Florence, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is one of the most visited place by tourists, following Rome and Venice. Florence is famous for its leather industry, T-bone steak, and Uffizi Gallery. From art to food and shopping, there are various things to do in this small city. In particular, the red roofs of Florence are unique specialty of the city.
The main attraction of Florence: Florence Cathedral. It is called Duomo, which means 'cathedral' in Italian. The official name of Florence Cathedral is Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Its design is very intricate and impressive. When Florence began to prosper during the 13th century, they wanted to build a large cathedral to represent the city, but it took 140 years for it to be completely constructed. The exterior walls are white, green, and red marble and the red circular dome are the symbolic features of the cathedral. There was a design competition for the cathedral dome and Filippo Brunelleschi was elected to install the red dome. Its octagonal design was hard to build at that time because it had to be built only with bricks without an external supporting wall.
You can go up to the dome of the Florence Duomo and look down the scenery of Florence. You will have to climb up 463 narrow stairs but it is worth it for the view that you will see. The Duomo itself is free to enter but you have to buy a ticket to get up to its dome. As the Duomo is one of the most famous buildings in Florence, we recommend that you make a reservation in advance to visit the dome. You can specify the date and time of your visit as well. Additionally, with the ticket for the dome, you can visit the Museum of Opera of Saint Maria of Flore and Giotto's Bell Tower.
While looking at the overwhelming spectacle of the Duomo, be careful of the many scam artists that are around the area. They usually place cheap paintings on the ground, and as soon as a tourist steps on it, they try to force the tourist to pay for it. If they refuse to buy it, the scammer willl try to negotiate the price and won;t stop until they get money. Be careful when walking, but if you do become a target, do not take your wallet out, and ask for help from others around you.
Address : Via della Canonica, 1, Firenze
Opening hours : Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore 10:00-16:30 / Dome 8:30-19:00 / Museum of Opera of Saint Maria of Fiore 9:00-19:00 (Every first Tuesday it's closed) / Giotto's Bell Tower 8:15-19:00
Admission Fee : Adults: 18 euros / 6-11 years old children: 5 euros / under 6 years old: free / pre-reservation: 2 euros per person
Website : https://grandemuseodelduomo.waf.it/en/cumulative-ticket-great-museum-of-the-cathedral-of-florence
Uffizi Gallery, one of the leading museums in Italy and the must-visit place in Florence. Uffizi in Italian, means an office. In the past it was the administrative office of the Republic of Florence and now it is a museum.
From Renaissance paintings to Baroque and Rococo paintings, various pieces are displayed inside. The gallery has over 2,500 pieces so it takes a long time to look around. Usually, it is crowded with national and international visitors. So, it is recommended to visit early in the morning and book tickets in advance on the internet.
Many famous paintings are located on the third floor, so it is recommended to start your tour from the third floor. Do not miss those famous works: <Primavera> by Botticelli, <The Birth of Venus> by Botticelli, <The Duke and Duchess of Urbino> by Piero della Francesca, <The Trinity, the Virgin and Two Saints> by Luca Signorelli, and <Annunciation> by Leonardo da Vinci
Address : Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI
Opening hours : Tues-Sun 8:15-18:50 / Closed on Mondays/ Closed on January 1st and December 25th
Admission Fee : March-October Adults: 20 euros / November-February Adults: 12 euros/ 18-25 years old European residents: 2 euros / under 18 years old: free / Pre-reservation: 4 euros per person
Website : https://www.uffizi.it/en/tickets
Be sure to try a hand-made pasta in Italy. Unlike general pasta that we usually eat, hand-made pasta is much tastier and delicious. Osteria Santo Spirito is one of the famous restaurants that makes hand-made pasta. It is located a little away from tourist attractions, so you can enjoy your meal in a calm atmosphere, but not far from Ponte Vecchio.
The menu varies from appetizers to lasagna. The popular dishes are Gnocchi, Vongole pasta, and T-bone steak. Gnocchi is like a small potato cake in Italy. It is made of potato dough which creates a sticky texture like rice cake with no taste. Osteria Santos Spirito bakes gnocchi with cheese in the oven. Vongole pasta is tangled and chewy with plenty of calms.
Address : Piazza Santo Spirito, 16/R, 50125 Firenze
Transportation : Bus C4 to Santo Spirito stop / 7-minute walk from Ponte Vecchio
Opening hours : Daily 12:00-23:30
Ponte Vecchio, meaning an old bridge in Italian. There are many bridges on the Arno river in Florence, but Ponte Vecchio is the most famous. It is a bridge built in the Middle Ages, connecting Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace. There are various shops on the bridge. They were originally used as a butcher shop, but now they sell mostly jewelry and expensive art. It is also known as the only bridge that has not been destroyed during World War II. The colorful buildings of the Vecchio Bridge are more impressive when you see from a distance.
There is also an interesting story about Ponte Vecchio. A love story of Dante which is famous for <Divine Comedy>. When Dante was nine years old, he met a beautiful girl, Beatrice at a festival and had a secret crush on her. Nine years after, Dante came across Beatrice on Ponte Vecchio. Enjoy this romantic bridge.
Address : Ponte Vecchio, 50125 Firenze FI
It is located not far from the Duomo and there is a large merry-go-round, shopping area, and restaurants all around the square. It is a dynamic place where artists play music and performances day and night. You might pass by this square at least once, walking around the city.
Address : Piazza della Repubblica, 50123 Firenze FI
A famous cafe and the oldest cafe in Florence opened in 1733. It is located in the Republic square. At first, it was a bakery selling desserts and cakes, but it was developed into a cafe when it moved to its current location in the 1900s. The famous writers, intellectuals, and artists in the 1900s gathered at this cafe frequently and now it has become a must-visit spot.
Interior is preserved with its authentic luxurious atmosphere while being decorated with modern items. The price is a bit higher than other cafes, but coffee and dessert are both in good-quality.
Address : Via Roma, 1r, 50123 Firenze FI
Opening hours : Daily 7:30-24:00
Another landmark in Florence is the leather market. Florence is famous for high-quality leather goods at an affordable price. There are leather goods shops on the street. You might see people bargaining in the leather market. You also can try to bargain with them. There are a variety of leather products such as key chains, leather bracelets, leather wallets, leather bags, etc.
In the Florence central market, which is directly next to the leather market, there is a food court where you can enjoy various kinds of local dishes at reasonable prices. They also sell a variety of souvenirs.
Address : Piazza del Mercato Centrale – Via dell’Ariento, 50123 Firenze FI
Opening hours : Daily 8:00-24:00 (Leather market 10:00-19:00. Changeable depending on the season)
The most popular dish in Florence is T-bone steak. There are many T-bone steak restaurants, but the most popular one these days is Dall'oste. There are totally five branches in Florence, including San Lorenzo Cathedral, Republic Square and near Train station. They only use beef from carefully selected farms and they offer 8 different parts of beef. Except for beef sirloin and black Angus, they use Tuscany, Italian beef. T-bone steak usually sells only in 1kg units. But if you are traveling alone, you can enjoy a small amount of set menu for lunch. It is much thicker and more savory than other parts of steaks. It is called as T-bone steak because a bone T-shaped will be left after eating all. There are numerous branches in the city but it is really popular so that it is better to reserve in advance through their website.
Address : Borgo S. Lorenzo, 31r, 50122 Firenze FI (San Lorenzo)
Opening hours : Daily 11:00-22:30
website : https://trattoriadalloste.com/en/book-2-2/
One of the most representative museums in Florence where you must visit. Although the size of the gallery is small, its Michelangelo's David statue attracts many tourists from all over the world. David is a hero who defeated Goliath, a much bigger giant than himself. At the request of the City Hall of Florence, Michelangelo, who was the best artist in Italy at the time, made this 5.17-meter high statue by working for three whole years, from 1501 to 1504. At first, the statue was placed on the square in front of the Palace of Vecchio. Then, they moved it to the Plaza of Signoria. And in 1873, it was moved to the Gallery of the academy. David, as a symbol of victory, gave great meaning to the citizens. The citizens of Florence, who wanted to protect the independence of Florence from the power of the pope and the emperor, considered the David statue more than a statue.
Unlike the previously created David statue of a victory moment with Goliath's head, Michelangelo's statue shows the determination of a warrior who has a big fight ahead. If you take a close look, you might find his dignified eyes and delicate muscle expression very impressive. Also, it is a naked statue, which shows Michelangelo's desire to express human beings more beautifully in the Renaissance era.
Address : Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50122 Firenze FI
Opening hours : Tues-Sun 8:15-18:50 / Monday closed. January 1st, December 25th closed
Admission Fee : Adults 12 euros / European residents of 18-25 years old 2 euros / Under 18 years old Free / Pre-reservation fee 4 euros each person
website : http://www.galleriaaccademiafirenze.beniculturali.it/galleria/1/visiting/
The third largest church in Florence. The curved facade is very picturesque. Michelangelo saw this church and admired its beauty as "My bride". In the church, there are various famous works such as a fresco painting <Trinity> by Masaccio.
The church of Santa Maria Novella is also famous for its cosmetics. The monks started to make cosmetics for therapeutic purposes at first. And now it became a cosmetics brand by opening a pharmacy inside the monastery. Their products are made by the traditional recipe of monks. They produce and sell good-quality moisture cream, soap, and perfume. If you want to buy these products, you can visit the pharmacy located on the side of the church.
Address : Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 18, 50123 Firenze FI
Opening hours : October-March Mon-Thurs 9:00-17:30, Fri 11:00-17:30, Sat & Day before religious holiday 9:00-17:30, Sun & Religious holiday 13:00-17:30 / April-June Mon-Thurs 9:00-19:00, Fri 11:00-19:00, Sat & Day before religious holiday 9:00-17:30, Sun & Religious holiday 13:00-17:30 / July-August Mon-Thurs 9:00-19:00, Fri 11:00-19:00, Sat & Day before religious holiday 9:00-18:30, Sun & Religious holiday 12:00-18:30 / September Mon-Thurs 9:00-19:00, Fri 11:00-19:00, Sat & Day before religious holiday 9:00-17:30, Sun & Religious holiday 12:00-17:30 / * Religious holiday : January 1st, 6th, August 15th, November 1st, December 8th, 25th, Easter (April-2019.4.21, 2020.4.21) / Last entry 45 minutes before the closure
Admission Fee : Adults 7.5 euros / 11-18 years old 5 euros / Under 11 years old free
Another famous restaurant for hand-made pasta. It is located close to tourist attractions such as the Duomo. From the outside, you can see them making pasta themselves. The restaurant atmosphere is luxurious and elegant.
The most popular dish is a truffle pasta. Grana Padano cheese and truffle are added generously. When you order this dish, they bring a huge cheese to the table and melt it on the plate. Then, they put the ingredients such as olive oil and pasta into the cheese and mix them all. And they put the truffle on it. The mixed flavor of cheese and truffles makes it a fascinating dish. They will offer you a unique experience not only by its taste buy also by the fun of this performance. Additionally, it is one of the few places in Europe that offers finger foods, welcome drinks, and after-meal drinks, which are rare in Europe.
Address : Via della Scala, 17 R, 50123 Firenze FI
Transportation : 3 minute walk from Santa Maria Cathedral / 8 minute walk from Florence Duomo
Opening hours : Daily 12:00-14:30, 19:00-22:30
The best view spot in Florence where you can enjoy the city at a glance. There is a Michelangelo's imitation statue of David. It is an attractive place both for daytime and nighttime. It is recommended to visit the hill to see the sunset and the night view of the city. It will make you happy just standing and looking down at Florence.
Address : Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI
Transportation : 25 minute walk from Florence Duomo / Take a bus C1 near the Duomo and take off at Diaz stop, then walk 15 minutes / Take a bus 13 near the train station and take off at Il David
A rose garden is just a short walk from Michelangelo Square. It is a small garden and free to enter. It could be also a place to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Florence. In spring and summer, you can see beautiful trees and colorful flowers. A total of 1,200 varieties of plants and over 400 kinds of roses bloom. There are also benches in the garden, where you can sit down and relax calmly.
Address : Viale Giuseppe Poggi, 2, 50125 Firenze FI
Opening hours : Mon-Sat 9:00-17:00 / Sun 10:00-17:00
Words by Youra CHOI
Photographs by Yuna LEE