10 Must-See Sights in Beautiful Florence
by Katie McCabe | @awelltraveledpair | April 18, 2018
Florence is the home of Tuscan cuisine, Renaissance masterpieces, and terracotta rooftops. This marvelous city will sweep you off your feet with its rich history, tantalizing eats, and breathtaking sights. Whether you visit for a day or for a month, Florence will always leave you craving more.
Florence Cathedral is a stunning Gothic-style church that has become the iconic symbol of Florence. Standing at 374 feet tall, the cathedral can be seen from all over the city and still remains the number one attraction in Florence. Visitors stand in long queues just to get a glimpse inside this exquisite masterpiece. Some even climb the 463 steps to the top of the Duomo's cupola for sweeping views of the city. Entrance is free, and visiting hours are as follows:
Monday - Saturday: 10:00 to 16:45
Sunday: 13:30 to 16:45
During Holy Week:
Holy Thursday: 12:30 to 16:30
Good Friday: 10:30 to 16:30
Holy Saturday: 11:00 to 16:45
Days of Closure:
January 1st, Epiphany, Easter, Christmas Day
Up until 1218 in Florence, the cute and colorful Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge that crossed the Arno River. During World War II, it was the only bridge that fleeing Germans didn't destroy. In 1966, it miraculously survived one of the city's worst floods. Today, the resilient bridge is one of the most visited sights in Florence, attracting more than ten million tourists each year. It is an exquisite sight and should be on everyone's must-see list.
A must-do when you come to Florence is see the city from above. The classic skyline view that Florence offers is absolutely breathtaking. In my opinion, the best place to see that view is from Piazzale Michelangelo. Admission is free, and it is a quick twenty minute walk from the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. There is a little bit of uphill walking to get there, but trust me, it's worth the trek! For those of you who don't want to walk, there is parking at the top or you can take a taxi.
Tip: Try to go during sunset when the burnt orange rooftops glow in all their glory.
You can't come to Florence and not gain at least a pound or two. It seems like down every adorable cobblestone street is a handful of ristorantes serving up some of the best pizza, pasta, and gelato in town. It's hard not to stop every couple of hours and have a bite to eat. And, why not?! You're on vacation in Italy! Mangia!
The Statue of David
When you go to Florence, you must see the Statue of David. This magnificent white marble statue was sculpted by Michelangelo in the early 16th century and it later became one of the most famous works of art in the world. David can be found inside the Accademia Gallery, and I highly recommend pre-booking your tickets on their website. That way you get to skip the long ticket lines and spend more time inside this small but amazing museum.
Another impressive museum, actually the number one visited museum in Florence, is the Uffizi Gallery. With numerous priceless pieces of art, mainly from the Renaissance era, the Uffizi is so popular that wait times can often surpass five hours. Just like the Accademia, the Uffizi offers pre-booking on their website and I recommend you do so because this museum is one you don't want to miss!
Florence is recognized by many as the gelato capital of Italy. With that in mind, I knew I had to sample as much gelato in three days as possible. I'm not gonna lie - I had a great time doing so. There are many fantastic gelato shops in town but one definitely has a hand up on all the others, and that place is Vivoli. This adorable little shop is located in the historic center of Florence, just an easy five minute walk from the Uffizi. Open since 1930, this family run business is famous for having some of the tastiest gelato in the world. Made fresh daily, and only served in cups, it will surely knock your socks off! Once you enter Vivoli, pay for your gelato cup at the front register, get a receipt, and then proceed to the gelato selection area. Now, the hard part - which gelato to choose? With lots of mouth-watering flavors, you might need to come back to Vivoli over and over again until you try each one.
A Sunset Dinner at the Grand Hotel Baglioni
If you can stay at the Grand Hotel Baglioni, do it! If you can't, then at least have dinner on their gorgeous rooftop patio. The food and service are top-notch, and the views are absolutely glorious, especially during sunset. Diners are treated to unobstructed views of the Duomo and surrounding buildings while enjoying a traditional Italian meal.
Rent a Bicycle
Florence is one of those cities that is easily accessible by bike. Some people even prefer it to walking, as they can get to the attractions quicker and can therefore see more. There's a special feeling you get as you slowly peddle down the winding cobblestone streets, park your bike for a quick gelato, or breeze down the Arno River while taking in one sight after the next.
See Nearby Sights
Once you've had your fill of everything Florence, take a day trip out to the world-famous Tuscan countryside. Picturesque towns like Siena, Asciano, and San Gimignano are filled with jaw-dropping scenery, medieval architecture, and some of the best food and wine in all of Italy. Enjoy a glass of the local chianti, indulge in a basket of biscotti, and wander through the rolling green hills of beautiful Tuscany.