17 Best Things to Do in Florence, Italy

Italy is a tourists’ favorite for so many reasons; it has culture, history, feasting on the best pasta around along with good wine, lakes, beaches, mountains, ancient ruins – and the list goes on! It’s a country that makes you fall in love and it deserves all the hype! Therefore here are the best unmissable things to do in Florence.

It has many gems and one of those is Florence, a city you should visit at least once in your life. The vibrant heart of the dreamy Tuscan region, Florence is known as the cradle of the arts; it’s one of the most cultural and historical cities in the world with amazing architecture and gorgeous views!

This is not all it has to offer though, Florence is also a great place for shopping and it has one of the oldest gelato shops in the world! It will transport you to an entirely different world!

Everybody, strap yourselves in because Giorgy aka G-Extreme is about to show off certain Florence must-sees and places to visit that you’ll want to tick off yourself. 

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NOTICE: The information here is updated as best we can in light of COVID-19. Please check before you go anywhere what modifications have taken place to avoid any inconvenience!

#1. THE UFFIZI GALLERY

What is it?
The Uffizi Gallery, or Galleria Degli Uffizi, is a world-famous art museum located in the Piazza della Signoria in the Historic Centre of Florence in the region of Tuscany, Italy. An absolute treasure trove of Renaissance art!

Why go?
It’s not only one of the most important Italian museums, but it’s also one that’s celebrated and held in great esteem all over the world because it holds a vast collection of the finest works of art, especially from the period of the Italian Renaissance.

The museum is home to works of artists like Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Botticelli, and Raphael. The Renaissance collection includes some of the most fascinating pieces of art in history like The Baptism of Christ by Da Vinci, The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, and Caravaggio’s Sacrifice of Isaac. Inside, the building is architecturally captivating, built in the 16th century and designed by Giorgio Vasari, it’s worth every minute you will spend! 

Hey Goofball! With the official Uffizi ticket, you can enter as well the Museum Opificio Delle Pietre Dure and the National Archaeological Museum of Florence!

#2. GALLERIA DELL’ACCADEMIA

What is it?
The Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, or Gallery of the Academy of Florence
, is another must-visit museum in Italy.

Why go?
This museum is best known for being home to one of the most magnificent sculptures in history: Michelangelo’s David. Tourists flock from all over the world just to gaze upon this masterpiece.

However, this is not the only thing the Galleria dell’Accademia has to offer; it also holds some of Michelangelo’s lesser-known sculptures, a special collection of Renaissance paintings including works of Botticelli, and a musical instrument museum where you’ll find a variety of ancient unique instruments. 

#3. EAT YOUR WAY AT MERCATO CENTRALE

What is it?
This is the best food market in Florance with two floors of foodie heaven.

Why go?
Avoid all the fast food around town, because Mercato Centrale is going to blow up your tongue! Here you’ll find vendors selling wine, fruit, meat, fish, cheese, oil, and spices on the ground level to locals as much as tourists. On the second floor you can stop and have something to eat: expect fresh pasta, Florentine meat or vegetarian burgers, pizza, and more!

Too busy to take pictures… I was enjoying the food… GNUM GNUM… Of course, tasting all of them!!!!

Hey Goofball! Here is some food that you should NOT miss as well as something local you should definitely try out!
Vivoli Gelato; get some gelato (of course) at one of the oldest and best gelato shops in Florence.
Caffé Gilli; get some coffee and pastries in a swanky, historic setting.

#4. GIOTTO’S CAMPANILE

What is it?
Giotto’s Campanile, also known as Giotto’s Bell Tower, is a 277-foot high bell tower that is part of the renowned complex of buildings that make up Florence Cathedral on the Piazza del Duomo in Florence, Italy.

Why go?
It was designed by the famous artist Giotto, but it actually took 3 architects to finish, and it’s considered one of the finest examples of 14th-century Gothic architecture and interestingly enough, it’s visible from every vantage point in Florence.

The tower is split into five stages, adorned on the outside by rich sculptures and polychrome marble decorations. Aside from the marvelous exterior, Giotto’s Campanile offers the best panoramic view of Florence and the Duomo, if you climb the 414 steps that lead to the top. 

#5. BIBLIOTECA DELLE OBLATE

What is it?
From a convent to a public library: Biblioteca delle Oblate!

Why go?
Because it’s so far one of the uncrowded places for sipping a coffee in Florence offering incredible views of the Duomo! If you happen to be there during summer, you might delight in the live music played out on the terrace during late-night events.

#6. GIARDINO BARDINI

What is it?
Giardino Bardini is one of Florence’s hidden gems; it’s often overshadowed by the more popular Boboli Garden, but that only makes it an even more perfect destination to escape the crowds and enjoy some laid-back time surrounded by greenery.

Why go?
Bardini is an Italian Renaissance garden of the Villa Bardini in the hilly part of Oltrarno with spectacular views of the city. 
It’s divided into 3 sections, each was created in a  different time period; an Anglo-Chinese garden built in the 19th century, an agricultural park that hosts a variety of wildlife, and finally, the garden’s jewel: the grand baroque staircase that’s probably the most beautiful you’ll ever see and once you climb it, you’ll fall head over heels for the view too!

#7. ST MARK’S ENGLISH CHURCH

What is it?
Are you into choral music and willing to find an English-speaking community? St. Mark’s English Church is one of the finest places to do it!

Why go?
If you stay longer than just a few days, you should definitely check out the choir of St Mark’s English Church which offers a sing an Anglican mass every Sunday. Other than this they host round-table talks and other cultural events that really pull the English-speaking community of Florence together.

#8. PIAZZALE MICHELANGELO

What is it?
Located in the Oltrarno district of the city, Piazzale Michelangelo is a square where you can take in the whole of Florence in one breathtaking sweep.

Why go?
This Florentine piazza was designed by architect Giuseppe Poggi and built-in 1869 on a hill near the Boboli Gardens. 
It’s also known for having an outstanding replica of Michelangelo’s David.

Watching the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo is an out-of-this-world experience and definitely worth the trek to the square! You’ll also find vendors selling beverages and souvenirs at the top along with good street musicians! 

#9. ARNO RIVER

What is it?
The most renowned river in Italy after the Tiber, this river offers a refreshing from the crowed and touristic Florence city center.

Why go?
Take a break from the crowded Florence and go SUP paddling on one of the most famous rivers in the world. You shouldn’t miss this beautiful opportunity, most of all if you are not a fan of museums, to see the city from the water without being surrounded by people. Something more romantic, go abroad to the “Florentine Gondola” in order to see the city from a new point of view!

#10. MUSEO DELL’OPERA DEL DUOMO

What is it?
The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo or Museum of the Works of the is a museum that’s dedicated to preserving the artifacts and works of art of the Duomo and the Basilica.

Why go?
This gorgeous extensive museum is home to the largest collection of sculptures from Medieval and Renaissance Florence, covering almost 720 years of history. 
It also has an active restoration lab on site. Some of the highlights of the museum include Ghiberti’s doors, Michelangelo’s The Deposition, a model of the original, never-completed façade of Santa Maria del Fiore, and a room dedicated to Brunelleschi’s architectural masterpiece: the Dome of Florence cathedral.

Hey Goofball! If you are interested in one of the most incredible and unique museums and collections in Florence, Museo Stibbert is hidden away on the outskirts of the city and few know about this existence.

#11. PIAZZA SANTO SPIRITO

What is it?
Giorgy would not let you miss a piazza of markets and aperitivo destinations in the district of Ontario.

Why go?
They say go with the locals and copy what they do, right? It is plenty of stunning squares, few of them with a proper taste of the city’s real cosmopolitan life. In fact, Piazza Santo Spirito is home to street markets in the mornings and bars and restaurants full of locals in the evenings.

#12. DUOMO AKA CATHEDRAL OF SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE

What is it?
It makes perfect sense to follow up the museum with a visit to the Cathedral. 
This cathedral isn’t only Florence’s most famous and recognizable attraction, it’s also probably the most celebrated cathedral in the whole world. It was built in the Gothic style in the 14th-century with a glorious dome designed by Brunelleschi.

Why go?
The dome alone is described as a must-see by everyone who’s been to Florence. 

The exterior of the cathedral is enamored with polychrome marble panels in various shades of red, pink, and white and has an elaborate 19th-century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris. The interior of the Duomo is quite plain compared to its exterior, but it still contains several interesting works of art like the Last Judgement frescoes showing heaven and hell. So, be sure NOT to miss your spot at the Cathedral!

Hey Goofball! Get to know this hidden gem of Florence” Cappelle Medicee” built by the famous Florentine family that gives you everything that the inside of the Duomo doesn’t!

#13. OFFICINA PROFUMO FARMACEUTICA DI SANTA MARIA NOVELLA

What is it?
Founded in the sixteenth century by Dominican friars, this is the oldest pharmacy.

Why go?
Besides being known for being a European capital for architecture, art, political theory, and craftsmanship, Renaissance Florence is well known for its herbalists. The Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is the most famous and well known for its frescoes and chandeliers, chapels, and a history lesson, all while selling all the erboristeria products!

#14. PALAZZO VECCHIO

What is it?
The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence and is one of the most important symbols of the Civil power of the city.

Why go?
It was designed by the same architect that designed the Duomo and the church of Santa Croce. It was originally built like a castle with a large bell tower in 1299 and 1314. 
The inside of the museum is sublime as its home to Roman ruins, a Medieval fortress, and amazing Renaissance chambers and paintings.

It also has hidden passages that were built by the Medici to escape their enemies or to store valuables. It’s one of the richest and most interesting museums you’ll come across!

#15. THE BAPTISTERY OF SAINT JOHN

What is it?
The Baptistery of Saint John is one of the oldest buildings in the city and it offers a completion to the trio of buildings associated with the Duomo.

Why go?
It’s constructed in the Florentine Romanesque style and it sits in front of the main facade of the Duomo. 
The highlight of the baptistery is its giant bronze doors with relief sculptures of Jesus and other religious symbols.

Inside, the ceilings are covered with stunning frescoes that will take your breath away! Many important Renaissance figures were baptized in the baptistery which makes it all the more interesting! 

#16. FIESOLE HILLS

What is it?
Reachable by public bus, this is the stunning slice of Tuscan country life!

Why go?
It is a short journey north of the city, even by public bus number 7 will take you to the top of the Fiesole Hills offering you the overlooks of the valley of Florence. From up there you could whether go to San Francesco convent (exploring the rooms of the monks) or hiking trails of Monte Ceceri (where Da Vinci first tried out his flying machines).

Hey Goofball! You get the chance of exploring the marvelous Florence hills and Chianti on foot while tasting local food and wine with a view.

#17. PALAZZO PITTI

What is it?
The Palazzo Pitti, or the Pitti Palace, is a Renaissance Palace that was once home to Italian royalty and powerful families.

Why go?
The Palace now holds Florence’s largest and most extensive museum complex. The main gallery of Palazzo Pitti is Galleria Palatina which contains over 500 Renaissance paintings including works by Raphael, Titian, and Rubens. 
It has 28 rooms that are richly decorated with frescoes like the room of Venus and the room of Jupiter.

Other museums contain a range of items ranging from costumes to carriages.

All in all, Florence is a splendid city that has much to offer, from marvelous architecture and history to scenic nature and a dazzling friendly atmosphere. Ready to book your next weekend getaway to Florence and be transported to an entirely different world?

These are my recommendations for the 17 unbeatable things to do when you visit Florence. What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear in the comments below! 

 

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