Florence (in my opinion) is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The renaissance architecture, white buildings capped with red roofs, and winding streets make this one of my favorite spots in Italy (I know, so cliche, right?). If you love art, the amount of galleries here will keep you busy for weeks on end, with the most popular works being the David and the Uffizi. More than art, there are beautiful Renaissance churches, buildings, and streets to be had. The city is also a great jumping-off point for Tuscany wineries, food tours, and it also boasts a great nightlife (it’s a popular study abroad location!). Florence has it all and, while it is very touristy, don’t miss it!
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Florence
1. Spend a day in the Galleria de Uffizi
2. Climb Il Duomo
3. Walk along Ponte Vecchio
4. See The David
5. Wander the Giardino di Boboli
Other Things to See and Do
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1. Visit the baptistery
The baptistery of John the Baptist is one of Florence’s oldest buildings. It’s a real treat for those who love architecture and religious history. Admission is 15 EUR but includes entry to the cupola, the bell tower, baptistery, the crypt below cathedral, and the Opera del Duomo Museum as well. It’s open daily from 8:30am-7pm with abbreviated hours on the weekends.
2. Enter Santa Croce
Santa Croce is the largest Franciscan church in Italy and holds the tombs of Michelangelo and Dante. It’s an interesting thing to see if you have already covered the highlights and have extra time in town. Admission is 8 EUR and is open daily from 9:30am-5:30pm with abbreviated hours on Sundays.
3. Visit the Piazzale Michelangelo
Head to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a great view of the city. It’s a good hike up a hill, but it’s a great way to see the stunning view of the city without paying to climb the steps of the Duomo.
4. Lounge in Liberia Café la Cité
This is a combination bookstore, café, and cultural center. There is free WiFi here and rotating weekly events. Founded by intellectuals, this is a great spot for some in-depth conversation with locals and a prime atmosphere for getting some work done.
5. Visit Palazzo Pitti
Until the Medici name blew up, the Pitti family was all the rage in Florence. As major patrons of the arts, this palace serves as a beautiful ode to the family’s contribution to the cultural advancement of Florence at the time. The highlights are several works by Filippo Lippi and Botticelli. It’s open daily (except Mondays) from 8:15am-6:50pm.
6. Explore the National Museum of Bargello
There are several great works housed here by the various Renaissance masters. For only 4 EUR, you can see original pieces by Bandinelli, Donatello, Antonio Rossellino, and more. It’s just a short walk from the Piazza della Signoria. It’s open daily from 8:15am-4:50pm with abbreviated hours in the winter. It’s also closed some Sundays and Mondays.
7. Get some Context
If you’re looking for a high-quality tour, try Context Tours or Take Walks. They have specific tours in the city that focus on art, food, and history, all of which are of the best quality. They are not cheap, but if you’re into getting beneath the surface of a city than this is for you. Expect to pay around 90 EUR per person.