Tuscany may just be Italy’s most beautiful region. Its largest city, Florence — Firenze, in Italian — is famous for its iconic renaissance art and architecture. Home to one of Italy’s largest cathedrals (Santa Maria del Fiore), a uniquely Italian bridge (Ponte Vecchio) and an emblematic statue (Michaelangelo’s David), the Tuscan capital has endless attractions and masterpieces to take in. But don’t forget to eat and drink too, because Florence is also known as having some of the most incredible gastronomic experiences in the country. Here are all the things you should do and see when visiting Florence, Italy.

How to Get to Florence

Although you can’t fly to Florence nonstop from the US, you still have options. Flying to hubs like Rome or Milan is easy and direct on a number of US and European air carriers. Then, you can drive, fly or take a train to reach Florence. You can get notifications on flight deals as they arise here.


Winetraveler Tip: Not sure where to stay in Florence? There are plenty of beautiful high-end hotels worth exploring. Take a look at some of our favorite hotels in Florence here.


Top 10 Things To Do in Florence Italy - See the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower).

Explore the Duomo

One of Italy’s most recognized cathedrals, the Santa Maria del Fiore is simply spectacular. You could easily spend hours just circling the outside of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasting a Gothic Revival style marbled with colors. It is possible to enter various parts of the cathedral, including the Bell Tower and the Dome. Some portions are free, while it does cost a fee to see specific parts. 

Visit the Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most spectacular art museums in the world. The gallery features masterpieces such as ‘The Birth of Venus’ by Sandro Botticelli, Parmigianino’s ‘Madonna with the Long Neck’ and ‘The Coronation of the Virgin’ by Fra Angelico among many others. The museum is closed on Mondays and adult tickets cost €16. It’s best to book online to avoid long lines.

Don’t Miss the Accademia Gallery 

While many think that Michaelangelo’s David statue is located in the Uffizi Gallery, it’s not. It’s actually in the Accademia Gallery, along with the Rape of the Sabines statue by Jean de Boulogne and the Coronation of the Virgin painting by Jacopo Di Cione. Similar to the Uffizi, this museum costs €16 to enter and is closed on Mondays. Winetraveler also recommends booking online to avoid long lines.


Winetraveler Tip: If for some reason you can’t get to the museum, don’t worry. You can check out pretty incredible copies of the statue in front of the Palazzo Vecchio and in the Piazzale Michelangelo.


Ponto Vecchie Bridge in Florence Italy - Top things to see in the area | Winetraveler.com
View of Florence at sunset with the Ponte Vecchio Bridge and the Arno River.

Cross the River

Plan to cross the Arno via the Ponte Vecchio, the city’s most famous bridge, to explore a less-touristy neighborhood of Florence. This area is Oltrarno, located on the other side of the river from many of the main attractions. Here, you’ll find more local (and more affordable) restaurants, bars and shops, as well as the famous Boboli Gardens, a picturesque private park located behind the Pitti Palace.

Best Things To Do Near Florence - Go Wine Tasting in Chianti Tuscany | Winetraveler.com
Yes, you really can wine and dine with a view like this in the Chianti region.

Go Wine Tasting in Chianti (and Beyond)

The nearby Chianti region is one of the most famous spots in Tuscany for wine tasting. While we have the perfect five-day itinerary for those wanting to explore the Chianti region, you can wine taste right in the center of Florence. Winetraveler’s favorite tasting spot is the family-owned Enoteca Alessi, a wine shop with a sprawling tasting cellar downstairs. Tastings start as low as €15 per person for wine and snacks.

Learn About Fashion

Fashion lovers can admire some of the most famous Gucci designs and brand history at Gucci Garden, a museum dedicated to the designer. Continue your fashionable day with a visit to the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo. This space tells the story of the Ferragamo brand and designer, as well as hosting innovative temporary exhibits too. 

Go Shopping

Now that the fashion museums have given you some stylish inspiration, it’s time to shop for something new. Florence is chock full of incredible shopping destinations. Beyond just the larger Italian designer brands, discover small boutiques, artisan galleries and vintage shops tucked along the cobbled streets. The best way to shop is to simply wander and stop into any spot that fits your fancy.


Winetraveler Tip: Don’t miss a stop at the Mercato San Lorenzo, where you can haggle for Italian leather goods. 


Where To Eat in Florence Italy - Winetraveler.com
Be sure to explore the culinary scene across the city of Florence. Many trattoria such as this one provide quick traditional Florentine bites in about as authentic an atmosphere you can find along the cobblestone streets.

Eat Florentine Delights

One of the most famous culinary delights offered in Florence is wild-boar ragu, a hearty meat and pasta specialty that you can order at most restaurants around the city. Another is the bistecca alla Fiorentina, or Florentine steak. The most famous place, though touristy, to eat this cut of meat smothered in a delicious berry sauce is Acqua Al 2, which dates back to 1978. Finally, you can’t leave the city without sampling Florence’s tripe, best eaten in a stew with vegetables and broth.

Snack at the Mercado Centrale

Florence’s food market is a dream for anyone looking for a snack (or many snacks). If you want a quick, easy lunch with plenty of Italian delights to choose from, this bustling food market is your spot. Try pizza, pasta, sandwiches, cannolis and beyond — whatever looks delicious. 

Admire Florence from Above

The hilltop Piazzale Michelangelo boasts some of the most magical views in all of Florence. Head up to view the entire city and the river down below. It’s a little far to visit on foot from the city center, but you can take a taxi, bus or rent a bike to get there. 


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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Lori Zaino is a freelance travel, food, fashion and wine writer based in Madrid. You can likely find her on a plane jetting off to an exotic destination, eating tapas or sipping a glass of Rioja wine.

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