Florence is one of my favorite Italian cities. I have been there twice; the first time, I stayed for about 4 days, which became very short, and the second time I stayed for a month.
This month, I had the opportunity to visit Florence and its surroundings and other towns such as Fiesole, Lucca, Pisa, Siena, and San Gimignano.
In this post, I will give you a summary of the must-visit attractions in Florence. Especially if it’s your first time traveling there and you don’t have much time.
Do you have more days to visit Florence? Have you traveled multiple times and want to see new things: Don’t miss this post with 75 ideas to do and see in Florence.
What to do in Florence? Must-visit places
Do you feel like getting to know Florence? Do you want to know what you can see in Florence in 3 days? Here are my must-sees. Let’s Start!
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Campanile and the Battistero
When you think about what to see in Florence, the first thing that comes to mind is “Il Duomo.” This magnificent cathedral leaves no one indifferent. Have you visited it yet?
Admission to the cathedral is free. If you’re a woman you have to go with your shoulders covered and in long pants, but don’t worry, if you don’t wear them, there they sell you a kind of shawl for you to cover up, when I went it was 1.50€.
To visit “Il Duomo” in Florence and the religious area, you can buy different tickets.
For example, an entrance includes visiting the Campanile, where you can see the city from above, or an entrance that includes the Battistero inside the Opera Museum, where most original artworks are located.
For example, the Gate of Paradise, the one outside, is a replica, and the original is in the museum.
Piazza della Signoria
If you continue along the street “Via Dei Calzaiuoli,” you reach Piazza Della Signoria, where you will find Palazzo Vecchio and Galleria Degli Uffizi.
In Piazza Della Signoria, you will find a lot of masterpieces, of which many are originals. You can also see the fountain of Neptune (1563-1575), the equestrian monument of Cosme I. The figures of the steps of Palazzo Vecchio are almost all replicas.
On the south side of the square is the Loggia Della Signoria, where assemblies and public ceremonies were held. Over time its functions have changed, and today it is used as an open-air museum.
You can also see the statue of Perseus (1554) and the abduction of Polyxena (1866). In the center of the portico is Menelaus holding the body of Patroclo (Roman copy of the Greek original of the 4th century).
In the arch on the right, we can see the Rapture of the Sabines, considered the first statue created to be seen from all angles, in addition to Hercules and the Centaur Neso, among others.
Palazzo Vecchio, Florence
Entering Palazzo Vecchio and seeing the Cinquecento Lounge and climbing the tower, and taking a look at the city is a spectacular visit. Unfortunately, It is a rather short visit, but it is totally recommended.
Florence has art everywhere! You can also attend the guided tour; if you want more information, click here.
The Gallery degli Uffizi
In the Galleria Degli Uffizi, you will find around 1600 masterpieces. With 45 rooms dedicated to the different artists.
For me, it’s a must-visit. When I was there, you could have the aperitif (in the afternoon) on the terrace and visit some of the rooms for 15€, including drinks, food, and entrance to the rooms.
When you go to look at the website, it shows you a different way of visiting the museum; they also have one for the Gallery of the Academy.
The Galleria Degli Uffizi can be toured with an English-speaking guide who will tell you everything about the works of art that you will see and make your experience more enriching.
You can see the tours for your trip here, which will also allow you to skip any of the possible lines that might form during your visit (if you will visit the Uffizi and the Accademia.
You better buy this ticket where you will save 13% off, then if you buy it separately it also includes a visit to the center of Florence).
Leaving the Uffizi, we headed towards the river, turned right onto the Lungarno, and reached the Ponte Vecchio.
The Ponte Vecchio
This is the oldest bridge in the city; it’s a typical medieval bridge with shops with outstanding windows and wooden doors on both sides of the bridge. Originally, these shops included businesses such as butchers and tanners (1565).
In 1588, Grand Duke Ferdinand, annoyed by smells, evicted them to benefit goldsmiths and silversmiths. So today it is the most visited bridge in the city. It’s always crowded, sometimes street performers are singing or painting.
Another must-see is the Academy Gallery, where Michelangelo’s David is located. This museum is quite small, but it deserves the visit only for David.
Here, you can also do the guided tour buying tickets online, or you can wait in line and buy tickets at the museum itself, which I do not recommend because the line is usually quite long and you would waste a lot of time. But it’s up to you!
If you like to take pictures and want to take the best photos of Florence, you have to go to Piazzale Michelangelo, you can arrive on walking or by bus, I have gone both ways, and I prefer to walk.
A good option is to go by bus and walk back because you will have to climb the stairs if you go walking.
Take the aperitif in Florence
In Florence, they have a habit of having the aperitif. This appetizer starts in the afternoon. In many bars or pubs, they offer an appetizer with a drink, and it works as an open buffet.
Depending on the quality of the bar’s location, the variety will be wider. You can first take a look at the buffet and then decide whether to stay or not.
Where to eat in Florence?
One of the specialties of Florence is the bistecca alla Fiorentina; it’s a thick steak, which is usually sold to the weight.
If you want to eat a good bistecca alla Fiorentina, you have to go to Piazza di Santo Spirito, located “oltrarno,” on the other side of the river.
When you arrive at the square, turning left at the second restaurant “trattoria,” it is good, obviously if you like meat!
You can go to a Tuscan cooking class, where they will teach you their specialties, and you will eat what you prepare.
But the coolest thing about the tour is that you start it by going shopping at the market with the chef. So it’s a different way to be in touch with the local culture, dine and have a great time.
Check out here for more information. Click on the link.
Having an Ice Cream in Florence
If you want to try some amazing ice cream, you can practically find some in any Italian ice cream parlor.
Grom, I think, is the best-known ice cream parlor; it is very close to the Duomo, and the ice creams are delicious, but you are in the center of the city, so be ready for the ice cream’s price!
There are also delicious ice creams “oltrarno” crossing some of the bridges, there are some ice cream shops with better prices than in the center, and some ice creams that have nothing to envy to those of Grom.
If you are going to stay several days and want to make the best ice cream in the world, you have to go to San Gimignano.
It is a village that is very close to Florence and has a couple of ice cream shops that have been awarded as the best Ice Cream in the world! Besides being a very picturesque village with many towers.
More excursions you can do in and from Florence
Florence is an effortless city to cycle, you can rent one, or you can do a tour with a guide in English, who will take you to get to know Florence from another point of view for 25 euros.
Evening tour with dinner in Florence
If you haven’t eaten Fiorentina bistecca yet and also want to do a night tour of the city, this is your chance. The tour includes a walk through the center, a visit to Piazzale Michelangelo, and dining in a restaurant next to the cathedral.
Vespa Tour of the Chianti
This is an excursion that I was left wanting to do, but I will definitely do it at some point. Touring the Chianti in Vespa from Florence has to be awesome.
I visited the Chianti and did some wine routes with a friend who is an expert in it, but if you do not have a friend who will tell you, you can do this tour that looks fantastic.
Want more excursions?
You want to go to Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, etc.
- Check Out this link with more excursions that you can do from Florence and they are quite well priced, you only need time to do them!
Transfers in Florence
You can book your transfers to and from Florence Airport, the train station and from your hotel. The price varies depending on the type of vehicle you choose. It’s a private door-to-door service.
- Click on this link to see which one suits your trip.
In Florence there is a lot to see, it all depends on the time you have. The last time I was there for a month. So if you’re planning to go there, you can count on me to help you or recommend other things for you to see or do.
When to go to Florence?
The ideal time to visit the city is in spring or autumn, in summer it is scorching, and there are many tourists. Ideally, go during the weekdays, but that’s often tricky.
But from my point of view, Florence is a city to visit all year round. So when you have a few days, visit it!
Where to stay in Florence?
With regards to accommodation, Florence has many options for all budgets. The Santa Maria Novella area, where the train station is located, is one of the most economical areas.
If you want to stay in a nice hotel, which is also well located I recommend the Atlantic Palace, it is not the cheapest, but surely you will love it. I also leave this link to Booking to take a look at all the hotels in Florence.
The good thing about Florence is that you can walk everywhere, so the accommodation can get a little cheaper if you escape from the downtown area.
Have you been to Florence? Do you think I left some essentials?
Prepare your trip to Florence
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Best companies for activities
Check out Civitatis.com and find the best tours in English (French, Spanish and Italian)
Are you looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and I think will help you too! (Is in Spanish yet)
Last Updated on 7 July, 2021 by Veronica