Florence is one of the most visited cities in Italy for a reason. Walking around Florence is like walking through a living museum. The city is filled to the brink with gorgeous Medieval architecture, amazing art and every street looks like something straight out of a Renaissance painting.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Florence many times and I even lived there for 2 months to study Italian when I was 18. Even despite the intense tourism, Florence is still one of my favorite cities in Italy. Although I strongly discourage you from visiting during the summer, especially July and August. Not only will the weather be uncomfortably hot and humid, all the locals will have fled the cities heat. So you will be surrounded by hords of other tourists and not have the chance of experiencing the authentic Florentine life. Instead, visit this beautiful Tuscan city in early spring or late autumn, or even in winter as it never gets very cold. Florence is charming throughout the year.
I already wrote one post about my favourite things to do in Florence, but the city has so much more to offer:
1. Piazzale Michelangelo
Piazzale Michelangelo is a square on the south bank of the Arno. Because it’s elevated, it offers a spectacular view over Florence. It’s a bit of a climb to get there, but the view is worth it. From here, you can see the whole city. It’s especially beautiful at sunset. So bring a bottle of wine and some snacks and settle in for a breathtaking sight. In the summer there’s often music on the square as well as a bar where you can relax with a cocktail.
2. Palazzo Vecchio
The Palazzo Vecchio was originally the palace of the De Medici family, the most powerful family of Florence during the Renaissance. When they moved to the Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Vecchio became the City Hall. Since then, it has been the seat of the city council and it is still in use. Parts of the Palazzo are open to visitors and it’s worth a peek inside as it houses some amazing art. The Salone dei Cinquecento is especially beautiful with an elaborately decorated ceiling and murals.
In the hill just above Florence lies Fiesole. This lovely little town dates back to the Roman times and makes a perfect afternoon or morning trip from Florence. In Fiesole, you can explore archeological sites, a few churches and the pretty town itself. But the best thing is the amazing view it offers over Florence. Getting to Fiesole is easy, there is a direct busline from Piazza San Marco.
4. Galleria dell’Accademia
Florence is a city of art, with some amazing museums. Where Gallerie degli Uffizi houses some of the worlds most famous paintings, Galleria dell’Accademia has the best sculptures. Here is where you can see original sculptures by Michealangelo, such as the Davide, as well as other beautiful pieces. If you don’t feel like spending money on the museum, you can see copies of the sculptures on the Piazza della Singoria.
5. Mercato Centrale
At a 5-minute walk from the Duomo lies the Mercato Centrale, the old city market. It’s a beautiful building from the late 19th century. Inside, on the ground floor, you’ll find a food market with fresh produce, traditional products, local delicacies and food artisans. The second floor is a food court with local and international cuisine. The perfect place to find food souvenirs, try lots of different dishes and have a tasty lunch.
Some places are famous for a reason and Florence is one of them. Despite my hatred for crowded, touristic places, this is one city that I can’t get enough of. There is just so much to do.
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