10 Things You Can’t Miss in Florence & Tuscany

Music festivals, Vespa rides, Tuscany events and festivals, spas, gelato, museums, wineries, beaches and mountains. How many days do you need in Florence? The city is small but full of artistic beauty. We suggest you 10 things to do in Florence and Tuscany that you (definitely) can’t miss! The best monuments to visit and the most beautiful itineraries to do.

One day in Florence (24 hours)

Florence is one the most beautiful cities in the world, every corner of the city is a little treasure.
But can you see Florence in 1 day? Yes, sure, Florence is not so big, in 24 hours you can see many museums and monuments. So don’t ask yourself, “How many days in Florence is enough?”.

1. Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, best known as “Duomo di Firenze”, is the one of the symbols of Florence. The beautiful cupola of the cathedral was made by Filippo Brunelleschi who began its construction in 1420.

2. Basilica di Santa Croce

Basilica di Santa Croce is one of the greatest Gothic achievements in Italy, and is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians: Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, the poet Foscolo, the philosopher Gentile and the composer Rossini.

3. Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria is a sort of open-air museum, the square is soaked in history: at every corner you breathe beauty. In the middle of square there are the equestrian monument of Cosimo I, the Fountain of Neptune. They are both erected next to Palazzo Vecchio.

4. Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio, situated in Piazza della Signoria, is the seat of the municipality of Florence.

At the beginning it was called “Palazzo dei Priori”, in the 15th century it changed name to “Palazzo della Signoria”; in 1540 – during Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici’s residence – it became “Palazzo Ducale”. And at the end it got the name “Vecchio” that was taken after 1565 when the court of Duke Cosimo moved to Palazzo Pitti (“New”).

From 1865 to 1871 it was the seat of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Italy, while nowadays it houses the Mayor of Florence and various municipal offices.

5. Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is a museum in Florence including Palazzo degli Uffizi, the Vasari Corridor and the collections of Palazzo Pitti. The three unified galleries constitute one of the most important museums in the world in terms of quantity and quality of the works collected. It houses the largest existing collection of Raphael and Botticelli, as well as fundamental nuclei of works by Giotto, Titian, Pontormo, Bronzino, Andrea del Sarto, Caravaggio, Dürer, Rubens and others.

6. Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio is one of the symbols of the city of Florence and one of the most famous bridges in the world.

7. Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti, back in the days, used to be the residence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, already inhabited by the Medici, the Hapsburg-Lorraine and, after the unification of Italy, the Savoy. It is located in Piazza dei Pitti at number 1, in the Oltrarno area.

8. Boboli gardens

Boboli Gardens is a historic park of the city of Florence., born as the Grand Ducal garden of Palazzo Pitti.

Two days in Florence (48 hours)

Can you do Florence in 2 days? Of course, we have mapped out a suitable itinerary for your weekend in Florence.

  • First day

1. Galleria dell’Accademia

On first day you can’t miss Accademia Gallery, the museum exhibits the largest number of Michelangelo’s sculptures in the world, including the world-famous David.

2. Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

One of the symbolic places of Florence:  Giotto’s bell tower is extraordinary and very modern; the dome of Brunelleschi is stunning. Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is definitely one of the wonders of the city.

3. Florence Baptistery

Located in the heart of the city of Florence, it integrates with the Duomo and Giotto’s Bell Tower to form a wonderful triptych.

4. Basilica di Santa Croce

The most beautiful Basilica in Florence? Yeah, sure! Rich in history and in beauty, as well as the seat of the tombs of such immense figures as Michelangelo and Galileo Galilei.

5. Uffizi Gallery

At least once in a lifetime Uffizi Gallery is worth a visit, a vast amount of works of art. It is certainly one of the most beautiful museums in the world.

  • Second day

1. Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio is located in Piazza della Signoria and is the seat of the Municipality. Its original name of Palazzo della Signoria was replaced by Palazzo Vecchio when the Medici court moved to Palazzo Pitti.

2. Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio is always magic: at any time it always offers a spectacle of incomparable colors.

3. Palazzo Pitti

One of the most beautiful jewels of Florence. We recommend you to visit it calmly, consider at least 2 or 3 hours to dedicate to Palazzo Pitti.

4. Museo nazionale del Bargello

Bargello is a precious treasure in the city of artistic beauty, Florence. Eternal works of art and a fantastic light coming in through the windows.

5. Piazzale Michelangelo 

From Piazzale Michelangelo you can see the entire city: Santa Croce, Palazzo Vecchio, Duomo, Ponte Vecchio. The panoramic view is really suggestive.

Three days in Florence

  • First day

1. Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio is one of the most suggestive places in Florence. The bridge is full of goldsmith shops that are definitely worth a visit even just to admire the work. 

2. Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery is a Florentine Wonder: every room of the museum is a surprise to discover, from Botticelli to Caravaggio, from Giotto to Michelangelo.

3. Piazza della Signoria

An amazing square: it looks like a real open-air museum, the first time it leaves you speechless, the second one you are amazed by its overwhelming beauty. 

4. Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio is the seat of Municipality. It represents the best synthesis of fourteenth-century civil architecture and is one of the most famous civic buildings in the world.

5. Florence Baptistery

Religious building consecrated in 1059, mentioned by Dante “…in my beautiful St. John” in the Inferno of the Divine Comedy. Visiting it is essential, one can consider it the religious soul of the city. Unique in all aspects.

6. Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

Cathedral in Florentine Gothic style known as “Duomo di Firenze”. It is the third largest in Europe and is of breathtaking beauty. The variety of polychrome marbles was a sign of the wealth of the Florentine seigniory.

7. Galleria dell’Accademia

One of the most important museums in Florence: it exhibits various works by Michelangelo including the famous “David”. In addition there are some sculptures by Michelangelo not completely finished. Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze is not to be missed during your stay in Florence. 

  • Second day

1. Basilica di Santa Croce

Famous for being the Pantheon of the illustrious Italians. Along the walls are the tombs of Michelangelo Buonarroti, Niccolò Machiavelli, Galileo Galilei, Rossini, Foscolo.

2. Museo Nazionale del Bargello

In Museo Nazionale del Bargello there are the beautiful marble and bronze statues created by Florentine masters (including Giambologna’s sculptures). You can find, for example, the David di Donatello made for Cosimo the Elder.

3. Basilica di Santo Spirito

Basilica di Santo Spirito is the symbol of the district of Oltrarno, one of the most beautiful churches in Florence. Lovely and alive the square in front of the church.

4. Boboli gardens

Behind Palazzo Pitti lies the wonderful Boboli Gardens. The vast green area, divided in a regular way, is a real open-air museum, populated by ancient and Renaissance statues.

5. Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti hides a story to be discovered made of pomp, failure and conquest. 

6. San Miniato al Monte

A place full of spirituality and beauty, with a splendid view of the city. Not to be missed, if you are in or around Florence. The entrance is free of charge. 

7. Piazzale Michelangelo 

Beautiful place to see Florence from above. 

  • Third day

1. Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

Basilica di Santa Maria Novella,  full of treasures. The crucifix by Giotto stands out as soon as you enter, but the masterpieces hidden inside are numerous and all to be discovered. In front of the main entrance there is a beautiful square with a beautiful garden with benches on which to stop and admire the classic style facade that recalls that of the Duomo. 

2. Mercato del Porcellino

Historic point of Florence with the statue of the piglet and an adjacent market full of stalls offering various handicraft products. A must-see. 

3. Chiesa e Museo di Orsanmichele

Small hidden pearl of Florence, often ignored in favour of more renowned places. Entrance to the church is always free, while the museum is only free on certain days.

4. Mercato Centrale

Mercato Centrale of Florence is located between Via dell’Ariento, Via Sant’Antonino, Via Panicale and Piazza del Mercato Centrale. It was one of the results of the Renovation period, from the period of Florence Capital of Italy to the end of the 19th century.

5. Basilica di San Lorenzo

Basilica of San Lorenzo is one of the main Catholic places of worship in Florence, located in the square of the same name in the historical centre of the city.

6. Medici Chapels

Medici chapels, the burial place of the Medici family is located at the back of the Basilica of San Lorenzo and not far from Palazzo Medici “Riccardi”. 

7. Museo di San Marco

Museo di San Marco is located in the monumental part of an ancient Dominican convent in Piazza San Marco in Florence: a place where art and spirituality come together.

Best things to do in Florence, Italy and in Tuscany

“What you must do in Florence?” is probably the most difficult question to answer because Florence is a city where it’s easy to get lost.

Some things you must do:

Climb to the top of the Duomo on a sunny day. The view is unforgettable.

To learn more about the Duomo and other monuments in Florence, check out: Monuments in Florence


 

Eat a gelato (ice cream) in Piazza Santa Croce on a Spring or Summer day. The best gelaterie of the district (and perhaps of the city) are Vivoli(Via Isola delle Stinche, 7) and Vestri (Borgo degli Albizi,11). Don’t miss this experience!


 

Ride a Vespa (or scooter) to Piazzale Michelangelo or Fiesole on a warm, Spring day. You’ll really experience the freedom and joy of the Dolce Vita.

For Vespa Tour Companies, take a look at: Bike, Car & Vespa Rental in Florence


 

Visit the Galleria dell’Accademia (Via Ricasoli, 58), where the original David of Michelangelo stands. Seeing the process from marble to masterpiece at the “i prigioni” (the prisoners) exhibit is also a great experience.

For more info on The Accademia and other state museums, visit: States Museums in Florence


 

Drink a glass of Tuscan wine on an Autumn/Winter day at one of the typical Florentine wine bars. We suggest spending some time at Dondino (Piazza Santa Croce), Antica Mescita (Via San Niccolò, 60), Enoteca Fuoriporta (Via Monte alle Croci) or at La Sosta del Rossellino(Settignano).

 

Go to music festivals in Tuscany in the Spring and SummertimePistoia BluesArezzo WaveUmbriaJazzMaggio Musicale (Florence), Mercantia(Certaldo) and Firenze Rocks.


 

Go up to Piazzale Michelangelo. The walk up may be difficult, but the view from the top is well worth it. Try and make it for sunset on a nice evening!


 

Relax at one of Tuscany’s beautiful spasSaturniaVenturinaCalidarioBagno VignoniMontecatini, Rapolano Terme, etc.


 

Take a break from the museums and monuments and visit/eat at the Mercato Centrale in the San Lorenzo area. Find the freshest produce, meats and fish around at this closed market. Upstairs, you can enjoy restaurants, cafes and bars for a different kind of dining experience.

Learn more about the markets in Florence here: Markets Around Florence


 

Attend a soccer match at Le Cascine Park or a Fiorentina Serie A game at Stadio Franchi.


Top 5 things to do for free

What can you do in Florence for free? There are so many things to do for free in Florence:

Admire San Miniato al Monte: the abbey basilica of San Miniato al Monte is located in one of the highest places in the city, and is one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture Florence. The entrance is free of charge.

Rub the pig’s nose! – The fountain “Il Porcellino” (Italian for “piglet”) is located on the edge of “Loggia del Mercato Nuovo”, near Ponte Vecchio. The legend said: if you place a coin on the piglet’s face and let it slide down his snout, the future will bring you good luck; otherwise bad luck will come your way. Precisely for this reason at every hour of the day there are tourists waiting in line to tempt fate.

Visit Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia: Near Piazza San Marco you can find Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia, first Renaissance cenacle in Florence, painted inside the convent of Sant’Apollonia.

Visit Cenacolo Ognissanti: a small museum in Florence, located in Borgo Ognissanti, in the refectory between the two cloisters of the convent of Ognissanti. There is a large fresco of the Last Supper (400×810 cm) by Domenico Ghirlandaio, dated 1480.

Visit Chiesa di Orsanmichele: the church of Orsanmichele is located in front of Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana, not far from both Palazzo Vecchio and Santa Maria in Fiore. The name Orsanmichele is due to the thirteenth-century oratory dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, surrounded by the garden of a Benedictine monastery. The element that most distinguishes the church of Orsanmichele are the fourteen tabernacles, decorated between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries by the main Florentine Arts and in each one there is a statue of the patron saint of the guild.