Are you asking yourself – is Florence worth visiting? Let’s take a closer look at why visiting Florence may or may not be the city for you!
Nestled in the heart of Tuscany lies a city that has captured the hearts of many travellers for centuries. Florence, also known as Firenze, is a treasure trove of art, culture, and history that offers visitors an unparalleled experience.
Ask anyone who’s been to Florence, why should I visit Florence Italy and they’re likely to talk to you about the stunning Renaissance architecture and the world-renowned museums and galleries.
Colpo di fulmine. That’s what Italians call love at first sight, and that’s exactly what happened to me. I immediately fell in love with Florence Italy. So even if you only have a day in Florence, you’re bound to feel it too!
But with so much to see and do, you may be wondering if it’s really worth the trip. In this article, I’ll delve into what makes Florence such a special destination (and the drawbacks too!) and why it’s definitely worth adding to your list of places to visit in Italy.
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Is Florence Worth Visiting?
Is it worth visiting Florence – yes it most definitely is! Florence is worth visiting as it is a one-of-a-kind city!
Florence Italy is known for having the best art and architecture in Europe. Art lovers will be in awe of the classic masterpieces that can be found here. Architecture enthusiasts will marvel at the historic churches, palaces, and soaring buildings shadowing the winding alleyways. The entire city centre has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its architecture.
Besides art, Florence is also famous for its food, wine, and fashion, and offers a vibrant nightlife. Walking around the city’s narrow streets and piazzas, you can feel the ancient spirit of the city, and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Arno River. Florence is also a convenient base for exploring the rest of Tuscany, with its picturesque towns, vineyards, and olive groves.
Florence is a walkable city. Within 30 minutes you can walk from one end to the other. It is a small compact city with many pedestrian-only streets. In fact, you’ll find very few cars in the city centre compared to what you might see in Rome.
Florence is the kind of city that takes your breath away. Colpo di fulmine or love at first sight! Visiting Florence is hard to describe, it’s just an indescribable feeling you get when you’re there.
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11 Reasons to Visit Florence Italy
Travelling is very subjective. Ask people to name their favourite and least favourite destinations and you’re bound to hear the same cities falling into both categories.
These are the highlights of visiting Florence!
1. The Rich Art and Cultural Heritage
Florence is widely regarded as one of the most culturally rich cities in Italy, and for good reason. The city has a long and illustrious history and played a major role in the Renaissance period.
Visiting Florence today you can still see the impact of this era on the city, with its stunning architecture, beautiful churches, and world-famous art museums. Florence is home to some of the world’s most iconic masterpieces, such as Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, which are housed in the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery, respectively.
Get your skip-the-line Uffizi Gallery timed Entrance Ticket to see the masterpieces by Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus.”
Visit Accademia Gallery with this Priority Entry Ticket to see the statue of David and other Renaissance artists.
In addition to these famous galleries, Florence is the final resting place of many famous figures, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. With its rich cultural heritage and vibrant artistic scene, Florence truly is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, art, and culture.
2. The Awe-inspiring Architecture
Florence is renowned for its stunning architecture, which showcases a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles.
One of the most iconic buildings in the city is the Duomo, or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, with its red-tiled dome dominating the city’s skyline. The cathedral’s intricate façade is decorated with a mix of sculptures and reliefs, while the interior features a stunning fresco of the Last Judgement.
Don’t miss seeing the Santa Maria del Fiore and climb the Tower with incredible views of the city with your priority access tickets
Another architectural gem is the Palazzo Vecchio, which has been the seat of government in Florence since the Middle Ages. The palace features an impressive tower, a grand courtyard, and a number of beautiful frescoes and sculptures.
Get your Palazzo Vecchio skip-the-line entrance ticket
One of the favourite buildings that I most admired the architecture was Palazzo Strozzi. Maybe because was barely visited by tourists, and was a quiet oasis in a busy city. But who can say no to those arches and double storey inner courtyard?
3. The People-watching Piazzas
One of the things that makes Florence such a vibrant and engaging city is its lively piazzas or public squares.
These bustling squares are where locals and visitors alike come to relax, socialize, and soak up the atmosphere of the city. One of the most famous piazzas in Florence is the Piazza della Signoria, which has been the political heart of the city since the 14th century. This square is home to the Palazzo Vecchio, as well as a number of impressive sculptures, including a replica of Michelangelo’s David.
Another popular piazza is the Piazza del Duomo, which is surrounded by some of the city’s most iconic buildings, including the Duomo, the Baptistery, and Giotto’s Campanile.
One of my favourites is Piazza della Repubblica where you can find a grand arch, a colourful old carousel and great restaurants with terraces. This is a great square for people-watching and having a drink. It’s bustling with activity all day long, but it has a great atmosphere in the evening.
The Piazza Santo Spirito, on the other hand, is a more laid-back square, popular with locals and featuring a lively market on weekends. Whether you’re looking to people-watch, enjoy a gelato, or simply soak up the vibrant energy of the city, Florence’s piazzas offer something for everyone.
4. The Beautiful Bridges
Florence is home to several beautiful bridges that span the Arno River, each with its own unique history and charm.
One of the most famous is the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone bridge that is lined with shops and was once home to butchers and tanners. What makes it unique is the bridge itself is lined with jewellery stores from one side of the river to the other. It also draws many people, making it almost unbearable to visit. But you simply must.
Another beautiful bridge is the Ponte Santa Trinita, a Renaissance-era bridge that offers stunning views of the Arno and the city’s historic center. The bridge is also notable for its three elegant arches and beautiful statues of the Four Seasons.
A third beautiful bridge in Florence is the Ponte alla Carraia, a stone bridge that was rebuilt in the 19th century. The bridge offers lovely views of the city’s skyline and is located near the lively San Frediano neighbourhood. With its beautiful bridges and stunning views of the Arno, Florence truly is a city of unparalleled beauty.
5. The Stunning Scenery
Florence is not just a city of art and culture but also boasts of breathtaking natural beauty.
Take a leisurely walk along the Arno River, enjoying the views of the beautiful bridges and buildings that line its banks.
The Boboli Gardens, located on a hill behind the Pitti Palace, has over 11 acres of green space, full of statues, sculptures, art, hidden pathways and fountains. It offers a peaceful escape from the busy city and is one of my favourite things to do in Florence.
Get your reserved entry ticket to Boboli Gardens
6. The Amazing Shopping
Florence is a paradise for shoppers, with its wide range of boutiques, markets, and artisan workshops.
The city’s historic center is also home to many boutique shops selling high-quality leather goods, including bags, shoes, and jackets. Yes, I couldn’t resist and I came home with tall brown suede boots and a jacket, a splurge I don’t regret!
Another popular shopping destination is the San Lorenzo Market, where visitors can find a wide range of souvenirs, clothing, and accessories. The market is also home to a food hall, where visitors can sample local delicacies such as Tuscan cheese, cured meats, and truffles.
For those interested in traditional handicrafts, the Oltrarno neighbourhood is home to many artisan workshops where visitors can see craftsmen at work and purchase handmade ceramics, textiles, and other crafts.
7. The Delicious Food and Wine
Florence is a food lover’s paradise, with its rich culinary traditions and world-renowned wines.
Tuscan cuisine is known for its simple yet flavorful dishes, featuring high-quality local ingredients such as olive oil, cheeses, and cured meats. Sample classic Tuscan dishes such as ribollita, a hearty vegetable soup, and bistecca alla Fiorentina, a thick-cut steak grilled to perfection. The recipe for this Florentine steak has not changed since 1915 and can be found on almost every menu in Florence.
Florence is also home to a number of specialty food shops, where you can purchase high-quality olive oil, truffles, and other Tuscan delicacies to take home.
Florence is also located in the heart of the Chianti wine region, famous for its robust red wines. Although the city does have some wine bars where you can taste and learn about the region’s wines, nothing beats a visit to a winery.
From Florence take a half-day Chianti winery tour with food and wine tasting at two vineyards
8. The Fun Festivals and Events
Florence is a city that is steeped in history and culture, and as such, it plays host to a number of festivals and events throughout the year.
One of the most popular events is the Calcio Storico, a historic soccer game that is played in the Piazza Santa Croce each year in June. The game is a mix of soccer, rugby, and wrestling, and is played in 16th-century costume.
Another popular event is the Festa della Rificolona, a festival that takes place on September 7th each year. During the festival, children carry brightly coloured lanterns through the streets, culminating in a parade that winds its way through the city’s historic center.
Other popular events include the Scoppio del Carro, a fireworks display that takes place on Easter Sunday, Carnevale – a large parade held in February and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, a renowned music festival that takes place in May and June each year.
9. The Incredible Sunsets
Florence is renowned for its spectacular sunsets, which are truly a sight to behold.
As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, the sky over the city takes on a golden glow, casting a warm light over the city’s historic buildings and surrounding hills.
One of the best places to catch a sunset in Florence is from the Piazzale Michelangelo, a terrace located on a hill just outside the city center. From here, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and the Arno River as the sun sets behind the hills in the distance.
Another great spot to catch a sunset is from the Ponte Santa Trinita. Whether you’re a photographer looking to capture the perfect shot or simply looking to enjoy the natural beauty of Florence, the city’s incredible sunsets are not to be missed.
10. The Italian Lifestyle
Florence embodies the quintessential Italian lifestyle, with its focus on food, family, and art.
Italians are known for their love of good food, and in Florence, visitors can enjoy traditional Tuscan dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Family is also an integral part of Italian life, and in Florence, locals can often be found socializing in the city’s many piazzas or spending time with loved ones at home. Art and culture are also highly valued in Florence, with the city being home to numerous museums, galleries, and historic landmarks.
11. The Tuscan Location
Florence’s location in the heart of Tuscany makes it an ideal home base for exploring the region’s many attractions.
From Florence, visitors can easily take day trips to charming towns like Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa, each with its own unique history and culture.
Wine lovers can explore the nearby Chianti region, which is known for producing some of Italy’s best wines.
The surrounding Tuscan countryside is incredibly scenic and can be easily experienced through group tours. Check out some of the fantastic tours that depart from Florence.
Departing from Florence – join this full-day tour taking you to San Gimignano, Siena, and Monteriggioni. Enjoy lunch and a Chianti wine-tasting tour.
Top-Rated Tours from Florence
With Florence – Italy being the capital city of the Tuscany region, it makes for a great home base to visit other nearby cities and towns. Like any major city, it offers access to trains, buses, and tours to explore the region.
One of the stress-free ways is to join a group tour. Here are some of the best tours that depart from Florence you can take.
Siena, San Gimignano, & Monteriggioni Day Tour
✅ 11.5 hours
✅ 3 stops to Siena, San Gimignano & Monteriggioni with free time
✅ Wine tasting in Poggibonsi
Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, and Chianti Experience
✅ 12 hours
✅ 3 stops to Siena, San Gimignano & Pisa with free time
✅ Winery visit
Where to Stay in Florence
With so many things to do in Florence, I recommend staying at least 2 to 3 nights, if not more. This romantic city offers a great selection of places to stay in this Tuscan city.
This is where I stayed, Mostarda, a large 1 bedroom with a private terrace in a 17th-century palazzo.
Or, you can do your own search here.
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If you prefer to stay in a hotel, here are a couple of options for the best accommodations in Florence.
- Hotel in a great location: Grand Hotel Baglioni is located close to the Santa Maria Novella Train Station making it convenient for day-tripping. Elegant rooms furnished in Florentine style with views of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore and Giotto’s Bell Tower
- B&B in the centre of Florence: Corte Calzaiuoli is steps from Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio and Strozzi Palace. Rooms offer a city view and a traditional Italian breakfast
- Or, explore other properties using Booking.com
What is there to see and do in Florence?
There are many things to see and do in Florence, including visiting world-famous museums like the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia, exploring the city’s historic streets and piazzas, and enjoying traditional Tuscan cuisine.
Is Florence expensive to visit?
Florence can be an expensive destination, particularly during peak tourist season. However, there are plenty of budget-friendly options for food, accommodations, and activities. You can save money by planning ahead and visiting during the shoulder or off-season.
How many days should I spend in Florence?
The ideal amount of days to spend in Florence is three to four days to fully experience the city’s many attractions.
What is the best time of year to visit Florence?
The best time to visit Florence is during the spring or fall, when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds. Summer can be very hot and crowded, while winter can be rainy and chilly.
Is Florence safe for tourists?
Florence is generally a safe destination for tourists, but visitors should take normal precautions to avoid petty theft and pickpocketing in crowded areas.
Is it easy to get around Florence?
Yes, Florence is easy to get around as it’s relatively a small city, and many of its attractions can be easily reached on foot.
As a Holidaymaker
Colpo di fulmine. Is there any doubt why I didn’t fall in love with this Renaissance city?
Florence is a city that truly deserves to be on everyone’s travel bucket list. With its rich cultural and artistic heritage, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and shopping it offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting more.
Whether you’re interested in history or art, food or fashion, there’s something for everyone in this magical city. So don’t hesitate – pack your bags and book your trip to Florence today! You won’t regret it.