1. The Uffizi Gallery: An amazing art collection established in 1581. Get lost among the masterpieces of the Renaissance and Baroque.
2. Galleria dell’Accademia: Originally intended to be a Michelangelo museum, the Accademia is now home to the original David, along with several other of the artist’s works. The museum also boasts a large collection of Gothic and Renaissance paintings.
3. Palazzo Vecchio: The seat of the Florentine government since its construction in the 14th century. Visit the museum and see the history of Florence within. The museum is home to several important works of art, and has a terrific view from the bell tower.
4. The Bargello: A national museum, at the Bargello you will find several masterpieces by Donatello, Michelangelo, and Bernini. The museum also has a fine collection of ceramics, textile, tapestries, ivory, silver, armor and old coins.
5. Palazzo Pitti and The Boboli Gardens: An enormous museum in the Oltrarno housing a significant number of works by Raphael, Titian, among others. Behind the palace you will find the Boboli Gardens, one of the first formal 16th century Italian gardens, decorated with a collection of sculptures and Roman antiquities.
1. Santa Maria del Fiore (il Duomo): The tallest structure in Florence and the largest brick and mortar dome in the world, the Duomo is certainly the most recognizable attraction in the city.
2. Santa Croce: A beautiful church home to many important works of art and the burial place of some of history’s most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini.
3. Ponte Vecchio: Dating back to the 14th century, the Ponte Vecchio is a landmark of Florence. It is a great photographic subject and the best place to shop for jewelry.
4. Piazzale Michelangelo: Hike up to the Piazzale Michelangelo for an incredible view of the city.
1. Typical Florentine Food: While there are countless restaurants in Florence, not all are worth going to. I recommend Birreria Centrale, Trattoria Sostanza, Osteria Santo Spirito, Nerbone and, of course, All’Antico Vinaio.
2. Pizza: For the best pizza restaurant in Florence, I recommend O’Munaciello. If you’re just looking to grab a slice, stop by Antica Friggitoria, a hole-in-the-wall joint on Via dell’Albero for a €2 slice of their stuffed pizza.
3. Gelato: Edoardo has the best gelato in Florence, hands down. It’s located next to the Duomo, on the South side of the street. Don’t waste your time or money going anywhere else.
4. Non-Italian Food: If you get sick of Italian food, fear not. Have a kebab at one of the many stands, or try out the spicy Szechuan noodles and xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) from the aptly named “Ristorante Cinese” on Via Sant’Antonino. If you’re craving American, head over to The Red Garter for a burger and fries.
5. The Coffee: Try out traditional Italian espresso, available on practically every street in Florence. The best coffee is at Ditta Artigianale on Via dei Neri. Careful, it’s addictive!
The people of Florence are warm, welcoming, and happy to share their culture with you. Don’t be shy!
Jake is a current student at University of Miami studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy during the Fall 2015 term.