10 Best Things to Do in Florence, Italy

Florence, a great Italy tour destination

Artistic, romantic, and inspiring – Florence is one of the most remarkable Italian cities. It’s a dream vacation spot for any history and art lover, an excellent option for a romantic getaway, and a perfect place to learn about Italy’s cultural heritage. But as man shall not live by bread alone, he also shall do something beyond exploring the renowned art museums. So, to help your prepare for the exciting trip ahead, we put together a list of the fun things to do in Florence. Some of the suggestions are free, some are not so much, but something on the list will surely suit your taste. 

Top 10 Things to Do in Florence

Climb to the top of Florence’s Duomo

View from the top of the Duomo
View from the top of the Duomo

The world-famous Florence Cathedral has become the symbol of inspiring Florence a long time ago. And its astonishing dome is truly something incredible. At the base, the size of the unique structure is almost half a football field, and it goes up for nearly ten stories. And one of the top things to do in Florence is climbing the prominent landmark.  

There are 463 steps to conquer, so the route is not for the faint-hearted, but the breathtaking views over the magical city from the observation point at the end of the journey are more than worth the challenge. Plus, you get to enjoy the frescos by Giorgio Vasari on the way up! 

See Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Michelangelo’s David

The statue of David
Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the statue of David

Considering that Florence is generally known as the cradle of the Renaissance, it’s hardly surprising that the capital of Tuscany is a treasure trove of renowned masterpieces. And while we emphasized that the art museums are not the only things to explore in the city, you haven’t been to Florence if you haven’t seen at least these two artworks – Birth of Venus by Botticelli and the statue of David by Michelangelo. Even if you are not an aesthete and less than enthusiastic about the art galleries in general, you still will get to know the artistic heritage of Tuscany’s capital (unless you go across the city blindfolded). But these two masterpieces are worth extra effort. 

To admire the first one, head to the Uffizi Gallery and make sure to come early, the scene tends to get quite crowded later in the day. On your way there, feel free to stop for a quick photo with the replica of David, located near the renowned art museum. But if you want the real deal, you can find the original masterpiece displayed in the Accademia Gallery.

Eat Gelato in Vivoli

Traditional Italian gelato
Traditional Italian gelato, a treat you don’t want to miss during your Florence vacation

Life becomes so much fuller if you allow yourself to enjoy small pleasurу from time to time. Just imagine seeking cover from the heat of the Italian sun in a small local cafe and enjoying a big portion of delicious gelato before heading back into the busy streets to continue with your day’s agenda. Quite a picture, right? 

The famous Italian ice cream can be found pretty much everywhere in Florence, but if you are looking for a special experience, stop by the Vivoli. It’s one of the oldest and arguably the best gelaterias in the city. It started working at the beginning of the 21st century, and the chefs were constantly perfecting the original recipe for almost a hundred years. Although now the ice is not transported in blocks from the mountains anymore (glory to the refrigerators), the taste is still exquisite. 

Toss a Coin to Your… the Fountain of Neptune

Fountain of Neptune
One of the most impressive water features in Florence, the Fountain of Neptune

Piazza della Signoria’s jewel, the Fountain of Neptune, is one of the most famous in Italy. It can’t boast the world-fame like Rome’s Trevi or the Arethusa Fountain in Sicily, but it still gets its fair share of visitors every year. The first Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de’ Medici, commissioned it in the late 16th century. It was the first public fountain in the city and, to be frank, not a very popular one. 

Nevertheless, as time went by, the historical value of the Renaissance monument increased immensely, and now it’s an essential part of Florence’s historical heritage. Unfortunately, almost 500 years took their toll, and the Fountain of Neptune lost part of its charm, but thanks to the grand renovation in 2018, today, we can see the composition in all its glory. If you decide to stop by, make sure to toss a coin into the water for good luck. 

Take a Florentine Cuisine Cooking Class

Cooking Class in Tuscany
Cooking Class in Tuscany

Of course, Italian cuisine is a masterpiece in itself. So why not start mastering the art during your Italy tour? Bringing back the bottles of olive oil and limoncello, as well as packages of real Italian pasta, is never a bad idea. But if you learn a recipe or two, you can bring the true spirit of Italy to your kitchen. Even if for a little while.

The most popular classes offer to teach you how to make authentic Italian pizza and gelato. It is a great option if you are looking for fun things to do in Florence with kids! Even if cooking doesn’t hold much interest to them, they will hardly say no to tasting afterward. If you are not a fan of pizza (we know, impossible) or want to dive a bit deeper into the subject, pasta and ravioli classes are also available. 

 Have a Picnic in the Bardini Gardens

Bardini Gardens
The famous stair in the Bardini Gardens

It might seem like a surprising option because most travel guides advise visiting the famous Boboli Gardens. And they are not wrong, of course, the gardens are amazing. But precisely because the sight is a part of pretty much everyone’s Italy tour program, to find a quiet place to have a picnic might be rather tricky.

The Bardini gardens, on the other hand, are less well-known, less crowded, and just as beautiful. If you plan your tour to Italy at the end of April, the Bardinin Gardens are a must-visit. Because at the time, the Wisteria flowers are in bloom, and the visitors are treated to the breathtaking sight of the Wisteria tunnel at its best. Just imagine: all covered in delicate purple flowers. And regardless of when you are visiting, the ancient scenic baroque stairwell on the other side of the tunnel will be waiting for you. The famous staircase leads to a small bar, by the way.

Visit Florence Craft Chocolate Fair

Chocolate Fair
While Italian chocolate is less famous than the Swiss treat, it’s no less delicious

One of the most fun things a person can do in Florence is visiting the llocal chocolate fair. If you have a sweet tooth (or traveling with a kid), you will adore this event. The stalls include chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. 

The event brings together numerous exhibitors from all around the world. The visitors will get a chance to learn about dozens of nuances of chocolate flavor. They also discover different processes influence the final product’s taste. Master chocolatiers held lessons, teaching how to taste the treat correctly and what foods it works the best with. Trust us – you will be surprised. Chocolate cooking classes are also available for everyone from 5- to 150-year-old. 

Unfortunately, the event is a limited edition and is available only ten days per year in February.

Admire the Frescos in the Chapel of the Magi

Medici Palace

There is an inseverable connection between Florence and the Medici family, the most powerful and influential in the history of the city. Patrons of art, Medici shaped Florence we know today like no one else. And everything they commissioned, purchased, and owned is stunning and extremely expensive. 

Today, there are several Medici palaces available to the public, and all share two similarities. First, they don’t look very luxurious from the outside. And second, inside they are extremely luxurious. Once they housed the masterpieces of the most renowned artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Donatello. Today, part of the collection was relocated to world-class art galleries. Some amazing pieces remain on display though. 

But not all tourists are aware that the Medici Palace houses a small chapel, once very private and meant exclusively for prayer and devotion. It lacks the splendor of the palace interiors, but it’s home to precious and very beautiful frescos by Benozzo Gozzoli, glorifying the history of Medici. 

Enjoy a Guided Wine Tasting 

Wine in Tuscany
Wine in Tuscany

Italy is the largest producer of wines in the world, and it’s an integral part of Italian culture. Of course, you can explore the great variety on a self-guided tour of local restaurants. However, if you want to go a bit deeper into the subject, we advise treating yourself with a wine tasting tour. 

You can enjoy a tasting in the city, but if you want to enhance the experience, book a tour to one of the multiple wineries near Florence. The capital of Tuscany and its surroundings are set in the original Chianti region, so don’t miss your chance to try the best varieties of famous eponymous wine ever produced.

Look for a Ghost Baldaccio d’Anghiari

Piazza della Signoria
Stunning Piazza della Signoria

You have surely heard about the Piazza della Signoria, the main square of the city. But have you heard the story about The ghost of Baldaccio d’Anghia, haunting it for centuries?

In the 15th century, a mercenary captain Baldaccio d’Anghia was accused of treason and executed right on the Piazza della Signoria. Nothing out of the ordinary here, even if it was later revealed that the poor man was innocent. But the rumor has it that the ghost was unable to find peace and has been haunting the area ever since. They say that several tourists even managed to catch it on camera on a few occasions.

Of course, the story is nothing more than an urban legend. But, ghost hunting is a pretty cool option if you are brave at heart and looking for some fun things to do in Florence at night. 

As you can see, the capital of Tuscany offers so many amazing things to see and do that a lifetime is not enough to accomplish them all. But, the journey has to start somewhere, so why not add a few things from the list on our travel agenda and see how it goes from there. And if you need help with your next Florence vacation, we are at your disposal. 

by Ksenia Zaiceva