Wondering what to do in Florence? The city has lots of things to offer. Known for its art scene and amazing architecture, Florence is one of the top destinations in Italy. While some really cost a fortune here, there are also several fun things to do in Florence that you can enjoy without breaking the bank. With that, here are 6 best free things to do in Florence, Italy.
6 Free Things To Do In Florence, Italy
1. Visit the San Lorenzo Market
The San Lorenzo market is a great place to experience a Florentine culture. It’s completely free to enter, but you will surely be tempted to buy something! Within the main street market, is an indoor food paradise. The Mercato Centrale, or Central Market, is a great place to find authentic Tuscan food –cured meats, farm fresh cheeses, local wines, and artisan bread. If you can spare a few bucks here, make sure to get some balsamic vinegar and truffle oil.
The outdoor street market primarily sells leather goods, but you can also find other souvenirs, crafts, and trinkets. It’s the perfect place to get a new leather jacket, that staple bag or gifts for the family. The tradition of leatherworking has long roots in Florence. Florentine leather has been famous since the Middle Ages. It was possible to do the tanning process in Florence due to the close proximity of the Arno River. Italian leather, in general, is made from specially selected hides tanned locally.
Source: Valentina Djordjevic of Valentina’s Destinations
2.Discover Renaissance art in the Piazza Della Signoria
In the heart of Florence, the Piazza Della Signoria is a beautiful and historic space to explore, enjoy the free art exhibition, and people watch. Surrounded by some of the city’s most important buildings, the piazza has been the center of politics and art in the city for centuries.
The imposing Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall of Florence, dominates the L-shaped square. You can often see a bride and groom posing for wedding photos out the front and before the gushing fountain of Neptune in the middle of the piazza. The fountain was built in the 16th century and its centerpiece, a 4.2-meter high statue of Neptune, is an iconic emblem of the city.
Many visitors come just to see the replica statue of David (by Michelangelo). However, make sure to admire the full collection of statues under the Loggia dei Lanzi at the south end of the square. Including a bronze statue of Perseus holding the head of Medusa, it is a collection worthy of any art gallery.
Source: Katy Clarke of Untold Morsels
3. Stroll across the Ponte Vecchio
The Ponte Vecchio is one of the most iconic sights in Florence, and taking a stroll across it is a must-do when you visit the city. The name “Ponte Vecchio” means “old bridge”, and it is, in fact, the oldest bridge that crosses the Arno River.
It’s thought that a bridge was first built on this spot in ancient Roman times, though it was later destroyed by floods and rebuilt several times. The one we see today is a medieval version built in 1345. It’s the only bridge that the German troops did not destroy as they retreated at the end of World War II.
Originally, the shops that line either side of the bridge were occupied by butchers, but now they are mostly high-end jewelry stores. In addition to the main pedestrian walkway, there’s also a covered corridor that runs above it. This second level was a private walkway designed by Vasari so that the Medici family could pass between the Palazzo Vecchio and the Palazzo Pitti — their palace on the other side of the river.
When you get to the other side, consider stopping for a meal at La Pépinière, one of the highest-rated vegetarian restaurants in Italy.
Source: Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan
4. Enjoy views from Giardino Delle rose
Florence has so many amazing attractions – and while many heads to Piazzale Michelangelo for great views, there is another place that is free and has good views. When you head to Piazzale Michelangelo you will first come across a little garden that many people ignore. What a pity.
Giardino Delle rose – the Rose Garden in Florence which was created in 1865 by Giuseppe Poggi- is a lovely garden that is free to visit.
You will find many different types of roses (400 varieties of roses), but also lemons, and other plants, as well as a Japanese garden with many different plants. There you will also find ten bronze sculptures (what would Florence be without art, right?). It also offers some great views over Florence and especially of the Florence Cathedral.
There are benches and it is also a great place for people to spend a romantic evening here overlooking the pretty city while being surrounded by pretty flowers and greenery.
Source: Arzo Nayel of Arzo Travels
5. Window shop in one of the most iconic spots in Florence
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The Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence is the oldest bridge in Florence. Rebuilt twice, the bridge is known for its enclosed arches, which cover the bridge from one end to the other. Along the bridge, there are numerous shops, as the tradition for shopping on the Ponte Vecchio has continued for centuries. Today, jewelry and pottery shops are easy to come by, and walking across the bridge is a fun and relaxing way to spend an afternoon in Florence.
Source: Diana of The Elusive Family
6. A visit to Piazzale Michelangelo
Undoubtedly no visit to Florence can ever be complete without a visit to one of the best and most famous lookout points, Piazzale Michelangelo.
The view provides a beautiful panoramic view of Florence and the Arno, day or night, and best of all is that it is totally free to visit. From this vantage point, you understand why Florence is considered one of the most desirable cities in Italy. The magnificent Brunelleschi dome, in all its glory, is there for you to take in. In the center of the square is one of three copies of Michelangelo’s David, made in bronze.
The Piazzale Michelangelo was built on the hills located south of Florence’s historic center following the design of the architect Giuseppe Poggi and a lovely stroll along the south side of the river will bring you to the viewpoint that will surely be a highlight of your visit.
Source: Rai Suliman of A Rai of Light
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