Santo Spirito

Before the church was built in 1301, the square in front of Santo Spirito was an empty space. It was eventually paved and transformed into a garden. This area later became one of the most important in Florence. It was also the site of a major humanist movement, led by Boccaccio, who left his library to the convent upon his death. Another humanist group was led by Luigi Marsili, who had studied philosophy and theology in Paris. Several other prominent figures in this circle included Coluccio Salutati, who was the Chancellor of Florence in 1375. He was a key figure in the circle, and Leonardo Bruni, who was to become the city’s Chancellor, also came to Florence.

The church is a prime example of Brunelleschi’s architecture. The coffered ceiling and columns reminiscent of a spiral staircase evoke the idea of a heavenly realm. The interior of Santo Spirito has a similar coffered ceiling, with columns dividing the church into three aisles. It also features some of Brunelleschi’s finest altarpieces. The church is also the site of many renowned artists, such as Pietro Perugino and Salvi d’Andrea.

The piazza is bustling during the day, and at night it comes to life. It attracts locals and tourists alike. You can find a number of restaurants, bars, and cafés in the area. There are also trendy aperitivo bars. Those who are looking for a more intimate setting to drink a drink can visit the nearby Palazzo Guadagni.

Santo Spirito is a very popular neighborhood in Florence. During the week, it hosts a weekly market, and on weekends, it hosts a lively outdoor market. On Sundays, the market turns into a festival known as the Fierucola, where food and wine vendors sell their wares.

The Duomo

The Duomo is one of the most important churches in Italy, and a must-see landmark for any Florence tourist. Its two marble facades, the first designed by Taddeo Gaddi and Andrea Orcagna, are filled with Gothic decoration. In the front, a large Rose window stands out along with smaller Rosette windows. The cathedral’s three main doors have Gothic detailing on their architraves, with statues of St. Zenobius and St. Reparata adorning them.

You can go inside the Duomo to get an amazing view of the city. This cathedral is also home to a crypt, which can only be accessed by those with a Duomo ticket. When waiting to climb the cupola, you may notice an unusual carving: a bull. It’s the third largest cathedral in the world.

The Duomo is a popular attraction among tourists, and lines can be quite long. However, it is worth it for the unique experience. Although the cathedral is free to visit, you’ll need to avoid the peak tourist times. The best times to visit are early morning before the cathedral opens and late afternoon before it closes. You can also take a guided tour, which will get you in and out of the cathedral without the crowds. The opening hours vary depending on the season and any special events.

In order to design the Duomo, the Opera del Duomo, the institution responsible for building the Florence Cathedral, held a public competition. The prize was fame and 200 gold florins, and many of the best architects came to Florence to show their designs. Brunelleschi was chosen as the superintendent.

Mercato Nuovo

Florence’s Mercato Nuovo, or Loggia del Porcellino, is a historical building in the heart of the city. This building was constructed around 1547 by Giovanni Battista Tasso. It was intended to be a trading place for silk and straw hats. Today, leather goods are a common sight here.

This market is always bustling and packed with tourists and locals. It is situated right near Piazza della Repubblica, the ancient Roman forum. The market’s south side is home to the famous statue of a boar, which was sculpted by Pietro Tacca.

You can also find plenty of souvenirs at Mercato Nuovo. The open air setting gives the shoppers a chance to look around and compare prices. While you’re browsing, be sure to take time to ask a local about the Mercato Nuovo.

The market also features the Pietra della Scandalo, or the Stone of Shame. The stone was once used to publicly shame insolvent merchants. They were chained to a post, forced to take off their trousers, and whipped across their legs. Those who did not pay were humiliated and sometimes even killed.

Another landmark of Florence’s historic center is the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, or the “New Market.” The piazza is home to the fountain of the Piglet, a bronze sculpture that reflects the city’s colorful history. Originally a marketplace, it now sells leather and hides.

The market also includes the Porcellino fountain. It was modeled after a Greek sculpture. It was originally intended to feature statues of famous Florentines. But only three of the original were completed during the eighteenth century. The sculptures are now preserved in the Uffizi Gallery.

Basilica of Santa Croce

The Basilica of Santa Croce is one of the many things to see in Florence. It overlooks the Piazza Santa Croce and was declared a basilica by Pope Pius XI in 1933. It is the largest Franciscan church in the world and is one of the greatest artistic treasures of Italy. The church is also considered a pantheon for some of Italy’s most famous people. Visiting Santa Croce may even induce Stendhal Syndrome, a condition that causes you to feel overwhelmed by the beauty and intensity of a painting or sculpture.

The Santa Croce cathedral contains three cloisters. These enclosed walks were designed for prayer, meditation, and contemplation. One of the cloisters was designed by Brunelleschi, but was completed after his death. It is one of the most harmonious buildings of the Florentine Renaissance and is decorated with glazed terracotta roundels.

Visitors are encouraged to take their time at this monumental church, which is rich in art. Its beautiful frescoes by Gaddi and Giotto depict the life of St. Francis and St. John the Evangelist, as well as a Donatello relief of the Annunciation. Visitors can also visit the basilica’s Museum, which is located just behind the main entrance. A ticket to enter the museum provides access to the museum, which contains various exhibitions.

While there, you can also visit the tombs of Dante, Galileo, and Michelangelo. You can also admire the oldest example of Florentine stained glass. Santa Croce is also a popular place for nightlife. It hosts annual markets and concerts. You’ll be blown away by the local artists and musicians.

National Museum Bargello

The Bargello Museum features a magnificent collection of classic sculptures. Its highlights include works by Michelangelo, Donatello, and Bacchus. The museum also features pieces from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The museum also contains fine collections of ceramics, tapestries, and silver. Visiting the museum offers a look into the life of ancient Florentine citizens.

Donatello’s David was created in 1440 at the request of Cosimo de Medici to commemorate a Florentine victory over the Milanese. The sculpture is important to Florentine history and holds political significance. It was severely damaged during the Florence flood of 1966, but has since undergone a restoration. You can visit the museum year-round and enjoy a diverse selection of works from the Renaissance to modern times.

While you’re in Florence, you might also want to visit Florence’s scientific library, which has over 15,000 works. You can also see the Renaissance masterpieces of Fra’ Angelico in the 15th century religious complex. For those who don’t have the time to spend hours in the museum, opt for a guided tour.

Another popular attraction in Florence is the Santa Maria Novella church. This basilica dates back to the 14th century, and has a beautiful zebra-striped facade. It has classical pediments and gothic arches. Inside, you can view Masaccio’s Holy Trinity (1427), a masterpiece that displays outstanding use of perspective.

A fascinating museum in Florence is the Bargello. It is housed in the former Palazzo del Bargello, a palace that was once the city magistrate. The building was originally constructed in 1255 by Donatello’s father. It has several floors and an impressive 54-meter clock tower. The Bargello museum was once the seat of justice and government in Florence, and has since been refurbished.