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Florence: sights, tips & favorite places

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Ciao Firenze! Florence is simply a mad city. Florence is romantic, lively, beautiful and full of magnificent buildings. It is not for nothing that Florence is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Italy by many.

However – we have to be honest – Florence is also incredibly touristy. The pandemic has slowed down mass tourism again, but one thing is certain: you have to be prepared for many other guests if you are planning a trip to Florence.

So that you can plan and prepare your trip perfectly, we have put together a detailed Florence travel guide with all our tips for the best sights. Of course, as always, there are a few great culinary recommendations and our hotel tip.

1. Florence: Information at a glance & first travel tips What makes Florence so special? Renaissance Architecture: Florence is considered the cradle of the Renaissance. Walking through Florence actually feels a bit like visiting a museum. Magnificent buildings wherever you look – above all, of course, the mighty cathedral of Florence. The cityscape is very special and you quickly realize why Florence is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Florence = art metropolis: With the Uffizi Gallery, Florence is home to one of the most important museums in the world. Important works of art by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo are on display here. This is by far not everything. Florence is a paradise for those who love museums. Dolce Vita: Florence embodies Italian flair at its finest. Strolling through the streets with a gelato in your hand in the afternoon, celebrating an aperitivo later and fine dining in the evening – oh, how wonderful the Italian attitude to life is. Is Florence very touristic? To make it short: YES. Unfortunately, Florence has continued to develop in the direction of “Overtourism” in recent years. What does that mean specifically? Hours of queuing at the most important sights (especially the Uffizi), packed streets and overpriced cafes in the center.

The pandemic has put a damper on tourism development. However, we dare to doubt whether there will be a sustained decline in the number of guests.

When we in October 1024 were guests in Florence, in our opinion there was still an incredible amount going on. (And this despite the fact that the employee at our hotel said that this is nothing compared to before the pandemic.) What we can recommend to you anyway:

Do not travel in high season! Better are Spring and Autumn.For certain sights (Uffizi Gallery , dome etc.) book the tickets in advance. We will go into further details.Get up early, to be able to photograph certain places (e.g. the Ponte Vecchio or the square in front of the cathedral) without crowds. How expensive is Florence? More expensive than expected – at least that’s our personal assessment. In general, the whole of Tuscany is not exactly a cheap travel destination. However, we found Florence to be the most expensive of all the places we visited.

In particular, we personally find the entrance fees for sights quite overpriced. Staying overnight and eating out in Florence is also not exactly cheap. Here are a few examples, so you know roughly what to expect:

Entrance to the Uffizi: 13 Euro Entrance Cathedral: Bell Tower Euro, Dome 20 EuroMain course in a restaurant: approx. 20 EuroAperol Spritz in a rooftop bar: 11-12 Euro Double room in a nice hotel: approx. 200 Euro per nightParking in the garage: approx. 24 Euro per 24H How many days do I need to see the main attractions? No matter how much time you plan, you will always feel that there is more to see in Florence. In any case, the density of sights in Florence is enormous. Our tip: It’s best to stay…

2 nights, if you want to visit the most important sights in a relatively short time3-4 Nights, if you prefer to take the sightseeing a little more leisurely a week, if you want to take your time and plan one or the other trip (e.g. to Lucca, San Gimignano or Siena) 2. Sights in Florence Our most important First tip: Please don’t let the numerous sights irritate you. At first, Florence might seem a bit overwhelming. So did we – don’t worry!

But you’ll quickly notice that Florence is actually quite manageable. All sights are within walking distance – so comfortable shoes are a must in your luggage.

Florence Cathedral Let’s start with the undisputed sight number one in Florence, the Duomo or also called the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. With its mighty Renaissance dome and white, magnificent facade decorated with marble, the cathedral is simply an architectural masterpiece.

In fact, the Duomo consists of several sights, namely: the interior (i.e. the actual cathedral), the dome, the bell tower, the baptistery (= the baptistery), the cathedral terrace and the cathedral museum.

How extensively you make your visit is a matter of taste. However, a visit to the interior of the church (i.e. the actual cathedral) is part of the compulsory program . In our opinion, this is not quite as magnificent as expected (no comparison to the Siena Cathedral, for example), but definitely worth seeing.

Tip #1: Visiting the interior of the church is free. However, there is always a long queue in front of the entrance during the day. We therefore recommend that you visit the cathedral first thing in the morning.

Tip #2: If you also want to visit other sights in the cathedral (e.g. the bell tower), then simply book tickets for the desired one in advance timeslot. This is super possible online via the official website of the cathedral (see link below).

By the way: Please don’t let the supposedly deserted exterior shots of the cathedral on Instagram blind you. These were all done very early in the morning. Photographing the cathedral during the day without crowds is an impossibility.

Overview of information on visiting the cathedral Price: Church room accessible free of charge (only for other sights such as e.g. bell tower, an entrance fee is due)
Opening times & further information: Florence Cathedral (official website)

Ponte Vecchio The second landmark of Florence is the Ponte Vecchio, i.e. the “Old bridge”. It is the city’s oldest and most famous bridge, spanning the Arno River (Tuscany’s largest river). A walk across the medieval Ponte Vecchio is a must on a trip to Florence.

When you first see the Ponte Vecchio, you’ll immediately notice that this bridge is somehow different is. It is built up and so small gold and jewelry shops line the way across the bridge. This even means that at first you don’t even notice that you are already on the bridge.

We personally think the most beautiful thing about the Ponte Vecchio is its view from a distance. You can get a nice view of the bridge from different perspectives, eg:

Through the window in the Uffizi Gallery from aboveFrom Piazzale Michelangelo from afarFrom the Ponte alle Grazie

Uffizi Gallery The Uffizi Gallery is the most important art museum in Florence and one of the most famous in the world. What the Louvre is to Paris, the Uffizi Gallery is to Florence. Anyone with even the slightest interest in art visits the Uffizi Gallery – an unwritten rule.

Exhibited are works of art (paintings and sculptures) from antiquity to the late baroque period, by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli, among others. All in all, there are so many levels and rooms that half a day is actually not enough to be able to admire everything in peace. In any case, we recommend that you take at least two, preferably three hours.

The bad news: The Uffizi Gallery is actually always overcrowded. Several million people visit the Uffizi Gallery every year. In the high season, you should definitely reserve your ticket online in advance! During our visit in October, however, that was actually unnecessary – especially since the online reservation strangely costs 4 euros extra.

A little tip: From the top floor corner window at the back of the Uffizi Gallery you have a really nice view of P onte Vecchio.

Overview of information on visiting the Uffizi Gallery Price: 20 Euro (24 Euro for online reservation)Ticket reservation: Absolutely recommended, especially in the main travel season, not always necessary in the off-season.Opening times & further information: Uffizi Gallery (official website)

Palazzo Vecchio & Piazza della Signoria Right around the corner from the Uffizi Gallery is another sight that you cannot avoid when visiting Florence: the Palazzo Vecchio. This gigantic, sand-colored structure is one of the landmarks of Florence.

You can immediately feel how much history there is in this medieval masterpiece: in fact, the Palazzo Vecchio also dates from the 13. Century. Today the City Hall of Florence is housed here.

You should definitely take a (free) look into the courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio. If you want to see more, you can also visit the Museum of the Palazzo Vecchio, which gives you a glimpse into the historic rooms, first of all the gigantic Hall of the Five Hundred.

The majestic tower of the Palazzo Vecchio (Torre di Arnolfo) also gives you a fantastic panoramic view of Florence. You can find more information about this later in this travel guide in the chapter on the most beautiful viewpoints in Florence.

Palazzo Vecchio is located in Piazza della Signoria, one of the most important squares in the center of Florence. Although the palazzo initially attracts everyone’s attention, there are other buildings worth seeing and very striking, including the Loggia dei Lanzi and a copy of Michelangelo’s David.

Information about visiting the Palazzo Vecchio at a glance Price: courtyard free, museum ,30 Euro, Tower ,24 Euro
Opening times, tickets & further information: Palace Vecchio

Piazza della Repubblica Another square that you shouldn’t miss in Florence is the Piazza della Repubblica. This spacious square is located in the heart of the old town, just a stone’s throw from the cathedral.

The Piazza della Repubblica is characterized by historic carousell, which attracts everyone’s attention (especially that of the children). In the evening, when the lights are on, it is particularly atmospheric here.

Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens After a walk across the Ponte Vecchio you will reach the district of Oltrarno, i.e. the district south of the river Arno. Although there are significantly fewer sights here, you should stop by here at least once during your trip to Florence.

One of the highlights and generally one of the most famous sights in Florence is the Pitti Palace. The Renaissance building is rather simple in architectural terms, but has enormous dimensions: The Palazzo Pitti is actually the largest palace in Florence. (By the way, anyone who recognizes similarities to the Residenz in Munich is spot on – the Pitti Palace served as a model.)

Inside the Pitti Palace there are several museums or exhibitions, including, for example, the Galleria Palatina (the painting collection of the Medici family) or the royal apartments.

Directly behind the Pitti Palace is the Boboli Garden (Giardino di Boboli), which can be reached through a separate entrance. You can expect a spacious garden consisting of green areas, ponds, fountains and sculptures. For an entrance fee of We would have expected a more well-kept park.

Santa Croce Santa Croce is the second most important church in Florence after the Duomo. The Franciscan Church impresses with a beautiful, snow-white facade. It is enthroned in the Piazza di Santa Croce of the same name, a spacious square lined with cafés.

Of course you can also visit the inside of the church. However, it is kept relatively simple on the inside and therefore not quite as impressive as you might expect. It is famous for its tombs of well-known Italian personalities, including Machiavelli, Michelangelo and Galileo Galilei. The inner courtyard of the adjacent monastery is a great photo motif.

Our conclusion: The 10-minute walk from the Duomo to the Santa Croce church should not be missed when staying in Florence.

Information on visiting the Church of Santa Croce at a glance Price: 8 Euro (but also without entry from the outside very worth seeing)
Opening times & further information: Santa Croce (official website)

Other sights in Florence for more time Mercato Centrale: A gigantic historic market hall straight out of a picture book. Selling Italian specialties from vegetables to fresh fish.Galleria dell’Accademia: After the Uffizi, the second important art museum in Florence. Here you can admire Michelangelo’s David. Fiesole: This small town is a suburb of Florence. The special feature: on a clear day you can enjoy a fantastic view of Florence from here.Giardino Bardini: The probably better alternative to the Giardino di Boboli is the nearby Giardino Bardini. If you need a break in the countryside, this is the place for you. 3. Viewpoints in Florence Piazzale Michelangelo Den the most legendary view of Florence from afar you can definitely enjoy from Piazzale Michelangelo. Once upon a time, this spacious square was a little insider tip, but now it’s really no longer the case.

Evening after evening, countless people gather here to watch Florence being bathed in a fantastically beautiful evening light. The panorama is spectacular: you can see the Ponte Vecchio, the Torre di Arnolfo of the Palazzo Vecchio and of course the gigantic cathedral rising above the sea of ​​houses.

At the small mobile stands you can buy cool drinks and snacks (at overpriced prices). If you are smart, you can take something with you from the city below. Even if the way seems quite long, you can reach the Piazzale Michelangelo on foot from the center (Ponte Vecchio) in about 24 minutes. The climb is really doable. If you want to take it easy, you can choose the bus or your own car.

Our tip: The enchanting rose garden (Giardino delle Rose) is directly below the Piazzale Michelangelo. Simply walk in via the lower entrance and cover the last part of the climb to Piazzale Michelangelo through the rose garden – highly recommended!

Florence Cathedral: Bell Tower & Dome Florence Cathedral has two Viewpoints. (Strictly speaking, there are even three with the Domterrasse, but the following two are the most impressive.)

bell towerdome Opinions are divided as to which of the two viewpoints is now the better one is. We will therefore briefly introduce both and also tell you briefly about the respective advantages and disadvantages.

Bell tower (“Campanile di Giotto”) The detached, scarce 30 meter high bell tower offers you without a doubt the most impressive view of the dome of the cathedral from a bird’s eye view. However (and unfortunately that’s really a pity): the view is blocked by a fairly close-meshed grid. It’s almost impossible to shoot through with an SLR camera. That clouds the otherwise great panorama a little.

The ascent is not entirely without: 365 Steps must be completed to the top. With enough breaks on the mezzanines (from which you can already enjoy a view), it is easily doable.

Dome (“Brunelleschi’s Dome”) The viewing platform is a little higher at the top of the dome. She is over a total of 463 Levels err verifiable – phew! The dome was designed by Italian architect Brunelleschi, hence its name.

The big advantage: Here no grid disturbs the 414-degree panoramic view over Florence . And: You get very close to the architecturally impressive dome. However, you are denied the spectacular view of the dome itself.

Overview of information on visiting the viewpoints Price: Bell Tower 15 Euro, Dome 15 EuroOpening times & further information: Cathedral of Florence (official website)

Torre di Arnolfo A little insider tip among the best vantage points in Florence is the Torre di Arnolfo, belonging to the famous Palazzo Vecchio. With his 95 meters high, it shapes the silhouette of Florence. And: It gives you a fantastic panoramic view.

The ascent of the Torre di Arnolfo takes place accompanied – but don’t worry: there will be enough time for photos. First we go to a first viewing platform. A narrow staircase then leads to the top of the Torre di Arnolfo.

The view towards the cathedral is quite iconic. (Thanks to a raised staircase you can also have a good view over the thick defensive walls.) But there is also a fantastic panorama in all other directions.

Overview of information on visiting the Torre di Arnolfo Price: 13,24 EuroOpening times, tickets & further information: Torre di Arnolfo

Rooftop Bars in Florence Last but not least, Florence is also the city of rooftop bars. From some you can enjoy a spectacular one View of the cathedral. Particularly popular and well-known are:

Tosca & Nino: This bar belongs to the Rinascente department store and is located on its terrace. The view towards the cathedral is spectacular. View on Art: The ambience is really not special, but the view of the Duomo of Florence: WOW!SE STO on Arno Rooftop Bar: This chic bar offers you a great view over the Arno river. The price level is very high according to the location. (We would definitely go somewhere else to eat.) 4 . Tips for restaurants and cafes in Florence Pure overload! This is what happened to us when we were looking for the best restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlors in Florence. The culinary offer in Florence is simply gigantic and hard to overlook. We are therefore happy to provide you with a few specific tips.

Floret: One of our very favorite discoveries in Florence! This place is on the top floor of the Luisaviaroma concept store. You sit on the terrace surrounded by plants – greetings from the urban jungle feeling. Fusion cuisine is served, including burgers and bowls. The offer is small but nice with enough vegetarian and vegan options.

Neromo: This authentic restaurant is located in the Oltrarno district on the other side of the river. If you want to eat really good pizza, this is the place for you.

Foody Farm: Central & great value for money. This modern restaurant serves creatively inspired Italian cuisine at fair prices.

Ditta Artigianale: The “place to be” for everyone who loves coffee. There are excellent coffee specialties made from home-roasted beans.

La Strega Nocciola Gelateria: Gelato love! If you are looking for really good ice cream, we can highly recommend a visit to this stylish ice cream parlour. There are multiple locations. We were at the one near the Ponte Vecchio.

FloretLa Strega Nocciola 5. Our hotel tip for Florence For Of course, the perfect trip to Florence also requires the perfect accommodation. And we found it like that. We felt so welcome and comfortable at the Corte Calzaiuoli Elegant Suites that we would not hesitate for a second to stay there again.

The accommodation is in a wonderfully renovated house right in the center of Florence. It couldn’t be more central: 3 minutes on foot to the cathedral, 3 minutes to the Uffizi Gallery – you’re really just a stone’s throw away from all the sights. Nevertheless, the rooms are pleasantly quiet. We really didn’t hear anything from outside.

Speaking of rooms: We have seldom stayed as comfortably as we have here. This begins with the extremely comfortable bed, continues with the free-standing bathtub, right through to the coffee machine and the perfect welcome drink. Outstanding service is really very important here.

The breakfast is fantastic and for a hotel of this size the choice is amazing. We have never had breakfast as good anywhere on our trip to Italy as here. From freshly squeezed orange juice to delicious cakes – no wish remains unfulfilled here.

We have a tiny little criticism: it is possible to drive in (the car is then parked by the valet in an external garage – really practical). But as you can probably imagine, navigating Florence’s pedestrianized streets comes with a healthy dose of heart pounding. It is best if you send yourself an exact route description in advance.

Our conclusion: An incredibly well-run, incredibly comfortable place to feel good. The location couldn’t be more perfect. Everything is right here!

Here you can book the hotel: Corte Calzaiuoli Elegant Suites

6. Arrival and local transport How to get there: How do I get to Florence? Anyone who travels from Austria or from the south of Germany often opts for the car. You need a little stamina for the journey: From Vienna you have to plan about 9 hours, from Munich is about 7 hours.

We would definitely only recommend traveling by car if you are heading to other destinations in Tuscany. In Florence you can safely leave your car parked the whole time, as the old town is mostly car-free. (Ask in advance at your accommodation about suitable parking facilities!)

It is more comfortable and faster by plane. Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR) is located on the outskirts. You can easily reach the center by taxi or tram (line T2) in about 20 minutes. There are direct flights from German-speaking countries from Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf and Vienna, among others.

You can search for cheap flights here: Skyscanner

The most environmentally friendly way to travel is clearly by train. If you are not pressed for time, we can recommend the night train connection from Vienna or Munich, for example.

How do I get from A to B in Florence? Florence is a destination where you (almost) all distances on foot will cover. There are buses and trams, but they are not relevant for most tourist attractions. (Unless, of course, your accommodation is just outside.)

The historic center of Florence is almost car-free. You can look forward to a very relaxed stroll. Our tip: We strongly recommend that you pack comfortable shoes. Your feet will thank you.

7. Map: All sights at a glance For better orientation, we have marked all our tips on this map. A little tip: Just click on the rectangle in the top right corner to conveniently open the map in the Google Maps app on your smartphone. This way you can easily navigate from A to B on the spot in Florence.

Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you ever made a trip to Florence? How did you like the capital of Tuscany a fallen? If you have any other tips for sights or restaurants in Florence, we look forward to your comment!