Top 10 Things to do in Florence

This post covers the top things to do in Florence, Italy, with tips on free, nighttime as well as family-friendly activities.

 

 


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN FLORENCE

Here is our top 10 list of things to do in the city of Florence, including prices, hours, and also day and weekend trips you can take from Florence.

Take a look at our other popular Florence posts here:


1) Visit the Duomo

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, also popularly referred to as the Duomo, is the beautiful cathedral in the heart of Florence. It’s an iconic place to take pictures in front of and it beautiful inside as well! Going inside is free, although the monuments around the cathedral require a ticket (sold as a single pass to visit all).

If you want to see the dome up close, you can climb the 463 steps to the top by purchasing the OPA Pass for 18 €. This pass gives you access to all of these places: Baptistery of San Giovanni, Santa Reparata, Giotto’s Bell Tower, Brunelleschi’s Dome and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. The ticket allows entry for one person to visit all the monuments once within 72 hours of visiting the first one.

The OPA Combination ticket gives you entrance to the Duomo but you need to reserve your place in line before you arrive. Once you book your time slot, the time cannot be changed. 

 

 

Out front is the Piazza del Duomo, the main square where you’ll find shops and restaurants.


2) Explore the Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is home to collections of paintings from the 14th-century and Renaissance periods. Our favorite is Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, but you can also find works of Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raffaello, to name a few.

Hours: Tuesday- Sunday: 8:15am- 6:50pm(18:50)

Price: (March 1- October 31): Regular- 12€, Reduced- 2€, (November 1- February 28): Regular- 20€, Reduced- 2€

 

 

Check online to see when they have reduced prices (usually early mornings during the off-season) and free admission days throughout the year.

 


3) See the Statue of David at the Galleria dell’Accademia

Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence and is one of the top sights to see while visiting the city! It’s where you can see Michelangelo’s David, amongst other works of art. Because of this statue, the Galleria dell’Accademia is one of the most visited museums in Florence.

This is why we recommend booking a ticket beforehand, either online or over the phone. This will save you from having to wait in long lines for a ticket!

Hours: Tuesday- Sunday: 8:15am- 6:50pm(18:50)

Price: Regular- 16€, Reduced- 6€. 

 

 

If you can’t make it into the Galleria dell’Accademia, you can see a replica of the statue of David at the Palazza della Signoria, where the original statue used to stand, and a bronze version overlooking Florence at the Piazzale Michelangelo, a place mentioned below.

 


4) Grab a Panini at All’antico Vinaio

When you ask most people where to grab a bite to eat in Florence, a lot of people will point you in the direction of this little sandwich shop. Fast, relatively cheap, and in the heart of Florence, All’antico Vinaio is a great place to stop. Lines can be long, but service is fast.

 

 

We also recommend taking a food tour! Italy is known for its incredible food, and the best way to taste the variety is with a local guide. There are a number of food tour companies, such as Secret Food Tours.

This company currently offers a Florence food tour with 8 different stops and a variety of great samples including Florentine pizza, Tuscan Pecorino cheese, Prosciutto and many more.

They also offer a Florence wine tour for anyone interested in finding the best drinks in the city. This outing allows you to try 6 different Tuscan wines at 3 different locations.

For even more options, take a look at the offerings from Florence by Foodies

 


5) Visit the Santa Croce Basilica

The Santa Croce Basilica is the burial place of notable people of Florence, including Michelangelo, Rossi, and even Galileo Galilei. There’s also a memorial to Dante, but his sarcophagus is empty as he is buried in Ravenna because of his exile from Florence.

The Santa Croce Basilica also has beautiful artwork to enjoy as you tour it, and the Piazza Santa Croce outside has eateries to relax and have a bite to eat at. 

Hours: Monday- Saturday: 9:30am – 5:30pm (17:30), Sundays and Holidays: 2pm – 5:30pm (17:30)

Price: Regular- 8€, Reduced- 6€

 

 


6) Cross the Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio (or Vecchio Bridge) is the oldest bridge in Florence and was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence until 1218. It was rebuilt after a flood in 1345 and is the only bridge across the Arno to survive WW2. This bridge isn’t just for crossing- it’s for shopping!

Shops have been on it since the 13th century, but due to the smells from certain shops, they decided to only let jewelers and goldsmiths, stay of which there are plenty on the bridge today. This is the perfect place to shop or just window shop!

 


7) Explore Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens

The Pitti Palace was once the home to the Medici family and is now the home of incredible Renaissance artwork. The Palace is divided into four museums: the Treasury of the Grand Dukes on the ground floor, the Palatine Gallery and the Imperial and Royal Apartments on the first floor, the Modern Art Gallery and the Museum of Costume and Fashion on the second floor.

This place is a must-visit for art lovers! Learn more here

Hours: Tuesday- Sunday: 8:15am- 6:50pm(18:50)

Price: Regular- 10€, Reduced- 2€

 

 

While you’re there, be sure to visit the Boboli Gardens of the Palace. It is an extra cost, but it is beautiful and worth it!

 


8) See Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo

Take the Ponte Vecchio across the Arno River to Piazzale Michelangelo, named after one of the most famous artists to be born in Florence. From this plaza, you get the best view of the city and can find a bronze copy of the artist’s famous David sculpture.

We recommend timing it to arrive at either sunrise or sunset to get the most breathtaking views of the city. You can also bring a picnic and wine to enjoy!

 

 


9) Buy Leather Goods at the San Lorenzo Market

Walking through the city, you can’t help but notice all the leather shops! There are a number of places to shop for leather goods, such as the San Lorenzo Market.

There is the inside part called the Central Market and the outside part is a leather market. You’ll find everything for luxurious leather jackets to purses and little souvenirs as well. 

 

 


10) Take a Free Walking Tour!

Let a guide take you around the heart of Florence and show you the city through a local’s eye! These pay-what-you-wish tours are perfect for those on a budget but still want to experience the most out of the city.

They’re also a wealth of knowledge for restaurant and other recommendations, which is especially handy if you don’t speak Italian.

To learn more and book your tour, click here

 

 


Bonus: Grab Some Gelato!

Italy is famous for its food, especially the gelato! Luckily there are plenty of shops all around Florence to indulge at. Taking top place is Gelateria La Carraia, which is recommended on a number of local sites. It is named after the Ponte Alla Carraia, the city’s second-oldest bridge, near where the first one opened, though there are now two locations. 


Bonus: Self-Guided Exploration Game

If you’re looking for an interesting way to learn about and discover some of the most notable sites in Florence, these games will give you the opportunity to solve a mystery as you explore the city.

There are currently three different games available in Florence, one about the Medici family and the other two focusing on the darker side of this city’s history.

 


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DAY TRIPS

Italy is easy to get around by train or car. There are also Flex buses, which are cheap options to take between cities.

Some easy day trips we’d recommend are:

  • Pisa (about 1 hour and 15 minutes driving or train)
  • Assissi (2 hours by train)
  • Siena (about 1 hour 20 minutes driving)
  • Val d’Orchia (about 2 hours away from Florence driving)

WEEKEND TRIPS

For bigger cities, we recommend taking the weekend to explore them. There are easy to get to by car or train:

  • Milan-  Go shopping and visit the Duomo di Milano.
  • Venice- Explore this canal city and explore St. Mark’s Square.