Dante's Florence Walking Tour, Florence (Self Guided)

Dante Alighieri is considered one of the greatest poets of all times. He was born in Florence and spent most of his life there until he was exiled. Many of the structures in the city were built according to his greatest epic poem Divina Commedia. This tour will take you on a trip through Dante's life and work in Florence.
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Dante's Florence Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Dante's Florence Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Florence (See other walking tours in Florence)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Author: greghasleft
Piazzetta del Limbo

1) Piazzetta del Limbo

Piazzetta del Limbo is a famous ancient square in Florence. It is located in the historic center of the city, not far from the church of Santi Apostoli. The piazza is described in details in Dante's well-known poem.
Chiesa di San Pier Scheraggio

2) Chiesa di San Pier Scheraggio

Chiesa di San Pier Scheraggio is a very old church in Florence. It was used for city's Council meetings before the other palaces were built. Dante attended many of these meetings during his life as a politician. Today the church is part of the Uffizi Gallery.
Dante House-Museum (Casa di Dante)

3) Dante House-Museum (Casa di Dante) (must see)

Found in the heart of medieval Florence, Casa di Dante or the Dante House-Museum is a 20th-century building set on the site – as the records suggest – of a very probable location of the Alighieri family house, the birthplace of one Italy's most cherished poets, Dante Alighieri.

Spread across three floors, the museum displays, among other artifacts, some of the most important works of Dante, illustrative of major milestones in his life. The ground floor is dedicated to Dante's early years, while the first floor showcases documents related to his exile in 1301, plus the final years of his life in Ravenna. Finally, the second floor exhibits a vast collection of Dante’s belongings (both, originals and replicas) garnered over the years. There, you can see a miniature copy of “Divina Comedia”, the smallest printed edition.

Also, across the street from the Dante House, there is a map following which you can reach the church where Dante, at the age of nine, first caught sight of Beatrice Portinari, also nine at that time, who would for decades afterwards symbolize for him a perfection of female beauty and spiritual goodness. Despite Dante's fervent devotion to Beatrice, she did not return feelings and got married to another man and then died at a fairly young age...

After having served as one of the six priors governing Florence, Dante’s political activities, including the banishing of several rivals, led to his own banishment, upon which he wrote his masterpiece, “The Divine Comedy”, as a virtual wanderer, seeking protection for his family in one town after another. In the poem’s first and second books, the poet takes a tour of Hell and Purgatory guided by poet Virgil. In Paradise, however, he is guided by Beatrice. Although Dante himself referred to his work simply as “Comedy”, it became enormously popular and a deluxe version of it, published in 1555 in Venice, assumed the new title that we all know today.

Steep stairs, but there is a lift, which is not obvious when you enter.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-6pm (Apr-Oct); Tue-Fri: 10am-5pm; Sat, Sun: 10am-6pm (Nov-Mar)
Sasso di Dante

4) Sasso di Dante

Sasso di Dante was the stone from where Dante would watch the cathedral of Florence while it was being built. It was located in the Piazza del Duomo, just outside the cathedral. Today, a stone mentioning the poets name is installed in that place.
Florence Cathedral (Duomo – Santa Maria del Fiore)

5) Florence Cathedral (Duomo – Santa Maria del Fiore) (must see)

Presiding over the city of Florence, the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral is a Renaissance masterpiece renowned for its masonry dome, the largest in the world. Completed in 1465, this dome is a double shell and is entirely self-supporting. On the inside, it carries the “Dante and the Divine Comedy” painting by Domenico di Michelino, which is particularly interesting since, apart from depicting the Divine Comedy scenes, it also shows images of 15th century Florence and, as such, is considered one of the most valuable artifacts in the cathedral.

The building itself is the product of almost 170 years of sheer hard work. The Gothic-style structure was built in 1296, although it wasn't until 1420 that the true identity of the cathedral was found, courtesy of architect Filippo Brunelleschi who was commissioned to the project after many other architects had given up on it. Brunelleschi looked for engineering solutions to the great dome of Pantheon in Rome but also relied on his own intuition and practical experiments with the large-scale models that he built. To lift 37,000 tons of material, including over 4 million bricks, he invented machines and lewissons for hoisting large stones. Fascinated with this machinery, the then young apprentice, Leonardo da Vinci, made series of sketches for which, later on, he was often credited for the actual invention. Despite that, Brunelleschi's name never fell into the oblivion. Today, a huge statue of the architect is set firmly in the piazza before the cathedral thoughtfully observing his greatest achievement that has since and forever will dominate the skyline of Florence.

It is always full of people, no matter the time of day. There is always a queue to climb the bell tower, to admire the Renaissance frescoes in the dome or the precious and colorful marble floor. Surely, the mixture of marbles outside are also outstanding – a unique combination that looks like paint but in actual fact is rock art.

Without detriment to the majesty of the dome, getting closer to the сathedral is even more exciting an experience as one can literally feel vertigo observing the high tower, all solid and white, with the delicately made Baptistery doors and massive walls. Whatever time of day, the cathedral is always full of people, queuing outside to climb the bell tower, or simply anxious to admire the Renaissance frescoes of the dome or the colorful marble flooring inside. As to the mixture of marbles outside, it is just as outstanding and represents a unique combination that looks just like paint, whereas in fact, it's a piece of rock art. Still, if you care to go inside the Duomo, make good use of the free tour guides available who will explain to you the hidden meanings of the paintings, marvelous as they are.

When you buy the ticket online, make sure to make use of the free one that comes with the main ticket to climb to the top. You have to make a booking for that too, separately, although free. There are museums as well, and you're required to finish visiting all other facilities within 72hrs of initial entry to Duomo or any other facilities.

Opening Hours:
[Cathedral] Mon-Sat: 10am-4:30pm; Sun: 1:30pm-4:30pm
[Dome] Mon-Fri: 8:30am-7pm; Sat: 8:30am-5pm; Sun: 1pm-4pm
[Baptisery] Mon-Fri: 8:15am-10:15am / 11:15am-7:30pm; Sat: 8:15am-7:30pm; Sun: 8:15am-1:30pm
[Crypt] Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm; Sat: 10am-4:30pm; Sun: CLOSED
[Bell Tower] Daily: 8:15am-7:20pm
[Museum] Daily: 9am-7pm
Santa Maria Maggiore

6) Santa Maria Maggiore (must see)

Santa Maria Maggiore di Firenze is a medieval church in Florence. Originally constructed in the 11th century, it underwent extensive renovations to the facade and sides in the 13th century. The original church existed as early as the 8th century and is first documented in 931. In 1176 it obtained the status of collegiate church and was one of Florence's priories. The church subsequently expanded its possessions and in 1183 it was put under papal direct protection by Lucius III in 1186, which it kept in the following century. Acquired by the Cistercians, in the 13th century, the church was rebuilt (with the exception of the original external walls and the vaults) in Gothic style. During the 15th century, the church's finances declined: in 1514 Giulio de' Medici describes it as decaying, and in the following year the pope gave it to the Florence Cathedral's capitol. In 1521 it went to the Carmelites from Mantua. In the early 17th century the interior was restored by Gherardo Silvani, perhaps following a project by Bernardo Buontalenti.

The exterior is rather undecorated, with stone walls and the portals surmounted by tympani. The bell tower, although reduced in height, survives from the Romanesque building. It has a Roman head embedded in its walls, popularly known as Berta. The interior is simple with a nave and two aisles, ogival arches and groin vaults. Artworks include frescoes by Bernardino Poccetti (Histories of St. Zenobius in the vault), a Nativity by Matteo Rosselli, and, above the altar of the left transept chapel, a polychromed stucco relief panel, the Madonna del Carmelo, long attributed to the 13th-century artist, Coppo di Marcovaldo. A recent restoration has caused scholars to question this attribution and posit an earlier, 12th-century date for the panel.

Why You Should Visit:
Not as glamorous as other Florentine churches but beautiful nonetheless.
On the interior, there are a few interesting frescoes that reveal a glimpse of the 11th century.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-12pm / 3:30-5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Maria Novella

7) Santa Maria Novella

Built by the Dominican order in the 13th century, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella was constructed on the site Santa Maria delle Vigne oratory. Between 1246 and 1360, the lower part of the Basilica and Bell Tower were completed under the direction of Friar Talenti. Leone Alverti was commissioned in 1456 to complete the upper part of the current façade of the church.

Known for his work on a church in Rimini and a palace in Florence, Alberti gave the church its four white and green pilasters, a frieze with a circular window and a pediment. Alberti’s S-shaped scrolls were his greatest contribution, not only to this structure but also to the architecture of churches in Italy.

Massacio’s The Holy Trinity is a Renaissance masterpiece located in this church. Stained glass windows from the 14th century depicting Coronation of Mary and Madonna and Child beautify this church. The Filippo Strozzi, Gondi, Rucellai and the Spanish Chapel are a few chapels within the Basilica. The Cappella Strozzi is one of the most beautiful parts of the church. It was decorated according to Dante's poem Divina Commedia. A portrait of the poet is housed in the chapel.

The building has a cloister adorned with paintings from the 14th century. Frescoes portraying stories from Genesis ornament the walls of the cloister. Eminent Florentine families contributed towards the art possessions with the Church and the funerary monuments, of which they are now, part of. The Holy Trinity comes to life just outside the Church.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Florence, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Creating your own self-guided walk in Florence is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Duomo Souvenir Shopping

Duomo Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Florence without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Florence, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo spent over 20 years of his life in Florence during which he created some of the most beautiful masterpieces this city had ever seen. The most famous of them, the David, is also located in Florence along with a few copies. Take this tour to discover the Florence side of Michelangelo's artistic mastership.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
City Orientation Walking Tour

City Orientation Walking Tour

Surrounded by picturesque Tuscan countryside, laden with a great variety of cultural treasures on the inside, the city of Florence, for centuries, has been an enormously attractive destination that everyone loves to explore. The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is replete with the world-famous monuments and works of art originated half a millennium ago during the unique period of genius and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 km
Arno South Bank Walking Tour

Arno South Bank Walking Tour

Arno South Bank, also known as Oltrarno, what literally means "beyond the Arno", is a magical place, though not everyone knows about it. The many historical places located in this part of the city will amaze you. Take this tour to see some wonderful sites that you will never forget.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 km
Novella & Indipendenza Walking Tour

Novella & Indipendenza Walking Tour

Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". This city has to offer a lot of wonderful places to admire. Take this tour to explore Indipendenza and Santa Maria Novella quarters, visit beautiful Dominican basilica of Santa Maria Novella, as well as Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Accademia di Belle Arti, Cappella dei Principi and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
Florence Museums

Florence Museums

Over the centuries Florence gained a huge collection of art works. Almost half of them come from the world known artists that lived here and the other half comes from the private collection of the Medici family that have ruled the city for a long time. To show their pride, the city of Florence displayed all these magnificent works of art in numerous museums and palaces. Take this tour to get...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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Top 14 Pubs in Florence

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Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Unique Products to Buy in Florence

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Florence for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Florence has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Florence's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Florence City Pass issued by Musement and the Florence City Pass by TicketBar.

A city pass combines all or multiple Florence's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Florence hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Strozzi Palace Hotel, Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy, Hotel Pierre.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Florence, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Florence typically costs from around US$25 up to US$90 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Florence from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the route.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts 3 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Florence on a 2.5-hour bike tour to visit the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Enjoy a day of art and sightseeing in Florence at a great discount on the Florence Super Saver tour combining two best-selling guided tours for the price of one! Be guaranteed to skip the lines to the Accademia (hosting David) and Uffizi Galleries.

- Get yourself “under the skin” of Florence and explore the city's ghosts and curiosities at night. On this 2-hour night walk you will see the famous Florentine attractions in a different light and hear historical anecdotes and stories associated with them.

- Make the most of your time in Florence with a 3-hour guided walk to the most prominent sights of this magical city, e.g. Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Michelangelo's David, also discovering some of its hidden gems!

- Unleash your appetite for Florentine delicacies on this 3-hour food tour replete with tasting stops throughout the city. Follow an expert guide to eat and drink like a local, treat yourself to some of the top gourmet delights this city has to offer, including rich Italian coffee and gelato, explore the San Lorenzo Market, and so much more!

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Florence, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Pisa and Lucca, Assisi and Cortona, Portovenere and the Cinque Terre, Siena, San Gimignano, or Chianti. For as little as US$50+ to US$100+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites including the legendary Leaning Tower of Pisa, Cortona and other towns of Tuscany, set your eyes on the small piece of paradise on Earth manifested in five little villages hanging on cliffs above the sea, learn about the life of St Francis of Assisi, enjoy the sight of a unique landscape and taste the food and wines of Italy. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Florence, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus, boat or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.