Walk Florence’s historic centre
Image 1 of 9
Many of Florence’s noteworthy buildings and piazzas are located in the historic centre and can be easily visited on foot. For a self-guided tour, start at the Piazza del Duomo and Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (you can’t miss the cathedral’s massive brick dome) then head south. Pass the Museo Casa di Dante – built on the site of poet Dante Alighieri’s house – on your way to the spectacular outdoor sculpture display that is Piazza della Signoria, which features a Neptune fountain. Overlooking the piazza is the 13th-century fortress palace Palazzo Vecchio, which is famous for its tall Gothic belltower. From here, head east on Via dell’Anguillara to Piazza di Santa Croce, where you can have an alfresco lunch while admiring the Basilica di Santa Croce. The entire distance is about one kilometre.
Catch a breathtaking panoramic city view
Image 2 of 9
Climb to the top of Il Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) for a spectacular view of the Old Town. For a full Florentine panorama of Il Duomo and the Tuscan mountains, go to San Miniato al Monte, a basilica at one of the highest points in the city. It’s a scenic 30-minute walk (some of it uphill) from Il Duomo.
Cross the Ponte Vecchio and have a gelato
Image 3 of 9
You can’t visit Florence without setting foot on the Ponte Vecchio, a photogenic medieval bridge that crosses the River Arno and is lined with shops. Reward yourself on the other side at Gelateria Cantina del Gelato (Via de Bardi, 31), where the gelato is made fresh daily with seasonal ingredients.
Visit the Galleria degli Uffizi
Image 4 of 9
Located on Piazza della Signoria, the Galleria degli Uffizi houses a fantastic collection of sculptures and paintings (not just on the walls – be sure to look up at the ornate ceiling frescoes) organised chronologically from the 13th to 18th centuries. This is one of the most popular attractions in Italy so there are long queues, especially on weekends. Skip the line and book in advance.
See the real David at Galleria dell’Accademia
Image 5 of 9
There are many replicas of the statue around the city but Michelangelo’s original David is housed in the Galleria dell’Accademia. The Galleria dell’Accademia is a very popular sight that attracts a crowd, therefore booking ahead is essential. (Photo: Jörg Bittner Unna via Wikimedia Commons.)
Explore the Tuscan countryside
Image 6 of 9
In Tuscany, quaint historic hilltop towns sit alongside lush vineyards against a mountain backdrop of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. And the Tuscan countryside is just a stone’s throw from Florence’s city centre. Book a tour to take in towns such as Siena and Monteriggioni or to visit the Chianti wine region. For something romantic (and active), ride through villages and vineyards on a bike tour with ArtViva.
Lounge by the pool
Image 7 of 9
Summer in Florence can be hot. Cool down at Le Pavoniere pool (Via della Catena 2) inside Cascine Park. It's a gorgeous complex complete with a poolside bar, restaurant and pizzeria, and a pool area for children. Entrance fees apply.
Do aperitivo hour
Image 8 of 9
Aperitivo hour is not an Italian cliché – it’s a daily ritual where locals whet their appetites for dinner with a glass of Prosecco or a Negroni cocktail and some snacks. On a warm summer evening, head to the rooftop bar 360 Three-Sixty at the Grand Hotel Minerva (Piazza Santa Maria Novella, 16). For a traditional-style happy hour with perfect wine, cheese and cured meats, try Panbriaco (Via Faenza, 13), which is not far from Il Duomo.
Tuck into bistecca alla Fiorentina
Image 9 of 9
Move over, Texas – Florence is the T-bone steak capital of the world. Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a massive prime cut of beef often grilled on a wood fire. It’s served rare to medium-rare; that’s the way they do it in Florence and to request otherwise would be considered an insult. Many places in Florence serve a good steak but for something lively and local, order one from the famous Trattoria Marione (Via della Spada, 27).