San Giovanni District
San Giovanni District is the historical heart of Florence where the marvelous Florence Cathedral stands. The San Giovanni square takes its name from the Baptistery facing the Florence Cathedral. Many streets connect San Giovanni Square to the majority of the other main squares in town and can be reached by the SMN Railway Station in less than 10 minutes walk. The square has points of interest anywhere you turn:
- The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, (commonly called the Cathedral of Florence), full of beautiful frescoes, was designed, by order of the Signoria in 1296, by architect Arnolfo di Cambio and the famous Cathedral dome (Cupola) designed by Brunelleschi, you can visit both the Cathedral and walk the stairs to the Dome, be ready to queue.
- The Giotto's Bell Tower/Campanile di Giotto, located right next to the church, is a great example of Renaissance Art, finished in 1359. The Belltower is 85 meters tall and the top terrace can be reached walking the 414 steps.
- The Baptistery of San Giovanni/Battistero, located in front of the church in the center of the square, famous for its golden doors made by Ghiberti.
- The Opera del Duomo Museum is located in a building in front of the church and is adorned by a bust of Cosimo I De' Medici. The Opera del Duomo is the institution that takes care, preserves and restores the monuments in Piazza del Duomo. Inside the museum many works of art from the square are displayed among the most important sculptures of Giotto's Bell Tower, the Baptistery's Gates of Paradise and a Pieta by Michelangelo and other monuments from the interior of the cathedral. In a section of the museum you can find the documentation of the design and construction of Brunelleschi's Dome and the history of the facade including the various monuments of famous people like Arnolfo di Cambio and many projects from various architects.
- The Loggia del Bigallo (Tourist Info Point), opened in 2011, can help you sort out your way around town.
- The Loggia del Bigallo Museum
Piazza del Duomo was and still is the place where town festivals are celebrated, major events during the year: the Explosion of the Cart for Easter and the Feast of St. John the Baptist/San Giovanni, Patron Saint of Florence every June 24th.
STREETS converging in Piazza San Giovanni/Piazza del Duomo
- Via Calzaiuoli (ancient street of the shoe makers) is the main street connecting the Cathedral to Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo della Signoria/Palazzo Vecchio.
- Via Martelli and following straight north to Via Cavour there is Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the Upper Room of St. Apollonia, in Piazza San Marco is the church and the museum of San Marco and the Academy of Fine Arts (where Michelangelo's David is exposed).
- Via Cerretani, direction west will bring to SMN Railway Station.
- Via De' Pecori (taxi stand) will bring you to Via Tornabuoni (Shopping Street).
- Via Roma will bring you to Piazza della Repubblica, Porcellino and Ponte Vecchio.