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UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Florence

By Viator, July 2013

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Among the many kinds of things we can collect when we travel, some of them are more about checking things off lists than acquiring trinkets. Passport stamps, for instance, or UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you’re someone who “collects” the latter, Italy is the place to go - it has more UNESCO sites than any other country. And in Florence, the entire historic center is under the UNESCO umbrella.

UNESCO named the “Historic Centre of Florence,” covering more than 1,200 acres, to its list of World Heritage Sites in 1982. So even though a visit to central Florence means you’re technically only checking one item off of UNESCO’s list, you can definitely think of it as getting a whole lot of bang for your buck. Let’s talk about what’s included in that “Historic Centre of Florence” designation.

Starting with Florence’s multi-colored Duomo and the piazza in front of it, UNESCO’s “Historic Centre” radiates out in all directions to include such attractions as the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery, the Bargello Museum, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Piazza della Signoria, the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, the San Lorenzo Basilica, St. Mark’s Museum, the Strozzi Palace, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, and the Santa Croce Church. UNESCO’s boundaries even stretch across the Arno River into the Oltrarno district, including more attractions - the Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, and the Santo Spirito Basilica.

In short, nearly everywhere you’re planning to visit during your time in Florence’s historic center is considered by UNESCO to be worthy of “world heritage site” designation, from the cobblestones right on up to the top of the historic buildings. UNESCO’s own listing says that Florence “rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries,” so you may want to take a guided tour of Florence that focuses on the Medici influence in the city in order to really get an understanding of just how critical they were to making Florence the world famous destination it is today.

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