Florence, Italy

The medieval Ponte Vecchio stretches across the Arno River in Florence. Photo © Sacred Destinations.

Located on the Arno River in Tuscany, Florence (Firenze in Italian) is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance that spread throughout the western world. Today, millions of visitors flock to Florence to enjoy its fine art and architecture, while about 400,000 people make it their home. Florence abounds in beautiful sacred art and religious buildings. Among the most famous are the Duomo, with its distinctive dome designed by Brunelleschi, Michaelangelo's sculpture of David in the Galleria d'Accademia, and the Baptistery with its elaborate bronze doors by Ghiberti.

San Miniato al Monte
This hilltop church south of the Arno is the finest Romanesque church in Tuscany. It has a beautiful marble facade with inlaid Christian symbols and a fine view of the city.
San Lorenzo Basilica
This basilica was founded in the 4th century but the current building dates from the 1420s. Its stark brick exterior hides a magnificent interior by Brunelleschi and two bronze pulpits by Donatello.
Florence Duomo
This magnificent cathedral is notable for its giant dome, designed by Brunelleschi in 1436, its stripy exterior and its splended baptistery. Inside, the Duomo is a veritable museum of Renaissance art.
Florence Baptistery
Built in the 4th or 5th century, the baptistery is one of Florence's oldest buildings. It is covered inside and out with splendid medieval and Renaissance decoration.
Basilica di Santa Croce
This is the principal Franciscan church of Florence, best known for its Florentine artwork and the tombs of illustrious dead such as Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli.