Are you looking for a quote about Florence to use as a photo caption for your social media feed? Or perhaps you are simply seeking inspiration to book your next trip to Italy.
Well, you’re in luck. Over the millennia, the so-called Cradle of the Renaissance has been a source of inspiration for poets and writers, thinkers and travellers.
From literary captions to profound sayings, here is my hand-curated collection of the best Florence quotes that reflect the nature of this seductive city.
Feel free to copy your favourite Florence caption and paste it into your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook post.
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Famous Quotes on Florence, Italy
Let’s start with some of the quotes that best describe Florence. From Dante to Dickens, there is something for every occasion.
1. Rejoice, Florence, seeing you are so great that over sea and land you flap your wings, and your name is widely known in Hell! – The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri
2. Unlike Milan, Italy’s banking capital, or Rome, its religious center, Florence was the place where the rich went to buy goods that would showcase how wealthy they were. – Hanya Yanagihara, novelist
3. This is the fairest picture on our planet, the most enchanting to look upon, the most satisfying to the eye and the spirit. To see the sun sink down, drowned on his pink and purple and golden floods, and overwhelm Florence with tides of color that make all the sharp lines dim and faint and turn the solid city to a city of dreams, is a sight to stir the coldest nature, and make a sympathetic one drunk with ecstasy. – Autobiography of Mark Twain
4. As her time in Florence drew to a close she was only at ease amongst those to whom she felt indifferent. – A Room with a View, E.M. Forster
5. And the voices in the waves are always whispering to Florence, in their ceaseless murmuring, of love – of love, eternal and illimitable, not bounded by the confines of this world, or by the end of time, but ranging still, beyond the sea, beyond the sky, to the invisible country far away! – Dombey and Son, Charles Dickens
6. Many of the narrower streets are like lofty paved courts, cut through a solid quarry of stone. In general, the public buildings are old, and striking chiefly from their massiveness and the quaintness of the style and ornaments. Florence is like a town that has survived itself. It is distinguished by the remains of early and rude grandeur; it is left where it was three hundred years ago. Its history does not seem to be brought down to the present period. On entering it, you may imagine yourself enclosed in a besieged town; if you turn down any of its inferior streets, you feel as if you might meet the plague still lurking there. – Notes of a Journey through France and Italy, William Hazlitt
7. Think of Florence, Paris, London, New York. Nobody visiting them for the first time is a stranger because he’s already visited them in paintings, novels, history books and films. But if a city hasn’t been used by an artist, not even the inhabitants live there imaginatively. – Alasdair Gray, writer
8. In the city of Florence, not far from the Piazza del Granduca, runs a little street called Porta Rosa. In this street, just in front of the market-place where vegetables are sold, stands a pig, made of brass and curiously formed. The bright color has been changed by age to dark green; but clear, fresh water pours from the snout, which shines as if it had been polished, and so indeed it has, for hundreds of poor people and children seize it in their hands as they place their mouths close to the mouth of the animal, to drink. – The Metal Pig, Hans Christian Andersen
9. – The Reverend Mr. Eager: Remember the facts about this church of Santa Croce; how it was built by faith in the full fervour of medievalism.
– Mr. Emerson: Built by faith indeed! That simply means the workers weren’t paid properly. – A Room with a View, E.M. Forster
10. Spending all my remaining money on a ticket to Florence was rendered needlessly complicated by the fact that none of the ticket-sellers had ever heard of the place. At last their supervisor showed up and set them straight by informing them that the city they had always referred to as ‘Firenze’ was in reality called Florence. – Unreliable Memoirs, Clive James
I love this verse from Milton’s Paradise Lost that describes one of the best views of Florence from Fiesole.
11. …The broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At evening from the top of Fesolé,
Or in Valarno, to descry new lands,
Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe.
Paradise Lost, John Milton
12. I remember the first time I went to Italy when I was eighteen, I was in Florence and there were all these eighteen, nineteen, twenty-year-olds gliding past on Vespas with crinkly, long, hair, and I thought I was on the set of a movie. I couldn’t believe that this was going on and I hadn’t known about it before. I was flabbergasted. – Walter Kirn, writer and critic
River Arno and Ponte Vecchio Quotes
The River Arno is the lifeblood of the city and Ponte Vecchio is the most famous of Florence’s bridges. The next selection of Florence quotes speak of their beauty.
13. Among the four old bridges that span the river, the Ponte Vecchio, that bridge which is covered with the shops of jewelers and goldsmiths, is a most enchanting feature in the scene. The space of one house, in the center, being left open, the view beyond, is shown as in a frame; and that precious glimpse of sky, and water, and rich buildings, shining so quietly among the huddled roofs and gables on the bridge, is exquisite. – Pictures from Italy, Charles Dickens
14. It was pleasant to wake up in Florence, to open the eyes upon a bright bare room, with a floor of red tiles which look clean though they are not; with a painted ceiling whereon pink griffins and blue amorini sport in a forest of yellow violins and bassoons. It was pleasant, too, to fling wide the windows, pinching the fingers in unfamiliar fastenings, to lean out into sunshine with beautiful hills and trees and marble churches opposite, and, close below, Arno, gurgling against the embankment of the road. – A Room with a View, E.M. Forster
15. Tonight I watched the sun set at Ponte Vecchio. I think it’s safe to say I have finally found the place that feels right to me. I just can’t believe I had to come halfway across the world to find it. – Jenna Evans Welch, author
16. Imagine a pair of woman’s lips, Mogor whispered, puckering for a kiss. That is the city of Florence, narrow at the edges, swelling at the center, with the Arno flowing through between, parting the two lips, the upper and the lower. The city is an enchantress. When it kisses you, you are lost, whether you be commoner or king. – The Enchantress of Florence, Salman Rushdie
Piazza del Duomo Quotes
The Piazza del Duomo is the city’s geographical and historical heart, and its Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the ground zero of the Italian Renaissance and one of the must-see sights in Florence.
READ THIS NEXT: How to Spend One Day in Florence
Marcel Proust and William Wordsworth have penned two sublime Florence Duomo quotes, and Salman Rushdie shares his thoughts on St. John’s Baptistery.
17. And when I thought of Florence, it was like a miracle city embalmed and like a corolla, because it was called the city of lilies and its cathedral, St. Mary of the Flowers. – Swann’s Way, Marcel Proust
18. Under the shadow of a stately Pile,
The dome of Florence, pensive and alone,
Nor giving heed to aught that passed the while,
I stood, and gazed upon a marble stone,
The laurelled Dante’s favourite seat. A throne,
–Memorials of a Tour in Italy, William Wordsworth
19. Long ago in the octagonal gloom of the Battistero di San Giovanni he had been baptized twice, as was customary, once as a Christian and again as a Florentine, and to an irreligious bastard like Ago it was the second baptism that counted. The city was his religion, a world as perfect as any heaven. The great Buonarroti had called the Baptistery doors the gates of Paradise and when the little baby Ago emerged from that place with a wet head he had understood at once that he had entered a walled and gated Eden. The city of Florence had fifteen gates and on their inner faces were pictures of the Virgin and various saints. Voyagers touched the gates for good luck, and nobody starting on a journey through those gates did so without consulting astrologers. – The Enchantress of Florence, Salman Rushdie
Quotes about Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio
Florence’s Piazza della Signoria is one of the most magnificent squares in Europe and home to the Palazzo Vecchio, the city’s town hall and former palace of the mighty Medici. This is also where you will find some of the best free sculptures in Florence.
20. The Palazzo Vecchio rises before me, oppressive in its abrupt compact bulk, and I can feel upon me its heavy grey shadow. From the building’s crenellated shoulders soars the bell tower; stretching out its muscular neck into the nightfall. It is so high that I am seized by dizziness as I lift my eyes towards its helmeted head. – Diary from Florence, Rainer Maria Rilke
21. She fixed her eyes wistfully on the tower of the palace, which rose out of the lower darkness like a pillar of roughened gold. It seemed no longer a tower, no longer supported by earth, but some unobtainable treasure throbbing in the tranquil sky. – A Room with a View, E.M. Forster
22. In another minute he was passing between massive buildings out into the Piazza della Signoria. There he stood still and looked round him in real surprise and real joy. The flat, empty square with its stone paving was all wet. The great buildings rose dark. The dark sheer front of the Palazzo Vecchio went up like a cliff to the battlements, and the slim tower soared dark and hawk-like, crested, high above. – Aaron’s Rod, D.H. Lawrence
23. More than any other piazza in Italy, the Piazza della Signoria evokes the antique world, not only in the colossal deified statues, the David, the Neptune…, the hideous Hercules and Cacus, but in the sober Loggia dei Lanzi, with its three lovely full arches and its series statuary groups in bronze and marble. Some are antique Greek and Roman; some are Renaissance; some belong to the Mannerist epoch; one to the nineteenth century. Yet there is no disharmony among them. – The Stones of Florence, Mary McCarthy
Italian Renaissance Quotes
Florence is best known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and spawned the likes of Donatello, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo. It is here that you will find many of Michelangelo’s finest sculptures and the Uffizi galleries are home to many of the finest Renaissance paintings.
24. Florence is perhaps best known for being the seat of Renaissance art, and rightly so: A greatest-hits collection of artists passed through its streets – Michelangelo, Leonardo, Botticelli, and Brunelleschi among them. – Hanya Yanagihara, novelist
25. Florence and art is something that is part of my life and is part of myself. – Roberto Cavalli, fashion designer
26. Not much was really invented during the Renaissance, if you don’t count modern civilization. – P. J. O’Rourke
27. I wear myself out trying to render the orange trees so that they’re not stiff but like those I saw by Botticelli in Florence. It’s a dream that won’t come true. – Berthe Morisot, painter
28. The Renaissance is studded by the names of the artists and architects, with their creations recorded as great historical events. – Arthur Erickson, architect
29. The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. – Michelangelo Buonarroti
30. Art is never finished, only abandoned. – Leonardo da Vinci
31. Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. – Michelangelo Buonarroti
32. You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him to find it for himself. – Galileo Galilei
33. Faith in oneself is the best and safest course. – Michelangelo Buonarroti
Florence Quotes for Instagram Captions
Finally, if you are looking for short Florence quotes for Instagram, take a look at the selection below. Perfect for a caption for your Florence photo.
34. I have a view, I have a view. – A Room with a View, E.M. Forster
35. You will begin to wonder that human daring ever achieved anything so magnificent. – Mornings in Florence, John Ruskin, 1875
36. Through these old streets I wander dreamily; Around me Florence sweeps her busy tide of life. – William Leighton, composer
37. Smell! A true Florentine smell. Inhale, my dear. Deeper! Every city, let me tell you, has its own smell. – A Room with a View, E.M. Forster
38. To be in Florence is to reflect on Europe’s intricate diversity – and its lost creativity. – Timothy Garton Ash
39. In Paris, you learn wit, in London you learn to crush your social rivals, and in Florence you learn poise. – Virgil Thomson, composer
40. Florence – the city of tranquillity made manifest. – Katherine Cecil Thurston, novelist
41. Everything about Florence seems to be colored with a mild violet, like diluted wine. – Henry James, novelist