Italy is a magical country, full of amazing landscapes and breathtaking cities. As the cradle of European civilization is a very important place on the map of the old continent. Hundreds of Italian cities every year delight visitors, but today we will focus on two of them, often recognized not only as the most beautiful cities of Italy but of the whole Europe – Florence and Bologna.
We will show you both cities and let you choose the one that suits you best!
There is no doubt that Florence is an unusual city. The capital of Tuscany is known for its enormous number of historical monuments, all of which delight the visitor. Precisely because Florence has hundreds of beautiful sights, it is important not to try to see them all. Choose a few of them and spend the rest of your time on quiet walks around the city. On the way you will see amazing places and you will get rid of the pressure.
What do you really need to see when visiting Florence? Here is our top five:
Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral
The most recognizable building in the city, the famous “Duomo” is simply breathtaking. It is a symbol of Florence, Italy and the Renaissance. The façade itself is absolutely stunning with its multitude of details and unusual decorations: mosaics, sculptures, rosettes and portals. In the middle you can admire the wonderful fresco on the cathedral’s dome. You have to include it on your list!
The Boboli Gardens
Open every day from 8.15 a.m. to 4:30pm (Nov-Feb), to 5:30pm (March), to 6:30pm (April-May, Sept-Oct) and to 7:30pm (June-August) they are an absolute must-see. One of the greatest open-air museums in Italy, the Boboli Gardens, never cease to delight tourists from all over the world. The gardens are home to beautiful sculptures, fountains and hundreds of trees and flowers that give a shade in summer and delight the eyes (and noses) of visitors in the spring and autumn!
Out of all the places in Florence, the Michelangelo Square is definitely one site that should not be missed. Although the square was created relatively late compared to other monuments of the city, the view and atmosphere of the place make it a must for every trip to Florence. The view from above is indescribable and the sunset seen from the square is an absolutely unforgettable experience!
Ponte Vecchio is a showcase of Florence. The oldest bridge over the River Arno it remembers the Etruscan times. From a distance, Ponte Vecchio resembles a bridge covered with small matchboxes. It gives an extraordinary impression. Not only is it an important historical monument, but also beautiful sight, especially viewed from the bridges on both of its sides.
Piazza della Signoria
This square in the center of the city, which was built from the 12th to the 14th century, is another of the compulsory stops during the tour of Florence. The square is surrounded by a number of palaces and serves as an interesting display of magnificent sculptures. Probably the most important building in the square is the Palace Vecchio. In front of the palace, you can stop by the Neptune fountain, where you can admire the marble sculptures designed by Bartolomeo Ammannati. On the Square, you also find a sculpture of David, or rather a copy of Michelangelo’s original work (the original was moved to the Gallery dell’Academia).
Florence is an amazing city, one of the most beautiful in Europe and perfect for a romantic getaway. It is especially beautiful in Spring and Autumn, with fewer tourists and perfect temperatures as well as flowers blossoming in all of the gardens around the city!
Bologna is a very charming place. Behind each corner, there is a new palace, new arcade, new gate and museum, the next one even better than the other. It is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, that for centuries delights tourists.
Here are the five most beautiful places in Bologna:
While staying in Bologna, it’s hard not to visit Piazza Maggiore. It is one of the largest squares in Italy, where several magnificent palaces are located. Here is the enormous Basilica of San Petronio, which was supposed to be the largest church in the world, as well as the Neptune and the Town Hall (Palazzo del Comune). Surrounded by numerous cafes in which you can hide from the sun and quietly admire its beauty, it is simply ideal for any tourist.
Surrounded by the university district, Via Zamboni is ideal for a walk. The street starts right at two towers and is one of the more intimate streets of Bologna. Here are various faculties of the university that you can visit to admire the beautiful staircases, as well as several museums and a great Rossini square. Definitely worth seeing.
Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca
The Sanctuary of Madonna di San Luca is one of the symbols of Bologna, a church adored by its inhabitants.
A place where they climb to pray, a jogging spot – a favorite training trail, even a picnic spot. The Sanctuary of Madonna di San Luca is high up on the hill, precisely at Monte della Guardia (“watchtower”), southwest of Bologna. Ark of San Luca consists of 666 arcs – a diabolic number, which symbolizes the defeat of evil under the weight of good.
Asinelli and Garisenda are two most representative towers in the city. In the Middle Ages in Bologna there were reportedly more than 100 towers and therefore Bologna is called Medieval New York. Asinelli Tower can be reached for a fee of 3 euros, but first, you have to climb nearly 500 stairs. The view of the 97-meter tower is worth the effort. This is definitely one of the best places in town!
Santo Stefano Basilica
Compared to Piazza Maggiore, it is an intimate green space with empty arcades. Townhouses are lower here than in the main part of the city and there are not as many cafes here. Why is it worth visiting then? It is due to this tranquility and intimacy. It is a magical place, perfect for daydreaming. The basilica is located on the Piazza Santo Stefano and it is its central point. After visiting it one you will want to visit it again and again. It is addictive.
Bologna is a perfect city for families with children, and just as Florence it is exceptionally beautiful in spring and autumn.
We can’t choose between these two wonderful cities, since they both have so much to offer, so we leave the decision up to you.
And what if it seems impossible to choose? Why not visit both? 😉