Internationally famous as the cradle of the Renaissance, Florence is an enchanting city full of monuments and works of art which has retained all the charm of the past.

The beating heart of the city is undoubtedly Piazza del Duomo, where some of Florence's most famous monuments stand: the Duomo, one of the most important buildings dating back to between the Gothic and Renaissance periods, surmounted by Brunelleschi's majestic dome; the Baptistery of San Giovanni, an extraordinary example of Florentine Romanesque architecture; and Giotto's Bell Tower, one of the most beautiful in Italy, thanks to the exceptional harmony of its colours and proportions.

Another wonderful square in Florence is Piazza della Signoria, where you can still sense the political power held by Florence in centuries past. The square is dominated by Palazzo Vecchio, one of the symbols of Florence and a magnificent example of 14th century civil architecture, which is now home to a wonderful museum. The main monuments in the square also include the Loggia dei Lanzi, which houses works by Cellini and Giambologna, and the Fountain of Neptune, by Bartolomeo Ammannati and some of his pupils.

The medieval district of Santa Croce, one of the most beautiful and rich in monuments in Italy, is also very interesting. The heart of the district is the square of the same name, dominated by the Basilica of Santa Croce, one of Italy's finest Gothic buildings. The church is famous for frescoes by Giotto and the tombs of famous Florentines such as Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli. The square is the playing field for Calcio Storico Fiorentino (Historical Florentine Football), a game that dates back to ancient times.

Another of the symbols of Florence is the ancient and evocative Ponte Vecchio, a must-see for visitors to the city. At night, when the doors of the historic goldsmiths' workshops close, the atmosphere on the bridge becomes even more romantic. Don't miss Piazzale Michelangelo, known as the balcony of Florence, from which you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city and its monuments.


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