Florence is one of those cities where you have the option to choose from hundreds of activities within a 2-3 mile radius. Last week, we gave you an insight into where to stay & where to eat while exploring the city of Florence. This week, we want to recommend to you some of our favorite activities while in the worlds most famous Renaissance City, and then some!
WHAT TO DO IN FLORENCE, ITALY:
Climb Both Duomo & Giottos Tower
(Inside the Duomo. Half way to the top!)
(Views from atop the Duomo.)
If there is one thing you must do while in Florence, it’s climb to the top of the Duomo (The cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore). Ps. Be sure to wear your most comfortable pair of shoes because the trek to the top isn’t a short one and some of the stairs are very steep! The many stairs lead you up the inner walls of the dome where you emerge on a narrower walkway that takes you around the inner room of the dome. From here, you can get a closer view of the many beautiful pieces of artwork that create the giant mural inside the dome. From there, you ascend a few more flights of stairs where you’ll find yourself looking at the 360 degree panoramic walkway that over looks the entire city of Florence. Here, you are at the highest point in the city with breathtaking views. Bring your camera and selfie stick because you won’t want to miss out on capturing the best views in town.
(View from Giotto’s Tower)
This bell tower is located just outside the main entrance to Duomo and will give you your second best panoramic view of the city. Though there are a few levels of the tower where you can take a seat and rest, make sure to bring water as the stairwells are narrow which creates a few traffic jams along the way. If you’re here during warmer months, dress accordingly. Sometimes the stairs can get clogged with people as there is only 1 set of stairs to go both up and down. Once you reach the top of the tower, you’ll find yourself almost eye to eye with those on the top of the Duomo. The tower provides you with a another 360 degree walkway where you can take photos over looking just about every part of the city (with the exception of what’s hiding behind the dome).
- Reservations: Both of these activities are very popular so if you don’t want to have to stand in lines that wrap around the Duomo, make reservations to skip the lines. Making reservations are as easy as it gets- once you purchase your tickets you have the option to reserve a time slot for your convenience. DO THIS. In our experience, we were able to actually arrive early and, due to having a reservation, go in right away while lines of people without reservation wrapped around the Cathedral.
- Difficulty Level: Climbing both the Duomo and Giottos Tower are not the easiest tasks, so if you don’t think of yourself as physically fit, we recommend doing one a day.
If you’re claustrophobic in any way, we recommend you maybe not doing these- especially Giottos Tower. Those there are various levels, there are also lots of people and 0 air conditioning, and as it wasn’t built for thousands of tourists, the stairs are meant to fit 1 person and while climbing up we got stuck in the stairs awaiting for traffic to move. It was a hot and sweaty experience with little to no air flow.
Watch the Sun Set from Piazalle Michelangelo
Now that you’ve hiked the stairs to the top of the Duomo and Giotto’s tower, it’s time to relax and reminisce on you day. We recommend doing this while watching the sun set over Firenze from Piazalle Michelangelo. Our good friend Phillip had told us this was a must whilst in Florence and we agree! The plaza overlooks the city of Florence and watching the sunset from up there is truly beautiful!
Travel Tip: There are a few food spots up there so grab a bit and a glass of wine and sit back and relax! Be sure to arrive a little early to grab a good spot!
Florence is filled with museums. Most well known pieces of art are located within the walls of the Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell’Accademia. The famous statue of David by Michelangelo is one of the must-see pieces of art & is located at the Accademia. There are multiple replicas of the famous statue in the city of Florence, but seeing the original is truly amazing. If you opt of out doing a guided tour (whether it be a human tour guide or a headphone rental) be sure to read up on some of the art pieces (google is a great start!) you’ll appreciate everything so much more.
Travel Tip: Make reservations. With the amount of tourists in this city, by having a reservation guarantee your speedy entrance. Most museums have reservations online and it’s highly recommended, especially if you travel during summer!
Travel Tip #2: Get the Firenze Card. If you plan on being in Florence for 3 days straight (72 hours), this $72 dollar card will give you access to 72 Museums. Now THAT’S a deal! Museum entrances average about 5-20€, so if you plan on visit a hand full, this card is worth the investment. Plus, you wont need to make reservations to most museums (check the website for exclusions).
Mercato di San Lorenzo
The Mercato (market) has 2 floors, the downstairs is all fresh produce & meats. If you want to buy the best ingredients for a homemade meal, this is the place to go. There is no shortage of foods, but you have to go early in the day as most of the fresh food vendors shut down after lunch. Along with the meat & produce vendors, there are also places to get fresh made meals, though our recommendation on where to eat in the market would be upstairs in the main cafeteria area. The 2nd story of the Mercato is full of different eateries where you can grab a bite to eat. You can get fried foods, fresh pastas, desserts and more. Along with the multiple places to get food, there is a cooking school (you’ll have to make a reservation in advance for the classes and they fill up quick!) and a place to buy kitchen ware. You can spend a good hour or 2 getting lost walking around the market and, with the smell of fresh food filling the air, you won’t want to leave!
I know. This seems vague and sort of obvious, but its true. From Piazza della Signoria, every major Florence “to do” is within a 20 minute walk. The better part? There’s art at every corner, the architecture is beautiful and theres always something to do! In a city where you can get around for free, strolling through the streets of Florence is relaxing and makes you feel like a local!
We’d describe them all, but this would be a VERY long post. Here are some other activities to do whilst in Florence:
- Cooking Class
- Wine Tasting
- Vespa Tour
- Rent a Bike
- Go on a Street Art Sign Scavenger Hunt
- Hot Air Balloon Flight
- Day Trip to Pisa
- Day Trip to Cinque Terre (post coming soon!)
- Day Trip to Wineries outside of Florence
- & Much more!
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