Discover one of the world's greatest cultural centres.
16 Sep 2019
If you're planning a cultural escape to Florence, staying with Gruppo UNA is the perfect accommodation option. Our staff know the galleries, palaces, museums, and festivals of the city inside out, and we can ensure that guests to Florence enjoy the feast of culture on offer. Our UNAHOTELS Vittoria Firenze hotel is a wonderful place to base yourself, with an artistic vibe and stunning furnishings.
But what kind of activities should you target if you want to make the most of a cultural weekend in Florence? To help you plan, here are some suggestions of cultural sites and museums in Florence that will delight literature, art, and history lovers.
1. Take a Tour of the Uffizi Gallery.
The first stop in any cultural tour of Florence has to be the Uffizi Gallery. A sprawling institution, the Uffizi occupies a 16th-century palace on the Piazza della Signoria, which is a work of art in itself. But inside, the riches are endless.
The galleries play host to some truly astonishing paintings, including famous works like Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" and "Spring," as well as Piero della Francesca's "Duke and Duchess of Urbino."
The emphasis is on Renaissance masterworks from the 14th to the 17th centuries, with a focus on Florentine artists. Nowhere else in the world provides a better window onto the immense creativity of the city at its cultural peak.
Don't miss the exhibitions on historical costumes at the nearby Palazzo Pitti, and check for special exhibitions. Touring exhibits arrive regularly, and are always of the highest quality.
2. Follow the Footsteps of Dante Alighieri.
A giant of world literature, Dante Alighieri lived in Florence in the late 13th century, where he wrote his famous "Inferno," and some of the most beautiful romantic poetry ever conceived. Lovers of literature can follow a trail of sites that really bring his story to life.
Casa di Dante - the Dante Museum - is the first port of call. Housed in the poet's childhood home, the museum is beautifully curated, shedding light on where Dante derived his inspiration and his life in Florentine society.
From there, visitors should visit the Chiesa di Santa Margherita dei Cerchi, where Dante married, and where tourists can see the tombstone of Beatrice, the love of his life. The Palazzo Vecchio houses what is thought to be Dante's "Death Mask." Take a walk across the Ponte Santa Trinita to evoke the scene in Henry Holiday's "Dante and Beatrice," which shows the poet meeting his lover for the very first time.
3. Learn About Machiavelli.
While Dante re-invented poetry and Botticelli glittered in the artist's studio, Florence was also home to Niccolo Machiavelli, who invented modern political philosophy.
With a copy of "the Prince" in hand, visitors can trace his life. Head from the Piazza della Signoria where he worked in the city's government, to the Museo del Bargello, which houses a bust of the philosopher. It also hosts a collection of arms and armour from the period of Machiavelli's life, items that could have been used by armies that the writer commanded.
After that, head to the Il Tabernacolo delle Stinche - the location of Machiavelli's imprisonment for conspiracy, before visiting the Palazzo Strozzi. The Palazzo is a fascinating centre for Renaissance studies, and Machiavelli plays a major role. Learn more about what formed his ideas, and how he struggled for recognition.
4. See all of Florence's Renaissance Wonders.
Besides the great Florentines, there's plenty of other essential art and architecture to discover that will satisfy the hungriest of cultural appetites.
Brunelleschi's famous Duomo is a must-see, and hard to miss, as it towers over the modern city centre. An architectural miracle in its day, it still creates a feeling of awe as you stare up into its vast dome.
Nearby, the Battistero di San Giovanni houses some sublime artworks from the heyday of Florence's cultural power. But don't stare too long. The Galleria dell'Accademia is another not-to-be-missed art and exhibition in Florence, with one superstar attraction: Michelangelo's "David." Possibly the world's most famous sculpture, it has to be seen by anyone with a taste for art.
And the story doesn't end there. From the tranquil Boboli Gardens to the suspended street life of the Ponte Vecchio, Florence has endless treasures to explore. For real history and culture lovers, the experience doesn't have to end once you retire. Stay in one of nine historic Leone Blu Suites | UNA Esperienze by UNA Esperienze and experience Italian renaissance grandeur with modern comfort and amenities.
Hopefully, we've introduced a few ideas for culture lovers, but don't be afraid to ask your Gruppo UNA concierge for advice. A weekend isn't a long time, but you can achieve a lot with some expert guidance.