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8 Awesome Things to Do & See in Florence

  • Post last modified:October 27, 2023
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Florence is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and is definitely one you will want to add to your Italian itinerary. There are so many great things to see in Florence, Italy, and we're here to help! 


Luckily the city is small, so the highlights can be covered in just a day or two if you are on a time crunch. However, it is so gorgeous, that you could easily also spend a week! In this article we are going to cover the 8 most interesting things to see in Florence, as well as other important things to know. Let's jump right in!

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Where is Florence in Italy?

Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region in Italy, and is located centrally in the country. Other big cities that are close include Pisa, Bologna, and Genoa. Florence is situated halfway between the cities of Milan and Rome.

where is Florence in Italy

Florence is located halfway between Rome and Milan.


Entry Requirements for Italy

In our guides we don't just want to share the best things to do, but also important information to know before traveling somewhere. Here are the different entry requirements for traveling to Italy.


Visa Requirements for Italy

There are many citizenships that can enter Italy visa-free. Travelers from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland can enter Italy for 90 days with no restrictions, while those others that don't need a Schengen visa can visit for up to 90 days in a 180 day period.


There are travelers from certain countries that require an  Airport Transit Visa. These countries include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Senegal, and Syria.


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The 90/180 Rule

It's important to note that the 90 days is valid for all countries in the Schengen area, For example, if you spend 20 days in Spain (also part fo the EU), you will then only be able to spend 70 days total in Italy within the 180 day period.


We use the Schengen visa calculator, which is helpful for those planning on traveling in and out of the EU for a long period of time,


Schengen Visas

For those that are planning on staying longer, or those that are from a country that don't get visa-free access, they will need to in fact apply for a Schengen Visa. You can take a look at the list of countries that need to get a Schengen Visa. For those that are part of the EU and want to stay past 90 days, they will have to apply for an Italian Residency Card.


Covid Requirements for Italy

When we visited Italy last year things were pretty strict. Masks were still in place, and you needed a negative Covid test to enter and exit the country. The good news is that all of these requirements have been lifted! You can now enter Italy whether you are vaccinated or not, and no test is needed.


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Getting to Florence, Italy

Florence is a very popular city in Italy, and is very well connected with other cities around the country.


Flying to Florence

The closest airport to Florence is actually right outside the city, called Florence Airport (FLR) or Firenze-Peretola Airport. Cities that fly here include Madrid, Zurich, Munich, Frankfurt, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Brussels, Lisbon, Barcelona, and Copenhagen. The only two Italian cities that fly here are Catania in Sicily, and Elba Island, as most cities are too close to fly.


If you don't find a cheap flight directly to Florence, you can easily find plenty of budget airlines and low-cost tickets to Pisa. There are then plenty of regular buses and trains that go to the center of Florence in just over an hour.


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Trains to Florence

Florence is best connected by train, and there are a ton of cities that connect to Florence. The two main train companies that service Italy are Tren Italia and Italo. Tickets vary based on time, and which class you'd like to ride. Luggage is included, and tickets can be purchased online or right in the station you are coming from.

Things to see in Florence, Italy

Florence is very well connected to the rest of Italy.


Local Adjustments

Whenever you travel there are things that you may forget about, that may differ from where you are coming from. Here are a few of the local adjustments to keep in mind while traveling to Florence in Italy.


Language

The official language in Florence is Italian. Being that it is a very touristic city, it is common to find many things also written in English, such as menus in restaurants. However, if you really want to get on a local's good side, you should learn at least a few of the basics.


Currency

The currency used in Florence is the same as the rest of Italy, which is the euro. Most places takes credit card, so you won't need to have too much cash on you, unless you want to make purchases on the streets. Many shops will give you a better rate if you can pay in cash as well.


Outlets

Italy uses the same plug types as the rest of Europe, which are types C, F, & L. The standard voltage in Italy is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.


Water Potability

When you go to restaurants you will never receive tap water, but this is simply a common thing in many European countries. Despite people drinking bottled water all the time, the water is perfectly fine to drink from the tap, and can be ordered in some restaurants.


Tipping Culture

The tipping culture in Italy is a standard of 10%. Many restaurants will actually add the service automatically, so it is smart to check when you receive the bill.

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Getting Around the Best Things to See in Florence

Want to know just how to explore the city and the great things to see in Florence? Well, it's actually a very easy city to get around! All of the highlights are within walking distance. If you have a car, try to park it outside the center, and leave it, as you definitely won't need it.


There are also taxis, Ubers, and local buses if you want to limit your walking, or plan on staying a bit outside the center.

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Things to See in Florence

Now is the fun part! Let's check out all of the fun things to see in Florence. This city is absolutely stunning, and very romantic. There are plenty of ways to enjoy this beautiful city, and here is a list of our top 8.


Things to See in Florence#1: Climb to the Top of the Duomo

The Duomo is without a doubt one of the most important things to see in Florence. This church is absolutely iconic, and stunning from the inside out.


Duomo, things to see in Florence

Want to see one of the best views of Florence? Then get your ticket to climb to the top! Here is everything you need to know about visiting:


Hours

Monday to Friday 8:15 am- 7:45 pm (last entry at 6:45)

Saturday 8:15 am- 5:30 pm (last entry at 4:30)

Sunday 12:45 pm- 5:30 pm (last entry at 4:30)


Tickets

Tickets are mandatory, and can be purchased online in advance, or at the ticket office outside the Duomo. They are sold in 45 minute time slots, with a 5 minute lenience. It is 20 euros for adults, 10 euros for kids 7-14, and free for children 6 and under. Make sure to book in advance, as they sell out days in advance!


The Climb

There are 463 steps to the top, and no elevators. There are parts that are very and narrow and steep, so we wouldn't suggest this for anyone who is claustrophobic or in bad physical shape.


Other Things to Know

The green pass is required to visit. This means that you must be vaccinated. If you purchase a ticket and are not vaccinated, there is not refund. For Europeans you will be required to show your "digital pass", while people with physical vaccination cards can simply bring theirs with them to show. (Note: this was written in 2021, and may have changed by now.)


Another thing to note is that there is a dress code to enter the Duomo. As it is a religious site, shoulders and thighs must be covered.


We also suggest enjoying the Duomo from the outside! The structure is simply stunning. We had to wake up extremely early to enjoy the area without a ton of other tourists.

Duomo, things to see in Florence
Best things to see in Florence

Things to See in Florence #2: Watch the Sunset at Piazza Michelangelo

Piazza Michelangelo is the spot to be when it comes to watching the sunset. Hundreds of people flood the area to enjoy the sun melting behind the city. Watching the sunset here is definitely one of the most magical things to see in Florence.


That being said, we do have a confession to make- it gets entirely too crowded! If you escape the mass amounts of people then you can head a little bit down the hill to get some other really stunning views and photos, 

Piazza Michelangelo, things to see in Florence

We suggest arriving early to the plaza to enjoy the area before it floods with tourists. Walk around and check out the various street vendors, or grab a seat on the stairs to secure a good spot early. There is also a restaurant if you'd like to grab a drink or bite to eat while enjoying this dreamy sunset.


The photo above was shot walking down the hill from Piazza Michelangelo.

viewpoint in Florence, things to see in Florence
Michelangelo viewpoint, things to see in Florence

Piazza Michelangelo offers the best views in Florence.

Things to See in Florence #3: Visit Pontevecchio

Another one of the most iconic things to see in Florence is Pontevecchio. This bridge is the only one that still remains in the area from the second world war. 


Not only is it a beautiful bridge, but it is now home to the majority of the jewelry shops in Florence, So if you're ready to shop, then a visit to Pontevecchio is a must! If you'd like to simply admire the architecture then we suggest walking down the river and viewing it from a bit further.

Pontevecchio, things to see in Florence
Pontevecchio, things to see in Florence

Pontevecchio is where you will find all of the jewelry shops.

Things to See in Florence #4: Drink and Dance at Villa Vittorio

One of our favorite spots in Florence for a night out is Villa Vittorio. This trendy spot will make you feel like a true VIP with its stylish vibes.


The nightclub is an enormous outdoor venue that offers different bars, dancefloors, and a restaurant. As far as the pandemic goes, this place will definitely make you feel like life has gone back to normal.


The parties at Villa Vittorio go all night long, and are truly an amazing vibe. We also love it because despite the amount of people there, there is plenty of room to distance yourself and stay safe.


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Things to See in Florence #5: Relax at River Urban Beach

This is one of the most unique things to see in Florence, as it brings beach vibes to this vibrant city. River Urban beach is exactly what it sounds like- an urban beach along the river.


The owners have brought sand here and made the place into a real beach! Dine and drink with your toes in the sand, or grab a lounge chair or cabana. Either way, you can enjoy tropical feels right here in the heart of Florence.


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Things to See in Florence #6: Have the Best Sandwiches in Town

When it comes to the best things to see in Florence, food of course plays a great roll. We could go on and on about things and places to eat, but we will just share one of our favorites.


The sandwiches (also known as panini) in Florence are simple, but so delicious! There are two great spots:


All' Antico Vinaio

This place is absolutely mobbed all day every day. Lines for All' Antico Vinaoi extend all the way down the street, and for good reason. The ingredients are fresh, and the size of the sandwiches are enormous.


This is definitely one of the most famous spots to check out in Florence, and is worth the wait!

All' Antico Vinaio, Florence Italy

The line for a sandwich here goes all the way down the street!

Il Fratellini

Don't have time or feel like waiting in a huge line? Well Il Fratellini (in our opinion) was just as good as All' Antico Vinaio, and was even cheaper! 


Il Fratellini offers huge panini for just 4 euros. They will even make a custom sandwich if you wish, and their service is impeccible. They have a few tables if you can manage to snag one, or you can just grab your sandwich to go.


We loved Il Fratellini so much that we went back to get sandwiches to bring with us to the airport.

Il Fratellini, best sandwiches in Florence

Although less popular, this is our personal favorite.

Get number 28 with the truffle cream. We substituted the ham for prosciutto and it was amazing!

Things to See in Florence #7: Visit the Statue of David

The Statue of David is another one of the most iconic things to see in Florence Italy. Michelangelo's masterpiece has become one of the most recognized works of Renaissance sculpture, and is a symbol of strength and youthful beauty.


If you want to visit the statue of David you can see it at Accademia Gallery. It is open from 8:15 am- 6:50 pm, and the last entrance is at 4:45 pm. 


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Things to See in Florence #8: Shop for Leather and Art

If it's one thing that Italians are known for (other than food) is their fashion! Florence is full of beautiful clothing, and they are particularly known for their leather.


Head to the market to find plenty of fine Italian jackets and bags, or one of the small shops in the center. We personally recommend the small locally owned store Daria Sabra, as this is where we found some truly unique items.

Leather shopping, things to do in Florence

Florence has the best leather jackets.

If leather isn't your style then you can definitely appreciate the gorgeous art in this city. One of our favorite things to see in Florence was the artists surrounding the Duomo. You can get anything as simple as a caricature, to one of the magnificent paintings of the beautiful spots in Florence.

art at the Duomo, things to see in Florence Italy

Florence is known for its beautiful art.

Is Florence Safe?

Overall, Italy is a pretty safe country. The touristy cities though tend to have a bit of a problem with pickpocketing. We suggest paying extra care to your belongings, especially in crowded areas. Despite that, it is pretty safe to walk around the center solo or at night.


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Other Things to Know About Visiting Florence

Now that you know the best things to see in Florence, how to get there, and ways to adjust, you're almost set! Here are a few other things to keep in mind when visiting Florence, Italy.


The Best Time to Visit Florence

Florence is a great city that can be appreciated year round! The summer is actually one of the times that Florence isn't as busy, as most tourists and locals head for the beach towns.


The best time to visit weather-wise- is on the shoulder months of June and September. However, our personal favorite months are May and October, when the crowds are less and the weather is still nice to enjoy walking around.

gelato in Florence

Homemade gelato is the best way to cool off in Florence.

Packing for a Trip to Florence

When it comes to fashion, Italians really know how to do it. Florence is a beautiful city, and the locals dress to reflect that. If you want to fit in we suggest putting in a bit more effort, especially if you're going out at night (there are dress codes enforced).

Have you ever though what would your travel essentials be? when you're traveling, there's certain situations you want to be prepared for. Here you will find a list of what we found out to be absolute necessary items.What to pack? That's the biggest question when preparing for a trip. No

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Florence is a city of charm and romance. It is merely impossible not to fall in love with its beauty, cuisine, and history.


These are just some of our favorite things to see in Florence, but we definitely encourage you to spend some time and enjoy all that Firenze has to offer! Planning on visiting other parts of Italy? We have plenty of other guides to help you plan your travels.


Need help planning your travels? We are now offering our very own travel planning services! Not like your average travel agency, we vow to save you money, time, and stress. Take a look at some of the  travel planning packages that we have, or email us to get started today!


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