Piazza della Repubblica is one of the most important and elegant squares in the heart of Florence, lined with porticoed 19th-century palazzi, Grand Dame hotels, high-end boutiques, bustling restaurants, and historic cafés. A stroll through this beautiful public space is a must during any Florence sightseeing tour.
Florence’s main square is located on the site of the city’s ancient Roman Forum, which later became the market square dedicated to commerce while the Piazza del Duomo was the center of religious and civic affairs and Piazza della Signoria was the city’s political heart. A warren of narrow lanes crowded with buildings, churches, towers, and palaces sprang up in the area surrounding the market square, a portion of which became the Jewish ghetto. Today’s sweeping space was created by razing almost all of this neighborhood as part of a 19th-century urban renewal project during the brief period when Florence was capital of the newly united nation of Italy. Today the only original architectural detail that remains is the 15th-century Colonna dell'Abbondanza, marking the historic center of the square.
Piazza della Repubblica is generally included in private or small-group Florence walking tours, or Florence tours by Segway or electric bike. In addition to this landmark square, skip-the-line Florence highlights tours may include the Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio, Michelangelo’s David statue in the Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell'Accademia), Piazzale Michelangelo, Palazzo Vecchio, the Florence Duomo, and Santa Croce (Basilica di Santa Croce).
Things to Know Before You Go
- Don’t miss the square’s most famous landmarks: the historic literary cafés and the Hotel Savoy.
- With its lively merry-go-round and street performers, Piazza della Repubblica is a fun stop for kids.
- Most tours of the historic center of Florence and Piazza della Repubblica are on foot, so wear comfortable shoes and a sun hat.
- The wide and flat public square is easy to navigate with a wheelchair or stroller.
How to Get There
Piazza della Repubblica is located in the historic city center of Florence, just a short stroll down the Via Roma pedestrian thoroughfare from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo).
When to Get There
The square is a lively spot to visit year-round, but during the winter holidays many of the shops and businesses surrounding the square are decorated with abundant fairy lights, making it especially magical at night.
The Cafés of Piazza della Repubblica
At the end of the 19th century, the literary cafés lining Piazza della Repubblica became a meeting place for Florentine scholars, writers, and artists. Many of these spots are still open more than a century later; among the most famous are Giubbe Rosse and Gilli.