Florence

Points of Interest

It is impossible to mention here all of the city's monuments, most of which date from the 13th to 15th cent. The Gothic cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (begun 1296) has a dome (1420–34) by Brunelleschi; nearby are the slim campanile (269 ft/82 m high) designed by Giotto, and Andrea Pisano and Lorenzo Ghiberti created their famous bronze doors for the baptistery. The large Franciscan Church of Santa Croce is the Florentine pantheon and has frescoes by Giotto, a crucifix by Donatello, and fine works by the Della Robbia family, Rossellino, and others. The Church of Santa Maria Novella (1278–1350) has frescoes by Masaccio, Orcagna, and Ghirlandaio; fine cloisters; and a facade (1470) by Alberti. Some of the best works of Fra Angelico are in the museum of the Monastery of St. Mark. Important frescoes by Masolino, Masaccio, and Filippino Lippi adorn the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine. The Church of San Lorenzo contains Michelangelo's tombs of the Medici; many works by Donatello; and the Laurentian Library, which holds approximately 10,000 manuscripts. The oratory of Orsanmichele (originally a wheat granary; rebuilt 1337–1404) has a tabernacle (14th cent.) by Orcagna. On a hill overlooking the city is the Romanesque basilica of San Miniato al Monte.

On the Piazza della Signoria are the Palazzo Vecchio, which contains frescoes by Vasari and sculptures by Michelangelo; the Loggia dei Lanzi (later 14th cent.), which has the Perseus (1533) of Cellini; and Ammanati's Fountain of Neptune (1576). The Uffizi Museum, housed in a Renaissance palace designed by Vasari, contains great collections of paintings, especially by Botticelli, Masaccio, and Piero della Francesca. The Pitti Palace (15th–17th cent.) also houses fine paintings, particularly by Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, and Titian. Behind the Pitti Palace are the terraced Boboli Gardens (1550), a good example of Italian landscaping architecture. Other important art museums include the Academy, with works by Michelangelo; the gallery in the Bargello palace, with works by Donatello; and the archaeological museum, with Etruscan, Egyptian, and Greco-Roman art. Among the other numerous medieval and Renaissance palaces, the Medici-Riccardi, Strozzi, and Rucellai deserve special mention.

Sections in this article:

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Italian Political Geography