November 25, 2017
Trip Report: 9 Things You Need To Do in Florence, Italy
I recently spent three days in Florence, Italy. The city looks like a modern day embodiment of the Renaissance. There’s beautiful Italian architecture everywhere you turn, countless pieces of world famous artwork, dozens of picturesque locations, and delicious Italian food. Florence is relatively small and most of the major sites are within walking distance of one another. I found that three days was just enough time for me to explore the city. Here’s nine activities I recommend doing on your first trip to Florence
Get a Firenze Card
The Firenze card was a lifesaver for me. Florence is a very popular tourist destination. Nearly every major historical site charges an entrance fee and you’ll have to wait in line to get in. If you’re visiting iconic sites like the Uffizi Gallery or Academia Gallery, expect very long lines. The Firenze card is an all-inclusive museum pass. It costs €72 and is valid for 72 hours after your first entrance to a museum. Best of all, it gets you priority entrance to nearly all the museums in the city, and you don’t need a reservation-meaning you won’t waste your precious time in line! As I said, nearly every museum in the city has an entrance fee, so unless you’re only visiting a handful of museums, you’ll come out ahead by purchasing a Firenze card.
Walk Along the Arno River
This is the main river running through the city. It’s lined with small restaurants and shops on either side and makes for a perfect photo spot.
The Palazzo Vecchio is Florence’s town hall building. It was initially build as a fortress during the early Renaissance period and sits on top of a Roman theater. The building houses several art galleries and provides great views of the city from the top.
The Palazzo Vecchio is located in the heart of Piazza della Signoria, where you’ll find a replica of Michelangelo’s David, an open air statue museum, and several restaurants and shops.
Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore
This is the most beautiful cathedral I’ve every seen. Every inch of the massive structure is full of detailed carvings.
This is another shot of the cathedral towering over Florence. The dome in the back was an architectural marvel when it was designed and built in the 15th century by Filippo Brunelleschi.
The Uffizi Gallery is an extremely busy museum which houses some of the most iconic pieces of Italian Renaissance artwork. It sees 2 million visitors each year. You can expect very long lines to get in if you don’t have a Firenze card. You’ll find works by artists including Giotti, Botticelli, Michelangelo, da Vinci, and more. Giotti’s Birth of Venus, pictured above, is located here.
The Academia is another art gallery, housing both paintings and sculptures. But the centerpiece of the Academia is Michelangelo’s David. This is the original 14-foot marble statue of David carved over 500 years ago. It took the 26-year-old Michelangelo two years to carve this masterpiece.
Eat Italian Food
This should be obvious, but Italian food in in Tuscany is incredible. Nearly every restaurant serves delicious fresh homemade pasta. Italian pizza is also a must. And for dessert, visit one of the endless gelato cafés in the city.
Basilica di Santa Croce
This is the 13th century cathedral where both Galileo and Michelangelo are buried.
The Piazzale Michelangelo is an outdoor space along the banks of the Arno river on the opposite side of Florence. You can see most of the city’s iconic structures from here and it’s a perfect spot for photos!