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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Diaz

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Florence, Italy

Updated: May 6

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Florence, Italy is an awe-inspiring travel hotspot. Renowned as the birthplace of the Renaissance and adorned with masterpieces of historic art, this city captivates the hearts of visitors. Brimming with breathtaking architecture, delectable cuisine, and enchanting gardens, Florence is an essential destination for any European traveler. Whether you're eagerly preparing for an upcoming trip, have already savored the wonders of this magnificent city, or simply crave knowledge about it, this ultimate guide is your key to uncovering the allure of Florence.

Getting to Florence, Italy

Florence is located in the heart of Tuscany, and it's easy to reach from pretty much anywhere! Here are the best ways to get there:

By Car

Traveling through Tuscany by car is a great way to see the area. You can easily take a road trip to Florence, but once you arrive, you’ll want to park your car on the outskirts of the city. Florence is a walking city with many roads closed to cars so make sure to plan ahead, inquiring with your hotel about the best place to park. Or, if you’re visiting on a day trip and would like to park close to the heart of the city, head to Garage Ponte Vecchio. We’ve parked there a few times and at first glance, it may seem expensive but it’s actually not bad considering how close it is to the Ponte Vecchio bridge which is just steps away!

By Train

Italy’s excellent train network takes you all over Europe, and Florence is no exception! The Stazione di Santa Maria Novella is a central hub for trains and is conveniently located in the city center.

By Plane

Florence has an international airport, Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola, located about 30 minutes from the city center. Taxis are recommended as the best way to get into town, and they generally cost around €25 ($25.42) or you can use Uber.

Parking in Florence, Italy

Parking in Florence is not only challenging, but it can also be expensive. However, there are many parking options available for those who are smart about their parking strategies.

  • Know where you’re going. If you don’t know where you will be spending the majority of your time while exploring Florence, then it is important that you plan accordingly when choosing a place to park your car. Knowing which areas of Florence are best suited for walking or public transportation will help ensure that your precious gas money isn't spent driving around aimlessly in circles trying to find a spot!

  • Parking spots are often difficult to find and some areas have very strict rules on how long one may stay parked at a given location. To avoid getting ticketed by Italian law enforcement officials or having your tires slashed by disgruntled locals due to lack of availability, make sure that if possible, you park somewhere within walking distance from where most people would spend their time sightseeing so as not to waste precious gasoline driving back and forth between locations like Piazza della Signoria or Il Duomo di Firenze!

Things to Do in Florence, Italy

Florence Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria dei Fiori)

Scale the magnificent dome of the Florence Cathedral, known as the Duomo, for breathtaking panoramic views of the city. As you ascend, you'll witness the intricate frescoes and marvel at the sheer grandeur of Brunelleschi's architectural masterpiece.

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Uffizi Gallery (Gallerie degli Uffizi)

Experience the captivating Uffizi Gallery, a world-renowned art museum showcasing Italian masterpieces from medieval to 18th-century periods. Discover iconic works by Botticelli, da Vinci, and more. Don't miss "The Birth of Venus." Optimize your visit by exploring major pieces in Halls 2, 8, 10-14, 15, 41, 83, and 90. Admission is free on Sundays, adding to the allure. Let each stroke of genius transport you through eras of artistic brilliance, leaving an indelible imprint on your soul.

Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Boboli Gardens (Giardino di Boboli)

Immerse yourself in Florence's enchanting Boboli Gardens, a serene escape adorned with statues and sculptures from the 16th-18th centuries. Free entry on the first Sunday of the month, but expect long queues. Reserve skip-the-line tickets for a smoother experience. Enjoy a cost-free picnic on the slanted concrete area near the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. Regular tickets are 10€, while a combined ticket with the Pitti Palace costs 22€. Experience the tranquility and timeless beauty of this verdant oasis, offering a delightful retreat from the city's hustle and bustle.

Address: Piazza de' Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti)

Discover the magnificence of the Pitti Palace, an esteemed Florence attraction that showcases the grandeur of the Renaissance era. Situated near the picturesque River Arno, this opulent palace houses captivating art galleries, museums, and architectural wonders. For a seamless exploration, consider combining your visit with a tour of the adjacent Boboli Gardens, creating a comprehensive experience of both sites. Regular tickets for the Pitti Palace are priced at 16€, while a combined ticket with the Boboli Gardens is available at a single price of 22€. To bypass queues, opt for a convenient skip-the-line entrance ticket. Prepare to be transported to a bygone era as you immerse yourself in the richness of art and history within the walls of the Pitti Palace.

Address: Piazza de' Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell'Accademia)

The Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence is a renowned museum famous for housing Michelangelo's iconic statue of David, a masterpiece that epitomizes male beauty and physical perfection like a Calvin Klein model. Originally commissioned for the city's cathedral, David was deemed too magnificent for a high niche and instead placed on the ground for all to admire. While David steals the spotlight, the museum offers more than meets the eye. Marvel at Michelangelo's Prisoners, four unfinished statues crafted in a unique manner, giving the illusion of emerging from marble blocks. Secure your tickets online to explore the wonders of the Galleria dell'Accademia and discover the artistic brilliance that extends beyond the celebrated David.

Address: Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50129 Firenze FI, Italy

Piazzale Michaelangelo

Indulge in a picturesque sunset experience at Piazza Michelangelo in Florence. Take a brief 15-minute hike to reach the square and claim your spot on the expansive stone staircase. Bring a blanket and a bottle of wine to enhance the ambiance. With no public drinking laws in Italy, many visitors enjoy sipping their chosen beverages. For a budget-friendly option, grab a bottle of wine from a nearby grocery store for just a couple of euros. If you prefer a more refined option, treat yourself to a glass of prosecco from the café conveniently located next to the stairs. Unwind, sip your drink, and savor the captivating colors of the setting sun in this enchanting setting.

Address: Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Ponte Vecchio

Step onto the ancient stone bridge, Ponte Vecchio, gracefully spanning the Arno River in Florence. Adorned with a captivating array of shops, this Roman-era masterpiece has become synonymous with jewelry. While the sparkling jewels within these stores may exceed most budgets, the joy lies in leisurely window shopping and envisioning the bustling commerce of centuries past. For the finest vistas, venture along the perpendicular streets that embrace the river, or wander to the neighboring Ponte Santa Trinita. Immerse yourself in the timeless charm of Ponte Vecchio, where history and elegance converge amidst breathtaking views.

Address: Ponte Vecchio, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Mercato Centrale

If you're looking for incredible food, the Mercato Centrale is the place to go. Find fresh produce, dried fruit and nuts, and little shops selling olive oil, balsamic vinegar, truffle spreads, packaged pasta, and desserts on the first floor. La Pasta Fresca is an incredible takeaway pasta stand on the first floor. Order a plate of homemade pasta with your choice of sauce for only five euros. The lemon ricotta ravioli is to die for, and the walnut sauce is a delicious change from the usual red sauce or pesto. The second floor of the market has more ready-to-eat food; order a fancy sit-down meal or a quick pasta or panini to take away.

Address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Via dell'Ariento, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Giotto's Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto)

Giotto’s Campanile, or Giotto’s Bell Tower, is actually right behind the duomo (cathedral) and looks as if it’s connected to the cathedral. However, the bell tower is another building in its own right. It's equally as beautiful, though you can't go inside. You can climb to the top and enjoy the view! Just be warned: there are 414 steps up—and back down again!

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria is an impressive L-shaped square surrounded by restaurant patios and historical sights. The Palazzo Vecchio, a towering medieval palace-fortress and tower, makes for an impressive backdrop. To the right of the Palazzo Vecchio you'll find an open-air sculpture gallery. For an extra photo opportunity, turn the corner (walking along the sculpture gallery towards the Palazzo Vecchio) and you'll find the Uffizi Gallery. If there isn't construction (which there have been the last few years), this makes for a very Instagrammable spot.

Address: della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Piazza della Repubblica

Piazza della Repubblica is one of Florence's main squares, which marks the city's very center. In this square, you'll find a stately Arch of Triumph and an old-world carousel. I love visiting Piazza della Repubblica at night with the carousel lit up and the surrounding cafes emanating a welcoming glow. The square is always lively and great for people-watching.

Address: 50123 Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy

Where to Eat in Florence, Italy

Trattoria Sostanza

Delight in traditional Tuscan cuisine at this charming trattoria. Indulge in their famous buttery chicken dish, known as "pollo al burro," a true gastronomic delight that will leave you craving for more.

Vineria del Re

Indulge in a delightful experience at Vineria del Re, a cozy wine bar in Florence. Here, you can treat yourself to a wonderful selection of local wines paired with artisanal cheeses and cured meats. Immerse your senses in the rich flavors while basking in the charming atmosphere of this hidden gem.

At Vineria del Re, every dish is a masterpiece, guaranteeing a truly extraordinary culinary journey. Regardless of your choice from the menu, the flavors will captivate and delight you. Personally, I couldn't resist the temptation of trying their pici al tartufo di San Miniato—a heavenly homemade fresh pasta infused with the exquisite truffle of San Miniato. Cooked to perfection, with a flawless al dente texture, it was a revelation for my taste buds.

One of the remarkable aspects of Vineria del Re is its reasonable prices, particularly in a city like Florence. You'll find that nothing on the menu exceeds €20 (around $22 USD). This makes it an ideal dining destination, offering a delightful blend of affordability and elegance. If you're searching for a memorable dining experience in a welcoming ambiance, Vineria del Re is an absolute treasure that deserves to be explored.

All'Antico Vinaio

Dive into the world of delicious sandwiches at this legendary eatery. Savor their hearty creations bursting with high-quality cured meats, cheeses, and a variety of delectable fillings. Don't forget to pair it with a glass of local wine for the ultimate flavor experience.

Osteria Santo Spirito

Experience the cozy ambiance of this charming osteria tucked away in the Santo Spirito neighborhood. Sample their exquisite Florentine specialties, such as the succulent "bistecca alla fiorentina" (Florentine steak) or the hearty ribollita soup, while sipping on a glass of local Chianti.

Shake Cafe

Craving a taste of American cuisine in Florence? Look no further than Shake Cafe! This lively eatery is a must-visit for those seeking a fusion of flavors. Indulge in their mouthwatering burgers, crispy fries, and refreshing milkshakes that will transport you straight to the heart of American comfort food. Shake Cafe puts a unique twist on classic dishes, offering a delightful combination of savory and sweet flavors. Get ready to satisfy your cravings and embark on a culinary adventure that celebrates the best of American cuisine.

Trattoria Zà Zà

Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant ambiance of Trattoria Zà Zà, a beloved dining spot renowned for its incredible Tuscan cuisine with a modern twist. This charming restaurant invites you to indulge in a culinary journey where authentic flavors meet innovative culinary techniques.

When it comes to their menu, there are several mouthwatering dishes that I highly recommend. One standout option is the ravioli in truffle cream sauce, a heavenly combination of delicate pasta filled with savory goodness and topped with a luxurious truffle-infused cream sauce. For a delightful mix of flavors, you can't go wrong with the tortellini featuring truffle, cream sauce, and ham. And if you're a truffle lover, don't miss out on their truffle ravioli in a creamy sauce—it's simply divine.

At Trattoria Zà Zà, each dish is a true celebration of culinary creativity, showcasing the incredible flavors of Tuscany in a contemporary way. Allow yourself to be captivated by the warmth and authenticity of this delightful eatery as you savor the exquisite flavors that they bring to the table.

Cafes + Bakeries in Florence, Italy

Discover the vibrant cafe and bakery scene in Florence, where delightful flavors and inviting atmospheres await you. Here are a few must-visit establishments that will make your taste buds dance with excitement:

La Ménagère

Step into this enchanting space that seamlessly blends a cafe, restaurant, flower shop, and design store. Indulge in their specialty coffees, delectable pastries, and artisanal bread, all served in a beautifully curated setting. The atmosphere is simply captivating, making La Ménagère a perfect spot for a leisurely brunch or a cozy afternoon break.

Panificio Brunori

Experience the authentic flavors of Florence at Panificio Brunori, a traditional bakery known for its heavenly baked goods. From fragrant bread to mouthwatering pastries, each bite is a testament to their dedication to quality. Savor their iconic panino al lampredotto, a local street food specialty, or indulge in their flaky croissants filled with delectable creams and jams. This bakery is a true hidden gem for those seeking a genuine taste of Florence.

Pasticceria Giorgio

Prepare to be dazzled by the exquisite creations at Pasticceria Giorgio, a pastry shop that has been delighting locals and visitors alike for years. Their display case is a tempting showcase of meticulously crafted cakes, pastries, and chocolates. Indulge in their signature cannoli, velvety tiramisu, or rich chocolate truffles, all made with the finest ingredients and a touch of artistry. It's a sweet paradise you won't want to miss.

Don Nino Gelateria

For the ultimate gelato experience, head to Don Nino Gelateria. Their gelato is a true work of art, made with premium ingredients and an artisanal touch. Choose from a wide array of flavors, from classic favorites to inventive creations, and savor the creamy goodness that will transport you to gelato heaven. Whether you enjoy it in a cone, cup, or as a refreshing gelato sandwich, Don Nino Gelateria is a must-visit for gelato enthusiasts.

Where to Stay in Florence, Italy

When traveling through Florence, Italy, and in search of the perfect place to stay, Airbnb comes highly recommended. It not only allows you to save money on accommodations but also provides the opportunity to connect with locals who can offer valuable insights and recommendations for exploring the city.

Here is my favorite Airbnb:


L'Ottomano is a 2500-square-foot, five-bedroom apartment with all the amenities you need. There are five bathrooms to serve the bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, and a dining room that can seat 25 people. A big-screen TV is available as well as two comfortable couches to relax in after a good meal. It's located between Piazza San Marco and Piazza della Libertà—two central locations for public transportation, where you can catch buses to explore Fiesole, which is surrounded by incredible views of olive trees and vineyards.

Here are some hotel options worth considering:

Hotel Continentale

If you're seeking a stylish and contemporary experience, look no further than Hotel Continentale. Located near the iconic Ponte Vecchio, this boutique hotel combines chic design with personalized service. Each room boasts a unique character, featuring modern furnishings and artistic touches. Take in panoramic views of the city from the rooftop terrace, unwind at the trendy lounge bar, and discover Florence's cultural gems just steps away. Hotel Continentale offers a perfect blend of elegance and modernity for the discerning traveler.

Hotel Lungarno

Discover the artful elegance of Hotel Lungarno, a boutique hotel overlooking the Arno River. Designed by renowned fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo, this hotel showcases a captivating blend of contemporary style and Florentine charm. Each room is thoughtfully decorated, offering a serene retreat after a day of exploration. Delight in the exquisite cuisine at the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant, unwind at the rooftop terrace with panoramic views, and immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene just moments away. Hotel Lungarno is a haven of sophistication and creativity, ensuring a memorable stay in Florence.

The St. Regis Florence

Step into luxury at The St. Regis Florence, a prestigious hotel nestled in the heart of the city. With its opulent decor, impeccable service, and breathtaking views of the Arno River, this hotel promises an unforgettable stay. Indulge in the lavish amenities, dine in the exquisite restaurants, and relax in the elegant rooms that blend classic charm with modern sophistication.

Best Time to Visit Florence, Italy

The best time to visit Florence, Italy is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) seasons. These months offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds and are ideal for comfortable sightseeing and exploring the city's attractions.

However, I must admit that I personally visited Florence in December, and it was a delightful and memorable trip. Despite not being the peak season, December in Florence has its own unique charm and attractions to offer.

Florence, Italy is a captivating destination that offers a rich blend of history, art, and culinary delights. From its iconic landmarks like the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio to its charming cafes and gelaterias, Florence has something to offer every traveler. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the Renaissance masterpieces, wander through the picturesque streets, or indulge in delectable Tuscan cuisine, Florence promises an unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags, explore the enchanting city, and create memories that will last a lifetime in this remarkable Italian gem.




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I'm Samantha! A photographer and I believe that every picture has a story. As a blogger, I share my travel stories with everyone. I think it's important to document my travels and share my experiences with others. I've been to some amazing places and I've seen some incredible things. I want to share my stories and photos with the world.

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