The 28 Non-Negotiable Things to Do in Florence, Italy

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Closeup of Brunelleschi's dome, Florence, Italy

Florence, my heart. A place that is solely responsible for transforming from a boy into a man. As a young, lost study abroad student, I ventured to this city, not knowing the impact it would have on my life. These are the best things to do in Florence to spur a new level of travel inspiration.

The city, known for its stunning Renaissance art, rich history, and delicious food, is one of the top destinations in Italy for travelers.

Florence has a special place in my heart. I lived in this city for six months as a study abroad student, trying to understand the purpose of life and my priorities as a young adult.

Seven years later, I spent some time here during my honeymoon, and more recently, I brought my 2.5-year-old daughter here. I likely would have never started to travel full-time or start ViaTravelers without my time spent in Florence.

Here’s a photo comparison of my first moments in Florence 10 years ago to today, where I could share this journey of this passionate city with my family.

Author Kyle Kroeger Visiting Florence 10 years ago compared with today
Time flies, but it also slows down when you have moments like these… (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

There are plenty of things to do in Florence that you won’t want to miss, so if you’re planning a trip to this beautiful city, include these top things to do in Florence on your itinerary.

TL;DR

  • Most significant landmark – Michelangelo’s David
  • Outdoor activity – Parco delle Cascine
  • Free activity – Mercato Centrale
  • Activity for kids – Museo dei Ragazzi al Palazzo Vecchio
  • Activity for adults – Uffizi gallery
  • Place to eat – La Giostra
  • Nightlife – Santa Maria Novella Plaza
  • Place to stay – Hotel Rosso

Things to Do in Florence, Italy

1. Piazza della Signoria

Horse Carriage at Piazza Della Signoria, Florence
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: P.za della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI

This W-shaped square in Florence’s city center is one of the city’s main plazas and a top tourist attraction. Highlights of Piazza della Signoria include the stunning Palazzo Vecchio, which serves as Florence’s town hall, and Michelangelo’s iconic statue of David.

At the town hall, visitors can explore this cultural institution, visit the tower for incredible views of Florence, and walk around the beautifully landscaped gardens. Another popular spot in Piazza della Signoria is Loggia dei Lanzi. This beautiful open colonnade houses many vital statues and monuments from across history (but we’ll talk more about that later!).

Besides these legendary landmarks, this historic square is also home to many cafes and restaurants where visitors can enjoy traditional Italian cuisine and soak up the energetic atmosphere of this one-of-a-kind city.

If you plan on doing a food tour in Florence (which we recommend!), Piazza della Signoria is a great place to start. It’s the perfect place for people to watch and experience the city’s incredible energy while enjoying some Italian cuisine.

Signoria Plaza is rich in history. It was once the seat of the Republic of Florence and home to the Medicis, who ruled the city for centuries. Today, it’s one of the top places to visit in Italy – so consider this iconic square on your list.

See Related: Day Trips from Milan, Italy

2. Piazza del Duomo

Piazza Del Duomo, Florence, Italy
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI

Located centrally in Florence, Piazza del Duomo is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city. This beautiful plaza is home to iconic landmarks, including Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Campanile bell tower, and the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.

Known as “Il Duomo,” this incredible cathedral is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world. Visitors can tour its intricate interior to glimpse some of Florence’s most magnificent architecture.

Another must-see attraction at the square is the Museo dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore. This landmark houses many of the original sculptures and mosaics from the cathedral. Outside, visitors can walk along the surrounding piazza and enjoy incredible views of the city’s rooftops and its other beautiful churches and monuments.

The Duomo SkyWalk is another popular spot in this plaza, where visitors can take a panoramic elevator up to the cathedral’s roof for some fantastic 360-degree views of Florence.

A walk around this beautiful plaza is indispensable when visiting this iconic Italian city. I recommend staying near the Duomo in Florence, as it’s within walking distance of most of the city’s attractions. 

This modern one-bedroom apartment is located inside a prestigious XVI-century building and faces the Duomo Cathedral directly. It’s so close you can almost touch it.

See Related: Things to Do in Genoa, Italy

3. Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery interior with Renaissance art and sculptures in Florence
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI

The Uffizi Gallery, located in Piazzale degli Uffizi, is a world-famous museum that is the perfect place for connoisseurs of the arts to spend a day exploring some of the finest works of art from the Renaissance period.

This beautiful building sits on the banks of the Arno River and houses an unparalleled collection of Renaissance art and masterpieces. Within its walls, visitors can explore exhibits featuring some of the most renowned artists in history, including Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael, and Caravaggio.

The Uffizi Gallery also houses a rich collection of classical sculptures, gothic art, and medieval illuminated manuscripts – making it a highly recommended destination in Florence as it’s one of the top art museums in the world.

Not kidding: this museum is one of the most-visited attractions in Italy, drawing over two million visitors every year. If you love art and history, put the Uffizi Gallery on your Florence itinerary.

Uffizi Gallery gets pretty packed, so book your tickets in advance and plan for a bit of wait time. But trust us – the incredible art and history that await inside more than make up for it. Make sure to consider this iconic Florence museum on your list of things to do, so do not leave Florence without visiting this museum. Trust me on this.

See Related: Most Beautiful Cities in Europe

4. Basilica di Santa Croce

Illuminated Santa Croce Basilica at night in Florence
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Address: Piazza di Santa Croce, 16, 50122 Firenze FI

Basilica di Santa Croce is one of the city’s most iconic churches and an unmissable gem for any traveler. Construction on this majestic church building started in 1294 and lasted almost 150 years before opening its doors in 1442.

Since then, it has quickly become one of the most impressive sites in Florence. This basilica is a sight to behold, featuring a beautiful gothic facade, intricate interior, and stunning rose window over its main entrance.

Visitors can admire its stunning 13th-century facade and detailed interior and crypt, which feature beautiful arches, frescoes, stained glass windows, sculptures, and mosaics.

With its impressive facade, tall bell tower, and ornate interior, you can’t visit Florence without seeing the Basilica di Santa Croce. Check out its beautiful frescoes, elegant marble sculptures, and stunning altars – all genuinely incredible scenery.

See Related: Best Restaurants in Florence, Italy

5. San Miniato al Monte

San Miniato al Monte Architecture

Address: Via delle Porte Sante, 34, 50125 Firenze FI

Travelers on a budget looking for free things to do in Florence should head to San Miniato al Monte, a beautiful church and cemetery on top of one of the city’s highest hills. Perched above the rest of Florence, this iconic church is an excellent place for locals to visit and a highly recommended destination for tourists with incredible views over the city.

Built in the 11th century, San Miniato al Monte has long been a landmark for excursionists and locals, featuring gorgeous Renaissance-era architecture, beautiful frescoes, and mosaics.

On sunny days in Florence, it’s worth packing a picnic lunch and heading up to San Miniato al Monte for some incredible views over the city – you won’t be disappointed.

This historic church is perfect for admiring its beautiful interior, enjoying the peace while taking in the sun, or simply snapping photos of its iconic architecture and gorgeous views. It’s a great way to start (or end) a day of sightseeing in Florence.

See Related: How Much is a Trip to Italy

6. Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio at Night
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: P.za della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI

The magnificent Palazzo Vecchio is a stunning palazzo and home to the city’s old town hall. As one of Florence’s most iconic buildings, this is a can’t-miss destination for any traveler wanting to experience some of the city’s incredible architecture up close.

Palazzo Vecchio is a striking scene built in 1299 to symbolize power and wealth. This beautiful palazzo is iconic Italian architecture and features magnificent sculptures and artworks and stunning frescoes inside its walls.

Visitors can explore its many rooms and courtyards, admire its gorgeous interiors, and even climb up to the top of its famous bell tower for incredible views over the city.

On a tour of the Palazzo Vecchio, you’ll find famous works of art like Michelangelo’s “Piet,” and the incredible Salone dei Cinquecento, a vast room adorned with beautiful frescoes that are worth checking out.

The famous “Adam and Eve” sculptures by Leonardo da Vinci can also be found within the palazzo, along with many other fascinating pieces and works of art.

When it comes to places to visit in Florence, you can’t beat visiting this historic symbol of the city’s culture and heritage. This is a highly recommended destination for anyone interested in its incredible architecture or art history.

See Related: Things to Do in Sorrento, Italy

7. Palazzo Pitti

Front of Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy
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Address: Piazza de’ Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI

Situated on the south side of the Arno River lies the magnificent Palazzo Pitti, one of Florence’s most iconic palaces and home to awe-inspiring art collections. This historic, massive palace spanning 32,000 square feet is an impressive site worth visiting, especially on a nice summer day, since the gardens are incredible.

Palazzo Pitti, sometimes called Pitti Palace, was originally built in 1458 as a military fortress and later converted into a palace by the powerful Medici family. Featuring stunning Renaissance-style architecture and beautiful gardens on its grounds, this historic palace is one of the most iconic attractions in Florence.

Inside its walls, visitors can admire some incredible works of art, including paintings by Titian and Filippino Lippi and sculptures by Giambologna. With its outstanding art collections, Palazzo Pitti hosts multiple museums and galleries, including the famous Boboli Gardens, one of Florence’s top attractions.

See Related: Things to Do in Italy & Places to Visit

8. Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens at Palazzo Pitti, one of the best things to do in Florence with kids
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Piazza de’ Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI

If you desire a beautiful and peaceful escape from the lively streets of Florence, check out the iconic Boboli Gardens. Set just behind Palazzo Pitti, these stunning gardens are a favorite among locals and visitors.

They offer visitors a quiet oasis in the middle of the city. With sprawling greenery, charming fountains, and incredible views of the surrounding cityscape, these gardens are vital places to visit in Florence.

The Boboli Gardens date back to the 16th century when famous Florentine architect Bartolomeo Ammannati first created them for Grand Duke Cosimo I de Medici.

Since then, they have undergone many renovations and additions but still feature the same remarkable beauty that made them famous.

See Related: Best Destinations for Couples

9. Piazzale Michelangelo

Kyle Kroeger's Family at Piazzale Michelangelo at Sunset
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI

When planning your trip to Florence, chances are you’ve heard of Michelangelo’s famous statue of David. But did you know there’s even more to admire at this historic square? Piazzale Michelangelo, perched high on a hill overlooking the city and Arno River, is a can’t-miss destination in Florence.

Located roughly one-mile southwest of the historic city center, Piazzale Michelangelo is known for its incredible views of the city and surrounding hillsides. Don’t let the mileage fool you, though. This is worthy of being qualified as a hike to get to the top. Since we traveled with a toddler, we opted for the bus, which takes you directly to the top.

Visitors can admire stunning panoramas of Florence’s most notable points of interest, including the Palazzo Vecchio, the Ponte Vecchio, and the Duomo Cathedral, while taking in amazing sunsets over the Arno River.

Along with its beautiful scenery, Piazzale Michelangelo is also home to multiple significant monuments, including the statue of Michelangelo’s Davi and a replica of the famous Pietà sculpture. A trip to Florence wouldn’t be complete without getting up close and personal with this iconic statue (even though it’s just a replica).

Pro tip: I recommend visiting during sunset and bringing a nice bottle of red wine to enjoy the gorgeous orange Tuscan hue project across the city landscape.

See Related: Best Car Museums in Italy

10. Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral)

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral)
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Address: Q7F4+79 Firenze Fl

One thing about Italy is that there is no shortage of stunning cathedrals and churches. Florence is one of the finest examples of Italian Renaissance architecture, and sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s real. Among the most famous churches is Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, one of the oldest churches in Europe.

Featuring some of the most impressive architecture in Italy, this magnificent Florence cathedral boasts beautiful stained glass windows, intricate carvings and sculptures, and a 500+ foot tall dome, known as the “Duomo” or “Cupola.”

Tucked within the heart of Florence’s historic city center, the cathedral is easily the best thing to do in Florence. This massive cathedral opened in the 14th century, drawing visitors worldwide to admire its beauty and marvel at its incredible architectural feats.

Today, visitors can tour the cathedral’s interior, climb to the top of its Dome for sweeping views over Florence, or marvel at it from outside while wandering through the city streets.

If you want to stay near the Florence Cathedral while visiting the city, there are a few beautiful hotels and guesthouses. For a budget-friendly hotel, I recommend staying at Hotel Rosso23, a charming and cozy property steps from the cathedral. Or, for a luxury experience, check out the Hotel Atlantic Palace, a 4-star hotel that offers unparalleled city views from its rooms.

11. Piazza della Repubblica

Nighttime view of Piazza della Repubblica, Florence, Italy
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Piazza della Repubblica, 50123 Firenze FI

Piazza della Repubblica stands out as a jewel in the heart of Florence, serving as a hub for tourists and locals. Charming cafes, eateries, boutiques, and various establishments encircle the square. It is the perfect locale for people-watching while enjoying a classic Italian espresso or savoring a genuine Italian dish.

For those seeking nightlife, the piazza boasts clubs and bars perfect for an evening dance, while street performances often provide entertainment for those who prefer to soak in the culture.

Enchanting Night View of Carousel at Piazza della Repubblica in a historic European square
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Alternatively, one can unwind with a glass of wine on a stunning terrace that offers panoramic views of the square, especially as the sun dips below the horizon.

I recommend hopping on a walking tour of Florence to see up close some of the city’s most iconic piazzas, like Piazza della Repubblica.

This square is home to some of the city’s most notable points of interest, including the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Carmine, Orsanmichele Church, and the beautiful Loggia dei Lanzi. It’s impossible to get bored here with many things to do and explore.

See Related: Things to Do in Milan

12. Mercato Centrale

Cheese at Mercato Centrale
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

Address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Via dell’Ariento, 50123 Firenze FI

After a long day of sightseeing and exploring, there’s no better place to unwind than the Mercato Centrale in Florence. This indoor market is a superb choice for foodies, as you’ll taste local delicacies and see the curation of regional Italian cuisine firsthand.

Located centrally in historic downtown Florence in Piazza del Mercato Centrale, this indoor market is home to various food vendors selling everything from freshly-made pasta and pizza to artisanal cheese and freshly baked pastries. The Mercato Centrale accommodates diverse desires when seeking quick, casual, or more upscale dining.

If you love cooking and food, you’ll surely want to pick up some fresh ingredients here to take home with you. Or, if you’d rather skip the cooking and indulging altogether, Mercato Centrale also offers plenty of restaurants where you can enjoy a sit-down meal. My favorite foods at Mercato Centrale include fried artichokes, fresh mozzarella, and seafood pasta.

See Related: Best Restaurants in Italy

13. Climb to the top of Brunelleschi’s Dome (Cupola del Brunelleschi)

Closeup of Brunelleschi's dome, Florence, Italy
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI

Located at the heart of Florence’s historic city center, Brunelleschi’s Dome is one of the most iconic landmarks in this beautiful Italian city. As one of the crowning jewels of Florence’s impressive Cathedral, Brunelleschi’s Dome is a highly recommended destination for any visitor to experience all that Italy features.

Brunelleschi’s Dome, formally known as Cupola del Brunelleschi, is an impressive architectural masterpiece that took nearly 140 years to complete. Featuring intricate carvings and beautiful frescoes, this iconic Dome has become a symbol of Florence’s rich history and culture.

Today, visitors can explore Brunelleschi’s Dome either on their own or as part of a guided tour, giving you an up-close look at the incredible craftsmanship and stunning artwork that went into making this landmark. Choose to climb the 463 steps to the top of Brunelleschi’s Dome or admire it from ground level; either way, you’ll be in awe of its sheer beauty and grandeur.

Lovers of history aiming to explore Florence’s past features or those who love admiring stunning architecture will love spending time at this iconic monument.

See Related: Best Pompeii Tours from Naples, Italy

14. Bardini Gardens (Giardino Bardini)

Bardini Gardens Scenery
Dan74 / Shutterstock.com

Address: Via de’ Bardi, 1, 50125 Firenze FI

If you’re planning a trip to Florence and your itinerary includes historical sightseeing and delicious Italian cuisine, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Bardini Gardens.

This tranquil oasis is a mere stone’s throw from the city center. It offers a serene landscape of meticulously kept grounds, complete with some of the most breathtaking panoramic vistas in the city.

Spanning over 17 acres, the Bardini Gardens provide the perfect setting for a walk or a quiet picnic. You can soak in the spectacular views from the terrace or find a private nook within the gardens for some reflective solitude. The Bardini Gardens will undoubtedly enchant you.

Within this green haven is a villa from the 17th century, boasting architectural marvels like gothic-style stained glass windows and an adorable bell tower. When spring arrives, the gardens burst into a riot of floral hues, presenting countless opportunities for capturing stunning photographs.

If you’re traveling with kids, head to the Gardens’ petting zoo, where little ones can get up close and personal with some friendly farm animals. And for those searching for more adventure, you can rent a bike or segway and explore the gardens at your own pace. Bardini Gardens is also another terrific budget-friendly option on the list of Florence things to do!

Should you desire to stay near Bardini Gardens, this two-bedroom Bardini Garden apartment is the ideal place to call home in Florence. The conveniently located apartment features free wifi, two bathrooms, and a spacious living room with plenty of natural light.

Read Also: Is Florence Safe for Visitors?

15. Giotto’s Campanile

Giotto's Campanile Architecture
Cacio Murilo / Shutterstock.com

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI

I hope you’re not afraid of heights. Giotto’s Campanile is one of the tallest buildings in Florence, standing proudly at over 270 feet tall. The famed bell tower was built in 1334 by Giotto di Bondone and has become an iconic landmark for anyone exploring the city’s historic center.

While you may be tempted to admire this famous tower from afar, explore the magnificent views from the top. Located just a short climb up 414 steps, the bell tower is the perfect spot to get sweeping views of Florence’s rooftops and stunning architecture.

Visitors entering this bell tower will have 45 minutes to climb to the top, take the views, and head back down. But don’t worry; if you climb straight up (without stopping at the platforms), you can easily reach the top in about 10 minutes. Bring your camera along to capture stunning photos of this iconic city from a unique perspective.

See Related: Things to do in Ravello, Italy

16. La Giostra

La Giostra Tables and Chairs
Kokophotos / Shutterstock.com

Address: Borgo Pinti, 10/18R, 50121 Firenze FI

Craving authentic Italian cuisine in Florence? Make La Giostra your destination. Tucked into the heart of the historic center, this gem delights with a menu that champions classic dishes and inventive twists. Think beyond the quintessential pizza and pasta; the chicken parmigiana and smoked tuna sandwich stand out, tempting locals and travelers alike.

La Giostra has earned its reputation as a celebrity haunt—Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and Jessica Alba have all savored meals here. Yet the star power never overshadows the food or the warm service that makes every guest feel like a VIP.

17. Parco delle Cascine

Parco delle Cascine Sunset
Benjamin Sidney Florence / Shutterstock.com

Address: Piazzale delle Cascine, 50144 Firenze FI, Italy

Let’s head outdoors and spend some time at Parco delle Cascine or Cascine Park. This sprawling, open green space is the perfect place to get some fresh air and enjoy the sunshine in Florence.

This massive outdoor space covers over 395 acres, filled with tall trees, blooming flowers, and charming waterways. There are also plenty of things to do here, including a petting zoo, playgrounds for the kids, sports courts and fields, and even an outdoor swimming pool.

This historic park was initially opened as a hunting reserve in the early 16th century, but today is a popular spot to take in some of the city’s remarkable architecture.

With plenty of bike and scooter rentals available on-site, you can also explore the park on two wheels. And if you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love checking out the playground inside this sprawling park.

See Related: Discover Italy’s Hidden Beach in Polignano a Mare

18. Museo dei Ragazzi al Palazzo Vecchio

Inside Historic Museo di Palazzo Vecchio
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: P.za della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

If you’re hunting for a distinctive museum experience in Florence that appeals to visitors of all ages, make your way to the Museo dei Ragazzi within the storied walls of the Palazzo Vecchio.

This museum, designed with children in mind, offers a plethora of interactive displays and engaging activities that captivate both the young and the young at heart for countless hours.

Are you keen to wander along a street straight out of the medieval era, slip into the garb of a Renaissance artist, or craft your very own piece of jewelry?

This imaginative museum caters to a variety of tastes. With a host of exhibits that delve into the city’s illustrious history and heritage, children will be treated to an extraordinary window into the Florence of yesteryear. Youngsters visiting Florence are spoiled for choice with the array of pursuits available at this venue.

They can paint their works of art beside an imposing replica of Michelangelo’s David, navigate the city’s labyrinthine alleyways via an interactive 3D display, discover the storied Medici dynasty of Florence, or even participate in one of several workshops dedicated to crafting musical instruments.

19. Loggia dei Lanzi

Loggia dei Lanza in Piazza di Signoria
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Address: P.za della Signoria, 50121 Firenze FI, Italy

Loggia dei Lanzi, also called Loggia della Signoria, is one of Florence’s most beautiful and coveted landmarks. Situated in the center of Piazza della Signoria, this stunning medieval-style loggia is a popular spot for tourists to take photos and enjoy the city’s fantastic architecture.

The Loggia dei Lanzi was first constructed in the 14th century as a private residence, but today is home to a few incredible sculptures and works of art. Here, you can find indispensable pieces by Giambologna, Cellini, and Bernini, including the Michelangelo above’s David replica and the Fountain of Neptune.

This outdoor gallery is also home to five iconic marble statues, including Matidia, Marciana, Agrippina Minor, Sabine, and a barbarian prisoner. It’s located in the Signoria Plaza with many surrounding attractions, making it easy to stop by and see in between sightseeing. It’s also free to visit, making it a budget-friendly option for tourists and locals.

See Related: Theme Parks in Europe to Visit

20. Piazza Santo Spirito

Piazza Santo Spirito Architecture
DFLC Prints / Shutterstock.com

Address: Piazza Santo Spirito, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

In case you haven’t noticed by now, one of the most popular things to do in Florence is to visit the city’s many beautiful and historic piazzas; one of the most famous is Piazza Santo Spirito.

This enchanting square is just a short walk from Florence’s stunning Duomo and boasts some of the city’s best cafes, restaurants, and shops.

You’ll find everything from fine Italian cuisine to international favorites and many artisanal shops selling everything from handcrafted leather goods to jewelry. The square is also home to a charming fountain, numerous outdoor cafes where you can sit back and enjoy an espresso or glass of wine, and even a weekend street market.

Want a small-town, authentic Italian experience? You’ve got that here. Want a lively outdoor space with great food and shopping? This historic square has that, too. It’s honestly a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors exploring Florence.

If you want to make this area your home base while visiting Florence, head to Hotel Palazzo Guadagni, located centrally in Piazza Santo Spirito. This hotel is one hotel you certainly don’t want to miss out on, featuring cozy and stylish accommodations, a charming garden terrace, and some of the best views in the city.

21. Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella at Night
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Address: P.za di Santa Maria Novella, 18, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Yet another iconic landmark in Florence is the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. Located conveniently near many of the city’s other top attractions, this historic basilica is an unmissable gem for any serious history or art buff.

Built-in 1246, this beautiful Gothic church has seen many changes over the years and today stands as one of the city’s best examples of Italian Renaissance architecture. Inside, you’ll find incredible works of art by some of the most famous artists in history, including paintings and frescoes from Giotto and Masaccio.

The basilica is also home to a crucial museum dedicated to religious artifacts and relics and a monastery where you can see how the monks live and work. When searching for an absorbing activity in Florence’s history, art, and culture, visit this historic church.

And if you desire somewhere comfortable and convenient to stay during your visit, head to The Moon Boutique Hotel & Spa – one of the best hotels in Florence, steps from Santa Maria Novella.

Not only is this one of the best neighborhoods for dining in Florence, but the area surrounding the basilica offers a lot of nightlife. Famous bars like Santa Cocktail Club and The Fiddler’s Elbow Irish Pub are great places to grab a drink and meet some locals.

If you enjoy the nightlife scene, check out the famous Space Club, which stays open late at night. You’ll find it here if you’re in the mood for great food, a bit of nightlife, or some authentic Italian culture.

22. Stroll through the Ponte Vecchio

Tourist Viewing Ponte Vecchio, Florence
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Ponte Vecchio, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

The Ponte Vecchio was my favorite nighttime walk as the bridge is lit up by the jewelry stores lined along the sides of the bridge. This bridge is incredibly famous and for a valid reason.

This bridge never gives up. The resilience of this bridge is unparalleled, as it’s the only bridge to be left standing after World War II. It’s also one of the most photographed bridges in all of Europe, given its picturesque placement in a Tuscan landscape that is hard to believe is sometimes accurate.

I fondly remember this bridge as someone who lived in Florence for a few months. First-timers to Florence need to visit the historic Ponte Vecchio.

It can get jam-packed during the peak tourist season, so I recommend walking leisurely through at night. If you’re traveling with your significant other, there’s a love-lock section in the Ponte Vecchio. It’s a beautiful spot to snap a picture over the Arno River.

23. Take a day trip to Fiesole for stunning city views.

Landscape View of Florence from Fiesole, Italy
MisterStock / Shutterstock

Address: R74R+WX Fiesole

If you are someone who loves stunning aesthetics, then you’ll love spending an afternoon in Fiesole. This small town is located atop a hillside 5 kilometers outside Florence.

The city also features a ton of history, dating back to the Roman and Etruscan eras. Visiting Fiesole is an easy day trip from Florence, and access is here.

While you’re here, take in the panoramic views of Florence by dining at one of the excellent restaurants overlooking the city. There is also a market in the main town square that you can plan a visit around to make the most of your day.

24. Basilica di San Lorenzo & the Medici Chapels

San Lorenzo Basilica Florence, Renaissance architecture marvel
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Piazza di San Lorenzo, 9, 50123 Firenze FI

The Basilica di San Lorenzo (St. Lawrence Cathedral) is one of the main religious sites in Florence, Italy. It’s one of the city’s oldest churches and has been around since its completion in 1470.

Located in the historic center of Florence, it’s close to many other popular sites, such as the Duomo and Piazza della Signoria. For many people, St. Lawrence Cathedral symbolizes Florence during the Renaissance period.

The basilica was built in a Romanesque style and featured a few crucial works by famous Renaissance artists such as Donatello, Michelangelo, and Brunelleschi. You can find the Medici Chapels decorated with beautiful frescos by Michelangelo.

Despite suffering damage from bombs during World War II, the church still stands as a testament to Florence’s rich history and culture.

25. See an alternative version of David at the Bargello National Museum.

Statues of David in the Bargello Museum
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Via del Proconsolo, 4, 50122 Firenze

If you’re a statue lover, visit the Bargello National Museum. The exhibition center is incredibly affordable, only 8 euros to see, and is often one of the most overlooked museums in Florence.

The exhibit features a vast collection of statues and sculptures from the Renaissance, set in a former palazzo dating back to the 13th century. There are three statues of David here. Renaissance legends completed this museum, Donatello (one is done in marble and one in bronze) and Andrea del Verrochio, one of Leonardo di Vinci’s understudies.

In the above image, you can see Verrochio’s Statue of David in the foreground and Donatello’s Statue of David in the background. Both are unique because they offer a different approach than the one you so famously know housed at the Galleria Della Academia.

26. Shop for Italian goods at San Lorenzo Market.

Inside San Lorenzo Market in Italy
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Address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Via dell’Ariento, 50123 Firenze

Just outside the Basilica di San Lorenzo is a daily market that tourists flock to for its vast array of goods and wares. The market is best known for its handcrafted leather products.

Beyond the goods, you can find everything from fresh produce, meats, and cheeses to handmade Italian jewelry and handcrafted leather items. The market also offers plenty of opportunities for visitors to explore the local culture with numerous street performers and vendors.

With its exciting atmosphere and lively hustle and bustle, San Lorenzo Market is a highly recommended destination when visiting Florence. It’s one of the most visited places in Florence, making it a great place to visit during your stay in Italy.

27. Make a wish with the lucky boar

Fontana del Porcellino, Florence, Italy
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Piazza del Mercato Nuovo, 50123 Firenze FI

Fontana del Porcellino is a 17th-century statue located at Piazza Mercato Nuovo. This bronze fountain is known for its lucky powers.

Tourists flock to touch the boar’s nose to make a wish. The trick is petting the boar’s nose, putting a coin into its mouth, and letting the water take it. If the coin falls into the grate, your wish will come true! If not, well, try again.

It is next to a fun market to explore with many Florence-themed trinkets, clothes, and purses. The crowd around the boar can get quite large, so we recommend going early in the morning or at night. At night is the best time to visit because the fountain is lit up and hardly any tourists are around!

28. Take a day trip to Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre Village

Address: Province of La Spezia, Italy

If you’re looking for day trip ideas from Florence, add the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cinque Terre to your list. It’s a great way to escape city life and explore a national park filled with hiking opportunities, scenic towns, and excellent food.

Cinque Terre is known for being five towns on the hills of the Ligurian Sea coastline; each town offers incredible views and one-of-a-kind structures.

To get there, consider taking a private tour to make your day trip efficient. Alternatively, you can take the train from the central Florence train station to get there. You’ll need it for about 2.5 hours via car or train.

To plan a full day in your itinerary. It’s worth it, though, and the hiking will give you enough exercise that you’ll be excited to relax on a car or train ride back to Florence.

What is Florence, Italy, known for?

Sunset over Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Florence is one of the best examples of art, architecture, and culture from the Renaissance period, making it one of the most stunning cities in the world. The city is filled with examples of this through the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio, and its vast number of other incredible basilicas and squares.

The city was once home to some of the most iconic artists in world history, including Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo Di Vinci, Andrea del Verocchio, and many others.

In addition, the city is the capital of Tuscany, a famous worldwide food and wine region. If you love Italian food, come hungry because it simply doesn’t get much better than the cuisine in Florence. Checking out Florence is like entering a time capsule of history.

If you’re a culture vulture aiming to admire stunning works of art, you’ll be amazed by what this city offers. But that’s not all; outdoors fans can hike through the rolling Tuscan hills.

Are you looking for a food-centric experience? Don’t forget to check out the Mercato Centrale, one of the best places to eat in Florence, where you can sample all kinds of local delicacies.

Best Tours in Florence, Italy

1. Chianti Wine & Food Safari Top Recommendation

The Chianti Wine & Food Safari is the perfect way to experience all that the Chianti region has to offer. From its famous red wines and fresh produce to its traditional cuisine and breathtaking landscapes, this safari has it all. You'll enjoy transport in a customized 4WD vehicle for a fun drive through scenic, unmarked back roads, and take a full-day Chianti wine tour, including a delicious Tuscan lunch and several food tastings.

2. Florence Vespa Tour: Tuscan Hills and Italian Cuisine

On this Florence Vespa Tour, you'll get to experience the best of Tuscany while riding a vintage Vespa! Your local guide will take you on a scenic ride through the hills, past the famous Piazzale Michelangelo and the Church of San Miniato al Monte. Then, you'll head back to the country estate for a traditional Italian meal. This tour is limited to 10 travelers, so you're guaranteed an intimate experience.

3. Florence: Bike Tour, Cooking Class and Lunch

Looking for a unique way to experience Florence and Tuscany? Then this bike tour, cooking class and lunch is perfect for you! On the tour, you'll learn from a chef how to cook authentic Italian food. You'll also get to enjoy panoramic views of Florence and the Tuscan hills. And of course, no Italian experience would be complete without a delicious three course lunch paired with fine wines.

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Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

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