Florence is one of those must see cities for travellers. If you are heading to Italy, this famous art city should be on your itinerary.
Capital of Tuscany and one of the most important art cities in the world, Florence is full of history from the middle ages and the Italian Renaissance, and there is a lot to see and do. When I went to Tuscany, I stayed in a villa in the countryside and explored different towns and cities on day trips from there. If you are like me and only have one full day to experience what Florence has to offer, here are some things to do to get a good taste of the city.
Florence Cathedral and Baptistery
Like most Tuscan towns and cities, the heart of Florence is its beautiful cathedral. Its 14th century medieval architecture will blow you away, with its sheer size and neo-gothic facade. You may have to line up to get inside, but the line generally moves pretty quickly. Outside of the cathedral is the impressive campanile (clock tower) and the baptistery with its beautiful bronze doors known as “The Gates of Paradise”. This was so popular when I was there that I couldn’t even get close enough to get a photo!
One of the most important art galleries in the world, the Uffizi Gallery is a must see for all art lovers and anyone visiting Florence. Art galleries are very popular in Florence, so it is important to book your tickets in advance to avoid the huge lines that can occur. You will waste most of the day waiting in lines at the different galleries if you don’t book in advance.
The Uffizi Gallery is actually in an old 16th century palace, so its architecture is incredible, plus it contains some amazing artwork and important pieces from famous artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo.
A small gallery, the Galleria Accademia is home to one of the most famous art pieces in the world, Michelangelo’s David. You must book tickets in advance for this one as the line is so huge that it runs from the gallery, along the street and around the corner. You could wait all day!
The River Arno runs through the heart of Florence and you should definitely take a walk along the riverfront if you get the chance. Near the Uffizi Gallery is the famous bridge, the Ponte Vecchio, which has houses lining each side of it as it spans the river. These houses are now mostly jewellery shops, but the bridge itself is really interesting to check out.
Now the city hall, Palazzo Vecchio is a beautiful 14th century medieval palace. You will probably pass by it as you make your way to the Uffizi Gallery, and the surrounding piazza and shopping areas are really nice to check out.
Eat delicious Tuscan food
Well, what can I say? Italian food is absolutely delicious, and the local Tuscan cuisine is some of the best. Pick one of the many amazing restaurants on the streets of Florence and try some local pasta dishes or the famous Tuscan steak.
If you are travelling to Florence, I highly recommend staying there for the night. This is what I will be doing the next time I visit as I really would love to see the city at night. There are plenty of cheap hotels to be found and you can find some great options on Hostelbookers.
As you can see, Florence as a lot to offer and there is so much to do in the city that you could stay there for weeks and not get bored. If you only have 24 hours to see the city, try to do all of the things in this list. You will fall in love with Florence!