Things to Do in Florence - Complete Guide to Points of Interest

Ahmed Mansour, Unsplash
December 25
Written by Elena Kostas

Discover the best places to visit in Florence, Italy. A complete guide with recommendations on what to see and do in this beautiful Renaissance city.

Welcome to the heart of the Italian Renaissance, the beautiful city of Florence! It's difficult to imagine a place more drenched in art, history, and culture than this. Whether you seek out the locations that have inspired famous painters or simply sit back and enjoy the vibrant city life, there are endless things to do in Florence.

Welcome to our compact and user-friendly Florence guide which we believe will aid you on your journey. We've picked out some of the most cherished locations, each promising unique experiences. If you've ever wondered what to see in Florence, you're in for a treat.

Through winding cobbled streets, over historic bridges and into time-honoured trattorias, this city is crammed with places to visit in Florence. A fun fact for you, Florence in Latin is ‘Florentia’, meaning ‘blooming’. The city truly lives up to its name!

1. Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral

Historical Monuments and Architecture
cathedral interior photograph
Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral / Belinda Fewings, Unsplash

The Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, also known as the Duomo di Firenze, is one of the main highlights of Florence. Its impressive Gothic architecture stands out in the city's skyline, and its iconic dome is a symbol of the city.

A visit to the interior of the cathedral will transport you back in time, allowing you to appreciate its rich history and intricate artistic details. Don't miss the beautiful fresco of the Last Judgment on Brunelleschi's dome, a masterpiece of the Renaissance.

In addition to its architectural beauty, the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral houses a magnificent collection of sacred art and religious treasures that will immerse you in the spirituality of Florence.

3. Galleria dell'Accademia

Museums and Art Galleries
white ceramic statue of man
Galleria dell'Accademia / Rowan Simpson, Unsplash

The Galleria dell'Accademia is an art museum located in Florence, Italy. It is known for housing one of the most famous sculptures in the world: Michelangelo's David. This impressive masterpiece is a representation of human perfection and is an undisputed symbol of the city.

In addition to the David, the Galleria dell'Accademia features a collection of Renaissance paintings and sculptures by great masters. Here you can marvel at works by artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, and the Renaissance master Antonio Canova.

Visiting the Galleria dell'Accademia is a unique experience for art and history lovers. Immerse yourself in the beauty and genius of the great artists and discover why this place is so revered worldwide.

4. Ponte Vecchio

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a colorful bridge
Ponte Vecchio / Gloppia, Unsplash

Ponte Vecchio is one of the most iconic landmarks in Florence and a must-visit for anyone traveling to this beautiful Italian city.

Constructed in the 14th century, this stunning stone structure spans the Arno River and offers breathtaking views of the surroundings.

What makes Ponte Vecchio unique are the many shops lined along the bridge. These traditional shops sell jewelry, artwork, and souvenirs, making it a shopper's paradise.

5. Palazzo Vecchio

Historical Monuments and Architecture
concrete building during day
Palazzo Vecchio / Matt Twyman, Unsplash

If you visit Florence, you need to experience Palazzo Vecchio, one of the city's most iconic landmarks. This impressive fortress was the seat of government during the time of the Republic of Florence and still houses the City Hall today.

Inside, you can admire magnificent works of art, such as the Hall of the Five Hundred, decorated with frescoes by Renaissance artists. You can also enjoy breathtaking views of Florence from the Arnolfo Tower, located at the top of Palazzo Vecchio.

If you are a history and art lover, Palazzo Vecchio is a must-visit during your trip to Florence. Don't miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the city's past and marvel at the beauty of this monument.

6. Boboli Gardens Florence

Natural Spaces and Parks
brown concrete building near green grass field during daytime
Boboli Gardens Florence / Vicky T, Unsplash

The Boboli Gardens, located in the heart of Florence, are a true paradise for nature and history lovers. Built in the 16th century, these gardens span over 11 hectares and offer a wide variety of architectural elements and artworks.

While strolling through the Boboli Gardens, you can enjoy beautiful statues, fountains, and panoramic terraces that offer incredible views of the city. You can also explore winding paths and themed gardens that will transport you to different eras and architectural styles.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit this magnificent place during your stay in Florence. The Boboli Gardens are a must-visit for all architecture, art, and nature enthusiasts.

7. Basilica of Santa Croce

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a large white building with a star of david on it
Basilica of Santa Croce / Kristijan Arsov, Unsplash

The Basilica of Santa Croce is one of the must-see attractions in Florence. Located in the heart of the city, this stunning Gothic church is known for its architecture and historical importance.

Built in the 13th century, the Basilica of Santa Croce houses the tombs of illustrious figures such as Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, and Machiavelli, making it a must-visit for art and history lovers.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit this magnificent basilica and immerse yourself in its rich history and architectural beauty.

8. Piazza della Signoria

Historical Monuments and Architecture
brown concrete building at night
Piazza della Signoria / Matteo Kutufa, Unsplash

Piazza della Signoria is one of the most emblematic places in Florence and a must-visit for every traveler. Surrounded by majestic Renaissance buildings and impressive sculptures, this historic square has a fascinating history and indescribable beauty.

Among the main monuments that can be admired in Piazza della Signoria is the majestic Palazzo Vecchio, with its imposing tower and impressive Salone dei Cinquecento. You can also find the Loggia dei Lanzi, a beautiful porch full of Renaissance sculptures.

You cannot miss the Fontana di Nettuno, an imposing fountain that represents the god Neptune. Additionally, in the square, you'll find a replica of the famous David by Michelangelo, one of Florence's most recognized symbols.

9. Pitti Palace

Historical Monuments and Architecture
brown concrete building under blue sky and white clouds during daytime
Pitti Palace / Amelia Noyes, Unsplash

Things to do in Florence:

Pitti Palace is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in Florence. Built in the 15th century, this majestic palace houses an impressive art collection and offers panoramic views of the city.

Inside, you can explore the various museums and galleries, such as the Palatine Gallery, where Renaissance masterpieces are exhibited, and the Costume and Fashion Museum, which showcases the evolution of fashion throughout the centuries.

Don't miss the beauty of the Boboli Gardens, located behind the palace. These historic gardens are perfect for strolling and relaxing while enjoying the sculptures and ornamental fountains.

10. Piazzale Michelangelo

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a view of a city from the top of a hill
Piazzale Michelangelo / Tom Podmore, Unsplash

Piazzale Michelangelo: a hidden gem in Florence for panoramic views enthusiasts.

Located on the hill of San Miniato, Piazzale Michelangelo offers a unique perspective of the city and its beautiful historical monuments. From here, you can contemplate the majesty of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral and Giotto's Campanile, as well as the Palazzo Vecchio and the Ponte Vecchio.

Don't miss the opportunity to see the sunset from this spot, when the sun tinges the Arno River and the city's rooftops with golden hues.