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Whenever I travel to a new city, one of the first things I do it take a guided walking tour. It is a great way to get an idea of the history of the city, the important sights, and get the lay of the land. Since Florence is such a walkable city – this is a great way to figure everything out! Viator has some amazing guided walking tours available!
One of the most outstanding sights in Florence, you can’t miss the Duomo. It’s absolutely MASSIVE and right in the heart of the historic center. Free to visit on the first Sunday of every month.
Check out my Florence City Guide to learn more about where to get aperitivo in Firenze.
If there is one thing in life I have slowly learned to accept, its that you’ve got to wear good shoes in Italy, and those good shoes may die while you’re there. Arch support is key. Fashion is also important…so what do you wear!?!? The answer, my friends, are BIRDIES. These are literally my go-to shoes for every occasion, but especially for travel in Europe and particularly Italy. Flats, sandals, slides, loafers, you name it, I’m buying Birdies. With 7 layers of comfort, and a memory foam sole…how could you not?
It wouldn’t be a vacation to Italy if you didn’t stuff yourself full with pizza, now would it?
If you somehow miss going to Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset during your stay in Florence, you have truly missed out on a once in a lifetime experience. Musicians everywhere, people drinking wine and eating bread on the steps, and a view of Florence unlike any other, this is what life in Italy is all about.
One of the most fun things to do in Italy is to take a cooking class! It’s really incredible to be the one to hand-make your own ravioli you will be eating for dinner! And while I don’t plan on handcrafting ravioli often in my future, I did learn a few new tricks to add to my kitchen routine!
On the oltrarno (other side of the Arno) – is the famous Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens. Home to the Medici, Hapsburg, and Savoy families. This beautiful palace is worth the visit and you could wander the Gardens for an entire day if you so wished.
If you haven’t exhausted your church visits during your time in Italy, Santa Croce is definitely worth going into. For a small entrance fee you can go inside and see some beautiful architecture (and I think a dead pope? – don’t quote me on that). This church is also the decorative front piece for the infamous Calcio Storico Fiorentino that takes place every year in the front courtyard.
Speaking of Calcio Storico Fiorentino, if you are in town during early June is it well worth it to book tickets to this incredible event. What is it? It is a mix of football, soccer, rugby, and wrestling, all played by beautiful beefy Italian men in historical costume (usually also shirtless). Sound like fun? I thought so. Visit Florence gives up to date information on the current Calcio Storico events, so keep checking back there for official dates and tickets! Calcio Storico is definitely one of the most “Florentine” things to do in Florence!
A short bus ride and small walk away is the beautiful hillside town of Fiesole (fee-eh-so-lay). Well worth it for the overlooking view of Florence. Worth it for a cute little morning stroll!
Must I even explain? You can’t go to Florence and not visit Il Davide! Did you know there are actually 3 Davids in Florence? The true David sculpted by Michelangelo resides in Academia. The two other dupes are in Piazza della Signoria and at the top of Piazzale Michelangelo. The entrance is free the first Sunday of the month and is also free for women on International Women’s Day!
If you’re looking for the perfect spot to get a ‘ gram shot of the Ponte Vecchio, this is it. head to Ponte Trinita and take the jump over the wall to get out on these little triangles for a spectacular view of the bridge. Be wary though, the jump is kinda far and I have definitely bruised my feet making the leap!
If there is one thing in Italy you MUST indulge in, make it Gelato. Marco Ottaviano is one of my favorite gelaterias in Firenze and there is a good reason why! It’s important to note a few things about picking out your gelato.
Gelato is NOT ice cream. It’s not made in the same way.
True gelato that is homemade will be inside little silver tins within the gelateria
The big beautiful displays of gelato you see in the window, while stunning, are probably not the best gelato out there. They want it to look pleasing and inviting, but to keep that display looking fresh for so long requires preservatives. This means it’s probably not made in house.
The Ponte Vecchio has always been a location where goods were sold and purchased. Originally it was a meat marketplace, but one of the di Medici family members disliked the smell, so they banned all meat sales on the bridge and made it a place for gold and silversmiths only. Today, the Ponte Vecchio is still a great destination to find beautiful handcrafted gold and silver in Florence.
Another part of the Oltrarno, Santo Spirito is a great place to get away from the crowded tourist section of town. With tons of adorable little restaurants and little bakeries, you should definitely make an attempt to get dinner over here at least one night while you are in Firenze.
The second most famous museum in Florence, the Uffizi is a MUST while you are visiting this renaissance city. With thousands of pieces of artwork, you could spend hours getting lost in this museum of masterpieces. My favorite? The Birth of Venus.