Things to do in Florence

Must-see Florence sights

Romantic, picturesque, delicious. Florence oozes charm all over. From glorious artwork to incredible architecture, there’s no wonder why this Tuscan beauty is so popular.

  1. Be impressed by the Duomo

  2. See incredible artwork at the Uffizi

  3. Head to Chianti for wine

  4. Indulge in hearty Tuscan cuisine

  5. Enjoy soaring views of Florence

  6. Walk over Florence’s oldest bridge

  7. Visit Michelangelo’s David

  8. Chill out in the Giardino di Boboli

Florence is elegance through and through. It’s gorgeous, it’s lively, it’s heart-warming - it’s everything you want from your travels. 

1. Be impressed by the Duomo

The huge multicoloured facade of the Florence Cathedral rises majestically through Florence’s skyline. Officially known as Santa Maria dei Fiori (Saint Mary of the Flowers), the Duomo was designed by the great architect Arnolfo di Cambio (1245-1302). The new cathedral was intended to surpass all of the great buildings of antiquity in both size and splendour. The cupola for one is incredible. It’s huge and is one the biggest depictions of the Last Judgement. You can take a tour of its insides. It can be seen as a little bare compared to the exterior. It’s worth a look though, to understand the simple beauty of the city’s art. It’s one of the most rewarding things to do in Florence. 


Best for: Architecture

While you’re there: You can climb up the spiraling 463 steps to the lantern at its top and enjoy fantastic panoramic views over the city.

2. See incredible artwork at the Uffizi

Attracting well over two million visitors a year, the Uffizi Galleries is the finest picture gallery in Italy. It’s trove of art treasures. There are multiple rooms to peruse where you’ll pass prints and drawings and classical sculptures. Follow the fine brushstrokes of pieces like Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo and explore the detail of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Home to the world’s greatest collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, this is one of the best things to do in Florence.  

Best for: Art lovers

While you’re there: Tickets for the Uffizi, and other attractions, can be booked in advance online. This allows you to take your printout to the museums, and join the fast track queue.

3. Head to Chianti for wine

What to do in Florence if you like wine? Our suggestion is to head to Chianti, the country’s most famous vineyards. This is the picturesque territory of vineyards and hill-towns that stretch between Florence and Siena. Life in Chianti seems in perfect balance: the landscape is a softly varied terrain of hills and valleys. The climate for most of the year is sunny. Full of sweet charm, Chianti is bursting with character. There are plenty of wine bars for you to choose from to enjoy a glass of wine.

Best for: A glass of wine

While you’re there: If you’re in Chianti in September, check out the town’s biggest wine fair.

4. Indulge in hearty Tuscan cuisine

One of the best things to do in Florence is to simply eat! Tuscan cooking is all about simple dishes and using fresh, quality, local ingredients. Olive oil, as suspected, is the essential flavouring. It’s used as a dressing for salads and a medium for frying. It’s also used for drizzling over bread or vegetables and into soups and stews just before serving. Soups are very popular - Tuscan menus almost always include either ribollita, a hearty stew of vegetables, beans and chunks of bread. You could also opt for zuppa di farro, a thick soup with spelt (a barley-like grain). Pappa col pomodoro (bread and tomato soup) is another staple. White cannellini beans (fagioli) are another favourite, turning up in salads, with pasta (tuoni e lampo), with sausages in a stew (fagioli all’uccelletto) or just dressed with olive oil. Whatever you choose to eat, you’ll certainly be yearning for more. Buon appetito! 

Best for: Foodies

While you’re there: Tuscany is not known for its pasta, but many towns in the south serve pici, thick, hand-rolled spaghetti with toasted breadcrumbs.

5. Enjoy soaring views of Florence

For incredible views in Florence, Piazzale Michelangelo is the place to be. The square was laid out in the 19th century and is dotted with reproductions of Michelangelo’s sculptures. You’ll also spot numerous tour buses and souvenir stalls here. The views are marvellous. You’ll recognise the backdrop. This is where all those classic postcard pictures of the rooftops of Florence are taken. You’ll find terrocatos buildings aplenty from here.

Best for: Wonderful views

While you’re there: If you cannot manage the climb up to the viewpoint, buses 12 and 13 run here from Ponte alle Grazie.

6. Walk over Florence’s oldest bridge

One of the best things to do in Florence is to stroll over the city’s oldest bridge, the Ponte Vecchio, and to look out at the twinkling view of the Arno River. This is the only bridge that was spared destruction during World War II. Its banks were bombed, but the bridge remained intact. The present bridge dates to 1345. The area is lined with jewellers’ and goldsmiths’ workshops that overhang the river. It’s a great place to shop for a souvenir.  

Best for: A walk over Florence

While you’re there: From the terrace in the middle, look westwards. You’ll find the softly curved arches of the elegant Ponte Santa Trinità. 

7. Visit Michelangelo’s David

One of the most unique things to do in Florence is to visit the Accademia Gallery Museum. The gallery’s main attraction is its seven sculptures by Michelangelo. The centrepiece is the 4.5m David, perhaps the most famous sculpture in the Western world. Brought here from the Piazza della Signoria in 1873, it is displayed in a purpose-built domed room. It can get crowded around here, but once you can see the whole sculpture, you’ll instantly understand why this is such a standout piece.

Best for: Michelangelo fans

While you’re there: If you’re looking for Florence holidays we suggest staying at this classic 4-star hotel with rooftop pool and bar hotel.

8. Chill out in the Giardino di Boboli

After you’ve perused the galleries, take a relaxing stroll in the delightful Boboli Gardens. An Italian pleasure-garden of arbouses and cypress-lined avenues dotted with graceful statues. Spot the lodges, grottoes and trickling fountains. In 2013, the garden was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Best for: Green-fingered travellers

While you’re there: Head up to the amphitheatre which has a fine view of the city.

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