Free Things To Do In Florence
Florence is a riverside city brimming with romance, world-class art and Renaissance splendour. The flavours of Italy are enhanced by the vibrant restaurant scene and its narrow lanes whisper stories of a flamboyant history. So that you can spend more money on gelato, wine and souvenirs, here’s a list of 10 free things you can do in Florence.
1. Visit Local Markets
Enjoy a feast for the senses and explore antiques, fresh fruit and vegetables and homemade goods in one of the city’s many open-air markets. Visit the Farmers Market at Piazza della Liberta, the Flower Market at Piazza dell Republica, the famous Mercato Centrale and Sant’ Ambrogio Market, in the Piazza Ghiberti to hang out with the locals.
2. Free Walking Tour
Florence’s original free walking tour lets you see the sights with professional guides who work on a tip only basis. Try the Renaissance Tour to explore the The Duomo, Piazza della Signoria and the church of Santa Croce, or the Medici Tour to visit the Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti.
3. The Oblate Cafeteria
Get your history fix at The Oblate Library and Cafeteria, located in the former convent of the Oblate, behind the Duomo. With displays of antique documents, reading rooms, a terrace and incredible views of the Duomo, you get a unique taste of Florence absolutely free.
4. The Duomo
Sante Maria de Fiore is the most iconic structure in Florence and the city’s tallest building. Although visits to the Crypt, Dome and Baptistery incur a fee, you can admire the spectacular church for free!
5. San Miniato al Monte
Basilica di San Miniato al Monte is a Romanesque church standing on top of one of the city’s highest points, dating to the 11th century. It’s one of the most scenic churches in Italy and you can explore 13th century frescoes, intricate marble designs and the surrounding church complex.
6. Views from the Piazzale Michelangelo
Have your camera ready for panoramic views of Florence and the Arno Valley at the Piazzale Michelangelo. A steep, winding path brings you to the entrance and, as it’s dedicated to the city’s most famous Renaissance artist, a bronze replica of the Statue of David holds pride of place in the centre of the square.
7. Basilica of Santa Croce
As the largest Franciscan church in the world, the Basilica of Santa Croce features 16 chapels and, legend has it, was founded by St Francis himself. Michelangelo, Rossini and Machiavelli are buried there, you can see a memorial to Dante and admire stunning frescoes from illustrious painter and architect, Giotto.
8. Piazza della Signoria
The Palazzo Vecchio overlooks the Piazza della Signoria, famous for historical events such as the Bonfire of the Vanities. Surrounding the square, you’ll find magnificent buildings, including the Uffizi Gallery, the Palazzo Uguccioni and the Loggia della Signoria, as well as the incredible statues of David (a copy), The Fountain of Neptune and Hercules and Cacus.
9. The Doors of the Baptistery
The Florence Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in the city, built in the Florentine Romanesque style, but it’s the three sets of bronze doors by sculptor, Andrea Pisano, that draw the admiration of tourists far and wide. It’s located in the Piazza del Duomo and, if you can get through the constant crowds, you can view the decorative ‘Gates of Paradise’ for free.
10. Ponte Vecchio
Strolling across the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, is a ‘must do’ in Florence, at least a couple of times a day, and it’s absolutely free (if you can manage to avoid the temptation of glittering jewellery shops along the way).