crossing5oceans.com | Published August 25th, 2021 | Last Updated August 25th, 2021

An ornate white church facade with endless sculptures, carvings and painted details

All Images © 2021 - Kelly Girouard - Please Contact for Permission to Use

Florence is a city known for many firsts; the piano was invented here in the eighteenth century. It is the birthplace of the Renaissance. In 1339 it was the first city in Europe to have paved streets, and Gucci was founded here in 1921. Beyond these fun facts, Florence is a remarkable city with incredible history, museums, food, shopping and more. Browse through the photo journal below to see the beauty awaiting you in lovely Florence. You may also like the complete guide to Italy found here.

The Duomo

The Duomo, or more appropriately the cathedral complex, includes a few buildings within the same piazza. Within a few minutes walk of each other, you will find the cathedral, the baptistry, the museum (Dell'Opera) and the campanile.


  • The Piazza del Duomo is compact. It is difficult to get the height of the buildings (especially the Campanile) into a single shot unless you move as far back as possible and bring a good wide-angle lens with you. Getting photos without several onlookers in the foreground will be a game of patience as you wait for a potential break in the crowds.

  • Climb either the Campanile or the Cupola of the Cathedral to see Florence's landscape. If you climb the Campanile, you can get pretty much the same views of the countryside, but as a bonus, the staircase is not as tight and narrow, and you'll be able to get shots of the cupola itself in the foreground.

a worms eye view of a tower with painted patterns and sculptural details

The Campanile of the Duomo

A large church in a plaza with people sitting on benches admiring the facade.

Taking a Break in Piazza Del Duomo

The Beautiful Details on the Facade of the Cathedral

Details of Gilberti's Doors - The Gates of Paradise

Gilberti's Doors are in the Opera del Duomo Museum

Arno River

The Arno River is 241 kilometres long and is the principal river that runs through the Tuscany region. Don't miss the opportunity to walk over the bridges and admire views of the Arno, take a boat ride in a vecchi barchetti, which is a restored boat from the 1800s, or see Ponte Vecchio from a distance as it spans over the width of the river.

Red and yellow buildings reflected in the water of a calm river

Reflections Over the Arno River

Yellow and white buildings reflected in the water of a calm river

Viewing the Hills of Tuscany

View at the mouth of a river looking toward a small bridge on four stilts.

Views Down the Arno to Ponte alle Grazie (bridge)

An enclosed bridge with a number of colourful shops attached to it as it spans a river

Ponte Vecchio Spanning the Arno River

Ponte Vecchio was Built in 1345

Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens

Pitti Palace was built in 1446 and has undergone additions and changes over the centuries to become the palace that stands today. Inside, visitors will find one of the most-visited art museums in the world, the Palatine Gallery. The museum contains 28 rooms of art and 14 Royal apartments. The Boboli Gardens are also a must-see and are located at the back of the Palace.


  • You'll be able to get views of Florence, including the cupola of the Duomo from Boboli Gardens. When facing the garden with the palace behind you, turn to your left, and you will find a lookout over the city. The view in front of you can be seen in Photo two below - 'View of Florence from Boboli Gardens.'

  • There are several inclines and stairs throughout Boboli that can offer excellent vantage points for shots of the palace and gardens from different angles.

A garden with boxwood hedges, an obelisk and gravel paths looking toward a palace.

Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace

View over the terra cotta rooftops of Florence with trees in the foreground

View of Florence from Boboli Gardens

A palace with a labyrinth-like flower garden below

Pitti Palace with it's Labyrinth-like Flower Garden

Wandering Through Boboli Gardens Behind Pitti Palace

Shopping in Florence

Florence is a great city to please your inner shopaholic! You'll find items ranging from pottery, jewelry and textiles to leather, antiques and chocolates.


  • Taking photos through glass - If you're taking pictures of a window display, there are a few tricks you can use to eliminate most if not all reflections in the glass. (1). Try using a polarizing filter and turn it until the reflections disappear. (2). Use a lens hood - You can put the lens hood squarely on the glass but will only be able to shoot what is directly in front of you; if you want to shoot on an angle, use a rubber lens hood like this one that will allow you to seal out reflections while the camera is at an angle.

  • The San Lorenzo Market and Mercato Nuovo are great places to buy leather goods when visiting Florence. Make sure to read up on how to spot quality leather pieces before you go so you know which stalls are worth your time and your money.

An interior decor store with chairs, an armoire and frescos on the walls

Eclectic Interior Decor Stores

An antique shop with iron gates, stone planters and art work

Beautiful Antique Shops in Florence

Jewellery Shops on Ponte Vecchio

Window Shopping on the Streets of Florence

Squares of Florence

There are over 50 squares in Florence, with Piazza della Signoria, Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza dell Duomo being some of the more popular ones to visit. Piazza Signoria is known for its Renaissance buildings, sculptures and replica of Michelangelo's David statue. Piazza Repubblica is lined with shops, shops and more shops, along with a merry-go-round in the middle for a bit of kid-style entertainment. Finally, Piazza Duomo. You will not forget walking out of a side street and stepping into this square for the first time. The sight of the Duomo and all its intricate, beautiful details on the facade are breathtaking.


  • Italy's major cities are popular, which means the main squares in these cities are crowded with tourists and locals. The best way to snap some images is to walk around the outside of the square, waiting for a break in the crowds to get some wide shots to capture the piazza as a whole. Then make your way around and take close-up shots of interesting details like storefronts, sculptures, and fountains.

A merry-go-round in the middle of a square surrounded by large buildings at night.

Piazza della Repubblica and its Famous Merry-go-round

Piazza Della Repubblica

Piazza Della Signoria and the David Statue (left photo)

A fountain with a man rising out of the centre with men and horses around the sides

Fountain of Neptune in Piazza Della Signoria

Details of Neptune's Fountain

Pazzi Chapel

Pazzi Chapel is considered to be a masterpiece in Renaissance architecture. It was built between 1429 - 1460 and was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi (and others after his death). The chapel was commissioned by the Pazzi family and suffered a great conspiracy in the middle of construction when the Pazzi family murdered one of the ruling Medici family members.

A grey stone building with a portico held up by pillars and a domed roof

The Exterior Courtyard Leading into Pazzi Chapel

The Walkways and Garden Area of Pazzi Chapel

Palazzo Medici Riccardi

Palazzo Medici Riccardi is both an art museum and an Italian Renaissance palace. This was the principal residence of the Medici family before moving into Pitti Palace in the seventeenth century.

A courtyard with scalloped roofline being held up by columns and painted with frescos

Inner Courtyard in Palazzo Medici Riccardi

The Interior Rooms had Beautiful Light for taking Photos

Museo Galileo

Museo Galileo houses an impressive collection of beautiful objects and focuses on science, astronomy and the cosmos. While there's a fantastic collection of barometers, watches, beautifully painted globes and other lovely finds, the most impressive sight is the Armillary Sphere which represents a view of the cosmos with the earth at its centre. It took five years to build and was completed in 1593.


  • Photos are allowed in the museum but without flash. The lighting was somewhat adequate, but you may need to turn up your ISO in some rooms if you don't have a wide-aperture prime lens that takes good photos in low light.

  • If you would like to take photos of the instruments and objects behind the glass panes, use the tricks mentioned in the window shopping section above. Those tips help to reduce reflection and glare.

A round room with a large gold sculpture of a globe decorated with lots of ornamentation

The Armillary Sphere - Represents a View of the Cosmos

'Galileo's New World' and the 'Spectacle of Science' Rooms in the Museum

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