Florence… a beautiful open air museum, a city of Renaissance. The Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Medici Ricardi, Boboli Gardens, beautiful sculptures of Galleria dell’Academia, amazing view of the Duomo and the city from the Piazzale Michelangelo, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, the Vasalian Corridor. If you want to see all this, just go ahead. Once you’re through or decide that you’ve got enough of Renaissance for a lifetime, take a look at my tips.
Florence is one of the cities where you can taste the best specimens of Italian ice cream. Do not miss all types of gelato and sorbets made with numerous fruits and aromas. Do find the smaller ice cream parlors on the other side of the Arno River, instead of the larger ones in the center.
More Tips from Locals: Top 11 things to do in Budapest.
Florence is not a city with a history that you can grasp once you get there if you do not have a tour guide. Find out for yourself about the competitions of the Florence Baptistry for the door that opens to Duomo, why the Baptistry’s door faces the Duomo, who Brunelleschi is and from whom he stole his construction plans for his world famous dome, why the Vasarian Corridor transverses the city to Palazzo Pitti, how Boticelli threw his own pictures into fire at Bonfire of the Vanities and what Mardi Gras in fact, is.
3See the city from above.
Climb Duomo’s Cupola or the Giotto’s Bell Tower. You may have to reserve a spot ahead online or wait quite a bit in line. But climbing the Duomo is not just a great city-scaping experience but also a way to see the double tiered structure of the dome. And of course, do not leave Florence without seeing the city from the Piazzale Michelangelo.
4Discover the secret bakeries of Florence.
These bakeries, only known to the city’s residents open at night and have succeeded in staying away from the mainstream of touristic crowds. It is only through the word of mouth you get to know where these bakeries are and I do not intend to tell you where they are, either. But here’s a couple of tips for you: there’s one in Piazza Peruzzi and another one in Santa Croce! Sssshhh!
5See the tombs at the Basilica of Santa Croce.
Basilica di Santa Croce is the largest Franciscan basilica in the world and many of the great artists and famous people from Florence are actually buried here: such as Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini, Ghiberti, Michelangelo.
The tomb of Dante Aligherio, author of The Divine Comedy, inventor and popularizer of the concept of the concentric rings of Hell. #aj_cemeteries #aj_graveyards #graveyard_dead #graveyard_freaks #graveyard_life #graveyard_life_members_only #project_necropolis #fa_sacral #voodoo_society #igw_sepulcrum
Do not go beyond Ponte Vecchio just to see Palazzo Pitti! Spend a night there. Start right before the aperativo hour at the Piazza Michelangelo by watching the view with a glass of prosecco, snack your way through and finish the night around the fountain at the Santo Spirito. Or just keep going, who knows what the night will bring 😉
7Allow Galileo to give you the middle finger.
Go see the Florence History of Science museum (Museo Galileo) to see Galileo’s middle finger. The finger was removed by Francesco Gori, one of Galileo’s admirers in 1737 – exactly 95 years after his death and got lost after traveling from owner to owner for 2 centuries. In 2009, the finger appeared at an auction and is finally put to rest at this museum. All this is a little creepy, I have to admit.
If you’re a meat-eater, definitely try bistecca. Yes it’s a bit pricey. But you want to try it, do not eat at the center, go to Ristorante Perseus at Piazza della Libertá. You may not be able to taste a better bisteccha anywhere else.
9Check out the schedule of Le Murate.
Le Murate is a great place to watch concerts, especially when the weather starts getting warmer in spring. If you arrive by 19:30, you might join the aperativo hour and start from there.
10And finally: do not come back without trying Prosecco and Spritz!
Spritz is a wine-based cocktail made with a dash of bitter liqueur and is not the “spritz” you may know as wine mixed with soda water.