You can’t go to Florence and not see these 20 Must See Florence Attractions

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Florence is one of my all time favourite cities in Italy and perhaps all of Europe. The very first time I came here I felt as if I was on cloud nine – incredible architecture, history, art, gelato gelato gelato, and so much more to discover! So here are the top 20:

Must See Florence Attractions


1. Florence Cathedral

You can’t come to Florence and not see this – the Florence Cathedral – not in the way that suggests you really should make the effort, but because you actually cannot be in Florence and not see this gigantic structure, standing at 114m tall and took 140 years to build!


2. Ponte Vecchio

If there’s one thing we all love about Florence, its the gorgeous bridges that cross the Arno River. But there is no bridge more renowned (and more crossed by travellers – expect chaos!!!) than the shop-lined bridge of Ponte Vecchio. Be sure to wander over the bridge and window shop your way through the crowds, as on the other side of the bridge there is still much of Florence to be explored beyond the historic centre!


3. Palazzo Vecchio

The Florence town hall – Palazzo Vecchio – overlooks the Piazza della Signoria, a large common square, so it is likely that somewhere on your meanderings you will cross through here (or more likely the case that you will wind up here a handful of times)! The Palazzo Vecchio is built like a fortress and thus a distinct architectural work in Florence, from both the inside and out.

Basilica of Santa Croce - Florence

4. Basilica of Santa Croce 

The Basilica of Santa Croce is another one of those “hard to miss” sights in Florence, mainly due to its’ grandeur and size. This is the principal Franciscan church in Florence and as such is a very important landmark in the city. It is also the burial place of some of Italy’s most famous nationals including Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini.

5. Uffizi Gallery 

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the world’s most celebrated museums. Fittingly there are many highly celebrated art works on display by some of the world’s greatest artists, including (but certainly not limited to): The Ognissanti Madonna (by Giotto); Annunciation (by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi); Adoration of the Magi (by Gentille da fabriano); The Birth of Venus (by Botticelli); Doni Tondo (by Michelangelo); and Madonna of the Goldfinch (by Raphael).


6. Statue of David

The Statue of David is one of Florence’s most visited attractions, putting one of Michelangelo’s most famous works on display to the public. The statue was once on display in the piazza, however has since been replaced by a replica to protect the real statue of David inside the walls of the Accademia Gallery.


7. The View from Piazzale Michelangelo 

When visitors come to Florence they are often astounded by the winding and narrowly constructed cobblestone streets that they are absolutely determined to see the city from above. Well I’ve got good news for you! The best views over Florence are to be had at Piazzale Michelangelo and are entirely FREE! Make your way there on foot by crossing one of the many bridges to the ‘other side’ of Florence. Beware of the many steps to the top that feel as if you’ve run a marathon in the summer heat!

8. Bargello

The Bargello Museum is another one of the most important museums in Florence and a must see for lovers of fine sculptures, including the bronze David by Donatello.

four seasons florence

9. Boboli Gardens

While there are many great reasons to be indoors in Florence (the museums and the simple act to escape the Italian sun), there are also many great reasons to find yourself outdoors. A visit to the Boboli Gardens is a pleasant break from the stuffiness of museums, and will leave you in awe of the 16th-18th century sculptures in their outdoor habitat. Bring a packed picnic to really top it off!

10. Palazzo Pitti

For something a little different to all the other mentions in this compiled list of the best things to do in Florence, head for the Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace in English) to observe a Renaissance palace in all its former glory. The Palazzo is located a short walk from the Ponte Vecchio on the south side of the Arno river.

11. Basilica of Santa Maria Novella 

Unusually located across from the main railway station is another of Florence’ famous churches, Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. This is the city’s principal Dominican Church and certainly worth a visit for those interested in religion and religious history.

florence brooke saward

12. Piazza del Duomo

The Duomo of Florence is hard to miss. It is located in the heart of Florence and is not only one of the most visited places in Italy, but in all of Europe. You’ll be hard-pressed to miss it!

13. Medici Chapel 

Prepare to be amazed as you walk inside the Medici Chapel (actually two structures and commonly referred to as the “Medici Chapels”. The Medici Chapel dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries and were built as an extension to Brunelleschi’s 15th-century church. The interior is beyond words – be sure to take a look!

14. San Miniato al Monte

This stunning little Basilica stands atop one of the highest points in the city and has often been dubbed one of the region’s finest Romanesque structures. If you’re interested in seeing architecture beyond the Renaissance period, this is a great opportunity to do so.

brooke florence gardens

15. Giardino Bardini

For something more secretive and less-touristy, head to the Giardino Bardini – a Renaissance garden which has only recently been opened to the public.

16. San Marco

Another interesting sight if you have more time on your hands is to make your way to the once convent and now museum, San Marco.

Palazzo Medici via Wikimedia

17. Palazzo Medici Riccardi

This is another Renaissance palace that was built in the mid-late 15th century for the head of the affluent Medici banking family. You can tour the palace and wander its many halls, see the well-preserved interior decor and appreciate what life must have been like for this aristocratic family. (Image: Wikicommons)
Brooke Saward in Florence

18. Wandering the Historic Centre of Florence

One of the most underrated activities in Florence is that which you do daily often without realising it – wandering through the Historic Centre. When you think back to your time in Florence, it is likely this you will remember more so than the gallery paintings, sculptures, and how ill you felt after stuffing yourself with carbonara on that Thursday afternoon. So don’t forget to take the time to take it all in!

San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany

19. A Wine Tour through Tuscany

Interested in escaping the city and seeing more of the Tuscan countryside? I’m delighted to say you will be spoiled for choice! There are many tours running daily from Florence to outlying areas of Tuscany with a high focus on wine from the region. When in Rome!

Florence | World of Wanderlust

20. Giotto’s Bell Tower

This free-standing campanile is part of the Florence Cathedral, but distinguishes itself as its’ own entity as it is incredibly overwhelming when viewed both from afar and up close! If you dare, climb the 414 stairs to the top!

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    Clipping Path Service
    November 28, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Wow ! so nice and wonderful post about Florence attractions it’s also very helpful information all of us so thanks a lot for sharing this with us……

    November 7, 2015 at 2:32 am

    … without you as a guide Florence is not the same thing… 😉

    October 3, 2015 at 3:14 am

    I love that you take most of your own photos. It shows that with a few accessories, you truly can be independent in your travels. So motivating.

    Miles of Happiness - Marie
    September 24, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Florence was my first trip in Italy and I really loved it. There is so much to do, it’s thrilling. I was amazed by the museum, the art gallery and the architecture… Pretty cool. I should go back there! I’m sure there’s always something to discover

    EmilyAnne (Eat All Over The World)
    September 20, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Oh I lived in Florence for three months, anytime I see pictures I still get butterflies in my stomach. Such a magical place!

    September 17, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    I need to plan a trip to Florence – it looks so beautiful!

    September 16, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    The Boboli Gardens were not just recently opened to the public. I lived in Florence in the 80s and they were open and free. Then when I lived there again 10 years ago the city had started charging a fee to enter the gardens.

    If you heard they were “recently opened to the public” perhaps they were closed for a while for some fixing up or something, and then re-opened.

    September 16, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I’m going to be living in Florence for 2 months from April-June next year and seriously can’t wait!

    This guide is going to come in handy for my first couple of weeks there.

    September 15, 2015 at 9:21 am

    great post! I have so much love for Florence, it is such a special city

    September 15, 2015 at 7:08 am

    I would love to see Florence one day – from all the cities in Italy, it’s probably a No. 1 on my list!
    Thanks for the recommendations 🙂

    September 15, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Great post! Florence was my husband’s favorite city during his year in Italy and I can’t wait to go back and visit it with him. This will get us started.

    Rachael @ Catch Me if You Can
    September 15, 2015 at 4:30 am

    I adore Florence and most of those sites we were able to see while we were there. I cannot wait to go back it was my favorite city so far in Italy

    September 15, 2015 at 2:04 am

    I absolutely love Florence, such a nice and pretty city! Just strolling around the streets is perfect there! If you like it, I’d really suggest to read Dan Browns Inferno, since it gives much more depth / background stories to the things you see 🙂

    September 15, 2015 at 1:59 am

    Florence is such a magical, beautiful, and historic city. You really feel the art and feel inspired just wandering around! This list has made me want to go back more than ever…

    dean reinke
    September 14, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    Missed mentioning the climb up the Duomo to see over the city and the paintings inside the dome.
    Duomo – Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore. You look down on Giotto’s Bell Tower.

    Anna International
    September 14, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Great post, and some off the beaten track places too, well done! I lived in Florence 3 years, so this makes me quite nostalgic. Surprised you didn’t include the Mercato Centrale though – the BEST place to experience food and cooking in Florence. (Not for the squeamish though!) I have a few more food and restaurant suggestions based on my faves when living there here

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn
    September 14, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    I love your recommendations, San Miniato al Monte is my absolute favourite spot in Florence. The view of the city and beyond from up there is probably the most spectacular view I’ve ever seen!


    September 14, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I am planning to visit Florence soon and all of them surely will be on my list! 😀

    September 14, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I only made it to about half of these! Florence is such an in depth city!

    ~ carmen ~
    September 14, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Goodness gracious. It looks like I need to head back to Florence again because I haven’t seen most of these attractions. :]

    September 14, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    This looks absolutely wonderful! I’ll be sure to refer to this when I visit!

    September 14, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    The Boboli Gardens sound incredible.

    September 14, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Italy is awesome! I’m going there this month!!

  • You can’t go to Florence and not see these 20 Must See Florence Attractions - Amando BlogsAmando Blogs
    September 14, 2015 at 8:56 am

    […] post You can’t go to Florence and not see these 20 Must See Florence Attractions appeared first on WORLD OF […]