Florence, Italy. The Tuscan Renaissance city full of amazing art, architecture and must-see landmarks.
Italy

First Timers to Florence – Top Things to Do

Florence, a small walkable city, offers visitors some of the best art and architecture in Europe. Art lovers will be in awe of the classic masterpieces that can be found here. Lovers of architecture will marvel at the historic churches, palaces, and soaring buildings shadowing the winding alleyways. The entire city centre has been designated an UNESCO World Heritage site due to its architecture. Lastly, sunset lovers will be treated to the most beautiful golden hour casting an incredible glow over the entire city.  

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. Wondering what to see in Florence? For those travelling to this Tuscan city for the first time, or maybe it’s a repeat visit, here are the top things to do in Florence.  

The Must-See Cathedrals

Santa Maria del Fiore

Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
The building of the Florence Cathedral began at the end of the 13th century and finished in the 15th century. It is the 4th largest in the world and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. The exterior is covered in a decorative mix of pink, white and green marble. Expect long lines at this Florence must see attraction, so plan ahead and buy your tickets in advance.

Campanile di Giotto

The Duomo in Florence is the city's most famous landmark
Although visiting the Cathedral is free, the tower is not. Climbing Giotto’s bell tower is one of the best things to in Florence, all 414 steps. But the view is worth it!

The Basilica of Santa Croce

Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
Santa Croce is the largest Franciscan church in the world. This 13th century church is the burial place for the greats in Florence. Michelangelo is buried in Santa Croce, as are Rossini, Machiavelli, to name a few. Notably, there are 16 chapels as well as beautiful cloisters.

The Must-See Piazzas

Piazza della Repubblica

Carousel, Piazza della Repubblica, Florence, Italy The famous carousel in the Piazza della Repubblica, a major town square in the old town section of Florence, Italy. florence carosel stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Just off of the main Piazza del Duomo (each main cathedral in Italy is called the duomo) is Piazza della Repubblica where you can find a grand arch, a colourful old carousel and great restaurants with their terraces. This is a great square for people watching and having a drink. It’s bustling with activity all day long, and is a popular hang out spot in the evening.

Piazza della Signoria

Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
This grand piazza is home to Palazzo Vecchio, the loggia of outdoor statues and sculptures, the Fountain of Neptune. The Gucci Museum is surrounded by restaurants with outdoor seating spilling out onto the square. It's filled with the music of local street musicians. Such a great atmosphere that this is not to be missed.

Piazza della SS Annunziata

Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
This is the most beautiful square in the city. It's elegant, graceful design and architecture features the Renaissance style in the loveliest shades of ochre-hued buildings. This is a peaceful square to visit. It's quiet, and almost tucked away from the main tourist sites, making it a gem to visit.

The Must-See Bridges

Ponte Vecchio

Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
This famous landmark is hard to miss. It was the first of three main bridges built over Arno river in 1218. 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.

Ponte Santa Trinita

Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
This Renaissance bridge with its three elegant arches was rebuilt in the 1500s after the original wooden bridge was damaged during a flooding of the Arno river. The views from this bridge are incredible. Not only of Pont Vecchio, but also it's one of the best places for people and sunset watching.

Ponte alla Carraia

Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
This Renaissance bridge features five elegant arches was also rebuilt in the 1500s after the original wooden bridge suffered the same fate as the bridge to the east, Pont Santa Trinita.

The Must-See Palaces

Palazzo Vecchio

Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
This 14th century Romanesque style building was the city's town hall. It sits on the Piazza della Signoria. Leading up to the entryway are statues and fountains. Of most significance is the copy of Michelangelo's David, as well as, Medici lions, Hercules, and Perseus with the head of Medusa.

Palazzo Strozzi

Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
This 15th century Renaissance palace was once home to the richest family in Florence, the Strozzi family. It is the inner courtyard, with the second story balcony that is incredible. Today, the palace houses rotating art displays.

Palazzo Pitti & Boboli Garden

Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens Private Tour | Marriott Vacation Club

When visiting the Palazzo Pitti, it’s the garden that is main attraction. Boboli Garden offers 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 one of my favorite things to do in Florence. 

The Must-Do Activities

Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
Get lost in the city's maze of medieval streets. In Florence, the tall buildings soar and create these lovely narrow alleyways, almost always fully shaded. Eavesdrop on busy families, smell the delicious aroma of a meal being prepared and watch children play football (or soccer) in the laneways.
Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
Take in some art. Constructed in 1580, the Uffizi Gallery houses some of the most amazing collections of ancient sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the Modern period. One of those highlights is the Venus de' Medici, as the epitome of beauty, Venus is a Roman copy of a 2,000-year-old Greek statue making this a great. For this reason, this is one of the popular attractions in Florence.
Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
Go shopping at Mercato del Porcellino! Find some Tuscan leather goods at this lively outdoor daily market. Although most of the leather at this market is real, not all leather is treated equal. Be a savvy market shopper, and maybe you'll score a bargain. Don’t forget to rub the nose of the boar fountain for good luck -put a coin in its mouth as your rub its nose and drop the coin down with a wish!
Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
Take a romantic stroll along the Arno river. The Arno flows east-west and divides Florence into the Centro Storico, or historic center to the north and the hillier, less crowded Oltrarno to the south. This treelined spacious walk offers the best views of the city. Be sure to do this river walk in the early morning, before the crowds, and again in the evening.

Travel to other Places in Italy

If you are looking to either take a day trip or want to travel to other places in Italy from Florence. Here are some popular attractions you might be interested in.

Perhaps Florence is a stop along a longer intinery in Italy. Here are some popular destination points from Florence.

  • Rome to Florence – 3 hours (car or train) | Check out our Guide to Rome
  • Cinque Terre to Florence – 2.5 hours (car or train) | Check out our Guide to Cinque Terre
  • Venice to Florence – 2 hours (train)

Or, if you are wanting to spend more time in Tuscany and want to visit some of the most beautiful Tuscan towns, here are some of the top Tuscan towns to consider.

Best Accommodations in Florence

With so many things to do in Florence, I recommend staying at least 2 nights, if not longer. This romantic city offers a great selection of accommodations. Here are some of the best accommodations in Florence.

  • Hotel in 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
  • Hotel in a 15th century building: Hotel Bernin Palace is a short walk to Florence Cathedral and Ponte Vecchio. Rooms are a mix of classic and Renaissance design
  • Elegant Villa with a pool: Villa Royal is a 18th century building that once was the home of a noble family. It is located just outside the city centre and features lovely gardens and a pool
  • 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
  • Hotel with a view of the city: Grand Hotel Cavour has a rooftop terrace with views over Florence Cathedral. Steps from the hotel are the popular Florence attractions  
  • Or, explore other properties using Booking.com

As a holidaymaker…

Have you fallen in love with Florence yet? Whether you are visiting Italy for the first time or the twentieth time, the Florence attractions are endless. This beautiful city is really a must-see on your Tuscan intinery. Beyond these must see sights, Florence is also known for its food. Especially the Bistecca alla Fiorentina, or Florentina steak. The recipe has not changed since 1915, and can be found on almost every menu in Florence. 

Colpo di fulmine. Is there any doubt why I haven’t fallen in love with this Renaissance city. 

Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.
Florence is a romantic Renaissance city in Tuscany Italy. It is known for its art and architecture with many must see cathedrals, palaces, piazzas and bridges.

Disclosure:  As an Affiliate Associate of Booking.com if you click on the link contained in this post, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to book. Thank you.

33 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial