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Whether you’re visiting for a week or just a weekend, holidays in Florence are nothing short of spectacular; expect sumptuous cuisine, incredible artwork and dazzling Renaissance architecture. Read on for the Citrus Holidays guide to things to do in Florence, including where to eat and where to stay.
Florence is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region. It is known as the ‘cradle of the Renaissance’ because most of the city (including its monuments, churches and buildings) were built during this period. It is just over two hours from the UK by plane.
When it comes to deciding what to do in Florence, there are certainly many options. From traipsing the halls of exquisite museums such as the Uffizi to venturing off on wine tasting tours in search of velvety Chiantis, your time spent here can be as packed or as peaceful as you please. If you’re planning a short break to Florence, be sure to prioritise the sights you’re most keen to see.
Here are some of our favourite things to do during a Florence city break:
Marvel at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, a Gothic-style cathedral whose construction began in the late 13th century. Sitting in Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral complex includes the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile (the free-standing bell tower) and is the third-largest in the world.
Walk over the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone arch bridge over the River Arno and lined with shops – specifically selling art, jewellery and souvenirs. It was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence until 1218.
Gaze up at the striking Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s town hall which has a 311-foot high bell tower overlooking the Piazza dellaSignoria.The Palazzo features Roman ruins, a medieval fortress and Renaissance chambers.
Enter the Basilica of Santa Croce, a Franciscan church and the burial place of several famous figures including Michelangelo.
Visit the Baptistery of St John, an octagonal religious building that sits across from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It is the oldest religious building in all of Florence.
See the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Florence’s first great basilica built by Dominican friars and home to great works of art.
Wander the halls of the Uffizi Gallery, a prominent art museum adjacent to the Piazza dellaSignoria that houses some of the most important works from the Renaissance period.
Get to know the Galleria dell’Accademia, an art gallery which is home to the world-famous David statue by Michelangelo (the original – the replica can be found in Piazza dell Signoria).
Visit the Pitti Palace, a Renaissance palace that has important paintings, sculptures and other works of art. It is now Florence’s largest museum complex.
Meander over to the Bargello National Museum, an art museum that used to be a former barracks and prison. Today you can find ceramics collections and other famous works of art from artists such as Michelangelo and Donatello.
Visit the Piazza del Duomo, Florence’s main square where you can see the Cathedral, Bell Tower and Baptistery.
Explore the Piazza dellaSignoria, an L shaped square and the political epicentre of the city. Here, you can also find the Uffizi Gallery.
Discover the Piazzale Michelangelo, a square sitting on a hill and offering breath-taking views of the city. In the afternoon, sit at one of the cafes or in the tiered seating area and watch as the city bathes in an intense sunset glow.
Soak up the scenery at the Boboli Gardens, a park behind the Pitti Palace and home to a range of sculptures that date all the way back to the 16th and 18th centuries.
Depending on the length of your holiday in Florence, you might not be able to tick off everything on this list – but not to worry, decide on your top five favourites and gradually add more if you have time.
If you’re keen to try typical Florentine delicacies, the Mercato Centrale Firenze (also known as San Lorenzo Market)is your best bet for good street food during your Florence break. The outdoor area sells clothing, stationery and souvenirs, while the bustling indoor market has two levels and a wide range of food stalls selling everything from truffle oil to cow brains.
Here are some local delicacies that we recommend you try:
Many of our Italy holiday offers include flights, accommodation and transfers – taking the hassle out of booking and leaving you to focus on how you want to spend your time at your destination.
Choose between short and longer getaways and decide if you’d like to combine a stay in Florence with a visit to some of Italy’s other cities, such as Rome or Venice. For example, if you’re looking to cram as much into a week as possible, our six-night triple centre offer to Florence, Rome and Venice allows you to experience three different destinations.
Alternatively, opt for the four-night twin-centre getaway taking you to both Florence and Venice for equal amounts of time. And if your sole focus is on Florence, try one of our three-night city break deals.