From the grandeur of its medieval cathedral to the simple pleasures of Italian pasta, there is so much to be discovered in the historic centre of Florence. Unsure where to go in to have a trip filled with everything worth seeing? I’ll guide you through this stunning city with my guide to the best things to see and do in Florence.
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Why Visit Florence?
Florence is regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and reminders of this period are to be found wherever you turn. The historic city centre is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Tuscany, recognised for its exemplary art and architecture.
This region will have you spoilt for choice, from the surrounding Tuscan countryside to the history embedded within its quaint cobblestone streets.
Exploring The City: Things To See And Do In Florence
Take a look at these best things to do in Florence to ensure you embark on an unforgettable journey.
Visit The Piazza Del Duomo
The marbled exterior walls of the Florence Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) are the city’s central attraction. Around the Piazza del Duomo you will find monumental landmarks such as the magnificent bronze doors of the Gates of Paradise at the Baptistry of St John. The Duomo Complex also includes the immense church of Santa Maria del Fiore and Giotto’s bell tower.
Take A Trip To Santa Croce
A gothic gem with a kaleidoscope of religious artefacts and stunning sculptures, the church of Santa Croce is a dramatic site to explore. From Michelangelo’s tomb to the damaged remains of Cimabue’s Crucifixion, this serene space is a surviving love letter to Italian Renaissance art and its peerless artists.
Walk Through Piazza Della Signoria
If you’re looking for an open-air museum, try the Piazza della Signoria. Effectively an outdoor sculpture gallery, this picturesque square alongside the Uffizi Gallery is an experience like no other. You’ll find a copy of Michelangelo’s statue of David, sculptures of the Vestal Virgins in the Loggia dei Lanzi, and much more.
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Go To The Palazzo Vecchio
The Palazzo Vecchio is the city’s town hall and was completed in 1322, making it one of Florence’s oldest buildings. With Renaissance art and decorated rooms, this building is full of glamorous trimmings.
Explore The Palazzo Pitti
This carefully curated building became the main quarters for the famed Medici family in 1550, and today it’s used as a magnificent exhibit for the family’s collections and artefacts.
Be sure to include the gorgeous groves of the Boboli Gardens in your visit to maximise your experience of this elegant space.
Enjoy The Art Of The Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi is one of the world’s foremost art galleries. Attracting millions of visitors each year, its extensive collections cover many centuries. The Uffizi’s treasures include work by artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli and Raphael.
Although it is not necessary to book your visit in advance, pre-booking the Uffizi is advisable, as queues can be very long.
Find A Bit Of Good Luck…
And, finally, no visit to Florence is complete without a visit to Il Porcellino, the bronze pig of the Piazza del Mercato Nuovo. Legend has it that stroking the pig’s nose will bring you good luck – you can read more about the story here.
Visiting Florence: Practical Information
From the San Miniato al Monte to the burial spot of the Medici family at San Lorenzo, you’ll have to plan your trip carefully to include all the things to see and do in Florence. Here are some essential tips for a well-crafted holiday.
Best Time To Go To Florence
From May to September, Florence enjoys warm weather. For many this may be the best time to visit, but be aware that it is also at its most crowded (and expensive) at this time!
Like every Italian town, Florence has several religious festivals during the year (such as the Feast of the Annunciation in March). There are also music and other secular events during the summer – look at the tourist website for details.
How To Travel Around The City
Once you land at Amerigo Vespucci airport, you can take the shuttle tram to Unita, which is close to the main railway station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella. If you’re looking to hire a car for your trip, there are several car hire firms to choose from at the airport.
The historic centre is small and walkable. Many of the streets are too narrow for public transport, but there is a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus that connects the main sites. Elsewhere the city is served by a network of buses.
Where To Stay In Florence
From self-catering spaces to luxury hotels, Florence has several different types of accommodation to choose from on booking.com.
Day Trips From Florence
There are several art-filled Tuscan towns within easy reach of Florence. Have a look at this guide to the best day trips from Florence.
A Trip For The Ages – Enjoy Your Time In Florence
Florence attracts individuals from all walks of life, from budding artists looking for inspiration to flavour hunters waiting to go on the ultimate food tour. From the romantic embrace of art galleries to the significance of the Renaissance period, this magical metropolis has a way of immersing its visitors in the vibrant Italian culture.