Take a Tour Around Florence with Dan Brown’s Inferno
In Dan Brown’s latest international blockbuster, Inferno, now in paperback from Anchor Books, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon awakens in an Italian hospital, disoriented and with no recollection of the past thirty-six hours, including the origin of the macabre object hidden in his belongings. With a relentless female assassin trailing them through Florence, he and his resourceful doctor, Sienna Brooks, are forced to flee. Embarking on a harrowing journey, they must unravel a series of codes, which are the work of a brilliant scientist whose obsession with the end of the world is matched only by his passion for one of the most influential masterpieces ever written, Dante Alighieri’s The Inferno. Langdon’s scavenger hunt takes him through a maze of Florence’s most beloved artistic and architectural landmarks: the Duomo, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi, and many more. Use our list of Florentine attractions to complement your discussion of Inferno—and follow Langdon’s pulse-pounding adventure deep into the heart of the ancient city to experience it like never before.
Now an art museum, the Bargello—also known as Palazzo del Popolo (“palace of the people”)—is a former barracks and prison. The oldest public building in Florence, it was converted into a national museum in 1865.
Basilica di San Lorenzo
One of the oldest and largest churches in Florence and notable for its unfinished façade, San Lorenzo is at the center of Florence’s main market district. It served as the city’s cathedral for three hundred years.
Botticelli’s Mappa dell’Inferno
The Mappa dell’Inferno (“Map of Hell”) is one of the illustrations designed by the famous Italian painter Sandro Botticelli for an early edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The original is in the Vatican Library.
The iconic, grand cathedral of Florence, officially Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Its most distinguishing feature is the eye-catching red dome that is visible from much of Florence. It is one of the most well-known landmarks of the city.
An imposing structure, Florence’s town hall, the Palazzo Vecchio (“old palace”), is regarded as one of the most impressive in the Tuscan region. On the eastern edge of the Piazza della Signoria, its entrance is flanked by two remarkable statues, both symbols of the city—Michelangelo’s David (a copy, the original is in the Gallery of the Academy of Florence), and Hercules and Cacus by Bandinelli.
Stanza della Guardaroba
The Stanza della Guardaroba (guardaroba means “wardrobes”), also known as the Hall of Maps, is located on the second floor of the Palazzo Vecchio. It features 53 maps depicting the world as it was known in the mid-sixteenth century. It was created by the architect, painter, and biographer Giorgio Vasari.
Now housing one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world, the Uffizi (“offices”) has served as political offices for Florentine magistrates (signoria), and as a palace for the ruling family of Florence. The museum’s collection contains some of the most important Italian and Renaissance artworks in the world.
The Ponte Vecchio (“old bridge”) is a Medieval structure spanning the River Arno. Notable both for its age and the numerous shops built along either side, the bridge is a popular shopping street and tourist destination.
The Vasari Corridor is a kilometer-long passageway that connects the Uffizi Gallery to the Pitti Palace across the Arno, partially along the top of the Ponte Vecchio. The corridor is decorated with frescoes, but is only open by special arrangement. It was damaged in a 1993 Mafia bombing.
For more discussion ideas, browse our reader’s guide.