Having an amazing time in Florence boils down to a few things. There are museums and neighbourhoods to visit, and things to do that the locals do each day. There are always new and exciting things to discover in Florence, which is why every time you’ll visit you’ll never feel as if you scratched the surface. Rich in history and culture, Florence was actually voted best city in Europe in 2015.
Here are some wonderful things you can see and do in Florence to really take in the city:
Things to See and Do In Florence
Climb the Duomo and Bell Tower
Just 476 stairs up and you’ll be able to marvel at the architectural wonders and gape at the frescos by Giorgio Vasari, lining the interior of the dome. From here, you’ll get panoramic views of the whole city. However, climbing the bell tower opposite is another option, as you will be able to get a really good angle of the Duomo. This is a cheap day out for those who want to take in some incredible sites, anywhere from €8 – €15.
The Galleria degli Uffizi is one of the most famous art museums in the world, not to mention one of the oldest. Here, you’ll find renaissance masterpieces that are truly one of a kind. If you’ve ever wanted to see the works of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo in person, this could be for you. Just make sure you get a ticket in advance to avoid waiting in a 5 hour line!
San Lorenzo Market
Make sure you head to one of the closed food markets in the center of Florence. San Lorenzo Market is recommended as it is the oldest and largest one, and many visitors report getting an awesome feel for Florence upon visiting. Seeing, touching, and smelling the products available is a joy. The first floor also has an amazing assortment of restaurants, bars, cafes, and more. The perfect place to have a drink and relax after some shopping.
Go On A Street Art Tour
You may not know Florence for its contemporary art scene, but it has an extremely interesting one. The Renaissance capital has managed to keep it somewhat of a secret, but the notable street artist Clet Abraham has added comic alterations to street signs and installations that have become very popular. Make sure you look for L’Arte Sa Nuotare (“Art knows how to swim”), featuring portraits of popular works of art you may know – like the Mona Lisa, in full scuba gear.
Stuff Your Face With Gelato
Many say that Florence was the birthplace of Gelato (ice cream) and has many small and quirky family run places to get your fix. There are some incredible flavors, like lavender and salted caramel, not to mention old favorites like cream, pistachio, and chocolate. A few scoops a day keeps the doctor away.
Biblioteca delle Oblate
After a busy day exploring a rest is usually on the cards. You can have a yummy snack or an aperitif at the Caffetteria delle Oblate, which happens to have a great view of the Cupola. This is a great activity to do after climbing the Duomo. A popular studying spot for students during the day, which makes it nice and quiet.
Check Out the Sculpture at the Bargello
You probably know that there’s more art in Florence that you can shake a stick at. Many of the galleries have lines hours long. However, there are still places not overrun with people if you want to escape the crowds. The Bargello Museum is usually quiet, despite being an awesome sculpture museum. The pieces here are world class, so don’t miss the chance of having it to yourself.
Rent A Bike
One of the most fun (not to mention healthy) ways to see Florence, is to rent a bike and take one of the famous bike paths through a scenic neighborhood. Head to one of the stands outside the Santa Maria Novella train station and get yours for €10 a day. Then you can do whatever you like! Some like to head toward Porta Romana and take the 4.5-mile round-trip. You could even travel down Poggio Imperiale to an old Medici villa (which is now a high school) and you’ll find yourself in the medieval neighborhood of Arcetri. If you’d rather not go it alone, which is totally understandable, you can try I Bike Italy, which will give you a tour of Florence. You’ll also be able to enjoy wine, food, and olive tastings in between your rides.
Do Some People-Watching in the Piazza della Signoria
Believe us when we say, Florence isn’t short of places to people watch. One great place is the Piazza della Signoria, as the artwork surrounding the square makes for a wonderful atmosphere. Just don’t plan on eating here, as the restaurants can be grossly overpriced.
Transport Options from Airport To City
You have a number of options when it comes to traveling from Florence airport to city, depending on who you fly with. Pisa airport is usually busy, but your options are much the same. The Florence airport (FLR) is called Amerigo Vespucci, and is only 4km from the centre of the city. If you choose to take a taxi, you will arrive in the centre in around 15 minutes, or 20 minutes if you go with the Busitalia SITA Nord “Vola in Bus” bus shuttle operating between the airport and the central railway station of Santa Maria Novella.
The cheapest transfer option between Florence Airport and Florence City Centre is the Volainbus bus that runs a non-stop route between the airport and the Bus Italia bus station opposite to Santa Maria Novella (SMN) railway station.
The bus service is convenient and runs every 30 minutes from the airport starting from 5.30am to mid-evening. You’ll usually be at your destination in 20 minutes. Transfer services are available 24/7, and taking a shared shuttle with other travelers is also an option.