Visiting Florence | Everything You Need To Know

Visiting Florence - Piazzale Michelangelo

Are you thinking about visiting Florence in the future?

Well…

What’s there to think about?

If it’s not on your bucket list already… then we’re going to give you every possible reason why you should visit.

The capital of Tuscany is a dream destination for couples and art and history lovers.

Here are just a few reasons why Florence is one of the most visited cities in the world:

  • It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
  • This is the birthplace of the Rennaisance
  • One of the best cities to shop in the world.

If you’ve ever been to Florence…

Then you already know that this city needs no introduction.

If you haven’t been to Florence yet…

Great!

We wrote this article to tell you about everything you should expect before visiting.

In this article, we’re going to cover:

  • Getting Around Florence
  • What Currency Does Florence Use?
  • Top Things To Do In Florence
  • Where To Stay When Visiting Florence
  • Best Time To Visit Florence

Continue reading below to learn more about this amazing city!

 

Getting Around Florence

One of the best things about Florence is that you can get around the city by foot. There’s no need for a rental car or bus tickets.

You can actually walk from one side of town to the other in about 30 minutes!

Just make sure you book a hotel in the city so you can walk to all the attractions Florence has to offer.

Now it’s understandable to not feel like walking the entire time you’re in town.

Whenever you’re not up for walking, Florence does have a cheap bus option for getting around town.

Bus tickets only cost €1.20 and use can use each ticket for 90 minutes after validating the ticket.

Flying Into The Florence Airport? 

If you’re flying directly to Florence from the United States, then there are 2 options: the Florence Airport and the Pisa Airport.

The closest airport is the Florence Airport and it’s only 13 km away from the city center. Flying into this airport is convenient but it does usually come at a higher price.

If you’re looking to save money on flights, you might want to look into flying into the Pisa Airport.

The Pisa Airport is bigger and has more options for travelers coming from the United States. There are also a lot of budget airlines that arrive and depart from this airport. And once you land, Florence is only about a 75-minute train ride away.

 

What Currency Does Florence Use?

Florence currently uses the euro as its form of currency. The value of the euro is usually a little bit higher than the US Dollar. Just to be safe, always make sure to check the exchange rate before heading overseas.

 

Top Things To Do In Florence

Duomo

Visiting Florence - Duomo
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The Duomo is a large Gothic cathedral in the center of Florence. It’s also called the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

This building is hard to miss!

It’s the most beautiful building in Florence’s skyline!

The red-tiled dome is one of its striking features. Its exterior features more intricate designs than the interior. Inside it has ornate mosaic pavements, religious artwork, and sculptures.

It’s free to get in the Duomo, but the lines are always long.

We recommend climbing to the top of the dome for a spectacular view of Florence. Making the hike is not free. But many will argue the view is worth the extra charge. This is probably your best photo opportunity in Florence!

 

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens was first opened to the general public during the 18th century.

Here are some sights you’ll see at Boboli Gardens:

  • The gardens have many beautiful detailed sculptures.
  • There is a large fountain located in the southwest end of the park.
  • This park has one of the largest Italian style gardens in Italy.
  • There is an outdoor museum that has 16th and 17th-century statues. The gardens have Neptune fountains and grottoes.
  • The grotto of Buontalenti looks like a cave and it’s filled with Italian sculptures paintings, and animal figures.
  • There is an amphitheater that has an Egyptian obelisk dating back to 1500. B.C.
  • The Statue of the Ocean has a large pool with an island and 3 sculptures surrounding it.
  • There is a coffee house that serves coffee and chocolate!

So long story short…

You need to visit Boboli Gardens!

 

Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti is an old palace that now has several museums inside. These museums contain tons of art, household items, fashion, and antiques. It’s also called the Museum of Florence.

In this huge building you’ll find the following:

  • Gallery of Modern Art with paintings and sculptures by well known Italian artists.
  • The Silver Museum has many precious artifacts that include vases, jewelry, dishes, and decorative art.
  • The Royal apartments cover three historical time periods with furniture, design, and art.
  • The Palatina Gallery is a collection of the lavish art collected by members of the royal household. It has a Carriage Museum and Porcelain Museum.

One ticket allows you into all the museums and the gardens!

 

Piazzale Michelangelo

Visiting Florence - Piazzale Michelangelo
Alexander Mak / Shutterstock.com

Piazzale Michelangelo is the square that is home to the famous Statue of David. The square has many steps and can be quite a climb to get to the top.

So don’t forget your good walking shoes!

But once you get there, sitting in the cafes in the square during the day or sunset can be a really enjoyable experience. It has beautiful flower gardens with roses and irises that brighten the scenery.

But the best part about the square is…

The breathtaking view of the city of Florence during the day or at sunset!

 

Giotto’s Bell Tower

Visiting Florence - View From Giotto's Bell Tower
Yury Dmitrienko / Shutterstock.com

Giotto’s Bell Tower is part of the Duomo ( we think it’s the best part :)). The height of the tower is nearly 85 meters, and you can see it from the square below as you approach the Duomo. So you have time to decide if you’re up for the climb before you commit to it.

Not sure you can make it all the way to the top?

Don’t worry…

On the climb to the top, there are several places to stop and rest. Although we do not recommend this for the elderly or those in poor health.

The bell tower is open daily and has an admission fee.

 

Ponte Vecchio

Visiting Florence - Ponte Vecchio
ValerioMei / Shutterstock.com

Ponte Vecchio is a tower bridge located near the gold and jewelry trade sector of Florence. It’s one of the most historic and beautiful bridges in the world!

The bridge normally has large crowds but the views of the river are fantastic. The shops on the bridge sell a wide array of jewelry. There are also excellent cafes and restaurants to stop at along the way.

 

Galleria dell’Accademia

Galleria dell’Accademia is a popular art gallery in Florence that holds some of the work of Michaelangelo. It has his most famous and lesser-known works of art.

But it’s not just all Michaelangelo there. The Galleria has work by many other famous Italian artists as well.

Here’s what else you can find at the Galleria:

  • Sculptures
  • Musical instruments
  • Gothic Italian art
  • Guided tours
  • Two bookshops
  • Multimedia room

 

Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery is a humongous art gallery located on the 1st and 2nd floor of Palazzo Pitti. On the two floors, you’ll find many famous paintings by famous Italian artists. One of the most famous paintings in the museum is the Birth of Venus.

 

In addition to the amazing artwork, the gallery also has a cafeteria, a library, and a bookshop.

 

Where to Stay When Visiting Florence

San Niccolo

San Niccolo is a good neighborhood to escape the busy tourist areas of Florence. Located at the foot of the hills, this neighborhood has a few hotels and reasonably priced restaurants. This area also comes with spectacular scenic views of Florence and a busy nightlife.

Santo Spirito

Santo Spirito is a working-class artisan neighborhood. It has many artisan workshops that make handcrafted goods. The area is also known for its restaurants and rowdy nightlife.

Here you’ll find the Santo Spirito Flea Market and other attractions. This neighborhood is a great option if you enjoy an active nightlife.

Piazza Santa Trinita

Piazza Santa Trinita is Florence’s most famous shopping street. If you love to shop for clothing, jewelry, and home fashion… this is the place you have to visit!

This area has several souvenir shops, luxury hotels, churches, and restaurants.

Sant Ambrigo

Sant Ambrigo is a residential neighborhood on the outskirts of the city center. This neighborhood is less hectic and it comes with a flea market and affordable restaurants.

The restaurants feature a wide variety of cuisines… so it’s okay if you’re picky!

The flea market runs once a month and sells furniture, vintage clothing,  produce, and antiques.

Santa Croce

Along with the Basilica, Santa Croce is an area that also hosts many restaurants and hotels. It’s close to Florence’s city center and it has an active nightlife with clubs, bars, and entertainment.  It has many fashionable bars and restaurants.

Duomo

Duomo is in the center of Florence. It’s very busy and known as the central hotel district with hotels ranging from high ratings to average. This neighborhood hosts the Cathedral, Palazzo Vecchio, and Uffizi Gallery.

San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo is another busy district with many markets to shop at. The San Lorenzo market sells tons of food and handcrafted goods. This area also has beautiful churches and chapels to see.

If you like the busy bustling tourist atmosphere… this neighborhood is for you!

 

Best Time of Year to Visit Florence

A great time of year to stay in Florence is during the summer months. The weather is warmer, all the attractions are open, and the gardens are in bloom. This is also the time to visit for music festivals and special events.

There are downsides to visiting during the summer. The hotel rates are higher and the city gets very crowded. Be prepared to wait in long lines for any attraction.

Our favorite time to visit is during the fall. The temperature is cooler and the tourism traffic is less heavy. And because of that, hotel prices are often lower due to fewer crowds!

Winter is November through March. It brings colder temperature and far fewer tourists.

The reward for visiting during winter is lower hotel rates and no lines at restaurants and major attractions. This is a great time to try the food at the restaurants and visit indoor tourist attractions.

 

Conclusion

Visiting Florence should be on every traveler’s bucket list. It’s one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world.

The great thing about Florence is you only need about 3 -4 days to see all the attractions the city has to offer.

Maybe 5 days if you end up wanting to do some more shopping 🙂

Have you ever been to Florence?

What was your favorite part of your visit?

Tell us about it in the Comment Section below!

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