Things to do in Florence

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Welcome to one of the largest trading and cultural hubs of medieval Europe.

Florence is one of the most popular city break destinations in Italy. It is also the most populated city of Tuscany, an Italian region known for picturesque green hills and top wines.

Once used as a Roman army camp, Florence was raised to one of the wealthiest European cities during the renaissance art and architectural period in the Middle Ages.

Michaelangelo's Statue of David
Michaelangelo’s Statue of David

So Many Things to do in Florence

Thanks to these flourishing periods, Florence has many beautiful medieval buildings and museums. Some of them are city landmarks, like 84 meters tall Giotto’s bell tower on the Piazza Duomo and 16th century Forte di Belvedere. In addition, you can find the magnificent palaces of the powerful medieval Medici family.

There are also many galleries where you can see some of the most significant works. You will see sculptures and paintings of Michelangelo, Leonardo and other greats of Renaissance art.

If you want to explore the amazing renaissance artworks you can visit Bargello National Museum or medieval churches, with impressive frescoes and mosaics.

However, one of the top things you can do in Florence is a walking tour to the Piazzale Michelangelo, in search of the best panoramic view of the city.

Furthermore, you can take a break from exploring museums or enjoying walking tours and taste exquisite Tuscany wines. Or try a traditional dish at some of the many restaurants and cafes in the city center.

From Florence, you can also go on a day trip to Siena, Pisa and Cinque Terre. Alternately, go on a wine tasting experience in the Tuscany countryside.

To get you started, here is a list of 10 awesome things to do in Florence, Italy

Immerse yourself in a world of artistic masterpieces, incredible food, history and achitecture with these top things to do in Florence, Italy. #florenceitaly

Did you know that The Galleria dell ‘Accademia di Firenze is the home of the statue of David? This is the most famous sculpture in the world.

Other pieces include Michelangelo’s  Bartolini’s “Scorpion nymph” and the “Filippo Brunelleschi” statue made by Luigi Pampaloni. Plus many more great Renaissance works of art.

At this amazing art gallery, you can also discover a large collection of medieval paintings. There are works of Botticelli, Lippi, Gaddi and other significant Florentine artists.

In the Department of Musical instruments, you can find the private collections of the Medici and Lorraine families. Some of the most popular items are a violin made by Antonio Stradivari and a piano built by Bartolomeo Cristofori.

Things to do in Florence
Works of art inside Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery is one of the most popular art museums in the world, with 1.5 million visitors annually. It is situated in a 16th-century building on the Piazza Della Signoria.

The gallery houses huge collections of Renaissance paintings. You can explore masterpieces by famous artists such as Titian, Giotto, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio and Rembrandt.

On the building’s facade, you can see many statues of the rulers, artists and other famous people from medieval times. These include Francesco Petrarca, Dante Alighieri, Machiavelli and Galileo Galilei.

Florence Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio

3. Stroll the Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio is one of the most iconic Florence landmarks. This medieval stone bridge was built in the 14th century to cross over the river Arno.

It connects the Piazza del Duomo on one side with the Palazzo Pitti and Basilica Santo Spirito on the other. Along the 95-meter-long bridge there are many jewelry and souvenir shops.

In the evening, you can check out some of the restaurants and pubs near the Ponte Vecchio. Or just enjoy the view of the Arno River.

View of Palazzo Pitti from Boboli Gardens
View of Palazzo Pitti from Boboli Gardens

4. Visit the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli gardens

Did you know that the grandiose Pitti Palace was once the residence of the grand-ducal Medici family? It was constructed in the 15th century and today it hosts the Palatine Gallery.

On display are a collection of paintings, the Treasury of the Grand Dukes, the Gallery of the Modern Art and the Royal Apartments.

In the left-wing of the Palazzo Pitti, you can explore the Museum of Costume and Fashion with costumes from significant movies and theater shows.

Behind the Pitti Palace, is the lovely Boboli gardens, the biggest park area in Florence. Enjoy a stroll around the fountains and sculptures with a peaceful ambiance.

Things to do in Florence Duomo di Firenze
Duomo di Firenze

5. View the Iconic Duomo di Firenze (Florence Cathedral)

The Florence Cathedral or the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is the symbol of Florence. It is a gorgeous Gothic building from the 13th century with a magnificent hall, wonderful mosaics and the beautiful Giorgio Vasari frescoes.

However, that’s not all the cathedral has to offer – majestic Brunelleschi’s dome is also worth visiting. If you want to climb to the top, brace yourself, there are more than 400 steps and no elevator. But the view alone is worth the climb.

Together with the Baptistery and the Giotto’s Campanile, the Florence Cathedral has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can get a guided tour of the cathedral and climb to the top of the cupola for a gorgeous view of Florence.

Fountain of Neptune
Fountain of Neptune in Piazza Della Signoria

6. Sightseeing at the Piazza Della Signoria

Piazza Della Signoria is the main square in Florence. It is situated near the town hall of Palazzo Vecchio. Over the centuries, it was the political center of the city and the meeting place for locals.                     

You can find several important buildings in the Piazza Della Signoria square. There are Loggia dei Lanzi, Palazzo Uguccioni and the well-known Uffizi Gallery.

Numerous statues adorn the square. You can see marble statues of Medici Lions, a sculpture of Hercules and Cacus, the Fountain of Neptune and a replica of Michelangelo’s David.

Florence Basilica Santa Maria Novella
Basilica Santa Maria Novella

7. Tour the Most Beautiful Churches in Florence

In addition to galleries and museums, Florence is home to some beautiful medieval churches.

Santa Maria Novella is a gothic church with more than half a million visitors each year. You can visit the entire complex. This includes the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella with frescoed chapels and Museo di Santa Maria Novella.

We also recommend visiting the Romanesque church of San Miniato al Monte. It was built from the 11th to 13th century. The whole complex is enclosed by defensive walls.

The exterior is embellished with green and white marble. Furthermore, there is a fantastic view of the city from the hill on which it sits.

Basilica of Santa Croce internal courtyard
Basilica of Santa Croce internal courtyard

8. Visit the “Pantheon of Florence”

Did you know that The Basilica of Santa Croce is the biggest Franciscan church in the world? Its construction began in the 13th century. It sits on the Piazza di Santa Croce, near the Duomo. Inside there are 16 chapels with frescoes by Gaddi, Giotto and Donatello.

Also inside the basilica, you can find the beautiful altar and the tombs of famous Florentines. In addition, the Basilica of Santa Croce is the burial place of Machiavelli, Galileo, Rossini and Michelangelo. Therefore, people call it the “Pantheon of Florence”.

Delicious pizza

9. Are You Ready for a Food Tour?

On the first floor of the historic San Lorenzo market, you can find the Mercato Centrale. There are many stalls with fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, olive oil and cheese. You can also find cafes and a section with gelatos, chocolates and Italian wines.

In addition, there is a large area with many tables and 500 seats, where you can enjoy food prepared by artisans. Choose from pizza, pasta, sushi, Chinese food, or enjoy a traditional Tuscan meal.

If you want to learn more about the local cuisine, there is a cooking school with courses in Italian and English. San Lorenzo market is also a good place to shop for souvenirs.

Things to do in Florence

10. Watch the Match of the Italian Football Championship

Seria A is the major Italian football league and one of the best football leagues in Europe. Football club Fiorentina from Florence was a double champion of Italy in the past and is known for its arch rivalry with FC Juventus. Roberto Baggio and Gabriel Batistuta are some of the most famous football legends that played for the club from Florence.

Fiorentina plays domestic matches at Artemio Franchi stadium, built in 1931. It hosted World Cup matches in 1934 and 1990. Also, it has hosted musical events, such as the concerts of  Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie.

Artemio Franchi stadium is one of the most important buildings constructed in the 20th century in Florence. The stadium is only 2 km from the city center, so you can easily reach it on foot.


Book This Trip

Start planning your sensational vacation to Florence, Italy today. Get prepared for your adventure with insider tips on the best shops, hotel and VRBO reservations, local restaurant favorites and more through TripAdvisor and Travelocity.

Plan even more fun in Italy by booking some unique Florence activities, foodie experiences, expert-led tours and skip-the-line tickets to major attractions through GetYourGuide. Find more information and book your dates in advance here.

For the ultimate flight deals, train tickets and car rental options, check out OMIO Travel Partner.

Be sure to bring luggage that can handle all of your shopping journeys as Florence is one of the best shopping sites in the world. Find stylish, durable and expandable travel bags and accessories at AWAY. See their top-rated selection here.

Author Bio: Based in Serbia in Europe, Marija Stojanovic Petkovski worked as a journalist but realized writing about the most beautiful places in the world is something that inspires her. She is sure that a pint of good craft beer perfectly accompanies a tasty homemade lasagne. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her children and spending time outdoors with her family.

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