Florence, Italy is one of the most cultural, historic cities in the world. Traveling here means days filled with amazing architecture and tours of historical places. With 13 million people visiting Florence every year, going with a plan is key to making the most of your trip. Below are 8 of the best things to do in Florence, Italy regarding culture, markets, and art.
Known as the Florence Cathedral to most of the world, the Duomo was originally constructed in 1436. This magnificent cathedral is easy to spot in the middle of the old city, with its famous Brunelleschi dome. Ensure that you get tickets to climb the Duomo Terraces. This allows you to go on top of the cathedral for impressive views of the whole city. It also gives visitors a better look at the Dome, Bell Tower, and the nineteenth-century rose window the cathedral is known for. However, you must be reasonably fit, as there are a lot of stairs, and no elevator.
The Ponte Vecchio is a 14th-century bridge that spans the Arno river. Like many historic bridges, there are shop fronts and even a performance square in the middle of the bridge. As you shop your way across the bridge, you will also see historic storefronts such as butchers, tanners, and seamstresses on display. Within the performance space, you can often see various street performers, from singers and magicians to mimes and comedians.
Located on the hill over the Arno River, the Abbey of San Miniato Al Monte is a must-visit. For one, the view of Florence from the Abbey is stunning, and secondly, the church and monastery are architecturally stunning. Construction of the church began in 1013 and was completed in 1018, with additional exterior details added in 1090. Within the church are intricate pavement designs showing the zodiac signs and other patterns. The monks make a range of liqueurs, honey, and herbal tea using plants from the grounds and sell them onsite.
II Porcellino is a bronze fountain featuring a wild boar, the original was cast in 1633 as a copy of a marble statue and there are now replicas around the world. The original in Florence was replaced with a new cast in 2008. However, the original is at the Muse Stefano Bardini for those who wish to see it. The II Porcellino statue is located within Mercato Nuovo and rubbing the nose of the boar while putting a coin in its mouth has been a popular tradition since the 1700s. Make sure you put a coin in the boar's mouth and let it roll down the tongue into the fountain. If the coin falls through the grate, it is said to bring good luck.
Florence has many small plazas offering shopping and dining opportunities. Santo Spirito is located in the center of the artisan quarter, where fashion is important. As fashion is a crucial part of the culture in Florence, Piazza Santa Spirito is the best place to find new clothes. In fact, many historic ateliers still have stores. Furthermore, on the second Sunday of every month, there is a vintage clothing and accessories market. Once you are done shopping, stop and enjoy a bite to eat within a 13th-century tower at Osteria Cinghiale Bianco. Or, consider a food tour within the neighborhood.
One of the best places to experience the food of Italy is at Mercato Centrale. The first floor of this incredible indoor market houses the city's oldest food market with butchers, farmers, grocers, and more. The second floor, however, is home to a culinary hub, where visitors can watch chefs create impeccable dishes. You can also order food and drinks from a variety of vendors, or even take a cooking class.
Officially known as the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, this is the location of Michelangelo’s David. The Gallery itself is surprisingly small, and you should book a tour to see everything without crowds. Alongside the statue of David are four unfinished Michelangelo works and several exquisite pieces of Gothic art. Finally, there is a small hall dedicated to music, with a 16 million dollar voila on display.
The Uffizi Gallery is the premier art house in Florence. It houses one of the greatest collections of Italian Renaissance artwork in the world. The building itself is over 500 years old and it officially opened as a museum in 1865. Florence was the birthplace of Renaissance art, and much of it is now back home in the museum. Some of the most famous pieces on display include the Birth of Venus and La Primavera.
Visiting Florence is like taking a trip back in time. Above are our recommendations for the best things to do in Florence, Italy during your trip to make the most of it. Enjoy the renaissance feel of this old city, and explore the culture, history, and art in detail. The hardest part is deciding what to do first.