Florence Italy is one of my favorite places to visit! Possibly the birthplace of the Renaissance, this wonderful city has history, and art, and beauty, and culture on a grand scale.
Florence, or Firenze as the Italians call it, is much more relaxed than Rome and much more quiet. Vehicles are prohibited in the city center making it feel safe and walkable. This is also why I do not recommend the Hop On, Hop Off Bus tours. They cannot traverse the city center. They are however available to take you around the outskirts of the old city and into the Florentine neighborhoods. Maybe on another visit give them a try, but during your first time in Florence I’d skip them.
With so much to experience you really must prioritize your days so as not to feel rushed. So if you have just a few days to spend in this beautiful city ensure you make the most of your visit by following my list of the ‘5 Things You Must Do in Florence Italy’.
Enjoy my list, and I look forward to your feedback.
5 Things You Must Do in Florence Italy – #1
The Duomo Cathedral of Florence is number one on my list. This magnificent structure is the iconic symbol of Florence. Completed in 1436 the cathedral took nearly 200 years to complete. Standing in the heart of Florence it can be seen from anywhere in the city. Tickets to tour the interior and the Baptistery are available, and for those adventurous enough, there is admission to climb the steps to the top of the duomo.
5 Things You Must Do in Florence Italy – #2
Spanning the Arno River is the most famous of all the Florentine bridges, the Ponte Vecchio, or ‘Old Bridge’. The Ponte Vecchio is popular with tourists and locals looking to enjoy beautiful views of the river and shop for jewelry. The bridge is for pedestrian crossing only making the stroll across the river very enjoyable.
5 Things You Must Do in Florence Italy – 3
During the Renaissance, Florence was home to many of the great sculptors, painters, and writers of the time. Michelangelo, Botticelli, Donatello, Dante, the list of masters goes on and their works can be seen on display here in two of the great Italian museums that reside in Florence, the Ufizzi Museum and the Galleria della Accademia.
Tickets should be purchased in advance to avoid the long lines but don’t hesitate to walk up and purchase tickets as these two museums are must sees.
The Ufizzi Gallery
The Birth of Venus by Boticelli on display in the Ufizzi Gallery.
Michelangelo’s David, and yours truly, at the Accademia Gallery.
5 Things You Must Do in Florence Italy – #4
Number 4 on my list is the Church of Santa Croce. This beautiful Florentine Cathedral doesn’t receive the notoriety of the famous Duomo of Florence and is often left off of guided tours but to me this is a must see when in Florence. In an earlier post I’ve included much of the history you will discover in this beautiful church along with my youtube video from my visit.
Don’t miss it!
Church of Santa Croce
Church of Santa Croce
5 Things You Must Do in Florence Italy – #5
Florence is known for it’s shopping and delicious cuisine. That is why I’ve combined both shopping and eating into my Number 5 Things You Must Do in Florence.
I have yet to find better shopping for Italian leather goods than in Florence and with hundreds of shops and street vendors to choose from the prices are very reasonable. Many high end modern department stores also reside in the city adding to the variety of shopping that satisfies everyone.
Along every street you will find restaurants and bars, as well as street food vendors. Choosing a place to find a great meal can be overwhelming so I’ve recommended a couple that I truly enjoyed below.
The bronze statue of the Wild Boar of Piazza del Mercato Nuovo.
Jewelry stores on the Ponte Vecchio.
The Market of central Florence.
All’Antico Vinaio has grown in popularity since I first discovered it years ago. Now the lines to dine on their delicious sandwiches are always very long, but they move quickly. Don’t let the wait deter you from trying one of the many sandwich options they serve. It is well worth your time and the 6 euro it will cost you.
Florentine steak is a popular choice for those looking for a more refined dining experience and the restaurants of Florence are renowned and proud of their meats. I really enjoy Trattoria Parione and have eaten there twice. Both times I had wonderful meals prepared to perfection. I will certainly go back again.