Florence is an open-air museum that seems to have grown more beautiful over the centuries. The city, which has a magnificent position in a valley at the feet of the Apennine Mountains, offers a typically affectionate, welcoming Italian embrace to art and luxury lovers. Florence’s buildings and monuments speak stories of art, war, love and life. The streets are always crowded with people who seek to learn about the city steeped in such an extravagant history, and this is probably as close to master works of arts and architecture as they will ever get.
While the Tuscan capital is rich in places to discover, it’s quite small, so walking around is the best way to see it. As J. R. R. Tolkien put it, “All those who wander are not lost,“ so just forget about your map and simply roam around. Also refrain from those social media updates and really take time to appreciate the buildings, the food, the art and the greenery.
What To See and Do in Florence
1- The Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery is the busiest museum in the whole city. It is also one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the Western world. Once your senses are satiated, pass by The Accademia Gallery, where you can meet Michelangelo’s David face to face. You finally get to know what those love stories are all about.
2- The Gucci Museum
If you appreciate fashion, you’ll be happy to know you’re right where the Gucci story began. So, head for The Gucci Museum at the Piazza della Signoria. A bookstore and café are also found on the ground floor. Get familiar with another major name in Italian fashion at The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, which allows you to learn about the history of the brand. If that puts you in the mood for some retail therapy, head to Via Tornabuoni and Via della Vigna Nuova, which simply have the best shops in the city.
3- Piazza del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo is the place to see and be seen. This magical place with all its great architecture is the heart of Florence. Sit down and enjoy a gelato or espresso at one of the many cafés while admiring the Gothic and Renaissance sculptures.
4- Il Gelato Vivoli
Speaking of gelato, a visit isn’t complete without trying Il Gelato Vivoli, located near Santa Croce at Vie Isola delle Stinche 7r. Try it and you’ll have living proof that Italian ice cream is the best in the world; it’s to die for.
5- Mercato Centrale
A farmer’s market is always a great place to get to know local foods and try original produce. Mercato Centrale is a massive covered market that sells fruit, vegetables, olive oil and other gastronomic treats you will surely love.
6- Piazza della Signoria
Ditch the diet because you will surely regret not trying the amazing foods in the cafés and restaurants around the Piazza della Signoria, which is another famous square in the city. There is an open-air sculpture exhibit and you can see the copy of Michelangelo’s David.
7- Ponte Vecchio
Real history buffs will appreciate visiting the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence. Built in 1345, it is the only surviving bridge from the city’s medieval period.
8- Vasari Corridor
The Vasari Corridor is perhaps the city’s most interesting experience. The corridor is an enclosed, elevated passage connecting the Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti. An exceptional structural masterpiece, it was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1565. It houses plenty of art but the pieces aren’t as impressive as collections found elsewhere.
9- The New Florence Opera Theatre
The New Florence Opera Theatre is an extraordinary, rectangular geometric structure and is one the most modern opera houses in the world. The acoustics are of very fine quality and the best time to experience them is during the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino season.
10- Antica Farmacia di Santa Novella
The Antica Farmacia di Santa Novella is a historic pharmacy founded in 1612, making it one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. You’ll probably want to purchase unique essences and extracts as it stocks an awesome range of perfumes, herbal elixirs and soaps based on vinegar, of all things.