|Image by stevehdc, used under Creative Commons license.|
As the capital city of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence is well known for its artistic and architectural heritage. Florence is considered one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world, a fact celebrated in its UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Millions of tourists flock there to visit the numerous monuments, historical buildings and churches. However, there’s more to Florentine sightseeing than the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio. For those who want to cut down on queuing and experience something truly unique on their city breaks to Florence, why not embark on a journey to discover the city's hidden attractions? Check out these 3 hidden gems next time you’re in town.
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
While there are never-ending queues to climb Brunelleschi’s dome, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is often quite empty. Located just behind the Duomo, this museum houses the second most extensive collection of sacred art in the world after the Vatican Museum. Although this is not a large museum, it contains many original pieces by Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Antonio Pollaiuolo and Michelangelo.
Five important sculptures not to be missed in this museum include Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, Michelangelo’s Florence Pieta, Donatello and Luca della Robbia’s Cantorie, Donatello’s Mary Magdalen and Andrea Pisano’s reliefs for the Belltower.
The 241 km long Arno River is the most important river in central Italy. The Arno River runs through Florence, as well as Arezzo, Empoli and Pisa. It once served as an important means of river transportation until the construction of the railroad in the 19th century. The river has been flooded on several occasions. One of the worst floods was on 4 November 1966 when many people died and several priceless works of arts were destroyed. View the water flowing from several bridges that span the Arno, including Ponte alle Grazie and the famous Ponte Vecchio. Stroll along this beautiful river and keep a lookout for birds and wildlife.
La Cite Libreria Café
Located in Borgo San Frediano, La Cite Libreria Cafe is a paradise for book lovers. Spread over two floors, living-room spaces are created between the shelves of books. Patrons either sit on the sofas or at the rustic wooden bar to socialize or exchange ideas. La Cite is also a place for organizing conferences, seminars and art exhibitions. This is a cool place for coffee, a beer and a bite to eat or watching a live band.
Instead of queuing for hours to get into the popular museums such as the Uffizi or climb Brunelleschi’s dome, get off the beaten track and find these 3 hidden gems. And remember, these are just 3 hidden attractions in Florence. Explore the city and find other examples.
Special thanks to my guest author for writing this fabulous post about a beautiful city which we cannot wait to visit someday.