Things to Do in Florence

Piazza della Signoria

Landmarks

Not in the mood to rub elbows with busloads of tourists? Opt to explore this Tuscan classic during siesta time. But by all means go. The square’s so pretty it can’t take a bad picture. The Loggia dei Lanzi is an open-air museum of Renaissance sculptures – and they’re free to peruse. Afterwards, sip an authentic cappuccino in one of the many cafes cloistered nearby.

Accommodations near Piazza della Signoria
  • Piazza della Signoria - 50123
Uffizi Gallery

Museums

What makes Florence the epicentre of art? All of it; but specifically the Uffizi Gallery. Its collections cover the ages, but its darlings will always be Renaissance born. You won’t find a better Art History 101 refresher. Hours wilt away inside this U-shaped mansion. The Birth of Venus tops many a best-of list. Better book tickets in advance – the masterworks cause quite a queue.

Accommodations near Uffizi Gallery
  • Piazzale degli Uffizi - 50122
  • Open Tuesday–Sunday 08:15–18:50.
Piazza del Duomo

Popular Areas

Any Florentine trip certainly includes the Piazza del Duomo (the jewel in the city’s crown) and its three UNESCO World Heritage buildings. Rubberneck amid the sketchers perfecting Renaissance imitation. The white marble hits its prime at night, when the Tuscan sky blushes deep blue behind it. When you venture inside, don’t forget to look up.

Accommodations near Piazza del Duomo
  • Piazza del Duomo - 50123
Santa Maria Novella

Monuments

You don’t have to be religious to fall to your knees inside this 13th century Basilica. This architectural feat (be prepared to awe at its breadth) brims with masterworks from late, great Italians: Ghirlandaio frescoes, Giotto’s paintings and Alberti’s Renaissance facade. Built under Dominican supervision, the monks also gathered herbs and potions for Italy’s oldest pharmacy.

Accommodations near Santa Maria Novella
  • Piazza S. Maria Novella, 18 - 50123
  • Open Monday–Thursday 09:00–17:30, Friday 11:00–17:30, Saturday 09:00–17:30, Sunday 14:00–17:30. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
  • http://www.chiesasantamarianovella.it/
Ponte Vecchio

Landmarks

Peruse the shops perched above the River Arno on this pedestrian bridge. Dating back to 972, its history is the stuff of storybooks. Ponte Vecchio’s seen it all from noble feuds to ruinous floods. Once a market where vendors sold meat, the smell of raw flesh tossed in the Arno disgusted the Medici dukes. Today’s retailers are much less carnivorous (they’re jewellers).

Accommodations near Ponte Vecchio
  • Ponte Vecchio - 50125
San Lorenzo Market

Shopping Areas

Noisy in just the right way, the San Lorenzo Market marks the spot for souvenirs. Especially leather. Leather jackets, leather wallets – all with that “made in Italy” artisan wink. Meander the other vendor’s crafty wares until hunger sets in. A piatto of Florentine fair is easy to score at Trattoria Mario, so indulge your growling stomach with something typically Tuscan.

Accommodations near San Lorenzo Market
Santa Croce

Monuments

Science and telescopes almost cost Galileo a Christian funeral. His head finally found rest beneath a tombstone in this Franciscan Basilica. His ghost’s in good company (Rossini, Machiavelli) – and there’s nary a more stunning cathedral in which to spend eternity. View Donatello’s handiwork (the Crucifix and gilded Annunciation) as well as myriads from other masters.

Accommodations near Santa Croce
  • Piazza Santa Croce, 16 - 50122
  • Open Monday–Saturday 09:30–17:30, Sunday 14:00–17:30. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
  • http://www.santacroceopera.it/en/
Pitti Palace

Museums

Former home to the grand dukes of Tuscany, this Renaissance-styled gargantuan is a peephole into high society. Much of the residence remains in its original styling. Uncover how the 1% lived with a visit to their Royal Apartments. Or put on your history hat. The Carriage, Costume, and Silver museums will take you to school. Recess in Boboli Gardens with its grottos and green.

Accommodations near Pitti Palace
Accademia Gallery

Museums

Michelangelo immortalized David (he’s dreamy, we know) from a single marble slab. He’s frozen in exquisite detail moments before his battle with Goliath. Perhaps the world’s most beloved nude, everyone who visits Florence flocks to the feet of David (the line outside proves as much). Take a picture with your mind, cause cameras aren’t allowed.

Accommodations near Accademia Gallery
Piazzale Michelangelo

Landmarks

You can’t beat a Tuscan sunset seen from here. Follow the winding path and stone steps that scale the hillside from the Arno and Piazza Giuseppe Poggi. Signposts for Viale Michelangelo will lead you straight up to the piazza in a matter of minutes. Decent places to imbibe are nil in these parts, so pack a picnic and bring some vino.

Accommodations near Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Piazzale Michelangelo - 50125

Accommodations and Hotels in Florence

Hotel Pendini

9 Wonderful

Score from 2055 reviews

$151

Average price per night
  • Via Strozzi 2, Florence Historic Center, Florence
Hotel De La Ville

9 Wonderful

Score from 2222 reviews

$152

Average price per night
  • Piazza Antinori 1, Florence Historic Center, Florence
Firenze Number Nine Wellness Hotel

9.3 Wonderful

Score from 1502 reviews

$111

Average price per night
  • 9 Dei Conti Street, Florence Historic Center, Florence
FH Hotel Calzaiuoli

8.7 Excellent

Score from 2394 reviews

$150

Average price per night
  • Via Calzaiuoli 6, Florence Historic Center, Florence
Grand Hotel Minerva

8.9 Excellent

Score from 2192 reviews

$124

Average price per night
  • Piazza Santa Maria Novella 16, Florence Historic Center, Florence
Hotel della Signoria

9.1 Wonderful

Score from 1532 reviews

$119

Average price per night
  • Via delle Terme 1, Florence Historic Center, Florence
Atlantic Palace

8.4 Very good

Score from 1600 reviews

$110

Average price per night
  • Via Nazionale 12, Florence Historic Center, Florence
Hotel Alba Palace

8.8 Excellent

Score from 1693 reviews

$77

Average price per night
  • Via della Scala 22, Florence Historic Center, Florence
Grand Hotel Adriatico

8.4 Very good

Score from 2890 reviews

$140

Average price per night
  • Via Maso Finiguerra, 9, Florence Historic Center, Florence
Discover Florence

Popular Neighborhoods in Florence

Florence Historic Center

1849 properties

Our best advice for exploring the centre? Travel on foot. Pretty as the paintings that adorn its most illustrious galleries, Florence will charm you with stories and beg you to make your own. Get lost among the jewellery makers and trinket buyers of Ponte Vecchio; then tie your love to a lock on the bridge’s fence (for good luck).

Uffizi

303 properties

Both district and world-famous gallery. Art students stand agog in front of masterworks (ah, Botticelli) in the Uffizi Gallery. After a Renaissance morning, buy a gelato from “Perché no!" (the mozzarella with chestnut honey is a must!) and lick it all the way to Piazza della Signoria. Navel-gaze amidst pigeons, people, and sea-coloured statues.

San Marco - Santissima Annunziata

244 properties

Ah, David. Just the statue you’ve been looking for. The many replicas around town can’t hold a candle to real thing at the Galleria dell'Accademia. Wax political in nearby Piazza Santissima Annunziata (the site of 2012’s “Occupy Florence” protest). Activists aren’t the only ones with a penchant for the piazza; many a hipster is spotted here.

San Lorenzo

224 properties

The luscious scent of leather, the deep-seated desire to buy a souvenir. The San Lorenzo Market is open all day, every day. Dying to pay your respects to the ghosts of Florence past? The Medici family tombs are located in the nearby Medici Chapel. The façade of this Renaissance masterwork was never finished; Michelangelo was arrested mid-design.

Palazzo Pitti

221 properties

Cross the River Arno to Pitti Palace, a “palazzo” turned museum. Wow at the bounding wealth. Peruse the ornate costumes, collections of silver, antique clocks, and preserved apartments from the likes of the Medici Dukes. Catch a concert at the Boboli Gardens next door (if you’re lucky) or sip a cappuccino outside and tan your limbs Italian.

Santa Croce

145 properties

Pay homage to Galileo and Michelangelo, both buried beneath this Basilica. But don’t pray and run. Giotto’s frescoes decorate the Franciscan church’s interior chapels. French writer Stendhal coined his syndrome of the same here (an illness of “awe” marked by symptoms of intense nervousness caused by seeing great art).

Santa Maria Novella

141 properties

Ready to cut your teeth on 20th century Italian art? Museo Novecento’s got just the collection. Afterward, let an espresso buzz you through Santa Maria Novella’s Gothic Basilica. Next door is Italy’s oldest apothecary and perfumery (1221), where aromatic elixirs steep in decanted bottles, and chemists still concoct colognes from the past.

Duomo

128 properties

Florence’s heart beats in Brunelleschi’s dome. A Florentine skyline without this Gothic cathedral? Unthinkable! Did you remember your camera? So did everyone else. Perfect the Italian art of navigating crowds sans that lens to your eye, and take in the dome’s milky greens and pinks in the melting morning light.

Tornabuoni

99 properties

Gucci certainly approves of the high-fashion boutiques that abound in his hometown. Heels and cobblestone? Not a problem for the Florentine female. This block is a who’s who crash course of Italian high fashion–from Armani to Versace and everyone in between. Even the air smells expensive. Window-shop your heart out, honey.

Piazzale Michelangelo

46 properties

Hot, hungry, and dreaming of pecorino? Sounds like you made it through the tree-lined streets to the heights of Piazzale Michelangelo. The Duomo looms high above the terracotta rooftops. A few flights up, you’ll find the prettiest church in Florence called San Miniato. Picnic among the ornate tombstones of the church’s cemetery (if you dare).

Local Tips for Florence

San Miniato al Monte Abbey
Alice by Alice

Alice lived in Florence as a student and believes the romantic city offers a timeless appeal.

For breathtaking views of Florence minus the crowds, the 11th Century San Miniato al Monte Abbey is a must visit! Set on a serene hilltop above Piazzale Michelangelo, the basilica features medieval interiors. Lucky visitors may experience the chanting of the Gregorian monks at sunset.

  • Via Delle Porte Sante, 34 - 50125
  • www.sanminiatoalmonte.it
  • Open Monday–Sunday 08:00–13:00 and 15:30–19:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
Le Buchette del Vino
Elena by Elena

A born and bred Tuscan, Elena is an adventurous traveler who always has her suitcase ready to go!

Scattered throughout the city Buchette del Vino ‘wine portholes’ are remnants of where noble Florentines would sell wine in the 16th Century. Often built into a palace’s façade, there are roughly 80 across the city – some decorated and others with original family inscriptions.

  • Palazzo Capponi (between Via de’ Bardi and Piazza Santa Maria in Soprarno)
Giardino Torrigiani
Andrea by Andrea

Having lived in Florence his entire life – 29 years, Andrea is an expert on the Renaissance city!

Hidden behind the city walls between Piazza Tasso and Porta Romana, is a beautiful secret garden. Owned by an ancient Florentine family, Giardino Torrigiani is a lush retreat dotted with grand houses and has an enchanting feel. Tours are available in English and Italian.

I'Margaritaio Cocktail Bar
Giorgio by Giorgio

Intrepid traveler Giorgio believes the best way to experience a destination is to follow the locals!

If you’re looking for killer cocktails and a fun atmosphere in the city centre, then this is your place! I’Margaritaio serves classic cocktails with a twist, like the Calabrian Mojito mixed with licorice and hot pepper. The frozen margaritas are a happy hour crowd favourite.

Vasari Corridor
Roisin by Roisin

Roisin loves to wander Florence’s maze of ancient streets, in search of hidden treasures.

The Vasari Corridor is a painting-lined passageway, linking the Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace. Once a private corridor for the Medici family, this tucked away gem can only be visited by booking an appointment in advance.

Stibbert Museum
Matteo by Matteo

Born in Rome and educated in London, Matteo loves socialising with friends over an expensive meal.

The Stibbert Museum is a unique and extensive collection of weaponry and impressive suits of armour. The rare house museum features many rooms that have been individually furnished to invoke different time periods. Afterwards you can wander the enchanting little garden and lake!

Gelateria De' Medici
Elisabetta by Elisabetta

Australian Elisabetta has lived in Italy for 3 years and appreciates a wide range of cuisines.

If scooping delicious fruit flavoured sorbets out of the actual fruits themselves sounds like heaven to you, then head to Gelateria De’ Medici. Popular with locals and tourists alike, this ultimate desert experience features a variety of gelato flavours including gorgonzola and rice!

Santo Spirito Flea Market
Romina by Romina

Originally from the land down under, Aussie Romina is a globetrotting bargain hunter!

Every second Sunday of the month the Piazza Santo Spirito comes to life with a bustling flea market! Delight in the eclectic mix of vintage goods including clothing, furniture and books. It’s a great place to scout for bargains or simply sit back and people-watch.

  • Piazza Santo Spirito - 50125
Bellariva/Nannini Pool
Michelle by Michelle

Michelle traveled to Florence to learn Italian but stayed to live inspired by the city’s beauty.

If you’re visiting Florence in summer then the Bellarive pool is the perfect place to escape the heat! Located next to the Arno River, you can enjoy splashing around in the cool waters or relax in the sun. There’s also a children’s pool, spacious shady lawn areas and a restaurant.

  • Lungarno Aldo Moro, 6 - 50136
Gelateria Il Sorriso
Nikos by Nikos

Nikos loves playing tour guide for his family and friends in Florence, and once had a food fight!

Escape the throngs of tourists and discover your own piece of sweet paradise at Gelateria Il Sorriso. Serving generous portions for reasonable prices, there’s flavours for both the conservative and adventurous. Try the peach yoghurt laced with cinnamon, or the ricotta!

  • Via Erbosa, 70 - 50126
Santa Margherita de' Cerchi Church
Giulia by Giulia

South African born, Giulia is a working mum who loves exploring nature parks and hidden gems.

Fall in love with Santa Margherita de’ Cerchi, an ancient church so tiny it’s almost a chapel. Known as the Church of Dante, it was here that Dante was said to have met his beloved Beatrice. Visitors leave notes in a basket next to her shrine, asking for blessings in their love life.

  • Via Santa Margherita - 50122
See what other visitors said

Recommended in Florence

Booking.com asked travelers...

Why do you recommend Florence for food?

You need to visit the Mercato centrale (first floor) the coolest place to eat and drink in Firenze The food is all cooked fresh with fresh ingredients and you can watch them prepare it, the variety is amazing for local foods pizza's, pasta, fish and meat all on offer at great prices The staff are brilliant and helpful always with a big smile Hundreds of locals use it to eat in so it has to be good it is open all day till midnight great for young and old alike This is a must do if in Firenze.........

Uffizi gallery, Palazzo Pitti gallery, Accademia gallery. Buy your tickets on the internet in order to avoid the long lines! Or buy the Florence Card! Duomo including climbing the cupola and the bell tower and visiting the beautiful Battistero - all for €10 altogether, in a single ticket. Also: Medici Chapel, Santa Croce church with the famous tombs, and Santa Maria Novella church. And lots more.... And there is beauty everywhere in Florence...

Several museums offer a reservation service. You can book your ticket up to one day before visiting at additional 4 EUR added to the ticket price. Another alternative is buying Florence city card which entitles you to enter most of the attractions and skip the line. However, the cost is 72 EUR, so if you do not plan to visit many attractions, it is better to use the option with reservation.

The art tended to be historic in nature. I was thrown when one of the art galleries had an exhibition of modern art. I thought this meant contemporary art but in fact it was art in the last century! We were fortunate to have left visits to 2 main art galleries on a Sunday when access was free.

To stand before Machiavelli's and Michelangelo's grave monuments in Santa Groce and think on all the years, people have taken care of the place, gives magnificent feeling. There is some hope for mankind, if such individuals have lived, and the monuments are kept and cared for so long.

We had a personal guide that we hired recommended by our hotel who gave us more insight into the stories behind the scenes which was invaluable.

Buy the Firenze card, skip the queues. Go out early. Walk. Go down side streets. Go to places away from the centre to get Florence to yourself.

Most shops are expensive ones however in the market we found great leather things with great prices

Transportation

Florence Transportation

Air

Florence Peretola is the city’s main airport, just a 15-minute taxi ride from the city centre for a cost of 20 EUR. A cheaper option is the Vola in Bus shuttle, 10 EUR will get you a return trip from the airport to Firenze Santa Maria Novella – the city’s main train station. The service runs every half an hour from 05:30-01:00 and tickets can be purchased on board or at a ticket office. Car hire is also available at the airport.

Train

Firenze Santa Maria Novella (SMN) is the city’s main train station. Services are ideal for day trips around Tuscany but not used for travel within the city. Tickets are available from automatic ticket machines or online, remember to stamp your ticket at the machine on the platform before boarding. Buses and taxis depart from the southern exit of the station (near the chemist's).

Bus

Florence is a compact city which is easily explored on foot. The city buses (orange or red-and-white in colour) are best used to discover the outer suburbs or to access Piazzale Michelangelo. Services run from 06:00 to 01:00. Tickets can be purchased from newspaper kiosks and tobacconists for EUR 1.20, or on board for EUR 2. Each ticket is valid for 90 minutes after you stamp it in the machine when boarding the bus.

Taxi

Taxis in Florence can be expensive and are only necessary when travelling to or from your accommodation with luggage. White in colour, taxis cannot be hailed on the street, but can be called or found at the many taxi ranks across the city. Fares consist of a fixed rate plus extra fees for time and distance, and are slightly more expensive in the evening.

Tram

The Tramvia tram system in Florence connects Santa Maria Novella Train Station with the outer suburb of Scandicci in a 25 minute trip. This T1 line has 14 stops, running every 3-12 minutes from 05:00 to 00:00. Tickets can bought on board at 2 EUR for 90 minutes, and be sure to validate it once you enter the tram.

Car

Florence’s city centre is protected from traffic by the ZTL (limited traffic zone), which requires a permit to travel through. These are hard to obtain, and without them hefty fines apply. Parking is pricey and must be outside the ZTL. If you plan to venture out of Florence then solutions would be to rent a car at the airport or hire a driver with a ZTL permit.

Food in Florence

Top Restaurants in Florence

Cheap Eats
Italian
I Due Fratellini
Mid-Range Fare
Italian
Cantinetta dei Verrazzano
  • Via dei Tavolini, 18/20r - 50122
  • Open Monday–Saturday 08:00–21:00, Sunday 10:00–16:30.
  • 0039 055268590
Mid-Range Fare
International
Hard Rock Cafe Florence
Upscale Dining
Italian
Robiglio
  • Via de' Tosinghi, 11r - 50123
  • Open Monday–Sunday 09:00–20:00.
  • 0039 055215013
Upscale Dining
Cafe
Caffè Giacosa
Cheap Eats
Italian
Pizzeria O'Vesuvio
Upscale Dining
Italian
La Grotta Guelfa
  • Via Pellicceria, 5r - 50122
  • Open Monday–Sunday 12:00–22:30.
  • 0039 055210042
Mid-Range Fare
Cafe
Caffe Giacosa
  • Piazza Strozzi 1, 50123
  • Open Monday–Sunday 09:00–20:00.
  • 0039 0552776328
Mid-Range Fare
Cafe
Procacci
Upscale Dining
Gourmet
Hostaria Bibendum
Upscale Dining
Italian
Oliviero
Mid-Range Fare
Italian
Obika Mozzarella Bar
Mid-Range Fare
Italian
I' Mangiarino
Upscale Dining
Italian
Caffe' Coquinarius
Cheap Eats
Desserts
Grom
  • Via del Campanile, 2 - 50122
  • Open Monday–Sunday 10:30–00:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
  • www.grom.it
  • 0039 055216158
Cheap Eats
Italian
Fiaschetteria Nuvoli
Upscale Dining
Italian
Enoteca Alessi
Cheap Eats
Cafe
ChiaroScuro
Cheap Eats
Mexican
I'Margaritaio Cocktail Bar
Upscale Dining
Italian
Ora d'Aria
Upscale Dining
Italian
Circus
  • Piazza della Signoria, 34r - 50122
  • Open Monday–Sunday 08:00–23:45.
  • 0039 055294553
Upscale Dining
Italian
Brown Sugar Lounge Bar
  • Via della Condotta, 3 - 50122
  • Open Tuesday–Sunday 08:00–00:00.
  • 0039 055217031
Mid-Range Fare
Italian
Antico Fattore
  • Via Lambertesca, 1/3r - 50122
  • Open Monday–Saturday 12:00–15:00 and 19:00–00:00.
  • 0039 055288975
Mid-Range Fare
Italian
Osteria Vecchio Vicolo
Mid-Range Fare
Italian
Cacio Vino Trallalla'
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