Florence is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region and the birthplace of the renaissance. It is home to masterpieces of art and there is breath taking architecture around every corner. Last summer, I spent a whole week there on a summer vacation and I honestly feel it just wasn’t long enough – there is so much to do in Florence! The city has been made even popular by the latest Dan Brown book Inferno which is set across Florence. If you’re a fan of the book, you’ll love walking around the city and spotting the places its lead character Robert Langdon visited. Whether you’re a fan of eating and drinking, marvelling at architecture or soaking up a city’s history, Florence is the perfect city.
It felt like an impossible task, but here I have created a list of ten things I think everybody needs to do when they visit Florence.
Top ten things to do in Florence
- Eat breakfast like a local in a Piazza
Start your day off right by grabbing breakfast at one of the many outdoor cafes around the piazzas. Be careful though, it costs extra to eat at a table – instead, stand at the bar like the locals to sip your latte and eat your pastry before you head out to explore the city.
- See DavidNo trip to Florence would be complete without visiting the Galleria dell’Accademia and marvelling over Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David. This isn’t the only place you can spy him though as there are David replicas throughout the city.
- Climb the DuomoThe Basilica di santa Maria del Fiore, known more locally as The Duomo, is an iconic part of Florence’s sky line and represents the geographical, cultural and historical centre of the city. Entry is free into the church and if you don’t mind waiting a few minutes, you can join a free tour that tells you everything you need to know. The highlight though, is the climb to the top of the Duomo. It’ll cost you €6 and perhaps the use of your legs for the rest of the day to climb to the top but it is SO worth it. The 360˚ views of the city are spectacular. Get there early though as the lines can get pretty long throughout the day.
- See Botticelli at the Galleria degli UffiziThe Galleria delgi Uffizi is a treasure trove of Renaissance art but the main attraction is of course The Birth of Venus by Botticelli. The queues can be pretty long at the gallery so it’s best to buy your tickets online so you can beat the long queues
- Rent a bikeA bike tour around Florence is the perfect way to burn off all that pizza and gelato you’ve been eating whilst getting to explore and learn about parts of the city you may not have visited otherwise.
- Get a trainItaly is famed for its high-speed trains which means that the country’s other pig cities of Rome and Venice are only a couple of hours away making a day trip to either a must. You can also catch a train to Pisa to view the Leaning Tower and get that classic tourist snap shot!
- Walk through the Boboli Gardens
Situated behind the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens are the perfect place to escape the crowds and chill out, the gardens are home to a large collection of sculptures dating back to the 16th century.
- Buy an Italian leather bagVisit the street markets at the weekend and spend a few hours wandering around and picking up a bargain or two like the beautiful leather bags or jewellery, and of course plenty of tacky souvenirs to bring home.
- Eat gelatoThere are plenty of gelato stores to choose from but many will tell you that the best place to go is Grom where as well as the usual Italian flavours, they serve up exciting monthly specials like matcha green tea. (Via del Campanile)
- Dine al Fresco at La Beppa Fioraia at Piazzale MichelangeloWe discovered La Beppa Fioraia thanks to our incredible hotel concierge who told us it served the best pizza in the city – she was not wrong! Located at The Piazzale Michaelangelo, high above the city on the other side of the river, it is the perfect escape from the busy crowds down below. Head up to La Beppa Fioraia and watch the sun set above the city whilst enjoying some of the best pizza you’ve ever had.