Going to Florence? You don’t want to go through books, super long guides and scramble through ‘sponsored’ travel content that will only take you to unreasonably priced places. Worry not!
Your savior. (Imagine a superwoman emoji here.)
I compiled a no-nonsense ‘Best of Florence’ list to help you easily plan an itinerary. I’ve included free sights, ticket prices where applicable, links to booking sites, safety tips and simple ideas to make the most of your Florence trip. Go on, keep scrolling.
Need help planning your trip to Florence? Check out my Travel Guide to Florence.
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella
One of the must-see places in Florence. It proudly displays a brilliantly designed green & white marble facade to welcome visitors. It is also the closest attraction to Firenze SMN train station. The magnificent frescoes inside are my favorite part of the Basilica.
Check out Opera del Santa Maria Novella for €7.5. Online tickets are available on their website.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore or duomo di firenze
An architectural masterpiece, the exterior of this mammoth cathedral is entirely constructed from marble. It’s gigantic brick-colored cupola and the beautiful Giotto Tower stands tall over the entire city. The medieval cathedral can be easily spotted from nearby hills, it’s that huge. The intricate design all over the exterior walls is hypnotic. I can’t help but wonder about the kind of hard labour that went into building this cathedral.
Buy online tickets to the cathedral in advance to skip long queues. Costs €18. Make sure your shoulder and legs (along with everything else in between) are covered properly. It takes little over an hour to see the entire cathedral.
You’ll probably notice on all travel websites and guides that Uffizi is the most popular and must-see tourist attraction in all of Florence. And it really is. Art lover or not, the incredible art collection housed in the gallery will leave you in awe of the artists from Renaissance period. I witnessed some jaw-dropping sculptures and paintings here. Trust me, you’ll be blown away by the detailing in every masterpiece. See with your own eyes, the works of Michelangelo, Caravaggio, da Vinci
You get to see the entire gallery for a ticket of €12 sold online on the official website.
It’s a market building in the center that houses groceries, food stalls, fresh produce outlets. The building is surround by Mercato bancarelle di San Lorenzo. Consider it Florence’s cheap fashion street, although you have to haggle to get things cheap here.
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is the absolute city center of Florence. The square comes alive every day with tourist flocking the premises to soak up all the art and culture they can. The open air gallery on one side of the square houses Renaissance sculptures.
Next to it is the Palazzo Vecchio, a 13th century palace known for it’s elegant chambers and exquisite courtyards. If you wish to visit the Palazzo Vecchio, you can buy tickets here .
A replica of Michelangelo’s David stands tall at Piazza della Signoria right outside Palazzo Vecchio. Expect to see a big crowd taking pictures all around.
When you face the David statue, on your right will be a lane named Piazzale degli Uffizi. Walk along the lane to discover more of those stunning sculptures. You’ll spot statues of Leonardo Da Vinci, Dante, Lorenzo de Medici, Galileo and many more Italian personalities. You’ll also see actual people posing as sculptures and they look so real, you’ll mistake them for actual statues like I did.
The only bridge that lived unscathed through the German attacks in World War II. This iconic bridge over Arno river actually has a shopping center built on it. You’ll find some of the best jewelry shops in Florence, on this bridge.
Sunsets over the bridge are surreal and a must-see evening activity.
This is your vantage point to see a single breathtaking view of the entire city. I climbed up the entire hill right up to the piazza on top. However, I do not recommend that to everyone unless you’re extremely fit and won’t melt away in the summer heat. There’s the option of riding the bus uphill and walking back downhill or taking bus both ways. I took a gazillion pictures from the hill top, where there’s also a huge bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David. The hike was worth the view.
If you’re not yet tired of seeing the enormous art collection in all of Florence, head to Palazzo Pitti. Another royal palace housing vast Italian and European art with a slightly pricey entrance fee. The grand gardens inside make for a beautiful stroll. Unfortunately I reached the palace just as it was closing so I didn’t get the chance to see it from inside. But you can. Buy your tickets online here.
Piazza della repubblica
Have a relaxed, romantic evening walking around Piazza della Repubblica. Sunsets during summer are to die for. The sapphire sky sparkles till late. Let your inner child free by riding the carousel. You never know what’s your fun quotient. Lot of street artists showcase their performance at the Piazza. You might just hear your jam.