Florence most sights are in the historic centre. You can spend days exploring Florence and its treasures but for those with not much time available it is preferable to select the most important ones according to your time limitations.
Arno River and Ponte Vecchio The Medici family commanded Florence for centuries and had a big influence on the city's Renaissance character. Florence contributed greatly to the political and cultural development of Europe and to this day the city has upheld its elegant appearance.
The Duomo is one of the main reasons why people visit Florence. Designed by Brunelleschi its construction started in 1296 and took almost 150 years to complete. It is 153 m long and 38 m wide making it the 4th largest cathedral of the world. The nearby Baptistery west of the Duomo is important to visit as well as the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo which houses many treasures once contained in and around the Duomo. For an excellent view of Florence climb up to the adjacent Giotto's bell tower.
Piazza Dell Signoria is a popular spots for tourists one of the city's most splendid piazzas which has been the hub of Florence political life since the 13th century. It is filled with replicas of famous sculptures and historical buildings including Palazzo Vecchio, a copy of Michelangelo's David and the Neptune fountain.
The Uffizi Gallery, is home to the greatest museum of Renaissance art and includes paintings by Botticelli, Michelangelo and Titan. Further down you will come to the Arno River and Ponte Vecchio a short bridge with tiny jewellery shops and vendors selling anything from leather goods to fake fashion items.
Santa Croce is one of the richest neighbourhoods of Florence with its church dating back to the 13th century. The walls of the church are lined up with tombs and some 276 tombs pave the floor. Famous Florentines have been buried here including Galileo, Michelangelo and Macchiavelli. If time allows you should also visit the Santa Croce's museum and other churches including Santa Maria Novella.
The Bargello Museum used to be a prison and police headquarters. Today it houses the most comprehensive range of medieval and Renaissance sculptures in Italy. Here you will find works by Michelangelo, Donatello and Brunelleschi. A small chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene is next to the museum which contains frescoes by Giotto's workshop.
The Pitti Palace lies on the southern bank of Arno river and was designed by Brunelleschi. It houses a massive art collection of the Medici family including works by Rubens, Raphael, Tintoretto and Filippo Lippi. Here you can also find a gallery of modern art and visit the Boboli Gardens at the back of the Palace, one of Florence's most beautiful parks.
In San Marco, Florence's student quarter is the Galleria dell' Accademia which houses the famous magnificent nude of David by Michelangelo. If time permits you can also visit the bohemian areas of Santo Spirito and San Frediano, Fiesole in the country side just 8 km north of Florence which offers spectacular views of the city, the Medici Villas a few km from Florence and the Mugello region. Those interested in shopping should head to via Tomabuoni and via della Vigna Nuova, piazza della Repubblica and via Rome.