The city of Florence is always among the world’s top travel destinations, regardless of the season. There is no such place where you can literally travel back in time, as you experience the splendor of Renaissance and you admire some of the most beautiful monuments in all of Italy.
So, if you’re going in Florence for the first time you might want to know what the real top sights are, especially if you only have a short time to spend in the city and you want to avoid being tricked into some kind of tourist trap.
To help you out, here is a list, brought you by ItalyXP, of the top 5 things to do in Florence. You’ll find all the must-do experiences that will help you to immerse yourself into the authentic Florentine atmosphere.
Known as “the Cradle of Renaissance” for its architerctural wonders, Florence is one of the few cities in the world where you can breathe a magical atmosphere from the past, simply walking around. Its historic centre has innumerable places of interest to visit: the Cathedral of Florence, with its majestic dome of Brunelleschi; the Baptistery of San Giovanni, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture; the Ponte Vecchio, with the charm of its traditional shops; Piazza della Signoria, which has been for centuries a meeting place for locals.
A visit to the historical centre is almost a prerequisite if you visit Florence, but it becomes even more interesting if you do it through a guided tour, accompanied by an accredited guide. A unique eXPerience to fully enjoy the timeless charm of this amazing city.
The city of Florence boasts some of the greatest museum complexes in Italy: the most famous is probably the Uffizi Gallery, where admire some of the greatest masterpieces of art, such as "The Birth of Venus" by Botticelli, "The Annunciation" by Leonardo Da Vinci, or the "Tondo Doni" by Michelangelo and other works by Giotto and Raphael.
From the Uffizi Palace, you can also have access to the Vasari Corridor, one of the hidden treasures of Florence, full of important and little-known art collections, accessible only through a guided tour. In addition to the collections, the Vasari Corridor is characterized by the scenic view of the Arno River and the interior of the Church of Santa Felicità.
Another museum not to miss is Accademia Gallery. Here, you can admire several masterpieces of Renaissance art, but above all, the most famous is without any doubt the David, a colossal sculpture over 5 meters high, built by Michelangelo Buonarroti in the early 16th century. Originally located in Piazza della Signoria, at the end of the 19th century it was moved inside the museum to be preserved in a better way.
Florence is one of the most important cities in Italy for what concern wine and food traditions. The Florentine cuisine offer simple – yet extraordinary delicious – dishes, mostly made with poor and basic ingredients, such as bread, olive oil and vegetables.
The most famous Florentine meals include bruschetta with chicken liver, the pappa col pomodoro (tomato soup with bread) and the ribollita. The queen of main courses is the Florentine steak, a cut of meat from beef or scottona which, combined with the specific preparation, makes it one of the most popular dishes of Tuscan cuisine. Obviously, the steak has to be accompanied by red wine, and Tuscany has a lot of universally-renowned wines, such as the Chianti, the Brunello and the Montepulciano.
Obviously, if you’re visiting Florence you cannot miss a food & wine oriented tour, through which you can taste all the typical products and discover the authentic flavors of the city. Or, if you want to get your hands dirty, you can eXPerience one of our cooking classes, to learn from professional chefs the secrets of the Florentine cuisine: the best way to bring an unforgettable memory back home from your trip.
Walking through the picturesque alleys of the Florence's Oltrarno neighborhood, on the less-visited - yet equally charming - side of the Arno River, you can discover the fascinating Florentine art and craft traditions that are centuries old, but still alive this magical city.
In this timeless district, among mosaics, masks and sandals, you will have the opportunity to admire the local artists and craftsmen working in their workshops. With our tour of Florence’s historical workshops you will have a whole new and unique point of view of the city: accompanied by our expert guide, you’ll discover the internationally renowned handicraft shops, such as the renowned Alessandro Dari’s jewelry sculpture, the marbled papers of Il Papiro, the intricate and highly detailed mosaics of the Scarpelli family… These are just some of the enchanting example of handicraft that you will admire and that will show you the patience and meticulousness of this ancient profession.
Florence is undoubtedly one of the most romantic destination of the world, and if you happen to visit it, you will find a lot of romantic sceneries to enjoy with your partner, your family, or even alone. We obviously suggest bringing your camera with you, as this stunning city has so many things worth a picture!
Among the best place where you can breathe the Florentine romantic atmosphere is the Piazzale Michelangelo, from which you can admire the views of the city and beyond. You just have to walk the hike up through San Niccolò, through the markets, vendors with refreshing beverages and ice cream. Up from this magnificent elevated square, you will see the gorgeous Florence skyline, containing the bell tower of Santa Croce, the Duomo, the Palazzo Vecchio, and last but not least the Arno River, snaking through the historic centre.
Another great place where you can admire the sunset is the imposing Ponte Vecchio (simply meaning “old bridge”), a medieval stone arch bridge - the oldest of Florence’s six bridges spanning the Arno River. Those who visit the city cannot miss a suggestive evening walk on this bridge: at sunset, in fact, when the wooden doors of the shops are closed, the atmosphere on Ponte Vecchio becomes even more beautiful and magical.