Centre District, Florence, Italy


If you are a visitor to Florence, Italy you must be certain to spend some time in the Centre District. Many of the city’s most impressive sights are here in the center of the city, and you won’t want to miss the opportunity to see them for yourself. Conveniently, the district is not very spread-out, so you can see several fantastic landmarks within just a few blocks of each other. If you have only a day to spend in Florence, this would be an excellent place to spend it since you will be able to see so much in such a short time.
The Duomo, Centre District, Florence, ItalyThe Cathedral, otherwise known as the Duomo, is found in the center of Florence, along with the baptistry. Its proper title in English is the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower, and the cathedral reflects that lovely name. Along with the richly ornamental doors and the finely sculptured marble walls, the cathedral boasts 44 gorgeous stained glass windows created in the 1300s and 1400s. Construction on the cathedral began more than seven centuries ago, and several noted artists and architects had a hand in the design of this beautiful building whose golden dome towers over central Florence.

The Cathedral Square, or Piazza del Duomo, also includes the beautiful spectacle of Giotto’s Bell Tower, a splendid example of Gothic architecture, and the Museum of the Works of the Cathedral, which houses magnificent works of art connected with the cathedral, including the handiwork of Michaelangelo and Donatello. With its rich history, this is a definite must-see for any art enthusiast.

Another impressive sight in this district of Florence is the Ponte Vecchio, which is the bridge that stands over the Arno River. In addition to its structural beauty, which dates back to medieval times, the bridge is notable because it is lined with shops. While many bridges of that time were similarly lined with shops, that is not the case for many bridges that stand today, so it’s especially fun to wander these stores and buy the art, jewelry and souvenirs that is sold inside of them.

If you are planning a visit to Florence and looking for accommodation in the Centre District or all over the city, check out Oh-Florence where you can find a huge selection of apartments to suit your every need. Clearly, this central portion of Florence has a great deal to offer any visitor with a deep and abiding interest in art, culture and history, and its magnificence is such that it is likely to foster such an appreciation in others as well.


Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence, Italy

The Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence, Italy is the world’s largest Franciscan church. It has an austere design that embodies the spirit of this monastic order. Legends declare that Francis of Assisi established the original church. The current structure replaced an older building. Construction began in 1294. Pope Eugene IV consecrated the church, which is located on the Piazza Santa Croce east of the Duomo, in 1442. The basilica was the setting for the 1439 Council of Florence. The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches met there in an attempt to heal their rift.

Basilica di Santa Croce, Florince, Italy

The floor plan of the church is a Tau or Egyptian cross, the symbol of St. Francis. The interior has a long nave and two side aisles separated by octagonal-shaped columns. Filippo Brunelleschi, who designed the dome of the Duomo, was actively involved in the planning of the main as well as the inner cloister.
The Cappella dei Pazzi is located in this primary cloister. Many of the original altar decorations were lost when the choir screen was removed in 1560 as part of a renovation project that occurred in response to the Counter-Reformation movement. The bell tower of the basilica was added in 1842 and the neo-Gothic façade is from the mid-1800s. The 1966 River Arno flood heavily damaged the Basilica di Santa Croce. It took several decades of meticulous restoration to remove the mud and pollution damage. The landmark eventually returned to its former glory.

The Basilica’s museum is housed just off the cloister in the refectory and contains many priceless works. The cloister houses a memorial to Florence Nightingale, who was born in the city and named in its honor. There are numerous tombs and cenotaphs within the building’s 16 separate chapels. Many of the interior frescos are by Giotto and his students. The exterior was designed by Niccolo Matas, who wanted to be buried inside the church. Because of his Jewish faith, he was denied this honor and is entombed under the front porch. Often referred to as the “Temple of the Italian Glories,” the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, is the final resting place of Italian luminaries, such as Foscolo, Gentile, Machiavelli, Galileo, Michelangelo and Rossini.