Living in Florence really taught me a lot about the city. I had the amazing opportunity to call Florence my home for a short time whilst studying a Communications and Media degree at the Institute of European Design. Every single day was a new adventure exploring parts of Italy that I had never been to. I’m basically a local now (despite my limited vocabulary of an entire 10 Italian words).
Florence is an amazing city, with endless adventures and sites to see, most of them being super cheap or even free! Here are some of my favourites.
This is a site you cannot miss. Literally. Because it is an enormous structure right in the centre of the city. The Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral (duomo being the Italian word for cathedral) was constructed in the 1200’s and took over 2 centuries to be built. Entry into the duomo is free, but if you’re willing to spend 15 Euro, you can climb 463 steps to the very top of the dome. This 15 Euro also enables you to climb to bell tower as well as enter the museum, the baptistery and the crypt below the church. This I would highly recommend! The view is incredible, even if you climb it at night, in the snow, at -2 degrees celsius like I did.
The famous Ponte Vecchio bridge
The Ponte Vecchio is one of the oldest bridges in Florence. In fact, the words Ponte Vecchio literally translate to ‘Old Bridge’. Built over the River Arno, the bridge is home to many luxurious (and very pricey) jewellery stores and cafes, all with an amazing view. For anyone visiting Florence, this bridge is a must-see.
The Pitti Palace
Located on the south side of the River Arno and a short walk from the Ponte Vecchio stands the stunning Pitti Palace. The palace, which was built in the 15th century, is now home to some of the most important museums in Florence. 7 Euro will get you entry into to palace as well as the Silver Museum, Costume Gallery, Porcelain Museum and Bardini Gardens. The Gallery of Modern Art will set you back an extra 8.50 Euro. However if you’re not willing to spend the extra dollars, do not worry as the inside of the Pitti Palace is an artwork in itself.
Located at the rear of the Pitti Palace are the Boboli Gardens. The park features stunning green lawns and ancient oak trees and is also home to Neptune’s Fountain. Filled with incredible stone sculptures, the Boboli Gardens have been coined the largest monumental park in the whole of Florence. The top of the gardens offers an incredible view of the Pitti Palace with the gorgeous cityscape in the background.
Statue of David
You can’t go to Florence without seeing the Statue of David. The 5-metre tall statue is located in the Galleria dell’Accademia museum and was sculpted by a famous artist of the 1500’s, Michelangelo. A ticket into the museum will set you back around 12 Euro, but it’s well worth it to tick this well-renowned sculpture off your bucket list.
Piazzale Michelangelo Florence
If you’re a fan of photography, this is a site you cannot miss. The Piazzale Michelangelo is a square located on the south bank of the River Arno in the Oltrarno district of Florence. It is one of the most famous lookouts, offering incredible views of the entire city both at day and night. The walk to the top of the stairs isn’t too fun, however it is free and well worth the climb.
San Lorenzo leather markets
As Florence’s most famous outdoor markets, the San Lorenzo leather stalls are a must-see. The markets offer leather goods at discounted prices with a huge range of handbags, belts, wallets, shoes and coats. If you’re also after small souvenir pieces like magnets, keyrings and diaries, this is the place to buy them. Prices are generally cheap, but if you’re up for it, you can always have a go at bartering. More often than not, it actually works.
Free walking tours
If you love free stuff, then this is the one for you. The Florence free walking tours run twice a day for 1.5 – 2 hours. Not only do you get to see some of the most famous sites in the city but you also get a full history lesson ALL FOR FREE! It is also a great way to explore Florence if you’re only staying for a short time.
Do you have any other sites in Florence that you recommend? I’d love to hear from you! If you also have an endless love for Italy like myself, feel free to share your travel experiences in the comments below!
Until next time,