Looking for things to do in Florence? Florence is a fantastic city that has a lot to offer its visitors. Whether you go there over a weekend or for a whole week, there are plenty of things to both see and do.
Back in time, the city was a financial center of commerce and today one can see many different eras when exploring the city and visiting its various attractions. Here are my best tips of things to do in Florence as a tourist:
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Visit Santa Maria del Fiore
The famous cathedral in Florence, also known by the name Santa Maria del Fiore, is one of Italy’s most famous and beautiful buildings. The church is known for its huge dome which was the largest in the world until year 1881.
If you are in shape, I can recommend going up the 463 stair steps to reach the top of the cathedral where you have a beautiful view of the city.
If you are up for another climb, I can also recommend going up in the bell tower Giotto’s Campanile, where you have another fantastic view of the city and the cathedral.
Shop local products and souvenirs
As you may already know, Italy is a country known for its shopping. Florence is no exception as the city offers a wide range of shopping.
Here you will find everything from local designers to exclusive brands and lots of quality leather products. You can buy everything from clothes and accessories to shoes and Italian souvenirs to bring back home.
Visit Palazzo Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio was built in 1299 by the same architecture that designed the church of Santa Maria del Fiore. The building is square in shape with a bell tower that makes it look like a beautiful castle.
On the facade in the front you can see different shields representing important families that have a connection to Florence’s history.
It’s no doubt one of the best attractions in Florence. It’s such a beautiful and historic building.
Explore the food culture in Florence
One of the best things to do in Florence is to eat delicious Italian food and taste Italian wine.
It’s between Florence and Siena that some of Italy’s finest wines are produced, so make sure to taste a glass or two during your stay in the city.
It’s also worth mentioning the “Panini” sandwiches in Florence. My favorite place for these sandwiches is called SandwiChic and is located in the city center.
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Have a look at the art in the Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the world’s most famous art galleries, which makes this museum a must to visit.
It’s in this museum that you can see the famous painting “Birth of Venus” and many other works of art by famous artists like Botticelli, Da Vinci, Titian, and Raphael.
In addition to the artworks, the building itself is also worth seeing. The building has a fantastic architecture with both pillars and arches adorned with beautiful marble statues. The inside of the gallery is also very impressive.
Eat food at II Mercato Centrale
If you’re like me and love food, then this is a place for you. Mercato Centrale is Florence’s own market hall and here you’ll find lots of Italian delicacies and international food.
It’s a lively but lovely place where the atmosphere is always on top with people who come to eat, drink and socialize. II Mercato Centrale is a popular place among locals and tourists alike.
The price for food is okay considering the experience you get from eating here. But you’ll of course get better prices or larger portions at the same price at other restaurants around town.
Enjoy the view from Piazzale Michelangelo
Piazzale Michelangelo may be a touristy place, but is still worth a visit.
It’s from this place that you have a panoramic view of the city. You can see both Santa Maria del Fiore, the Arno River, and Palazzo Vecchio from this vantage point.
This attraction is perfect to visit with children, with your partner or with friends. Just don’t forget to bring your camera as the view is incredibly beautiful!
Walk across Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio is one of the city’s most popular attractions, and is also one of the world’s most famous bridges.
The bridge crosses the Arno River and is the oldest bridge in Florence. The original bridge is believed to date back to year 966, but the one we can see today was rebuilt in 1354 after a heavy flood in the city.
It’s characterized by its design with small houses that are home to several stores where you can buy souvenirs, antiques, and jewelry.
During the evenings, street musicians perform here and invites you to a wonderful show. Sit down along the bridge, have a good drink in your hand, and just enjoy the atmosphere.
Stroll around at Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is one of the many beautiful squares located in Florence. What sets this square apart from other squares in Florence is that it’s home to some of the city’s most impressive and well-known statues.
You can see, among many other things, Neptune’s fountain and a statue of Perseus holding Medusa’s head in his hand.
Eat Italian ice cream
When you are in Italy, you simply have to eat Italian ice cream. It’s no doubt one of the best things to do in Florence.
I think most people can agree with me when I say that Italian ice cream is one of the best in the world.
Florence is said to be the birthplace of ice cream and is a city known for its family-owned ice cream parlors that sell delicious home-made ice cream.
Perche’No is one of the city’s most famous ice cream shops where they sell ice cream with unusual flavors like Tuscan rose and lavender.
Vivoli is another old family-owned ice cream shop, and here you have more traditional flavors like vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, and seasonal fruit ice cream.
Personally, I like Time for Gelato. Here you get big portions of ice cream, and is wasn’t expensive comparing to the more famous places mentioned above. The ice cream was delicious as well.
See the famous David statue
One of the most famous works of art in Florence is the David statue by Michelangelo. This large statue stands inside Galleria dell’Accademia in central Florence and is one of the most popular things to see.
In addition to this statue, you can also have a look at other impressive sculptures and statues. There are many masterpieces of Renaissance art inside this museum.
Check out the street art
The Renaissance capital also offers a lesser known type of art – street art. To stroll around and trying to find the street art is one of the most popular things to do in Florence.
Around town you’ll find artworks from artists like Clet Abraham who make comic changes to street signs.
You can also have a look for L’Arte Sa Nuotare “art knows how to swim”, which are funny portraits of famous people in diving equipment – including Mona Lisa and Dante.
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Things to do in Florence with kids
- Take a ride on the old carousel at Piazza della Repubblica
- Visit Boboli Gardens
- Explore the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum
- Eat ice cream
- Visit Parco Delle Cascine
- Take a cooking class
Things to do in Florence when it rains
- Visit the Uffizi Gallery
- Eat at Mercato Centrale
- Look at art in Galleria della Accademia
- Eat Italian food at a cozy restaurant
- Go to the cinema
- Buy an umbrella and stroll around in the rain
- Go on wine tasting
- Take a cooking class
What are your favorite things to do in Florence? Leave a comment below!