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Things to do in Florence, Italy

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Florence is a city that attracts tourists from all corners of the world. Everyone wants to see the Duomo and gaze at the statue of David before heading to the Uffizi galleries and the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge.

Even so, there is so much more to Florence: from museums to shopping destinations, undiscovered historical sites, markets, and one of the oldest gelato shops in town, this Italian city will entice all.

All of that being said, check out 10 Things to do in Florence.

The Uffizi

Gaze upon one of Botticelli’s finest pieces: The Birth of Venus. If you get early, you may get the painting to yourself, but don’t spend too long at Venus’s feet because there are hundreds more iconic works to see.

It is recommended to set aside at least three hours to navigate the gallery. Plus, the place itself is architecturally fascinating, built in the 16th century and designed by Italian painter Giorgio Vasari, the colonnades, linear columns, and traditional pediments all contribute to the classical design – a perfect pairing to the astonishing artwork housed there.

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

The centerpiece of the city, The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower, better known as the Duomo di Firenze is truly a unique building.

It was the largest in the world until 1881. As long as you don’t mind 463 steps plus some tight spaces, climbing up to the lantern at the very top of the structure will take you to the highest point in central Florence. Head to the adjacent Giotto’s Campanile (bell tower) for another spectacular view of the city and the Duomo itself.

Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio is the most important administrative building in Florence. This structure stood as the palace of the Signoria of the Republic of Florence and was also a town hall in later years.

Built-in 1299, the Palazzo was designed by the same architects that worked on the Duomo and the church of Santa Croce. With a square design and a number of crenulations, the building almost looks like a castle.

The interior of the palace is also sublime with a series of originally decorated rooms such as The Hercules Room and The Room of Cybele.

Mercato Centrale (Food Halls)

This large market hall offers all kinds of fresh food in a pleasant market atmosphere. You can also enjoy cooked food in the food hall, including Tuscan specialties such as porchetta.

You will find a number of cozy wine bars, where you can relax from the hustle and bustle on the market. Since the Mercato Centrale also sees many tourists these days, you can also buy souvenirs and clothes in the market hall.

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio is Florence’s most famous bridge. The bridge is best known for its shops, which are located on the bridge. Blacksmiths, tanners and butchers used to live here, but nowadays you will mainly encounter jewelers here.

In the middle of the bridge, you will find a bust of Cellini, who became famous as a metalsmith. Around the statue, you will find a fence, where couples in love hang a padlock to eternalize their love.

Caffé Gilli

Situated on the corner of Piazza Repubblica, you can sip your espresso at the marble counter just like the rest of the Florentines that stop by.

Make sure to order and pay at the register first, then head to the bar with the receipt and ask the barista for your coffee. If you want table service, that’ll be an extra charge;  normally, Italians just sip the drink quickly while standing at the bar.

Piazzale Michelangelo

One of the few places where you can see the whole of Florence in one breathtaking sweep. In addition to that, you’ll find carts overflowing with souvenirs and buskers, as well as an unbeatable and spectacular view.

Look out over the crumbling, old city wall in the west, to the Duomo, the Arnolfo Tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, and the Uffizi across the river.

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens are immense and beautiful. Covering an area of 45,000 square meters, the gardens are some of the largest in Florence and are truly beautiful to walk through.

Created in the 16th century, the Boboli Gardens feature a myriad of different sections including the main lawn with a fountain and obelisk, a selection of worldly trees, plants, and flowers, and several large ponds complete with water features.

Basilica of Santa Croce

Basilica of Santa Croce is truly beautiful and inviting. Constructed at a similar time to the Duomo, it also features a front facade that includes pink, green, and red marble polychrome panels contrasted with polished white stone.

Sitting in the Piazza di Santa Croce, the Basilica takes center position and frames the square perfectly. Aside from the beautiful exterior, the interior is home to the tombs of the most influential Renaissance artists and scholars in the world including Galileo, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli.

Giardino Bardini

Smaller gardens, and less packed than the Boboli Gardens, the Bardini is the way to go. The Bardini has two entrances, one in the San Niccolò neighborhood just past the Ponte Alle Grazie and the other up on Costa San Giorgio.

Walkthrough the olive grove or, visit during April when the magnificent purple wisteria arch is in bloom. Even better, at the top of the baroque staircase, you’ll find the same view over the city but can enjoy it while sipping on a glass of wine at the beautiful little bar.

Hello! I’m Sara, a Croatian native. I’ve traveled all over the world and have knocked out some amazing cities and countries off my bucket list.

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