Travel Guide to Florence | Explore the Tuscan capital like a pro
Get here the best travel guide to Florence, with useful tips by locals and the best places to visit.
Florence (Italian Firenze) is Italy’s great art city and the cradle of Renaissance art.
Travel Guide to Florence: Florence at a glance
The Tuscan capital city boasts incredible attractions with amazing frescoes by Giotto, museums with canvases by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Raffaello, and Bronzino, plus famous sculptures by Michelangelo.
But, there is more to Florence than just old palaces and museums. It’s chock-full of nice shops and quality crafts. In fact, if you want to buy a leather bag made in Italy, in Florence you will find beautiful and cheap pieces; a contemporary and culturally active atmosphere that offers visitors performances of all kinds, from opera to rock concerts—the most famous is Firenze Rock which is held in June.
The nightlife is also very vibrant. Not to mention the excellent restaurants. Visiting the neighboring areas is pretty convenient, given the proximity of the city to the vineyard-covered hills of Chianti or Carmignano and other Tuscan cities of art such as Pisa, Siena, and Pistoia.
Florence top attractions | 6 places you shouldn’t miss out
Despite its diminutive size, Florence is so rich in arts and culture that a lifetime would not be enough to explore it all.
There are some places you should definitely not miss once you’re in town. Between a walk along the Arno River and a look at the goldsmiths of Ponte Vecchio, jot down in your notebook the places that we list below.
1. Reach Piazzale Michelangelo
Let’s start this guided tour with a totally free attraction, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view over the whole of Florence.
Piazzale Michelangelo is a place dedicated to the illustrious Tuscan artist and a beautiful terrace overlooking the city housing a copy of the statue of the famous David.
Designed by architect Giuseppe Poggi at the end of the 19th century, the square is now one of the most popular Florence sights.
Address: Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Florence, Italy.
2. Visit Piazza Della Signoria
Let’s talk about Michelangelo’s David again. Piazza Della Signoria was the home of the original David, although today, you can only see a replica of it.
David aside, the square is home to elegant cafes and restaurants and one of the most famous museums in the world: The Uffizi Galleries.
Palazzo Vecchio, the main town hall in the city, overlooks this L-shaped square.
Pause for a moment beneath the three wide arches of the Loggia dei Lanzi or Loggia Della Signoria to admire wonderful replicas of famous statues (the originals have been moved to various museums).
Don’t miss all the details of the Ammannati’s Fountain of Neptune, located in the very heart of the square.
Address: Piazza Della Signoria, 50122 Florence, Italy.
3. The Uffizi Galleries
You can’t leave Florence without visiting the museum that houses Botticelli’s famous Birth of Venus.
The Uffizi is the most appreciated museum in the city because it’s home to masterpieces of inestimable value.
All Florence tours include a visit to these galleries, but be sure to book your tickets in advance to avoid long lines.
Alongside Renaissance masterpieces, the Uffizi also exhibits works of modern and contemporary art.
Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Florence, Italy.
4. Boboli Gardens
The Boboli Gardens are precious and composite pleasure areas with large expanses to discover and breathtaking views of Florence.
They are located on a hill behind the Pitti Palace, across the Arno River from the historic center of Florence.
This green oasis was designed by the Grand Dukes as a venue for extravagant parties and celebrations and is dotted with statues, fountains, and floral compositions.
There are many different picnic spots within the gardens, so you may want to go prepared with drinks and food.
Address: Piazza de’ Pitti, 1, 50125 Florence, Italy.
5. Santa Croce
Talking exhaustively about the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence would require an entire article, but we will try to give you the most important information.
This church is famous for being where the most famous Italians in history are buried, such as Michelangelo, Gioacchino Rossini, and Niccolò Macchiavelli.
Of course, the tombs it houses are only part of its importance.
Santa Croce has splendid frescoes by Giotto, sculptures by Donatello, and the famous wooden Crucifix by Cimabue.
You should know about it: You might think that Dante Alighieri’s tomb is here too, but it’s not.
The grave of the author of the Divine Comedy is located inside the Basilica of San Francesco in Ravenna.
Address: Piazza di Santa Croce, 16, 50122 Florence, Italy.
6. The Dome
The Duomo (also called the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) stands tall over Florence with its stunning Renaissance dome by the renowned architect Filippo Brunelleschi and the baptistery right before it.
The cathedral is a vast (mostly) Gothic-style structure built on the site of the 7th century, the remains of which can still be seen in the crypt.
The complex is situated in the Cathedral Square (Italian Piazza del Duomo) and includes the Campanile and the Baptistery. All three buildings have been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Santa Maria del Fiore is among the largest churches in Italy, with the largest brick dome in the world.
You can climb both the dome and the bell tower, but always remember to book access to the entire complex in advance, so you don’t waste time.
The Duomo is very close to Florence Santa Maria Novella Station, so you can easily reach it once you get off the train.
Address: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Florence, Italy.
Your travel guide to Florence can not miss other important places to visit in and around the city:
- Accademia Gallery
- Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
- Bargello National Museum
- Basilica di San Lorenzo
- Medici Family Chapels (Italian Cappelle Medicee)
- Artisan Workshops
- Florence Countryside