FLORENCE — Piazza della Signoria & Surrounds

This area covers south to the river Arno, north to Via del Corso, east to Via del Leoni and Piazza San Firenze and west to Piazza Santa Trinita. The Piazza della Signoria is the political hub of Florence and is used as a meeting place for many of the city’s citizens and tourists so it is lively and very crowded. The square is like one enormous outdoor museum full of the most amazing sculptures (some of them copies) including a copy of Michelangelo’s David; Fountain of Neptune by Ammanati; the bronze equestrian statue of Cosimo 1 by Giambologna and his Rape of the Sabine Women.

The sights to visit in this area are:
Galleria Degli Uffizi
Loggia della Signoria
Museo Nazionale del Bargello
Badia Fiorentina
Museo della Scienza
Palazzo Vecchio

Galleria Degli Uffizi

Galleria Degli Uffizi
This must be the world’s single most wonderful collection of Italian and Florentine art. It is possible to make an online booking for tickets and to do this visit the following website: http://www.uffizi.com. Some of the more famous artworks found here are: Botticelli’s Birth of Venus; Leonardo de Vinci’s The Annunciation and his Adoration of the Magi; Caravaggio’s Bacchus and his Medusa as well as Raphael’s Pope Leo X with Cardinals Giulo de’Medici and Luigi de’Rossi.

Traveller's Tip

During the busy summer months it is advisable to book tickets as the queues can take hours.

Loggia della Signoria
This building found adjoining the Uffizi Gallery consists of wide arches that are open to the street. It is essentially an open-air gallery of some wonderful sculptures such as Cellini’s bronze statue Perseus.

Museo Nazionale del Bargello
This is a superb sculpture museum and contains some of Italy’s best sculpture and works of art, including masterpieces by Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Verrocchio, Michelangelo and Cellini. The museum also has splendid collections of bronzes, waxes, enamels, medals, seals, ivories, amber, tapestries, furniture and textiles from the Medici collections and those of private donors.
For more information visit the website at: http://www.firenzemusei.it/00_english/bargello/index.html

Badia Fiorentina

Badia Fiorentina
This Benedictine monastery built in the 10th century is worth visiting because of the Filippino Lippi painting of the Madonna Appearing to St. Bernard. The bell tower is recognizable as one of the landmarks of Florence’s skyline.
For more information visit the website:
http://badiafiorentina.altervista.org/eng/indexen.htm

Museo di Storia della Scienza
There are some very interesting pieces to be found in this Science museum especially the beautifully engraved intricate mechanical instruments. Here you will find exhibits showing the history of Science such as: a mechanical calculator from 1664, an architect’s compass and plumb disguised as a dagger and sheath, astrolabes, clocks, pumps and microscopes.
For more information visit the website:http://www.imss.fi.it

Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio
Florence’s imposing town hall was built from 1299 to 1302 from the designs of Arnolfo di Cambio, Gothic master builder of the city. It has been home to various Florentine governments including the municipal government of today. Although you cannot visit some areas of the palace as they house offices, some of the artwork you can see include Michelangelo’s statue of Victory ; frescos by Vasari, paintings by Bronzino; Domenico Ghirlandaio’s fresco of St Zenobius Enthroned and Donatello’s original Judith and Holofernes. If you visit during the summer evening hours you will find some of the rooms that are normally closed will be open.
For further information visit the following website: http://www.museumsinflorence.com/musei/Palazzo_vecchio.html

Traveller's Tip

Make sure you visit the battlements in the Palazzo Vecchio for views of the city.