THINGS TO DO IN FLORENCE ITALY

Remnants of its glorious past loom over Florence, Italy. Everywhere I turn, there is something worth seeing. I bet even a week-long stay here is not enough to fully cover its Renaissance architectures and arts, and glorious  food and wine. That is why, honestly, I find it hard to round up the top things to do in Florence, Italy.

Interestingly, the entire historic center of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so best to make the most of your time here. Wander in its maze of age-old cobbled streets fringed by medieval houses, stately palaces, ancient buildings, gorgeous art museums, antique monument, and fresco-decorated churches.  Come face to face with the masterpieces of legendary artists like Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, etc.  But if you’re still unsure where to go, here’s a list of what to do in Florence, Italy for first-timers. Hopefully, this helps you plan your trip. I will be writing a separate blog on Florence Itinerary soon.

HOW TO GET AROUND IN FLORENCE, ITALY

 

View of Florence, Italy
View of Florence, Italy

BY FOOT

Florence is compact, most of its tourist attractions are near each other so it’s quite easy to explore them on foot. However, if you are pressed for time and you don’t like walking or if you are tired from walking, you may take a bus or a cab.

 

BY HOP-ON HOP-OFF BUS

 

Recently, I’ve become a fan of hop-on hop-off bus, because it makes my trips easier, hassle-free and saves me time because the bus zips from sights to sight, way faster than city buses. Unfortunately, during our trip to Florence, Italy, Klook doesn’t offer it yet, so we usually take a cab to get to our destination.  Thankfully, Florence Hop-on Hop-off bus is now available. Click the link below to book a ticket.

 

RESERVE TICKET HERE

 

BY BUS

 

Almost all Florence buses begin and end at Piazza Stazione fronting Firenze SMN Station (Florence SMN Train Station). The bus that you will most likely use is the small yellow mini bus with 4 lines: C1, C2, C3 and D.

Now if you plan to go to the outlying center, here are the buses that you will most likely use:

Bus # 12 or 13 – Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato al Monte

Bus # 7 – Fiesole

Florence Bus Fare:

Regular Ticket (90 minutes) – EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2/MYR 6

Double Ticket (90 minutes, good for 2 persons)– EURO 2.40/PHP 148/USD 3/SGD 4/MYR 11

Quadruple Ticket (90 minutes , good for 4 persons)– EURO 4.70/PHP 290/USD 5/SGD 7/MYR

24 Hour ticket –EURO 5/ PHP 309/USD 6/SGD 7/MYR 22

3 Day ticket – EURO 12/PHP 741/USD 14/SGD 11/MYR 23

 

Where to buy Florence bus tickets? You can purchase bus tickets at newsstands, tabacco shops and cafes/bar/coffee shops. Look for a sign that says ‘ATAF-Linea’ (the name of the bus company) or just the T sign on a brown background.

If you buy your bus ticket onboard, it’ll cost EURO 2/PHP 123/USD 2.31/SGD 3/MYR 9.  You may also use your Firenze card museum entry pass.

How to use the Florence city bus: Once you hop on the bus, you have to stamp your ticket in the machine.  If you purchased the regular ticket, you have 90 minutes to use it, meaning, you can get on and off as many buse and routes.

 

TOP THINGS TO DO IN FLORENCE ITALY

 

1. Catch the sunrise or sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo

 

FLORENCE ITALY VIEW FROM PIAZZA MICHELANGELO
View of Florence, Italy from Piazza Michelangelo

My favorite view of Florence is during sunrise at Piazzale Michelangelo. We took a taxi to this place from our hotel in Florence. But if you are on a budget, you can also get here by bus # 12 or #13 from Florence city center.  Piazzale Michelangelo offers a stunning, panoramic view of the heart of Florence, from Forte Belvedere to Santa Croce, including the Doumo (Florence Cathedral), the Badia Fiorentina and the Palazzo Vecchio. The backdrop is the hills of Settignano and Fiesole which is usually covered by fog early in the morning. But the main reason this plaza was created by Giuseppe Poggi in 1869  as part of the major revamp of Florence city walls is to give honor to Michelangelo and showcase copies of Michelangelo masterpieces. This plan was never fulfilled, but Piazza Michelangelo remains one of the top tourist attractions in Florence to date. A bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David proudly stands here, and you can find its original statue  exhibited at La Accademia Gallery. If you want to eat while enjoying the view, there’s a restaurant here (Ristorante La Loggia) that is open from 10:00 AM up to midnight.  Several street vendors are also scattered in the plaza, selling dirt cheap souvenirs like ref magnets, plates, keychains, etc.

 

Piazza Michelangelo

Address:Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours:Daily 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Entrance Fee: FREE

How to get to Piazza Michelangelo:

By Bus: Take bus #12 or 13 from Florence train station. Fare is around EURO 1.20/PHP 74 / USD 1.29/SGD 2/MYR 6.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 10, Line B –> Bus Stop 8

Nearby Tourist Attractions: San Miniato Monastery

TIP: From Piazza Michelangelo, you can walk for about 5 minutes to the monastery of San Miniato al Monte standing on top of a hill, dubbed as one of the most beautiful Romanesque structures in Tuscany.

 

2. Visit Piazza del Doumo (Florence Cathedral, the Baptistry and the Campanile/Bell Tower)

THINGS TO DO IN Florence Italy - The Doumo
Florence Italy – The Doumo

 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Cathedral de Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral) or popularly known as the Doumo, was the main reason why I went to Florence. Years ago, while researching for an article, I came across this massive church and got curious. Its pictures online looks so beautiful with its intricate design and pink and green marble façade, but undeniably, its greatest asset is The Doumo which remained a question for many centuries. Florence Cathedral proudly displays its Gothic architectural flair, with angular vertical spaces and pointed arches. It was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio sometime in 1296 and completed around 1436.  124 years later, its dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. A contest was held to finish the project, many architects have proposed a design and how they will do it, but according to our tour guide, Filippo Brunelleschi proposed he will build two domes without too much scaffolding. But he refused to say how he will do it because someone else might steal his idea. At first, many have accused him of being a scammer, but eventually, he proved them wrong. The Dome was the first and the largest octagonal dome brick created, and one of the most impressive structures during the Renaissance period.  He was forced to work side by side with his enemy, another brilliant goldsmith – Lorenzo Ghiberti, who created the gate of the Baptistry, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Entrance to the church is free, but there’s a fee to climb the Brunelleschi’s Dome and the crypt and see the frescoes of the Last Judgement by Giorgio Vasari that was painted sometime in 1572. Refer to the Dome open hours below. You can purchase tickets at the office near the Duomo or you can book a guided tour below which includes a visit to the Duomo, its dome, the cathedral terrace and Santa Reparata. The guided tour give’s you VIP access to some areas that are prohibited to tourists.

 

Guided Florence Cathedral tour (inclusive of ticket): RESERVE HERE

Piazza del Duomo

Address:Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Church Open Hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Thursday: 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM

Saturday: 10:00 AM – 4:45 PM

Sunday and public holiday: 1:30 PM – 4:45 PM

Dome Open Hours: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM Mondays-Friday, Saturday – 8:30 AM –  5:40 PM

Entrance Fee: EURO 18/PHP 1,114 / USD 21/SGD 28/MYR 83 , includes entry to the Florence Cathedral, The Dome, The Baptistry, the Campanile di Giotto and the Museo dell ‘Opera del Duomo.

Dress Code: No sleeveless shirt, blouse, dress, etc. No excessive shorts.

How to get to Piazza del Duomo:

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 1 (Florence SMN Station), Line B  –> Bus Stop 1 (Florence SMN Station)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Leonardo da Vinci Museum, Palazzo Vecchio ,Piazza della Signoria, Accademia Gallery

 

3. Stroll at Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria

 Nearby Piazza del Doumo is the liveliest square in Florence – Piazza della Signoria, the political hub of Florence. In the olden days, there used to be thermal baths here, but eventually, this place was taken over by artisans. Some of the most key executions took place here. Don’t miss the Palazzo Vecchio, one of the most important buildings in Florence that was built like a citadel with fortified walls and tower.  This palace constructed sometime in 1299 was were the Signoria, the ruling body of Republic of Florence (hence the piazza’s name) used to reside and work. At the entrance, you will see a marble replica of Michelangelo’s David and a white marble statue of Hercules and Cacus. Inside the Palazzo Vecchio, you will surely be mesmerized by the Hall of the Five Hundred (Salone dei Cinquencento), which is used for special events.

 

Piazza della Signoria

Address: Piazza della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Entrance Fee: Free

How to get there: Piazza della Signoria is about a 15 minute walk from Florence SMN Station (1.5km).

Ride the D line small electrical bus at Piazza Stazione at the ‘Galleria’ stop (near big area for taxis) in Florence SMN train station. It stops at Ponte Vecchio. Bus fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6, good for 90 minutes use. From Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria can be reached by foot. Refer to Google Maps for directions.

If you are coming from Piazza del Duomo (The Dome), it’s a 5 minute walk to Piazza della Signoria. Head south toward Piazza di San Giovanni, 20m and then continue to Via dei Calzaiuoli, 340 m. Turn left to Piazza della Signoria.

 

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 6 (Sta. Croce)

Nearby Tourist Attractions:Uffizi Gallery, Piazza del Duomo, Ponte Vicchio, Accademia Gallery

 

4. Marvel at the Renaissance Art of Uffizi Gallery

 Art at UFFIZI GALLERY Florence, Italy

Located next to Piazza della Signoria is Uffizi Gallery (Galleria deli Uffizi).  This fascinating gallery with frescoed ceiling showcases the world’s most important collection of Renaissance arts, including paintings, tapestries, manuscripts and ancient sculptures. Here, you’ll find works of the greatest artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli and Giotto. Purchase your tickets in advance because this is a popular museum with almost always long queue. Or better yet, book a guided tour to Uffizi Gallery with fast track entry below.

Uffiz Gallery Guided Tour with Fast Track Entry (ticket included): RESERVE HERE

Uffizi Gallery

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

Open Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:15 AM – 6:50 PM

Entrance Fee:

November 1  to February 28

Adult – EURO 12/PHP 744/USD 14/SGD 19/MYR 56

Children (European Union citizens only 18-25 y.o): EURO 6/PHP 372/USD 7/SGD 9/MYR 28

Children (European Union citizens only 18 years old below) : FREE

March 1 to October 31:

Adult – EURO 20/PHP 1,240/USD 23/SGD 32/MYR 93

Children – EURO 10/PHP 620/ USD 12/SGD 16/MYR 46

How to get to Uffizi Gallery

By Bus: Hop on the D line small electrical bus at Piazza Stazione at the ‘Galleria’ stop (near big area for taxis) in Florence SMN train station. It stops at Ponte Vecchio. Bus fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6, good for 90 minutes use. From Ponte Vecchio, you can walk to Uffizi Gallery.

 

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 15 (Frescobaldi)

Nearby Tourist Attractions:  Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Pitti Palace and Ragazzi Museum

TIP:If you are visiting Uffizi Gallery, you may also check out the famed Vasari Corridor, a kilometer-long elevated, enclosed passageway that connects Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi on the other side of the Arno River.

 

5. Meet David by Michelangelo at Accademia Gallery

David by Michelangelo
David by Michelangelo

 

Accademia Gallery in Florence (Galleria dell ’Accademia) houses one of the most famous sculptures in the world – Michelangelo’s David. Here, you’ll also find masterpieces of other Renaissance artists such as Botticelli, del Sarto, Uccello and Ghirlandaio.

 

Accademia Gallery

Address:Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8:15 AM – 6:50 PM. Closed on Monday, January 1, May 1 and December 25

 

Entrance Fee: Full price EURO 6.50/USD/SGD/MYR , Reduced Price EURO 3.25/USD/SGD/MYR

 

How to get to Academia Gallery:

 By Foot: It’s about 20 minutes by foot from Florence SMN train station. Refer to Google maps for direction.

 By Bus: If coming from Florence Airport (Amerigo Vespucci Airport), you can take the Bus Italia SITA Nord “Vola in Bus” bus shuttle thatruns between the airport and the Florence St. Maria Novella Train Station. Fare is roughly EURO 6/PHP 618/USD 10/SGD 9/MYR 28 one way.

Then at Florence Sta. Maria Novella Train Station, you can take Line 1B (Stazione Nazionale to Boccaccio) then alight at Piazza di San Marco stop (FM0084). Transit time is roughly 7 minutes. From there, you can walk to Accademia Gallery for about 5 minutes.

Alternatively, from Florence Sta. Maria Novella Train Station, you may also ride Line 1 A (Stazione Nazionale to Salviati FS) and get off at Piazza di San Marco stop. Then, head to Accademia Gallery by foot for approximately 5 minutes (refer to Google Maps for direction).

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 3 (Donatello)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Piazza del Doumo, Leonardo da Vinci Museum

 

6. Stroll at Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio across Arno River
Ponte Vecchio across Arno River – old bridge in Florence Italy

The Ponte Vecchio, also known as the Old Bridge, is the first bridge across the Arno River and the only bridge in Florence that survived the World War II. The Germans didn’t destroy it but destroyed the buildings on each side instead. Originally, the Ponte Vecchio is fringed with different types of shops since the 13thcentury until Ferdinand ordered that  only goldsmith and jewelers will be allowed to sell here in 1593.

The iconic Vasari Corridor, a kilometer-long elevated, enclosed passageway that connects Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi on the other side of Arno River was built in 1565 by Giorgio Vasari upon the order of  Grand Duke of TuscanyCosimo di Giovanni de’ Mediciso his family – The Medici Family (a political dynasty) can move from their home (Palazzo Pitti) to the seat of the government (Palazzo Vecchio) discreetly. Because of the Vasari Corridor, they can avoid mingling with the people they rule and protect themselves from potential enemies. They can pass through here observing the people they rule and  see the surroundings below without being noticed. Today, Vasari Corridor  serves as small museum where collection of artworks from the 16thand 17thcentury are displayed including self-portraits of artists.

 

Ponte Vecchio

Address: Ponte Vecchio, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours: 24/7

Entrance Fee: FREE

How to  get to Ponte Vecchio:

By Bus: Take the D linesmall electrical bus at Piazza Stazione at the ‘Galleria’ stop (near big area for taxis) in Florence SMN train station. It stops at Ponte Vecchio. Fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6, good for 90 minutes use.

Alternatively,from Stazione Orti Oricellari bus station near the Florence SMN Station, take bus C2 towards Piazza Beccaria. Fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6. Transit time is roughly 6 minutes. Alight at Orsanmichele. Then walk towards Ponte Vecchio. Refer tro Google Maps for directions.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 15 (Frescobaldi)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Uffizi Gallery,Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Pitti Palace and Ragazzi Museum

 

7. Marvel at the Pitti Palace

Palazzo Pitti or Pitti Palace is another great design of  Filippo Brunelleschi and built by his pupil Luca Fancelli for the Pitti family.  This is dubbed as Florence’s biggest palace. It was once the residence of the Medici Family, an influential, political dynasty in Florence, who bought the palace from Luca Pitti.  It houses eight stunning galleries featuring impressive 16thand 17thcentury paintings including the works of Raphael (you’ll find this at the Palatine Gallery on the 1stfloor), artworks, period costumes (at the Museum of Custome and Fashion), jewelries and ostentatious rooms.

 

One of the galleries inside the Pitti Palace
One of the galleries inside the Pitti Palace

Pitti Palace

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

Open Hours: 8:15 AM –  Tuesday to Sunday 4:30 PM/7:30 pm depending on the season. Closed every Monday, January 1 and December 25

 Entrance Fee:

March 1 to October 31 – (Full) EURO 16/PHP 989/USD 19/SGD 25/MYR 74, (Reduced) EURO 8/PHP 494/USD 9/SGD 13/MYR 37

November 1 to February 28/29 – (Full) EURO 10/PHP 618/USD 12/SGD 16/MYR 46, (Reduced) EURO 5/PHP 309/USD 6/SGD 8/MYR 23

 

Combined ticket for Palazzo Pitti + Boboli Garden + Uffizi Gallery(valid for 3 days and fast track entry) :

March 1 to October 31 – (Full) EURO 38/PHP 2,349/USD 44/SGD 60/MYR 176,

(Reduced) EURO 21/PHP 1,298/USD 24/SGD 33/MYR 97

November 1 – February 28/29 – (Full) EURO 18/PHP 1,112/USD 21/SGD 28/MYR 51,

(Reduced) EURO 11/PHP 680/USD 13/SGD 17/MYR 51

How to get to Pitti Palace:

 By Foot: From Firenze Sta. Maria Novella Station (Florence SMN Station), it’s about a 15 minute walk.

By Bus:Ride the D line small electrical bus at Piazza Stazione at the ‘Galleria’ stop (near big area for taxis) in Florence SMN train station. It stops at Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. We took this bus and fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6, good for 90 minutes use.

Alternatively, at  Florence SMN Station you can take Bus 36 to Cascine del Riccio and alight at  Pescaia di Santa Rosa. Walk for about 9 minutes (700 m) to Pitti Palace.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –>Bus Stop 14 (Pitti)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Boboli Gardens, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery

 

8. Relax at Boboli Garden

Behind the Pitti Palace, you will find the Boboli Garden, home to numerous 15thto 19thcentury sculptures.  It is sprinkled with centuries-old oak trees, fountains and trees. It is believed to have inspired other European Royal Gardens like the one in Versailles.  We visited during winter so the garden is quite dull, no flowers at the rose garden either. Best to visit here during spring and autumn to enjoy the colorful surroundings.

FLORENCE ITALY - boboli garden
Boboli Garden is located behind Pitti Palace

 

Boboli Garden

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

Open Hours: Daily 8:15 AM – 6:30 PM

Entrance Fee:

November to March 1: (Full) EURO 6/PHP 376/USD 7/SGD 10/MYR 28,

(Reduced) EURO 3/PHP 188/USD 4/SGD 5/MYR 14

March 1 to October 31 – (Full) EURO 10/PHP 627/USD 12/SGD 16/MYR 47

(Reduced) EURO 5/PHP 313/USD 6/SGD 8/MYR 23

How to get to Boboli Gardens

By Foot:If you are coming from Ponte Vecchio, you can cross to Boboli Garden and Pitti Palace.

By Bus: Hop on the D linesmall electrical bus at Piazza Stazione at the ‘Galleria’ stop (near big area for taxis) in Florence SMN train station. It stops at Pitti Palace and Boboli Garden. Bus fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6, good for 90 minutes use.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 14 (Pitti)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Pitti Palace,Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery

TIP:Don’t miss the view of Florence from the Forte Belvedere.

 

9. Pay respect to Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli at Santa Croce

 

Sta. Croce Church
Sta. Croce Church

Santa Croce located in Piazza Santa Croce is a Franciscan church, the largest of its kind in Italy, where the tomb of important Tuscans lies, like Galileo, Machiavelli and Michelangelo.  You can also find Brunelleschi’s  Capella dei Pazzi, one of his most important works here.

Santa Croce

Address:Piazza di Santa Croce, 16, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours: 9:30 AM  – 5:30 PM daily

Entrance Fee: Adults- EURO 8/PHP 496/USD 9/SGD 13/MYR 37, Children (16-11 y.o) –  EURO 6/PHP 372/USD 7/SGD 10/MYR 28, Children 10 y.o below – FREE

 

Includes entry to the Basilica, the Pazzi Chapel, the Museum of the Opera, the Refectory, three cloisters, and other spaces that are constituent parts of the tour.

 

How to get Santa Croce: Ride the small electric bus (ATAF Lines) C1, C2 or C3. You can alight near the church. Bus fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6, good for 90 minutes use.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop (Sta. Croce)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Palacio Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio

 

10. See  the Galileo Museum

Galileo Museum is housed in the age-old building called Castello d’ Altafronte now known as Palazzi Castellani. It houses Medici’s collections of mathematical and astronomical instruments by great Italian and foreign instruments.

 

Address: Piazza dei Giudici, 1, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours: Daily 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM, Tuesday 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Entrance Fee: (Full) EURO 9/PHP 556/USD 10/SGD 14/MYR 42,(Reduced) EURO 5.50/PHP 340/USD 6/SGD 9/MYR 26

How to get there: By Bus: Ride the small electric bus (ATAF Lines) C1, C2 or C3. You can alight near the Santa Croce Basilica and walk to Galileo Museum. Bus fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6, good for 90 minutes use.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –>Bus Stop (Sta. Croce)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Santa Croce Basilica, Palacio Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio

 

11. Visit the Santa Maria Novella Church

Locted beside Florence SMN Train Station, the Santa Maria Novella Church is the main Dominican church in Florence since 1221. It has a similar façade to Santa Croce and has the same pink and green marble walls like those of the Duomo and other churches in Tuscany region.  The church houses 2 main work of arts: the Holy Trinity by Masaccio and the Crucifix by Brunelleschi.  While you are at it, also make time to see the Green Cloister (Chiostro Verde) by Paolo Ucello that houses the famous fresco called Allegory of the Active and Triumphant Church and of the Dominican Order, which was created by Andrea di Bonaiuto.

Also in Santa Maria Novella is a 600 year old perfume store – the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella.  Around the 13thcentury, when the Dominicans friars arrived in Florence, they transformed the Santa Maria Novella church into a monastery. Back then, they founded a pharmacy and cultivated medicinal herbs, ointments, etc. for the convent’s clinic.  But when the Black Death wiped out most of the population in Florence, the monks created Aqua dii Rose, a rosewater distillate to disinfect the houses. Aqua di Rose is now being used as a perfume and is still one of the most famous creation of the apothecary along with the  Aqua Della Regina (Water of the Queen). The latter was created by the monks of Santa Maria Novella for Catherine de Medici to celebrate her marriage to the future King of France then, Henry II.

Santa Maria Novella Church

Address:Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 18, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours:

From April – September: Monday to Thursday: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Friday 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM

From October – March: Monday to Thursday: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM, Friday 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Entrance Fee:  Adult – EURO 5/PHP 310/USD 6/SGD 8/MYR 23, Students (18-25 y.o) and Seniors – EURO 3.50/PHP 217/USD 4/SGD 5/MYR 16, Children (4 y.o and below) – FREE

How to get to Santa Maria Novella Church: If you are arriving in Florence from other parts of Italy by train, you will most likely alight at Florence SMN Station (Firenze Santa Maria Novella), the main train station of Florence. From here, you can walk to Santa Maria Novella Church, located just beside the train station.

 

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –>Bus Stop 1 (Florence SMN Station), Line B  –> Bus Stop 1 (Florence SMN Station)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Mercato Centrale, Piazza del Duomo

 

12.  Basilica di San Lorenzo

One of the largest churches in Florence, Italy and the burial place of the Medici Family. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, but he died before the church was completed.

Address:Piazza di San Lorenzo, 9, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Dress Code: Appropriate clothing is required. No bare arms/shoulders, legs.

 

13.  Taste local produce at Mercato Centrale

Just 2 blocks away from Florence SMN Station is Mercato Centrale.  Here, you’ll find  delightful local produce and you can try the free taste of some meats, cheeses, etc. typical to the region at each stalls. You can eat at some stalls here and sit elbow to elbow with the locals at the communal table.

Address: 50123 Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy

Open Hours: Daily 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM

Entrance Fee: FREE

How to get to Mercato Centrale: It’s about 5 minute(500 meters) walk from Florence SMN Station.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –>Bus Stop 1 (Florence SMN Station), Line B  –> Bus Stop 1 (Florence SMN Station)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Santa Maria Novella Church

 

14. Relive history at the Roman Amphitheater and Archaeological Area in Fiesole

The Roman Amphitheater dates back to the 1stcentury AD located outside the walls of Florence.  Unknown to many tourists, just a few minutes away from Florence is Fiesole – founded during the 5thcentury B.C in northern Etruria.  The Etruscans has long dominated central Italy before the Romans.  This place has existed long before Florence.  If you purchased a ticket to a Hop-on Hop off Bus in Florence, you can easily reach this by taking Line B and alight at Bus Stop 16. You can visit the Etruscan Temple inside the Archeological  Park as well as the complex of Terme, Roman baths and the Roman Amphitheater. There’s also a museum here displaying artifacts from the site itself and surrounding areas.

Address: Via Portigiani 1, 50014 Fiesole

Open Hours: April to September: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM, March and October: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, rest of year: 10:00 AM -3:00 PM except Tuesday.

How to get to Fiesole Roman Amphitheater:

By Bus: Take Bus #7 at Piazza San Marco in Florence. Travel time is about 20 minutes and fare is roughly EURO 2/PHP 125/USD 2/SGD 3/MYR 9.

By Taxi: If you take a cab, fare is roughly EURO  26/ PHP 1,631/ USD 30/SGD 41/MYR 142 one way.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop:  Line B –> Bus Stop 16 (Fiesole)

 

WHERE TO STAY IN FLORENCE

 

A hotel in FLORENCE ITALY A
A hotel in FLORENCE ITALY (photo by Agoda)

One of the things I like about Florence, Italy is, there’s a wealth of budget hotels peppered around the historic district, making it a practical base when exploring Italy especially Tuscany region.  If you are a budget-conscious traveler, here’s a list of top-rated budget hotels in Florence, Italy’s historical center.  To check the room rates, click the link below and change the date to your preferred dates and hit search.

 

Hotel Ottaviani

Piazza degli Ottaviani 1, Historical Center, Florence, Italy,

CHECK ROOM RATES

We stayed here during our trip to Florence, Italy, and it’s our cheapest hotel during our Europe tripThis hotel in the historical center has seen better days. Staff are very helpful and friendly and they clean the room every day. Only downside is, the bathroom has see-through door, so we had to hang our blanket on the door. What I like about it is, it’s only a 5-minute walk from Florence SMN train station (and Sta. Maria Novella Church), very convenient.  The major tourist spots can also be reached on foot for about 15-20 minutes.  There’s also a bus stop right in front of the hotel and a grocery store. Restaurants and bar are within walking distance. Self-service laundry is also very near.  There’s also a taxi line nearby.

 

Adre Majestic View

Via XXVII Aprile, 4 50129 Firenze. For Check-in at Hotel Veneto in via Santa Reparata, 31, Historical Center, Florence, Italy

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Hotel Savonarola

 Viale Matteotti, 27, Historical Center, Florence, Italy

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Hotel Veneto

33, Santa Reparata Street, Historical Center, Florence, Italy, 50129

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 FLORENCE TRAVEL TIPS

Dining in Florence, Italy

 

From Piazza Michelangelo, you can walk for about 5 minutes to the monastery of San Miniato al Monte standing on top of a hill, dubbed as one of the most beautiful Romanesque structures in Tuscany.

If you are visiting Uffizi Gallery, you may also check out the famed Vasari Corridor, a kilometer-long elevated, enclosed passageway that connects Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi on the other side of Arno River.

At Santa Maria Novella Church, you will find a 600 year old perfume store founded by the monks.

Beware of pickpockets and thieves especially at subways, train stations, overnight trains and touristy places. Watch your valuables and be aware of your surroundings. Leave your passport in your hotel’s safety vault.

Do not exchange money at Money Exchange centers, they have terrible rates! I tried to exchange Swiss francs leftover from our Switzerland trip, but their exchange rates are horrific! Haha There are many ATMs scattered around, so better to withdraw money.  But make sure to use the ATM during the day and at well-lit areas only.

 

ALSO READ:

FLORENCE ITINERARY

VENICE ITINERARY

GREECE SCHENGEN VISA FOR FILIPINOS

ATHENS TRAVEL GUIDE (Budget + Itinerary)

 

 


 

About the Blogger : Gael is a Filipina travel blogger. Her work has appeared in local and international publications.

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For advertisements, sponsorship and partnerships, you may reach her at gaelhilotinblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

 

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