The 20 Best Things To Do in Florence

the best things to do in Florence

If a classic European getaway is what you're looking for, there's no better destination than the fascinating and captivating city of Florence. Located in the heart of Italy, this stunning historic city will make you instantly fall in love with its breathtaking architecture, world-class gelato, and cultural experiences around every corner. Whether you're planning on spending a whole week exploring the winding streets of this marvelous city or only have a few short hours, here are the top 20 best things to do in Florence during your stay.

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, FlorenceUnsplash

1. Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

Location: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Early morning, just after opening

One of the most quintessential Italian landmarks, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is an absolute must-see for anyone stopping by Florence. Built in the 15th century, it was once considered the largest cathedral in the world. Now, it is one of the most visited attractions in the country, with over 1 million people making their way through its awe-inspiring hallways every year.

A sculpture in the Uffizi Gallery, FlorenceUnsplash

2. Uffizi Gallery

Location: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Early in the morning or just before closing

Home to some of the world's most recognizable and beautiful works, a visit to the Uffizi Gallery is like opening a treasure chest filled with the soul of Italy itself. Some of the gallery's most renowned works include "The Venus of Urbino," Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus," as well as an incredible selection of marble pieces from Italy's Classic Period.

Palazzo Vecchio, FlorenceUnsplash

3. Palazzo Vecchio

Location: Plaza della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: The late evenings between October and April

The "Old Palace" is an experience filled with world-class artwork, inspiring history, and secret adventures through unseen passages hidden throughout the palace. Now recognized as Florence's City Hall, this captivating building is one of the most historic and important destinations in the "Jewel of the Renaissance."

4. The Medici Chapels

Location: Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini, 6, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Anytime except the 2nd and 4th Sunday or the 1st or 3rd Monday of every month when the chapel is closed

An ideal destination for history buffs and art aficionados alike, the Medici Chapels are truly a beautiful representation of Michelangelo's enduring influence and breathtaking talent. The artist worked on the historic family's mausoleum for years before moving to Rome in 1534, and visitors can now enjoy an up-close look at his unbelievable skill like never before.

5. Giardino delle Rose

Location: Viale Giuseppe Poggi, 2, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: May through June

A peaceful escape from the city's usual hustle and bustle, the Giardino delle Rose is a great way to sit back and unwind during your time in this vibrant city. With over 400 varieties of Roses in this small, pristine space, you'll feel like you've wandered into a fantasy romance as you wander through its picturesque, cobbled streets.

6. Mercato Centrale

Location: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Via dell'Ariento, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Any time before 12:30 PM

Truly one of Florence's top foodie destinations, the Mercato Centrale is a colorful fresh market filled with local produce, artisanal goods, and other outstanding finds, mainly from the region of Tuscany. Whether you're looking for a taste of the local flavors or a chance to find some unique souvenirs to bring home, this market has it all.

7. Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella

Location: Via della Scala, 16, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Early morning or a few hours before closing

Have you ever wanted to smell heaven? Then it's time for you to find your way to the stunning Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. One of the most famous and revered erboristerias in all of Florence, this beautiful destination was established by Dominican friars in the early 13th century and is still one of Florence's go-to spots for creams, ointments, and perfumes. Don't miss out on this great Florence attraction.

8. Museo di San Marco

Location: Piazza San Marco, 3, 50121 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Anytime except the 2nd and 4th Sunday or the 1st or 3rd Monday of every month when the museum is closed

This striking 15th-century still functioning monastery is now home to Florence's largest collection of works by renowned artist Fra Beato Angelico and is certainly one of the most beautiful spots in the city, especially if you take the time to also visit the site's pristine palazzo and gorgeous gardens.

Arno River, FlorenceUnsplash

9. Arno River

Location: Ponte Vecchio or Ponte Sante Trinita
Best time to visit: Sunset

Arguably one of the most enchanting rivers in Europe, the Arno makes its way straight through Florence and offers visitors a fantastic break from museum hopping. However, the Arno offers so much more than just a beautiful view. The river is also a great place for travelers to enjoy either a leisurely cruise or even a more heart-pumping paddleboard experience.

10. Galleria dell’Accademia

Location: Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50129 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Early morning or late afternoon

A museum designed to almost exclusively show off the captivating statue of David by Michelangelo, there can be no doubt that waiting in line to catch an up-close glimpse of this incredible work of art will be well spent. Additionally, the museum is also home to a wide range of additional works by the artist as well as numerous pieces from other influential Florencian painters and sculptures throughout the centuries.

11. Piazza Santo Spirito

Location: 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Early morning or after lunch for fewer crowds or during the lunch rush if you're looking for more of a lively experience

The city of Florence is brimming with beautiful public squares, but none of them offer quite as much liveliness as Piazza Santo Spirito. What many consider to be the very heart of Florence, this beautiful piazza is filled with street markets, local vendors, and some of the best restaurants in the entire city.

12: Giardino Bardini

Location: Via de' Bardi, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: End of April

While the Giardino Bardini is an absolutely awe-inspiring site any time of year, it is particularly fantastical at the end of April. This is when visitors can travel through an unbelievable tunnel of blooming wisteria, which will leave you feeling like the main character in a romance film.

13. Biblioteca delle Oblate

Location: Via dell' Oriuolo, 24, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Anytime

If you're looking for a bit of downtime but aren't interested in hitting up one of Florence's spectacular cafes, the Biblioteca delle Oblate may just be the perfect place for you. Now a beloved public library, this was once one of the city's principal convents. Today, however, this is a lively destination where visitors can enjoy not only the building's beautiful architecture but also the lively music often being played on the terrace in the evenings.

14. Corridoio Vasariano

Location: Lungarno degli Archibusieri, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Sunrise or sunset

For history buffs looking for a chance to feel like they've truly wandered back in time, there is nothing quite like the Corridoio Vasariano. Truly an architectural wonder, this beautiful spot was once how the city's Medici rulers came to and from their private offices, allowing visitors to feel like they've wandered into the walkways of royalty.

15. Museo Stibbert

Location: Via Federico Stibbert, 26, 50134 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: During the usually busy midday hours

One of the city's most unique collections, this enchanting museum is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of much of Florence. A verifiable treasure trove of paintings, sculptures, and even tapestries from around the world, this often-overlooked jewel of a destination is a great place to relax and unwind.

16. Battistero di San Giovanni

Location: Piazza San Giovanni, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Early morning

A masterpiece of Italian architecture, the Battistero is one of the oldest religious buildings in all of Florence. While the current facade has been dated back to the 11th century, many historians believe that the structure itself dates back to as early as the fifth century. Truly a must-see for art lovers, the Battistero is home to works from renowned artists such as Michelangelo, Meliore, and Cimabue.

Ponte Vecchio on the Arno RiverUnsplash

17. Ponte Vecchio

Location: Ponte Vecchio, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Sunset

This iconic bridge is renowned for its unique architecture and rich history. Dating back to the Roman era, it spans the Arno River and is lined with charming shops, once occupied by butchers but now home to jewelers and artisans.

18. Palazzo Pitti

Location: Piazza Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze, Fl, Italy
Best time to visit: Anytime

While this was once one of the most glamorous residential homes of the Renaissance, it is now one of the city's most extensive collections of galleries and museums. The perfect place for art and architecture lovers alike, the Palazzo Pitti is a fantastic Florence attraction that you can't miss.

19. Dominican Church of San Marco

Location: Piazza San Marco, 1, 50121 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Early morning

If you're a traveler who's more fascinated by the slightly macabre, then the Dominican Church of San Marco is a must. Here, travelers can experience an up-close look at one of the city's most interesting holy relics, The Mummy of St. Antonius. Buried in a glass coffin within the church, many residents of Florence still pray to this local saint who was known for his dedication to the poor.

Basilica Santa Croce in Florence, ItalyUnsplash

20. Basilica Santa Croce

Location: Piazza di Santa Croce, 16, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Best time to visit: Just before sunset

One of the city's most spectacular representations of Gothic Architecture, the Basilica Santa Croce is the largest Franciscan church in the world and is the final resting place of renowned artists and figures such as Galileo Galilei, Machiavelli, and Rossini.

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