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Strolling Along: The Elegance of a Florence City Tour on Foot

For over 600 years, Florence has been a hub of artistic and cultural development. Today, the historic center of Florence and many of its buildings are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can quickly fill your travel itinerary with an endless number of historically significant sites.

The best way to see as many of them as possible is to take a Florence city tour. A walking tour lets you stroll the city and immerse yourself in its historical elegance.

Santa Maria Novella Square

One of the best places to start your Florence walking tour is one of the city's most famous and beautiful piazzas. The piazza first existed in 1287 and quickly became home to many annual festivals and tournaments.

The main attraction in the square is the basilica. Its facade dates back to the 1470s, making it the oldest in Florence. Another must-see site is the Hospital of San Paolo, which is no longer functioning but now houses the Novecento Museum.

Santa Maria Del Fiore (Cathedral of Florence)

The Cathedral of Florence is one of the city's most iconic landmarks. It was completed in 1434 in an Italian Gothic style. It is the fourth-largest church in the world and home to the Brunelleschi Dome.

Visitors can see priceless works of art, intricate stained glass, and breathtaking architectural details throughout the building.

Brunelleschi Dome

Your trip to Florence would not be complete without a visit to the Brunelleschi Dome. Named after the man whose genius made the dome possible, it stands as the largest masonry dome ever built.

Built between 1420 and 1436, the dome beautifully blends Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles. When visiting, you climb 463 steps.

Piazza della Repubblica

As one of the main squares in Florence, it marks the city center. You will find the Colonna della Dovizia, or "Column of Abundance," which marks where the Roman forum once stood.

The square has undergone countless transformations over the centuries. From being tightly packed with merchants selling their wares in local markets to being home to the Jewish Ghetto, it has remained an integral part of Florentine life.

The square is wide and open today, making it the perfect place to see street performers.

Orsanmichele Church

The site where the Orsanmichele Church sits is one that saw importance dating back to the 8th century. However, the church was completed in 1404. It was built for the craft and trade guilds in the city.

Stroll around the building's facade and admire the 14 external niches representing the guilds. The three wealthiest guilds decided to make their niche sculptures out of bronze instead of stone. The sculptures you see are modern replicas, as the originals have been removed to protect them.

Medieval Area With Old Towers

As an ancient city, medieval towers once stood all over the city. Today, the easiest place to see them is by visiting the Old Towers. Here, you will see the Pagliazza, Donati Luxury, and Castagna Towers.

The Pagliazza Tower is the oldest building in the center of the historic area. It was built between the 6th and 7th centuries.

During the Middle Ages, it served as a women's prison. Today, it is a hotel.

The Donati Luxury Tower is from the 12th century. Today, visitors to Florence can stay in one of its 12 luxury suites.

The Castagna Tower (Chestnut Tower) is arguably the most famous tower in Florence. It was once home to monks, but today, the bottom three floors house a museum.

Piazza della Signoria

This W-shaped piazza is the political center of Florence and the gateway to the Uffizi Gallery. Dating back to the 14th century, the Palazzo Vecchio, Palace of the Tribunale della Mercanzia, and the Palazzo Uguccioni call the square home.

The Palazzo Vecchio serves as Florence's town hall center. The Palace of the Tribunale della Mercanzia dates back to 1359. It originally served as a courthouse for trials among merchants.

The Palazzo Uguccionidates dates back to the Medieval Era. However, the facade is from 1549. Today, you can stay in one of the elegantly restored apartments.

Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge)

While many bridges exist in Florence today, this wasn't always the case. The Ponte Vecchio, which means " Old Bridge, " was the only bridge in Florence until 1218. It was also the only bridge across the Arno River to not get destroyed by the Germans during World War II.

The bridge is large enough to have several shops across its span. Initially, all types of shops called the bridge home. Unfortunately, this created an unpleasant stench from butchers, fishmongers, and tanners.

It was decided in 1593 that only goldsmiths and jewelers should be able to have shops on the bridge.

Visiting the bridge at sunset is the perfect time to capture the beauty of the bridge in a social media-worthy image.

Pitti Palace

A perfect place to end your walking tour is at the Pitti Palace. This Renaissance era palace is on the south side of the Arno River. It is famous for its classic Italian architecture, breathtaking frescos, and opulent furnishings.

The palace began as a home for the Pitti family in the 1400s. The Medicis then called the palace home in 1550.

The House of Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty called the palace home in the 1700s. In the 1800s, another dynasty, the House of Savoy, called the palace home.

Today, the palace has five museums that protect and celebrate Italian heritage and art.

Take a Florence City Tour

The historic center is incredibly walkable, making it the perfect place to sign up for a Florence city tour. As you stroll along the ancient streets, admire the centuries-old buildings, bridges, and sculptures. The city's rich history blends with a modern lifestyle to create a unique cultural experience.

We are passionate about our city at Florence Free Tour and want to share its beauty with visitors. Our free walking tours take you to the most famous, well-known, and oldest sites in the historic center of Florence. We strive to bring these historic sites to life with our in-depth knowledge and unique tales.

Enjoy an immersive cultural experience by signing up for a free walking tour of Florence.

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