Florence definitely deserves a place among the cities to visit at least once in your life!
The city of the lily will win your heart with its romantic city views and the artistic heritage of its thriving past.
The question that springs to mind when you are trying to organise your holiday without missing out on traditional Tuscan secrets is: what are the 10 musts to do and see in Florence?
Before diving into museums or getting bewitched by the shop windows, simply take a stroll around the city. Fortunately, the historic centre can be easily visited on foot and everything is pretty close; you will be able to orient yourself and breathe in the authentic air of Florence.
The recommended itinerary covers the 3 main squares, that is:
- Piazza del Duomo, with the Cathedral of Florence and the famous dome
- Piazza della Signoria, with the Palazzo Vecchio
- Piazza della Repubblica, the heart of the city since Roman times
The walk that connects these 3 places, will allow you to enjoy a first taste of the magic of the city.
Near the station, another square to visit is Santa Maria Novella, with one of the most important facades of the Florentine Renaissance. If you have time to go inside, you can admire interior cloisters, Giotto's crucifix and Ghirlandaio's frescoes.
The last square that should be mentioned is Piazza di Santa Croce. The church of Santa Croce houses the tombs of some of the most famous Italian figures, including Michelangelo Buonarroti, Galileo Galilei and Ugo Foscolo. And if you're looking for some nightlife, you are in the right place. The whole area around the square is the heart of nightlife.
To experience the authentic spirit of Florence, cross the river Arno and walk around the districts of San Frediano and Santo Spirito, known, in fact, as the Oltrarno.
You cannot visit Florence without going inside a couple of museums at least. If time is short, the ones not to be missed are:
- The Accademia Gallery, with the famous statue of Michelangelo's David
- The Uffizi, with Botticelli's masterpieces such as Primavera and the Birth of Venus
Do not restrict yourself to the most famous museums, which are often very crowded, Florence does not lack so-called minor museums. A short distance from the Duomo, in Casa di Dante, you can discover all the secrets of the famous poet or enjoy the Galileo Museum of Science with the whole family and why not some modern art at the Museo del 900!
As for the unmissable monuments of Florence, let yourself be inspired by the postcards.
In fact, the Florentines themselves do not miss up a walk on the Ponte Vecchio on Sundays or a romantic sunset from the panoramic Piazzale Michelangelo. And from the pictures, you can see why!
How could you miss the emblem of Florence, the impressive Duomo with Brunelleschi's dome? In addition to its fascinating beauty, the dome boasts other records.
When it was built it was the largest in the world, with a 45.5-metre internal diameter. Today it has been overtaken but remains the largest among those in masonry.
It is also one of the monuments most discussed by architects because of the mystery surrounding the construction techniques used.
But is it worth climbing the 463 steps to reach the panoramic terrace? Absolutely yes!
If the architectural aspects of the dome and the Duomo of Florence intrigue you, allow yourself a visit to the beautiful Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, renovated a few years and now very modern.
Another popular destination, especially for children, is the Porcellino fountain, named after the statue of the wild boar, located under the loggia of the Mercato Nuovo.
According to tradition, you should put a coin in the mouth of the bronze animal, after having rubbed his nose, it is a good omen if the falling coin falls through the grating due to the flow of water. In the same way as throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain guarantees a return to Rome, also in Florence performing this gesture could be a way to make sure you come back.
The Tuscan capital is full of events of all kinds, fairs and shows that take place every year.
The best known include:
- Pitti Uomo, an event of global importance in the men's fashion industry, takes place twice a year, in January and June
- Fragranze, a trade show dedicated to trade operators, takes place in September
- Taste, the Salone del Gusto for gourmets, restaurateurs and producers of excellence is held in March
- Firenze Rocks, one of the most exciting events of the Florentine summer with international guests, such as the pop star Ed Sheeran and The Cure, the historic post-punk group
- The Craft Fair in April, in the wonderful Fortezza da Basso
- The feast of San Giovanni, the Patron Saint of the city, celebrated every 24th June. During the day there is a historical procession and the Florentine Historical Football final and, in the evening, the "fochi di San Giovanni" [fireworks]
Florence, like every Italian city, stands out for its gastronomic tradition and its typical flavours, including the steak to be savoured strictly rare and the Florentine schiacciata, the soft carnival cake.
It is not be difficult to choose a good restaurant even in the centre. Just move away from the large squares to the most hidden alleys and choose for preference a more humble, homely environment where you can enjoy a good ribollita and a starter of crostini, prepared by the expert hands of the women of the house.
If, instead, you have little time and you're looking for a tasty last-minute lunch, the right thing for you is a nice lampredotto sandwich. Follow the scent to one of the many street kiosks that will serve you the traditional Florentine street food, accompanied by a good glass of red wine.
Yes, Tuscany is known all over the world for wine too. First of all, Chianti, red and full-bodied, followed by the sweet vin santo, to be tasted strictly with cantuccini, delicious dry biscuits with almonds.
Speaking of wine, it is time for an aperitif, the time of day much loved by Italians. A moment to spend with some friends and a glass of prosecco.
In the wine shops you can taste or buy different varieties of wine varieties, while you will enjoy a more rustic experience in one of the many "vinaino" of the city, the characteristic wine bars in the centre of Florence. Small bars, often furnished in a spartan way with a few tables or stools, where you can order a glass of Chianti and maybe two crostini.
If you are more of a "Moscow Mule" and "Old fashioned" type of person, the two recommended areas are Santa Croce or Santo Spirito, the nightlife squares that are teeming with cocktail bars and groups of friends.
Travelling as a family? Are you continually looking for some fun activities for your children, who are now tired of the museums?
Let's start with a great classic: a dip in the pool! At Firenze Camping in Town, just 15 minutes from the centre, you can relax completely, lie in the sun and let the kids splash around in the safe lagoons with shallow water.
The Planetarium, a short distance from the Duomo, will certainly stimulate the brain and curiosity of smaller children! Navigating in space thanks to the 3D map, you can explore the stars and find out more on the topic in the dedicated educational workshops.
At the end of the day, you really want a pizza and children love pizza. And Buoneria loves children! In addition to the baby menu, high chairs and changing tables, the pizzeria nestled in the Parco delle Cascine, offers a large garden with playground, so everyone can enjoy the evening!
There are thousands of tours you can do in Florence: walking tours, bike tours, food tours, guided tours, excursions out of the city and so on and so forth!
An original way of visiting the main points of interest in a short time is the Segway Tour: a dynamic and fun experience, on board an electric scooter, for exploring Florence from every angle.
A more traditional, but no less compelling, way is the bright red City Sightseeing bus! From the historical centre, passing over the most beautiful bridges in Florence, as far as the hills of Fiesole, the panoramic route will give you unique points of view and wonderful souvenir photos.
After all this culture, what you need is a bit of shopping!
The streets of the centre that connect the main squares, such as via dei Calzaiuoli or via de' Tornabuoni, are home to the boutiques of the big names such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and Giorgio Armani.
If, instead, you prefer to wear vintage garments or unique items, once again you will have to abandon the streets most frequented by tourists and lose yourself in the intricate alleys of Florence, exploring the more alternative, artisan districts of the Oltrarno. On Sunday mornings, you can often find flea markets with stalls selling second-hand items!
What is the best and most appetising way to get to know Italian culture? Try a cooking class!
Pastry, fried fish or home-made pasta: at the Central Market in Florence you'll find the cooking class that's right for you.
The Leonardo De 'Medici cooking school in the lively and historic Market has 7 high technology workstations, induction cookers and, above all, a lot of passion for good food.
We could continue to list many more attractions to see and experiences to enjoy in Florence, but I would say that this is enough to start with!
We suggest you these destinations
Camping in the heart of the Renaissance, why not? Florence Camping in Town offers you an exciting and eco-friendly urban experience for your Italy holiday...