TOP THINGS TO DO IN FLORENCE By Girl in Florence
The most famous monuments besides the Duomo include the:
- Campanile di Giotto (82-meter bell tower next to the Duomo and yes you can and should climb it)
- Galleria dell’Accademia (where the real David is located).
- Galleria degli Uffizi & the Vasari Corridor
- Palazzo Pitti & the Boboli Gardens
- Palazzo Vecchio (a visit to the tower is a must – think panoramic views of the city)
- Ponte Vecchio
- Brancacci Chapel, Piazza del Carmine (famous fresco by Masaccio)
- Horne House Museum
- Forte Belvedere (LOVE THIS ONE!)
- Santa Maria Novella church
- Santa Croce church
- San Marco church (one of my favorites).
#2 The Campanile, bell tower, is in Piazza del Duomo. The first story was designed by Giotto and it is commonly called Giotto’s Campanile. Buy a ticket and climb the 414 stairs for great views of the Cathedral and its dome and the city of Florence and surrounding hillside.
#4 Across from the Ponte Vecchio is the Giardino di Boboli, a huge park on a hillside in the middle of Florence behind the Pitti Palace. Here you’ll find beautiful gardens and fountains and a great view of Florence from the Forte Belvedere. Open daily at 8:15 with seasonal closing times.
#5 The Pitti Palace, Florence’s largest palazzo, was once the seat of the Medici family. The palace today is home to the Palatine Gallery, with more than 500 paintings, most from the Renaissance. Many might look familiar from a past art history course or a History Channel documentary on the Renaissance; the collection includes works by Titian, Perugino, Raphael, Correggio, and Rubens. Some of the rooms were frescoed by the famous Baroque artist Pietro da Cortona. The Palazzo Pitti also has several lesser-known collections, including museums devoted to silver, porcelain, modern art, and fashion.
Porcellino Market – think ‘wild boar’ in piazza Mercato Nuovo, Loggia del Porcellino. Open daily. Here you can get your 5 euros sarves, bags, purses, keychains and take a selfie with the most popular boar in town, don’t forget to rub his nose for good luck!
San Lorenzo Market around Piazza San Lorenzo (has recently been moved), but you can find it still off of via nazionale and the mercato centrale (plus behind). Here you will find a larger selection of tourist goods, not all made-in-italy but definitely fun to walk through. Open Daily.
The city’s flea market has now been moved to Largo Pietro Annigoni, and takes place every day but Sunday (except for the last Sunday which makes for a huge extension of the regular market). A fun place that I love to walk through and search for vintage sunglasses, old city keys, maps, record players that I cannot afford and you get my drift.
Antique Market at the Cascine park, not far from the Santa Maria Novella Train Station. This market is held on the third saturday and sunday of the month and is the mother of antique markets in Florence. You can find some real gems here.
Santo Spirito Market, Piazza Santo Spirito, every second Sunday of the month. I love this market because it’s in the oltrarno and I have often found cool stuff here to boot.
**We will drive you here on Day 1 of our trip** Once there in the same spot is Giardino Rose & San Miniato.
Giardino delle Rose (Rose Garden) houses a collection of roses, lemons, and other plants, as well as a Japanese garden. It contains about 400 varieties of roses for a total of about 1,200 plants.The garden was created in 1865 by Giuseppe Poggi, who also designed the piazzale, on behalf of the City of Florence in anticipation of moving the capital of Italy from Turin. It covers about one hectare of land which offers a panoramic view of the city, sandwiched between viale Poggi, via di San Salvatore and via dei Bastioni.
The Cemetery from the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte by Hans von Bartels. Adjacent to the church is the cloister, planned as early as 1426 and built from 1443 to mid-1450s. It was designed by Bernardo and Antonio Rosselino. The whole complex is surrounded by defensive walls, originally built hastily by Michelangelo during the siege and in 1553 expanded into a true fortress (fortezza) by Cosimo I de’ Medici. The walls now enclose a beautiful large cemetery, the Porte Sante, laid out in 1854.
#9 San Marco Museum
One of my favorite churches in Florence, every-time I visit I am surprised it is so empty. This former Dominican convent is home to a plethora of important art, and architecturally is quite fascinating as well.
#10 Boboli Gardens
Looking for a bit of green during your Florence stay? At 11 acres, the Boboli Gardens make up one of the biggest public parks in central Florence. Laid out originally in the 16th century, the Boboli Gardens—which are attached to the Palazzo Pitti—are formal gardens, with a twist: They have outdoor sculptures including ancient Roman statues and, most famously, striking Mannerist works, including a grotto that was carved to look as if it was dripping with stalactites and houses copies of important Renaissance and Baroque works.