Work that spanned over six centuries of history: The Duomo’s basic architectural design was conceived by Arnolfo di Cambio at the end of the 13th century; the cupola that has made it a symbol for the whole city was created by the genius of the Renaissance, Filippo Brunelleschi.
Nowadays the Duomo is surely one of the most impressive monuments created by humankind on the planet. When you visit it, don’t forget to climb to the top of the cupola, your efforts will be repaid by the breathtaking view of all the hills around, the red roofs of the city and all the other major monuments of Florence.
The San Giovanni district that surrounds the Duomo constitutes the heart of the historical city center and the area has probably one of the highest concentrations of art per square meter on the whole planet: churches, statues, museums, towers, and historical buildings fill every corner of every street.
The main problem of the district is the sensation of being trapped in a Renaissance Disneyland…
The whole area is, in fact, invaded by millions of tourists armed with cameras, strange parasols, colourful shirts and funny matching hats.
As a result, almost all of the local shops and dining establishments are totally designed with tourists in mind: flashy gelaterias and bars, high-fashion shops, deluxe bars now dominate every street of the area featuring 5-star prices and, more often than not, 1-star quality (we recommend that you avoid all these places, unless you either a millionaire or masochist, or both…) in this atmosphere even the most romantic spirit would find it difficult to experience a true Florentine atmosphere…
If you want to enjoy the taste of a good gelato or a truly excellent Italian espresso we suggest that you head towards Sant’Ambrogio or Santa Croce where you can find better places with (more) normal prices…
BARS: GILLI, GIUBBE ROSSE, GALLERY, MOVE ON, EATALY
RESTAURANTS: REGINA BISTECCA, COQUINARIUS, VINI E VECCHI SAPORI, LO SCUDO
PUBS: JJ CATHEDRAL, KING GRIZZLY, OLD STOVE PORCELLINO,
CLUBS: YAB, CRISCO