Florence is a mythical city, and the first thing that comes to mind when we think about it is art, exhibitions… But Florence is a city that by its authenticity has a lot to offer and we will try to go through all the interesting things you can see about Florence.
NB: There are a lot of cultural activities in Florence for which you have to pay, but I’m going to focus on what is free and on some places that are not free but that I think are not to be missed.
We start with the most visible and by far the most impressive monument, the Basilica of Santa Maria Del Fiore, it is one of the largest cathedrals in the world. The exterior architecture is impressive. You can enter the interior of the basilica free of charge, but access to the dome is subject to a fee. When you get to the dome you can take the steps to the top which gives a beautiful view of the city of Florence. Problem whether you are in high or low season the line to get inside is endless. You can therefore book your visit in advance by taking tickets to cut the queue (following the link).
This is the only bridge that was not destroyed in World War II. It has the peculiarity of having hanging houses around it, which gives a nice scenery to see. Today the shops are occupied by jewellers and goldsmiths. In spite of the abundance of people, you can enjoy a moment of rest contemplating this beautiful bridge, you can get a very good view of the Ponte Vecchio from the Ponte Alle Grazie.
Getting lost in the alleyways of the city centre:
Florence is a city with a particular architecture and just getting lost in its narrow streets is pure happiness, the alleys are narrow and overlook Italian restaurants that make you hungry. There are plenty of them although some are tourist traps. I highly recommend GustaPizza which only offers about ten pizzas but which are very good and at very reasonable prices ( 5 euro to 7). You can even find the line to get in. But it’s worth it ;).
La Piazza della Signoria:
The Piazza della Signora is just as lively as the Piazza del Duomo, if not more so, because it has always had a close link with the political sphere. There are many things to see here:
- Pallazo Vecchio: In front of its entrance there are statues of Adam and Eve. The entrance is not free but like the top of the cathedral this palace is worth a visit.
- Fountain of Neptune:
- The Statue of Cosme I on his horse
The square is particularly lively at night and especially in summer, when everyone gathers to listen to street artists.
Santa Croce Basilica:
If there is one church to visit among all those in Florence, it is Santa Croce because the visit is rich, you can see there:
- beautiful sculptures and unique architecture
- Tombs of important people (Galileo, Machiavelli, Michelangelo…).
- A museum
La Piazzale Michelangelo:
If you want to take a step up and contemplate the whole of Florence and its most visible monuments, Piazzale Michelangelo is the place for you. From the top of the Piazzale you can see Florence from a new angle and you can contemplate a beautiful sunset and take wonderful pictures at the same time. You can get there by Bus but you can walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo, it’s not very long to climb. If you climb a little higher you can reach the church of San Miniato al Monte which offers a beautiful panorama too. At sunset you will also find artists performing and creating a good atmosphere in the square.
If you’re looking for green spaces, I can tell you that Florence is not the best city. It’s something that’s missing in this city. However, there is a beautiful park that is not free (6 euros for adults and 2 for those under 25 years old), but it is worth it for us as tourists. It covers an area of 40,000 m2 and offers a lot to see, including a small lake, fountains and caves and of course green areas with a great view.
Enjoy an Ice Cream:
Because you can’t pass through Italy without tasting Italian ice cream and because in Florence there are many ice cream shops, we advise you to try it even if you are not a huge fan of ice cream, you should find pleasure there. Gelateria La Carraia offers good ice creams for a very reasonable price.
- If you plan in advance you can find cheap hotels, you should try to come during the week if it is possible because the price of accommodation and paid visits is lower, this is all the more important as Florence is a city where you have to spend some money if you are interested in the heritage that surrounds this city.
- The youth hostels are very clean and well equipped and offer an unbeatable price for what is done in the city centre (we stayed for 15 euros per night), this is the average price for a hostel in the middle of the week.
- Don’t hesitate to spend some time in Florence because the city can be visited in several days. But in case you would like to visit it in just a day or two. You can stay there and go back and forth for excursions to the city of Pisa and the villages of Cinque Terre, it will be more profitable and easier for you.