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33 Best things to do in Florence + itinerary (2024)

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The article talks about 33 best things to do in Florence. Many interesting things about attractions including stories, legends, and other special features, are explained in the article. Furthermore, the article also provides 1 to 3 days itineraries of Florence for tourists and travelers. The itineraries includes most of the best things to do that mentioned in the articles. You can use the itineraries to plan your trip in Florence easily.

duomo santa maria fiore details

The center of Florence is a very dreamy place, and walking through it feels like traveling through history. Florence is unique because it has a long history, magnificent and shocking architecture, and rich culture. There are so many interesting things to do in Florence.

33 Best things to do in Florence

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo)

The Duomo has been under construction since 1296 and was completed 140 years later. The interior of the Duomo is decorated with many famous artworks like frescoes and marble altars.

cathedral santa maria fiore florence

The dome of Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is the largest brick dome in the world. The dome can be climbed, and the views are stunning from there.

Campanile di Giotto (Bell tower of Duomo)

The Campanile di Giotto is the bell tower of the Duomo and stands 85 meters tall. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, who also designed the dome of the Duomo.

florence duomo bell tower italy

Porta del paradiso on the building of Battistero

The name “Porta del Paradiso”, which means “Gates of Paradise”, was given by Michelangelo because he was fascinated by Lorenzo Ghiberti’s great artwork that matched his imagination of the entrance to biblical Garden of Eden. On the bronze door, there are ten scenes depicting the Old Testament.

porta paradiso battistero duomo florence

Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio means “Old Palace” in Italian and became the former residence after the Medici family move to their new residence Palazzo Pitti in the 16th century. The original name of the Palazzo Vecchio was the Palazzo della Signoria and it was built in the 14th century. The palazzo houses many important works of art including Michelangelo’s “Victory” and many historical events happened here.

palazzo vecchio piazza signoria florence

Inside Palazzo Vecchio, a famous room called Salone dei Cinquecento, which means “Hall of the Five Hundred” in Italian, is one of the largest halls in Italy.  The massive hall was built in 1494 and was planned to use as a meeting room for 500 members Grand Council (Consiglio Maggiore). Today Palazzo Vecchio is where Florence town hall is located.

Piazza della Signoria

During Middle Age and Renaissance time, the ruling power of Florence was the government; therefore “Signoria” refers to the Florence government at that time. The square is home of artworks and historical events. For example, Girolamo Savonarola burned books and works of art, etc., in the square in 1497. In 1498, Girolamo Savonarola was also hanged and burned here.

piazza signoria horses sculpture florence

Copy of David sculpture in piazza della Signoria

The David statue in Piazza della Signoria is a copy of Michelangelo’s work. The original David statue is in the Galleria dell’Accademia.

david sculpture copy signoria florence

Ercole e Caco in piazza della signoria

Ercole e Caco is a famous Renaissance sculpture from the 16th century and an iconic landmark in Florence. During the Italian Renaissance, the Medici family financed Baccio Bandinelli’s sculpture, Ercole e Caco.

ercole caco sculpture signoria florence

Therefore, besides the sculpture depicting the battling between the hero Hercules and the monster Cacus, it also has a metaphor for the Medici family is so powerful that they can win their enemies.

Statua Equestre di Cosimo I de’ Medici

Making the sculpture stable was a challenge in the 16th century, because the 6 tons sculpture could be only supported by 2 legs of the horse. The artist Giambologna applied new techniques on it, and the sculpture took him almost 10 years to complete until 1583. The sculpture was one of the symbols of Medici family’s power, and it demonstrated their military triumph.

piazza signoria cosimo medici florence

Loggia dei Lanzi

Loggia dei Lanzi is like an open-air museum where people can admire masterpieces by Benvenuto Cellini, Giambologna, and other famous artists.

loggia lanzi piazza signoria florence

The building is located on the Piazza della Signoria, and it was built in the late 14th century. Many famous historical events happened here. For example, this is where the Pazzi conspirators were hanged in 1478.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa (under Loggia dei lanzi in piazza della Signoria)

The sculptor Benvenuto Cellini wanted to create a masterpiece that was better than the Medusa Rondanini. The work was made between 1545 to 1554, and the result of the work is incredible. Cellini was a master of using bronze. That’s why even Medusa’s hair was showed vividly.

perseo cellini loggia lanzi florence

Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici commissioned the work to the sculptor. The purpose of the work was to show the power and protection to local Florence people.

Basilica of Santa Croce

Santa Croce is not only known as the largest Franciscan church in the world but also known as “Temple of the Italian Glories” because many outstanding Italians such as Michelangelo, Galileo, etc. are buried here. The church is on the Piazza di Santa Croce, which is 800-meter away from Duomo.

basilica santa croce florence

The church has a beautiful cloister and many wonderful frescoes and artwork. According to legend, Santa Croce was constructed by St Francis.  But actually, the building of the church started in 1294, is most probably built by an Italian architect and sculptor Arnolfo di Cambio.

Dante in piazza Santa Croce

The statue of Dante in Piazza Santa Croce was unveiled in 1865. In 1265, which was 600 years ago, Dante was born. Therefore the statue was to celebrate Dante’s anniversary. The Italian sculptor Enrico Pazzi created the statue that Dante was holding his own famous work, which is one of the greatest works of world literature “The Divine Comedy”.

dante piazza santa croce florence

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio is an arch stone bridge from medieval times and is the oldest bridge in Florence. It is said that though the bridge was completed rebuilding in 1345, it was first built in Roman times. There are many shops on the bridge from the past until now. The bridge has helped Florence withstand floods for several centuries.

The Ponte Vecchio is the only “bridge survivor” from German army during the World War II.  Except the Ponte Vecchio, German army destroyed all the bridges in 1944. It is said that Hitler ordered not to destroy the bridge because its outstanding historical value.

ponte vecchio arno river florence

Near the bridge, many lovers attached padlocks on the railings. The city council said that “Love locks” have negative influence on the beauty of the environment and damaged the bust of Cellini and the railings. Therefore, the “Love locks” are forbidden and those who attach a love lock on the bridge will receive a fine.

The Ponte Vecchio has a secret passageway called the Vasari Corridor connecting the Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti on both sides of the Arno River. The Vasari Corridor was built by the Medici family to move safely. Most of the time, the Vasari Corridor is not open to the public nowadays.

Basilica San Miniato al Monte

Both the interior and facade of the Basilica have mosaics and are decorated amazingly. There are frescoes and stone carvings on the interior and marbles and sculptures on the façade.

basilica san miniato monte florence

The Basilica named after Saint Miniato, the legend says that he was an Armenian prince who was thrown to a panther in Amphitheatre by the Emperor. But the panther refused to eat him. So, the Emperor ordered to beheaded him.  But he picked up his own head and carried it to where he lived as a hermit.

View from Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo is on the top of a hill of Florence where you can have panoramic views of the city of Florence. You can see many iconic attractions in Florence from the square. Tourists can enjoy the views, take many wonderful photos, and relax in bars and restaurants around the square.

view piazzale michelangelo florence italy

Ospedale Degli Innocenti In Piazza Santissima Annunziata

Ospedale degli innocenti was built in the 15th century for orphans and it is one the of the oldest orphanages in the world.  From 1660 to 1875, there was a famous “foundling wheel” that is a rotating wheel door, which could avoid parents who left infants from being seen when they abandoned their children.

piazza santissima annunziata florence italy

Fortezza da Basso area

The Fortezza da Basso was built in the 16th century for protecting the city from invasion. The area near the fortress is very interesting because besides restaurants, cafes, and bars there are also Central Market in Piazza del Mercato Centrale and Giardino della Fortezza that worth a visit.

fortezza basso street art florence
fortezza basso wall square florence

Piazza della Repubblica

Many Italian cities have squares called Piazza della Repubblica, like Rome, Milan, Naples. Therefore, there is no exception with Florence. The Piazza della Repubblica in Florence is one of the main squares in the center of Florence.

piazza repubblica arch florence italy

Many attractions like arches of the former city gate, the Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali, and the historic carousel are located on the square. The square has been a site of the city’s ancient Roman Forum, Jewish ghetto and now it is a good meeting point for tourist starting their city tour in Florence.

Street art

There is a lot of street art in Florence, some playing music and singing, some painting, and many people dressed as various statues, remaining motionless. Street art and an artsy city combine together to add lively environment to the city.

street art galleria uffizi florence

Shopping in the center

There are many Italian and world-renowned brands in the center of Florence. In addition, there are many old shops in the city center. It is a unique experience to visit old shops in such a quaint city.

dog car furs florence italy

Walk along the Arno river

Walking along the Arno river is very enjoyable because the colors of the water can vary depending on the sunlight. In particular, many famous tourist attractions are along the river. The river is over 241 kilometers long that ranks the first longest river in Tuscany region and dates back to Roman times.

florence italy arno river bridge

Join funny activities with local people

In a big city like Florence, there are all kinds of interesting things going on. When we were downtown, a group of young people organized “Free hugs” and they hugged everyone in the neighborhood with such enthusiasm and passion that everyone was infected with the vibe. People are surrounded by smiles, romance, and joy because of this funny activity.

free hugs florence people square
free hugs people florence italy

Eat local traditional food and drink wine

The most typical food from Florence is panino con Lampredotto (bread with a part of the cattle’ stomach) to be enjoyed with a glass of wine. You can buy it in one of the many kiosks located throughout the city center. The nearest kiosk to the itinerary that we will provide is in Mercato del Porcellino (the little pig market). You can find it via Calimala, that is the street which connects Piazza della Repubblica to Ponte Vecchio, just behind Piazza della Signoria.

Piazza Santa Maria Novella

Piazza Santa Maria Novella is named after basilica santa maria novella and it encompasses many famous buildings like Palazzo Strozzi and Palazzo degli Agli around. An outstanding obelisk, which was brought from Egypt in 18th century, is located in the center of the square.

The square is very near to the Florence Center Train Station. It’s only 700 meters from Florence Center Train Station and around 8 minutes walking.

Basilica Santa Maria Novella

The church is famous for having Gothic and Renaissance style and beautiful cloisters designed by the architect Leon Battista Alberti. The church has not only a rich collection of artwork but also artifacts and frescoes. The art work not only include medieval period to the Renaissance but also other periods.

Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti is a beautiful palace and one of the biggest museum complexes in Italy. It is not only a home of Boboli Gardens but also has an extensive collection of art work.

palazzo pitti piazza florence italy

Palazzo Pitti was built in the 15th century for Luca Pitti who is a banker. The palace was home for several famous Italian families like the Medici family.

Caffè Le Giubbe Rosse

The cafè is located in Piazza della Repubblica. It is not only a bar but also a heritage from history. Many artists, poets and Futurists met at Caffè Le Giubbe Rosse for discussions and activities in the 20th century. Tourists can go to famous cafè to enrich their experience of history, culture and their connection with the past.

Galleria dell’Accademia

The Galleria dell’Accademia is a museum for Renaissance art. The most outstanding artwork is the sculpture of David by Michelangelo, which is one of the most important sculptures in the world. The museum also has many other famous artworks from Michelangelo and other Renaissance artists. You can book tickets in advance through Galleria dell’Accademia official website here with additional 4 euro fee for booking.


Uffizi is one of the most famous museums in the world and it has inspired many artists globally. The rich art collection includes not only masterpieces from masters like Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci but also many other famous artists. Every year, many people go to Uffizi to admire masterpieces like “The Birth of Venus” and many other artworks.

Uffizi very often has long queues for purchasing tickets and entering the museum. Therefore, many tourists prefer to purchase skip-the-line tickets in advance. The tickets can be booked online with additional 4 euro “Entrance reservation” fee. You can find information about purchasing tickets online on the Uffizi website.

Casa di Dante

The Casa di Dante was reconstructed according to historical information about how Dante lived and it is considered as the location where Dante was born in 1265. There is a museum inside the building and those who are interested in Dante may want to visit in order to understand better the life and work of Dante.  

Museo Nazionale del Bargello

Museo Nazionale del Bargello was a residence, a prison, and police headquarters but now it is an art gallery that collects great masterpieces. Tourists can admire fantastic artworks like Bacchus, Pitti Tondo, L’Architettura and many other wonderful artworks.

Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapels)

The Cappelle Medicee were used as tombs for Medici family and are part of the Basilica of San Lorenzo. The Chapel of the Princes is the area of tombs for Medici family. There is a crypt under the chapel of the princes. The important people such as Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and his wife, are buried in the crypt.

Palazzo Strozzi

The Strozzi family commissioned Benedetto da Maiano to build the Palazzo strozzi to compete with their rival, the Medici family who owned the Palazzo Medici Riccardi. The Palazzo Strozzi was constructed in 1489 and completed in 1538. The Palazzo Strozzi is open to public and hosts many temporary exhibitions.

One to three days Itineraries in Florence

One Day Itinerary in Florence

Before crossing the Ponte Vecchio

If you stay in Florence only one day, we recommend visiting the center without visiting museum in order to understand better the city itself. It will be a very pleasant walk in historical center of Florence.

Bell tower Giotto Duomo Florence

Starting from Piazza Santa Maria Novella, you will first see the Basilica Santa Maria Novella. Then walk through the street via Panzani and Via de’ Cerretani, you will arrive at Piazza di San Giovanni where you can find:  

  • Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo)
  • Campanile di Giotto (Bell tower of Duomo)
  • Porta del paradiso on the building of Battistero

Then you can walk along Via dei Calzaiuoli (the street of shoe makers), which is the main shopping street. When you are in half length of the street, you will find Piazza della Repubblica where you can enjoy cafe at Caffè Le Giubbe Rosse or shopping in Rinascente.

Continue to walk along Via dei Calzaiuoli, you will arrive at Piazza della Signoria, you can admire:

  • Palazzo Vecchio
  • Copy of David sculpture in piazza della Signoria
  • Ercole e Caco in Piazza della Signoria
  • Statua Equestre di Cosimo I de’ Medici
  • Loggia dei Lanzi
  • Perseus with the Head of Medusa (under Loggia dei Lanzi in piazza della Signoria)

Next to Palazzo Vecchio, there is the Piazzale degli Uffizi, from which you will find Uffizi on your left-hand side. Then you can continue to walk along the Piazzale degli Uffizi until you reach the bank of the Arno river. You can turn right to walk along the Arno river to have a wonderful view of the Ponte Vecchio.

After crossing the Ponte Vecchio

Later you can cross the Ponte Vecchio and walk along Via de’ Guicciardini, then you will arrive at Piazza de’ Pitti where you can find Palazzo Pitti on your left hand side.

duomo tower piazzale michelangelo florence

If you like walking, you can go back to the bank of the Arno river and walk along the river to reach Porta San Niccolò. After the stairs, you will reach Piazzale Michelangelo where you can have an overlook of the entire Florence. If you go further, you will reach the Basilica San Miniato al Monte.


1 if you don’t like to walk, you can use public tranportation to reach Piazzale Michelangelo after visiting city center.

2 You can enjoy the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo if you want to stay a bit longer at Piazzale Michelangelo.

3 You can choose panino con Lampredotto as your lunch to have a local food experience.

Two Days Itinerary in Florence

Day 1 is the same as described in one-day itinerary.

Day 2

You can visit the Galleria dell’Accademia in the morning. After the visit, you can spend time at Piazza Santissima Annunziata and see Ospedale Degli Innocenti.

You can go back to the center and visit Uffizi in the afternoon and then you can walk along Borgo dei Greci to reach Piazza Santa Croce and see Basilica of Santa Croce where the sculpture of Dante is in front of the church.


We recommend booking skip-the-line tickets in advance to save time because the waiting time in the queue is unpredictable. Particularly, it can be very hot in summer in Florence so it’s not nice experience to stand under the Mediterranean sun in a long queue.

Three Days Itinerary in Florence

If you stay for 3 days in Florence, in addition to day 1 and day 2 described above, you can choose to visit the following places according to your preferences.

  • Fortezza da Basso area
  • Casa di Dante
  • Museo Nazionale del Bargello
  • Cappelle Medicee (the Medici Chapels)
  • Palazzo Strozzi

Note: If you feel two days and half are enough for you in Florence, you can spend the other half-day in a nearby city such as Pisa to see the Leaning Tower and other attractions.

Author: Hua

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