The undeniable beauty of Florence, its scenic piazzas and wonderful art, can only be met or surpassed by the deliciousness of its food. Combine the two and you’ll no doubt have a sublime holiday in Florence. Here is a list of our favorite 25 activities to do in Florence that offer the best mix of the culinary and the cultural.
1. Eat Florence
Planning to eat your way through Florence should be a priority for anyone wanting to explore Florence’s culinary side. Start with our list of foods to try while in Florence, and begin eating your way through Florence from there.
2. Take a food tour
What better way to learn a new city than through its food as explained by locals who know where to go? Eating Italy operates a new food tour available in Florence, so keep in mind what you would like to learn and see as you do your research.
Learn more about the Florence food tour: The Other Side of Florence
3. Drink Florence
Drinking in Florence is never far behind eating in Florence, or before, depending how you look at it. Because Florence is the capital of Tuscany, the region’s wine tends to gather here. Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino are just a few of the best known from the region.
4. Go on a wine tour
The best way to really experience Tuscan wines is to head to a winery, usually situated outside of the city. There are plenty of tours on offer, such as Angie’s Tuscan Wine Tours, or you could also rent a car and drive around to your favorites, making sure to stop at a trattoria for lunch on the way.
5. Try a cooking classes
If you admire Italian cooking, what better souvenir to take home than new knowledge about how to make it? We’ve narrowed down some of our favorite cookery classes for you to choose from.
6. Get out of Florence and head to an agriturismo
Visiting or staying at an agriturismo is one of the best culinary experiences in Italy. Agriturismi are farm houses in the countryside that the owners usually stock with home-cooked food made from their produce. In addition, they are often situated in beautiful villas and provide a well-deserved break from the city. The Agriturismo Petrognano is both stunning and near enough to Florence to drive there.
7. Try the street food
Restaurants certainly offer the quintessential Italian experience, but so does eating on the street where all the action is. Luckily, Florence excels in street food, especially its lampredotto (or cow stomach) sandwiches.
8. Explore the markets
Locals know that the best produce is found at outdoor markets. The two main covered markets are Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo and Mercato di San’Ambrogio, though all the areas of the city host their own smaller, but not any less well-stocked, markets.
9. Specialty food shopping
In Florence the baker still makes the bread, the butcher still cuts the meat, and the pastificio still makes the pasta. Make the rounds like a true Italian to stock up your (traveler’s) larder.
10. Go for coffee
Having a coffee or two is a true event of any day. Start the morning with a cappuccino and brioche at any cafe, and join the locals for an espresso standing at the bar after lunch.
11. Drink an aperitivo
Aperitivo is one of the best ways to end a day of sightseeing. Order a glass of wine and some snacks, preferably a tagliere with local cheeses and cured meats, and watch the Florentines finish their day. Head over to Uva Nera in Borgo Ognissanti for some great drinks and snacks.
12. Visit the Oltrarno
While many of the most well-known attractions are on the same side of the Arno River, the Oltrarno is a vibrant area worth the trip. For starters, it’s an easier place to get away from the tourist crowds. The Piazza di Santo Spirito is a great place to start.
13. Binge on paintings
One of the true delights of Florence is the sheer amount of wonderful paintings and sculptures and palazzi everywhere. If you’re going to see just one gallery in Florence, make it the Uffizi.
14. Rent a bike
The best way to get around Florence is by your own steam. Not as chaotic as Rome or as well connected by public transportation, Florence is an easy city to bike in, and biking in turn makes it much more accessible. The bike rental in front of the Stazione Santa Maria Novella is a good and affordable place to pick up two wheels.
15. Enjoy a piazza
Whether you want to eat dinner outside, split a bottle of wine, or just watch the people pass, a piazza is the place to be. The Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza della Signoria are the best known and most entertaining piazze to pass the time.
16. Take in the views
The Piazzale Michelangelo sits above Florence and is the best place to go for sweeping views of Brunelleschi’s Duomo and all the terracotta roofs of the city. To make it (slightly) more culinary, grab a Peroni at the food stands and enjoy the sunset.
17. Challenge yourself to find the best gelato
Finding gelato in Italy is not that difficult, but finding the best always involves a little work. Luckily the work is enjoyable! A good place to start is the gelateria Carapina, which has two locations, one in Piazza Giugliemo Oberdan and the other on Via Lambertesca.
18. Check out a festival
From food festivals to festivals for local saints, Florence has something for everyone all throughout the year. Check out the Events in Tuscany website for what’s going on.
19. Bring a picnic and climb to San Miniato al Monte
Located on a hill overlooking Florence, the medieval San Miniato al Monte is an elegant and rewarding end point to an uphill walk. Enjoy the lovely church and then indulge in a pre-packed picnic on the church grounds so that you have enough fuel to return.
20. Drink a hot chocolate
The weather in Florence isn’t always perfectly clear and sunny. So when the outside turns chilly, what better way to warm up than with a cup of thick hot chocolate (or cioccolata calda). It even gets better with cream (panna) on top. Head over to Arte del Cioccolato on Via Porta Rossa to satisfy all your chocolate desires.
21. Check out the nightlife
Lively student bars, discos for dancing and chilled-out wine bars, Florence has whatever kind of nightlife you seek. And on your way home enjoy how the city sleeps in the silence of the night.
22. Visit the Oblate Library
Not far from the Duomo is the Oblate Library; from the top floor, there are excellent views of the Duomo and lots of tables with chairs to get comfortable. There is a small cafe for food, but most of all the Oblate Library is an excellent place to go if you’re looking to get away from the crowds, but not too far.
23. Admire the sculptures
It would be a shame to set foot in Florence without seeing Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery. Other great places for sculpture are the Uffizi, the Piazza della Signoria (free and outside) and the Medici Chapel.
24. Fill up on churches and frescoes
Okay, so churches might not provide any nutritional value but if you’re going to visit a lot of them, Florence is the city to do it in. The Basilica di Santa Maria Novella and Basilica di Santa Croce are two excellent churches to start with where the frescoes will stun.
25. Take your time
It is easy to get caught up in the desire to see and eat everything that you came to Florence to see and eat. But it’s equally important to take a step back, get lost in some side streets, and you might just come across the best restaurant or best sight on your trip so far…