I recently went on a trip to Florence with my husband and it was great. Sunny weather, lots of pasta, old bridges and mountains of leather goods.
Although a small and walkable city, there are lots to do which is great but it can also be overwhelming. If you’re looking to travel on a budget, trying to do all of the activities that are available to you is expensive. I’ve decided to narrow down my experiences in Florence to the top five things I enjoyed and would recommend for you to do when you arrive in Florence.
Shopping in Central Market
It can be a bit much because every time you look at a stall in the market, a vendor is trying to convince you to buy from him but it’s quite a spectacular place. You can find a ton of leather goods like wallets, bags, belts, jackets and more. It smells fantastic (if you like the smell of fresh leather) and it’s super colorful. It’s also free to wander so it’s budget friendly.
There’s also an indoor market right next door where you can buy more trinket or some food.
Tour the Piazza del Duomo
The Piazza del Duomo is the Cathedral Square located in the historic old center of the city. The building in the center is extraordinary. While on vacation, we didn’t actually go inside of the cathedral as you need to book in advance and lines in August are no joke (even the people with tickets had to wait outside on a long line in the hot Tuscan sun).
One of my favorite experiences near the piazza was a panini shop called Panini Tuscana. It wasn’t just a sandwich spot, it was fun and tasty to way to immerse yourself into a stereotypical Italian adventure (friendly locals breaking bread and slicing up fresh cheese).
Stroll on Ponte Vecchio
Called the Ponte Vecchio (old bridge), it’s one of the most touristy bridges in Florence. This means lots of foreign people around so keep your wits about you as you could be the target of a pickpocket. I say that to make sure you’re aware of your surroundings, as you can easily get swept up in the magic along the bridge, but it is pretty safe.
There are lots of jewelry shops filled with diamonds, gold necklaces and other fancy trinkets that make you wish you had more money. Other than jewels that will dazzle, the views from the bridge are pretty awesome as well. Stroll along looking for the perfect spot to take in the sunset and admire the colors, the sounds and the vibe. Another plus, this must see is completely free so don’t worry about spending money (unless you’re tempted by the gelato shops at the end of the bridge).
Panoramic views at Piazzale Michaelangelo
You can walk it but if you’re walking in August, make sure you have a big bottle of cold water.
We walked to Piazzale Michaelangelo to take in a panoramic view of Florence. Once at the top, you’ll find many other on-lookers trying to capture the beauty that in front of you.
And if you’re looking to get a souvenir of the moment (that isn’t a photo), there are a variety of vendors selling scarves, Florence memorabilia, lemoncello, food and alcoholic drinks around the piazzale.
Wander Boboli Gardens
Florence has A LOT of museums and that can really add up. I admit that we didn’t go to many museums but we did pay to go to the gardens.
It’s a huge mass of land that offers a variety of views and loads of places to sit down and have a bit lunch while surrounded by manicured greenery and distinct buildings. You can literally spend a couple of hours in the garden, wandering through small exhibits and palaces or taking in the atmosphere to do a beautiful sketch. To me, this makes the price of the ticket totally worth it as there’s so much to cover and many places where you can get lost or away from the other tourists.