Florence, Italy is by far my favorite place in the world I have traveled to. I have been to Florence three times thus far, first for just one day, returning when I was in college by studying abroad and living here for a month, and then returning back two years later for another day trip. Whether you are in Florence for a day or a long trip, I have put a list together of all my favorite things to do in Florence.
Here Are My Top Ten Things to Do in Florence:
- Uffizi Gallery– This is home to some of the most famous Renaissance art pieces.
- Gelato– Gelato is a must in Italy. When looking for a good gelato spot, do not be deceived by the gelato that built high up in the cases. This is to attract the typical tourist. This gelato is actually made using a special powder to fluff it up. The most authentic gelatos are the ones which lay flat in the case, making them a rich flavor. Of all the gelato I ate in Florence, Venchi Gelato takes the win! My favorite flavors were torrone (an Italian nougat candy), pistachio, and sweet cream. Venchi is located on the main street of Florence and can’t be missed!
- Take a classic photo on the Ponte Vecchio- Ponte Vecchio is translated from Italian as “Covered Bridge.” This famous Italian bridge is only a pedestrian bridge, filled with tourists taking their photos, and lined with famous jewelry shops. It is a very typical tourist activity to buy jewelry here, so I had to participate in the tradition, buying the official symbol of Florence, a fleur de lis.
- Eat Italian food- The main piazzas in Florence typically attract tourists who end up eating at the overpriced restaurants. These restaurants have great dining options, but these are my recommendations: Golden View (right on the other side of the Arno River, with stunning views of the Ponte Vecchio), Ristornate Pizzeria IL Teatro, and Gusta Pizza. Make sure to try gnocchi (Italian potato dumpling pasta) while here!
- Climbing to the top of the Duomo and the Bell Tower- For 15 Euros, you can climb to the top of the Bell Tower, the top of the Duomo, enter inside the baptistery, visit the crypt below cathedral, and the Opera del Duomo Museum. For the most stunning views of Florence, climbing these two buildings are key! The Duomo is 463 steps up, and the Bell Tower is 414 steps. This is the perfect validation to eat another plate of pasta!
- See the famous David Statue- The Accademia Gallery is home to Michelangelo’s David, however, in Piazza della Signoria, you can see the identical replica David.
- Visit the San Lorenzo leather market- Florence is known for leather goods, as shops can be seen all around the city. The famous outdoor San Lorenzo Market is home to countless leather stands. Some people debate if the leather is authentic, however, visiting here will not disappoint you. If haggling and bargaining isn’t your scene, there are many other leather stores which can be found around the city. Piazza del Mercato Nuovo also has leather vendors on the streets.
- Rub Il Porcellino, the Bronze Boar- It is an ancient tradition that rubbing the boar will bring you good luck. Located in the Piazza del Mercato Nuovo, this statue is a necessity! (This is also across from Venchi).
- Visit Mercato Centrale- This is one of my all-time favorites in Florence. Mercato Centrale is an indoor Italian food delicacy. Filled with local vendors, any imaginable Italian food can be found here. Hanging meats fill the ceilings, along with cheeses, hanging fruits and veggies, and food in every direction. This can be an awesome spot for lunch where you have the option to grab food to go. I personally purchased snacks to eat throughout the day, and specialty foods to take home. Some of my favorite foods include: Tartufata (mushroom and truffle spread), Panforte (fruit and nut flat cake), fresh dried herbs, Italian seasonings, dried pasta, bagged olives, and pecorino cheese (sheep milk cheese). A trip to Italy is not complete without 10 pounds of food in my suitcase!
- Boboli Gardens- The Boboli Gardens are located within Pitti Palace. The gardens are filled with famous statues and have stunning views overlooking the Florence skyline.