Panoramic View of Florence, Italy
Photo by: argenberg, Creative Commons

For travelers who love art will probably consider Florence, Italy as the most beautiful city in the country. It is less archaeological than Rome, definitely drier than Venice and decidedly less commercial than Milan. Breathtakingly beautiful architecture is everywhere within the city’s more than 20 quarters or districts. With such a multitude of almost equally attractive sites to visit, choosing where to start can be a tall order especially for a traveler who will be visiting the city for the first time. Here is a brief overview of what three of the city’s saintly quarters have to offer:

Santa Maria Novella Quarter – Reaching this quarter is easy enough because of a train station with the same name. From the station, tourists can walk along the via degli Avelli to reach the Piazza Santa Maria Novella Church. This church is renowned for its facade created by artist Leon Batista Alberti. Upon leaving the side of the church, near via Tornabuoni, the Piazza Rucellai can be easily reached by taking Rucellai. This particular piazza was again designed by Alberti along with the palace built in the mid-1400s. The Museum of History of Photography is located on the piazza’s ground floor. More walking will reveal the San Pancrazio building, Rucellai Chapel and the Holy Sepulcher temple, all of which were made by Alberti.

Santa Croce Quarter – Together wit the Santa Maria Novella Church, the Santa Croce Church is also built outside the main city walls of medieval Florence. This quarter is also known as the location of the Bargello or Captain Palace which has the distinction of being the first palace built in the mid 1200s as the seat of the Florentine city government of the period. These days, the palace serves as the National Museum which houses the artistic masterpieces of Michelangelo, Donatello, Della Robbia and Verrocchio.

San Giovanni Quarter – This quarter is further subdivided into three districts: San Lorenzo, San Marco, and SS Annunziata. Each of these districts showcase dozens of buildings, churches, squares and palaces that can only be found in Florence, Italy.

By starting with these three quarters, exploring Florence, Italy does not need to be an intimidating or an exhausting experience for the uninitiated tourist.

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