The Best Things to Do in Florence
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
With divine pasta and funny putti, the handsome Duomo and the dreamy young Lotharios leaning on Vespas, with leather workshops and nonnas doing the weekly shopping, Florence offers visitors an urban experience that is equally rich in historic romance and everyday modern life. Join the parade of visitors to worship in the galleries of the Uffizi or watch the parade from a café table beside a busy piazza, but head to this Renaissance stronghold and make your own history.
Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
The cathedral, usuallycalled the Duomo, is Florence’s most recognizablebuilding. You are able to catch glimpses of itsmagnificent red-tiled cupola from just about anywhere in the city center. Construction on the church complexbegan in 1296 and the...
Piazza del Duomo, 9, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Florence’s wonderful Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Works Museum) is open to the public with double its original floor space and a new contemporary look. The unique collection of works by masters such as Donatello, Michelangelo, Luca...
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Ideally you'd have a whole day to appreciate the world’s foremost collection of Renaissance paintings, housed in the 16th-century headquarters of the Medici court. But for those with less time, highlights include the three great...
Piazza Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Most people head to this ex-art school to ogle the world’s most famous nude statue. Michelangelo’s David was carved from a single five-meter-high block of milky-white marble in 1504 and originally stood in Piazza della Signoria....
Via dei Vecchietti, 4, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
When people think of Florence, they usually think of Renaissance art and crowded museums filled with altarpieces and "Madonna and Child" images. While the Renaissance is the biggest draw of this historic city, there is a lot more to its art-museum...
Piazza di Santa Trinita, 5R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
What began in pre-war Italy as two small workshops in the Palazzo Spini Feroni on Via Tornabuoni has grown into a fashion empire and a brand synonymous with Hollywood glamour. A museum dedicated to the craftsmanship of Salvatore Ferragamo opened...
Via Romana, 17, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
La Specola, one of the oldest science museums in Europe, contains a collection of specimens of the natural world—some of which date back to the 16th century. It includes strange and wonderful objects ranging from tiny iridescent green...
Lungarno degli Archibusieri, 8, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
There are few better places from which to enjoy river views and sunsets than the Ponte Vecchio, built in 1345. Spanning the Arno's narrowest point, this is the only bridge to have survived the German bombing of the city in 1944. There have always...
Piazza San Marco, 3, 50121 Firenze FI, Italy
Housed in the monastery of San Marco, this museum pays homage to the delicate, spiritual work of Fra Angelico who lived and worked here as a monk from 1435-1445. Some of his most celebrated paintings and frescoes are on show here: the famous...
Via dei Renai, 37, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Stefano Bardini, one of the great art dealers of the 19th century, donated his showroom to the city with the strict condition that nothing be changed. The city of Florence initially ignored his wishes and altered the space quite dramatically, but...
Piazza de' Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
The Uffizi Gallery might get moreattention, but the Palazzo Pitti across the river is the largest museum complex in Florence. The vast Renaissance palace itself has been owned by the Medici family, used by Napoleon, and repurposed as home to King...
Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Via delle Porte Sante, 34, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Most people who visit Florence know that walking to Piazzale Michelangelo is a must. However, fewer people know that walking a little higher to the old church of San Miniato al Monte is an even better experience. Amble down the Arno River to Viale...
Piazza S. Croce, 16, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
The Franciscan Basilica di Santa Croce, with its striped green-and-white marble facade, dates from about 1294. Inside are the tombs of many celebrated early Florentines, including Dante, Michelangelo and Machiavelli. Among the many art treasures...
Via Faenza, 48, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
The history of the palaces and streets and artwork of Florence comes alive during this multimedia theater performance, acted out (in English) in a small baroque church. The show tells the story of two feuding Medici siblings—the last grand duke of...
Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Who knew grocery shopping could be so photogenic? In summer, you'll be tempted to photograph the piles of tomatoes; in winter, the tangles of greens. Wander around to get a sense of what is in season and what you will find on local menus at lunch...
Borgo Santa Croce, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
You will probably smell a whiff of roses emanating from Aquaflor well before you arrive. Inside the stunning 16th-century Palazzo Corsini-Serristori in the Santa Croce neighborhood, Sileno Cheloni creates scents that vividly evoke the Tuscan...
Via della Scala, 16, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Elevate the normally mundane experience of shopping for medicine-cabinet basics like soap and toothpaste with a visit to one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. In this 13th-century chapel with early Renaissance frescoes, Gothic carved wooden...
Borgo degli Albizi, 11r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
The perfect souvenir for the food-loving traveler? Slim bars of chocolate wrapped in paper patterned with groovy midcentury designs. Or a pale blue box tied with a satin ribbon, holding a treasure of pralines, caramels, and squares of dark...
Via delle Oche, 4-red, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
This independent bookstore feels like a cozy home, with rooms full of books and comfortable chairs in which to sit and browse. Fans of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code may recognize the shop as the one where Robert Langdon searched for Dante’s Divine...
Via S. Giuseppe, 5R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
This leather workshop is hidden away in a former Franciscan monastery next to Santa Croce. The Scuola del Cuoio was originally founded to provide skills and work for some of the city’s orphans after World War II; masters and apprentices...
Borgo Santissimi Apostoli, 22, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
This might be the most photographed store in Florence—the charming but cluttered scene includes strings of dried garlic and chilies, baskets of fresh fruit, colorful ceramics, wooden serving utensils, wild-boar salami, Tuscan olive oil, and...
50125, Via dell'Olmo, 8, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
While walking around Florence, have you noticed something different about some of the street signs? Clet Abraham is a French artist who stealthily alters traffic signs with graphic stickers that transform a DEAD END signinto a crucifix or a ONE...
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