28 Things To Do In Florence

Things To Do In Florence

Florence, the jewel of Tuscany, is a city that pulses with the heart of the Renaissance. This culturally rich metropolis, with its cobblestone streets and picturesque landscapes, has long been a magnet for art lovers, history enthusiasts, and culinary connoisseurs. If you find yourself wandering through this enchanting city, you’ll be swept away by the myriad of activities and experiences that Florence has to offer. From exploring world-renowned museums and galleries to indulging in the finest Italian cuisine, this guide will take you through the ultimate things to do in Florence, ensuring every moment of your stay is imbued with wonder and discovery.

Things To Do In Florence

  1. Visit the Uffizi Gallery

Explore the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most famous art museums in the world. Home to a vast collection of Renaissance art, the Uffizi is a treasure trove of masterpieces by greats like Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. As you wander through its halls, you’ll be transported back to the Renaissance era, where every painting and sculpture has a story to tell. To fully appreciate the art, consider booking a guided tour that can explain the subtleties of the artworks and the history of the gallery.

  1. Climb to the Top of the Duomo

The Florence Cathedral, or the Duomo, is an iconic symbol of the city. Climbing to the top of its dome offers a panoramic view of Florence that is simply breathtaking. The climb is a bit of a challenge, with 463 steps, but the view from the top, overlooking the city with its historic rooftops and bustling streets, is well worth the effort. The intricate details of the dome’s interior, designed by Brunelleschi, are a marvel of Renaissance engineering.

  1. Stroll Through the Boboli Gardens

Behind the Pitti Palace lies the Boboli Gardens, an open-air museum filled with statues, fountains, and manicured lawns. These gardens are an example of Italian garden design that influenced many European courts. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and art. The gardens also offer stunning views of the Florentine hills, making for perfect photo opportunities.

  1. Sample Tuscan Cuisine at the Mercato Centrale

For food lovers, no visit to Florence is complete without a stop at the Mercato Centrale. Located in the heart of the city, this vibrant market offers a variety of fresh local ingredients and traditional Tuscan cuisine. Upstairs, you’ll find a food court where you can taste local dishes like ribollita (a hearty vegetable and bread soup), pappa al pomodoro, and the famous Florentine steak. It’s a feast for the senses and a great way to mingle with the locals.

  1. Walk Across the Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, is one of Florence’s most enduring landmarks. Originally built in 1345, it is the only Florentine bridge to survive World War II intact. Today, it is lined with shops selling jewelry, art, and souvenirs. Walking across the bridge is like stepping back in time. For a romantic experience, visit at sunset when the bridge is bathed in golden light and offers spectacular views of the Arno River.

  1. Explore the Accademia Gallery

No visit to Florence is complete without seeing Michelangelo’s David, housed in the Accademia Gallery. This museum, while smaller than the Uffizi, holds a profound collection of Renaissance sculptures and paintings, offering a more intimate experience. Stand in awe of the David, Michelangelo’s masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture, and explore the hall of the Prisoners, where unfinished Michelangelo sculptures provide a unique insight into the artist’s creative process.

  1. Discover the Medici Chapels

Attached to the Basilica of San Lorenzo, the Medici Chapels serve as a monumental mausoleum for Florence’s most influential family, the Medicis. The chapels are a showcase of opulent design, featuring works by Michelangelo and a stunning collection of Renaissance art. The Chapel of the Princes, adorned with precious stones and elaborate decorations, highlights the wealth and power of the Medici dynasty.

  1. Attend a Leather Workshop

Florence is famed for its leather crafting, and attending a workshop can be a fascinating way to connect with the city’s artisan heritage. Several studios and boutiques offer short courses where you can learn the basics of leather work and even create your own souvenir. It’s a hands-on way to experience a traditional craft that has been perfected over centuries in Florence.

  1. Enjoy a Performance at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

For a night of cultural immersion, enjoy a performance at Florence’s renowned opera house, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. The theater hosts a range of performances including opera, ballet, and classical music concerts. Check their schedule in advance to catch a world-class performance during your stay.

  1. Visit the Palazzo Vecchio

The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence and a museum that offers a glimpse into the city’s political history. The palace itself is a masterpiece of architecture with elaborately decorated chambers and impressive artworks. Don’t miss the Hall of the Five Hundred, with its stunning ceiling paintings and grandeur. For an extra special experience, climb the Arnolfo Tower for a panoramic view of Florence.

  1. Wander Through the Santo Spirito District

The Santo Spirito district is known for its bohemian vibe, artisan shops, and lively nightlife. The square in front of the Santo Spirito church becomes a hub of activity in the evening, with locals and tourists alike enjoying al fresco dining. Explore the boutiques for unique handmade goods, and don’t miss the organic market held in the square if you’re there on a market day.

  1. Experience the Sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo

For the best views of Florence, make your way up to Piazzale Michelangelo, especially at sunset. The square offers panoramic views of the entire city, including the Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio, and beyond. It’s a popular spot, so consider bringing a picnic to enjoy as you watch the sun dip below the city skyline, casting a golden glow over the rooftops of Florence.

  1. Tour the Bargello Museum

Dive into the world of sculpture at the Bargello Museum, which houses one of Italy’s most significant collections of Renaissance statues. This museum showcases works by renowned artists such as Donatello, Ghiberti, and Cellini. The museum itself, a former prison and palace, adds a historic ambiance that enhances the viewing experience. Don’t miss the stunning display of Michelangelo’s early works, which are a highlight of the collection.

  1. Visit the Florence Science Museum

The Florence Science Museum, also known as Museo Galileo, is dedicated to the famed astronomer Galileo Galilei. The museum features an array of scientific instruments from the Renaissance to the present day, illustrating the city’s rich scientific heritage. Highlights include Galileo’s own telescopes and the finger from his right hand, which is curiously preserved and displayed.

  1. Relax in the Gardens of Villa Bardini

Enjoy a peaceful retreat at Villa Bardini’s gardens, which offer stunning views of Florence from a less crowded perspective compared to the Boboli Gardens. The villa itself hosts art exhibitions and cultural events, making it a worthwhile visit for both the gardens and the cultural offerings. The climb to the villa is steep but rewarding, with pathways lined with blooming flowers and lush greenery.

  1. Explore the La Specola Zoological Museum

Part of the Natural History Museum of Florence, La Specola houses an extensive collection of zoological specimens, including an intriguing array of taxidermied animals and wax anatomical models dating from the 18th century. It’s one of the oldest scientific museums in Europe, offering a fascinating glimpse into the past practices of biological study.

  1. Take a Cooking Class

Immerse yourself in Tuscan culinary traditions by taking a cooking class. Many local chefs offer sessions where you can learn to make classic dishes such as fresh pasta, traditional sauces, and other regional specialties. Not only will you learn cooking skills that you can take home, but you’ll also enjoy the fruits of your labor with a delightful meal at the end of the class.

  1. Discover the San Marco Museum

The San Marco Museum is not just a museum but a journey into the spiritual and artistic life of the Dominican monks. Renowned for its frescoes by Fra Angelico, each cell of the monastery features beautiful, contemplative works meant to inspire peace and piety. The tranquil atmosphere makes it a soothing place for reflection amidst the bustling city.

  1. Attend the Florence Biennale

For art lovers visiting during event years, the Florence Biennale is a must. This international contemporary art exhibition showcases artists from around the world, offering a platform for new artistic trends and innovations. The event spans several days and includes a wide range of artworks, from paintings and sculptures to digital media.

  1. Visit the Ferragamo Museum

Fashion enthusiasts will appreciate the Ferragamo Museum, dedicated to the life and work of shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo. The museum displays hundreds of shoes designed by Ferragamo, tracing the history of the brand and highlighting Ferragamo’s role in creating iconic styles worn by celebrities around the world.

  1. Enjoy a Jazz Night at La Sala del Cembalo

Set in a historic building, La Sala del Cembalo is a charming spot for live jazz music. This venue frequently hosts performances from both established and up-and-coming jazz musicians. It’s a great place to unwind after a day of sightseeing, offering a sophisticated atmosphere with a selection of fine wines and cocktails.

  1. Visit the Stibbert Museum

The Stibbert Museum is truly a hidden gem in Florence. This museum, located on the outskirts of the city, is home to an impressive collection of arms and armor from various parts of the world. The collection includes European, Islamic, and Japanese armaments, set in elaborately decorated rooms. The museum’s park is also a lovely place for a stroll.

  1. Explore the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella

One of the world’s oldest pharmacies, the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella was established by Dominican friars in 1221, initially to cultivate medicinal herbs. Today, it sells luxury perfumes, soaps, and other beauty products. Visiting this beautifully preserved space offers insight into the historical production of herbal remedies and is a treat for the senses.

  1. Take a Fresco Painting Workshop

Engage in a hands-on artistic experience by taking a fresco painting workshop. Several studios in Florence offer courses where you can learn the ancient technique of fresco painting, which involves applying pigment to freshly laid wet plaster. It’s a unique opportunity to connect with an art form that adorns so many of Florence’s historic buildings.

  1. Tour the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

This museum is dedicated to the Florence Cathedral and houses many of the original works of art designed for the cathedral. Notable pieces include Michelangelo’s Pietà and Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, the original bronze doors of the Baptistery. The museum provides context to the artwork and architecture of the cathedral complex, enhancing your visit to the nearby Duomo.

  1. Go Antiquing on Via Maggio

Via Maggio is renowned for its antique shops, offering everything from Renaissance furniture to vintage jewelry. It’s the perfect place for collectors and anyone interested in unique, high-quality items. Strolling down this street offers a glimpse into Florence’s past, with shops housed in beautiful old buildings that have been trading goods for centuries.

  1. Attend a Wine Tasting in Chianti

While technically just outside Florence, no trip to the region would be complete without exploring the surrounding wine country. Chianti, renowned for its superb wines, offers numerous vineyards where you can tour the cellars and taste some of the best Italian wines accompanied by local cheeses and charcuterie.

  1. Visit the Brancacci Chapel

The Brancacci Chapel, located in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine, is famous for its breathtaking frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino. Often referred to as the “Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance,” its vibrant, lifelike paintings had a profound influence on later artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.


As we wrap up our extensive list of things to do in Florence, it’s clear that this city offers far more than just a glimpse into the Renaissance. Whether you’re marveling at the masterpieces housed in its museums, participating in a hands-on workshop, or simply enjoying a glass of Chianti as the sun sets over the Arno River, Florence promises a diverse array of experiences. Each activity listed not only connects you with the rich history and culture of Florence but also invites you to make personal memories that last a lifetime. So pack your bags, and prepare to immerse yourself in the endless beauty and intrigue of Florence—the city where every corner has a story to tell.

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