It was time to say goodbye to Rome. Fast and comfortable Trenitalia train took us to Florence. The journey took us almost 4 hours to reach the city of our dreams, but it was a pleasant one. Time to start exploring Florence Italy highlights and places to visit!
The first thing everyone arriving in Florence Italy see are the red roofs of the St. Maria del Fiore Cathedral (which was considered to be one of the best type of roofing) with a high tower right next to it. The structure is so massive, it stands out and is visible from almost anywhere. We dragged our bags to the hotel (very nice family owned guesthouse II Guelfo Bianco at affordable rate!) and soon made our way towards the best attractions this town has to offer. Here is our Florence places to visit and things to do guide!
A good way to start your tour of Florence Italy highlights is by visiting this great viewpoint. The whole town will be right in front of you – such a great photo opportunity! Once you get all the way up, you will be left speechless for a while. It is incredible and probably the most scenic town you will ever see. The view reminded me a little of San Marino.
How to get here? Take the bus 12 or 13 from train station (S.M. Novella). Ticket price – 1.20€. Tickets should be bought in tobacco kiosks and validated in the bus. The journey takes approx. 30 minutes.
After enjoying the stunning view, it’s time to take some steps towards the famous Ponte Vecchio – the old bridge. You will clearly see it – it’s the only “closed” bridge meaning no cars are are passing over it. It almost looks like a house built over water.
Tip: Ice cream is really expensive here. One scoop can cost as much as 8,50€! If you really want some, take your time and look for it somewhere else in town. I promise, you won’t have to walk far.
Piazza della Signoria
Keep walking straight across the Ponte Vecchio and you will reach Piazza Signoria. This is by far my most favorite place in whole Florence. This L shaped square is not only incredibly beautiful, it’s also a small open air museum of it’s own. No matter where you look, masterpieces of art are looking back at you.
Take your time and sit down for a while. The music seems to always be playing on Piazza Signoria – it’s a paradise for street musicians. People from all over the world are busy drawing in their sketchbooks. Others are taking photos with every possible angle. However, no photo can truly depict what is laying out in front of you. You can only truly experience it by being there.
As the sun sets, a whole new life starts off at Piazza Signoria. The sculptures seem to come alive, their shades create new forms and you almost feel like traveling back in time. Among them the replica of famous and almighty David by Michelangelo – ideal forms and pure beauty. Opposite from David – Perseus with head of Medusa – a darker version of the same beauty. Any moment now, and the great Cosimo I himself would come out of the Palazzo.
Santa Maria del Fiore
Walk down the street from Piazza Signoria and you will soon reach one of the symbols of Florence – another masterpiece created by mankind – stunningly beautiful Basilica. Take a look inside if you can, or simply enjoy the beauty of this massive structure – it’s unlike any other cathedral you’ll see.
Right next to the cathedral you will see one of the oldest buildings in the city, constructed between 1059 and 1128 – The Baptistery. Have a look at east doors, or Gates of Paradise, by Lorenzo Ghiberti – very noteworthy sightseeing! These doors have ten panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament.
Il Porcellino – bronze boar fountain
We stumbled upon this little piglet while wandering the streets of Florence Italy. Totally unexpected, but I’m so glad we did! The statue is rather small but still attracts many visitors’ attention.
The tradition says – put a coin in his jaws and let it fall down. If it falls through the underlying grating – expect good luck. Don’t forget to rub his nose to come back!
San Lorenzo market
To make the most of your visit to this awesome market, make sure to come early. The San Lorenzo market is comprised of two markets – the outdoor part selling leather good and souvenirs and the indoor (also known as Mercato Centrale). If you are hunting for leather (bags, jackets, wallets), don’t forget to haggle! The prices are hardly displayed and you can easily bring the price down.Indoor market is a paradise for anyone interested in Tuscan food! You will find anything here – from seafood, pasta, olive oil, all kinds of cheese to exotic fruits, pastries and much much more. Some things you can even taste before buying – great way to discover new products. Go up the stairs to the second floor to join a true Italian food party – many stalls selling delicious food and snacks and tables to sit down and enjoy them properly.
Our impression of Florence
Words can’t describe how much I loved being here. The town has so much history, you can feel it with every step. Everything around you is constructed with so much love and beauty in mind, you forget about the time and loose yourself in the moment. Everything, from the amazing architecture to fantastic and delicious food was perfect and high class.
I recommend visiting Florence slightly off season, as the crowds may spoil the impression. Due to it’s mild climate, a great time to visit would be anytime in (late) spring of (early) autumn, before the rain season starts. If you are looking for a cheap place to stay, have a look at these options for Affordable accommodations in Florence.
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Gonna try this out today! Thanks for the itinerary 🙂
Thanks for this itinerary! I will try this in May. Can anyone tell me how much time this will take? We are trying to see Pisa as well
I recommend spending 1 full day in Florence and another day in Pisa. Actually you can do Pisa in half day too, it’s not that big.
Have a great trip!
I really have to recommend The Uffizi as a must-see in Florence. The art that’s on display there is outstanding. I do understand and appreciate that the process of getting in can be time consuming.
We will be on a cruise ship and one of our stops is in Florence and Pisa.we will not have a lot of time there but we are trying to decide as to either use the cruise excursion or personal tour.we will need transportation from the ship to Florence,does any private tours come to the ship..? The cruise is in June of this year.Thanks for your help.Barbara Conn
I made a quick search and seems there are some private tour companies offering such services. Have a look, here is one of them: https://www.viator.com/tours/Florence/Livorno-Shore-Excursion-Pisa-and-Florence-Private-Day-Trip/d519-5292LIVORNO1