City Orientation Walking Tour, Florence (Self Guided)

Florence, located in Italy, is believed to be the cultural capital of the world. Sometimes called the Athens of the Middle Ages and the birthplace of the Renaissance movement, Florence attracts millions of tourists every year. Don't miss the chance to visit some of its most alluring attractions.
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City Orientation Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Florence (See other walking tours in Florence)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 km
Author: greghasleft
Central Market of Florence

1) Central Market of Florence

The Central Market (or Mercato Centrale in Italian) is located between via dell'Ariento, via Sant'Antonino, via Panicale and Piazza del Mercato Centrale. Outside are general markets of leather goods, souvenirs, etc. Inside the market, on the ground floor, it mainly sells produce in Tuscan variety. Upstairs is an open food court featuring a host of delicious local culinary delights. It is a great place to sample local cuisine. Grab a table spot where ever you can and find a meal that suits your palate. There are even cooking classes offered here.

The outside market is closed by early afternoon, but the food court is open until midnight.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Basilica di San Lorenzo

2) Basilica di San Lorenzo (must see)

Amidst the hustle-bustle of the city market, stands arguably one of the oldest churches in the history of Florence. The Basilica di San Lorenzo is said to date back to the late Roman era. Along with being the oldest church, the Basilica is also the largest church in Florence.

The Basilica di San Lorenzo is also famous because it served as the parish church and burial ground to one of the most powerful families in late 14th century Florence – the Medici family. The Romanesque style of the previous structure was to be replaced by a more modern Renaissance style edifice. Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici commissioned Filippo Brunelleschi to redesign the church during the early 15th century with an elaborate façade to be designed by Michelangelo himself. However, the untimely death of Brunelleschi and Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici led to the project being abandoned much to the humiliation of Michelangelo. As a result, the exterior was never completed. Till today the structure stands incomplete with the façade in plain brick.

However, the exteriors of the Basilica can be quite misleading, for the interiors of the structure are remarkable, following a Renaissance style with white and grey columns and beautiful marble decoration in front of the altar that marks the grave of the first Medici ruler. The Basilica di San Lorenzo is still recognized as one of the finest examples of the emergence of Renaissance architecture.

Why You Should Visit:
So much to see here that time will fly by as you look at gorgeous paintings & stunning frescos or explore all the cloisters, small gardens, and the library designed by Michelangelo.
The complex includes the New Sacristy with incredible Medici tombs created by Michelangelo depicting day and night, dawn and dusk, and the Chapel of the Princes, also absolutely gorgeous.

A basic knowledge of the Medici family would help your enjoyment of the church.
The market area around San Lorenzo is very nice, so you might want to have a lunch on the piazza in front of the Mercato Centrale (Central Market).

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-5pm; Sun: 1:30-5pm
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

3) Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (must see)

Overlooking the city of Florence is the beautiful Florence Cathedral that has famously the largest brick dome in the world. The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, which roughly translates to the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower, is dedicated to Madonna or The Virgin Mary. This magnificent cathedral is noted for housing Domenico di Michelino's painting, 'Dante and the Divine Comedy', portraying Dante illuminating Florence with his famous poem. The painting is considered absolutely unique and one of the most important artifacts in the cathedral. The building itself is the product of about 170 years of sheer hard work. It was originally constructed to replace the withering structure of Saint Reparata which was founded in the early 5th century. The new church was built in a Gothic style by architect Arnolfo di Cambio who commenced construction of the cathedral in 1296. He was responsible for the construction of the three magnificent naves that spread under the dome. There were high hopes for the cathedral but all fell apart after the death of Arnolfo in 1302. The cathedral was left half built for nearly thirty years after which there were a series of renowned architects who modified and added their inputs to the design. However, it wasn't until 1420 that the true identity of the cathedral was found. Architect Filippo Brunelleschi was commissioned to build the Dome of the cathedral, a project many architects had given up on. The cathedral is many times referred to as Brunelleschi's Dome.

When you buy the ticket online, make sure to make use of the free one that comes with the main ticket to climb to the top. You have to make a booking for that too, separately, although free. There are museums as well, and you're required to finish visiting all other facilities within 72hrs of initial entry to Duomo or any other facilities.
You should make use of the free tour guides inside (typically art or history majors) that explain all the paintings within the Duomo, which are marvelously done.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-5pm; Sun: 1:30-5pm
Campanile di Giotto

4) Campanile di Giotto (must see)

Giotto’s Campanile is a free-standing campanile that is part of the complex of buildings that make up Florence Cathedral on the Piazza del Duomo in Florence. The tower is one of the showpieces of the Florentine Gothic architecture with its design by Giotto featuring rich sculptural decorations and polychrome marble encrustations.

This slender structure stands on a square plan with a side of 14.45 metres (47.41 ft). It attains a height of 84.7 metres (277.9 ft) sustained by four polygonal buttresses at the corners. These four vertical lines are crossed by four horizontal lines, dividing the tower into five levels. The Campanile has seven bells, the oldest one dating from 1705.

Why You Should Visit:
Out of the three main climbs in Florence (the other two being the dome and Arnolfo Tower in Palazzo Vecchio), this is the easiest climb. While the total amount of steps is 414, the bell tower's layout is such that there's an opportunity to rest along every level. This is because each level is home to a bell, with seven bells total (one for every musical note). Unlike the other two climbs, the dedicated resting areas are quite spacious and each floor offers opportunities to take in the spectacular views of the city.

Admission to the campanile is included in your combo ticket which also includes the other sites of the Duomo complex. Keep in mind that you have 72hrs from the time of first use to tour all the Duomo complex sites – if you want to do the dome climb, it is highly encouraged to attempt on a different day. Unlike the Duomo, no reservation is required though there is a line to enter the bell tower. This line is usually not very long as it goes by quickly.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8:15am-6:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
House of Dante Museum

5) House of Dante Museum (must see)

Set in the heart of medieval Florence – presently the area between the Church of Saint Martino and Piazza dei Donati – is the Casa di Dante or the House of Dante Museum. The building, though erected in the 20th century, is believed to be seated on the birthplace of one of the most cherished poets in Italian history – Dante Alighieri.

The structure that stands today was built by the architect Giuseppe Castellucci in 1911, after which the museum was opened to the public in 1994.

The museum displays some of the most important works and covers the milestones of Dante’s life. It is spread across three floors, which depict the most important phases of the poet’s life. On the first floor, you get a glimpse of Dante as a child, an adolescent and a young adult. Details about the poet's christening, his early public life, his participation in public affairs, etc. are depicted in the form of the poet’s works.

On the second floor, one can find documents related to his exile in 1301, his visits to a number of cities, and the final years that he decided to spend in Ravenna. The third and last floor showcases Dante’s vast collection of documents and the fortune he collected over the years.

Why You Should Visit:
Not Dante's original house, but you can learn about his time and about casual details of his life.

Steep stairs, but there is a lift, which is not obvious when you enter.
On the top floor, there is a miniature copy of the 'Divina Comedia' – in fact, it's the world's smallest legible copy.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-6pm

6) Bargello (must see)

Florence is not only a paradise for architectural enthusiasts but also a haven for art lovers and the Bargello Museum is a perfect blend of both. With an exterior of a fortress, the Bargello Museum houses some of the most important pieces of Renaissance sculptures and work of art.

Located in the Palazzo del Popolo, it is one of the oldest structures in the city of Florence and dates back to 1255. Throughout history, the building has served as a fortress, a palace, a prison and most recently a museum. Initially, the structure was used as the headquarters of the Captain of the People, the Peoples Palace, after which it served as the residence of Bargello in the 16th century. Later in the 18th century, the Bargello Fortress acted as a prison up until the mid-19th century, when it was converted into a museum.

The museum is home to some of the finest Gothic decorative art, where one gets to see works of great artists like Donatello, Michelangelo, Filippo Brunelleschi, etc. Among the treasures of Renaissance artists and craftsmen, the museum also houses rare pieces of artifacts from the Byzantine, Roman and medieval era, along with beautiful jewelry right from the Renaissance period down to the Islamic period.

Why You Should Visit:
Donatello’s David was the first male nude sculpture since ancient times. You can admire this turn in art history without an overwhelming amount of visitors.
Aside from the great display of statues, the Bargello has an interesting assortment of ceramics, glass, weapons, armor, and even some amazing locks and keys!
You can take your time here, as they have some fantastic works and there's no sense of pressure that you have to 'rush through' to 'see everything.'

To better plan your visit, checking opening days and pay close attention to their hours. Try to visit at night if you can. Sometimes they are open until late at night for special occasions, and there's something very special about wandering through this medieval building when it's empty and eerie at night.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8:15am-2pm (Nov-Mar); 8:15-5pm (Apr-Oct)
Sight description based on wikipedia
Piazza della Signoria

7) Piazza della Signoria (must see)

Piazza della Signoria is an L-shaped square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. It was named after the Palazzo della Signoria, also called Palazzo Vecchio. It is the focal point of the origin and of the history of the Florentine Republic and still maintains its reputation as the political hub of the city. The square features many statues by Giambologna, Donatello, Bandinelli and a copy of Michelangelo's David.

The piazza was already a central square in the original Roman town Florentia, surrounded by a theatre, Roman baths and a workshop for dyeing textiles. Later there was a church San Romolo, a loggia and an enormous 5th-century basilica. This was shown by the archaeological treasures found beneath the square when it was repaved in the 1980s. Even remains of a Neolithic site were found.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the two most important centers of attractions in Florence, along with the Piazza del Duomo.
It might just host the finest collection of outdoor statues in the world and is surrounded by beautifully decorated buildings along with many "very good" to "world-class" museums.

Less than a stone's throw away is the impressive Loggia dei Lanzi, an outdoor museum of sorts, where you will find another collection of outstanding statues, including the famous Rape of Sabine Women, Ercole and Centaur, Perseus, amongst others.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palazzo Vecchio

8) Palazzo Vecchio (must see)

The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence. This massive, Romanesque, crenelated fortress-palace is among the most impressive town halls of Tuscany. Although most of the Palazzo Vecchio is now a museum, it remains the symbol of local government: since 1872 it has housed the office of the mayor of Florence, and it is the seat of the City Council. At the end of the hall is situated a small side room without windows. This masterpiece, the Studiolo of Francesco I was also designed by Vasari in a manneristic style (1570-1575). The walls and the barrel vault are filled with paintings, stucco and sculptures. Most paintings are by the School of Vasari and represent the four elements: water, fire, earth and air. Private Chamber of Eleanor was one of the private rooms of Eleonora of Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de' Medici. The paintings are by the Flemish painter Jan Stradan, better known under his Italian name Stradone. Against the wall is a cabinet with Florentine mosaic designs.

Why You Should Visit:
Essential in understanding the history & culture of the city, along with the Duomo complex, Palazzo Pitti, and the major art galleries.
You'll get a crick in your neck from some of the most gorgeous ceilings, room after room.

There are various add-on tours for not much extra; e.g. the 'Secret Passages' tour which lasts about 1h½ and allows access to parts of the Palace that are closed to the public.
If you book a tour, book directly with the museum by email with your date/time preference and wait for the confirmation. You'll pay when you pick your tickets up on the day.
When you have finished the tour, you can wander at leisure around the rest of the palace.
Also: don't miss the breathtaking view of the whole city from the top of the tower.

Opening Hours:
Fri-Wed: 9am-7pm; Thu: 9am-2pm
Galleria degli Uffizi

9) Galleria degli Uffizi (must see)

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western world. It is housed in the Palazzo degli Uffizi first erected by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de' Medici as the offices for the Florentine magistrates — hence the name "uffizi" ("offices"). Construction was continued to Vasari's design by Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti and ended in 1581. Today the Uffizi is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Florence. In high season (particularly in July), waiting times can go up to 5 hours. Visitors who reserve a ticket in advance have a substantially shorter wait. Here is just a tiny selection from the world-class collection of paintings: Cimabue (Maestà), Duccio (Maestà), Leonardo da Vinci (The Annunciation, The Adoration of the Magi). The collection also contains some ancient sculptures, such as the Arrotino and the Two Wrestlers.

Why You Should Visit:
While the paintings and statues are what most people come for, the decoration of the rooms, especially the ceilings, are just as spectacular.

Consider purchasing skip-the-line tickets before going (but do this from the official website or you will pay more).
Note that you're not allowed to take in any liquids and that the restrooms are at the entrance & exit with nothing in-between.
Also, don't just pass by the cafe, as the terrace offers great views that you won't see anywhere else.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 8:15am-6:45pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Ponte Vecchio Bridge

10) Ponte Vecchio Bridge (must see)

The Ponte Vecchio is a Medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common. Butchers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers.

The bridge spans the Arno at its narrowest point where it is believed that a bridge was first built in Roman times when the via Cassia crossed the river at this point. The Roman piers were of stone, the superstructure of wood. The bridge first appears in a document of 996. After being destroyed by a flood in 1117 it was reconstructed in stone but swept away again in 1333 save two of its central piers. It was then rebuilt in 1345.

It is said that the economic concept of bankruptcy originated here: when a money-changer could not pay his debts, the table on which he sold his wares (the "banco") was physically broken ("rotto") by soldiers, and this practice was called "bancorotto" (broken table; possibly it can come from "banca rotta" which means "broken bank"). Not having a table anymore, the merchant was not able to sell anything.

Why You Should Visit:
Only open to pedestrian traffic and the light along the river at sunset makes it a special venue to cross or watch from afar.

Frankly, going over the bridge itself isn't as great as seeing it from the side views, but if you do cross, be careful with your surroundings to avoid getting pickpocketed.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palazzo Pitti

11) Palazzo Pitti (must see)

Luca Pitti, a famous banker of Florence, commissioned the construction of this palace for his residence in 1458. However, when he died, the construction had not been completed yet. Financial issues forced Pitti descendants to sell this building to Eleonora Medici, the wife of Cosimo de’Medici, who moved in later that year from Palazzo Vecchio, the Medicis' then residence. A private corridor was then built between the two buildings for the privacy of the house residents.

Ammanatti was commissioned by the family in 1558 and was assigned the task of making the Boboli Gardens. The Gardens have an amphitheatre where performances were held to entertain the Medici family. The palace was the residence for the House of Lorraine, after the end of the Medici dynasty. Napoleon, too, stayed here during his reign over Italy. Victor Emmanuel III, from the House of Savoy, gifted the palace to the nation of Italy in 1919, which was then opened to the public as five art galleries and the largest museum complex in Florence.

You can see over 500 Renaissance-style paintings in the Palatine Gallery, witness the lavish residence of the Medici family at the Royal Apartments, see the “Medici Treasury” containing priceless silver items from the 15th century, along with the Costumes Gallery and the Porcelain and Carriages Museums, when you visit here. Even with over five million annual visitors and being a part of public property, the Palazzo has the feel of a private royal collection.

Why You Should Visit:
Everything about this palace oozes class. Impressive motives and each room is in itself a marvel because of the huge range of painted ceilings and the wall and ground decorations.

You can buy a combined full ticket including the Gardens, Museums, and the Uffizi (a 3-day pass) or just the Pitti Museums & Gardens ticket valid for two days. It all depends on the time you have. You can easily spend 3hrs just walking the Gardens, and it would be well worth it especially if to enjoy the unbelievable views – just don't forget your hat and bottle of water.
One way to avoid the long line is to take a tour – yes, there is a cost, but tours include skipping the line, admission fees, and make good use of your Florence time because the guides can direct you to the highlights of the collections.

Tue-Sun: 8:15am-6:50pm (including the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments and the Gallery of Modern Art)
Giardino di Boboli

12) Giardino di Boboli (must see)

The Giardino di Boboli or the Boboli Garden is one of the most elegant gardens in Florence. Situated just behind the Pitti Palace, they are said to be the first few gardens that were built in the 16th century. The gardens were built for the wife of Cosimo I de' Medici, Eleonora di Toledo.

The Boboli Gardens have had many renowned art names of the 16th century working on it. Niccolo Tribolo worked on it till his death in 1550. The work was later taken over by Bartolomeo Ammanati and Bernardo Buontalenti. These artists were responsible for the emergence of the Mannerist style in art, which succeeded the Renaissance period of art in Florence. Hence, the Boboli Gardens are also looked at as one of the important places in Florence where such different styles can be appreciated.

Through the years the Boboli Gardens have undergone large-scale reconstructions as a result of which the present day garden covers an area of approximately 11 acres of land. This vast garden is also looked upon as a museum where one can encounter art, sculptures and antiques right from the Roman era to the 16th and 17th centuries. Filled with grottos, nymphea, mythical sculptures and garden temples, the Boboli Gardens is sure to enchant your senses.

Why You Should Visit:
Takes some stamina to get around as it is hilly and with lots of stairs, but has great views over the city and some things to discover (fountains, museum) if you walk up.

A full exploration will take about 2 hours; bring some snacks, water and good shoes.
Entry is included in the FirenzeCard and you do not need to queue if you have the card; go straight to the bookshop inside the Pitti Palace to gain access to the gardens.
Take the north exit to visit Fort Belvedere and the south-west exit to visit La Specola.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8:15am-6:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Forte di Belvedere

13) Forte di Belvedere

The Forte di Belvedere or Fortezza di Santa Maria in San Giorgio del Belvedere is a fortification in Florence. It was built by Grand Duke Ferdinando I de' Medici during the period 1590–1595, with Bernardo Buontalenti as the designer, to protect the city and its rule by the Medici family. In particular, it was used to hold the Medici treasury. The design and construction of the Fort were entrusted to architect Bernardo Buontalenti, the chief architect for both Cosimo I and his son, Ferdinando. The Fort served many purposes: to protect the center of government in Florence, the Pitti Palace; to protect the south end of the city of Florence and the Oltrarno district; to demonstrate the power of the Medici family; and finally to provide a shelter for the Grand Duke if the city came under attack. The fort was connected to Palazzo Vecchio via the Vasari Corridor over Ponte Vecchio, passages in the Pitti Palace and paths through Boboli Gardens.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Piazzale Michelangelo

14) Piazzale Michelangelo (must see)

Piazzale Michelangelo (Michelangelo Square) is a famous square with a magnificent panoramic view of Florence and is a popular tourist destination in the Oltrarno district of the city. The famous view from this observation point overlooking the city has been reproduced on countless postcards and snapshots over the years.

It was built in 1869 and designed by architect Giuseppe Poggi on a hill just south of the historic center, during the redevelopment of the left bank of the Arno (the South side of the river). At that time, Florence was the capital of Italy and the whole city was involved in an urban renewal, the so-called "Risanamento" or the "Rebirth" of the city's middle class.

The square, dedicated to the great Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo, has copies of some of his works found elsewhere in Florence: the David and the four allegories of the Medici Chapel of San Lorenzo. These copies are made of bronze, while the originals are all in white marble. The monument was brought up by nine pairs of oxen on 25 June 1873.

Why You Should Visit:
Most beautiful vantage point in Florence!
Well worth the walk up the hill and you can pause in the rose garden half way up.

Go early in the morning to avoid crowds or at sunset (still crowded but beautiful views!). For runners, it's a great run up the hill in the early hours.
The square on a sunny day will torture you with heat – bring your hat at the least.
Sight description based on wikipedia
San Miniato al Monte

15) San Miniato al Monte (must see)

San Miniato al Monte (St. Minias on the Mountain) is a basilica in Florence, standing atop one of the highest points in the city. It has been described as one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany and one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. There is an adjoining Olivetan monastery, seen to the right of the basilica when ascending the stairs.

St. Miniato or Minas was an Armenian prince serving in the Roman army under Emperor Decius. He was denounced as a Christian after becoming a hermit and was brought before the Emperor who was camped outside the gates of Florence. The Emperor ordered him to be thrown to beasts in the Amphitheatre where a panther was called upon him but refused to devour him. Beheaded in the presence of the Emperor, he is alleged to have picked up his head, crossed the Arno and walked up the hill of Mons Fiorentinus to his hermitage. A shrine was later erected at this spot and there was a chapel there by the 8th century.

Construction of the present church was begun in 1013 by Bishop Alibrando and it was endowed by Emperor Henry II. The adjoining monastery began as a Benedictine community, then passed to the Cluniacs and then in 1373 to the Olivetans, who still run it. The monks make famous liqueurs, honey and tisanes, which they sell from a shop next to the church.

Why You Should Visit:
Though it's not easy to get to if you have limited mobility, it makes a very nice combination with Piazzale Michelangelo, and it's free.

At 5:30 pm, you can join or observe the mass which is in Latin & Italian with all the hymns sung by the priests. By 6:30 pm, the monks come out to chant to chant their vespers, too!
And, of course, make sure you go behind the church to view the city in all of its glory!

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8am-12:30 / 2-7pm; Sun: 8am-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Florence, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Creating your own self-guided walk in Florence is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo quarter is located in the very heart of the Florence Historic Center. This area is deservedly considered the religious and the civic centre of the town. Most of the historic sites Florence is famous for are to be found here. Take this tour to explore all the masterpieces of the Duomo quarter.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Historic Centre Nightlife

Historic Centre Nightlife

Well known for its beautiful historic architecture and for its huge contribution to the Renaissance movement in Italy, Florence remains a vibrant, thriving center of activity that hosts not only a large tourism trade, but also attracts a lot of international students studying abroad. As such, Florence possesses a hot nightlife scene where guests from around the world can hear some amazing music...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante Alighieri is considered one of the greatest poets of all times. He was born in Florence and spent most of his life there until he was exiled. Many of the structures in the city were built according to his greatest epic poem Divina Commedia. This tour will take you on a trip through Dante's life and work in Florence.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Arno South Bank Walking Tour

Arno South Bank Walking Tour

Arno South Bank, also known as Oltrarno, what literally means "beyond the Arno", is a magical place, though not everyone knows about it. The many historical places located in this part of the city will amaze you. Take this tour to see some wonderful sites that you will never forget.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 km
Novella Walking Tour

Novella Walking Tour

Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". This city has to offer a lot of wonderful places to admire. Take this tour to walk along the Arno embankment and explore the south-eastern part of the Santa Maria Novella quarter.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 km
Duomo Souvenir Shopping

Duomo Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Florence without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Florence, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Unique Products to Buy in Florence

Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Unique Products to Buy in Florence

Compared to other Italian "grands" like Rome, Venice, or Milan, Florence is relatively less-known to an outsider for any local products, save, perhaps, Florentine mosaics and Fiorentina FC. Fortunately, there are tonnes of locally-originated things that this Italian city is rightfully...
Top 14 Pubs in Florence

Top 14 Pubs in Florence

Florence, the city of art and beauty has no problem in mastering the art of the nightlife as well. Local pubs are very popular and appreciated among the Florentines and the tourists. Locals and native English speakers that study or live in the city cannot wait to welcome tourists in their cozy...
Florence's Tasty Coffee Shop Guide

Florence's Tasty Coffee Shop Guide

The caffe scene throughout Italy is an important factor of everyday life. People will pop in to their favorite bar on their way to work for a quick espresso breakfast with a pastry, they’ll grab a slice of pizza for lunch or drop by for an aperitivo before dining out and take a peaceful digestivo...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Florence for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Florence has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Florence's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Florence City Pass issued by Musement and the Florence City Pass by TicketBar.

A city pass combines all or multiple Florence's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Florence hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Strozzi Palace Hotel, Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy, Hotel Pierre.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Florence, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Florence typically costs from around US$25 up to US$90 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Florence from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the route.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts 3 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Florence on a 2.5-hour bike tour to visit the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Enjoy a day of art and sightseeing in Florence at a great discount on the Florence Super Saver tour combining two best-selling guided tours for the price of one! Be guaranteed to skip the lines to the Accademia (hosting David) and Uffizi Galleries.

- Get yourself “under the skin” of Florence and explore the city's ghosts and curiosities at night. On this 2-hour night walk you will see the famous Florentine attractions in a different light and hear historical anecdotes and stories associated with them.

- Make the most of your time in Florence with a 3-hour guided walk to the most prominent sights of this magical city, e.g. Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Michelangelo's David, also discovering some of its hidden gems!

- Unleash your appetite for Florentine delicacies on this 3-hour food tour replete with tasting stops throughout the city. Follow an expert guide to eat and drink like a local, treat yourself to some of the top gourmet delights this city has to offer, including rich Italian coffee and gelato, explore the San Lorenzo Market, and so much more!

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Florence, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Pisa and Lucca, Assisi and Cortona, Portovenere and the Cinque Terre, Siena, San Gimignano, or Chianti. For as little as US$50+ to US$100+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites including the legendary Leaning Tower of Pisa, Cortona and other towns of Tuscany, set your eyes on the small piece of paradise on Earth manifested in five little villages hanging on cliffs above the sea, learn about the life of St Francis of Assisi, enjoy the sight of a unique landscape and taste the food and wines of Italy. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Florence, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus, boat or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.