Built in 1324, the best preserved of the city’s medieval gates stands sentinel on the banks of the Arno. In summer, with a guide you can scale the steep stairs inside the tower to enjoy blockbuster river and city views. Visits organised by Mus.e are limited to 15 people at a time (no children under eight years) and advance reservations are essential; book online, by email or by phone. Tours are cancelled when it rains.

Behind the city gate a monumental staircase designed by Giuseppe Poggi winds its way up towards Basilica di San Miniato al Monte.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Piazzale Michelangelo

0.14 MILES

Turn your back on the bevy of ticky-tacky souvenir stalls flogging David statues and boxer shorts and take in the spectacular city panorama from this vast…

2. Clet

0.21 MILES

Should you notice something gone awry with street signs in Oltrarno – on a No Entry sign, a tiny black figure stealthily sneaking away with the white bar…

3. Basilica di Santa Croce

0.31 MILES

The austere interior of this Franciscan basilica is a shock after the magnificent neo-Gothic facade enlivened by varying shades of coloured marble. Most…

4. Basilica di San Miniato al Monte

0.34 MILES

Five minutes' walk uphill from Piazzale Michelangelo is this wonderful Romanesque church, dedicated to St Minius, an early-Christian martyr in Florence…

5. Museo Horne

0.34 MILES

One of the many eccentric Brits who made Florence home in the early 20th century, Herbert Percy Horne bought and renovated this Renaissance palazzo, then…

6. Palazzo de' Mozzi

0.35 MILES

Pope Gregory X stayed at this early-Renaissance palazzo (palace) when brokering peace between the Guelps and Ghibellines in the 13th century.

7. Piazza di Santa Croce

0.35 MILES

This square was cleared in the Middle Ages to allow the faithful to gather when the church itself was full. In Savonarola's day, heretics were executed…

8. Fondazione Casa Buonarroti

0.37 MILES

Though Michelangelo never lived in Casa Buonarroti, his heirs devoted some of the artist’s hard-earned wealth to the construction of this 17th-century…