Sightseeing Tours of Walking in Florence

tour duration

3 Hours

start time

09:00 AM
Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun

meeting point

Accademia Gallery or your hotel if centrally located

Excursions of Walking in Florence

Showing all 6 results

Ponte Vecchio

Florence - Ponte Vecchio - Arno view
Florence - Ponte Vecchio - viewFlorence - Ponte vecchio - night viewFlorence - Ponte Vecchio - side view

Renowned the world over, the ancient medieval stone bridge Ponte Vecchio casts a familiar reflection over the waters of the Arno River, in Florence. Ponte Vecchio was built and destroyed many times since Roman times, although it did not begin to look as it does today until the mid 14th century following a terrible flood. The shops today host jewelers and souvenir sellers but they once hosted butchers and fishmongers, turning the bridge into a real market hub.

Composed of three wide segmental arches, Ponte Vecchio is lined on both sides by its famous shops, some of which have expanded sections, called “retrobotteghe” (“back shops”), that face out to the river, supported by wooden brackets. At each corner of the bridge was once a tower to protect it, though now only one, Torre dei Mannelli, remains. Today, a gelato shop occupies the bottom floor.

Things to see

In 1565, the architect Giorgio Vasari built a corridor to connect Palazzo Vecchio with Palazzo Pitti at the behest of Cosimo I de’Medici, who wished to avoid mingling with his subjects. Now called Vasari’s Corridor, this passage goes through the Uffizi Gallery toward the Arno River, crossing above the Ponte Vecchio, and then follows the river’s bank until it reaches the Boboli Gardens and Palazzo Pitti.

During World War II, Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge that had not been destroyed by the German army, though it sustained considerable damage when they blocked access on both sides by bombing the nearby buildings. As a result, the surrounding structures are much more modern than the rest in the area, following a hasty reconstruction process during the 1950s.

Michelangelo’s David

Florence - David Michelangelo - detail
Florence - David Michelangelo  -  frontal view

Possibly one of the most renowned sculptures from the Italian Renaissance is Michelangelo's David, a marble masterpiece created in the early 16th century. Over 5 meters tall, the idealized nude figure of the Biblical hero David towers over visitors from its pedestal within the Accademia Gallery, in Florence.

Made of smooth white marble imported from Carrara –a feat at the time, considering the size and weight of the block, and the distance between Carrara and Florence– the David was only one of a series of statues of biblical figures that would have been installed on the roof of the Duomo di Firenze.

Things to see

Originally commissioned by the art guild of the cathedral in question, the guild quickly realized that the sculpture’s size was too great to actually raise it to the roof. Instead, it was placed in the Piazza della Signoria, directly in front of Palazzo Vecchio, as a political symbol. In 1873, the original statue had to be moved from the Piazza to its current home in the Accademia Gallery in order to preserve it from further damage (both human and natural); the replica that took its place in front of the Palazzo Vecchio was not erected until 1910.

Today, the sculpture of David is one of the most famous silhouettes in the world, with replicas of all sizes and materials populating all sorts of locales, from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to casinos, hotels, resorts and sometimes even people’s homes.

Academia Gallery

Florence - Academia Gallery
Florence - Academia GalleryFlorence - Academia Gallery - statuesFlorence - David Michelangelo - detail

Founded in 1562 by Cosimo I de’Medici, with the help of artist and architect Giorgio Vasari, the Accademia di Belle Arti was the first institution of its kind. The Accademia Gallery, located in the same complex, was later founded in 1784 by Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Home to an impressive art collection by various Italian masters, its most famous piece by far is Michelangelo's David. Created in the early 16th century, this sculpture is a marble masterpiece that stands over five meters tall, towering above visitors from its pedestal. Originally meant as one of a series of biblical figures to decorate the roof of the Duomo di Firenze, it was deemed too heavy by the time it was completed and was instead installed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, in the Piazza della Signoria, in 1504. The David was not moved to its current place in the Accademia Gallery until 1873 to preserve it from both human and weather damage. The replica that now takes its place in the Piazza was added in 1910.

Things to see

Some of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures, sketches and lesser known art can also be found in the gallery. Other works housed by the Academia Gallery include Florentine paintings by artists such as Paolo Uccello, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Sandro Botticelli; several Florentine Gothic paintings; and even Giambologna’s original full-scale plaster for “The Rape of the Sabine Women” (one of the sculptures displayed in the Loggia dei Lanzi).

Piazza della Signoria

Florence - Piazza Signoria - particular
Florence - Piazza Signoria -  particularFlorence - Palazzo Vecchio - detail

Located in front of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Piazza della Signoria is a square with a long and rich history, originating as far back as the Roman period when the city was called Florentia. This L-shaped plaza boasts a large collection of sculptures and monuments such as the Fountain of Neptune, the statues of Hercules and Cacus, Cosimo I de' Medici's statue, and of course, a copy of Michelangelo's David (the original statue is kept in the Accademia Gallery of Fine Arts).

Palazzo Vecchio, originally called Palazzo della Signoria and therefore the originator of the plaza’s name, serves today as a museum and as the town hall of Florence. This impressive Romanesque fortress was built in the early 14th century to both protect the city magistrates and celebrate Florence’s power and importance. Its tower, Torre di Arnolfo, was a preexisting structure which was incorporated into the Palazzo’s construction, hence why the tower looks somewhat misplaced.

Things to see

On one of the corners of Piazza della Signoria is the Loggia dei Lanzi, an open air gallery with wide arches built in the late 14th century. Within it are examples of antique and Renaissance artworks such as Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus, Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women, and the Medici Lions.

Right nearby is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest and most famous museums in Italy, boasting a beautiful architecture and an impressive collection of various artworks. Built in the mid 16th century by the architect Giorgio Vassari to host the offices of the city’s magistrates, hence the name Uffizi, it was both an archive and a private gallery. It amassed an incredible wealth of art over the years and following the fall of the Medici family, the building was opened as a public museum in the mid 18th century.

A short walk from the Piazza della Signoria is Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone bridge that spans the Arno River. This bridge is famous around the world for the shops build atop of it, most of which are still open today, though the tenants have changed from butchers and fishmongers to jewelers and souvenir sellers.

Baptistery of St John

Florence - Baptistery - day view
Florence - St John Baptistery - ceilingFlorence - St John Baptistery  -  interiorFlorence - St John Baptistery

Built between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza di San Giovanni, the Baptistery of St John stands across from the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence’s famed cathedral. Considered as one of the oldest buildings in the city, the Baptistery is best known for its three decorated bronze doors, one of which is the famously dubbed Gates of Paradise.

Construction began in 1059 and was completed in 1128, the design conforming to the Florentine Romanesque style of the epoch. Some changes and improvements were made over the years, such as the striped pilasters, decorated with green marble in 1293, or the addition of more statues and ornaments. Its famous doors were not added until later, between the 14th and 16th centuries.

Things to see

The South doors, which originally faced the Duomo to the east, were designed by the sculptor Andrea Pisano and cast in bronze by the Venetian metalworker Leonardo d’Avanzano. These doors were completed in 1336 and depict the life of Saint John the Baptist, as well as the seven heavenly virtues of the Christian faith.

The North doors are a result of a design competition that Lorenzo Ghiberti ultimately won; other competing artists were Jacopo della Quercia, Filippo Brunelleschi and Donato di Niccolò (better known as Donatello). Completed between 1403 and 1424, these doors depict the life of Christ as well as the Four Evangelists and the Church Fathers Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Gregory, and Saint Augustine. This work of art propelled Ghiberti into stardom and he was eventually commissioned to make the third set of doors.

The East doors are the most famous, referred to as the Gates of Paradise following a praising comment made by Michelangelo. Ghiberti and his workshop worked on these doors between 1425 and 1452, creating a masterpiece still celebrated today. The East doors are composed of ten gilded panels depicting various scenes from the Old Testament, from Adam and Eve to Noah to Moses.

Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore

Florence - Duomo - top view
Florence - DuomoFlorence - Duomo - side viewFlorence - Duomo - night view

At the end of the 13th century, the city council decided to replace the old Cathedral Santa Reparata by a new one, the actual cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore. The project was first given to the architect Arnolfo di Cambio the construction had only started when he died in 1302. Then the architect Giotto pursued it along with several other architects after him.

A great problem appeared when it came to build a dome and it was finally the architect Filippo Brunelleschi who solved it and created a beautiful dome. The dome is octagonal and measures 112 meters and it took no less than 140 years to finish the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore.  As the dome is octagonal, Brunelleschi dedicated one team per side, so 8 different teams worked on this dome, they used approximately 4 millions of bricks. Bricks were put in “spina di pesce”, it means as a shape of fish bones, so not straight and it made the dome very strong. Brunelleschi thought his cupola for the dome very carefully. During the construction, no outside scaffoldings were used to build the dome but internal structures were built month after month while it was growing up. The construction was finished in 1436 but the lantern on the top of the cupola was only set in 1461.

Things to see

Giorgio Vasari was chosen to decorate the dome inside. He decide to paint the Last Judgement, however he died three years after he started the project. After his death, the work was given to Federigo Zuccaro. The Last Judgment was finished in 1579.

The dome can be climbed and visitors can appreciate a wonderful view over the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore and Florence roofs.

The façade which can be admired today is more recent and was realized during the 19th century.

More than a church, the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore became a sign of the rich and prosperous city of Florence. Since the Renaissance, the dome and the cathedral were the symbol of the city of Florence.