If this is your first time in Florence, you have no idea what to do and you don’t want to waste hours of your day just walking around, well, don’t panic, we’re here to help you! There are a lot of fun things to do in Florence, it is the city of history, art, romance, and culture and one of Europe’s most beautiful destinations, besides being the Tuscan capital city. If you want some tips on where to stay read The best 6 hotels in Florence, Italy.
Florence offers the best restaurants, bars, cafés, parks, and museums and you can discover a lot by yourself, but to give you a hand we’ve selected cool things you can do in the Renaissance land. Check it out!
#1 The Uffizi Gallery
This is your chance to visit some of the most important artworks in the world. The Uffizi Gallery is a must on your list! You’ll see the extraordinary Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, the stunning altar-piece Coronation of the Virgin by Fra Angelico and the unique Medusa by Caravaggio, just to name a few.
#2 The Duomo
Going to the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower, also known as Il Duomo di Firenze is getting to know one of the main symbols of Florence. This Gothic architecture is the third largest cathedral in the world and has so many details that you can easily spend hours admiring this architectural masterpiece.
#3 Visit the gardens
Florence has many beautiful gardens that are worth your time. For example, the Rose Garden (Giardino delle Rose) that has one of the best views of the city and over 800 species of roses.
Also, check out the Boboli Garden, which is the largest garden in the city that once belonged to a banking and political Italian family. Very chic! Here you’ll see fountains, statues, sculptures and you have a great opportunity to escape the chaos of the city for a while and breathe some fresh air.
#4 Visit the Galleria dell’Accademia
The David is one of the most famous sculptures of the Renaissance artist Michelangelo and is definitely a good reason to visit the Galleria dell’Accademia. And don’t worry, there’s plenty to see! This museum has around 300 Michelangelo’s paints, sculptures from 1800’s and musical instruments from the Medici and Lorena collection.
#5 Shop in the markets
Shopping is always part of the trip, right? The outdoor markets are a way to immerse yourself into Florence culture and shop like the Italian fashionistas and collectors. For leather goods and scarves, you should go to the Mercato Nuovo, also known as Mercato Porcellino. Another good market for leather goods and souvenirs is the San Lorenzo Outdoor Market, which is conveniently close to the Mercato Centrale.
If you want to buy something nice for your home, visit the Florence Antique Market in the Sant’Ambrogio neighborhood or the Fiesole Vintage Market.
#6 Eat at the Mercato Centrale
This is where you need to head when you’re hungry and want to try a very traditional and delicious Italian dish. Seriously, this is the heart of Tuscany gastronomy with very friendly prices. On the second floor, you’ll find a bunch of mini restaurants with many options.
Forget diets and check out what you can find there: bread and sweets, fresh fish, fried foods, tartufo (famous Italian truffle), fruits and vegetables, meat, salami, cheeses, wine, chocolate, gelato, fresh pasta, lampredotto (typical Tuscan sandwich), panini (sandwiches) and much more!
Source: Flickr/Ray in Manila
#7 Go to the Oltrarno neighborhood
This is the hippest, bohemian neighborhood in Florence. Here you can visit a less crowded museum like the Badini Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art. This is also a nice place where you can find good restaurants, tasteful dishes in food trucks and charming sidewalk cafes.
If you’re a good walker and love a nice view, then you should go to the Church of San Miniato al Monte, located on the hill behind Piazzale Michelangelo, and be amazed by a beautiful view of Florence. For perfect pictures, go during sunset.
#8 Cross the Ponte Vecchio
This is definitely one of the most eccentric and unique bridges you’ll ever see. No trip would be complete without a little walk and some shopping in Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence.
#9 Hang out with the locals at Piazza Santo Spirito
Not so touristy, in this piazza you can visit the Basilica of Santo Spirito, created by the renaissance sculptor Filippo Brunelleschi. Here you’ll find a small street market, antique fairs, and lovely cafes and restaurants. Also, this piazza is a good place to find a cool bar and enjoy cocktails.
#10 Become a shopaholic at Via Tornabuoni
Ok, ok, you might just go there for some good old window shopping, but like a true Italian city, Florence also has a street with all the major fashion brands. You can check out the latest from Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Hermès, Roberto Cavalli and many others.
#11 Take a break in one of the many cafes in Florence
One of the nicest things you can do for yourself is to just take a break and enjoy a nice cup of coffee. If you want something modern, but still very cozy and full of good vibes, try the Ditta Artigianale in Via dei Neri.
If classic is more your style, then go to Caffé Gilli and see what is that they are doing so right to be in business since 1733.
#12 Enjoy the nightlife
No trip would be complete without some fun at night, right? Close to the Cathedral you’ll find many small places where you can drink some good beer and wine. In the center is where you’ll find some discos to dance all night long or if you just want to be outside there are plenty of different street artists singing and performing.
A good way to discover Florence
We know that walking around by yourself sometimes is not that easy. You can get lost, which means you’ll lose time trying to figure your way out and spend money with buses, taxis or other transportation facilities. The good thing is that there are tours to help you out. With Veditalia’s tour, you’ll learn much more about the city and its monuments, since you’ll be guided by a professional that speaks English.
If you want to know more good reasons to book a tour read Why should you choose group tours?