Florence offers so much to visitors and there are so many things to see and do in this beautiful Italian city.
Florence is one of the cities that has it all, from top historical sights, the best museums and galleries, shopping opportunities, great places to taste authentic Italian food and wines.
From Florence you can visit also other Tuscan cities such as Pisa, Lucca, Prato and others. The wine regions in the vicinity are ideal for making a day trip to the wineries.
We suggest you to plan ahead to ensure you take the best of it.
Florence is home to the best art, from the Renaissance pieces at the Uffizi to Michelangelo's marble at the Academia. In between, take your time and enjoy vibrant cafés, cosy restaurants, food markets and much more.
Here are the best things to do in Florence that you shouldn't miss.
The historic centre of Florence has hundreds of charming narrow streets that criss-cross one another. Just start walking these streets and you'll stumble upon many artisanal shops selling handmade jewellery, shoes and bags, Tuscan cosmetics and perfumes, art and much more.
There are also many private stores selling sweets such as cantucci (dry almond biscuits) and during the festive season - panettone (sweet bread that comes in many variations).
We love Via Porta Rossa, lively street with many great stores you can explore.
The historic centre of Florence is easily to explore on foot, as everything is very close to each other.
We suggest you to start walking along the Arno river and from Ponte Santa Trinita turn into Via de'Tornabuoni until you reach the Piazza di Santa Trinita to visit beautiful gothic Basilica di Santa Trinita.
Walking further to the north you'll reach Piazza della Republica, beautiful large square lined with shops and cafes (here you'll find Feltrinelli book shop and La Rinascente department store).
Continue walking for 5 minutes more, and you'll reach Piazza del Duomo with Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (known as Duomo), the Baptistery of Saint John and the majestic Giotto's Bell Tower (it's possible to climb it through 414 steps).
Walking further to the south you'll get to Piazza della Signoria, the most important square of Florence.
Visit here Palazzo Vecchio to learn about the Medici family and the history of Florence (at the entrance there are the sculptures of Adam and Eve, the copy of Michelangelo's David and Hercules and Cacus). You can also climb the tower and the views are certainly worth the effort).
The square is always packed with tourists taking photos or enjoying in one of bustling cafés.
Walking along the Arno river along the Lungarni street that run along it, you'll have stunning views over the palazzi and the bridges of Florence. Here you can take some stunning photos (the best one are those on sunset) or sit in one of cafes and enjoy people watching.
From Ponte Santa Trinita, you'll see views of the unique Ponte Vecchio. Cross one of these bridges and you'll find yourself in Oltrarno, the authentic and quieter part of Florence with many little shops.
Turn left to Via de' Tornabuoni and you are in the historic centre of Florence.
When walking around Florence you'll stumble upon many shops (pasticceria in Italian) offering delicious sweets from Tuscan region.
One of the most typical one are cantucci, dry cookies ideal for dipping into coffee or tea. The original version are almond cantucci, but there are also cantucci packed with dark chocolate, candied orange peel, dry figs etc.
A pack of these cookies is an ideal souvenir from Florence or great gift to the loved ones. We love Leonardo store (Via Porta Rossa 14R) offering assortment of delicious handmade cantucci, then brutti ma buoni cookies as well as other cakes such as panettone during the festive season.
We also love Ballerini pasticceria cioccolateria (Borgo Ognissanti 132) offering typical Tuscan sweets like ricciarelli, cantuccini, panforte and panpepato, then chocolate praline, as well as freshly baked bread and pizza (ideal for a quick snack). You can enjoy your sweets there with a cup of espresso.
The city of Florence is a paradise for those who love shopping. Here you'll find a range of quality shops offering array of goods, from clothes and shoes, leather goods (bags and wallets), made-to-order jewellery, home decoration, quality Italian linen, food and wines.
In the Via de' Tornabuoni and nerby streets, you'll find top brands like Gucci, Pucci and Prada. On Via Roma you'll find brands like Miu Miu, Armani, Valentino and Fendi.
Nearby, the La Rinascente department store with its six floors offers the latest fashion and homeware. The Coin department store (just around the corner from Uffizi Gallery) offers women and man clothes with cafe on the ground floor (pick up some tasty pizza and sandwiches here).
Via del Corso and Borgo degli Albizi, both has a range of small stores offering affordable clothes, shoes, leather goods, parfumes and cosmetics with small eateries dotted between (we love Bolleblue, small store with natural cosmetic).