If you love thrillers and mysteries, you’ve probably read Dan Brown’s bestselling book Inferno. The novel, which stars Robert Langdon as its main character, was adapted for the big screen by Ron Howard. The film was a smash success, thanks to the world-famous actors who performed in it, Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones. And, as far as we’re concerned, the filming locations also helped it along tremendously. It’s no accident that a substantial portion of the movie was filmed in Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance in Tuscany.
After Tea with Mussolini, A Room with a View and Hannibal, Florence comes back to the big screen as the backdrop for Inferno. Relive the secrets and enigmas of professor Robert Langdon: all you have to do is follow this 5-stop itinerary inspired by the book.
The movie takes its characters through the heart of the “Lily City,” showing it off in all its beauty. The Florentine skyline is unmistakable thanks to its treasures, such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo). And speaking of the Duomo, there’s no mistaking that legendary dome by Brunelleschi, the largest ever constructed in terms of masonry. In the same square, you’ll find Giotto’s bell tower and the Baptistery of San Giovanni. Next up, the camera gives us a glimpse of Arnolfo’s tower of Palazzo Vecchio, an icon and orientation point for the whole city.
The next stop on our trip through the key Inferno destinations is none other than Palazzo Vecchio, also known as Palazzo della Signoria and found in the square of the same name. Some of the film’s scenes take place in the Salone dei Cinquecento or Hall of the 500, constructed at the request of Savonarola to bring together the elder council. Inside, in the past, you could see incomplete paintings of the Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci and the Battle of Cascina by Michelangelo. Unfortunately, the two works ended up covered or destroyed during the transformational works toward the end of the 16th century.
Tom Hanks later runs through the Vasari Corridor in a chase scene. The elevated walkway was built at the urging of Grand Duke Cosimo I’ de Medici, and the connection allowed for undisturbed movement between Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti. In the film, viewers catch sight of some of the treasures of the Uffizi Gallery, one of the world’s most-visited and best-known museums. Right here you can admire paintings and works by Raphael and Botticelli, Giotto, Titian and Caravaggio.
Also unmistakable is Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, a romantic and soulful symbol of the city for all visitors. It’s no surprise that, when you walk along the bridge, you sometimes spot padlocks clipped to the railings, placed there by couples as a testament to their eternal love. There is also the quintessentially Florentine tradition of artisan workshops that work in gold, silver and precious stones.
From the Vasari Corridor, as we were saying, we arrive in the Oltrarno in the surroundings of Palazzo Pitti. Specifically, the route takes you directly into the Grotta del Buontalenti, in the famous Boboli Gardens.
The latter is one of the best-known gardens in Tuscany—an important green space constructed between the 16th and 19th centuries, by the Medici and later by the Lorraine and Savoy dynasties. Must-see monuments within it are the Fountain of Neptune, the “Knight’s Garden” (Giardino del Cavaliere), the Garden of Jupiter and the Prato dell’Uccellare.