Things to see in Florence


MuseumsPlaces of interestEvents and ExhibitionsHow to get around

Those who appreciate art will certainly find what to see in Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance and a city that is always buzzing with exhibitions, festivals and other cultural events. Here I have collected for you useful suggestions for the most important things to visit in the city, with ideas and hints for not missing the main museums and places of interest.

Museums to visit in Florence

Whether it’s your first time in Florence or one of many it doesn’t matter, this is a city that will always surprise you and every time you leave you will want to come back again. Home of Brunelleschi, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, it holds some of the world’s most beautiful masterpieces. It is difficult to choose where to start your visit, given the many works preserved here. That is why I suggest the main museums in Florence, although there are some lesser-known but equally worthy ones.


Palazzo Pitti is a Florentine jewel, built in 1457 by the Pitti family and later home to the Medici. Here you can explore a truly unique museum collection, ranging from Renaissance and Baroque works in the Palatine Gallery to the Royal Apartments. The Galleria d’Arte Moderna will surprise you with more than 2000 paintings and sculptures, including a conspicuous collection of works by the Macchiaioli. Don’t miss the Museo degli Argenti, the Fashion and Costume Museum and the Porcelain Museum.

I recommend reserving tickets for the Pitti Palace in advance, as the queue at the entrance can be really long, but with a reservation you can enter at the time you have decided in advance, without wasting time.


If you go to Florence, you can’t miss the Uffizi, the museum that preserves the masterpieces of Italian art that must be seen at least once in a lifetime. To visit it, I advise you to take at least a day, because there are many works, or you can select the ones that interest you most and follow a dedicated route. To give you an idea, some of the most important works in the Uffizi include Botticelli’s Primavera and Venus, Caravaggio’s Medusa, Titian’s Venus of Urbino and Michelangelo’s Tondo Doni.

If you want to admire the greatest masterpieces of art history, I highly recommend booking tickets for the Uffizi in advance. It is in fact one of the most visited museums in the world!


Along with the Uffizi, the most visited museum in Florence is the Accademia Gallery. The reason is simple: inside is Michelangelo’s David, the original sculpture that is the symbol of the Renaissance.


There are two famous Davids in Florence, one is Donatello’s David, which is in the Bargello Museum and a must-see. Michelangelo’s youthful marbles are also kept here.


An ancient Medici residence, Palazzo Vecchio was founded in 1299, a time when, of course, it was not yet known by this appellation. It is still the seat of power today, as it was in the past, since today’s municipal administration operates here. You can visit its most precious rooms, such as the Salone dei Cinquecento and the studiolo of Francesco I, and you can climb the Torre di Arnolfo, with a view over the city.


Florence is also a land of museums dedicated to science and scientists, perfect if they are a family passion. Among the many, I suggest you drop by the Museo Galileo, a stone’s throw from the Lungarno, which houses original instruments used by Galileo Galilei, and the Natural History Museum.


Part of the monumental complex of San Lorenzo, the Medici Chapels were built to become the mausoleum of the Medici family, although none of the lineage ever saw them completed. The two main rooms are the Chapel of Princes, conceived by Cosimo I, and the New Sacristy, which houses some of Michelangelo’s most famous works.


Perhaps not one of the best known museums, but certainly an amazing one, the Stibbert Museum is the legacy of Frederick Stibbert, who transformed his villa into a museum populated by collections of weapons from Japan, Europe and Islam, as well as porcelain and costumes reaching as far as the Far East.


Florence is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world and its attractions are often crowded; if you want to enjoy museum visits at your leisure, without spending hours and hours in queues, the best option is to book your museum tickets online so that you have them in advance. There are combi-passes that allow you to visit several facilities at a convenient price, or you can choose to access Florence’s many museums with a single card.

Places of interest in Florence

Florence is not just museums: its historic centre, a UNESCO heritage site, is full of places that can be admired practically at no cost and even just walking through its streets is a journey. Here are some of Florence’s iconic squares and places.


Part of the Pitti Palace complex, the Boboli Garden is an enchanting park, desired by the Medici and later enriched by the Lorraine and Savoy families. It is dotted with fountains, statues and grottoes, as well as precious botanical species. There is the possibility of purchasing a ticket that includes a visit to the palace or choosing to enter the garden only.


Ponte Vecchio is a postcard-perfect place, but one that can be magical, especially at certain times of the day. The perfect time to visit it, in my opinion, is in the late afternoon or near sunset, when its colours, together with those of the nearby buildings, are reflected in the Arno and create a perfect painting.


A concentration of art and history that allows you to encounter the symbolic representations of the Renaissance. Entering the Piazza del Duomo in Florence means encountering the Baptistery, with its doors adorned with bronze tiles; the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and its famous dome, built by Brunelleschi at a later date.


Walking through the streets of Florence, you will come across the majestic statue of Dante Alighieri proudly dominating the square: you are in Piazza Santa Croce, a square with a regular shape surrounded by splendid palaces. Famous names such as Galilei, Foscolo and even the genius Michelangelo rest in the Basilica of the same name. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the cloister and then immerse yourself in the beauty of the Pazzi Chapel.


Oltrarno is perhaps the most authentic district of Florence, still strongly experienced by its inhabitants and retaining all its uniqueness. The Piazza di Santo Spirito, often animated by lively markets and activities, is the emblem of this special area; the Basilica facing it, built on an ancient convent, is one of Brunelleschi’s last projects.


Piazzale Michelangelo is an unmissable location for an alternative view of the city. From this panoramic terrace you can see the historic centre of Florence in all its beauty, with all its most iconic buildings silhouetted against the skyline. Pictures a must!


The Giardino dell’Orticoltura (Horticultural Garden) is a somewhat hidden but delightful pearl of Florence: the park was created in the 19th century and one of its famous features is the Tepidarium, a greenhouse built for the first National Exhibition of the Italian Horticultural Federation. A curiosity: in the green area of the garden known as the Orti del Parnaso (Parnassus Gardens) there is a statue of a dragon, created in the late 1890s.

If you want to discover the most authentic side of Florence, however, you have to lose yourself in its streets and let yourself be enchanted by the shops and churches scattered throughout the historical centre. In particular, I want to treat you to a place that everyone should admire: I am referring to the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, the oldest in the whole of Europe, which opened its doors in 1221 and has been active for almost four centuries. Products are prepared here following the ancient recipes of the Dominican friars and there is also a museum to visit to observe the production workshops and ancient tools. If you want to discover an unusual part of the city, I recommend you visit this place, which I have also included in the list of lesser-known museums in Florence.

Exhibitions in Florence

If you love exhibitions, you already know that the city has a rich cultural programme every year. Usually the spaces that host major exhibitions are Palazzo Strozzi, Villa Bardini, the Museo degli Innocenti and the Museo Novecento. So that you don’t miss all the news, I recommend that you often browse through the section of the blog where I tell you about all the best exhibitions in Italy. 

Getting around in Florence

Most of the artistic and historical points of interest are located right in the centre of Florence and you can explore them comfortably on foot, also to savour the atmosphere among the majestic palaces and breathtaking piazzas. Distances can be long, so it is best to plan your visits in zones, concentrating on certain areas of the city. To get to the airport or the large car parks (or the hotel, if you have chosen to stay outside the centre) the tramway is very convenient: there are currently two lines, T1 and T2, which run respectively between Careggi and Scandicci (stopping in front of the central station) and between the airport and the centre, in Piazza Unità d’Italia. In the future, a third line will run through some streets in the centre.

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