Free Walking Tour Florence

There are essentially 4 types of free walking tours in Florence (Firenze), a city overview tour, tours focused on the Rennasaince, museums, and sunset tours.

This post is an overview of all of your options, including what you will see on each tour, as well as which companies offer them.

 

Florence Walking Tour Video

Youtube Subscribe

 

Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.

OVERVIEW AND TOUR CALENDAR

Florence is full of history, and there are several notable sites that you can see and learn about on a free walking tour of the city.

There are a few different types of outings you may want to consider. The main option is an introductory tour that covers the most popular landmarks in Florence.

You can also take a tour that provides a look at how the city played an influential role in the world during the Renaissance.

 

Of course, if you’re interested in seeing the modern side of Florence, you may want to consider a street art or alternative tour instead.

Finally, if you’re interested in doing some sightseeing during the evening, there are also sunset tours you can take.

For most people today, a “free tour” is really a “pay-what-you-wish tour” or a “tips-based tour”. You are under no obligation to pay for your experience, and it costs nothing to book a time slot.

At the end of the tour, if you enjoyed yourself, it’s customary to pay what you think the tour was really worth or what you could afford.

 

Free Walking Tours

 

According to online reviews, most people leave between €5-15/person, but of course, you are not obligated to leave anything.

Keep in mind, however, that these free walking tours are both convenient and popular, so often have large groups of participants.

If you’d rather take your tour with a smaller group – which can allow you more interaction with your guide – you might consider taking a paid small group tour.

For a truly free option, check out our suggestions for self-guided walks.

 


INTRO TO FLORENCE + RENAISSANCE TOURS

These free walking tours provide an introduction to Florence, giving visitors a range of information about the history of this city and in some cases even some tips on great attractions or restaurants to visit.

 

Ponte Vecchio

 

This section will also include information about tours that focus on the most important locations tied to the Renaissance. 

Both tours cover much of the same ground, but Renaissance tours are more about the Medici family and their impact on Florence.

But they also focus on the way of life that people experienced in this city during the 14th and 15th centuries.

You can expect to visit the following sites on most of these walking tours listed below:

  • Central Market
  • Paradise Gate
  • Republic Square
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Piazza Duomo
  • S. Lorenzo Cathedral
  • Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Old City Walls
  • St. John’s Baptistry
  • Medici-Riccardi Palace
  • And more!

Another Florence

This company offers tours that cover Florence that locals know and love.

They do not stop by Ponte Vecchio or Piazza Duomo but bring you to beautiful and interesting places in Florence you might not otherwise find. 

While each tour guide and therefore each tour is slightly different, the average length of a tour is 2 ½ – 3 hours long. 

They offer tours in English, Spanish, and Italian every day at 10:30 am and 15:30 (3:30 pm). These outings are wheelchair accessible.

Learn more or to book this tour.


Original Florence

This company offers an outing which covers a variety of interesting subjects like the Medici family, Florentine culture, the best food in the city, museums you might want to visit, and fun things to do after dark.

Guests have given this tour very positive reviews which suggest that they provide a lot of information about the history, art, and culture of Florence in addition to a more general orientation of the city.

This tour is a little over 2 hours long and it’s offered twice a day at 10:15 and 17:15 (5:15 pm) in English, Spanish and Italian.

Click here for more details or to book this tour.


Free Walking Tours in Florence

This company offers what they call the best tour in the city, and that’s a bold claim, but they do have very positive ratings. 

In addition to covering the Renaissance and stories of the Medici family, this tour also serves as an introduction to the city, including some lesser-known sites.

They are well-reviewed from guests who indicate that they learned a lot about the history of this city and even received some recommendations on places to visit.

This 2-hour free walking tour is offered twice a day at 9:30 am and 16:30 (4:30 pm) in both English and Spanish.

Check the calendar above for their current schedule.


Florence Walking Tour From Above

As with some of the other tours on our list, this one is also led by just one guide, and reviews for his free Florence tour are all very positive.

Over the course of 2 hours, you’ll learn about a variety of interesting subjects and locations on a tour route that will lead to the highest and best viewing points in the city.

This tour is available every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 8:30 in the morning, making it an excellent option for anyone who wants an early bird experience.

Check our calendar above as the schedule for this tour can fluctuate.

 


SUNSET TOURS IN FLORENCE

If you’re interested in seeing the city as the sun goes down, there are a few different pay-what-you-wish walking tours in Florence which take place at sunset.

 

Florence Sunset Tours

 

Much like the introductory tours, these outings cover the history of the city, and you can expect to visit a variety of notable locations such as the following:

  • Piazza Santa Maria Novella
  • Piazza della Passera
  • Piazza Santa Trinita
  • Piazza Goldoni
  • Palazzo Strozzi
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • And more!

These tours focus more on great locations to take in the views than anything else.

However, you can expect to visit some of the most notable sites and see them from afar while on a sunset tour.

Enjoy excellent views of Florence as you learn about the city during sundown on one of these tours.


Free Tour Florence at Sunset

In addition to their introductory tour, Another Florence also offers a free sunset tour that also provides historical details about the city.

While their other tour doesn’t include a stop at Ponte Vecchio, you will have an opportunity to see this landmark from the Ponte Santa Trinita during this sunset outing.

Clocking in at 2 hours in length, this tour is available in English, Spanish, and Italian, and it’s offered every day at 19:00 (7 pm).

Book this tour or learn more.


Sunset in Florence

This is another tour provided by just one professional guide, Vincenzo, and it has received some pretty good reviews thus far. 

Although other free walking tours don’t visit this site, it’s worth noting that this service actually begins at Ponte Vecchio.

From there, you’ll visit a variety of other locations including Piazzale Michelangelo, San Miniato Church, and more. 

This tour is about 2 hours long, it’s usually available in English most days of the week except Monday at 17:30 (5:30 pm).

Check our calendar above as the schedule for this tour can fluctuate.

It’s available daily in Italian and twice a week in Spanish.


FREE FLORENCE MUSEUM TOURS

If you’re interested in visiting some of the most notable museums in Florence, there are several tours available which will help you find some of the best pieces at each location.

 

Free Florence Museum Tours

Currently, there are two free museum tours covering the Duomo and the Accademia Gallery. There are also a few free audio tours you may want to consider.

Although you’ll need to pay for admission to each museum on your own, the tour itself will be tip-based, which means you get to decide what it was worth when it’s over.

You can save money on tickets for many of these museums by using a Florence tourist pass.


LandMarks in Florence

This service is provided by an independent and professional guide, who offers two free tours at 2 must-visit museums in the city: The Duomo Museum and the Accademia Gallery.

The 1-hour Duomo Museum tour covers the original pieces of the church and important works of art from artists like Michelangelo and Donatello.

This outing is normally offered daily at 16:30 (4:30 pm) but due to Covid-19 is on a limited schedule.

Check our calendar above as the schedule for this tour can fluctuate.

The 1-hour tour of the Accademia Gallery gives you an opportunity to see David, arguably Michelangelo’s most famous work with an expert tour guide.

This service is normally offered every Tuesday – Friday, and Sunday at 8:30 am.

Check our calendar above as the schedule for this tour can fluctuate.


Rick Steves Audio Tours

Rick Steves offers several audio tours you can download onto your smartphone. These are free and excellent and we recommend them.

In total, they currently provide audio tours of 4 different museums:

  • Uffizi Gallery
  • Bargello Museum
  • Accademia Gallery
  • San Marco Museum

Each tour includes a map that you can download to help find your way around the museum.

For more details or to pick a tour that fits your needs, check this list of Rick Steves Florence Museum Audio Tours.


Street Art Tour

If you’re more interested in learning about the modern art and lifestyle of Florence, there is at least one free walking tour which covers this subject.

 

Street Art Tour Florence

 

You can expect to see a lot of interesting street art and learn about contemporary artists who have helped to shape the future of art in this city.

Additionally,  you’ll also pass by several popular public squares, artisan stores, artist workshops, cafes, and more.


Alternative Free Walking Tour

This is another tour led by just one professional guide, and it is very highly rated.

Guests will learn about street artists and other artistic minds that have helped to shape the world of art in modern-day Florence.

Much of the tour takes place in Oltrarno, which is actually on the other side of the river from the more historic parts of the city.

There, you’ll learn about some of the most interesting workshops and street artists in the area.

Although there are not a lot of reviews yet, this tour has received almost exclusively positive responses. Guests say that this is a great way to learn about some of the best art in the city that you might have otherwise overlooked.

You can take this 1 ½ hour tour on Saturday – Thursday at 14:00 (2 pm) or on Friday at 9:30 am, and it’s only available in English.

Check our calendar above as the schedule for this tour can fluctuate.


SELF-GUIDED TOURS

If you don’t feel like taking a walk on someone else’s schedule, why not go on your own time?


Big Boy Travel

This free walking tour outlines the major sites in central Florence. You’ll learn some in-depth history of both the major landmarks and some lesser-known spots in the city.

The walk could take you several hours or several days, depending on if you go into the (sometimes paid) museums and attractions featured. 


Visit Florence

Visit Florence offers three self-guided walking tour itineraries.

You can use these written guides and accompanying interactive maps to explore the historical center of Florence, the left bank of the Arno river, or in the Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato areas.


Self-Guided Exploration Game

This is a great alternative to a traditional walking tour, as it allows you to discover the most historic landmarks in Florence while attempting to solve a mystery.

Although these services are not free, at €10-€15 per game, they cost about as much as most people would tip their guide during a pay-what-you-wish walking tour.


 

SMALL GROUP TOURS

If you don’t mind spending a bit of money, there are several small group tours available in Florence that you might want to consider.

This section will cover some of the best tours with small group sizes available throughout the city.


Take Walks

If you’re looking for a walking tour with a more personal touch and additional activities/attractions, this company offers many different outings you may enjoy.

Best of Florence Walking Tour

  • €59/Adults | €56/Children, Students
  • Availability: Tue – Sun at 9:15 am & 1:15 pm
  • Duration: 3 ½ hours
  • Includes admission to the Accademia.
  • Group size of 14 or smaller.

Best of Florence w/ Special Duomo Access

  • €76/Adults, Students | €74/Children
  • Availability: Tue – Sat at 9:15 am & 1:15 pm
  • Duration: 3 ½ hours
  • Includes admission to Accademia.
  • Includes No-wait access to Duomo.
  • Group size of 14 or smaller.

Florence in a Day

  • €112/Adults | €106/Students | €102/Children
  • Winter Availability: Tue, Thu, Sat at 9:15 am
  • Summer Availability: Tue – Sun at 8:30 am
  • Duration: 7 ½ hours.
  • Includes admission to the Accademia.
  • Includes admission to the Uffizi Gallery.
  • Group size of 19 or smaller.

VIP David & Duomo Tour

  • €115/Adults, Students | €105/Children
  • Availability: Tue – Sat at 8 am
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Includes early admission to Accademia.
  • Includes No-wait access to Duomo.
  • Includes access to Duomo Terraces.
  • Includes skip-the-line Duomo climb.
  • Group size of 15 or smaller.

VIP After Hours Accademia Tour

  • €49/Adults | €46/Students | €44/Children
  • Spring Availability: Sun, Tue, at 5 pm
  • Summer Availability: Sun, Tue, Thu, Fri at 7:30 pm
  • Duration: 1 ½ – 2 hours
  • Includes after-hours admission to the Accademia.
  • Group size of 15 or smaller.

 


Back To Top


 

This is an alternative to free audio tours of Florence. If you don’t have any headphones or you prefer to read instead of listen, this self-guided tour provides a lot of useful information about the history of the city.

Self-Guided Tour of Florence

This tour will cover multiple notable landmarks and locations in Florence. For an even more in depth experience, consider downloading the audio tour.


Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

The first thing you’ll notice about this church as you stand in the plaza is its distinctive 15th century dome, named after the man who engineered the structure, Filippo Brunelleschi. We’ll cover the dome in greater detail a bit later.

Santa Maria del Fiore

The cathedral itself was completed and consecrated in 1436. The architectural styles on display include Italian Gothic, Gothic Revival and Renaissance.

If you were to look at the building from above, you could see how it was designed to form the shape of the Latin cross. At 8,300 sq metres in size, this is an incredibly large structure.

There are a lot of interesting pieces of art inside, including Donatello’s David and Saint John the Evangelist.


Giotto’s Campanile

Giotto's Campanile

This large free-standing campanile (or bell tower) is part of the complex of buildings in the area, and it stands right next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

Designed by Giotto in 1334, this tower is an excellent example of Gothic architecture. There are a total of 7 bells in the tower which were cast at various times from 1705 – 1957.

 

There are several beautiful pieces of artwork in the campanile, but they are all copies of the originals which were removed in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

The hexagonal panels on the lower level depict the history of mankind as described in Genesis, including the Creation of Adam and Eve.

You’ll also find four statues in the niches of all four sides of the tower, including figures such as David, Solomon, Moses, Abraham and more.


Brunelleschi’s DomeBrunelleschi’s Dome

This distinctive feature of the cathedral is actually the third tallest dome in the entire world, and it also played an important role in the Renaissance.

The architectural choice to go with this design rather than a Gothic structure was one of the first major events in the Italian Renaissance, as it broke from the traditional style of the time.

Filippo Brunelleschi ran into trouble trying to make the dome a reality due to a variety of issues. Eventually, he would work with Donatello to build a model which illustrated how the dome could be constructed.

This model is still displayed at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, which is directly behind the cathedral.

Keep in mind that this structure was created before we knew much about the laws of physics and mathematical calculation for such construction, so Brunelleschi relied almost entirely on intuition and details he learned from building models such as the one at the museum.

The copper crown at the top was commissioned to Andrea del Verrocchio, who had in their employ a young apprentice by the name of Leonardo da Vinci.

Admission to the dome is included with some Florence tourist passes.


Baptistery & Bronze Doors

Located directly across from the cathedral, this building is the Baptistery of St. John. As you may have noticed, the church is shaped like an octagon, giving it a unique and interesting style.

Although it is believed there was a Baptistery in this location since the 4th or 5th century, it wasn’t until the 13th century that they expanded upon the original architecture and started constructing the structure that exists today.

Baptistery & Bronze Doors

One of the most interesting aspects of this building is its three bronze doors. The oldest is the South Gate, and the North Gate was the next one built.

The East Gate was entitled the Gate of Paradise by none other than Michelangelo. The North Gate depicts scenes from the New Testament while the South Gate shows moments from the life of John the Baptist.

This Baptistery used to house notable works or art like the Silver Altar and Maddalena di Donatello, but you can now see these pieces at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, located behind the cathedral.


Via dei Calzaiuoli

This street runs from the cathedral to Piazza della Signoria, and there are a lot of notable sites to see along the way.

Museums of note include the Loggia del Bigallo, Museo della Misericordia, and Chiesa e Museo di Orsanmichele. We will be covering the last museum in greater detail on our next stop.

Via dei Calzaiuoli

There is also a lot of great shopping in the area, and you’ll note that there are several internationally known stores such as Victoria’s Secret, Chanel, the Disney Store and more.

In addition to all the great shopping, there are also several excellent restaurants along the way serving a variety of dishes such as pizza, gelato, Italian sandwiches, wine, chocolate and much more.


Orsanmichele Church

There have been many structures on this site in the past. Before it was a church there was a grain market built here in 1337. Before that, it was actually the kitchen garden of the monastery of San Michele.

The area was converted into a church between 1380-1404, but you can still see elements of its previous use in the arches of the ground floor, as they were originally used for the grain market.

Orsanmichele Church

There are several sculptures to see here, but all of them are copies. The originals have since been moved to the museum. That said, these copies are still beautiful and entirely free to enjoy.

You’ll find these sculptures located in niches around the building, including Donatello’s St. Mark and St. George, Andrea del Verrocchio’s Christ and St. Thomas, and Filippo Brunelleschi’s St. Peter.

Inside the church you will find a Gothic tabernacle designed by Andrea Orcagna which has a copy of Bernardo Daddi’s painting of the Madonna and Child.

Admission to the Orsanmichele Church and Museum is included with some Florence tourist passes.


Donatello’s St. MarkDonatello’s St. Mark

Whether you choose to simply enjoy the copy from outside or enter the museum to see the actual sculpture designed by Donatello, this is an excellent example of his work.

The statue of St. Mark is often regarded as the first Renaissance monument ever created.

One of the most notable features of this piece is its attention to detail and focus on realism. If you look closely, you’ll notice that even the veins on St. Mark’s left hand are visible.

This style of realistic artwork was far different from the often unrealistic and dramatic Gothic art and architecture of the era, which is one of the reasons it is often considered one of the first examples of Renaissance art.

The niche where this statue can be found is also quite beautiful, but it was not designed by Donatello.


Piazza Signoria

Located at the Southern end of Via dei Calzaiuoli, this plaza sits in front of Palazzo Vecchio, but that isn’t the only interesting structure to see in the area.

To the right of the palazzo, you’ll find the Loggia dei Lanzi, built in the 14th century for ceremonial purposes, which now serves as an open air art gallery with Renaissance era sculptures.

Piazza Signoria

To the left of the palazzo, you’ll see an equestrian statue which depicts Cosimo I, former Grand Duke of Tuscany. The base of the statue depicts scenes from Cosimo’s life, including his coronation.

Behind the statue of Cosimo I, you’ll find the Gucci Garden, a museum dedicated to the fashion company of the same name which houses classic clothing and handbag exhibits.

Gucci Garden is located in the former Palazzo della Mercanzia, which once served as a courthouse where cases between Florentine merchants were disputed. The original building was constructed in 1359 and restored in 1905.

To the right of the statue of Cosimo I and right next to Palazzo Vecchio, you’ll find the beautiful Fontana del Nettuno, which was designed and created during the 16th century.

There is also a plaque in Piazza Signoria dedicated to Girolamo Savonarola, who led the Bonfire of the Vanities in this very location in 1497. We’ll cover this in greater detail later.


Palazzo VecchioPalazzo Vecchio

Originally built in the 14th century, Palazzo Vecchio is the seat of the Municipality in Florence, and it is one of the most famous civic structures in the world.

Although it served as the seat of the Senate and other civic bodies in the past, most of this building is now used as a museum, but it still serves as the headquarters of the Municipality of Florence.

The statue of David by Michelangelo stood by the entrance from the year it was completed in 1504 until 1873, when it was moved to the Galleria dell Accademia. Today, a copy of the statue remains in its place.

Across from David is a statue of Hercules and Cacus which was crafted by Baccio Bandinelli.

Look under the arches of the gallery to see a series of nine coats of arms representing a variety of things including the Florentine people, the city, loyalty to the papacy, freedom and independence, and other concepts.

Built in 1310, the tower of Palazzo Vecchio is around 94 metres high. Unlike other towers such as Giotto’s Campanile, this one actually leans on the walls beneath it.

The museum inside features several beautiful frescoes, niches, tapestries, statues, and other fantastic artwork. This is also the site of Michelangelo’s The Genius of Victory, which was originally intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II.

Admission to Palazzo Vecchio is included at no extra cost with at least one Florence tourist pass.


Savonarola Plaque

Located in Piazza Signoria, this plaque is dedicated to Girolamo Savonarola, a Dominican friar who worked in Florence in the 1490s.

Although his presence was initially requested, he quickly became an enemy of the Medici house and played a role in their undoing.

Savonarola Plaque

Savonarola was not a fan of the Renaissance, and he fought against what he saw as artistic excess and sin. Starting in 1495, he began to host a bonfire of the vanities in Piazza Signoria during Carnival.

The bonfire of the vanities was an event where paintings, manuscripts, books, tapestries, musical instruments and other works deemed inappropriate were burned in the public square.

During these bonfires, Savonarola was said to have destroyed the works of notable artists such as Dante, Ovid, Propertius and more.

In the eyes of many church officials, Savonarola went too far with his approaches, and he was eventually excommunicated in 1497.

He was charged with heresy and sedition, for which he was hung on a cross and burned to death in 1498. This plaque marks the exact location where his execution was carried out.


Uffizi Courtyard

As you walk toward the Uffizi Gallery, you’ll see a lot of notable sites alongside the Piazzale degli Uffizi.

The gallery itself is lined with statues of Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and many other noteworthy Renaissance artists.

Uffizi Courtyard

Directly opposite the Uffizi Gallery is the Accademia dei Georgofili, an educational institution that has been dedicated to promoting the study of economy, geography, agriculture and many other subjects since 1753.

The Uffizi Gallery itself was originally established in 1581, and it was one of the first modern museums ever established. Over 4 million people visit this museum every year, making it one of the most visited museums in the world.

There are a lot of important works of art in the museum, including Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, Andrea del Verrocchio’s The Baptism of Christ, Michelangelo’s The Holy Family, Leonardo da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi, Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch, Caravaggio’s Sacrifice of Isaac, Rembrandt’s Self-portrait as a Young Man and many more.

Admission is included with some Florence tourist passes, and there is a free audio tour of the Uffizi Gallery available as well.


Arno River & Ponte Vecchio

This is the largest river in the region, and it crosses the whole of Florence. In historical times, the Arno river flooded this city many times after excessive rainfall.

The Arno river is anything but predictable, as it could be quite slow one day and almost torrentlike on the next. Many consider this the most important river in Italy aside from the Tiber in Rome.

Arno River & Ponte Vecchio

One of the most important bridges to cross the Arno is clearly visible from the riverside view of the Uffizi Gallery, and it is the next stop on this tour: Ponte Vecchio.

There has been a bridge here since at least the year 996, but it didn’t exist in its current form until 1218, and even after that it had to be rebuilt in 1345 due to flooding.

Since then, the bridge has largely stood the test of time. Even during WW2, this was the only bridge in Florence that was not destroyed during the retreat of the German army.


OTHER CITIES

Enjoy free walking tours in other cities around the world with Free Tours by Foot and our recommended companies.

Here are just a few.

 


Back to top