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Let me take you on a journey through Florence, a city that captivated us with its rich history and stunning artistry. This is more than a travel guide. It is a personal invitation to experience Florence with a sense of wonder and deep appreciation.

As we wandered its streets, we were enveloped in a world where the echoes of the Renaissance resonate at every turn. The majestic Duomo stood a proud testament to Florence’s artistic heritage – its dome dominating the skyline like a sentinel of history.

From the bustling Mercato Centrale to the serene Boboli Gardens, every step in Florence was a discovery. Don’t just visit Florence; immerse yourself in it. Let the city’s rhythm guide you to its hidden gems, from the Uffizi Gallery’s masterpieces to the quaint streets of the Oltrarno.

Florence in the golden glow of autumn? It’s like a canvas coming to life.

This guide is a collection of experiences and memories, an encouragement to create unforgettable moments in the heart of Tuscany.


Best Things to Do in Florence

Florence is a city where every street corner is a testament to its rich heritage and vibrant culture. It beckons you to dive into its living history and contemporary charm. Start your day with the majestic Ponte Vecchio, witnessing the golden light dance on the Arno. Then, venture to the historical Palazzo Vecchio, a Florentine power and artistry symbol. And that’s just the beginning of your journey. 

Enhanced by these explorations, your adventure in Florence becomes a tapestry of experiences weaving the city’s grand past with its dynamic present.

Here are the top 9 things to experience in Florence:

1. Ponte and Palazzo Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio:

Price: Free to walk across the bridge.

Best time to visit: Early mornings (around 8:00-9:00 AM) before the crowds arrive, or evenings before sunset when the light casts a warm glow on the Arno River. It can get very crowded in the afternoon, especially during peak season (June-August).

How to get there: The Ponte Vecchio is easily accessible on foot from most places in the city center. If you’re coming from the train station, you can take a bus (lines C1 or C2) or walk for about 20 minutes.

Palazzo Vecchio:

Price: Entrance fee is €25 – €27 for adults, €10 for children 6-14, €22 – €25 for students under 26 with ID. Free admission is on the first Sunday of every month.

Best time to visit: Early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds. The Palazzo Vecchio is busiest from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

How to get there: The Palazzo Vecchio is located in Piazza della Signoria, in the heart of Florence’s historic center. It’s a short walk from the Ponte Vecchio. You can also take bus lines C1, C2, or D.

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Ponte Vecchio, dating back to 1345, is famed for surviving WWII, unlike other bridges in Florence. It symbolizes resilience, housing age-old jewelry shops and offering a romantic view of the Arno River.

Palazzo Vecchio, built in the early 14th century, is a fortress-like town hall with stunning frescoes and sculptures. It’s the site of historical power plays and the story of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ – initially positioned here, symbolizing Florence’s strength.

These landmarks represent Florence’s rich history and artistic heritage, making them pivotal destinations for any Florence itinerary.

Crossing Ponte Vecchio is like traversing a living museum, each shop a window into Florence’s artisan heritage. With its towering structure and rich history, Palazzo Vecchio is a journey into the city’s political and artistic soul. Together, they embody Florence’s historical grandeur and contemporary vibrancy, making them essential experiences in any ultimate Florence Guide.

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2. All’Antico Vinaio: A Taste of Florence's Culinary Heart

Price: The price of a panini at All’Antico Vinaio typically ranges from €5 to €10, depending on your chosen ingredients.

Best time to visit: To avoid the crowds, try going early in the morning (around 10:00 AM) or later in the afternoon (after 3:00 PM). The lunchtime rush can be quite long.

How to get there: All’Antico Vinaio has three locations in Florence:

  • The original shop is located at Via dei Neri, 65r. You can walk there from the Ponte Vecchio in about 5 minutes, or take bus lines C1 or C2 to the Santa Croce stop.
  • All’Antico Vinaio Atto II is located at Via de’ Benci, 12/r. This location is also about a 5-minute walk from the Ponte Vecchio.
  • All’Antico Vinaio Atto III is located at Piazza de’ Rossi, 1/r. This location is a bit further away, about a 15-minute walk from the Ponte Vecchio.


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All’Antico Vinaio, nestled in the heart of Florence, has been serving its renowned sandwiches since 1989. This family-run eatery gained fame for its ‘schiacciata,’ a delectable Tuscan flatbread, packed with local, high-quality ingredients.

Each sandwich here is a blend of tradition and creativity, reflecting the rich culinary culture of Florence. This spot has become a pilgrimage for food enthusiasts, showcasing how simple, fresh ingredients can create a memorable dining experience.

It’s not just a meal, it’s a slice of Florence’s gastronomic history, making it a must-visit for anyone seeking authentic Tuscan flavors.

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3. Basilica di San Miniato al Monte: A Panoramic View into History

Price: Entrance to the Basilica is free. Some areas, like the Crypt and the Sacristy, might require a small entrance fee (€3-5).

Best time to visit:

  • Early mornings (around 8:00-9:00 AM) before the crowds arrive are ideal for a peaceful experience.
  • Evenings before sunset offer stunning views of the city bathed in golden light.
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  • Avoid midday, especially during peak season (June-August), as it can get crowded.

How to get there:

  • Walking: This is the most scenic option, offering panoramic city views as you climb the hill. The walk takes about 20-30 minutes from the Ponte Vecchio.
  • Bus: Take bus #12 from Lungarno di Santa Rosa to Galileo San Miniato. The journey takes about 18 minutes.
  • Taxi: The fastest option, taking about 7-10 minutes, but also the most expensive (€11-€14).
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Perched atop one of Florence’s highest points, the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte offers breathtaking views of Florence. Dating back to 1018, this Romanesque church is a marvel of historic architecture and art.

Its geometrically patterned façade and the intricate mosaic of Christ between the Virgin and St. Minias are hallmarks of Tuscan Romanesque design. The church is also famous for its beautiful cemetery, where the graves whisper tales of Florence’s past.

A visit here is a serene escape from the bustling city, offering a unique blend of spiritual calm, historical depth, and panoramic beauty.

4. Michelangelo's David: A Masterpiece of Renaissance Art


Gain fast-track access to one of Italy’s premier art museums with a pre-booked entry pass to the Accademia Gallery in Florence.

  • Adult ages 25 to 99 ticket: €22.80.
  • Youth ages 18 to 24 ticket price: €7.00
  • Under 18: €5.00
  • EU Citizens with ID ages 18 to 24 ticket price: €7.00


Best time to visit:

  • Early mornings (8:15-9:00 AM): Beat the crowds and savor a peaceful encounter with David before the influx of visitors.
  • Weekdays: Generally less crowded than weekends, especially outside peak season (June-August).
  • Late afternoons (after 4:00 PM): The crowds start thinning out closer to closing time (6:15 PM).


How to get there:

The Accademia Gallery is located on Via Ricasoli, 58, in the heart of Florence.

  • Walking: A delightful option from most central locations, offering a chance to soak in the city’s charm. The walk takes about 15-20 minutes from the Ponte Vecchio.
  • Bus: Take bus lines C1 or C2 to the Accademia stop. The journey takes about 10 minutes.
  • Taxi: The fastest and most convenient option, especially if you’re short on time. The ride takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on traffic.

Michelangelo’s David is not just a statue; it’s a symbol of Florence’s artistic legacy. Crafted between 1501 and 1504, this remarkable sculpture is a testament to Michelangelo’s mastery and the ideals of the Renaissance.

Representing the biblical hero David, the statue was originally commissioned for Florence’s cathedral but was instead placed in the public square outside the Palazzo Vecchio. Its move to the Accademia Gallery has allowed millions to admire its detailed craftsmanship and expressive realism.

David’s poised yet contemplative gaze captures the human spirit and is a must-see for any art enthusiast in Florence.

5. Uffizi Gallery: A Treasure Trove of Renaissance Art


Secure swift access to the heart of Italian art with a pre-reserved ticket for the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

  • Full ticket: €25 during high season (March-October) and €12 during low season (November-February).
  • Reduced ticket: €12.50 for EU citizens aged 18-25.
  • Free entry: On the first Sunday of every month.

Best time to visit:

  • Early mornings (8:15-9:00 AM): Arrive before the crowds and enjoy a calmer experience, especially around iconic masterpieces like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.
  • Weekdays: Generally less crowded than weekends, particularly outside peak season (June-August).
  • Late afternoons (after 4:00 PM): The crowds start thinning out closer to closing time (6:50 PM).
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How to get there:

The Uffizi Gallery is located on Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, in the heart of Florence.

  • Walking: A pleasant option from most central locations, offering a chance to admire the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River along the way. The walk takes about 15-20 minutes from the Ponte Vecchio.
  • Bus: Take bus lines C1 or D to the Uffizi stop. The journey takes about 10 minutes.
  • Taxi: The fastest and most convenient option, especially if you’re short on time. The ride takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on traffic.
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Established in 1581, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the world’s most famous art museums, housing an unparalleled collection of Italian Renaissance art. Originally designed by Giorgio Vasari, it served as the offices for Florentine magistrates.

Over time, it evolved into a gallery showcasing the art collection of the Medici family. The Uffizi’s corridors are lined with works by masters like Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci, making it a pivotal destination for art lovers. Visiting the Uffizi Gallery is a walk through the pages of art history.

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6. Gelato in Florence: A Sweet Tradition

Price: Prices vary depending on the gelateria and how many scoops you choose. Typically, single scoops range from €2-€3, with double scoops around €4-€5. Cones are usually cheaper than cups.

Best time to visit:

  • Early mornings (before 11:00 AM): Avoid the afternoon crowds and enjoy a leisurely gelato-savoring session.
  • Evenings (after 8:00 PM): Another relaxed option, perfect for a post-dinner treat.
  • Spring and fall: Cooler temperatures make gelato even more delightful, without the summer heat melting it too quickly.

How to get there:

  • Gelaterias are sprinkled throughout Florence, so you’ll probably stumble upon one during your explorations. Here are some specific options:
  • Gelateria La Carraia: Located across the Ponte Vecchio, a local favorite known for its €1 scoop deals and creamy gelato.
  • Gelateria Edoardo: In Piazza del Duomo, this organic gelateria offers unique flavors like lavender, sesame, and classics.
  • La Sorbettiera: Family-run with unique, refreshing flavors like Thai-inspired lemongrass and coconut milk gelato.
  • Perchè No!: A hidden gem tucked away in a side street, offering classic and delicate flavors like honey sesame and lavender.
  • Gelateria dei Neri: Using the freshest seasonal ingredients, they’re known for their inventive flavor combinations like basil and pine nut (pesto!).


Gelato, a staple of Italian cuisine, has a special place in Florence, where it’s believed to have been refined to its modern form. This frozen delicacy dates back to the Renaissance when Florentine alchemist Cosimo Ruggieri created the first gelato flavor at the court of the Medici.

Today, Florence is home to countless gelaterias, each serving a variety of rich, creamy flavors made with local ingredients. Tasting gelato in Florence is not just a treat; it’s a delightful dive into a sweet part of the city’s history and culture.

7. Piazza della Signoria: The Heart of Florentine Civic Life

Price: Free to enter and explore! The piazza is a public space. You can wander around admiring the sculptures and soaking in the atmosphere without cost. However, some surrounding attractions, like the Palazzo Vecchio and Uffizi Gallery, have entrance fees.

Best time to visit:

  • Early mornings (before 10:00 AM): Enjoy the piazza before the crowds arrive and capture photos without hordes of people in the background.
  • Evenings (after sunset): The piazza creates a magical ambiance with warm lighting illuminating the sculptures and surrounding buildings.
  • Weekdays: Generally less crowded than weekends, especially outside peak season (June-August).


How to get there: The Piazza della Signoria is easily accessible on foot from most places in the city center. Here are some options:

  • Walking: From the Ponte Vecchio, it’s a delightful 5-minute stroll across the Arno River. You can also walk from the Duomo in about 10-15 minutes.
  • Bus: Take bus lines C1, C2, or D to the Santa Maria Novella stop a short walk from the piazza.
  • Taxi: The fastest option, but also the most expensive. A taxi ride from Santa Maria Novella station takes about 5 minutes.

Piazza della Signoria has been the central square of Florence since the 14th century. Surrounded by historic buildings like Palazzo Vecchio and Loggia dei Lanzi, it’s witnessed many significant events in Florence’s history.

The square is an open-air gallery featuring copies of famous sculptures, including a replica of Michelangelo’s David. It’s a space where art, history, and daily life converge, making it a vibrant and essential stop for anyone visiting Florence.

8. Day Trip to Pisa: A Journey Through Medieval Marvels


The cost of a day tour to Pisa can vary depending on several factors, such as the specific tour you choose, transportation options, and inclusions (like meals or entrance fees). Generally, expect to pay between €50-€150 per person.

Consider exploring options like:

  • Buy Tickets in Advance and enjoy at your own pace. 
  • Guided Tour of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Cathedral: Starting around €20-€30, these tours offer a budget-friendly option to explore the city’s highlights with a local guide. 
  • Bike Tours: Starting around €40-€50, these tours provide a fun and active way to see the sights, covering more ground than walking tours.
  • Day Tours from Florence: with several options to choose from, you can see more than just Pisa in a day. Generally €70-100 per person.
  • Private Tours: Offering a personalized experience with greater flexibility, private tours typically start around €100-€150 per person.


Best time to visit:

  • Spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November): Pleasant weather with fewer crowds makes these seasons ideal for exploring Pisa.
  • Summer (June-August): While the weather is warm and sunny, expect larger crowds and higher prices.
  • Winter (December-February): The city sees fewer tourists and lower prices, but some attractions may have shorter opening hours.


How to get there:

  • From Florence: Pisa is easily accessible from Florence by train, taking about an hour and costing around €8-€15 one way. You can also take a bus, which takes slightly longer but might be cheaper, starting around €5-€10.
  • From other cities: Depending on your location, you can reach Pisa by train, plane, or bus.

Things to see and do in Pisa:

  • Leaning Tower of Pisa: The iconic landmark you can’t miss! Climbing the tower is a must-do experience, offering stunning city views. Tickets can be purchased online or at the ticket office, so consider booking in advance during peak season.
  • Piazza dei Miracoli: The square surrounding the Leaning Tower, also housing the Pisa Cathedral and Baptistery. Explore the intricate architecture and soak in the historical atmosphere.
  • Pisa Cathedral: A beautiful example of Romanesque architecture, featuring a bronze door by Giambologna and stunning mosaics. Entrance is free, but climbing the Pisa Baptistery requires a separate ticket.
  • Camposanto Monumentale: A monumental cemetery with fascinating frescoes and sculptures depicting religious scenes. The entrance fee is €7.
  • National Museum of San Matteo: Housed in a former monastery, this museum exhibits medieval and Renaissance art, including works by Donatello and Pisano. The entrance fee is €8.


Pisa, more than just its Leaning Tower, is steeped in history. This maritime city was a significant naval power in the 11th century, rivaling Genoa and Venice. Its Piazza dei Miracoli, or Square of Miracles, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to the tower, the cathedral, and the baptistery.

These masterpieces of medieval architecture reflect the wealth and artistic achievements of Pisa during its maritime prominence. A day trip to Pisa from Florence offers a glimpse into a pivotal chapter of Italian history, making it a compelling addition to any Tuscan itinerary.

9. Day Trip to Cinque Terre: A Colorful Coastal Escape


The cost of your day trip to Cinque Terre can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Transportation: Train (€33 return from Florence), rental car (€30-€50 rental + parking), guided tours (€80-€150 with transportation and activities).
  • Activities: Boat tour (€20-€50), hiking trails (free), swimming (free).
  • Food: Budget (€10-€15), moderate (€20-€30), splurge (€50+).


Best Time to Visit:

  • Spring (April-May) and Autumn (September-October): Pleasant weather, smaller crowds, and lower prices make these ideal seasons.
  • Summer (June-August): Warmest weather, stunning seaside views, but expect larger crowds and higher prices.
  • Winter (November-March): Fewer tourists, and lower prices, but some businesses may be closed, and weather can be unpredictable.
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How to Get There:

  • Train: The most convenient and budget-friendly option. Take a direct train from Santa Maria Novella station in Florence to La Spezia Centrale (2.5-3 hours, €15 one-way). From La Spezia, take the Cinque Terre Express train to explore the villages (€7 for a day pass).
  • Rental Car: Offers more flexibility and independence, but parking can be challenging and expensive in the villages. Drive to La Spezia, park there, and use the Cinque Terre Express train.
  • Guided Tour: Takes the hassle out of planning and transportation. Tours may include guided walks, boat rides, and meals.


Things to See and Do:

  • Explore the five villages: Each has a unique charm and character. Wander the colorful streets of Riomaggiore, sip wine in the vineyards of Manarola, hike the trails of Corniglia, relax on the beach in Monterosso al Mare, and admire the pastel houses of Vernazza.
  • Take a boat tour: Enjoy the dramatic coastline from a different perspective, admiring hidden coves and charming villages from the sea.
  • Go hiking: Several scenic trails offer breathtaking views of the Cinque Terre, ranging from easy strolls to challenging hikes.
  • Relax on the beach: Swim in the turquoise waters and soak up the sunshine on one of the Cinque Terre’s beaches.
  • Enjoy local cuisine: Sample fresh seafood, pesto pasta, and delicious Ligurian wines.

Cinque Terre, a string of five ancient seaside villages on the Italian Riviera, is known for its picturesque beauty and vibrant architecture. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has a rich history of small fishing communities.

Over time, they’ve become renowned for their stunning landscapes, terraced cliffs, and colorful houses. A day trip to Cinque Terre from Florence offers a refreshing contrast to the city’s Renaissance art and architecture, highlighting the diverse beauty of the Italian landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Things to Do in Florence

What is Florence famous for?

Florence is renowned for its rich history in art, culture, and politics, particularly as the birthplace of the Renaissance. It’s famous for masterpieces of art and architecture, including Michelangelo’s David and Brunelleschi’s Dome in the Florence Cathedral.

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most visited places in Florence, known for its outstanding collection of Renaissance art, including works by Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci.

A perfect day in Florence includes exploring iconic landmarks like the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and Uffizi Gallery, savoring local cuisine, and strolling through charming neighborhoods like the Oltrarno.

The Oltrarno area is often considered the nicest part of Florence, known for its artisan shops, quaint cafés, and fewer tourists, offering a more authentic Florentine experience.

It’s best to avoid staying near the train station as it can be crowded and less charming. Opt for accommodations in the historic center or quieter neighborhoods for a more enjoyable stay.

Final Thoughts on the Best Things to Do in Florence

In conclusion, Florence, a city woven with art, history, and Tuscan flavors, offers an array of unforgettable experiences. From the architectural marvels of Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Vecchio to the culinary delight of All’Antico Vinaio, each moment here is a step through centuries of rich heritage.

The serene Basilica di San Miniato, the iconic David, and the artistic haven of the Uffizi Gallery further enrich your journey. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in Florence’s famous gelato, and embrace the bustling life at Piazza della Signoria.

Excursions to Pisa and Cinque Terre offer glimpses into Italy’s wider beauty and history. This guide, a blend of practical tips and personal insights, is your companion to discovering the heart of Florence. Each visit becomes more than just a trip; it’s an immersion into a world where every corner, every street, every flavor tells a story.