Florence   Travel Guide

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tourist activities in florence italy

17 Best Things to Do in Florence, Italy

The most popular attractions of Florence, Italy, center around the famous architecture and artwork found in the city – from the works hung in the Uffizi and the Galleria dell'Accademia  to the incredible construction and design of the Duomo and

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tourist activities in florence italy

Piazza della Signoria Piazza della Signoria free

Loggia dei Lanzi, in the Piazza della Signoria, is an open-air (and free) museum that was designed in the 14th century by Orcagna, an influential architect and artist. Below the building's curved arches are dozens of sculptures (notable ones include Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines and a statue of Perseo holding Medusa's head, by Benvenuto Cellini), which draw crowds of tourists and locals alike. Behind it sits the  Galleria degli Uffizi , which is one of the city's most famous art museums. The Piazza della Signoria is also filled with its (more than) fair share of sculptures, including a towering replica of Michaelangelo's David.

Take your time wandering around, and if you get tired, grab a seat along the Loggia dei Lanzi, or make your way to a cafe near the Fountain of Neptune. Recent visitors said this is a must-see spot and a great area to people-watch, view magnificent sculptures and rest travel-weary feet (though past travelers recommended avoiding the restaurants in this area, calling them "outrageously overpriced"). To avoid the height of the crowds, visit in the early morning or the evening. Access to the area is free 24/7.

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Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) free

The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (known simply as the Duomo) is not only Florence's religious center, but it's also the city's most recognizable attraction. Occupying the Piazza del Duomo in the heart of the city, this massive Gothic cathedral was erected during the 14th century on the former site of the Roman church, Santa Reparata. You'll know you're in the right place when you find yourself straining your neck to see the church's massive, iconic dome and the intricate marble statues on its facade staring down at you. The red-tiled cupola was designed by Brunelleschi and is described as a must-see by experts and travelers alike.

Visitors like to joke that the cathedral was designed inside-out: its exterior boasts intricate designs and breathtaking features while the interior is surprisingly plain. For many, the main reason to visit is to climb the 463 stairs to the top of the dome (the cupola) where you'll find spectacular views of the city. (Be aware that there is no elevator and some of the narrow walkways require you to stand to the side while people pass in the opposite direction. Some visitors report this is not for the claustrophobic.) However, if you are interested in looking around inside, guided tours are available.

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Ponte Vecchio Ponte Vecchio free

Much like  London 's Tower Bridge, the Ponte Vecchio was built to replace an earlier bridge. Once dominated by butchers, fishmongers and bakers, the original bridge was washed away during a flood in the early 14th century. When the new Ponte Vecchio was completed, it too was home to local food stores until Grand Duke Ferdinand I of the Medici family decided to designate this unadorned bridge the epicenter of the city's gold and jewel trade. It has maintained this purpose ever since.

Recent visitors said it is especially beautiful at sunset. If you don't want to overpay for souvenirs, heed the advice of past travelers and avoid shopping along the bridge. You can also book a gondola tour of the Arno River to experience sailing beneath the bridge, though prices can be high (typically starting at 65 euros, or around $71, per person).

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Piazzale Michelangelo Piazzale Michelangelo free

U.S. News Insider Tip: If you're eager to get your steps in, climb up another 1,500 feet to the doors of the Abbey of San Miniato al Monte, one of the oldest churches in Florence. Admission is free and the views even higher up are worth the climb. – Holly D. Johnson

Overlooking the city from its perch in the Oltrarno district, the Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the most popular viewpoints in the city, and it's definitely worthwhile if you're a first-time visitor. This ornate square is known for its spectacular views and its towering replica of Michelangelo's David. Getting to the piazza can be quite the trek on foot, yet a meandering path in front of and below the piazza makes it within reach if you're reasonably fit.

tourist activities in florence italy

Museo dell'Opera del Duomo Museo dell'Opera del Duomo

Spanning 28 rooms and three floors, the massive Museo dell'Opera del Duomo houses more than 750 works of art covering nearly 720 years of history. In short, it serves to preserve the artistic masterpieces that were once on display in the Duomo . Highlights from the collection include Ghiberti's original Gates of Paradise from the Baptistery (the Baptistery is currently adorned with replicas of the original gates) and Michelangelo's Pietà, which many believe he created to adorn his tomb.

Many past travelers suggested stopping at the museum prior to visiting the Duomo to better understand the historical context of the cathedral and surrounding monuments. Plus, entrance to the museum is covered by the combo ticket you're required to buy if you want to climb the steps of the Duomo or enter any of the other sites within the square. Other visitors advised setting aside plenty of time to admire all of the works housed here. What's more, many others mentioned that this museum is not as crowded as the Uffizi .

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Galleria dell'Accademia Galleria dell'Accademia

If you only have a limited amount of time for art museums while you're here, devote some of it to the Galleria dell'Accademia for one simple reason: the David. This is your chance to see one of Michelangelo's most famous works in all his authentic glory and recent visitors say it doesn't disappoint. However, you aren't alone on your mission: The gallery can get flooded with other tourists also eager to see the famous piece, which is why some recent reviewers suggest booking a reservation ahead. While you're waiting for the crowds to clear so you can get your photo of David, take the time to see some of the artist's lesser-known works, including the unfinished Slaves or Prisoners.

While the David is undoubtedly the star here, the museum houses a variety of other works and artifacts, including works by the greatest Florentine painters from the 13th to early 15th centuries, such as Giotto and Bernardo Daddi. What’s more, it displays approximately 50 musical instruments from the private collections of the grand dukes of Tuscany, Medici and Lorraine.

tourist activities in florence italy

Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi)

Occupying the first and second floors of the U-shaped Palazzo degli Uffizi along the banks of the Arno River, the Uffizi Gallery was created by the Medici family at the end of the 16th century. Today, the museum is any art lover's dream: it still displays the family's prominent art collection, which includes such masterpieces as Botticelli's "Birth of Venus," Raphael's "Madonna of the Goldfinch" and Titian's "Venus of Urbino." What’s more, it’s housed in a building designed by Giorgio Vasari that dates back to 1560.

Because of the many works of art housed here, you're going to need to take your time. One of the best ways to see the highlights and learn about the lesser-known pieces is to take a guided tour from a third-party operator, which many recent visitors highly recommend. Some tour operators also offer "skip-the-line" tours, which reviewers also spoke highly of. If you’re not up for a guided tour, you can also rent an audio guide from the museum for an additional 6 euros (about $6.50).

tourist activities in florence italy

Mercato Centrale Firenze Mercato Centrale Firenze free

Located in an iron-and-glass building designed by architect Giuseppe Mengoni in 1874, the Mercato Centrale Firenze is a great place to browse and stock up on tasty Italian foods. The ground floor of the market features vendors selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, fish, olive oil, vinegars, truffle products and other local goods. Upstairs from the vendors, you'll find a modern food hall with shops selling everything from pizza and gelato to Tuscan specialties, such as lampredotto, porchetta and trippa. Here, you can sit down to a meal or pick up items for a picnic. Surrounding the building, dozens of vendors also sell artwork, pottery, jewelry, leather, clothing, souvenirs and anything else you can think of. 

Recent visitors called the market fun and lively to visit, with lots of tempting things to eat and buy. Some recommended stopping in a few times over the course of your Florence visit, although recent visitors have said food you can purchase to eat on-site has become rather expensive. If you want a local to show you around, consider signing up for one of the best tours in Florence , many of which stop at the market.

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Baptistry (Battistero) Baptistry (Battistero)

The Battistero is the oldest religious monument in all of Florence, and although the current façade dates from the 11th century, historians have dated the Baptistery back to the fifth century. It hasn't been proven, but many say that this octagonal building was once a temple dedicated to Mars, the Roman god of war.

Today, this ancient building is a must-see for any art lover. Wake up early to beat the crowds, who flock to the Battistero in search of the Gates of Paradise. Designer Lorenzo Ghiberti's delicate depictions of Christ and other religious symbols on these massive doors inspired awe in even the most renowned artists, including Michelangelo, whose praise of the doors reportedly earned them their name. Note: The doors at the Baptistery are replicas of the originals. If you would like to see the originals, you'll have to pay a visit to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo , which can be found just a short walk behind the Baptistery.

tourist activities in florence italy

Giotto's Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto) Giotto's Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto)

Designed by Giotto in the early 14th century, this ornate 277-foot high bell tower is part of the renowned  Duomo  in central Florence's Piazza del Duomo. Although it is known as Giotto's Bell Tower, it actually required three architects to finish. The changes in style and design are apparent. Today, you can marvel at the tower's external design from the square below – make sure to spend plenty of time admiring the statues and reliefs by such famed artists as Donatello and Andrea Pisano. Or you can climb the more than 400 steps to the top for spectacular views of central Florence, a hike that recent visitors said leads to a better panorama than you get at the top of the Duomo because you get to view the Duomo from this vantage point.

However, the climb can be a real workout, so make sure to pace yourself. Travelers appreciated that there were several places where they could stop to catch their breath and admire the views on the way up to the top, which they said were well worth the steep climb. However, if you're visiting during the summer months, reviewers say you'll want to time your visit for the morning (or right before closing), as the climb only gets hotter as the day progresses.

tourist activities in florence italy

Boboli Gardens (Giardino di Boboli) Boboli Gardens (Giardino di Boboli)

U.S. News Insider Tip: After perusing the gardens, treat yourself to a glass of wine at Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina, a popular wine bar that sits opposite Palazzo Pitti. – Ann Henson, Assistant Managing Editor

Originally, these beautiful gardens belonged to the Medici family; it wasn't until the late 18th century that the gates opened to the public. Today, Boboli Gardens (located in the Oltrarno behind Pitti Palace ) offers sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the tourist-trodden city center. While you stroll through this extensive green, keep your eyes peeled for the numerous sculptures and grottos strategically placed along the paths, like Giambologna's Bathing Venus. Also swing by the Isolotto, a large fountain located at the southwestern end of the park.

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Basilica di Santa Croce Basilica di Santa Croce

Santa Croce is similar to the  Duomo  in style (both churches represent dominant Gothic traits), and the exterior is stunning, despite not being as elaborate as the Florence Duomo. Visitors come here to pay respects to such notable Italians as artist Michelangelo, scientist Galileo Galilei and political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, whose tombs and memorials are housed here. Santa Croce is also home to what some say is the most important art collection of any church in Italy, the most notable works being spectacular frescoes done by Giotto.

Recent visitors raved about the architecture of the church and suggested giving yourself plenty of time to explore. Others appreciated that it was removed from the main tourist areas and less busy than other Florence attractions.

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Palazzo Pitti Palazzo Pitti

U.S. News Insider Tip: If you're visiting the Pitti Palace because of an interest in Medici history, consider booking a private entry into the Vasari Corridor – a hidden passageway Medici members once used to cross the Arno River from the Uffizi Gallery all the way to Pitti Palace. – Holly D. Johnson

If you're headed to Oltrarno for a stroll through the  Bóboli Gardens , it's worth it to take some time to tour the  Palazzo Pitti  (Pitti Palace) as well. This former Renaissance residence is now home to Florence's most extensive grouping of museums. The most notable of the Pitti's galleries is the Galleria Palatina, which – with its impressive collection of works by Raphael, Titian and Rubens – is second in prestige only to the  Uffizi Gallery . Other museums within the palace spotlight everything from historical fashion to household treasures once belonging to the Medici family.

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Palazzo Vecchio Palazzo Vecchio free

Palazzo Vecchio is a central Florence landmark with a long and storied history that dates back to 1299. The ruins of an ancient theater of the Roman colony of Florentia can be seen below from the first floor of this iconic building, and visitors can admire a range of artworks and medieval architecture here.

The Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred) is the most visited and impressive hall in the building due to its massive size, large wall frescoes and various sculptures throughout. There are also many secret routes through the palace, which you can explore with one of many available group tours of Palazzo Vecchio.

tourist activities in florence italy

Basilica di San Lorenzo Basilica di San Lorenzo

U.S. News Insider Tip : The Church of San Lorenzo is where the famous Medici Chapel is located. You can book a tour to see these elaborate tombs, including the "Chapel of the Princes," through various tour companies. – Holly D. Johnson

The Basilica di San Lorenzo is the oldest Florentine cathedral, thus its external architecture is not as ornate and embellished as others built throughout Florence in later centuries. The church is said to have been consecrated in the presence of Saint Ambrose in 393 and also dedicated to the martyr Lorenzo. That said, the basilica was reconstructed in 1418 by Medici family founder Giovanni di Bicci.

tourist activities in florence italy

Piazza Santo Spirito Piazza Santo Spirito free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Pick up a delicious pizza or two from Gustapizza on nearby Via Maggio and enjoy it on the steps that surround the square. – Ann Henson, Assistant Managing Editor

Located in the Oltrarno, the neighborhood on the other side of the Arno River (opposite the Duomo ), this square is a lively hub of activity, especially at night when its many cafes and restaurants draw locals out to relax on terraces and patios for a meal or a drink. A main feature of the square is Filippo Brunelleschi's last church, the Basilica di Santo Spirito, which he designed in 1444, but was unable to finish before his death. Antonio Manetti, Giovanni da Gaiole and Salvi d'Andrea finished the church by the end of the 1400s.

tourist activities in florence italy

Santa Maria Novella Santa Maria Novella

While Santa Maria Novella is not nearly as grand as the world-famous Duomo , it is still one of the most important Gothic churches in Tuscany. Located just 750 feet from Firenze Santa Maria Novella (the city's train station), this cathedral is also easy to find or run into by surprise.

The impressive exterior was designed by artists Fra Jacopo Talenti and Leon Battista Alberti, and the interior features a range of master works, such as Masaccio's Holy Trinity fresco, Ghirlandaio's fresco cycle in the Tornabuoni Chapel and Giotto's crucifix. The Nativity by Botticelli and the Pulpit by Buggiano are also located within the church and worth a look. Recent travelers note that the church museum is also worth exploring, and that even roaming the grounds of Santa Maria Novella can be worth the time and effort due to the natural beauty found on the property.

tourist activities in florence italy

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22 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Florence, Italy

Written by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers Updated Dec 27, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Ponte Vecchio

It would take weeks to see everything Florence has to offer. Almost any one of its dozens of churches would be the prize tourist attraction of a smaller city. Some of its sights are among Italy's best-known icons — Ponte Vecchio, Michelangelo's David , Brunelleschi's Dome — and the entire city is a showcase of the Italian Renaissance, the humanist artistic movement that broke Europe out of the Dark Ages.

But even among such an illustrious collection of palaces , churches , museums , and landmarks, some stand head and shoulders above the rest. As you consider all the things to see and do in Florence and plan your days of sightseeing, you won't want to miss the highlights that have made Florence one of Europe's most popular cities.

You'll be sure to find the best places to visit by using this handy list of the top attractions and things to do in Florence.

1. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazza Duomo

2. battistero di san giovanni (baptistery of st. john), 3. see florence from piazzale michelangiolo, 4. uffizi palace and gallery, 5. piazza della signoria and the loggia dei lanzi, 6. galleria dell'accademia (academy gallery), 7. san lorenzo and michelangelo's medici tombs, 8. palazzo vecchio (palazzo della signoria), 9. santa croce, 10. ponte vecchio, 11. palazzo pitti (pitti palace), 12. santa maria novella, 13. san miniato al monte, 14. bargello palace national museum, 15. stroll through boboli gardens, 16. explore the oltrarno and take a break in piazza santo spirito, 17. palazzo medici-riccardi, 18. mercato centrale: florence's food market, 19. bardini museum and gardens, 20. brancacci chapel, 21. museo galileo, 22. shop for leather at piazza santa croce, where to stay in florence for sightseeing, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to florence, map of tourist attractions in florence, italy, florence, italy - climate chart, more things to see and do.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazza Duomo

Piazza Duomo and the group of buildings that form its cathedral complex gather some of Italy's greatest artistic treasures into one relatively small area. As you tour the baptistery, the bell tower, the cathedral, and its museum, you'll see some of the best-known masterpieces of art and architecture by the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance -- Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Giotto, and Michelangelo.

Begin by walking around the square to admire the intricate inlaid marble exteriors, then step inside each one to look more closely at the stained-glass works of art that greet you wherever you look.

If waiting in long lines to buy a ticket is not your idea of fun - especially on a hot day - consider the Skip the Line: Florence Duomo with Brunelleschi's Dome Climb tour. This 2.5-hour guided tour includes the cathedral, the dome, the baptistery, entrance fees, and the option to visit the Opera del Duomo Museum on your own.

  • Read More: Exploring Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral: A Visitor's Guide

Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery of St. John)

From any angle, inside or out, the 12th-century octagonal baptistery is a consummate work of art. Its marble façade, the intricate mosaics of its interior, and the art works it holds all merit a place high on your list.

But the magnificent bronze panels that Ghiberti created for the doors facing the cathedral trump them all. Nowhere has bronze been worked with such exquisite expression as in these Gates of Paradise . For a closer look, and to see some of the treasures that have been made for the baptistery, visit the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo , the cathedral's museum.

Florence - Battistero San Giovanni Baptistry - Floor plan map

So often misspelled as Piazzale Michelangelo that even city tourism material occasionally slips up, this terrace above the city is an obligatory stop for tour buses, and the spot from which all those postcard shots of the cathedral are taken. During busy tourist seasons, the best time to enjoy it in relative peace is late afternoon or early evening; it's especially lovely at sunset.

Although you can get a 360-degree panorama of Florence from the dome of the cathedral, only from this terrace can you fully appreciate how Brunelleschi's dome dominates the city center. Nor can any other height give you this sweeping city view that encompasses the Ponte Vecchio , Palazzo Vecchio, Santa Croce, and other landmarks.

You can walk here, climbing from the riverbank through the gardens, or take bus 12 or 13. While you're here, continue up to the church of San Miniato al Monte or stay on the bus to the church and walk back down.

Uffizi Palace and Gallery

Few would argue the Uffizi's place among the handful of world's top art museums. Its collections are simply staggering in their diversity and quality, and even if art is not your main interest, you should see the highlights of the paintings here.

You'll come away understanding a lot more of how Florence's 14th- to 16th-century painters changed the face of western art, as you see the transition from the stilted Byzantine images to the life-like figures and landscapes of the Renaissance artists.

The vast building stretching along the river was one more of the Medici palaces but was intended not as a residence, but to house governmental offices, scientific studies, and part of their growing art collection. One of its loveliest spaces, the octagonal Tribuna , was commissioned especially to display the most prized paintings and jewels of Francesco I de' Medici.

You can bypass the long wait for admission and go straight to the entrance with a Skip the Line: Florence Accademia and Uffizi Gallery Tour that gives you priority access as well as a guided tour.

  • Visiting the Uffizi Gallery in Florence: 12 Top Highlights, Tips & Tours

Neptune Fountain, Piazza della Signoria

This broad square has been the center of power in Florence since its 14th-century origins - and perhaps even before, as Etruscan and Roman remains have been found below its pavement. Today, it is the social center as well, a favorite meeting place filled with tourists and locals. At its center is the Neptune Fountain , at one side the Palazzo Vecchio , still housing the city's government.

Against the wall of the Uffizi, which forms one end of the piazza, is the Loggia dei Lanzi , an outdoor sculpture gallery with several notable pieces. Most widely recognized of these is Benvenuto Cellini's best-known work, Perseus with the Head of Medusa . In front of the Palazzo Vecchio is a copy of Michelangelo's David .

  • Read More: Exploring Piazza della Signoria in Florence: A Visitor's Guide

Michelangelo's David, Galleria dell'Accademia (Academy Gallery)

Michelangelo's best-known work, David , is copied all over Florence, but inside this art museum, you'll find the original. Unfortunately, as a result of an attack on the sculpture, it is now behind glass, but it still never fails to inspire.

The David isn't the only Michelangelo here, nor is it the only important masterpiece. In the sculptures shown in the same gallery, you can almost watch Michelangelo at work as you see the four unfinished slaves, meant for a tomb in Rome, seemingly in the process of being released from the marble.

Here, also, is his St. Matthew for Florence cathedral, also unfinished. You'll want to look in the other galleries to see highlights by 13th- to 16th-century Florentine artists, especially if you do not plan to see the Uffizi Gallery collections. Sandro Botticelli's Madonna is a highlight.

You can save time waiting in the long lines at both these outstanding art museums with a Skip the Line: Florence Accademia and Uffizi Gallery Tour that takes you straight to the entrance, as well as a guided tour.

San Lorenzo and Michelangelo's Medici Tombs

The Medici commissioned the best talent for the family church and burial chapels: Brunelleschi for the church and Michelangelo for the chapel intended to memorialize their most illustrious princes. Both artists died before finishing the work, but Brunelleschi's church was completed according to his plans.

Michelangelo's chapel, called the New Sacristy, was not; in fact, it was never completed at all. But what he did finish is considered one of the world's crowning achievements in marble sculpture. As you tour the church, the Old Sacristy , the New Sacristy , the Princes' Chapel and the Laurenziana Library, you'll find the works of other Renaissance masters, including Donatello and Lippi.

  • Read More: Exploring San Lorenzo in Florence: A Visitor's Guide

Palazzo Vecchio (Palazzo della Signoria)

History, art, and power echo in the opulent rooms and grand galleries of this fortress-like palace in the center of Florence. From here, the city/republic was ruled, and its powerful Medici family commissioned the leading artists and architects of the day to design and decorate their offices and apartments.

Be sure to sign up early for one of the free tours, so you'll get to see some of the secret passages the Medici used to move among the rooms; return in the evening (save your ticket) to climb to the roof for sunset views of the city.

  • Read More: Exploring Palazzo Vecchio (Palazzo della Signoria) in Florence: A Visitor's Guide

Santa Croce

Behind the geometric marble inlay of its typical Tuscan façade, Santa Croce is both art-filled church and mausoleum for some of Florence's greatest names. Among its treasures are several landmarks of Renaissance art.

You will want to look especially for Cappella Bardi with some of Giotto's major frescoes, and in the adjacent Cappella Peruzzi, for more of them, which inspired Masaccio and Michelangelo. Donatello's Christ Crucified is considered one of the finest examples of Florentine Renaissance humanism. The frescoes in Cappella Baroncelli are the greatest work of Taddeo Gaddi.

But the most famous is Cimabue's magnificent Crucifix, one of the first to move from stiff Byzantine to naturalistic Renaissance styles, influencing the greatest artists that followed. In the nave, you'll find the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Ghiberti, the composer Gioacchino Rossini, even Machiavelli.

Santa Croce - Floor plan map

The Ponte Vecchio may well be the most widely recognized icon of Florence, and its graceful arches topped by a jumble of shops is most certainly one of the city's prettiest scenes. The bridge has traditionally been the home for the shops of Florence's talented goldsmiths, and a stroll across it still shows a dazzling array of fine jewelry.

But most tourists don't realize that another set of treasures hides above their heads. The purpose of the bridge, of course, was to link the two sides of the Arno, and the Medici needed to cross frequently between their offices in the Palazzo Vecchio and their apartments in the Pitti Palace . So they commissioned the architect Vasari to build a passageway, officially called the Percorso del Principe (Passageway of the Prince), but now more often known as the Corridoio Vasariano, Vasari Corridor .

You can see its line of evenly matched windows above the shops. It's not just a hallway; lining its walls is a priceless collection of portraits, mostly self-portraits, by artists that include Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Velásquez.

Pitti Palace

A day at the Pitti Palace complex (and you could spend a day seeing it all) gives you a little taste of the many things Florence has to offer: an outstanding art gallery, a Medici palace, Florentine craftsmanship, museums, history, royal apartments, and one of Italy's premier gardens.

If a day isn't quite what you had in mind, at least tour the palace to see the Royal Apartments and the sumptuous rooms, where you'll find paintings by Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Tintoretto, and other masters - a collection almost rivaling the Uffizi - hanging not in gallery style, but as decoration for rooms designed for entertaining and show.

  • Read More: Exploring the Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens in Florence: A Visitor's Guide

Santa Maria Novella

Although this Dominican church has the familiar striped façade of inlaid marble worn by several other churches in Florence , here it has been interpreted quite differently, tracing graceful curving designs, imitating windows, and highlighting rows of arches in the lower story.

The artistry continues inside, with some of the city's finest frescoes, by such masters as Masaccio, Giotto, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Lippi, Paolo Uccello. As if that weren't enough, an entire chapel is lined with Andrea di Bonaiuto's frescoes, some of the greatest artworks of 14th-century Italy.

In addition to the frescoes are a marble pulpit designed by Brunelleschi, his wooden crucifix, Vasari's Rosary Madonna, and a bronze by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Stop in at the convent's historic pharmacy, where they sell herbal balms and floral lotions.

Florence - Santa Maria Novella - Floor plan map

The sight of San Miniato al Monte's inlaid green-and-white marble façade is worth the short climb beyond the favorite viewpoint of Florence, Piazzale Michelangiolo (or you can stay on the bus to ride here).

This was the first time this dramatic effect was used in Florence, where it soon became the most popular façade decoration. But unlike the later facades, this one rises to a large gold mosaic. The portico effect looks back to Classical Roman architecture, and the mosaics are distinctly Byzantine inspired, both influences that blend into the new Tuscan Romanesque architectural style.

Inside, there's a spacious open nave, with a mosaic floor and painted wooden ceiling, ending at a magnificent Renaissance chapel under a glazed blue-and-white terracotta ceiling. More Byzantine-style mosaics, a 12th-century marble pulpit, and the decorated choir screen are all highlights,

Even more outstanding is the sacristy. Its walls are lined by the vibrant panels of Spinello Aretino's 14th-century masterpiece, Life of St. Benedict . It is among the most splendid rooms in Florence, and equal to those in any palace.

Address: Via delle Porte Sante, 34, Florence

Bargello Palace National Museum

The four Michelangelo masterpieces alone are reason enough to put the Bargello Palace on your list of things to do in Florence. Works by Donatello, the della Robbias, Cellini, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, and 14th- to 16th-century Tuscan artists fill the palace, along with a room of ivory carvings and a collection of majolica.

An entire room is filled with enamels and gold work, a Florentine specialty during the Renaissance. This emphasis on decorative arts and sculpture sets the Bargello apart from the rest of Florence's art museums .

Address: Via del Proconsolo 4, Florence

Boboli Gardens

Behind the Pitti Palace, the Medicis' Boboli Gardens rise up the hillside in 111 acres of green terraces. Grand Duke Cosimo I spared no expense in their building, between 1550 and 1560, and the result became the model for royal gardens all over Europe (including Versailles ). Still beautifully manicured, the gardens climb to overlooks that reveal increasingly sweeping views over the city.

Throughout are fountains, statuary, and a faux cave complete with stalactites and stalagmites carved into the hillside, the Grotta del Buontalenti .

Other things to see include a maze, formal beds, even an amphitheater in the quarry hole left from removing stone to build the palace. At the highest point is the terrace of the Kaffeehaus, and at the top of the hill overlooking Boboli Gardens, Casino del Cavaliere houses a rich collection of porcelains owned by ruling families, including the Medici and the Savoy.

Piazza Santo Spirito

The Oltrarno is worth exploring for its atmospheric lanes and the workshops and studios of Florence's famous artists in wood, silver, and gold work; gilding; miniature mosaics; decorative papers; and leather bookbinding. You're sure to be tempted by the works for sale in the small shops, and there is no better souvenir or gift than a beautifully bound journal or a gilded wooden box.

Make your way to Piazza Santo Spirito, a lively square that's more intimate than the grander, busier ones across the river. Find an outdoor table at a café or restaurant and watch shoppers at the morning market or children playing ball after school.

Although it's not one of the best-known churches in Florence, the Basilica of Santo Spirito is one of the purest Renaissance churches and is filled with notable paintings and sculpture, especially in the transept chapels

Inner courtyard of Medici-Riccardi Palace

More restrained in its furnishing and décor than the showy palaces of later members of the Medici family, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi is more in line with the earlier dukes, who governed a more democratic society. Completed in 1464, it was the home of the Medicis for nearly a century until Cosimo I moved to the Palazzo Vecchio.

A staircase leads from the courtyard to the Palace Chapel, decorated with well-preserved frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli that give a good sense of court life in 15 th -century Florence.

Although the Riccardi family, which owned the house after the Medicis, made alterations, the Medici Museum on the ground floor retains the original Medici interior. Here, also, is one of Filippo Lippi's most important works, Madonna and Child, painted in1442.

Address: Via Cavour 1 & 3, Florence

Official site: www.palazzo-medici.it

Mercato Centrale: Florence's Food Market

If you have begun to worry that Florence is just one giant open-air museum, it's time to meet some Florentines as they go about their daily routines. There's no better place to find them than in the enormous food market, Mercato Centrale.

To get here, you may have to run a gauntlet of street stalls selling everything from cheap plastics to "authentic Italian crafts" that are mass-produced, mostly in Asia. But once inside and immersed in the fragrance of fresh herbs, flowers, and garden produce, you'll rub elbows with women shopping for ingredients for today's dinner.

Don't overlook this as a source of welcome gifts to take home, including fine Tuscan olive oils, olives, candied fruits, and luscious nougat. On the upper floor, you'll find food courts, a good place to visit for a quick lunch.

Address: Piazza del Mercato, Florence

Wisteria tunnels at Bardini Gardens

In the late 19 th century, artist and collector Stefano Bardini bought a group of buildings on a hillside in the Oltrarno, overlooking Florence. From these, which included a chapel and a former palazzo dating from the 14 th century, he created a setting for his collections of art and priceless antiquities.

To create this museum, he used architectural features salvaged from demolished medieval and Renaissance buildings. Monumental fireplaces, doors and windows, columns, carved stonework, entire staircases, paneling, carved Venetian woodwork, even entire ceilings have been retrofitted into a highly eccentric home for his equally eccentric collections.

But the resulting palazzo and its magnificent artworks are not the only attraction for tourists. After completing his museum, Bardini bought a neighboring garden overlooking the river and transformed it into an outdoor gallery to display some of his sculpture collections.

The Bardini Gardens overlook Florence, a lovely place to get away from the crowds and rest your eyes amid the greenery and flowers. The best time is in April, when brilliant purple wisteria covers the pergola and fills the air with fragrance. A long staircase, mosaic fountains, an English garden, and a terrace with a café make it a pleasant place to relax. Entrance to the garden is separate from the museum.

Bardini Gardens

  • Costa San Giorgio 2, Florence

Bardini Museum

  • Via dei Renai 37, Florence

Santa Maria del Carmine

You would never guess by looking at the plain façade of Santa Maria del Carmine church that inside holds one of the great masterpieces of the 15 th century . Frescoes on the walls and ceilings of the chapel depict the life of St. Peter and Old Testament scenes by Masaccio and Masolino, who were well-known artists in the early 1400s, friends of Brunelleschi and Donatello.

The works, especially those of Masaccio, are remarkable for their vivid color and vitality, demonstrating some of the first use of perspective, and showing facial expressions that give life and energy to his figures.

Masaccio is considered the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period (15 th century) of the Italian Renaissance and the founder of the Early Italian Renaissance . The chapel was left unfinished by the two painters and was completed later in the 1400s by Filippino Lippi. Although the chapel is an important landmark, and a magnificent work of art, it is one of the least known treasures of Florence.

Address: Piazza del Carmine 14, Florence

Museo Galileo and the Uffizi

With the abundance of Renaissance painting, sculpture, architecture, and other masterpieces in Florence, it's easy to forget that the Renaissance was about more than art. Science was a major concern of the Humanists as they broke away from the confines of religion to explore their universe. And they saw art and science as connected and inseparable.

The Museo Galileo proves this, with tools of astronomy, navigation, surveying, and exploring that are priceless works of art. You'll see Galileo's own instruments, and the work of some of Florence's foremost artists in metal, wood, gold, and other arts in the collections of compasses, tools, and magnificent world globes.

Address: Piazza dei Giudici 1, Florence

Official site: https://www.museogalileo.it/en/

Piazza Santa Croce

Fine leatherwork has been a tradition in Florence at least since Renaissance times, when leatherworkers had their workshops around Santa Croce, close to the tanneries along the river. That neighborhood is still the best place to shop for Florentine leather goods. To find the best quality, and at fair prices, shop at the leatherwork school or at an artisan's studio shop; some of the other shops, like the street market vendors, sell imported and imitation leather goods.

Inside the cloister of Santa Croce, the Scuola di Cuoio leatherworking school produces fine handmade leather goods, and you can watch the students fashion wallets, boxes, handbags, and leather jackets. There you'll find Francesca Gori's one-off handbags in rare and exotic leathers, designed especially for the school. You'll also find luggage, bound books, belts, jewelry boxes, and leather clothing.

Also on Piazza Santa Croce is Misuri, in a former palazzo covered in frescoes, with equally fine traditional craftsmanship and designs.

Address: Piazza Santa Croce, Florence

Official site: www.scuoladelcuoio.com

From the UNESCO-acclaimed complex of the cathedral, baptistery, and Giotto's Campanile to the museums and gardens of the Pitti Palace, on the opposite side of the Arno River, Florence's main tourist attractions lie within easy walking distance. And surprisingly, there are plenty of places to stay in the centro storico (historic center). Here are some highly rated hotels in Florence:

Luxury Hotels :

  • Adjacent to the cathedral and some of the best shopping streets, Brunelleschi Hotel has recently renovated guest rooms in a historic building with a medieval tower. Superb service, views of the Duomo, and complimentary breakfast add to its appeal.
  • Close to attractions but just beyond the crowded streets of the main tourist area, Four Seasons Hotel Firenze rooms have views over Florence and the gardens.
  • Famed for its exceptional guest services, Portrait Firenze is on the Arno River overlooking Ponte Vecchio, a block from the Uffizi Gallery.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • Family-run Hotel Davanzati , in the historic center near Piazza della Signoria and the cathedral, offers free breakfast and a relaxing patio but no elevator.
  • In the historic center, but a short walk from the busiest streets, Hotel Orto De Medici has individually decorated, soundproof rooms, some with private balconies.
  • The highly popular Hotel David , on the Oltrano side of the Arno on the way to Piazzale Michelangelo, includes free breakfast and is especially handy for those driving to Florence, offering free parking.

Budget Hotels:

  • In a historic home halfway between Santa Croce and Piazza della Signoria, Hotel Santa Croce has free breakfasts that include cappuccino; there's no elevator, but the staff helps with luggage.
  • Free buffet breakfast and Wi-Fi, a short walk from Santa Maria Novella rail station and the major attractions, make Hotel Fiorita a good choice for budget travelers.
  • In a quiet residential neighborhood a few streets from Santa Croce, Hotel Orcagna is an inviting budget option, with attractive rooms (some with balconies) and free breakfast.
  • Getting Around : You can save both time and energy with a Florence City Hop-on Hop-off Tour that stops at 18 of the top attractions in the city, including the must-see view from high above the city at Piazzale Michelangiolo. You can choose a 1-, 2-, or 3-day pass for unlimited rides and 360-degree views from the open-air bus.
  • Tuscany Day Trip: Rolling hills bathed in golden light and quaint hilltop villages surround the city of Florence, and the Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour is a great way to see the highlights. An experienced guide will you in a luxury air-conditioned coach to Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa. The tour includes a three-course lunch, entrance fees to Siena Cathedral, and a detailed map of all the destinations.
  • Cinque Terre Semi-Private Day Trip: If you want to add another of Italy's famous attractions to your itinerary, the Cinque Terre Semi-Private Day Trip from Florence is an excellent option. See the colorful, cliff-hugging villages of this stunning stretch of coast and cruise across the water between Manarola and Vernazza. This full-day tour allows time for you to explore the villages and includes entrance fees to the coastal walking path, round-trip transportation in an air-conditioned minivan, the boat ride, and a snack. To ensure personalized service, the tour is only for small groups, with a maximum of eight people.
  • Cinque Terre Day Trip with Optional Hiking : For incomparable views and one of the top experiences in Italy, hike a 5.5-kilometer stretch of the famed Cinque Terre walking path between towns on a Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence with Optional Hiking . The tour includes time for a swim, and transport from Florence on an air-conditioned coach.


Places to Visit near Florence: Several of the best places to visit in Italy are close to the city. The beautiful medieval city of Siena to the south is crowned by one of Italy's most magnificent - and largest - cathedrals, filled with more art masterpieces than some major museums. This and a string of Medici villas are all easy day trips from Florence .


Where to Go from Florence: Pisa's famous Leaning Tower is one of the top tourist attractions in Italy , and only the beginning of beautiful Renaissance monuments and artworks to see there. Less well-known - and less crowded- is the charming, small city of Lucca , surrounded by walls so thick, there's a popular promenade along their tops. Beyond, the Tuscan coast leads into Liguria, with the five villages and magnificent scenery of the Cinque Terre .

Florence Map - Tourist Attractions

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25 Best Things to Do in Florence, Italy

From Renaissance art to gelato shops, here's how locals recommend exploring the Tuscan capital.

tourist activities in florence italy

Chelsea Loren/Travel + Leisure

If a European getaway — the type where you spend your days museum hopping, visiting historical sites, drinking wine, and doubling your usual daily step count — sounds like your ideal next adventure, it's time to book a trip to Florence . The capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, and it is still home to famous works by Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Leonardo da Vinci, among many artists of the same era.  Sara Pallabazzar, a guide with ToursByLocals , describes Florence as an “open-air museum" where you can experience “the enchantment of past centuries portrayed by works of art” everywhere you go. Adriano Pecoraro, head concierge at Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, Florence , echoes this sentiment, noting that Firenze should be “discovered on foot.” That means you’ll want to pack your best travel shoes to navigate the architectural treasures inside Palazzo Vecchio or to make your way up the 463 steps of the Duomo — an iconic symbol of Florence that Pallabazzar says is “visible from every point in the city.”

Florence is bursting with beauty in the form of frescoed chapels, cobblestoned piazzas, and both natural and manmade masterpieces. There are so many sights to see and things to do, in fact, that it can be difficult to decide what to add to your itinerary. To help narrow it down, we asked a few Florentines to share their recommendations in one of the top cities in the world , as voted by Travel + Leisure readers in this year's World’s Best Awards . 

And if you can’t fit everything into one trip, don't worry. “Florence, to me, is like New York City ,” says Pallabazzar. “You always want to go back.” Read on to discover the 25 best things to do in Florence — whether you’re visiting for the very first time or returning for more Renaissance art, architecture, and unforgettable Italian dishes.

Head to the city's historic center.

Chelsea Loren/Travel + Leisure

Pallabazzar recommends seeing the historic center of Florence at different times of the day. In the early morning, you’ll get to experience it “without noise and the pressing pace of crowds.” Midday brings droves of visitors, but the destination is “bathed in sunshine.” In the evening, “the lights of the street lamps stretch out over the Lungarni, creating a truly magical effect.”

Visit the Uffizi Gallery.

Christopher Larson/Travel + Leisure

The Uffizi Gallery “is a great way to comprehend the genius and the importance of the Medici family, and why Florentines are so proud of their history,” says Pecoraro. “[It’s a] treasure chest of beauty that preserves works of art from the late 1200s to the Baroque, along with an amazing collection of marble groups from the classical period,” adds Pallabazzar. Famous works inside the Uffizi Gallery include Titian’s "Venus of Urbino" and Botticelli’s "The Birth of Venus" and "Primavera."

Discover the work of Florentine artisans.

“Florence is world-renowned for its high-end craftsmanship, manufacturing know-how, and creativity," says Pecoraro. "The art of handcraft and the ability of creation is what made Florence shine in Europe during [the] Renaissance.” To provide travelers with a deeper understanding of these manual traditions, Villa San Michele offers an "Art of Making” tour , where guests uncover lesser-known Florentine creations, including jewelry, bow ties, eyewear, crystalware, hats, artisanal perfumery, and pottery.

Check into one of the city’s most opulent hotels.

Courtesy of Four Seasons

After a long day exploring the city, you’ll want to return to a luxurious, comfortable, and far-from-minimalist room — you are in Florence, after all. In our annual “World’s Best Awards” survey for 2023, T+L readers voted The St. Regis Florence , Helvetia & Bristol Firenze , Hotel Savoy, a Rocco Forte Hotel , Four Seasons Hotel Firenze , and Brunelleschi Hotel as the top five properties in the city.

Enjoy a bistecca alla Fiorentina.

Max Musto, general manager of Four Seasons Hotel Firenze , describes the bistecca alla Fiorentina as a “mouthwatering T-bone steak cooked over an open flame, seasoned with just a touch of olive oil, salt, and pepper.” The dish was recommended by several of our experts; Pallabazzar suggests making a restaurant reservation in advance if you're dreaming of eating a massive Florentine steak. “Real steak is not to be found in the city, or displayed in plain sight in the store window," she says. "You need to go to the countryside, to Greve in Chianti, for example, or Lastra a Signa." 

Appreciate Michelangelo's work inside the Medici Chapels.

The Medici Chapels are part of the San Lorenzo complex — where you’ll also find the Basilica of San Lorenzo — and the burial ground for the members of the Medici family. Michelangelo’s influence is ever-present, as he worked on the mausoleum, the New Sacristy , before leaving for Rome in 1534.

See the city from Piazzale Michelangelo.

Fani Kurti/Getty Images

 “One of the best locations to watch Florence from the top hills is Piazzale Michelangelo,” says Ruggero Vannini, head concierge at Hotel Savoy . But, he warns, it can be crowded. As an alternative, he suggests heading to the town of Fiesole for a similar perspective. 

Dine at a local trattoria.

“Dining at one of the many Florentine trattorias is the best way to dive into a timeless local social experience,” says Pecoraro. To get you started, he recommends Buca Lapi , Trattoria Cammillo , and Trattoria 13 Gobbi.

Find all of the Davids.

Travelers interested in art should plan out what Pallabazzar calls “the David experience.” This begins with the Piazza della Signoria to see the replica of Michelangelo’s David, followed by The Bargello , where the bronze Davids by Verrocchio and Donatello are housed. Finally, she says, you’ll reach the Accademia Gallery and Michelangelo’s David, a figure “celebrated by Renaissance artists” and one “that reminds us of lost Florentine freedom.”

Cheers over Negronis.

MaximFesenko/Getty Images

Florence is the birthplace of the Negroni, so sipping one (or two) is a must. In fact, “[enjoying] aperitivo at sunset with a view” tops Percoraro’s list of the best things to do while in the city. 

Visit Museo di San Marco.

Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images

This still-functioning monastery was designed by architect Michelozzo in the 15th century. Today, visitors come to Museo di San Marco for the frescoes and panels by Fra Angelico, as well as its courtyard, cloisters, palazzo, and garden.

Climb Brunelleschi's dome.

The Florence Cathedral (or Duomo) is composed of six separate parts, two of which are the cathedral itself — which was formerly known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore — and Brunelleschi's dome. “One cannot help but tackle the 463 steps to reach the lantern at the top of Brunelleschi's dome," says Pallabazzar. From here, climbers "enjoy a breathtaking view of Florence's rooftops.”

See the Ponte Vecchio from the water.

Translated as “Old Bridge,” the Ponte Vecchio is one of the most well-known images associated with Florence. To get a picture-perfect moment, head out on the river Arno.  “A unique way to have a sense of the city as a whole is to navigate the Arno river in a typical wooden boat guided by the ‘Renaioli,’ romantically sliding their boats under the city's most famous and ancient bridges,” says Musto. 

Venture into the Oltrarno district.

“If you want to discover an alternative Florence, tour the Oltrarno district, the area on the left bank of the Arno river,” says Vannini. Here, he says, “an atmosphere of the old neighborhood” is preserved. Two of the more famous sites within the district are Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, and Bardini Garden — more on that below. 

Stroll through the Bardini and Boboli Gardens.

Massimo Borchi/Atlantide Phototravel/Getty Images

Florentine art and architecture also extend to the city’s green spaces and gardens. Behind the Pitti Palace sits Boboli Gardens , which Vannini describes as “one of the largest and most elegant Italian-style gardens.” Bardini Garden is Also on his must-do list. “The Bardini Garden offers wonderful views of Florence from its four hectares of parkland between the left bank of the Arno River, Montecuccoli Hill, and the medieval wall,” he says. 

Make your own perfume at AquaFlor Firenze.

If you want a special souvenir you can use and appreciate long after you've left Italy, register for a session at AquaFlor Firenze . Located in a historic Renaissance palace, the hour-long class allows guests to create their own signature scent and take it home in a 100-milliliter bottle.

Leave the city on a bicycle or Vespa.

xbrchx/Getty Images

At some point during your trip, Pecoraro suggests journeying to the outskirts of the city, either by bike or scooter. “From Fiesole to Settignano to Maiano, from Forte Belvedere to Poggio Imperiale to Castello — these areas hide incredible treasures, such as ancient charming villas, inspiring historical gardens, vineyard scenarios, and a profound sense of poetry and love,” he says.

Have a glass of Chianti Classico.

According to Pallabazzar, there’s one red you absolutely need to try when in Florence. “Chianti Classico is different from regular Chianti, as it is made from grapes that grow in sandier soils, which makes it lighter than the regular,” she says. “The flavor is strong and robust, and the ruby color [is] very well suited to meats and cured meats.”

Walk through Corridoio Vasariano.

Atlantide Phototravel/Getty Images

“Imagine strolling above the bustling streets of Florence on a hidden passage that was built for royalty,” says Musto. Referring to Corridoio Vasariano, he explains that the “architectural marvel” offers a “glimpse into the past as you tread the same path that once connected the Medici rulers to their offices and residence.” Though closed since 2016, the site is slated to reopen in late 2023.

Make a stop at Palazzo Vecchio.

The town hall of Florence, Palazzo Vecchio is an amazing example of Renaissance architecture. Statues by Donatello, Michelangelo, and Giorgio Vasari dot the exterior, and the interior is equally incredible. Inside, you’ll see the private studio of Francesco I de' Medici and the largest room in Florence, the “Salone dei Cinquecento," among other wonders. 

Have a lampredotto for lunch.


Alongside the Florentine steak, Vannini says you can’t miss the panino al lampredotto . “The lampredotto panino is more than just a simple street food — it’s an institution," he explains. "Eating a lampredotto panino means having a genuine experience with Florentine sauce (literally). It is a dish that embodies the spirit of the city — and more generally, that of Tuscany — in food form."

Sign up for a pasta-making class.

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When in Italy, right? Anyone fascinated by the culinary side of Florence will enjoy learning classic pasta recipes and pasta-making techniques in person. Check out Pasta Class Florence and Riva Lofts for hands-on courses.

Visit Basilica di Santa Croce.

Many famous names, including Michelangelo and Galileo, now rest in the Basilica di Santa Croce, which is also known as the “Pantheon of Florence.” There are 16 total chapels inside; the Capella de Pazzi, credited to Brunelleschi, is the most famous.

Taste dishes that combine bread and tomatoes.

Pappa al pomodoro and panzanella are two tomato and bread-based Tuscan dishes to try during your trip. Pallabazzar calls the latter a “recovery salad,” one made with soaked (then squeezed) bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pappa al pomodoro, on the other hand, is more of a tomato and bread soup. “Made with simple ingredients such as ripe tomatoes, stale bread, olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil, this dish beautifully captures the essence of Italian comfort food,” says Musto. "It's a flavorful choice, especially on a cooler day."

End your day with gelato.

Mitch Diamond/Getty Images

There’s nothing better than a cold treat after a day exploring the streets, art, and buildings of Florence. Pallabazzar recommends Vivoli's or Antica Gelateria Fiorentina in Via Faenza, “where you can still taste Buontalenti , a [flavor] invented for the Medici."

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What are the best things to do in Florence Italy ? Florence city, or Firenze, is a great open-air museum for anyone who loves history and culture. It is a city in Italy full of interesting museums, squares, churches, statues and Renaissance art. Firenze has more to offer than just the famous landmarks and highlights such as the Ponte Vecchio , the Florence Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio . During your stay in Florence, make sure to visit these top 25 of most beautiful Florence tourist attractions and landmarks to get a good impression of what this Renaissance city has to offer. Click on one of these must see attractions to learn more about these unique sights and places to visit in Florence Italy .

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Main attractions are the must see Duomo, Florence Cathedral, and the Uffizi Museum. Other places of interest include Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria square, Pitti Palace with the Boboli Gardens, the Medici Chapels, the Galleria dell'Accademia, Piazzale Michelangelo and the Basilica di Santa Croce. In this article you can read all about the Top 25 Things to do in Florence .

This is highly recommended, the Uffizi museum is often sold out for a long time in high season or at other times you will have to queue for a long time. However, you can easily pre-arrange your tickets. More info about tickets for the Uffizi Gallery .

Visiting the interior of the Duomo of Florence is free. You do need to book tickets to climb the dome with a magnificent view, the adjacent museum and the baptistery. The Duomo is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Florence. More info about tickets for the Duomo di Firenze .

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19 BEST Places to See & Things to Do in Florence, Italy (+Map & Tips)

By Author Jurga

Posted on Last updated: January 15, 2024

19 BEST Places to See & Things to Do in Florence, Italy (+Map & Tips)

Looking for the best things to do in Florence, Italy, and feeling overwhelmed?

Indeed, with so many impressive landmarks and museums, deciding what to see and do in Florence is not always easy, especially if your time in the city is limited and you also want to make a few day trips nearby.

So to help you figure out where to go and what to see in Florence, in this guide we focus mainly on the VERY BEST sights and TOP tourist attractions in Florence that are worth your time the most if you are visiting the city for the first time .

In addition to the ‘must-sees’, we also share a couple of our personal favorite things to do in Florence – experiences that will make your visit so much more memorable.

For all the sights and attractions in Florence mentioned in this guide, we also include our experience-based tips and useful information for your visit.

At the end of this article, you will also find a map of the best places in Florence . It will help you plan your sightseeing itinerary and make the most of your first trip to the beautiful Firenze . Take a look!

Florence bike tour with views at Piazzale Michelangelo

The cultural capital and one of the most beautiful cities in Italy , Florence (Firenze) is famous for its art, spectacular architecture, and rustic cuisine. Nestled on the banks of the Arno River and surrounded by the scenic Tuscan countryside, it is home to the world-famous artworks of Michelangelo, but also Botticelli, da Vinci, Rafaello, and many others.

You’ll find gorgeous Renaissance buildings and monuments at every turn and the city is filled with traces of its historic wealth and power.

With so much to explore, it’s really not easy to decide which of Florence’s landmarks to see unless you have at least 3-4 days in the city. So in this guide, we mostly focus on the top sights, places that are worth it the most if your time is limited.

At the same time, your visit will be much more pleasant if you get a bit off the beaten path as well, even if just to get a drink and enjoy the views from some of the amazing rooftop bars in Florence . So in our guide, we include a few additional recommendations, beyond the ‘musts’.

TIP: I also recommend that you check our Florence 1- day itinerary for recommendations on how to see the very best of Florence in a short time.

What to see and do in Florence, Italy

Here are the best things to see and do in Florence:

1. Duomo & Brunelleschi’s Dome

The most recognizable landmark of Florence, the Cathedral or the Duomo is absolutely not to be missed when visiting Florence for the first time.

And there’s a lot more to see and do here than it looks at first sight! So much, in fact, that we listed the main attractions as separate points in this guide.

But let’s start with the main sight – the Duomo – first. The spectacular Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is an enormous structure towering high above the skyline of Florence. The fourth-largest cathedral in the world, its beautiful exterior is covered in a combination of pink, green, and white marble.

Inside you’ll see many beautiful frescoes and mosaic pavements, along with a magnificent 15th-century clock that still works to this day. However, the interior of the Dome is not nearly as impressive as that of the other magnificent churches in Florence. The most decorative is the inside of Brunelleschi’s Dome above the altar.

Florence Duomo complex is not to be missed in Firenze, Italy

One of the best things to do at the Duomo is climb Brunelleschi’s Dome , which covers the cathedral. Climbing the 463 steps to the top is the only way to see its incredible paintwork from close by. In addition, the panoramic views of Florence from the top of the dome are simply stunning and well worth the effort.

Climbing the dome is one of the most popular things to do in Florence. Luckily, you can get timed tickets in advance , so you don’t have to waste time ( guided tours are also available). These tickets/tours normally also include a visit to Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery, and Cathedral Museum (you can find more information about these places further below).

Alternatively, there are many more tours that include a climb here, usually in combination with some other sights nearby.

Good to know: The cathedral itself is free to visit, but there’s usually a long queue to get in. If you climb the dome, you can enter the cathedral via a separate entrance and get to see it without extra queuing. Be sure to dress appropriately when you visit the cathedral (knees and shoulders covered).

Viewing terrace on top of Brunelleschi’s Dome at the top of Florence Duomo

TIP: Not widely known is the fact that in addition to climbing Brunelleschi’s Dome, you can also visit the Duomo Terraces .

This level can only be visited with a guided tour (it also includes the Dome climb) . While the Duomo terraces aren’t an absolute must, we opted for this option and found that it was quite interesting.

It gives you a very different perspective on the Cathedral itself, plus you get to enjoy some nice city views from yet another angle. It’s also really special to be able to visit a place that not many people get to see.

Our experience: Because we wanted to see the Duomo terraces and also visit Galleria Accademia with a guide, we opted for this amazing tour . It includes the Duomo Dome climb, exclusive access to the Duomo terraces, as well as Galleria Accademia (Michelangelo’s David).

Florence Duomo terraces

2. Giotto’s Bell Tower

Standing right next to the cathedral, you’ll find another landmark of Florence, Giotto’s Campanile . This is the cathedral’s bell tower .

The construction of this magnificent tower began in 1334. Thanks to its unique coloring and sculptural decorations it is considered to be one of Italy’s most beautiful spires.

If you like to see the best high-angle view of the Duomo and its impressive dome, be sure to climb the 414 steps to the very top! The views from here are almost as impressive as from Brunelleschi’s Dome, except that you also get to see the dome itself .

TIP: If you have the time and are physically capable, I highly recommend both – the dome climb and Giotto’s bell tower. If you have to choose just one, most people go for the dome. Both towers give you great views of Florence, but the artwork of the Last Judgment in Brunelleschi’s Dome is just too special to miss.

We did both and found that each experience was unique and worth the effort. This ticket includes everything there is to see at the Duomo including Giottos’ Bell Tower, the Dome climb, and more. While the dome climb is timed, you can come back to Giotto’s Tower at any time you like. It’s also open quite late and tends to be much less busy.

Florence Duomo and Giotto's Bell Tower

3. Piazza del Duomo & the Baptistery of St. John

Piazza del Duomo is Florence’s main square, home to the cathedral and the splendid buildings of Giotto’s Campanile and the Baptistery of St. John.

There are other impressive buildings to see there, too. These include the Loggia del Bigallo (originally a place for lost or abandoned children awaiting adoption) and the Palazzo Nonfinito (Unfinished Palace), which now houses the Museum of Mankind.

The Baptistery of St. John is the oldest religious site in Florence. It dates right back to the middle of the 12th century. It’s wrapped in marble just like the Duomo and the bell tower, but its most stunning features are its incredible bronze doors , which were added in the 15th century. You can see the impressive doors from the square – no need to enter inside.

However, the interior of the Baptistery is equally spectacular, with some beautiful mosaics lining the ceiling of this octagonal building. So if it’s not too busy, be sure to check it out! The good thing is that most people only spend a few minutes inside, so even if there’s a queue, it moves very fast.

Good to know: The ticket to the Baptistery of St. John is usually included with the tickets for the Dome climb and/ or Giotto’s Tower. Most tickets also include admission to Museo dell’Opera del Duomo , which contains many of the original works of art created for the Duomo, and also the Crypt of Santa Reparata , where you can see archeological remains under the cathedral.

You can easily spend half a day at the Duomo complex if you want to visit all these places. But if your time is limited, my personal top-3 would be the Dome climb, Giotto’s Tower, and the Baptistery. If it’s not busy, the Crypt of Santa Reparata can be visited in 10-15 minutes, so I’d consider that too.

Baptistery of St John in Florence

4. Uffizi Gallery

It would be unthinkable to go to Florence without paying a visit to the Uffizi Gallery . Established in the 16th century, this is one of the oldest museums in the world. This galleria actually gave name to all the art galleries in the world.

This awesome art museum is the most visited museum in Italy. It’s considered equally as important as the Louvre in Paris or New York’s Metropolitan Museum. You’ll find some of the most important renaissance masterpieces in the world here. These include works by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raffaelo, and Leonardo da Vinci .

You could easily spend an entire day admiring the thousands of unique exhibits, but it’s so overwhelming too. As a minimum, allow yourself at least 2 hours to see the very best pieces. However, the challenge is to know where to go and what to see, so I highly recommend visiting the Uffizi Gallery with a guide .

Uffizi Gallery - top things to do in Florence, Italy

TIP: There are so many tours that visit Uffizi that the choice can get really overwhelming. After lots of research, we opted for this small-group tour and it was absolutely excellent.

Good to know: If you decide to go on your own, be sure to get timed entrance tickets ! The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most popular attractions in Florence, so the crowds here are enormous.

PRO TIP: If you can, try to visit very early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The busiest hours are between 10 am and 3 pm. Also, be sure to do some research about the main paintings in the gallery so that you don’t miss them. Also, please note that Uffizi Gallery is closed on Mondays.

TIP: Check out the Uffizi Gallery Café on the top floor. It has a lovely outdoor terrace with a view of Palazzo Vecchio – it’s a nice place to rest a bit after all the sightseeing.

Botticelli's Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence

5. Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio (the Old Bridge) is the most iconic bridge and one of the must-sees in Florence. It’s located right next to the Uffizi Gallery and connects the city center to the other side of the river.

Until 1218, this was the only bridge crossing the River Arno, and later it remained the only bridge that the fleeing Germans did not destroy in World War II! What you see today is a slightly more recent version which was rebuilt in 1345 after a flood.

There have always been shops on the bridge, however, originally, they were occupied by butchers, tanners, and blacksmiths. This changed in the 16th century when the Medici family built the Vasari Corridor over the bridge and found the meat smell disturbing. Since then, the colorful bridge is lined with gold- and jewelry shops.

The bridge makes a lovely spot for a romantic evening stroll. But my personal favorite time to come here is very early in the morning when there are hardly any people around. This is the only time when you can see the bridge empty.

TIP: In addition to walking over this bridge, it’s just as interesting to simply see it from the sides. That way, you can better appreciate its unique structure. The Ponte Vecchio is especially impressive from a distance. For the best views and photos, head to Ponte Santa Trinita, but don’t forget to see the bridge from the west side too – it’s from here that you can also see the Vasari Corridor (more about it further below).

Must see in Florence - Ponte Vecchio

6. Michelangelo’s David – Galleria dell’Accademia

Galleria dell’Accademia (Accademia Gallery) is another must-see in Florence, attracting huge crowds. The Gallery of Fine Arts was founded here in 1563, making it Europe’s very first art academy.

The main attraction in this museum is the most famous statue in the world – Michelangelo’s ‘David’. Also not to be missed are Giambologna’s ‘Rape of the Sabines’, plus Botticelli’s ‘Madonna and Child’ and ‘Madonna of the Sea’.

In addition to its famous statues, you’ll find collections of paintings from local artists, religious prints dating back to the Middle Ages, and even works created by Accademia’s students.

The building also houses a fascinating Museum of Musical Instruments. It contains more than 50 instruments, some of which were owned by the Medici family and made by famous violin maker Antonius Stradivarius.

Good to know: This is Florence’s second most visited museum and it’s much smaller than the Uffizi Gallery. So the queues here are usually very long. Be sure to get the timed priority entrance tickets online , as they allow you to jump the queue. Please note that Accademia Gallery is closed on Mondays.

TIP: If you want to visit both the Accademia Gallery and the Uffizi museum with a guide, you’ll find plenty of tours that include the two museums .

Galleria dell'Accademia, Michelangelo's unfinished sculptures, and David in Florence

7. Piazza della Signoria

Located in the heart of the old town, the L-shaped Piazza della Signoria is one of Florence’s most beautiful town squares. Filled with incredible sculptures, statues, Neptune Fountain, and home to the impressive Palazzo Vecchio, this square feels somewhat like an open-air museum.

Don’t miss the extraordinary sculptures at Loggia dei Lanzi, right under the terrace of the Uffizi Gallery café. Also note a copy of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ at the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio. If you don’t have the time to see the original at Galleria dell’Accademia, this gives you a bit of an idea of how special it really is. And if you think this one is impressive, the details of the original will take your breath away.

Be sure to pop back and visit the square in the dark as well. The lit fountains, statues, and buildings give it a magical appearance.

Piazza della Signoria is a great place to learn more about the city’s history, or simply hang out and people-watch. There are many cafes nearby and lots of benches on which to take a break and enjoy a gelato .

TIP: Try to avoid the tourist-oriented gelaterias selling ‘mountains’ of colorful ice cream. Instead, ask locals for recommendations or go for the less colorful, artisanal gelato. One of the better gelaterias in this area is ‘Perché no!’, just 2 minutes walk from Piazza della Signoria. Be sure to try the traditional Florentine ice cream flavor ‘buontalenti’ . It’s named after Bernardo Buontalenti, a 16th-century artist, who is often credited as an inventor of Italian gelato .

Best things to do in Florence - Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio

8. Palazzo Vecchio & Views from Torre di Arnolfo

The city’s most important historic government building, the 13th-century Palazzo Vecchio now serves as Florence’s town hall and houses a museum. In addition, you can also climb Arnolfo Tower for some of the best views in Florence. The most famous postcard views of the city are photographed from this tower.

Some people prefer to do this to climbing the Duomo dome, as it gives you a great view of the Duomo itself. Having done them all, I think that each is worth it (I know, I’m not helping here). But Arnolfo Tower climb is not as high as the Duomo Dome or Giotto’s Tower, and it’s also less busy and cheaper.

Soaring to 95 meters high, the palace towers over the city, its foundations resting on the remains of an ancient Roman theatre. This means that a visit here gives you a glimpse of three different eras – Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance.

With its cubic shape and battlements, the building of Palazzo Vecchio looks quite impressive and unique from the outside. But its interior is even more stunning. You can see beautifully carved columns and a fountain in the courtyard, then climb the grand staircase to reach the main floor housing the incredible Salone dei Cinquecento .

Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence Italy

Good to know: Just as for all the main sights in Florence, it’s best to book your Palazzo Vecchio tickets in advance . This allows you to skip the line and avoid the disappointment of not being able to visit (tower tickets are timed too).

The standard museum ticket doesn’t include the entrance to the tower, so be sure to select that option if you want to do it. Here you can get a ticket that includes both – entry to the palace as well as Arnolfo Tower.

TIP: If you have extra time, consider a guided ‘secret passages’ tour . This tour takes you to the areas of the building that are not accessible to the general public and helps bring the incredibly interesting history to life. Of course, there are regular tours too.

Palazzo Vecchio - best places to see in Florence, Italy

9. Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti is another incredibly beautiful place to see in Florence. Located on the other side of the river in the Oltrarno district, this magnificent palace has had many famous residents over the years, including the Savoy, Lorraine, and Medici families, along with the Grand Dukes of Tuscany.

Once the largest residence in Florence, it is still one of its most impressive! The Galleria Palatina – filled with Italian works of art – is its most famous room, but you can also see contemporary pieces in the Galleria d’Arte Moderna and silverware in the Museo degli Argenti.

The Royal Apartments are also open to visitors, along with the Galleria del Costume. Here you can see how tastes in clothing worn at the palace changed over time. Once you have seen all the rooms and exhibits inside the palace, take time to stroll through the famous Boboli Gardens (more info below).

This palace has a reputation for closing some of the smaller museums quite regularly. If there is one you particularly want to see, then I recommend checking it is open before buying your ticket. On the other hand, there is so much to explore here that you won’t be able to see everything anyway. Some parts of the palace and the gardens were indeed closed during our visit, but we didn’t feel like we missed much. We ran out of time just trying to quickly see some of the musts.

Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens in Florence

Good to know: The cost of admission to Palazzo Pitti includes all the museums housed within. You need to buy a separate ticket to visit the Boboli Gardens. You can get your tickets for the palace and Boboli Gardens in advance, but normally, you should also be able to get them on the spot. Online tickets will save you time since you won’t have to queue. Keep in mind that Pitti Palace is open daily except on Mondays, whereas the gardens are open daily.

These combination tickets include Piti Palace, Boboli Gardens, and Bardini Gardens. While not nearly as impressive as Boboli Gardens, Bardini Gardens are very pretty too, and they offer really nice views of Florence.

TIP: You can also opt for the Palazzo Pitti tickets that also include Uffizi Gallery (+ the gardens and two other museums as well). These are valid for 5 days, so you don’t have to visit all the places on the same day either. However, as already mentioned before, I’d really consider visiting the Uffizi Gallery with a guided tour, so in that case, your ticket to this museum will already be included.

Royal Apartments at the Palatine Gallery inside Palazzo Pitti in Florence

10. Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens are located right behind the Palazzo Pitti. Dotted with beautiful fountains, sculptures, and ancient oak trees, these spectacular gardens have become one of my personal favorite places in Florence. Somehow we completely overlooked them on previous trips, but now that we visited here recently, I can’t recommend them highly enough!

These gardens were designed by the Medici family and their layout was used as a model for many other European courts, Versailles in particular.

One of the prettiest parts is the lovely Viottolone (Cypress Lane), a sloping avenue fringed with trees and the perfect spot for a romantic stroll. It takes you all the way to Vasca dell’Isola (Island Pond), a pretty pond with a fountain and sculptures at its center.

Don’t miss the beautiful rose garden Giardino dei Cavalieri (the Knights Garden). It’s a bit uphill at the very end of the garden and you may wonder if it’s worth the effort, but it sure is. The view of the Tuscan countryside from here is so beautiful.

Cypress Lane (Viottolone) in Boboli Gardens Florence

Other must-sees inside the gardens include Grotta del Buontalenti , an impressive grotto right at the start/end of the Vasari Corridor. Just nearby, there’s also a smaller Grotta di Madama , that’s really special too.

Good to know: Boboli Gardens are usually open daily and the main entrance is through the courtyard of the Pitti Palace. You can get a ticket in advance , but you should also be able to get it on the spot.

TIP: There is A LOT to see at both Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens. If you are short on time, I recommend taking a tour that includes both, so you don’t miss the highlights. Tours run all year round and take around 3 hours. This is one of the best tours that covers all the highlights here.

Grotta del Buontalenti at the Boboli Gardens in Florence

11. Vasari Corridor

Connecting Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery in the city center with the Pitti Palace on the other side of the Arno River, the Vasari Corridor ( Corridoio Vasariano ) is one of the most intriguing places in Florence. It was built in 1565 by the Medici family to give them easy and secure access between the two palaces.

This 1 km-long elevated passageway can best be seen from the Uffizi Gallery or from the western side of the Ponte Vecchio bridge (the corridor is actually built on top of the shops located on the bridge). It contains antique statues, 16th-century frescoes that were once on the exterior of the corridor’s walls, and memorials connected to bombings that occurred in Florence in the mid to late 20th century.

Good to know: This passage has never been really open to the general public, with few exceptions, and has always been surrounded by some mystery. However, this is about to change. The Vasari Corridor is undergoing a complete renovation. It was supposed to open to the public a few years ago, but the opening was delayed time and again. At the moment of the last update, they don’t even show the approximate date anymore.

When/if it opens, you’ll be able to walk from the ground floor of the Uffizi Gallery, over Ponte Vecchio, and all the way to Boboli Gardens. You’ll need a separate ticket for this and more information will be available here by the time when the actual opening date is in sight.

Vasari Corridor over the Ponte Vecchio in Florence

12. Basilica di Santa Croce

Florence has many wonderful churches, but this one may just be the best! If you visit just one church in Florence inside, make it the Basilica of Santa Croce , located on the Piazza di Santa Croce in the city center. It’s worth it even more than seeing the inside of the Duomo.

This impressive Basilica has a stunning neo-Gothic facade with colored marble and white stone. Just as most other Basilicas in Florence, it also has an impressive courtyard. However, in the case of Basilica di Santa Croce, it’s the inside of the church that is worth visiting the most.

Inside, light pours onto the wide nave through the gorgeous stained glass windows and highlights the imposing marble pulpit created by the Renaissance sculptor Benedetto da Maiano. The church is also filled with Donatello sculptures, beautiful frescoes, and the tombs of some very famous people .

Don’t miss the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, Rossini, and Machiavelli, to mention just a few. You’ll also see the tomb of Dante, although he’s actually buried in Ravenna and not in Florence where he was born.

Good to know: The entry fee includes admission to the entire church complex, including the museum, cloisters, etc. You can get tickets online in advance , but when we visited, they were more expensive because they charged an extra reservation fee. We found that it was easy enough to visit without advance reservation (and it’s more flexible too), but this might depend on when you visit, of course.

Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence

13. Basilica di San Lorenzo & Medici Chapels

No list of the best things to do in Florence would be complete without mentioning Basilica di San Lorenzo . Consecrated in 393 by Saint Ambrose of Milan, Basilica di San Lorenzo claims to be Florence’s oldest church. For a period of around 300 years, it was actually the city’s cathedral. But one of its main claims to fame is that it was also the parish church of the Medici family, so it remained an incredibly important building.

Located in the center of Florence’s main market district, the basilica complex has 5 different sections to explore. These include the pretty cloister, the library, the church itself, The Old Sacristy, and the Medici Chapels – the burial place of the Medici family.

While the church and the cloisters are interesting to see, I find that the Medici Chapels ( Capelle Medici ) are worth a visit most of all. I’d even dare say that this is one of the most remarkable places to see in Florence. In addition to the Medici tombs, you can also see some sculptures by Michelangelo, such as the statues of Dawn and Dusk at the Tomb of Lorenzo Duke of Urbino.

Basilica di San Lorenzo in Florence

Good to know: You need separate tickets for the basilica (which give you access to the main church, crypt, and cloisters), the library, and the Medici Chapels.

The church is easy to visit and you can just get the tickets on the spot without any advance planning. I’m not sure about the library – it wasn’t open when we visited, and frankly, it didn’t look like it was an absolute must-see in Florence. But the Medici Chapels are well worth it and this is one of the places where you might want to consider booking tickets in advance.

The Medici Chapels have somewhat unusual opening times, so it requires some planning. Also, because the chapel isn’t big, they only allow a certain number of people. You may get lucky that the queue is not too long and you can just get a ticket upon arrival. However, if you absolutely want to be sure to visit inside without wasting time, it’s best to get a timed entrance ticket in advance.

Medici Chapels, Florence

14. Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

There are so many churches in Florence that you could spend days and days trying to see all of them (and who has the time or interest, right?).

But as far as the very best ones go – and well worth a visit – there’s one more church that deserves a mention among the top places in Florence. That’s the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella .

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is located right next to the main railway station of Florence (which is actually named after this church). Founded between 1279 and 1357 by Dominican monks, the basilica has stunning stained glass windows and a Gothic interior filled with frescoes. You can see lots of works by famous artists here, including Brunelleschi, Botticelli, and Vasari’s ‘Madonna of the Rosary’.

We found that the cloisters of this basilica are particularly impressive. As you leave the hustle and bustle of the busy city behind the thick walls, it feels like stepping inside a real oasis of calm.

Good to know: The Basilica is open daily, with hours depending on the season and day of the week. While they also offer online tickets , we just got ours on the spot and it wasn’t busy at all. See their website for more practical info. Please also note that you are not allowed to take large bags into the church and there is no cloakroom. The closest place to leave them is in the lockers at the railway station. Regular day-backpacks should be ok.

TIP: If you visit around noon, you may see how the sun shining through the stained glass window marks the time of the year on the calendar on the floor.

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is one of the top places to see in Florence Italy

15. San Lorenzo Market

Mercato Centrale Firenze , aka San Lorenzo Market , is one of the most popular places to visit in Florence for tourists. If you are looking for a nice place for lunch or even dinner, it’s definitely a great choice.

This bustling market is actually made up of two markets. The Mercato Centrale is indoors and devoted to food , whilst the outdoor section lining the surrounding streets sells everything from clothing and leather to pottery and souvenirs. This is a great place to buy gifts to take home, but it’s so overwhelming that I wouldn’t even know where to start choosing… Also, nearly all the goods sold here are marked at prices higher than you should expect to pay, so be sure to haggle.

I recommend that you come to San Lorenzo Market for some local food from various regions in Italy . The indoor market has many cafes and various places selling food, including a big food court on the top floor. And since the market is located so close to most of the main tourist sights in Florence center, it’s really simple to plan a visit (or a few) here.

Places to see in Florence - Mercato San Lorenzo

We had lunch at Mercato Centrale a few times. From Tuscan specialties at one of the wine shops ( enoteca ‘s) on the ground floor to fresh pasta in the food court upstairs, everything was delicious, well-priced, and served with a smile. If you are brave enough to try the traditional Florentine sandwich lampredotto (made with tripe/cow stomach), head to the ‘Da Nerbone’ restaurant upstairs.

TIP: If you want to avoid the crowds and find a good place to sit, it’s best to arrive at the market before the popular Italian dining times. So for lunch, it’s best to come a bit before noon. Most locals have lunch at around 1-2 pm and the market gets really busy at that time.

Good to know: If you want to take food from the market back home with you, chat to your vendor about which products are permitted across different borders. The vendors all speak very good English and are very knowledgeable on this subject. They will also vacuum pack items for you on request.

Italian pasta at Mercato Centrale food court in Florence

16. Views from Piazzale Michelangelo

Located on a hill on the Arno’s south bank, Piazzale Michelangelo is Florence’s most famous sunset spot. It offers truly jaw-dropping panoramic views across the city. And whilst it is extremely popular (and crowded) in the evenings, the views across the city skyline and Tuscan hills are spectacular whatever time of day you choose to visit.

There is plenty to see and do on the square itself, which contains lots of replicas of Michelangelo’s statues and a memorial to the artist. There is also a loggia containing a restaurant and coffee bar, lots of street vendors, live music from time to time, and a very vibrant atmosphere.

If you come here in the evening on a nice sunny summer’s day, it almost feels like you are attending some kind of festival…

Good to know: You can drive to the square (there is a car park) or take the bus or a taxi. But if you don’t mind a bit of uphill climbing, you can also easily walk here from the city center! On the way, you’ll see the Porta San Niccolò – a high watchtower that was once part of the city’s defenses – and the beautiful Giardino delle Rose (rose garden) which is free to visit.

TIP: We visited Piazzale Michelangelo with this highly-rated e-bike city tour . We opted for the 6 pm tour in summer and were at the viewpoint about an hour before the sunset. We got to enjoy some spectacular views in a beautiful light with little effort. However, please note that biking in the center of Florence is not something you should do if you haven’t biked for a while. But if you bike at home once in a while, you should be just fine.

Florence city view from Piazzale Michelangelo

17. Piazza Santo Spirito & Basilica di Santo Spirito

One of Florence’s liveliest neighborhoods, the area around Piazza Santo Spirito is one of the nicest places to soak up a more local atmosphere in Florence!

Constantly busy, this area attracts an ever-changing crowd of local artisans, intellectuals, and students. In the morning, you can visit a local market here. But the area really comes to life at night, when the surrounding galleries and boutiques close, and the restaurants and bars begin to open.

In addition to enjoying a refreshing drink at one of the square’s many open terraces, be sure to visit the Basilica di Santo Spirito . This little church was Brunelleschi’s last masterpiece. It looks quite plain from the outside, but inside it is filled with many noteworthy pieces of art. These include The Cenacolo – a depiction of the Last Supper.

Good to know: In keeping with its hip and happening atmosphere, Piazza Santo Spirito holds regular markets and fairs. Local artisans display their wares on weekdays, whilst the weekends are set aside for vintage goods and food.

TIP: If you are looking for a nice restaurant for dinner , you’ll find plenty of great choices in this area. However, it’s best to book in advance. Or hope for some luck and use the trick of arriving at the restaurant as soon as it opens, before the locals start to arrive at 8-8.30 pm.

I indicated some of our favorite restaurants (not just in this area) on our map below.

Basilica di Santo Spirito in Florence

18. Fontana del Porcellino

No list of the best things to do in Florence would be complete without mentioning the Fontana del Porcellino . And no, it can’t compare to the incredible architecture and Renaissance masterpieces you see in the city, but it’s one of those places that you really can’t miss when visiting Florence.

Fontana del Porcellino is the local nickname for the rather unique bronze boar fountain , located in the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, also known as the Leather Market. It’s just a short walk from the main tourist attractions in Florence, just one block from Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria. Well worth a quick stop.

This famous pig has appeared in the 2001 film Hannibal and two different Harry Potter films. Originally placed to provide water to merchants trading locally, it is now a popular spot for making wishes! Tradition also has it that if you rub the boar’s nose before you leave Florence (and put a coin in its mouth), you are sure to return one day in the future.

Good to know: The fountain stands at the small market where you can buy all kinds of leather goods – purses, wallets, etc. If you find the street vendors at Mercato San Lorenzo overwhelming, this market is much smaller.

Fontana del Porcellino is one of the must sees in Florence

19. Florence Rooftops

Now that we covered all the must-sees in Florence, there’s something else that I’d like to add. Something that is not a must in any way, but will make your visit to this beautiful city so much more memorable. The stunning views from the rooftop bars and restaurants in Florence.

With such incredible architecture and a stunning setting surrounded by the Tuscan hills, Florence has some of the most beautiful skylines of any European city. You’ll see some amazing views if you climb the dome of the Duomo or the towers mentioned in our guide, but this doesn’t compare to a more relaxing experience of enjoying the amazing views from the rooftop bars and restaurants.

TIP: If you want to enjoy the best views without having to plan much, visit rooftop terraces during the day. For the best light and sunset views, go about an hour before sunset, but try to reserve a table in advance if possible.

There are so many beautiful rooftop bars in Florence that I felt they deserve a separate guide with more info. So if you are looking for a nice place to enjoy some of the best views in the city without too much effort, definitely check it out via the link below. It also includes the best hotels with rooftops – something to consider for an even more memorable stay!

LEARN MORE: Florence Rooftop Guide

Best of Florence - rooftop view on the Duomo

More suggestions for things to do in Florence

As you can imagine, there is much more to see and do in Florence than covered in this guide.

While the places mentioned above will keep you busy for at least 2-3 days, here are some additional suggestions for what to see and do in Florence that are worth it if you have more time and/or want to escape the biggest crowds.

More things to do in Florence city:

  • Riccardi Medici Palace . A beautifully-preserved Renaissance palace, just near the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
  • Bargello National Museum . Located in one of the oldest buildings in Florence (1255), this is now a beautiful art museum where you can see the sculptures of Michelangelo and Donatello, among many other masterpieces.
  • Leonardo Interactive Museum . This is a very popular museum featuring life-size machines based on the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. Here, you can actually interact with the exhibits, so it’s really fun for the whole family. This is quickly becoming a very popular place to visit in Florence, beyond the traditional ‘must-sees’, so it’s best to get timed tickets in advance .
  • Cooking classes. If you are looking for something special and more local to do in Florence, check out the big selection of cooking experiences .

Of course, one of the best things to do in Florence is simply wandering around the city center, exploring its incredible architecture, cozy streets, and looking for little hidden gems that will make your trip even more special.

Santa Maria Novella

In addition to the main attractions in Florence city center, there’s so much to see nearby . You can visit Bologna from Florence or Cinque Terre (even if just for a day), or rent a car and explore the nicest places and towns in Tuscany on your own. Or you can also opt for one of the many organized tours.

Here are some of the best day tours from Florence:

  • Cinque Terre: This is the most popular and best-rated day tour .
  • Tuscan towns & countryside: This is the best-rated day tour (you visit Pisa, San Gimignano, Siena, and more).
  • Wine & Tuscan countryside: This is a very popular half-day tour . This full-day tour takes you to the beautiful Val d’Orcia (including Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano).

READ ALSO: What to See & Do in Siena & Best Things to Do in Montepulciano

Map of the Best Places to Visit in Florence

Florence is a very walkable city and all the main sights are located really close to each other.

But to help you orient, I created this map indicating all the best things to do in Firenze mentioned in our guide. I also included a few restaurant recommendations, based on our most recent experience in the city.

How to use this map:  Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.

So, this is our guide to some of the best experiences and things to do in Florence. I hope that this guide helps you plan your visit to this incredibly beautiful historic city and make the most of your time there.

No matter what you have learned about the Renaissance period from books or television, there is nothing quite like visiting its birthplace and seeing its marvels first-hand.

READ ALSO: How to see the best of Florence in 1 day

Where to Stay

As already mentioned, Florence’s city center is quite compact and very walkable. So you can stay pretty much anywhere within 15-20 minutes walking distance from the Duomo and it will be ok.

That being said, one of the most convenient areas – especially if you are traveling by train – is the area close to the main railway station (Firenze Santa Maria Novella), or between the station and the river. It’s just a few minutes walk from the main landmarks AND you don’t have to take a taxi or walk far with your luggage.

Here are some hotel suggestions within a short walking distance from the railway station:

  • €€€€€+ The Westin Excelsior .
  • €€€€€ Hotel Calimala .
  • €€€€ Hotel Croce di Malta (this is where we stayed on a recent trip – it has a beautiful rooftop bar and a garden pool!).
  • €€€ Hotel Machiavelli Palace .
  • €€ B&B Le Stanze del Duomo (one of the best-rated affordable hotels near Duomo).
  • €+ Plus Florence (one of the most popular low-budget options).
  • € Hotel Bodoni .

Hotel Croce di Malta in Florence

More travel inspiration for some of the nicest Italian cities:

  • Best cities to see in Italy
  • Best things to do in Rome
  • Hidden gems of Rome
  • Best things to do in Venice (+ Doge’s Palace & Venice Gondola )
  • Best things to do in Milan
  • Best things to do in Bologna
  • Best things to do in Siena (+ Siena Cathedral )
  • Best things to do in Montepulciano
  • Best things to do in Naples
  • Best things to do in Verona
  • Best things to do in Ravenna
  • Rome in 1 day
  • Rome in 2 days
  • Rome in 4 days
  • Venice in 1 day
  • Venice in 3 days
  • Milan in 1 day
  • Naples in 1 day

If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!

Top things to do in Florence, Italy

Some of our favorite places in Italy:

  • Best places to visit in Italy
  • Best Places to See at Lake Como
  • Capri Island
  • Naples area
  • Best places in the Dolomites
  • Bellagio (Lake Como)
  • Varenna (Lake Como)
  • Best towns to visit in Lake Como
  • Cinque Terre vs. Amalfi Coast
  • Most Beautiful Coastal Towns of the Italian Riviera
  • Tuscany Itinerary
  • Hiking in the Dolomites
  • Italy trip itinerary for 2 weeks (all the ‘musts’ in the shortest possible time)
  • For more inspiration, please see our Italy travel blog .

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Thursday 12th of October 2023

I'm putting together my FIRST trip/MBM to Italy (talk about overwhelming).... so glad I found your site! I would like to take a day trip via train from Florence to Siena, is that an option and if so, what is the speed train system? Thank you ~

Saturday 14th of October 2023

Hi Terri, yes, of course, you can easily visit Siena from Florence in a day. There are also tours available (but they usually visit several towns, spending little time in each - ideal if you want to see a lot in a day, but not ideal if you want to explore deeper). So if you just want to explore Siena, it's better to go on your own. Traveling in Italy by train is really simple and straightforward. You can use websites like Omio to compare all the best transportation options for any route you want to take and book your train/bus tickets. Between Florence and Siena, you can opt for a train or a bus. In this specific case, the bus is faster, but the train can be more comfortable and trains run more frequently. PS You may also want to take a look at our guide to the best places to see in Siena. Hope this helps. Have a great trip!

Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

You write the the best blogs! I enjoy reading them and they help a great deal in planning my trips. Thank you! :)

Friday 26th of August 2022

Thank you so much for your kind feedback, Rima. Happy travels!

Michael Cicchi

Monday 13th of June 2022

I will save this article for use also. I believe I would have to live here for two weeks.😀

Tuesday 14th of June 2022

:) Yes, indeed, Michael, there's so much to see in and around Florence. You could easily spend a few weeks in Tuscany and never get bored. Happy travels!

Free Things to Do

Top Museums to Visit

Performing Arts in Florence

Shopping in Florence

Guide to Mercato Centrale

Food to Try in Florence

Florence's Best Restaurants

Nightlife in Florence

Best Time to Visit

Weather & Climate

Florence Airport Guide

Neighborhoods to Know

Driving in Florence

48 Hours in Florence

Day Trips From Florence

Top Things to Do

20 Best Things to Do in Florence, Italy

tourist activities in florence italy

 TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Florence is one of the most popular travel destinations in Italy, so much so that it's often listed on itineraries for first-time visitors to the country alongside other favorites like Rome and Venice. One of the wealthiest cities during the Italian Renaissance, Florence is home to classical works of art, historic architecture, and natural beauty as well as a rich history of culinary excellence .

The capital of the Tuscany region sports a large number of impressive sights and attractions, including some of Italy's most impressive museums and cathedrals. Along with picturesque streets and piazzas (squares), elegant buildings and bridges, colorful markets, and excellent shopping areas, you'll find some of the best restaurants in the country in this thriving city. Fortunately, Florence's centro storico  (historic center) is compact, flat, and extremely walkable, meaning you'll be able to easily take in all of its top attractions , from world-famous sites to other lesser-known discoveries.

Feast on Gelato in the City Where It Was Created

FilippoBacci / Getty Images

According to local folklore, Florentine native Bernardo Buontalenti created gelato in the 16th century; Catherine de' Medici was a big fan and its popularity soon spread beyond Florence and throughout Italy, Europe, and the rest of the world. Americans can thank Italian immigrant Giovanni Biasiolo, who brought it to the U.S. in the 1700s.

Choose from all sorts of fruit flavors or try other favorites like tiramisu, coffee, chocolate, or hazelnut. You really can't go wrong when it comes to choosing a gelato vendor, though it's worth paying attention to the color of the pistachio flavor, which should lean toward olive green to reflect the color of the nuts, and not be any brighter.

Test Out Leonardo da Vinci's Creations

Leonardo Interactive Museum

Discover the sheer genius of one of the greatest creators of all time and enjoy a rare chance to try some of the machines he designed at the Leonardo Interactive Museum in Florence. You can see some of the mechanisms he produced up close, view engineering sketches of other creations, and test your bridge- and dome-building abilities as you try to recreate some of his masterpieces yourself, among other interactive activities at this fascinating museum.

Geek Out at Museo Galileo

Museo Galileo

Located along the Arno River, Museo Galileo digs into the interesting life and studies of Galileo, the prominent 16th-century scientist who was actually born in Pisa, about 90 minutes east of Florence. Check out the Museo's monumental sundial, an enormous working time-keeping device, as well as more than 1,000 objects collected since the 1560s throughout the rule of the Medici and Lorraine families.

Learn About Legendary Literature at Museo Casa di Dante

Museo Casa de Dante

Whether or not you read Dante's "Inferno" or "The Divine Comedy" in high school, Museo Casa di Dante is still a fascinating place to visit during a trip to Florence. The former home of Dante Alighieri serves as a museum dedicated to his life and works, featuring state-of-the-art technology to tell the story of the legendary 13th-century writer, poet, and politician and how he helped shaped Italian literature.

Tour Il Duomo and the Baptistery

Florence's most popular site is its Duomo (cathedral), the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore . Construction began in 1296, but the building wasn't consecrated until 1436. Its exterior, made of green, pink, and white marble, sports several elaborate doors and interesting statues. Inside are dozens of paintings, sculptures, and 44 stained-glass windows designed by notable Renaissance artists like Donatello depicting Jesus, Mary, and the saints. The main attraction of this massive structure is Brunelleschi's Dome, a masterpiece of architecture and construction. You'll definitely want to buy a ticket to climb the 463 steps to the top.

The Baptistery of John the Baptist , from the 11th century, is one of the oldest buildings in Florence. Located in both the Piazza San Giovanni and the Piazza del Duomo across from Florence Cathedral and the Campanile di Giotto , its exterior is made of green and white marble and flaunts three sets of amazing bronze doors, the most famous of which are the "Gates of Paradise," designed by sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti. The chance to see the massive exterior doors portraying scenes from the Bible and the interior dome's mosaics featuring even more Biblical depictions make the Baptistery worthy of a visit all on its own. 

Learn About the Buidling of the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Set on Piazza del Duomo to the right of the church, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo houses many of the original works and blueprints from art and architecture related to the city's Duomo complex. The original versions of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s panels for the Baptistery doors can be seen here, as well as exhibits of architect Brunelleschi’s plans and Renaissance-era tools used to build the Duomo. 

Climb the Campanile (Bell Tower)

The Campanile (bell tower) is also located in Piazza del Duomo. Principal architect Giotto di Bondone began work on the structure in 1334, and its lower level is commonly called Giotto's Campanile even though he died before its completion. Inside , you'll find intricately detailed relief carvings and sculptures as well as replicas of the 16 original life-sized statues created by artists like Andrea Pisano and Donatello (the originals can be seen in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo) . If you climb the 414 stairs—there's no elevator in this Gothic tower—you'll be rewarded not only with great views of the Cathedral and its dome but of Florence and the surrounding area as well.

Explore Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria

Ponte Vecchio (old bridge), built in 1345, was the first bridge in Florence to cross the Arno River and is the only surviving one from its medieval days (sadly, the other bridges were destroyed during World War II). The always-crowded bridge is lined with shops selling gold and silver jewelry. From Ponte Vecchio, you'll have great views of the Arno River and beyond.

Nearby, Piazza della Signoria is the heart of the city's historic center and home to a free open-air sculpture exhibit. Loggia della Signoria houses some important statues, while a replica of Michelangelo's David  stands on the square. The piazza, which has been the city's political center since the middle ages, is also the site of both its town hall and the medieval Palazzo Vecchio , where you'll find elaborately decorated rooms and private apartments that are open to the public.

Visit David at the Galleria dell' Academia

The Galleria dell' Accademia in Florence houses important paintings and sculptures ranging from the 13th to 16th centuries. Along with works by important Renaissance artists like Uccello, Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, and del Sarto, you'll find one of the most famous sculptures in the world, Michelangelo's "David," as well as an interesting collection of musical instruments, which was assembled by the Medici family. Book your tickets ahead of time if you plan to stop by this popular destination as lines to get in and see the statue of David can be quite long.

Admire World-Class Art at Uffizi Gallery

The Galleria degli Uffizi is home to the world's most important collection of Renaissance art, as well as thousands of paintings, antique sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, tapestries, and other artwork ranging from medieval to modern times. The famous institute is home to masterpieces by artists like Michelangelo , Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino, and Raphael. You'll want to allow plenty of time to fully appreciate all of their collected works, so set aside at least a few hours to visit.

Uffizi Gallery is also one of Italy's most crowded museums, so it's a good idea to buy tickets ahead of time to avoid long ticket lines. The gallery also offers free admission on the first Sunday of each month, but expect higher than normal crowd levels if you choose to attend then.

Wander Through Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace

Across the Ponte Vecchio, you'll find Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens), a huge park on a hillside in the middle of Florence. Located behind Pitti Palace, its beautiful gardens and fountains offer great views of Florence from Forte Belvedere. This famous park is also a terrific spot for a picnic before or after you check out the palace and tour its many galleries.

Florence's largest palace, Palazzo Pitti, was once the seat of the Medici family. Originally the home of a banker named Luca Pitti, this massive building houses the living quarters of its past inhabitants as well as eight galleries full of art, period costumes, and jewelry. Tickets are required to enter the palace, but discounts are available if you combine your visit with other Florence museums.

Walk the Halls of Santa Croce

Santa Croce , located in Piazza Santa Croce, is the largest Franciscan church in Italy and where you can find the tombs of several important Florentines including Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. Its vast interior also contains exceptional stained glass windows and frescoes, including one of Brunelleschi's most important works, Cappella dei Pazzi. Enter the complex of Santa Croce from Largo Bargellini, just around the corner from Piazza Santa Croce, where you'll find the ticket booth.

Take in Views from Piazzale Michelangelo

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson 

Piazzale Michelangelo is a fabulous outdoor terrace on the south (or left) bank of the Arno River. Its position high on a hillside means visitors who make the climb (or take the bus) are rewarded with incredible views of the city and river below. The Piazzale, named for Michelangelo Buonarotti, is adorned with bronze copies of some of his most famous sculptures.

The view at sunset, when the Florence skyline is spread out before you, is one of the most unforgettable sights in Italy. While you're waiting for it, wander around Giardino delle Rose and Giardino dell'Iris on either side of Piazzale Michelangelo or head over to Basilica di Santo Spirito, a residential district featuring dozens of cafes and restaurants .

Stop by San Miniato al Monte Abbey

If you've made the climb to Piazzale Michelangelo, continue another 10 minutes or so to the Abbey of San Miniato al Monte, a beautiful 11th-century abbey where, on most days at 5:30 pm, monks still observe a Gregorian chant. The interior is every bit as lovely as its green and white marble exterior, so take the time to go in and look around.

People-Watch in Lively Piazza Santo Spirito

This lively piazza and the Santo Spirito neighborhood that surrounds it form part of the city's "Left Bank," a colorful, slightly bohemian area favored by local residents and visitors seeking a slice of authentic Florence. By day, you'll find produce vendors and interesting shops set up around the piazza, while by night, crowds from bars and restaurants spill out onto the main streets and nearby sidewalks.

Basilica di Santo Spirito, which appears rather plain from the outside, contains several important works of art and is open to the public most days of the year. Next door, you'll find Museo della Fondazione Romano, which houses " Cenacolo di Santo Spirito ," a piece of art by Andrea Orcagna.

Visit Museo di San Marco and Bargello National Museum

For a bit of art history beyond Michaelangelo and the other famous Renaissance artists, visit the San Marco Museum to see the works of Fra Angelico, an early Renaissance painter and monk, who painted several of his best-known frescoes on its walls and in its humble cells. It's also the former home of his predecessor, revolutionary monk Savonarola. Visit the rooms of both Savonarola and Fra Angelico, which contain several of their personal effects as well as a famous portrait of Savonarola painted by fellow monk Fra Bartolomeo. 

Nearby, the 13th-century building that houses the  Museo Nazionale del Bargello , or more simply "The Bargello," once served as a police barracks and a prison. Nowadays, it's a sculpture and decorative arts museum featuring works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Verrocchio, and Giambologna. Located in historic Palazzo del Podestà and established in 1865 by royal decree, The Bargello was Italy's first official national museum. You'll find fewer crowds here than at other big museums in Florence.

Dig Into the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Firenze

Florence's National Archaeological Museum houses collections of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works of art, many of which were amassed by the Medici family. The museum also has one of the best collections of Etruscan artifacts, including the priceless Chimera of Arezzo, an intact bronze statue of a mythological lion with a snake for a tail and a goat head protruding from its side. Part of the Tuscany Museum Complex, admission is required to explore the National Archaeological Museum of Florence, but you can pair your ticket with entry to other nearby museums for a discounted price.

Visit the Dead at the Medici Chapels (Cappelle Medicee)

Florence's ruling Medici family was known for its ruthless ambition and grandiosity, characteristics that were as true in death as they were in life. Constructed to house the remains of several members of the royal family, Cappelle Medicee is an elaborate mausoleum for the Medici dukes, complete with enormous tombs and sculptures by Michelangelo. Nowhere else in the world can you observe the Renaissance master's work this close up. The tomb's sculptures, including allegories of Night, Day, Dawn , and Dusk , are among his most contemplative works.

Go on a Well-Deserved Shopping Spree

Florence offers some of the finest shopping in Europe, featuring everything from leather goods and jewelry to souvenirs and fine art. Whether you want to visit a luxury retailer, high fashion boutique, or explore open-air markets selling local goods and antiques, there are plenty of ways to shop in Florence all year long. Start in the Piazza San Lorenzo area to pick up some antiques and souvenirs. Across the Arno River, Piazza Santo Spirito is the place to go for produce as well as vintage clothing, accessories, antiques, and pottery. Mercato Nuovo (Porcellino) on Via Porta Rossa and Mercato Centrale are also great places to find local fashions and delicacies.

Otherwise, the large indoor and outdoor San Lorenzo Market offers everything from produce and clothing to leather goods and cheap souvenirs. The outdoor portion of the market starts at Piazza San Lorenzo, featuring hundreds of stalls packed with merchandise. The indoor market, or Mercato Centrale, is foodie heaven, with stalls selling locally-sourced produce, meats, and cheeses, and a dining hall where you can pick out lunch or a snack from one of a dozen or so gourmet vendors. 

Purchase Perfume and Soaps From Officina Profumo

Head to Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella for perhaps the most unique gifts—for yourself or friends back home—in all of Florence. Affiliated with Santa Maria Novella church, Officina Profumo is one of the oldest apothecaries in the world and still makes perfumes, soaps, and elixirs according to centuries-old recipes developed by monks. A trip to the Officina is part shopping spree and part museum visit, as the fancily packaged soaps, creams, and perfumes are as tempting as the ancient bottles and fixtures are interesting.

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15 Top Tourist Attractions in Florence, Italy

By Kay Pierce · Last updated on April 15, 2024

The capital city of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence is internationally esteemed for its high concentration of Renaissance art and architecture. Because it served as a wealthy and important center for medieval trade and commerce, the city gave birth to the Italian Renaissance movement.

Tourist Attractions in Florence

Florence is also credited with propagating many artists, inventors, writers, scientists and explorers as well as inventing opera and the florin currency, which lifted Europe from the Dark Ages.

Simulating one enormous outdoor art museum, the city of Florence attracts millions of tourists every year. Walking is the best way to see the major tourist attractions in Florence. Some of the best places to walk include the Ponte Vecchio, a beautiful bridge spanning the Arno River and featuring a number of high-end jewelry shops.

Map of Florence

Map of Tourist Attractions in Florence

15. Mercato Nuovo

Mercato Nuovo

Covered with an ornate loggia supported by open arches, the Mercato Nuovo is one of the most unusual marketplaces in Florence. While souvenirs like straw hats are sold here, it’s the history and legends connected with Mercato Nuovo that most attract visitors. In the center of the loggia is the “stone of shame,” a place where debtors were once punished with bare-bottom spankings.

A colorful Italian expression for winding up broke may have originated from this practice. On the southern side of the loggia is the Fontana del Porcellino, a fountain that features a bronze boar statue. Rubbing the snout of the “Piglet” is said to bring good fortune.

14. San Miniato al Monte

San Miniato al Monte

Perched high atop a hill, the oldest church in Florence offers panoramic views of one of Italy’s most scenic cities. Behinds its charming green-and-white façade is a treasure trove of beautiful art. Medieval frescoes, mosaics and inlaid-marble floors adorn the chapels of the Romanesque structure. The Renaissance era is well represented too.

With its carved pilasters, medallion ceilings, marble statuary and colorful frescoes, the Cappella del Cardinale del Portogallo showcases the diversity of the era. San Minato is most enchanting in the early evening when Benedictine monks celebrate mass with Gregorian chanting.

13. Piazza della Repubblica

Piazza della Repubblica

One of the oldest sections of Florence, the Piazza della Repubblica sits on the site of the city’s Roman forum. The Colonna dell’Abbondanza, a monument built in 1431, marks the exact center of the ancient settlement. Densely inhabited during the Medieval Era, the square was completely renovated during the 1800s.

A triumphal arch on the west side of the plaza commemorates its transformation. Today, the plaza is best known for its elegant Neoclassical structures, luxury shops and outdoor eateries, including the famous Giubbe Rosse café, a notable meeting place for artists and writers.

12. Loggia dei Lanzi

Loggia dei Lanzi

Renaissance art and architecture are on full display at this ceremonial building adjacent to a corner of the Piazza della Signoria. Supported by columns topped with Corinthian capitals, wide arches invite visitors to view the sculptures under the bay of this open-air gallery.

Benvenuto Cellini’s bronze statue of Perseus holding the head of Medusa is a star attraction. Carved from a single block of white marble, the “Rape of the Sabine Women” by Giambologna is awe-inspiring as well. Considered a masterpiece of composition and movement, the dramatic sculpture was constructed to be viewed from all sides.

11. Santa Croce Church

Santa Croce Church

No visit to Florence is complete without paying homage to the city’s most famous inhabitants, many of whom are buried within the church nicknamed the Temple of the Italian Glories.

The world’s largest Franciscan church, Santa Croce is the final resting place for luminaries like Michelangelo, Rossini, Galileo and Dante. The cathedral’s 16 chapels also feature breath-taking works of art, including frescoes by Giotto painted at the height of his talent.

The realism of his “Death of St. Francis” helped lay the foundation for the Renaissance Era. Located in the cathedral’s first cloister, the Pazzi Chapel is a must-see as well. Built after a design by Filippo Brunelleschi, it’s regarded as a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture.

10. Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti

The Palazzo Pitti is a large 15th century palace situated on the quieter south bank of the Arno river The palace was long the residence of Florence’s rulers until 1919, when it was handed over to the Italian state, which transformed the palace into a museum complex.

In spite of its metamorphosis from royal residence to a state-owned public building, the palazzo, sitting on its elevated site overlooking Florence, still retains the air and atmosphere of a private collection in a grand house.

9. Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo

The Piazzale Michelangelo is a large, partly pedestrianized square located across the Arno River from the center of Florence. From the square visitors have a magnificent view over the city.

The spacious square was laid out in 1860 by Giuseppe Poggi, a local architect who is also known for his creation of boulevards around the center of Florence.

8. Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens

Located behind the Palazzo Pitti, the Boboli Gardens were created by the Medici family in the 16th century. The beautiful and varied Italianesque garden is home to a large number of statues and fountains. The gardens have passed through several stages of enlargement and restructuring work.

They were enlarged in the 17th century to their present extent and have come to form an outdoor museum of garden sculpture that includes Roman antiquities as well as later works.

7. Basilica di San Lorenzo

Basilica di San Lorenzo

Situated at the center of the city’s main market district, the Basilica di San Lorenzo is one of the oldest churches of Florence and was the burial place of all

The church, originally designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 15th century, is an early example of ecclesiastical Renaissance architecture. The façade of this church was never completed, giving it a striking, rustic appearance. Inside the church is pure Renaissance neo-classical splendor.

6. Galleria dell’Accademia

Galleria dell'Accademia

The Galleria dell’Accademia or “Gallery of the Academy” is certainly the most famous for its sculptures by the great Renaissance artist, Michelangelo. His Prisoners (or Slaves), his St. Matthew and, above all, the outstanding statue of David are what draw most of the hundreds of thousands of visitors the museum welcomes every year.

Other works on display are Florentine paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries, including works by Sandro Botticelli and from the High Renaissance such as Giambologna’s original plaster for the Rape of the Sabine Women.

5. Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio

One of Florence’s most significant buildings is the Palazzo Vecchio, a grand palace overlooking the Piazza della Signoria. Built in the 12th century, the Palazzo Vecchio housed the powerful Medici family as well as Florence’s supreme governing body for six centuries.

Since 1872, it has served in part as a museum and as the city town hall. This impressive palace packs a wealth of artifacts and art works that include beautiful frescoes, sculptures, painted ceilings, intricate carvings and tapestries that all depict historic and Biblical events.

4. Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria

Serving over the centuries as an important center for politics and the site of several historic episodes, the Piazza della Signoria is a beautiful square centered among some of the top attractions in Florence.

It is here that tourists can visit remarkable places like the Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Museum, the Palazzo Uguccioni, the Loggia de Lanzi and the nearby Ponte Vecchio bridge. This town square is also a treasure trove of notable sculptures such as a replica of Michelangelo’s Statue of David, the Fountain of Neptune, Hercules and Cacus as well as Perseus with the Head of Medusa.

3. Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery

Regarded today as one of the world’s greatest art museums, the Uffizi Gallery is located off the Piazza della Signoria. This former palace was first built in 1560 to house the offices of the city magistrates.

After the ruling dynasty of the Medici family relinquished its power, the palace evolved into an art gallery to showcase its stunning collection of Renaissance art treasures. Opened to the public since 1765, the museum offers thousands of art works by masters like Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Titian.

2. Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio is the oldest, as well as the most famous, of the six bridges that cross Florence’s Arno River. Up until 1218, this bridge, also known as the Old Bridge, was the only bridge to cross that river.

Historians believe that the original bridge goes back to Roman times. The bridge connected the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace across the river from it. Unfortunately, a flood destroyed the structure in 1333.

Twelve years later, in 1345, the bridge was rebuilt. Workers replaced the original five arches with three, and widened the main part of the bridge. At this time, the bridge hosted shops and houses authorized by the Bargello, who was a combination mayor and magistrate.

Ponte Vecchio

Towards the 15th century, the shops were sold to private owners. Butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers occupied most of the shops. However, in 1593, due to the rank smell of the waste from these shops, Ferdinand I dictated that only goldsmiths and jewelers were allowed to own shops on the bridge. Today the shops sell affordable jewelry as well as expensive antiques and leather goods. In addition, the bridge serves as an art museum.

During WWII, the Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge crossing the Arno in Florence that the Germans did not destroy. Instead, they demolished the buildings on each end of the bridge to block access to it. In November 1966, the river again went through a serious flood. This time, however, the bridge withstood the weight of the silt and the water.

The Ponte Vecchio is a work of art, created with elements from all parts of the Florentine character. A walk across it gives one the chance to view and enjoy the many aspects of Florentine life both old and new.

1. Santa Maria del Fiore

Santa Maria del Fiore

Dominating the panoramic view of Florence is the Santa Maria del Fiore, the domed cathedral that is often called the Duomo. Known today as the world’s largest masonry dome, this majestic cathedral features 600 years worth of stunning architecture and art works.

Planning for the new church began in the late 1200s and building started in 1296. Unfortunately, politics and the plague interrupted the construction several times. In 1375, workers were instructed to tear down the partially completed church and start over. Except for the marble on the outside, the Florence Cathedral was completed in 1436.

The first architect to work on the Cathedral was Arnolfo di Cambio. He designed it in the Gothic style and left space for a huge dome to top the building. However, he had no idea how to build this dome. Fortunately, Filippo Brunelleschi, a goldsmith and clockmaker, solved this puzzle.

Santa Maria del Fiore Facade

Added in the 15th century, Brunelleschi’s dome is 45 meters wide and 114.5 meters high (148 and 377 feet), and it is the largest masonry dome ever built. Because of the size of the dome, Brunelleschi made use of a unique building technique that had been used previously in Persia. He used 37,000 tons of brick, stone and timber, along with a unique herringbone pattern of laying the bricks, to create the dome. Four hundred sixty three steps were included to allow access to the top of the dome.

The facade of the Florence Cathedral was only partially built and remained that way for some time. It was then dismantled in 1587-1588. Architects at that time felt that the original Gothic exterior was old fashioned. In 1864, a competition was held to design a new façade. Emilio de Fabris won the competition, and in 1887, his façade was completed. It was a neo-Gothic façade in green, white and red marble, which complemented the cathedral’s 14th century bell tower. The use of circles, squares and triangles distinguished it from other French churches.

Santa Maria del Fiore Interior

There are many great works of art in the interior of the Cathedral. Some of the most beautiful aspects of the Cathedral are the frescoes. The largest of these depicts the Last Judgment, designed by Giorgio Vasiri, but painted by his student, Federico Zuccari.

Through close inspection of the Cathedral, one can notice the differences in architectural styles used through the years. For instance, while the inside of the church, with the big arches and vaults is Gothic style, the dome is Renaissance style. One can find differences such as these throughout the Florence Cathedral.

Best Time to Visit Florence

The best times of year to visit Florence are either in spring or autumn – so from April to June and September to October. This is when the weather is mild but sunny and prices are a bit lower.

In summer, the city is overrun with tourists and the scorching heat makes sightseeing quite unpleasant at times. While July is the hottest month, averaging highs of 29°C (84°F though often much hotter), August is when most locals take their holidays and head out of Florence, closing their shops and restaurants in the meantime.

For a more authentic experience, you may also want to consider visiting between December and February. During this time the city is very quiet, prices are low and there are almost no queues and crowds. The weather is much cooler however, averaging from a low of 8°C (46°F) to a high of 9°C (49°F).

Although Florence doesn’t go all out for Christmas, the decorations and lights make it pretty magical to explore in wintertime. Due to all its romantic streets, many people head here for Valentine’s Day with its carnival also enticing plenty of visitors in the run up to Lent.

Another unforgettable event is the fiercely-contested Calcio Storico which is held each June in Piazza di Santa Croce. An early form of football, it sees colourfully-clad players representing each quarter of the city battle it out before baying crowds of locals and tourists alike.

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Home » Travel Guides » Italy » 20 Best Things to Do in Florence (Italy)

20 Best Things to Do in Florence (Italy)

Florence is renowned as one of the most cultural and historical cities in the world and is packed full of amazing architecture and places of significance. As the capital of the Tuscany region of Italy, Florence has a population of 383,000 and a wider metropolitan population of 1.5 million. This wonderful city lies in the central region of Italy and has a well developed rail network with connections to Pisa and Bologna .

During ancient history, Florence was once a Roman city and then developed into a thriving medieval commune. It is hailed as the birthplace of the Renaissance movement, and throughout the 12th, 15th and 16th centuries, was one of the most important cities of the world. Notable residents of Florence included Machiavelli, Lorenzo Medici, Dante, Michelangelo, Donatello, Galileo and Raphael.

Today, tourism is undoubtedly a major part of the economy of Florence and an average of 13 million people visit the city each year. Aside from tourism, Florence has a major industrial sector and is a producer of such goods as furniture, rubber, chemicals and food. Industrial districts such as Prato-Pistoria have historically exported high-quality goods such as Vespa scooters. If you are looking for a dose of culture and want to see fantastic buildings such as the Duomo, Florence will not disappoint.

Lets explore the best things to do in Florence :

1. Florence Cathedral

Florence Cathedral

Possibly the most celebrated cathedral in the world, the Duomo as it is simply known in Florence is the jewel of the city.

It was initially constructed in 1436, but the astonishing front facade wasn’t completed until the 19th century.

Located in the centre of the old city, the Duomo stands out for miles and creates an imposing sight amongst the other medieval buildings.

The exterior and front facade of the Cathedral are monumental – covered in white marble and red, pink and green polychrome designs; the colour and style is breathtaking.

Furthermore, an immense dome sits at the read of the cathedral and can be accessed via a series of steps.

Although the interior of the cathedral is quite bare in contrast, it still speaks of grandeur and has several interesting pieces such as the large clock face and the magnificent Last Judgement fresco that covers the underside of the dome.

Suggested tour : Duomo Guided Tour & Reserved Cupola Access

2. Giotto’s Campanile

Giotto's Campanile

Many people believe that Giotto’s Campanile is connected to the Duomo however it is a separate building in its own right.

This structure is a true masterpiece of Gothic architecture and is one of the most renowned designs in the city.

Split into five distinct levels, the exterior of the tower features polychrome marble decoration that is also present on the Duomo in brilliant green and pink colours.

Constructed in 1334 through to 1359, the building was designed by the famous artist Giotto, but finished by Talenti who added the last levels after Giotto died 1343. A plethora of sculptures, artwork and decorated panels cover the tower and it is a true masterpiece of Renaissance art.

Aside from the decoration, you can also climb the 414 steps in the tower for fantastic views of Florence and the Duomo.

3. Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio

Whilst the Duomo is the most important religious building, the Palazzo Vecchio is the most importance administrative building in Florence.

This structure stood as the palace of the Signoria of the Republic of Florence and was also a town hall in later years.

Originally built in 1299, the Palazzo was designed by the same architects that worked on the Duomo and the church of Santa Croce.

With a square design and a number of crenulations, the building almost looks like a castle; it also has a large bell tower.

On the front facade, a series of coast of arms can be seen that represent various families and important individuals relating to the history of the city.

The interior of the palace is also sublime with a series of originally decorated rooms such as The Hercules Room and The Room of Cybele.

Recommended tour: Palazzo Vecchio Guided Tour

4. Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

Florence is full of famous buildings and the Ponte Vecchio is an extremely famous and old bridge.

Spanning the river Arno, the Vecchio Bridge is noted for the number of shops that are built into the sides of the bridge, its decorated history and the plethora of shops that line the main walkway.

History records date the bridge as early as 996 but its true origin is unclear.

Walk onto this fantastic structure and look at the various shops and vendors – You will find jewellers, art dealers and souvenir shops.

Once at the midpoint, the bridge opens up and you are rewarded with fantastic views down the river Arno.

Aside from walking on the bridge itself also walk along the Corridoio Vasariano to see the exterior of the Ponte Vecchio and its marvellous house-like attachments.

5. Basilica of Santa Croce

Basilica of Santa Croce

Whilst the Cathedral of Florence boasts immense size, the Basilica of Santa Croce is truly beautiful and inviting.

Constructed at a similar time to the Duomo, it also features a front facade that includes pink, green and red marble polychrome panels contrasted with polished white stone.

Sitting in the Piazza di Santa Croce, the Basilica takes centre position and frames the square perfectly.

Aside from the beautiful exterior, the interior is home to the tombs of some of the most influential Renaissance artists and scholars in the world including Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli.

6. Baptistery of St. John

Baptistery of St. John

Completing the trio of buildings associated with the Cathedral of Florence, the Baptistery sits in front of the main facade of the Duomo and is a completely separate building.

As one of the oldest buildings in the city, the Baptistery has been revered and its exterior features the wonderful “Florentine” design that is similar to both the Duomo and Giotto’s Campanile.

The three sets of bronze doors are of particular interest and depict various religious scenes and human virtues.

Inside the Baptistery, a stunning golden Byzantine style fresco covers the ceiling and upper walls and depicts the last judgement and other stories from the Bible and Genesis.

7. Uffizi Palace and Gallery

Uffizi Palace and Gallery

Located just off of the Piazza della Signoria, the Uffizi Palace and Gallery is a renowned art museum and is considered one of the most important Italian museums in the world.

The building itself is a marvel and the inner courtyard features a series of intricate columns and arches that are adorned with marble statues.

Inside the museum there is an immense collection of Renaissance Art from artists such as Botticelli, Da Vinci, Titian and Raphael.

It is one of the most wondrous collection of Renaissance art in the world and many of the pieces are simply fantastic such as The Baptism of Christ by Da Vinci, the Adoration of the Magi by Botticelli and the Sacrifice of Isaac by Caravaggio.

For loves of art and history, the Uffizi Palace will provide hours of engagement.

Available tour : Skip the Line: The Uffizi Gallery Ticket and Tour

8. Basilica di San Lorenzo

Basilica di San Lorenzo

Sitting in close proximity to the Duomo, the Basilica di San Lorenzo was constructed under the designs of the powerful Medici family that ruled Florence for many years during the Renaissance.

Although not as grand and ornamental as the Duomo, this church is still an impressive building with its huge dome and characteristic terracotta tiled roof.

Inside the church is a plethora of beautiful artwork and decoration including a gold and white gilded ceiling and a superbly decorated dome interior.

Many frescos and sculptures frame the dome and create an interesting mix of patterns and colours.

Furthermore, a great deal of the Medici family are buried here and their tombs inside the chapel are quite exquisite.

Tickets available online : Entrance Ticket to the Basilica of San Lorenzo

9. Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria

Secondly only to the Piazza del Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria is just as important and contains a myriad of buildings and classical art.

The square is located to the south of the Piazza del Duomo and is easily accessible due to its central location.

The main structure of the Piazza is the magnificent Pallazo Vecchio with its huge clock tower and fantastic statues of David and Hercules.

To the left of the palace is the wonderful fountain of Neptune, and to the right is the Loggia dei Lanzi which contains some beautiful Renaissance sculptures including Perseus, Menelaus and Hercules.

Finally, a grand statue of Cosimo Medici stands near the fountain of Neptune, and a host of high-end shops line the buildings.

10. Galleria dell’Accademia

Galleria dell'Accademia

Located in close proximity to the Piazza del Duomo and the Basilica di San Lorenzo, the Gallery of the Academy of Florence is a hugely important museum.

A simple building that you might pass buy if you didn’t know where it was, the Gallery contains some masterpieces of Renaissance art including the original Michelangelo’s David sculpture.

Aside from this original piece of genius, the museum also houses other sculptures and works from Michelangelo and is split into several different interesting halls.

Here you can find a wealth of historical art, and also a great deal of history pertaining to 14th and 15th century Florence.

Finally, there is also a museum of musical instruments that contains a myriad of old and unique musical inventions.

Recommended tour : David at Accademia Gallery: Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

11. Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti

Located on the Southern Banks of the River Arno, the Palazzo Pitti has stood since the 1400’s as a fine example of Renaissance architecture.

A grand square sits at the front of the palace and frames the symmetrical front facade perfectly.

Although once home to Italian royalty and powerful families such as the Medici’s, the palace now stands as the largest museum complex in Florence.

Inside the palace, there are a myriad of different galleries that are all richly decorated, but also contain a host of Renaissance artwork.

The Jupiter room for example contains some amazing frescos but also the famous Veiled Lady by Raphael.

Other well known artists featured include Titian, Rubens, Caravaggio and Vernonese.

12. Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens

Connected to the Palazzo Pitti, the Boboli Gardens are immense and beautiful.

Covering an area of 45,000 square metres, the gardens are some of the largest in Florence and are a true delight to walk through.

Created in the 16th century, the Boboli Gardens feature a myriad of different sections including a main lawn with a fountain and obelisk, a selection of worldly trees, plants and flowers, and several large ponds complete with water features.

If you want to escape the city, you can find solace in this wonderful place and enjoy the beautiful designs and natural specimens.

Suggested tour : Boboli The Medici Gardens & Hidden Messages

13. Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo

This square offers the best view of Florence and of the Cathedral in the entire city.

Located on the South banks of the River Arno, the Piazzale Michelangelo sits high on a hill near the Boboli Gardens and the Palazzo Pitti.

In the centre of the square stands a wonderful Bronze statue of David, and at the edge of the square there is a series of vendors and artists selling their wares.

The view from the Piazza is unrivalled and you can truly see Florence in all its glory, framed against the River Arno.

If you are looking for a truly memorable photograph, this is the place to be!

14. Church of Santa Maria Novella

Church of Santa Maria Novella

Located in front of the main railway station, the Church of Santa Maria Novella is a beautiful structure that has a similar design to both the Duomo and the Basilica of Santa Croce – Another fine example of Renaissance architecture using polychrome and white marble to create a striking front facade.

Whilst the exterior and surrounding Piazza are magnificent in their own right, the interior is a true marvel too.

Contained within the church is a myriad of chapels dedicated to various wealthy and prominent Florentine families during the Renaissance era.

Detailed frescos cover the walls and ceilings and the church contains artwork from famous artists including Botticelli and Ghiberti.

15. San Miniato al Monte

San Miniato al Monte

Located high up on a hill on the far side of the Arno River, the San Miniato al Monte is a charming church that has a fantastic front facade that is similar to Florence Cathedral.

If you take the time to walk to the church and adjoining monastery, you will be rewarded with stunning views across to the old centre of Florence – From here you can see the magnificent Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio.

Aside from the views, the church itself is truly spectacular with a white and green marble front facade.

The interior is just as decorative and features some amazing frescos, artwork and marble columns.

Furthermore there is a plethora of ancient artwork on the walls and a funerary monument to Cardinal James.

16. Piazza del Duomo

Piazza del Duomo

Located in the centre of Florence, the Piazza del Duomo is one of the main squares in the city and contains some sublime architecture.

This is a great place to start your tour of Florence and from here you can see the magnificent Florence Cathedral, Giotto’s Campanile, The Baptistery of St. John and the Loggia del Bigallo.

Aside from the buildings, there is also a myriad of shops, restaurants and cafes to enjoy , plus a range of souvenir stalls and vendors.

As one of the most thriving and busy parts of the city, the Piazza del Duomo is an absolute must!

17. Corridoio Vasariano

Corridoio Vasariano

The Vasari Corridor was originally created as a private walkway for Cosimo de Medici from the Palazzo Pitti to the Palazzo Vecchio – The high ranking individuals of Florence during the 1500’s were often reluctant to walk out in the public.

Starting at the Palazzo Vecchio, the enclosed corridor stretches alongside the Arno river, and then cross over the Ponte Vecchio and continues on to the Palazzo Pitti on the other side.

Inside the corridor there is a host of artwork and refurbished paintings that have been damaged in years past.

Although the corridor is currently closed for renovations, you can still marvel at its design and trace its passage from start to finish.

18. Forte di Belvedere

Forte di Belvedere

Standing in the grounds of the Boboli Gardens, the Belvedere Fort is the second largest fort in Florence and takes a commanding position on the southern banks of the River Arno.

Constructed in the late 1500’s the fort was meant to demonstrate the power and wealth of Florence during this period.

Today you can admire the fantastic architecture and design of this Renaissance fortification and understand why it held such a strategic position.

Furthermore you can also see across to the city and take some amazing photographs of the historical landscape.

19. Statue of David

Statue of David

Possibly the most renowned and well-known sculptures in the world (not just because of his genitals), the Statue of David is a magnificent piece of renaissance art created by the legendary artist Michelangelo.

This statue depicts the biblical hero David who was said to be the first King of Israel and it is renowned due to its fantastic detail and unwavering accuracy of depicting the human form.

The original statue can be found in the Galleria dell’Accademia and a replica stands proudly at the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio.

20. Bargello Museum

Bargello Museum

Another of Florence’s fine museums, the Bargello Museum contains a myriad of Renaissance sculptures and artwork.

Located a short walk to the north east of the Piazza della Signoria, the Museum is housed within a building that once served as a castle and fortification in the Middle Ages – You can still see the guard tower and the crenulations.

Inside the building is a large collection of important sculptures including works by Donatello.

Particular sculptures of interest include David by Donatello, Bacchus by Michelangelo and a bust of Christ by Lombardo.

20 Best Things to Do in Florence (Italy):

  • Florence Cathedral
  • Giotto's Campanile
  • Palazzo Vecchio
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Basilica of Santa Croce
  • Baptistery of St. John
  • Uffizi Palace and Gallery
  • Basilica di San Lorenzo
  • Piazza della Signoria
  • Galleria dell'Accademia
  • Palazzo Pitti
  • Boboli Gardens
  • Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Church of Santa Maria Novella
  • San Miniato al Monte
  • Piazza del Duomo
  • Corridoio Vasariano
  • Forte di Belvedere
  • Statue of David
  • Bargello Museum
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15 Amazing Things to Do in Florence Italy | Ideas for a Memorable Visit

tourist activities in florence italy

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The capital of Tuscany, a historic center, home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art, architecture, numerous art museums, and Michelangelo’s famous David, Florence, Italy — Firenze in Italian — should definitely be on your must-visit list when you come to this beautiful European country. A mere wander around the city will leave you gaping with awe, and possibly a sore neck from looking up. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982, the whole city is a living museum and a walking tour during your visit to Florence will have you admiring its frescoes and unique works of art.

Its airport is small, so it’s best to fly into the larger city of Bologna, or Italy’s capital — Rome. From both cities, excellent high-speed trains connect to Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station in excellent time, plus Train Italia — the main train provider — has an excellent app to book tickets and check train times.

I was lucky to be hosted in both Bologna and Florence. Here, I share some fantastic travel tips and my personal travel guide for things to do when visiting Florence for the first time, plus some not-so-obvious tourist activities.

Palazzo Vecchio and Terre di Arnolfo in Florence, Italy

15 Amazing Things to Do in Florence Italy

1. palazzo vecchio.

Art, statues, history — it’s all here in Florence, and where better to start your exploration than the town hall, also known as the Palazzo della Signoria (where Leonardo Da Vinci was commissioned to paint a huge mural, the Battle of Anghiari) due to its proximity to the Piazza della Signoria. Palazzo Vecchio is a striking palace where art and history combine magnificently with Roman ruins, a medieval fortress, and Renaissance chambers and paintings. It’s also an archaeological site as it sits on top of the ancient theater of the Roman colony of Florentia, dating back to the A.D. 1st century. 

This is certainly one to enjoy if art and history is your thing, or even if not — just stand outside and admire the 14th-century architecture.

Statues in Piazza Della Signoria in Florence, Italy.

2. Piazza Della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria is L-shaped and directly outside of the Palazzo Vecchio, showcasing many statues of historical importance to Florence, as well as being a great spot to sit in one of the many cafés that line it. Both locals and tourists flock here to gape at the Palazzo Vecchio, which is also en route to one of Florence’s — and indeed one of Italy’s — most important art attractions, the Uffizi Gallery.

Pro Tip: It gets very busy in the middle of the day, so to avoid being pushed in all directions, keep your possessions in a money belt under your T-shirt just in case.

Statues along the hallway of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy

3. Uffizi Gallery

Adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria is unarguably the most famous art gallery in Italy. Italians are proud of the Uffizi, constructed in the 1500s and housing many ancient sculptures and paintings dating as far back as the Middle Ages to masterpieces by Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Raffaello, among many more and also Dutch, Flemish, and German painters. 

If you just want to appreciate the building and not spend a lot of time on the art, or leave your companion to it, then head to the cafeteria on the second floor that has magnificent views across Piazza della Signoria and meet each other later. 

Pro Tip: Open Tuesday–Sunday 8:15 a.m.–6:50 p.m., last entry 5:30 p.m. Busiest times of the day are 10 a.m.–12 p.m., so either go early or later in the afternoon.

Michelangelo's "David" in the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze

4. Accademia Gallery 

Also known as the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, although smaller than the Uffizi, it’s famous as it houses Michelangelo’s David , a 17-foot marble statue of a standing nude male representing the biblical hero from David and Goliath , who has also been considered something of a political figure in Florence.

Art connoisseurs will love the gallery in general for its large collection of paintings by local artists from the 1300s to the 1600s. You’re sure to marvel at the building’s design too, meaning you don’t necessarily have to be a fan of art in order to appreciate this masterpiece.

Pro Tip: Due to its popularity, it’s best to get to the gallery pretty early to avoid lines. It opens from 8:15 a.m. until 7:15 p.m. with the best times to visit early morning or after 5 p.m.

The historic Ponte Vecchio over the Arno in Florence, Italy

5. The Arno River And Ponte Vecchio Bridge

If for some reason you’re tired of art galleries and museums, then a stroll in the glorious spring and fall weather along the promenade of the River Arno — the river that cuts through Florence and flows eventually into the Mediterranean on the west coast of the country — is a pleasant way to spend a morning or afternoon.

There are 12 bridges crossing the river, five main ones in the city center and the most famous being the Ponte Vecchio — built at the Arno’s narrowest point, the only bridge to have escaped destruction in World War II and with the wooden construction dating back to Roman times, Florence’s oldest bridge. Rebuilt with stone in 1345 after a flood in 1333 destroyed the original, the bridge was initially lined with butcher shops for about 150 years in the 1400–1500s but were replaced with gold merchants in the 1600s by ​​Ferdinando I de Medici because the butchers would throw their waste into the river, creating an awful smell.

Today, you can wander over the bridge and still see the remnants of the original merchants, and buy gold jewelry from the shops there.

6. The Brunelleschi Dome

The largest masonry vault in the world, at 45.5 meters (149 feet) in diameter and 116 meters (381 feet) in height, the Brunelleschi Dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi between 1420 and 1436. The history of the dome and how it was constructed is magnificent. It’s possible to look around the dome — well worth it — and to also climb it.

Pro Tip: Book your tour and climb on separate days. It’s only possible to book online, which is handy as it means you have advance tickets.

Food courts of Mercato Centrale in Florence, Italy.

7. Mercato Centrale

Rather than always choosing a restaurant, grab a bite to eat at the Mercato Centrale — the Central Market (Piazza Del Mercato Centrale) where there are artisan food stalls on two levels selling Tuscan cuisine. Order your food and eat at one of the many tables scattered around. If you have a particular dish you wish to try after consulting its website, it might be best to reserve a table, especially over weekends and public holidays. But the whole concept of the Mercato Centrale is to pitch up and see what you’d like to eat. 

You’ll also find local Tuscan meats and cheeses to take home with you, or in the northern corner, a seafood area where vendors sell fish and shellfish from around Italy. 

Before or after filling your stomach, pop outside and wander around the outdoor San Lorenzo market where you can purchase leather goods. 

Food in Florence, Italy

8. Food Tour Of Florence

On the subject of food, you shouldn’t leave Florence without taking a food tour of the city. I lucked out by joining Eating Europe’s Florence sunset tour in the original working-class neighborhood of Oltrarno — across the river Arno where our gregarious and passionate guide not only took us to various spots to sample different cheeses, including with rare truffle, appetizers such as stuffed calamari and savory cheesecake, wine tasting accompanied by a traditional Italian delicacy that I won’t ruin the surprise and Tuscan beef peppery stew. We also had the opportunity to learn about the history of our gastronomical delights.

One of our stops allowed us to mix our own Negroni cocktail, reportedly originating from Florence in 1919 when, after having traveled to London and tasted gin, Count Camillo Negroni asked the barman at his favorite Cafe Casoni to replace the soda in an Americano cocktail with gin, and voila, the Negroni was born.

One of the stops on the Eating Florence food tour in Italy

Samples of Tuscan delicacies are what you’ll come away with on an Eating Florence tour… it’s well worth it for a brief and interesting history lesson, too. And, as you finish up your tour, ask your guide for a tip on where to buy the best gelato. You must try this famous ice cream on your visit to Florence.

The Companion Bar at the 25 Hours Hotel in Florence, Italy

9. 25 Hours Hotel Companion Bar

A stone’s throw away from the regenerated area of Santa Maria Novella, a lesser-known and more authentic Florentine neighborhood and minutes from the train station, taking up a whole block is the new 25 Hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino.

Once a convent in the 13th century, and then a pawnshop until as late as the 1990s, this epic conversion project designed to rejuvenate a community area, has a total of 171 rooms, 66 in the original monastery building next to the delightful San Paolino church, a small apartment with private garden and pool and, more importantly for non-guests, the traditionally Italian with an international twist, Companion Bar.

Open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., enjoy your Negroni or specially mixed cocktail of your choice in these unique surroundings and take in the architectural marvel of the building. Enjoy your drink in the historical Florentine way; standing on the pavement in front of the bar as your drink is passed through the buchetta del vino — literally “little wine holes.”

Pro Tip: It’s a good choice of hotel for a base on your Florentine adventure as it’s a traditional district, about a 7-minute stroll to the river, and has taken the theme of Florence to heart with cleverly designed Dantesque Heaven and Hell rooms and suites.

Amazing Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Il Duomo di Firenze), Florence, Italy. The basilica is one of Italy's largest churches, UNESCO World Heritage Site

10. Santa Maria Del Fiore

This Florence Cathedral, the Gothic-style Santa Maria del Fiore , started construction in 1296 and was completed in 1436. It’s a must-visit on your Florence itinerary as it was the largest in Europe when it was completed in the 15th century. 

11. Piazzale Michelangelo

Another thing to do when on your visit to Florence, and a must-visit for any first-time visitor, is to spend time in the Piazzale Michelangelo. Although slightly farther from the city center, i.e., about a mile from the Brunelleschi Dome, the Piazzale is a square across the river offering superb views of Florence and its surroundings.

12. Pitti Palace

Located on the south side of the River Arno, a short walk from the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Pitti Palace is a huge Italian Renaissance palace divided into five museums. Pitti Palace hosts a vast collection of works, such as the Palatine Gallery, with art from Florence’s famous Medici family; the Palatine Chapel; and the Gallery of Modern Art, with paintings and sculptures from Neoclassicism to the 1930s.

13. Boboli Gardens

Directly behind the palace, you’ll find the Boboli Gardens. Created by Florence’s Medici family, with its ancient and Renaissance statues, it’s a living museum in itself. 

14. Caffe Gilli

Think coffee and pastries in a swanky, historic setting. Caffe Gilli , located on the corner of Piazza Repubblica, has been the place to sip your espresso since 1773. Known worldwide for their delicacies, you mustn’t leave without trying something. If you visit around Easter or Christmas, try traditional Italian desserts like colomba or panettone. Grab a box of chocolates and bonbons as a souvenir.

Pro Tip: Table service is an extra charge; Italians typically just sip the drink quickly while standing at the bar.

15. Giardino Bardini

Somehow, the magical silence and stunning architecture in the Bardini Gardens get lost in the crowd of places to visit while in Florence. Restored and reopened to the public in 2006, the garden boasts epic views of the river Arno and the city below.

The baroque flight of steps and the wisteria tunnel are the most picturesque parts of the garden and both lead to a cafeteria and a restaurant. By walking among colorful flowerings and trees you’ll be immersed in the seven centuries of the history of the Villa Bardini and the City of Florence.

Pro tip: If you visit the garden during April, the magnificent purple wisteria arch is in bloom.

If you have enough time, visit San Miniato Al Monte, Piazza Del Duomo, and the Basilica DI Santa Croce.

Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Italy

Bonus: Bologna 

As it’s only 28 minutes by high-speed train to Tuscany’s second-largest city, Bologna , a day trip is well worth it if you’re spending a few days in the region.

Yet more culture, art, and museums await — the difference with Bologna, though, is its vibe. As a student city, it has a more bohemian feel to it, where locals and students alike intermingle well in the community together. There are 400,000 citizens, and 87,000 of those are students!

Bologna is most famous, however, for its UNESCO-designated porticos , or arches. In the city center alone — spanning from the main square of Piazza Maggiore, there are 24 miles of these stone arches that can be explored with a good guide. 

Bologna Welcome organized a Portico tour, and I was lucky to have a lovely guide show me around and explain the history. Porticos were originally designed in the 11th century to help create more surface area and room for the private buildings as the city expanded its trading activities and the arrival of more professors and students of the university.

They are a meeting point, and as you wander around this beautiful city, you’ll see lots of cafes and pavement tables where people congregate to drink their coffee and enjoy life and good conversation. In the past, as Bologna was popular for trading fabrics such as silk since the 1300s, several markets opened under them. It’s no wonder they’ve been designated World Heritage importance as they help preserve the cultural and social fabric of this unique city.

As you’ve seen, there’s so much to explore when you visit Florence and Bologna. Hopefully, this article has whetted your appetite to spend time in this region of Tuscany during your Italian vacation.

How Do I Skip the Museum Lines in Florence?

You can buy tickets for the city’s top museums anywhere from a day to years in advance on the official Florentine Museums’ website. Millions of tourists every year will make a beeline for each famous museum sometime during their stay. So, don’t miss out.

How Many Days Do You Need in Florence?

Exploring Florence and its rich history is possible in a day or two, but staying for at least three or four days would be perfect. If you’re not into museums and don’t plan to go on day trips, you can cover the other highlights of Florence in just two days.

Is Florence Better Than Rome?

It depends on your preferences. Rome is best for ancient history and Roman ruins, while Florence is best for Renaissance and classic Italian culture. If you have to choose one, choose the one that suits your personal interests.

What To Do When Not Visiting the Museums in Florence?

Museums are not the be-all and end-all of when you visit Florence. Explore the streets. piazzas and markets, dine in a rooftop bar, admire the beautiful architecture and monuments, climb to the top of Palazzo Vecchio, and hunt for hidden gems.

Is It Easy to Drive in Florence?

Yes, in comparison to Italy’s other capital cities, Florence is actually one of the better places to navigate from behind the wheel. One thing to keep in mind though is that Florence’s city center is littered with restricted areas accessible only with a permit.

Image of Rebecca Hall

She writes for a variety of digital and print travel media including The Telegraph newspaper and various inflight airline magazines including features in European carriers such as Wizz Air and hotel and restaurant reviews for easyJet. Her debut novel, Girl Gone Greek — available from Amazon — has been made into a film script, winning Best Feature Fiction Script at the 2018 London Greek Film Festival and Best Feature Fiction Script at the 2020 Santorini Film Festival.

27 Florence Tips: DON’T Make These Mistakes When Visiting Florence, Italy

From when to visit, and how to avoid crowds, to the one thing you must do when eating out, don't miss these essential florence tips.

Florence tips - Don't make these mistakes

So, you’ve decided it’s time to turn that Florence travel fantasy into an actual adventure. Feeling a bit lost with all the planning? Worry not! These Florence tips will help you experience the best this beautiful Italian city has to offer.

Florence is undoubtedly one of Italy’s most iconic cities, a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces, stunning architecture and rich history. But with so much to see and do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, particularly if you’re a first-time visitor. When is the best time to visit Florence? How many days do you need to explore? And what about free things to do in Florence? These are all legitimate questions when embarking on a new adventure, we’ve all been there!

So, here are some practical Florence travel tips that will help you simplify the planning process and ensure you get the most out of your trip. They cover all the essentials and some things you may not have considered but need to know.

When is the best time to visit Florence?

Florence tips - Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral at sunset

For more, check out my guide to the best time to visit Italy throughout the year.

How many days should you stay in Florence?

Florence tips - Ponte Vecchio

If you only have one day in Florence, be sure to plan your itinerary, book tickets for the main attractions in advance, and arrive well-energized. Also, keep in mind that Sundays and Mondays may not be the best days to sightsee, as many places may be closed including the all-important Duomo.

Where to stay in Florence

Where to Stay in Florence - Terrazza sul Duomo B&B - Rooftop terrace

Terrazza sul Duomo B&B – Terrace

If you’re only in town for a quick tour, it’s best to stick to central accommodations to minimize your commute time. The historical center is a no-brainer if you’re looking to cram in all the museums and monuments the city has to offer. And bonus – it’s super close to the train station. But if you’re planning a longer stay in Florence and want to immerse yourself in the local culture, consider the charming Oltrarno neighborhood south of the river, brimming with quaint artisan shops. Alternatively, sacrifice some convenience for romance and opt for a room with a view in the districts of San Niccolò or San Miniato al Monte. No matter which neighbourhood, choosing where to stay in Florence is actually fairly easy since the city offers plenty of beautiful B&Bs and boutique hotels tucked away in historic buildings as well as lovely rental apartments. Just make sure to book early, especially if you’re visiting during peak season – you don’t want to miss out on the best deals.

Where to Stay in Florence - Terrazza sul Duomo B&B - Bedroom

Terrazza sul Duomo B&B – Bedroom

How to get to Florence

Florence tips - Santa Maria Novella Train Station

Santa Maria Novella Train Station

Now that you know when to go and where to stay , let’s take a look at how to get to Florence.

First off, traveling by train is a breeze with high-speed options that connect Florence to popular tourist destinations like Rome, Milan, and Venice. Plus, the Santa Maria Novella train station is within walking distance of the historical center.

You can also fly directly into Florence Airport, where trams and shuttle buses conveniently connect the airport to the Santa Maria Novella station. And if you’re flying into Pisa Airport, you’re only an hour away from Florence by bus.

Finally, although driving might seem like a tempting option, navigating the city’s restricted traffic areas can be rather challenging. The historical center is closely monitored by a network of video cameras, and parking can be a hassle. So it might be best to leave the driving to the locals and opt for other modes of transportation – your stress levels will thank you.

Impress the locals with some basic Italian

Communicating with locals in their native language can make all the difference between a standard trip and an authentic cultural experience. While Florentines are well-versed in welcoming visitors from all corners of the globe and are proficient in English to some extent, taking the time to learn some words and key phrases will undoubtedly enhance your trip. After all, the beauty of languages is that they allow us to connect with others on a deeper level, so by speaking even a few words of Italian, you’ll demonstrate your genuine appreciation for the local community and its people, and that, in turn, will lead to a more positive and welcoming response. So, make sure to pack a few essential Italian phrases in your Florence travel toolkit. Download my free guide to basic Italian phrases here .

Intrepid Italian - Learn Italian with my 80/20 method

Read a bit about the city’s history before your trip

Florence tips - Cosimo I de' Medici statue at Bargello Museum

Cosimo I de’ Medici (Bargello Museum)

Similarly, knowing a little about the history of Florence and its grand characters will help you contextualize your experience, especially if you are not planning on joining a guided tour. Most of the art you’ll see during your trips was commissioned by the Medici family, but did you know that they weren’t actually born into nobility and still managed to become one of the most influential dynasties of all time? Or that Florence was the capital of Italy before Rome took the crown in 1871? Armed with a little bit of background knowledge, you will gain a deeper appreciation for Florence’s unique character and its people, which will make your visit all the more memorable. Alternatively, join this amazing Florence walking.

Florence tips - Palazzo Medici Riccardi

Palazzo Medici Riccardi

Exploring Florence on foot is the way to go

Florence tips - Walking tour

Book a table for dinner

Florence tips - Osteria

Get up early to avoid the crowds

Florence tips - Ponte Vecchio - No Crowds

There’s no magic formula to avoid large crowds and tour groups in Florence. It’s really just a matter of getting up early and beating them on timing. So, set your alarm early, grab a cup of coffee, and hit the streets before the city fully awakens. Sunrise hours provide the perfect opportunity to appreciate its famous sights, like the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge, in all their glory without elbowing your way through the crowds. You’ll be amazed at the charming details and hidden gems you’ll discover when you have the city all to yourself. Plus, don’t forget your camera – sunrise provides the perfect lighting for capturing beautiful, crowd-free photos.

Pre-book tickets to major museums

Florence tips - Galleria dell'Accademia

Florence is home to some of the most visited museums in the world, and simply turning up without prior arrangements can easily result in spending several hours standing in line. Not to mention that these museums often have limited capacity, and once they reach their daily limit, no more visitors are allowed in. But there’s a solution: book your museum tickets in advance! Not only will this guarantee your entry, but you’ll also be able to choose the perfect time for your visit without any delays. Sure, it may cost a little extra, but just picture yourself with your skip-the-line ticket to the Uffizi or this Accademia Gallery ticket in hand, confidently strolling past the crowds and entering in a matter of minutes – priceless! Just remember that when booking advance tickets online, you must go to the ticket desk to collect the actual tickets before accessing the museum.

Consider buying a museum pass

Florence tips - Palazzo Vecchio - Great Hall of the Five Hundred

Great Hall of the Five Hundred (Palazzo Vecchio)

Planning to explore a lot of attractions during your stay in Florence? Be prepared for the final bill to add up quickly. However, there’s a clever money-saving solution: the Florence Museum Pass . This handy card provides access to some 58 sites across the city, including renowned landmarks like the Uffizi, Pitti Palace, and the museum of Palazzo Vecchio. The pass costs €85 for 72 hours and offers free entry for children under 18 who are part of the cardholder’s immediate family. Before making your purchase, take the time to calculate the combined cost of all the attractions you hope to visit. Depending on your itinerary, it may be more cost-effective to opt for the pass rather than pay for individual tickets.

Florence tips - Palazzo Vecchio courtyard

Palazzo Vecchio courtyard

Take a walking tour

Florence tips - Fotoautomatica

Understanding how to visit Florence’s Duomo complex

Florence tips - Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

  • The Ghiberti Pass includes access to the Baptistery, the Opera del Duomo Museum, and Santa Reparata. It is the perfect choice for those who want to soak up the rich history and culture of the complex without having to climb to the top of the dome or the bell tower.
  • The Giotto Pass gives access to all of the attractions included in the Ghiberti Pass, plus the chance to climb Giotto’s Bell Tower, perfect for those seeking some stunning panoramic views.
  • The Brunelleschi Pass is for those who want to explore all the sites, including the climb to the top of Brunelleschi’s dome.

Bonus tip: What most people don’t know is that you can also visit the private terraces of the Duomo rooftop (before heading to the top of the dome), but only by joining a private skywalk guided tour here.

Embrace the unavoidable truth: you won’t see everything at the Uffizi

Florence tips - Uffizi Gallery - statues

Don’t forget that museums are free on the first Sunday of every month

Florence tips - Giardino di Boboli - Palazzo Pitti

Giardino di Boboli (Palazzo Pitti)

Florence tips - Galleria dell'Accademia - David's hand

Galleria dell’Accademia – Michelangelo’s David

Like in any other Italian city, Florence’s state-run museums and cultural sites offer free admission on the first Sunday of each month. This fantastic initiative, known as Domenica al Museo (Sunday at the museum), was launched by the Italian government in 2014 to encourage the public to immerse themselves in art and culture. And who doesn’t love saving a few bucks while doing so? On this day, you can explore top attractions like the Uffizi, Accademia Gallery, Pitti Palace, and Medici Chapels, among others (the complete list of participating locations can be found on the government website ). Just be aware that lines can get quite long, so plan to arrive early to make the most of your day.

Florence tips - Cappelle Medicee and Michele

Cappelle Medicee

Florence tips - Cappelle Medicee - New Sacristy

New Sacristy (Cappelle Medicee)

Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path

Florence tips - English Cemetery

English Cemetery

While Florence is one of the most touristed cities in the world, it’s also packed with secret spots and hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered. So, after you’ve checked all of the major attractions off your bucket list, make sure to set aside some time to explore Florence off the beaten path. You could visit the studio of a local street artist or go to the Galileo Museum, where the scientist’s relics are displayed like those of a saint. You could also see the first Last Supper painted by a woman at the Santa Maria Novella complex, or pay your respects at Shakespeare’s last descendants’ graves in the English Cemetery. As you can see, whether you’re an art enthusiast, a passionate photographer, or a history buff, there’s no shortage of unique things to do in Florence !

Florence tips - Galileo Museum

Galileo Museum

Embrace the city’s wine culture

Florence tips - Book a table - Fiaschetteria Nuvoli

Make time for watching the sunset 

Florence tips - Sunset Ponte Vecchio

Venture to the other side of the river

Florence tips - Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti

While many tend to stick around the northern side of the Arno, where most of the best things to do in Florence are located, there’s a whole part of Florence to discover on the other side of the river. So, cross the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge and venture through the Oltrarno, as the southern side of the river is called. There, you’ll find three neighborhoods – Santo Spirito, San Frediano, and San Niccolò – each with its own unique character and distinctive local feel. You’ll find an abundance of cute cafés, delicious restaurants, and pretty churches worth exploring, as well as the famous Pitti Palace with its beautiful Bobbli Gardens. And if you’re planning to bring home some authentic Italian souvenirs, you’re in luck – the Oltrarno is home to countless artisans who have made this area their creative hub.

Take your sips to new heights

Florence tips - Drinking Aperol Spritz at Se·Sto on Arno - Westin Excelsior Hotel

Skip Piazzale Michelangelo and head to San Miniato al Monte instead

Florence tips - View from San Miniato al Monte

View from San Miniato al Monte

Overlooking the city from up the hill in the Oltrarno district, Piazzale Michelangelo is undoubtedly one of Florence’s go-to spots for panoramic views. But with its postcard-perfect views and a towering replica of Michelangelo’s David, this iconic square can get really crowded. However, if you venture slightly further up, a little gem awaits. The church of San Miniato al Monte, is one of the finest Romanesque churches in the region. Less crowded but no less spectacular, this viewing spot offers beautiful views over the city. And if you plan to visit around 6 pm, you’ll be treated to the beautiful Gregorian chants performed by the resident monks, making your experience all the more fascinating.

Indulge in some shopping, but know where to go

Florence tips - Scuola del Cuoio

Scuola del Cuoio (Leather School)

As you plan your trip to Florence, it’s likely you’re eagerly anticipating the beautiful sights, the delicious food, and, naturally, some essential shopping. But if you’re going to shop in Florence, you’ll want to do it right to avoid wasting money on overpriced tourist traps. One of the city’s most beloved shopping experiences is the hunt for the perfect leather product.

Florence is renowned for its high-quality leather goods, and for a good reason. To ensure you’re getting the real deal, head straight to one of the city’s top spots, Scuola del Cuoio , where they also organize courses and workshops to create your very own one-of-a-kind piece.

Florence tips - Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella - Fragrances - Acqua della Regina

Acqua della Regina

Florence tips - Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella - Inside

If you’re looking for something truly unique, head to the Oltrarno district, a treasure trove of independent boutiques and workshops, each offering pieces that have a story to tell. And for the ultimate souvenir, make your way to Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella and buy a bottle of Acqua della Regina (Queen’s Water) , a fragrance specially designed for Caterina de’ Medici in the 16th century.

Go out in the evening!

Florence tips - Florentine Steak

Florentine steak

You might think that with so many stunning sights to see during the day, there are not many things to do in Florence at night. But nighttime brings a unique charm that’s worth exploring. You can treat yourself to a special night of food and entertainment at Teatro del Sale or take a tour of Tuscan cuisine that includes wine tasting and Fiorentina steak , two of the region’s signature specialties. This time of the day is also perfect for strolling through the historic city center with a delicious gelato and taking in the details you may have missed during the hustle and bustle of the day.

There’s no denying that seeing the city’s landmarks under the moonlight adds a new dimension to their beauty. Plus, for a splurge, a night photo tour of Florence with a local photographer promises stunning shots to bring home. Finally, if you need an excuse to get someone to hold your hand, consider joining this top-rated Mysteries and Legends tour of Florence and embark on an adventure into the city’s mysteries!

Taking a cooking class is the perfect activity for a rainy day

While the city’s renowned museums provide a cozy shelter from bad weather, nothing beats the joy of cooking to lift your spirits. You can immerse yourself in Tuscan cuisine by spending quality time with a local chef, who can not only teach you the art of Italian cooking but also share some insider tips on the best restaurants in town. There are some great cooking classes in Florence to choose from, ranging from pasta-making workshops with dinner and wine-tasting to pizza and gelato-making lessons . Not only will you return home with newfound culinary skills, but you’ll also be able to host fantastic Italy-inspired parties. Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Florence when it rains.

Keep an eye out for the secret urban art

Florence tips - Street art - Caravaggio

Discover Tuscany beyond Florence

Florence tips - Day trip to San Gimignano

San Gimignano

One of the top travel tips for Florence is to venture beyond the city limits at least once, provided you have enough time and budget for it. From quaint villages to fabulous wineries and UNESCO treasures, there’s a whole load of Tuscany to explore within a short distance from the city. The region’s excellent road and train network makes day trips from Florence easy.

If you’re not feeling up to planning, there are some great guided tours available. While many choose Pisa and Lucca  for a side trip from Florence, there are plenty of other options to consider, such as the famous vineyards of Chianti , the beautiful Siena and San Gimignano , the Val d’Orcia (where those stunning views you’ve seen in pictures come to life), and the Cinque Terre (Liguria’s iconic pastel-colored villages) or this tour of both the Cinque Terre and Portovenere .

You can also opt for a day trip from Florence that covers different locations, like this excellent Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa and winery lunch tour.

Don’t miss my guide to the BEST things to do in San Gimignano

Florence tips - Day trip to Pisa - Campo dei Miracoli - Baptistery

Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa

Florence tips - Day trip to Pisa - Campo dei Miracoli

Leaning Power of Pisa

It doesn’t have to be expensive

Florence tips - Loggia dei Lanzi

Loggia dei Lanzi

Florence is often seen as a high-end destination, but honestly, the idea that you have to shell out big bucks to enjoy all that the city has to offer is a myth. Sure, accommodation prices might not be the lowest and the museums can be a bit pricey. Still, for budget-conscious travelers there’s a surprising number of free things to do in Florence . Take, for instance, Loggia dei Lazi, the breathtaking sculpture gallery in Piazza della Signoria. This cultural gem won’t cost you a cent. Plus, there are numerous beautiful churches that welcome visitors free of charge. And let’s not forget about the stunning gardens that dot the city. You can easily while away an afternoon taking in the sights and smells of these natural wonders without spending a single euro. So go ahead and book your trip, knowing there are also plenty of opportunities to relax and soak up the charm of Florence without breaking the bank.

Florence tips - Loggia dei Lanzi - Piazza della Signoria

Let go of FOMO

Florence tips - Fountain of Neptune

Don’t miss my guide to the TOP Things to do in Florence

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Don’t miss these guides to Florence and Tuscany

  • 20+ Fabulous Free Things to do in Florence
  • 21 Unique Things to Do in Florence: Hidden Gems, Unusual Attractions & Quirky Tours
  • 33 BEST Things to do in Florence: Top Museums, Experiences & Eateries
  • Where to Stay in Florence: Best Areas, Hotels, and Apartments
  • Where to Find the Best Gelato in Florence: 16 Top Gelaterie (Map Included)
  • Where to Have the Best Aperitivo in Florence
  • 9 Beautiful Wine Windows in Florence and Where to Find Them (Map Included)
  • 19 BEST Things to do in Pisa, Italy (Includes Map and 1-DAY Itinerary)
  • 13 BEST Things to do in San Gimignano, Italy // The Manhattan of the 14th-Century

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20+ Fabulous Free Things to do in Florence (Cool Markets, Top Museums, & Walking Tours)

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Best things to do in Florence - Piazzle Michelangelo

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66 Fun Things to Do in Florence, Italy

fun things to do in Florence, Italy

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As the beating heart of Tuscany and a melting pot of history from Medieval to Renaissance, world-class food, and endless manmade and natural beauty, Florence should sit high atop any traveler’s European bucket list.

Whether you’re looking for masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture or a taste of Tuscan life and delights, you have many places to visit in Florence. This beautiful city has an abundance and finesse in terms of tourist attractions , as well as culinary traditions.

Speaking of culinary traditions, Florence doesn’t fall behind in the Italian food scene, from the Bistecca Florentina to the Lampredotto and Trippa, and much more, you’ll soon figure out that Florence’s food scene is worthy of a trip alone.

Enjoy the impeccable art venues from witnessing Michaelangelo’s David at Academia Gallery to the streets watching beautiful art unfold before your eyes from local talent.

Take a day trip to Cinque Terre or wine country in Chianti, or maneuver a Ferrari, a Vespa scooter or a paraglider. Whichever adventure you choose, the quality of things to do in Florence is guaranteed to leave you wanting more.

1 – Admire World Heritage treasures at Piazza del Duomo

Piazza del Duomo, Florence

Begin your discovery of the city’s marvels at Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), right at the heart of the Historic Center of Florence — a UNESCO World Heritage site showcasing the magnificence of Renaissance art and architecture.

This popular square is a treasure trove of Florentine creativity. Your head will spin trying to see everything before Brunelleschi’s Dome catches your eye.

Climb the Dome to look down at the world-renowned works of art — the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery of St. John and the Campanile of Giotto (Bell Tower) to name a few.

Admire famous Renaissance artworks at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Opera del Duomo Museum) for famous artworks like the original Gates of Paradise!

  • Florence Duomo tickets & tours

Read more about the best Florence Duomo tours and tickets price .

2 – Hunt for truffles (and eat what you catch)

truffles hunting tour from Florence

Lean into the Italian fascination for truffles by getting your hands dirty on a truffle hunting tour in Florence !

Join a professional hunter and his cute dog on a trip through the hills of Montefiesole, and learn the trade secrets, and pick (and eat) what you find!

After you’ll have worked up an appetite, take the chance to indulge in a well-earned classic truffle pasta and wine combo — or you might also have a delicious dessert!

  • truffles experiences in Florence

Hot tip: The best truffle hunting tours from Florence offer a perfect blend of nature, adventure, and gastronomy, taking you on a quest for these elusive treasures.

3 – Explore the massive Pitti Palace

Pitti Palace, Florence

The intimidating 15th-century palace was once a homestead and treasure house.

But after it was soon inhabited by the Medici Royal Family it quickly became a symbol of power — with plenty of secrets within its walls.

All four sections of the palace showcase the expansive riches of the family through artifacts and artworks by the likes of Raphael, Titian and more. You can find these paintings at the Palantine Gallery , on the same floor where the Imperial and Royal Apartments are situated.

Right above them, you can find the Gallery of Modern Art and the Museum of Costume and Fashion. Admire the decorative arts collection of the family at the Treasury of the Grand Dukes located on the ground floor.

  • Pitti Palace tickets & tours

Read more about Pitti Palace tickets price .

4 – Relax and refresh at the Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens, Florence

There’s no visit to the Pitti Palace without checking out the Boboli Gardens.

These original European gardens just behind the palace are teeming with manicured greenery, old oak trees, sculptures, and fountains — all under that toasty Florentine sun!

Spot Bernardo Buontalenti’s popular grotto which looks familiar to those who read Dan Brown’s novel “Inferno.”

Visitors also love the foliage turning brown in the fall and the fragrant flowers in the spring!

To see the Boboli Gardens, and a few other must-see sights like the Palatine Gallery, Uffizi Gallery, and the Pitti Palace, check out Boboli Garden ticket tours and packages, which also include skip-the-line privileges.

While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the Porcelain Museum , a sight packed with delicate tableware belonging to the Royal Families of old.

  • Boboli Gardens tickets & tours

5 – Dress to impress at the Gucci Museum and Garden

Gucci Museum and Garden, Florence

For fashion-centric things to do in Florence, look no further!

History and style combine as the accessories and clothes on display showcase the evolution of Italian fashion and lifestyle in a way only Gucci can!

Situated at Piazza della Signoria, Gucci Garden houses a boutique and a bookstore, with an elegantly designed restaurant Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura next to it. Just within the plaza, you can sit for a coffee or a cocktail at its all-day cafe, Giardino 25.

Don’t forget to swing by the gift shop, where the designer items are anything but tacky!

6 – Travel through time at Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

Explore this palace museum that was once the town hall of Florence. Palazzo Vecchio which means “The Old Palace” was named by Duke Medici when he moved his residence to Pitti Palace.

Discover magnificent chambers and courtyards decorated with artworks by Renaissance artists like Michelangelo and Donatello.

No visit is complete without exploring the hidden corridors and stairways — look for a path hidden behind a painting!

Aside from discovering secret paths within those chambers, you can also spot ancient Roman ruins in this museum.

Then, find the replica Statue of David at Piazza della Signoria and wander the Corinthian capitals at the Loggia Dei Lanzi.

After exploring the marvels inside Palazzo Vecchio, don’t skip out on walking by, the Fountain of Neptune .

Boasting an image of a God of the Sea on a horse-drawn carriage through water, one of the reasons why the sculpture was built was the celebration of the marriage between Francesco de Medici to Grand Duchess Joanna of Austria.

Learn about the Palazzo Vecchio and the Fountain of Neptune more in-depth on a walking tour of Florence , learning more about Florence along the way.

  • Palazzo Vecchio tickets & tours

Read more about Palazzo Vecchio tickets price .

7 – Learn to make the local dishes

pizza cooking class in Florence

Sure, you’ve been loving the Florentine food, but where will you find stuff this good back home?

Impress yourself (and any dinner party guests) by taking a cooking class and learning the tricks of the trade from a passionate local chef!

Take a class at the historic center of Florence to learn how to make handmade pasta, gelato and other popular Italian desserts. Your lunch or dinner is definitely covered.

Think bruschetta, pasta, pork, pizza, tiramisu — washed down with Tuscan wine, of course!

MaMa Florence is the perfect place in the city to book your Italian cooking class if you’re looking to choose from a variety of Italian cooking experiences in Florence.

Imagine what it would be like to take a pasta-only making class where you’ll get your hands dirty working the dough or do a Florence Market Walk before heading into the kitchen with your chef instructor to concoct the perfect Italian dish.

The culinary possibilities are endless at MaMa Florence, offering a class for every different diet, occasion, expertise, specialty, and ingredient.

  • cooking classes in Florence

Read more: discover the best cooking classes in Florence , where traditional Italian cooking comes to life.

8 – Hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa trip from Florence

Take that picture. Pisa isn’t far from Florence, and, on the way, you can check out plenty of charming towns and villages with the best Pisa day tours from Florence , showcasing the rich history and captivating sights.

Undoubtedly, the world-renowned tower (built in the 12th century) is the star attraction in the city, and it forms part of the larger Piazza del Duomo square.

Also at this site are the Cathedral, a Baptistery and the Camposanto Monumentale burial grounds, as well as the Sinopie Museum and the Opera del Duomo Museum.

Visitors also love Lucca and its immense city walls designed by Leonardo da Vinci. Meanwhile, inside the city is just as historic and attractive.

With marble churches, retro houses, narrow streets, low numbers of tourists and many fun things to do in Lucca , what’s not to love?

  • Pisa day trips from Florence

See also: Fun things to do in Pisa

9 – Go on a wine and food trip to the Chianti region

Chianti wine tour from Florence

Hop on a 4×4 through the Tuscan hills where you experience only the best wonderful wineries and vintage villas, one of the best wine regions in Italy !

There are more Chianti pairs than liver and fava beans! Visitors love the olive oil and balsamic vinegar on rustic Italian bread, paired, of course, with wine tastings .

If time is a challenge to go for a day trip, join a half-day tour from Florence to visit two wineries, meet the winemakers and sample their wines and unique products.

Explore this beautiful mountainous area and experience some of the finest flavors in Tuscany, as you’re surrounded by vineyards and olive trees.

With the stunning hilly countryside in every direction, it’s a must-do.

  • Chianti day trips from Florence

Read more about the best day trips from Florence and indulge in the flavors of Tuscany with the best Chianti wine tours from Florence , offering a taste of Italy’s most renowned wine region.

10 – Walk a secret passageway at the Vasari Corridor

Vasari Corridor, Florence

Connecting the “Old Palace” to Palazzo Pitti, this enclosed elevated path walk was named after Giorgio Vasari whom Medici hired to build it — so the duke could walk safely between his residence and the government palace.

The Vasari Corridor starts at the bustling Uffizi Gallery . Prepare for an eerie silence as you’re flanked by self-portraits of artists, before the vibe changes as you pass by Ground Zero of the 1993 attack.

If you continue walking through the passage, you will return to magical Florence and be greeted by beautiful views all the way until you reach Palazzo Vecchio!

11 – Continue unveiling the beauty of Tuscany with a day trip to Assisi and Corton

Assisi and Cortona day trips, Italy

Take a day trip to the incredible town of Assisi , a town located 2 hours south of Florence, in the region of Umbria.

Brimming with an extensive history, specifically that relating to Catholicism, learn about one of the most famous saints, Saint Francis.

Cortona is another wonderful town along the way to Assisi, only a little over an hour away from Florence.

Due to its placement on a hilltop, the walled city overflowing with Medieval charm awaits curious travelers to explore its streets, and fall in love with one of the prettiest Tuscan towns.

12 – Follow Professor Langdon on an Inferno tour

Dan Brown's Inferno tour in Florence

Fans of the hit Dan Brown novel and Tom Hanks movie, as well as fans of Dante’s original Divine Comedy, will love this!

Visit the sites Professor Langdon, Brown’s fictional character in his book series, went to crack the codes and solve the mysteries — including the Hall of Geographical Maps, the Florence Baptistery and see the actual death mask of Dante himself!

Discover historic monuments and squares, as you walk along with your guide who will narrate the stories and secrets of this Renaissance city.

  • Dan Brown’s Inferno tours

Hot tip: Don’t miss our selection of the best walking tours in Florence .

13 – Spot ‘The Birth of Venus’ at the Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Walking through this treasure trove of instantly-recognizable masterpieces is one of the most popular things to do in Florence!

See Venus emerge from the clamshell in the flesh (or in the canvas) and examine its intricate detail in every facial feature and fabric fold.

One of Italy’s greatest art museums, Uffizi showcases a rich collection of sculptures of Roman art and exquisite paintings from Medieval to Renaissance. The gallery also displays architectural masterpieces in its rooms, staircases and corridors.

To get the full details of the Renaissance treasures inside the Uffizi Gallery, stopping by the Piazza della Signora, the Ponte Vecchio, and Biblioteca Degli Uffizi, and a few more stops book your tickets to Uffizi Gallery, with skip-the-line options.

  • Uffizi Gallery tickets & tours

Read more about Ufizzi Gallery tickets price and learn how to find the best Uffizi Gallery guided tours .

14 – Ride the Tuscan Hills on a vintage Vespa

vespa tour in Florence

Tour the city in style while driving this classic scooter made by a famous Italian luxury brand Vespa.

Start by zipping through Florence’s narrow streets and up to the hills until you reach panoramic views from the Church of San Miniato al Monte!

As you head into the poppy and vineyard-laden country with the wind in your face, don’t miss the chance to soak up the atmosphere by stopping for an Italian lunch — as classic as your ride!

Tickets to enjoy a Vespa adventure don’t only include a ride around the scenic roads of Florence, but also include additional experiences on top of that.

Choose between a Vespa tour with lunch at a quaint country home in the hills included, or traveling via scooter throughout the wine region of Chianti hills, and more.

  • scooter tours in Florence

Travelers Choice: 9 Best Vespa Tours in Florence Blending Adventure with Italian Charm

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Experience a live concert by candlelight in Florence

tourist activities in florence italy

Catch live performances of classics such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or tributes to popular modern musicians and bands like Coldplay, all set to the ambiance of lit candles. Candlelight concerts take place in scenic venues across the city that don’t typically host concerts and events for an unforgettable backdrop to live renditions of your favorite tunes.

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15 – Glance at the Florence skyline from Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Whether at sunrise, sunset, midday or midnight, the views of Florence are magical!

You can walk, ride or drive to the top for the view — best enjoyed over a drink and a plate of food. You can also join a city tour for the best insights from a local guide! La Loggia has a coffee bar slinging great espresso and a restaurant complete with a terrace if you’re after recommendations.

Besides the impressive sight, Piazzale Michelangelo also boasts a replica of Michelangelo’s David.

16 – Rent a Ferrari for a day

Ferrari driving in Florence

Italians and fast sports cars are a match made in a rev-head’s heaven!

Visit the Ferrari museum on a day trip to Bologna and explore this Emiglia-Romagna city famous for its meaty sauce ragu and covered corridors or porticos.

Make sure to discover some artworks and architectural masterpieces, such as Piazza Maggiore before heading back to Florence.

But nothing truly compares to feeling the steering wheel in your hands and hearing the engine purr as you roar through the countryside.

If you’ve ever wanted to drive one of these spectacular cars, this is your chance to drive the Ferrari Spider on the charming roads of Tuscany!

  • Ferrari tours in Florence

17 – Get the city’s rundown on a hop-on hop-off bus

Florence hop-on hop-off bus tour

Get your camera ready for the views of Florence from an open-air, double-decker bus!

On the bus, enjoy the detailed audio tour giving you the rundown on all the things to do in Florence — before you jump off at whichever stops take your fancy!

There’s always another bus nearby to hop on again to resume your tour.

These buses take you to more than 40 famous sites and attractions, with routes within the city or the outskirts — of course, you can go both.

You can choose from one- to three-day passes, so you can plan where to go and when.

  • bus tours in Florence

18 – Behold the splendor of Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Whether you want to marvel at Gothic-Renaissance architecture or perform a religious deed, visiting the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is one of the symbolic things to do in Florence.

Fulfilling both interests, this place serves also as a museum showcasing magnificent artworks aside from the church’s facade, including the Chapel of Filippo Strozzi and frescos like the Holy Trinity by Tommaso Guidi.

Amid the overwhelming grandiosity of this enormous space, your eyes won’t miss Giotto’s “The Crucifix” hung at the center of the church.

In order to beat the crowds, and get the most immersive experience of the artwork inside Florence’s first Basilica, make sure to book your skip-the-line tickets, which depending on your ticket, will include an audio guide.

  • Santa Maria Novella tours

19 – Go on a treasure hunt

scavenger game in Florence

After a thrilling, fast-paced tour of Florence — with prizes at the end — add the treasure hunt to your bucket list!

Follow maps, clues and your intuitions, as you speed through the humming city to complete challenges and find some of its quirkier sites.

Treasure hunts are often themed such as the animal art hunt and family-friendly Medici family hunt!

  • scavenger games in Florence

Read more: 18 Best City Tours for First-Time Visitors .

20 – Get overcome by adventure and thrills on Quad and Buggy tours

quad and buggy tours in Florence

Have the ride of your trip on a fun quad tour through the countryside of Chianti on a fun, and unique adventure through the dirt roads.

By renting a quad or buggy tour , you’re signing up for a thrilling adventure that literally takes you down the road less traveled, where you’ll drive through olive groves, picturesque cypress trees, beautiful hilly roads, as well as through some of the beautiful medieval towns along the way.

Another fun option is booking an electric buggy tour, where you’ll jump-start your adventures through Firenze on a unique tour unlike anything else.

Along with a professional tour guide, you’ll also enjoy a delicious lunch midway, or a wonderful cheese and prosciutto snack.

21 – Drive the countryside in a vintage Fiat 500

Fiat 500 tour from Florence

Italians have loved this car since the 1950s, and once you get behind the wheel, you’ll quickly understand why.

Grab your stylish 1960s model Fiat 500 from the garage and hit the road in your sweet ride for the day!

While your guide speaks through your radio, the surprisingly powerful vehicle will have no trouble conquering the hilly countryside as you explore.

Pass by or stop over for snapshots at iconic landmarks, including Piazzale Michelango, Basilica San Miniato al Monte, Villa Pian dei Giullari and Villa del Poggio Imperiale.

Popular self-drive vintage fiat tours include a traditional meal with local delis (such as crostini and salami) at a classic house in Chianti with an amazing Tuscany scenery.

  • vintage Fiat tours in Florence

22 – Roam around the historic center on a Segway

segway tour in Florence

First-timers will be amazed at how simple a Segway is to ride! After a few minutes, it becomes second nature.

As an entertaining tour guide leads travelers through narrow streets, town squares and bridges, it’s the perfect chance to discover every part of the city.

Best of all, the guide gives a local’s perspective on Florence, full of anecdotes, insider’s stories and handy tips!

  • segway tours in Florence

23 – Discover Florence’s natural beauty with canyoning in Rio Selvano

canyoning tours in Florence

There are lots of beautiful manmade attractions in Florence but the region is also rich in natural beauty. Enjoy an exhilarating half-day of canyoning in Rio Selvano to experience the area’s most wild and picturesque places.

Spend the day climbing, sliding and abseiling along rugged natural cliffs before immersing yourself in the cool river waters. Bring out your inner adventurer during your time in Florence.

24 – Cross the Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Holding the Vasari Corridor that connects the Vecchio and Pitti palaces, this historic bridge is miraculous.

The oldest of its kind in Europe, this stone bridge has withstood everything since reconstruction after being destroyed by the flood in 1345.

Among the bridges over the Arno River, Ponte Vecchio is the only one to survive the Second World War.

Crossing this Medieval bridge — considered the city’s historical good luck charm — is one of the essential things to do in Florence.

Browse the shops along the passageway for some of the best jewelry, artworks and other types of souvenirs from the city.

Wondering how this works? Simply purchase the scavenger hunt game, and follow the prompts in the email confirmation that will be sent to you shortly after. You’ll download the app to play, and soon enough, you’ll be hitting the streets on a mission.

  • Ponte Vecchio tours

25 – Revel in the best of Florence’s street art

street art tour in Florence

There’s more to Florence than Renaissance and fine art. The bohemian art scene is just as impressive!

Once on the other side of Ponte Vecchio, you can find impressive street art as you explore Piazza Pitti in Oltrarno.

Let a tour guide take you through the highlights — often hidden masterpieces in unassuming small streets — while pointing out the workshops, bars and cafes full of budding up-and-coming artists!

Maybe you’ll be inspired to take up a class?

  • street art tours in Florence

26 – Have the meal of your life at one of the best restaurants

best restaurants in Florence

Try the dish of Florence, the Bistecca alla Fiorentina (a hearty t-bone dish) at R egina Bistecca , located in the heart of Florence. Adorned by art-filled walls, high vaulted ceilings, and beautifully warm ambiance, you’ll want to return time and time again.

Enjoy the minimalistic approach to dining coupled with big flavors at Essenziale , which as the name says, offers you the essentials via their menu offerings of international fusions, and Italian classics with a twist.

Pop into a typical Florentine restaurant serving homemade classic dishes, in a small, yet comforting space. Vini e Vecchi Sapori warns its guests that they won’t be finding pizza or cappuccinos here, but rather real Florentine dishes like pappardelle pasta with duck sauce.

27 – Take a foodie tour of Florence

food tour in Florence

Start by letting your nose be your guide at San Lorenzo Market and seeing what tickles your taste buds!

As you keep discovering Florence, uncover the local culinary specialties and just what makes them so special — rich coffee, rustic bread, deli sandwiches, cheese, olive oil, gelato, and of course, wine!

After satisfying your cravings at the delis, head to a wine shop or what Italians call “enoteca”. Your guide will show you some traditional pairings with local cheeses and meats to match your Tuscan wine.

And of course, nobody forgets the gelato! You might need to queue up for a bit if you’re aiming for the most popular flavors.

  • food tours in Florence

28 – Climb the Torre Grossa at San Gimignano

San Gimignano trip from Florence

The heritage-listed medieval town can be a little off the beaten path as it takes a half-day trip from Florence, but San Gimignano has plenty to offer worthy of a visit.

Heading towards this small walled village situated on top of a hill over 300 meters above sea level, you can easily spot the towers.

These are the remaining ones out of the 72 towers built by rich families to symbolize their feudal economic power during the Renaissance period.

Climb the tallest tower Torre Grossa with 214 steps to conquer — for breathtaking scenery!

If the breathtaking scenery of the Tuscany region of Italy calls out to you, check out the combination day trips that make stops in other picturesque towns dotting the bountiful Tuscany region.

Some day trip tours to San Gimignano can also include a stop in the medieval city of Siena where you can stroll through the circular historic Piazza del Campo.

Another stop may also include getting to know Monteriggioni , a quaint town overflowing with Medieval charm, and enchanting views of the Chianti region.

  • San Gimignano day trips from Florence

29 – Time travel at the Leonardo Interactive Museum

Leonardo Interactive Museum in Florence

The Leonardo Interactive Museum is a unique interactive museum dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci’s life and work.

Visitors can explore real functioning machines and mechanisms designed by the Universal Genius himself.

Each prototype is accompanied by the corresponding original drawing, making it a great destination for families with children.

The museum is located in the heart of the historic center of Florence, and it’s a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci.

  • Leonardo Interactive Museum tickets

30 – Try truffle beer at Mercato Centrale

Mercato Centrale, Florence

This market is where food meets art!

Some quirkier finds are Il Tartufo, a display of Tuscany’s love for truffles that puts them in everything from pasta to beer — and Il Lampredotto, home of the famous beef tripe sandwich!

If that’s a little too odd for your tastebuds, indulge in various flavors of pasta, pizza, seafood, and beer and wine selections created by local artisans.

This vibrant food court has served as the country’s hub of culinary traditions.

31 – Sample the best of Tuscany’s wines

Tuscany wine tasting tour

Wine in Tuscany isn’t a drink, it’s a way of life!

Experience a bit of the lifestyle in the breathtaking hills and villages on a day trip from Florence — some of the most visited places are Pienza and Montepulciano .

The artistic heritage of these beautiful villages forms an integral part of the final product you drink from your glass while gazing over the Italian countryside.

When you see what goes into every bottle, it’ll taste even better!

Aside from sampling various wines on a wine tasting , indulge your taste buds in local delis with olives, cheese , bruschetta and more.

Want to explore more (and keep drinking) through Tuscany’s incredible wine region? Consider visiting the Orcia Valley on a day trip, where you’ll be surrounded by the idyllic views of cypress trees, those calm rolling hills, and exquisite wine and cheese pairings from the region.

Another great place to explore Tuscany’s wines is Montalcino , a beautiful hilltop commune where you’ll stop by some of the other hilltop wine communities nearby, as well as spend time at the Montalcino winery.

  • Tuscany day trips from Florence

32 – Get souvenirs or groceries at San Lorenzo Market

San Lorenzo Market, Florence

With an outdoor section dedicated to clothes, souvenirs and leather goods to buy for friends, this market has two interior levels for food — glorious food.

Located in San Lorenzo square, this historic market where leather products take a spotlight is bustling and teeming with tourists — it never sleeps!

The ground floor is geared toward groceries for travelers with kitchens, otherwise, the top floor’s food court ( Mercato Centrale ) is great for eat-in or takeaway!

33 – Cycle through Florence (but stop for gelato)

bike tour in Florence

Weave around the Florentine traffic and major roads into pedestrian areas and laneways, off the routine tourist trail on an eco-friendly bike.

Your guide will make sure you don’t get lost along the way and you get a pitstop at all the highlights — which naturally includes a gelato break!

Most bike tours take two hours and include must-see and iconic locations, including the Riccardi Medici Palace, Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio.

Follow the route towards the Arno River and stop at the Ponte Vecchio for souvenir artwork or jewelry. Explore the surroundings of the “Old Palace” and discover some street art along the way.

  • bike tours in Florence

Hot tip: Our article on the best bike tours in Florence provides insider tips for a picturesque and memorable adventure.

34 – Go horse riding through Tuscany

horse-riding through Tuscany

If the windows of a bus or 4×4 aren’t your thing, consider a horseback ride through the lush olive groves and vineyards instead.

If you book a tour, you can have a pickup from a hotel for a less than an hour ride to the stables. Meet your horse and get a safety orientation. Beginners are welcome! No prior experience is required.

Complete your adventure with a traditional lunch and wine pairing! You can visit two wineries and sample different wines, as included in most horse riding tours.

  • horse riding in Florence

35 – Cruise down the Arno River on a barchetto

Arno River cruise on a barchetto

Glide through the Arno River on Florence’s version of a gondola called barchetto, a traditional small rowing boat, and admire the city in a romantic way.

This one-hour cruise takes you under the Ponte Vecchio and the charming Uffizi, Corridor Vasari and Palazzo Corsini from the river.

Let a Florentine boatman — steering this wooden boat with a long pole — bring you back to the times when it was used to transport construction materials for building the city walls.

Sail in the calm water with a prosecco in hand and bask in the Italian sun, while hearing the tales of the town and the river that runs through its heart!

  • boat tours in Florence

36 – Experience Florence from a hot-air balloon

hot-air balloon ride in Florence

Is there a better view of the Tuscan countryside than a bird’s-eye view at 6,000-feet, as the sun begins to rise? The scenery from high up in the clouds is second-to-none — certainly worth the early wakeup.

See for yourself the arrangement of buildings and road grids, tracing the old walls that used to enclose the city. Notice the elaborate patterns and designs of the majestic lush gardens accentuating the dominating brown bricks.

And, of course, the champagne breakfast after landing is the cherry on top!

Whether you’re celebrating a special day or taking your partner to a romantic moment, this one-hour flight over the Renaissance city offers a chance for “rebirth.”

  • hot air balloon in Florence

37 – Follow the scent of fresh roses

gardens in Florence

Plant lovers will not want to miss the incredible gardens of Florence brimming with beauty, aroma, and peacefulness.

Step inside the lush and extremely aromatic Rose Garden in Florence, showcasing a few walking paths boasting incredible 400+ rose varieties and other aromatic plants, fruit trees, and more, equalling around 1,200 different plants.

Giardino Bardini looks like a garden taken straight out of a magazine, as it dazzles visitors with its hundred-year-old fountains, and sculptures, as well as its three different gardens inside: The Italian Garde, The English Garden, and the Agricultural Park.

38 – Go rafting down the San Niccolo dam

rafting in Florence

There are plenty of options for stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking through Florence — with tourists falling in love with the magical sunsets as it beams through the city’s arches!

Nature lovers and adventure seekers, go for urban rafting down the Arno River towards the San Niccolo dam for a little extra thrill.

While paddling an inflatable boat, take time to admire the scenery and famous monuments from the river — like when you’re passing under the Ponte Vecchio.

In most tours, you get to sip an aperitif and simply cherish a remarkable experience.

  • rafting in Florence

39 – Adore Florence from above — while skydiving

skydiving in Florence

Anyone chasing the ultimate thrill? You can’t get a more adrenaline-pumping, heart-in-mouth experience than skydiving!

Jump off a plane up to 10,000 feet above the ground with a tandem instructor. You have a minute of free fall which, for most people, was an amazing moment. It’s a perfect time to appreciate the beauty of Florence and the Tuscan hills.

Skydiving over Chianti will satisfy that need for amazing Florence views.

Alternatively, skydiving over nearby Bologna has the added historical perk of following the footsteps of the heroic Allied paratroopers in World War II’s Battle of Bologna.

  • skydiving in Florence

40 – Bottle your own perfume

perfume workshop in Florence

Florence has a rich history of perfumeries, dating back to the Renaissance alchemists who tried curing ailments with fragrant ingredients!

Nowadays, since Italy is a hub of perfume, why not learn a little about the process by visiting a laboratory?

While it will be a learning experience for you, you can also create your very own one-of-a-kind scent to take home!

One sniff will take you back to Florence in an instant.

  • perfume masterclass in Florence

41 – See the historic Hospital of the Innocents

Hospital of Innocents, Florence

For over 600 years, Ospedale degli Innocenti or Hospital of the Innocents has housed not only fine arts but, most importantly, thousands of orphans or what Italians called “innocents” of the city.

See the famous window where the infants were left by their parents. Most of them were believed to be illegitimate children of noble people or offsprings of poor parents who could not support them.

Famous for its arcade facade, the building was the first project of Filippo Brunelleschi, a pioneer in Renaissance architecture.

Visit the onsite museum and gallery to learn how Ospedale also depicts the Renaissance ideas of humanism and childcare — one of the oldest running institutions in the world.

  • Hospital of the Innocents tours

42 – Laugh like a little kid at the Carousel at Piazza della Repubblica

Carousel at Piazza della Repubblica, Florence

Located in the quaint Piazza della Repubblica is a Carousel that has been the center of entertainment for children, as far back as the early 20th century.

Owned by 4 generations of the Pici family, the Carousel at Piazza della Repubblica is the only carousel in the piazza, welcoming a new wave of children, and nostalgic adults.

Get your seat on one of the 20 horses, and gently feel the movement of the horse as the carousel starts up as it has for the past 100 + years or so.

43 – Pose with Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery

Accademia Gallery, Florence

Although the statue of David is the most iconic masterpiece here, Although David is the most iconic masterpiece here, Accademia Gallery has more to offer.

Having the most number of Michelangelo’s works in the world, it’s one of the best museums in Florence to visit!

Browse the gallery’s collection of paintings from the Medieval, late-Gothic, Renaissance to Realism and Impressionism.

Learn about various painting techniques, including gold ground and egg tempera which use egg yolk and pigments.

Music lovers can rush straight to the Department of Musical Instruments to find the original Medici violin, collection of elegant wind instruments and the predecessors of the modern piano!

  • Accademia Gallery tickets

Read more about Accademia Gallery tickets price .

44 – Get a snapshot of Florence at the Bargello Museum

Bargello Museum, Florence

Now an art museum, this impressive building was formerly a police headquarters, a prison and a palace — a setting for a bunch of Florence’s most significant events!

Located in Palazzo del Bargello, this national museum houses various sculptures and statues. Gaze at the walls decorated with coats of arms of the highest Italian official, and look up at the porticos filled with patterns and symbols of the city’s district governments.

Visitors will be amazed by the historical tour of the building, before delving into the art exhibits with works by Michelangelo and Raphael, just to name a few.

  • Bargello Museum tickets

45 – Muse upon the monuments at Medici Chapels

Medici Chapels, Florence

The Royal Family’s church of choice, as well as its resting place, is a venue absolutely fit for a king!

Wherever your eyes look — from the floors to the ceilings — the building shows off the grandeur of the family.

The mausoleum is a rare instance of Florentine Baroque art, and some of Michelangelo’s finest sculptures are in the family tomb too.

These marble sculptures include symbolic human figures representing the dukes of Nemours and Urbino, as well as the “Medici Madonna.”

  • Medici Chapels tickets

46 – Keep watching the skies at Galileo Museum

Galileo Museum, Florence

Get a glimpse into the Father of Modern Science, who was tried by the Inquisition for his radical idea that the Earth goes around the sun.

The museum is devoted to Galileo’s great scientific advances — particularly in astronomy — with early telescopes, compasses and models used to observe and map the night sky!

Experience the progress of science from ancient times through artifacts collected by the Medici family and Lorraine dynasty, such as celestial globes, thermometers, chemistry cabinet and winter plate electrical machine.

Check out the library if you want to learn more about what you have seen in the museum. It’s mainly used for research and study, but visitors can browse the database of digital versions of books, manuscripts, photos and more.

  • Galileo Museum tickets

47 – Satiate your thirst at the best pubs and breweries

best pubs and breweries in Florence

Move On to one of the best bars in Florence, called Move On, located in the historic center, where you can get the best of Italian beers as well as music, books, and more. The bar’s record studio is considered the largest collection of records and books and offers curated collections.

Live music and the best beers come together at Birreria Art 17 , guaranteeing a moment of pure relaxation and appreciation for the beverage, as you learn about the craft beer scene from the bartenders. Located in the historic center, it’s easy to get to this local favorite watering hole.

Try your new favorite beers on tap at Archea Brewery , a pub that prides itself in the wide variety of spirits and beers both locally, and internationally. As you sip your beer, glance at the collection of vintage bottles from different parts of the world.

48 – Stroll the villages of Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre trip from Florence

If you only have time for one day trip, make it to Cinque Terre.

Here, the cliffs along the Italian Riviera hold five gorgeous fishing villages, beaming with color.

Immerse yourself in the villages by strolling through them, then choose between taking a train to the next village or hiking the spectacular seaside trail.

Camera at the ready — the preserved nature and the candy-colored houses of the villages are to die for!

Unofficially considered the 6th of the Cinque Terre quaint villages is Portovenere, a charming fishing village with little winding streets to get lost in and explore the Medieval culture and architecture that sits right beside the sea.

Only a 2-hour road trip from Florence, consider checking out a day trip excursion that departs the city and stops at or goes directly only to Pontevenere . Sometimes tours to Cinque Terre will include a stop at the lovely seaside village.

  • Cinque Terre day trips from Florence

Hot tip: Check out our list of fun things to do in Cinque Terre and experience the charm of these seaside villages with the best Cinque Terre day tours from Florence .

49 – Visit the San Marco Museum and its famous frescoes

San Marco Museum, Florence

History lovers, take note. In this pristine 15th-century convent, you can get a taste of how ancient monks once lived.

This grand building — complete with a fine library, garden and captivating frescoes on its walls — was designed to evoke a simple life where the monks could concentrate on spirituality.

This spiritual aura still rings true today.

  • San Marco Museum tickets

50 – Watch the opera at Santa Monaca Church

opera concert in Florence

Art aficionados, culture queens and kings, get your tickets!

Catching an Italian opera in a gorgeous 15th-century church could only be more quintessentially Florentine — if you’d go to get gelato for dessert afterward!

Formerly a monastery of the Augustinians, the church is now used for concerts, exhibits and other cultural events.

Witness and be amused by wonderful performances of famous arias such as the ones by Bellini, Mozart and Rossini.

The acoustics, decor, costume, music and choreography will delight the ears and souls of anyone lucky enough to be in the audience.

  • Italian opera concerts in Florence

51 – Refine your wardrobe at Mall Firenze

Mall Firenze

Italy is still the fashion capital!

Shoppers love the Mall Firenze offering the best designer labels such as Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Roberto Cavalli with their prices slashed.

Over 40 minutes drive from the historic center of Florence, the luxury outlet mall provides a direct bus that runs daily with four trips from Florence starting at 8:50 a.m. and five from the mall until 7:20 p.m.

Outlet Barberino , on the other hand, is a shopping village with over 100 shops offering Italian and international branded fashion at up to 70% off along with a playground, bars and restaurants!

  • shopping tours in Florence

52 – Get up to Basilica San Miniato al Monte

Basilica San Miniato al Monte, Florence

Another brilliant vantage point of Florence, the Basilica San Miniato al Monte is not only higher up than Piazzale Michelangelo, but also offers more to explore!

Located on one of the city’s highest points, the church displays a fine Romanesque-style architectural design — among the best in Tuscany.

The green and white marble church — with a 13th-century golden mosaic in its central window — is a work of art in itself.

Meanwhile, the cemetery (one of the oldest in Florence) has some intricate statues and is the resting place of Carlo Collodi, creator of Pinocchio!

53 – Go paragliding off Mount Bargiglio

paragliding near Florence

Want to fly over Tuscany like the native birds?

Glide from the top of the mountain and see the expansive countryside beneath you with a paragliding adventure!

In tandem with a certified pilot, you will take off at 700 meters above sea level on Monte Bargiglio. You can choose between flying the paraglider yourself to control the flight, or simply letting the instructor take control — while you get that perfect picture of the awesome views!

Your soft-landing will be near your meeting point with the instructor.

  • paragliding in Florence

54 – See the workings of a genius at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum

Leonardo da Vinci Museum, Florence

The ultimate Renaissance man is the prime example of a universal genius — a writer, inventor and artist.

Discover over 50 of his actual machine codes and models based on them which actually work at Leonardo Da Vinci Museum , located right at the heart of Florence, a three-minute walk from Piazza del Duomo.

Witness these in action along with the other exhibits (and an intriguing documentary) and appreciate that there’s never been another mind like da Vinci — so far in the history of humankind.

Unless you don’t mind waiting in long lines, make sure to book your skip-the-line ticket entry into the museum, with a bonus self-guided tour with the Lokimo App of Florence, free with your skip-the-line ticket purchase.

  • Leonardo da Vinci Museum tickets

55 – Witness a tale of revenge at Strozzi Palace

Strozzi Palace, Florence

Little did the Medicis know when they exiled the Strozzi family that the Strozzis would return to show up the Medicis!

In the 16th century, they finished building the biggest, swankiest palace in the city — importantly, larger than Palazzo Medici!

The owner Filippo Strozzi passed away in 1491, almost 50 years before the construction was completed. In the same year, Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici seized it and he only returned it to the family three decades later.

The Strozzi family also vowed to display art for the public, which the house continues to do to this day!

Check out its calendar for current and upcoming art exhibitions, and it also offers guided tours and audio guides for individual visitors.

56 – See the antiques and weapons at the Stibbert Museum

Stibbert Museum, Florence

Walking into the house-museum is a jump back in time from modern Florence and into the 19th century!

The rooms are lifelike and made up as if Stibbert himself should be home, sipping coffee in the other room.

Additionally, there are 50,000 pieces that formed his collection — including the Egyptian temple over the lake!

57 – Revere the ‘Journey of the Magi’ at Riccardi Medici Palace

Riccardi Medici Palace, Florence

One of Florence’s oldest mansions, the pearl of this intractable 15th-century building is the Chapel of the Magi inside.

There, visitors will be treated to a series of attractive frescoes of the biblical Cavalcade of the Magi done by Benozzo Gozzoli, whose face appears in the fresco.

Don’t forget to roam the palace’s libraries and columns while you’re there!

58 – Cure what ails you at Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella

Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, Florence

This herbal pharmacy has been bottling aromatic cures and delectable scents since its founding by Dominican monks in 1221!

Visitors will first notice the potpourri as they enter, but there are plenty more for sale and on display.

Its expertise in cosmetics and health products sprang from the cultivation of a garden of aromatic plants at the convent of Santa Maria Novella.

Browse the Firenze 1221 editions of colognes, body cream and bath gel among other body care items — and step back in time with classic fragrance.

Make your way to the back room where the pharmacy concocts its own herbal tea!

59 – Have the gelato at Vivoli

Vivoli gelato in Florence

It’s bold to claim one of Florence’s myriad of incredible gelaterias is the cream of the crop, but the verdict is in and it’s Vivoli !

Since 1930, the same family has been pedaling the best gelato in Florence, with flavors chosen daily based on the fresh ingredients coming into the store.

Taking pride in not using additives and preservatives in its products, Vivoli promises to offer genuine flavors from real ingredients.

Cake and ice cream sounds perfect, right? Pair your ice cream with some “Vivoli style” pastries, cakes, cookies, rice puddings and tarts. Make sure to try its other specialties such as the Semifreddo (semi-frozen desserts) and the affogato (coffee cream).

You won’t stop at one scoop!

60 – Have a millefoglie at Caffe Gilli

Caffe Gilli, Florence

Florence’s oldest cafe has had plenty of time — almost 300 years in fact — to perfect its craft. The results are the best cakes and pastries in town!

Over the years, Gilli has been serving its customers with traditional Italian flavors by using the finest ingredients.

The millefoglie, a feather-light vanilla custard slice, is to die for! You might as well order one at the bar with a cup of coffee. Otherwise, you’ll be paying a pretty penny to sit inside!

61 – Browse the Medicea Laurenziana Library at the Basilica di San Lorenzo

Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence

The Basilica di San Lorenzo , Florence’s oldest church, appears unassuming with its unfinished facade.

But inside, the church is full of stunning artwork and acts as the resting place of the artist Donatello.

Bibliophiles will light up at the vintage library designed by Michelangelo himself, one containing 3,000 original manuscripts.

Why so many? So the Medicis could demonstrate they were also people of learning (not just wealth).

62 – Explore the Forte di Belvedere

Forte di Belvedere, Florence

The star-shaped and near-impenetrable fortress is a stunning art gallery and exhibition center with views of Florence to boot!

Speaking of stars, the fortress is so beautiful it was chosen by Kim Kardashian and Kanye West as their wedding venue!

Built in the 16th century to protect the city from any attacks, Forte Belvedere today hosts major art exhibitions and cultural events. Check out the website for updates!

63 – Buy the Castello di Sammezzano

Castello di Sammezzano, Florence

Anyone looking for an Italian summer home?

The hey-day of this Moorish-oriental castle has long passed and it is left to deteriorate without an owner. Still, it’s certainly worth a visit.

Volunteers sometimes run tours of the grand structure, where they tell the sad story of this building that waits longingly for its owner to come and save it from ruin.

64 – Hear the Jewish story at the Synagogue

Synagogue and Jewish Museum of Florence

Florence’s Jewish history is both fascinating and tragic, with a story as iconic as the brilliant green-dome synagogue that sits on Via Luigi Carlo Farini.

With ghettos, emancipation, German occupation and modern-day renewal — the tumultuous tale of the small community that refused to fall apart in the face of danger is uplifting and powerful.

Having various initiatives for its restoration, the building also displays ceremonial objects significant to Judaism.

65 – Watch the Calcio Storico at Basilica of Santa Croce

Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence

Outside of the usual beauty and artistry expected of the city, you can find the resting place of Michelangelo, Rossini, Machiavelli and Galileo Galilei — at the largest Franciscan church, the Basilica di Santa Croce.

However, visitors who are lucky enough to be here in June will see four local neighborhood teams compete in a Calcio Storico tournament. It’s a historical sport combining football, rugby and wrestling — in front of the church!

The Piazza Santa Croce is believed to be the venue where this sport, as well as a celebration of Florence, started during the Middle Ages.

  • Santa Croce tickets

66 – Dance the night away in Florence’s rooftop bars

rooftop party in Florence

Who’s ready to party it up amid the wild Florentine nightlife?!

The best views come from the Grand Hotel Minerva rooftop bar where you can watch the sunset with a cocktail and some nibbles.

The swimming pool and live music at the very-chill Empireo Rooftop is a hit. And for those looking to dance, the weekend DJ sets at Angel Rooftop bring plenty of energy!

Some bars worthy to check out for their great truffle beers include Pint of View , Birreria Fiorentina and The Joshua Tree Pub .

Whatever you prefer, rooftop or not, what matters is that you’re having the best flavors and fun in one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.

How to get to Florence?

The main method of getting to Florence, especially internationally, is flying into the city’s only and main airport, Amerigo Vespucci Airport. However, some travelers have also tried flying into Pisa International Airport (Galileo Galilei Airport) around 60 miles away.

You can take the T2 shuttle tram from the airport to the city center, however, if you are looking for a faster journey to the city center, consider booking an airport transfer , starting at $38 USD.

Where to stay in Florence?

Relax every night at Casa G. Firenze , enjoying the spacious high vaulted ceilings, beautiful views of the historic center, and being close to the city’s main sights like the Piazza Duomo and Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Wake up every morning to the glorious light pouring into your room through the large windows, as you get ready to enjoy your complimentary breakfast.

Feel welcome when you enter Hotel Roma , located in the heart of the historic center of Florence. Relish the elegant room decor, with views of the charming streets below, and enjoy the expansive breakfast spread served daily.

Absorb all the Tuscan vibes at Sangaggio House B&B , a 19th-century family-run bed and breakfast, that has all the modern amenities like air conditioning, and wifi. Be steps away from the railway station to transport you to all the main sights. Enjoy the lovely pastry spread offered every morning.

  • best hotels in Florence

Visiting Florence on a budget?

Make sure to join a free walking tour of Florence , winding your way through the charming streets, stumbling into the main piazzas, and learning all the historical facts.

When you book a free walking tour with a local, you can also learn about current events happening in the city, that you may want to know as a visitor.

Where to go next?

Italy is undoubtedly one of the most visited countries in the world, and with so much to choose from, make sure to check out our picks on the best places to visit in Italy .

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Tuscany , experience its medieval charm with the best Siena day tours from Florence , exploring the rich history and stunning architecture of this ancient city. Visit the Duomo di Siena, explore the old fortress, and experience the Palio.

Relish in the many things to do in Bologna , from eating to your heart’s content to meandering through Piazza Maggiore, or checking out the Ferrari museum .

Considered Italy’s second capital, Milan offers opulence through its famous Gallerias, culture through its famous sights like the Duomo di Milano, and enveloping bohemian vibes in the Brera district.

Don’t miss your chance to visit Genoa , the sparkling jewel of the Italian Riviera, with fascinating maritime history and a charming old town full of grand palaces, museums and lively squares.

Rome charms visitors with its emblematic structures that changed the world like the Colosseum and housing the sovereign city-state of Vatican City within its borders, you’ll find an endless supply of things to do in Rome.

Get in touch with your romantic side in Verona , with countless things to do from viewing Juliet’s balcony, to strolling the lovely Giardino Giusti, and more.

Crisscross through Venice ’s canal streets, crossing bridges, that lead to picture-perfect photo ops. From the things to do in Venice, taking a gondola ride should be on your list!

While you’re visiting Florence, and you’d like to explore further beyond the city, consider looking into multi-day trips , to see more of the picturesque Tuscan region.

Final thoughts

Experience your own Renaissance at the birthplace of the Renaissance, strolling through the emblematic Piazza del Duomo, enjoying a Vespa trip through the Tuscan Hills, and standing in awe of the priceless beauty of the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella.

What could possibly be holding you back from visiting Firenze?

We hope you enjoyed our list of the 58 fun things to do in Florence, Italy.

Happy travels!

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Things to do in Florence, Italy

Aside from sightseeing and visiting the main museums and churches, there are obviously lots of other things to do in Florence. You could try out a walking tour of specific areas of the city with a guide or go on a shopping spree! Eat out at great restaurants, try out all the gelato flavors!

There are lots of things to do so work on this section will be ongoing. In the meantime we hope the rest of the site is giving you some ideas on things to see and do in Tuscany and Florence.

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tourist activities in florence italy

Pools in Florence for Cooling Down in Summer

The summer in Florence could be very warm, so allow yourself a dive into fresh water in one of the pools of Florence open to the public. You don’t need to take the car and drive for miles, close at hand you’ll find these three beautiful pools!

tourist activities in florence italy

6 Ways to Enjoy the Arno River in Summer

It runs right down the middle of Florence and makes up part of the iconic Florentine landscape, staging evocative photos with the sunset colors. But is it only for show, or can you include an adventure on the Arno as part of your Tuscan itinerary? Read on for our ideas.

tourist activities in florence italy

Guided Tour of the Accademia Gallery

Why consider a guided tour? Because it makes your visit to the museum to see Michelangelo's David fun and interesting! Plus, there is more to see than just the David , visiting with an expert guide makes discovering the rest of the artwork inside

tourist activities in florence italy

Where to find the best gelato in Florence?

There are a lot of gelato shops in Florence, several almost on every block downtown. So where should you head to get the best gelato? Here are our reviews of what we consider are some of the best "gelaterie" in Florence!

tourist activities in florence italy

The Medici Park at Pratolino

If you're in Florence during the spring and summer, head to Pratolino on the weekends to visit the beautiful Medici park where you will be able to admire Giambologna's giant Apennine statue. The Medici villa no longer stands, but the park is perfect for spending time outdoors, letting the kids run and enjoying a picnic under the warm sun of Tuscany.

tourist activities in florence italy

The Oblate Library

The Oblate Library is located in Florence's city center, just a few steps away from the Duomo. It offers many free services for visitors and from its café you can enjoy a spectacular view over Brunelleschi's Cupola.

tourist activities in florence italy

Searching for Donatello and his Artwork in Florence

Follow along as we walk around Florence discovering the artworks by one of the most important artistic geniuses of his time, Donatello. You’ll be able to see the ancient techniques and images which later influenced the work of Michelangelo and the Renaissance as a whole.

tourist activities in florence italy

Family Holidays in Tuscany with Summer Camps as Part of the Picture

Enjoy a unique holiday in Tuscany with your children enjoying their days having fun with local children at a summer camp in Florence or in Tuscany while you enjoy a second honeymoon, visiting museums, romantic dinners and more!

tourist activities in florence italy

Cooking Classes with Chefs Fiamma and Ginny

Learn how to cook full Tuscan or Italian menus with Fiamma and Ginny in Florence, either at their home or at your holiday rental. You choose when and what menu you want, from pasta, vegetarian, sauces and more!

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  1. Things to Do In Florence

    tourist activities in florence italy

  2. Best Things to Do in Florence, Italy

    tourist activities in florence italy

  3. 20 amazing things to do in Florence

    tourist activities in florence italy

  4. Best Things to Do In Florence, Italy

    tourist activities in florence italy

  5. Florence, Italy

    tourist activities in florence italy

  6. Best Things to Do in Florence, The Cradle of The Renaissance

    tourist activities in florence italy


  1. This is WHY You Should Visit Florence Italy #travelshorts


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  1. 17 Best Things to Do in Florence, Italy

    Discover the best things to do in Florence, Italy, from visiting world-renowned art galleries to admiring Renaissance architecture, including the iconic Duomo.

  2. 22 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Florence, Italy

    Where to Go from Florence: Pisa's famous Leaning Tower is one of the top tourist attractions in Italy, and only the beginning of beautiful Renaissance monuments and artworks to see there. Less well-known - and less crowded- is the charming, small city of Lucca , surrounded by walls so thick, there's a popular promenade along their tops.

  3. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Florence

    2023. 4. Galleria dell'Accademia. 32,218. Art Museums. Admission tickets from $32. Historical art gallery in a tranquil setting, home to the iconic David statue and a collection of Renaissance masterpieces, with a special exhibit of rare musical instruments. See ways to experience (280) 2023.

  4. 25 Best Things to Do in Florence, Italy

    Visit Basilica di Santa Croce. Chelsea Loren/Travel + Leisure. Many famous names, including Michelangelo and Galileo, now rest in the Basilica di Santa Croce, which is also known as the ...

  5. 35 BEST Things to do in Florence, Italy (2024 Travel Guide)

    1) Discover Cappelle Medicee. The Medici family's last resting place is the Medici Chapels, which are part of the San Lorenzo Basilica, which stands watch over the district of the same name in Florence. The Michelangelo statues that adorn the Medici family's graves are kept in these chapels.

  6. The 10 Best THINGS TO DO in Florence

    Things to Do in Florence, Italy: See Tripadvisor's 2,094,055 traveller reviews and photos of Florence tourist attractions. ... Top Things to Do in Florence, Italy - Florence Must-See Attractions. Revenue impacts the experiences featured on this page, learn more. ... Tuscany Bike Tours Through the Chianti Hills with Wine Tasting. 1,173. Food ...

  7. THE 30 BEST Places to Visit in Florence (UPDATED 2024)

    1. Piazzale Michelangelo. This neoclassical-style piazza built by Giuseppe Poggi in the 19th century offers some of the best panoramic views of Florence's historic center. The plaza is also home to several replicas of Michelangelo's famous sculptures, including David and the Medici Chapel statues.

  8. Best things to do in Florence

    Activities. Florence vs Venice: how to choose between two Italian icons . Mar 6, 2024 • 8 min read. ... One-of-a-kind Italy: Unique elevated experiences in the bel paese. Oct 27, 2023 • 6 min read. Activities. Get into: calcio storico in Florence. Mar 30, 2023 • 8 min read.

  9. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Florence

    1. Piazzale Michelangelo. This neoclassical-style piazza built by Giuseppe Poggi in the 19th century offers some of the best panoramic views of Florence's historic center. The plaza is also home to several replicas of Michelangelo's famous sculptures, including David and the Medici Chapel statues.

  10. Must-see attractions Florence, Tuscany

    Museo Galileo. On the Arno river next to the Uffizi in 12th-century Palazzo Castellani - look for the sundial telling the time on the pavement outside - is this state-of…. Discover the best attractions in Florence including Galleria degli Uffizi, Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, and Palazzo Vecchio.

  11. Things to do in Florence Italy

    Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery, and Brunelleschi's Dome, all in one ticket! 4.2 (737) From €115.00. 6. Sightseeing at Piazza della Signoria. The Piazza della Signoria is the most famous square and one of the most beautifuel places to visit in Florence Italy.

  12. 19 BEST Places to See & Things to Do in Florence, Italy (+Map & Tips)

    9. Palazzo Pitti. Palazzo Pitti is another incredibly beautiful place to see in Florence. Located on the other side of the river in the Oltrarno district, this magnificent palace has had many famous residents over the years, including the Savoy, Lorraine, and Medici families, along with the Grand Dukes of Tuscany.

  13. Best Things to Do in Florence, Italy

    Address. Ponte Vecchio, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy. Historic Attractions. 4.6. Ponte Vecchio (old bridge), built in 1345, was the first bridge in Florence to cross the Arno River and is the only surviving one from its medieval days (sadly, the other bridges were destroyed during World War II).

  14. Florence Attractions:What to See in Florence,Italy

    Florence top tourist attractions: what you must see in Florence. museums, monuments, churches, works of art. Toggle navigation. Discover Florence. Discover Florence; ... With over 1,5 million of visitors every year, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence is the most visited museum in Italy. Avoid long lines and enjoy your visit to the Uffizi with a ...

  15. 15 Top Tourist Attractions in Florence, Italy

    The capital city of Italy's Tuscany region, Florence is internationally esteemed for its high concentration of Renaissance art and architecture. Because it served as a wealthy and important center for medieval trade and commerce, the city gave birth to the Italian Renaissance movement. ... 15 Top Tourist Attractions in Florence, Italy. By Kay ...

  16. 20 Best Things to Do in Florence (Italy)

    4. Ponte Vecchio. Florence is full of famous buildings and the Ponte Vecchio is an extremely famous and old bridge. Spanning the river Arno, the Vecchio Bridge is noted for the number of shops that are built into the sides of the bridge, its decorated history and the plethora of shops that line the main walkway.

  17. 21 Unique Things to Do in Florence 2024 // Hidden Gems, Quirky

    Travel tip: Scuola del Cuoio is still a working school, offering courses, workshops, and one-week private experiences to make your own bag! More info here. 3. Stibbert Museum. Among the most unique things to do in Florence, the Stibbert Museum is an absolute must. Located in a beautiful villa on the city's outskirts, it showcases the ...

  18. THE BEST Things to Do in Florence

    Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews. Things to Do in Florence, Italy: See Tripadvisor's 2,092,978 traveler reviews and photos of Florence tourist attractions. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in May. We have reviews of the best places to see in Florence. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions.

  19. 15 Amazing Things to Do in Florence Italy

    Photo credit: Rebecca Hall 15 Amazing Things to Do in Florence Italy 1. Palazzo Vecchio. Art, statues, history — it's all here in Florence, and where better to start your exploration than the town hall, also known as the Palazzo della Signoria (where Leonardo Da Vinci was commissioned to paint a huge mural, the Battle of Anghiari) due to its proximity to the Piazza della Signoria.

  20. 27 Florence Tips: DON'T Make These Mistakes When Visiting Florence, Italy

    However, if the idea of a winter trip to Florence doesn't appeal to you, consider visiting in March or October when the weather is milder and the costs are still reasonable. Plus, these months are the perfect time to stroll through Florence's exquisite gardens. For more, check out my guide to the best time to visit Italy throughout the year.

  21. 66 Fun Things to Do in Florence, Italy

    segway tours in Florence; 23 - Discover Florence's natural beauty with canyoning in Rio Selvano. There are lots of beautiful manmade attractions in Florence but the region is also rich in natural beauty. Enjoy an exhilarating half-day of canyoning in Rio Selvano to experience the area's most wild and picturesque places.

  22. Things to do in Florence, Italy

    Aside from sightseeing and visiting the main museums and churches, there are obviously lots of other things to do in Florence. You could try out a walking tour of specific areas of the city with a guide or go on a shopping spree! Eat out at great restaurants, try out all the gelato flavors! There are lots of things to do so work on this section ...