Strolling along the banks of the Arno river, you come to Via de’ Guicciardini, where one of the most important art collections of the city can be found in the PALATINA GALLERY by the Pitti Palace. The elegant rooms of this Medici Palace are a magnificent example of a gallery, where pictures are exhibited for decoration on all walls.
This private residence of the Medici family was connected to the political centre of the Old Palace (Palazzo Vecchio) by the VASARI CORRIDOR, which you pass alongside during your tour of the historical centre. To cross the river at its narrowest point, the work of Vasari is suspended above the handcraft jewellery shops of the PONTE VECCHIO. The Ponte Vecchio is the old bridge of Roman origin, which was the only one that was not destroyed by the bombings during the Second World War.
Heading towards the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, you find yourselves in PIAZZA DELLA SIGNORIA, which has always been the political centre of the city. In the cornice of the square that has its characteristic "L" shape due to the destruction of 36 of the Ghibellini houses, you can admire a true ‘open sky’ museum. The Loggia de’ Lanzi has 15 statues under its late-Gothic vaults amongst which is Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus. In front of PALAZZO VECCHIO, the most important civic building in the city, the copy of Michelangelo’s David and Ammannati’s Neptune Fountain decorate this place, which was the first human settlement by the ford’s point of the Arno river.
Behind the arches of the square adjacent to piazza della Signoria, you see the UFFIZI GALLERY, created by Francesco I as a private space where you can stroll among the paintings, sculptures and tapestries. This collection makes Florence one of the world art capitals thanks to the immense treasures of the Medici family. Giotto, Simone Martini, Piero della Francesca, Beato Angelico, Botticelli, Mantegna, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio are just some of the masters that participate in this casket of historical-artistic beauty.
Crossing Via de' Calzaiuoli you arrive by the CATHEDRAL SQUARE, the heart of Florence, where you find Saint John’s Baptistry and the Cathedral. This is the religious centre of the city and it is just a few metres from the political centre in Piazza della Signoria. The Dome was created by Brunelleschi over a timespan of 14 years, and Pope Eugenio IV finally consecrated the church in 1436, dedicating it to Saint Maria of the Flower. Next to the Cathedral, the Giotto’s Belltower, which is 84 metres high and made of white, red and green marble.
In Via Ricasoli, a cross street of the Cathedral Square, you can visit the ACCADEMY GALLERY: built at the end of ' 700 by Granduke Leopoldo di Lorena, the Gallery hosts a collection of Florentine fifth century Gothic and late-Gothic paintings, the Prisons, a collection of incomplete works by Michelangelo, and the David, the symbol of a city that continues to actively live its artistic patrimony that is unique to the world.