top of page

Get access to our free curated offline mobile guides. Our best kept travel secret, allowing you to navigate offline with directions both in the wilderness and internationally.

Meet J&L


Hey! We are two Michiganders with adventurous souls looking to explore the beauties and wonders of this spectacular world. Our mission is to provide you with budget-friendly itineraries that inspire and encourage you to get outside, eat delicious foods, and enjoy high-quality brews. Ultimately, there are three key ingredients to any amazing trip: 

Noms, Brews, & Views.

Top of Site
Top of Blog

Popular Articles

Copy of PackOf100PinterestTemplates_edited.jpg
Copy of PackOf100PinterestTemplates_edited.jpg
  • Writer's pictureJ&L

Florence Italy: Top Things to See, Eat, and Drink

Updated: Jun 12

Fun Fact

It took roughly 140 years to complete Florence's towering cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, which is the third-largest cathedral in the world.

Table of Contents









What you should not miss in Florence

1. Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence holds so many important pieces of artwork, if time only allows for one museum stop, this is the one you want to visit. The Uffizi Gallery holds breathtaking paintings by Botticello, Raphael, Michelangelo, & Leonardo Da Vinci. The halls are lined with awe inspiring sculptures by Bandinelli and Caravaggio that are hard to walk by without stopping to admire. Uffizi translates to "offices" as this building originally was used as administrative offices for Cosimo I de’ Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany.

PassePartout - 5 Days: Get the €38 combo ticket (€8 savings) which includes entrance to the Uffizi, Pitti Palace, & Boboli Gardens. Book ahead of your visit

When booking the PassePartout - 5 Days Combo Ticket, you are given 5 days to visit the Uffizi Gallery, Pitti Palace, & Boboli Gardens. However, you must book a time slot and enter the Uffizi Gallery first in order to get your tickets for the remaining attractions. We recommend booking your time slot at the Uffizi Gallery right when it opens to have minimal crowds at the beginning of your visit.

Estimated time in the Uffizi: 2-3 hours


2. Pitti Palace

As the residence of the Medici family in the 1500's, the Pitti Palace became a symbol of the Medici family's power over Tuscany. It became a public museum in the 18th century and today, holds over 140 rooms of art galleries filled with artwork by renowned renaissance and baroque artists such as Raphael and Titian.

Admission: €16 separately or included in PassePartout Combo ticket

3. Boboli Gardens

Eleonora di Toledo, the wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici, gained ownership of the Pitti Palace in the mid-14th century. She then bought the land on Boboli hill directly behind the palace, turning roughly 11 acres of land into an expansive garden.

Admission: €10 separately or included in PassePartout Combo ticket

A hidden gem within the Boboli Gardens is the Museo delle Porcellane. This beautiful garden overlooks rolling hills of gorgeous Tuscany and is lined with blossoming roses in the spring.

Estimated Time in Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens: 2-3 Hours

shop our travel resources

4. Accademia Gallery

The Accademia Gallery is an art museum most popularly known for Michelangelo's sculpture of David. Plan to spend roughly an hour in the Accademia Gallery and book a time slot in advance of your trip in order to skip the long lines to enter.

Admission: €12 + €4 with online reservation. Book ahead of your visit to avoid long lines!


5. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo)

One of the largest cathedrals in the world, Santa Maria del Fiore towers over the entire city of Florence at over 26 stories high. Referenced as the Duomo, or house of God, there are five main attractions within Piazza del Duomo; Brunelleschi's Dome, Crypt of Santa Reparata, Giotto's Bell Tower, the Baptistery of San GIovanni, and the Museum of the Opera del Duomo. As one of the most popular attractions of Florence, book your Duomo tickets at least a month in advance of your trip.

Admission: €30 for Brunelleschi Combo Pass valid for three days, including admission to Brunelleschi's Dome, Baptistery of San Giovanni, Giotto's bell tower, Crypt of Santa Reparata & the museum. Book ahead of your visit to avoid long lines!

5. Brunelleschi's Dome

This dome is an absolute masterpiece painted by Brunelleschi and is the symbol of Florence and the Renaissance. Built in the 13th century, Brunelleschi's Dome is the largest masonry vault in the world and was consecrated by Pope Eugene IV. When purchasing the Brunelleschi Combo Pass, the only attraction requiring reservation is Brunelleschi's Dome. We recommend booking your time slot at 9AM, right when it opens, in order to avoid larger crowds at the top. After the Dome, you are free to enter the remaining four monuments whenever you choose within the next three days.

Admission: Included in the €30 Brunelleschi Combo Pass valid for three days

After admiring a close-up view of Brunelleschi's masterpiece, the climb continues to the very top of the dome. The top of the dome allows you to see the most expansive panoramic views of Florence and Tuscany at over 26 stories high. These were the most incredible views we experienced during our time in Florence.

Warning: you must climb 463 stairs through a narrow, dark passage when visiting Brunelleschi's dome. If you have a fear of heights or get claustrophobic easily, you may consider skipping this attraction.


6. Giotto's Bell Tower

Representing Florentine Gothic architecture from the 14th century, Giotto's Bell Tower allows you to experience views of the city at roughly 20 stories high. With 414 stairs to the top, the climb is a bit less narrow than Brunelleschi's Dome and allows for stops at viewpoints along the way. From the top, you have a spectacular view of the towering Brunelleschi's Dome and the surrounding Florentine neighborhoods.

Admission: Included in the €30 Brunelleschi Combo Pass or the €20 Giotto Combo Pass (excludes Brunelleschi's Dome) valid for three days

7. Baptistery of San Giovanni

The Baptistery of San Giovanni is one of the oldest churches in Florence and is a beautiful structure combining faith, history, and art. The most eye-catching piece of the Baptistery is the tiled mosaics adorning the ceiling in eight segments. These mosaics depict scenes with a large figure of Christ the judge, the Last Judgment, stories of St. John the Baptist (patron saint of Florence), of Joseph, and the book of Genesis.

Admission: Included in the €30 Brunelleschi Combo Pass, the €20 Giotto Combo Pass (excludes Brunelleschi's Dome), or the €15 Ghiberti Combo Pass (excludes Brunelleschi's Dome and Giotto's Bell Tower) valid for three days


8. Museum of the Opera del Duomo

With 28 rooms divided over three floors, the Museum of the Opera del Duomo holds many important works of art and religious relics. This museum preserves the original masterpieces that once adorned the Duomo, such as works from Michelangelo, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, and many others.

Admission: Included in the €30 Brunelleschi Combo Pass, the €20 Giotto Combo Pass (excludes Brunelleschi's Dome), or the €15 Ghiberti Combo Pass (excludes Brunelleschi's Dome and Giotto's Bell Tower) valid for three days


9. Basilica of Santa Croce

Basilica of Santa Croce is a breathtaking 13th century church that houses the tombs of many famous people such as Michelangelo and Galileo. This basilica is the largest Franciscan church in the world and features sixteen chapels decorated with frescoes by Giotto. Legend has it that Santa Croce was founded by Saint Francis himself.

Admission: €8 / Adult

10. Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo is a hidden gem located south of the river Arno. Recommended by a local, this piazza offers breathtaking views of Florence and is surrounded by gardens. As with most incredible viewpoints, it requires a bit of elevation gain to reach. Once at Piazzale Michelangelo, we recommend also heading further up the hill to San Miniato Church, a Renaissance chapel and sacristy depicting scenes of St. Benedict and home to the first Christian cemetery in Florence.

J&L Tip: Piazzale Michelangelo is the perfect place to grab a bottle of wine and picnic while watching the sunset


11. Giardino delle Rose

Coming to Florence in the spring? You will be greeted with hundreds of blooming flowers in Florence's rose gardens. Giardino delle Rose is located just west of Piazza Michelangelo and offers spectacular views of the city. Admission is free and the experience at sunset is priceless! With additional time, you may also consider visiting the nearby Giardino Bardini, an equally breathtaking garden overlooking the city.

J&L Tip: Come to Giardino delle Rose around sunset for live music!

12. Ponte Vecchio Bridge

Ponte Vecchio is a medieval stone pedestrian bridge over the Arno river. It is said that the passageway above the Ponte Vecchio Bridge was created for the Medici family to travel from their home (Pitti Palace) to work (Uffizi) and back. Today, the bridge is a peaceful setting when arriving in the early morning and turns into a bustling street home to shops and artisans throughout the day.


13. Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria is home to the Palazzo Vecchio, a fortified palace, once the home of the Medici family. The square is also famous for the replica of Michelangelo's David placed outside the Palazzo Vecchio (its original location).

Palazzo Vecchio Admission: Michelozzo Courtyard is free. Museum: €16.50; Tower Climb: €12.50

14. Cinque Terre Day Trip

Cinque Terre is a National Park, UNESCO Heritage Site, and home to five villages with brightly colored pastel houses. We chose to book a Day Trip from Florence because it provided the smoothest logistics in Cinque Terre while including history of the villages, food advice, and a knowledgeable local guide. We were given "free time" in each city to explore on our own as much or as little as we preferred. It was the perfect way to experience Cinque Terre in just one day and we strongly recommend booking this tour for your adventure as well!

Also Read: Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence

More time in Florence?

Below are our top choices for day trips and tours to visit the beautiful Tuscan countryside:


What food is famous in Florence?

1. All'Antico Vinaio

Mouthwatering, made-to-order sandwiches with ingredients so fresh you watch them slice and prepare them right in front of your eyes. Due to it's renowned status, All'Antico Vinaio typically draws a line out the door and down the street at most hours of the day. However, the line moves quickly and you will not be disappointed with any of their delicious options.

J&L Tip: Eat a late-lunch or early-dinner around 3PM for the shortest lines and a minimal wait time.


2. Pasta Fresca at Mercato Centrale

Pasta Fresca makes home-made pasta that is made-to-order. Located in Mercato Centrale, a popular large indoor market, Pasta Fresca specializes in €5-6 pasta dishes to enjoy on-the-go.

J&L Recommended: Try their Pesto alla Genovese or Radicchio and Walnut Ravioli

3. Gustapizza

Located in Piazza Santo Spirito, we frequented Gustapizza for mouthwatering Italian wood-fired pizza. Available for both dine-in and take-away, we chose take-away in order to avoid the long dine-in lines and enjoy our pizza with a brew & view!

Also Read: 8 Essential Tips for Traveling Europe


4. Gelateria dei Neri

One of our favorite gelato shops in Italy due to the number of unique flavors offered and perfect creamy consistency. With so many unique options such as coconut, pistachio, and salted caramel, there is something for everyone. This local shop is a must-try gelateria in Florence. The taste is something you simply must experience for yourself!

Also Read: 8 Steps to Plan a Budget Trip

5. Gelateria La Carraia

Gelateria La Carraia is a family-owned gelato shop with creative flavors at an affordable price. Quick service, friendly staff, and the perfect location to enjoy your gelato alongside the beautiful Arno River. With so many gelato options in Florence, make sure you prioritize a visit to Gelateria La Carraia!


Does Italy have craft beer?

1. Archea Brewery

While Italy is certainly known more for its wine, there are a few places a craft beer lover should add to their list in Florence. Archea Brewery has a variety of craft beer options from within Italy including one beer brewed in house.

Also Read: Best Craft Breweries of Michigan


2. Diorama

Another place to try craft brews in Florence is Diorama. With both Italian and international craft beers, there is always something unique to try. The beers on tap are rotated and there is always something Italian available.

Try the Tuscan craft beer La Fonte. If you like it, you may consider stopping by Brasseria Della Fonte in the quaint village of Pienza on a road trip from Florence to Rome!

3. Bierra Moretti

Bierra Moretti is an Italian brewing company that originated in Udine, Italy. With limited breweries in Italy, one of the best (and most affordable) ways to sample local beers is by grabbing a three pack at a local grocery store (Coop). With no open container law in Italy, we found ourselves purchasing some local beverages and heading to a nearby park for a J&L classic: brews with a view.

Planning Your Trip

What are the travel guidelines for visiting Italy during COVID-19?

With travel restrictions constantly changing, we recommend you visit the US Embassy's website for the most up-to-date information.

How many days in enough to see Florence?

In order to complete our suggested activities, we recommend spending at least two full days in Florence. If you want to add a day trip to the Tuscan countryside or Cinque Terre, you may consider adding 1-2 more days.

J&L Recommended: 2-4 Full Days


What month is the best to visit Italy?

To take advantage of the pleasant weather while experiencing a minimal amount of tourists, the best time to visit Florence is on the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-November.

J&L Recommended: April - May & September - November

shop our travel resources

Where is the best area to stay in Florence?

We lodged south of the Arno River in Piazza Santo Spirito in order to escape the hustle and bustle north of the River and experience Florence surrounded by locals. We found this to be an ideal location as it was within close walking distance to all of our desired Florence attractions. We never had to use public transportation within the city. Stephano's house was our favorite place we stayed throughout our trip to Italy! The balcony had spectacular rooftop views and the location was ideal.

J&L Recommended Location: Stefano's House in Santo Spirito

Use the search box below to select your travel dates and find a great deal on hotels in Florence.

Getting Around Florence

What is the best way to get around in Florence?

It is very easy to walk everywhere in Florence. If you prefer not to walk, you can either hire a taxi or take the Autoline Tuscane buses. You can purchase a one-way bus ticket on board for €2.50 or via the Tabnet App for €1.80.

J&L Recommended: Use Rome2Rio or Google Maps to select your route in real-time.


How do you get to Florence from the Airport?

Take the GEST T2 tram from Aeroporto to Unita. It runs every 10 minutes and takes about 20 minutes to get to Florence city center. You can buy a single ticket for €1.50 at an automatic ticket machine located at the tram stops or via the Tabnet App for €1.80.

J&L Recommended: Use Rome2Rio to select your route in real-time.

Looking for affordable International Data?

Want to avoid roaming charges and $10/day international data fees? Airalo allows you to download an eSIM to your phone and activate while in Italy for a very affordable price. We bought 3 GB of data which was valid for 30 days from activation for only $7. It worked great throughout our entire trip and was very easy to install. Airalo offers eSIMs all around the world and we can validate that it works with ease in multiple European countries.

Get $3 off with code NBV8668 by signing up here!

Maps of Florence

Happy Adventuring!


Travel Planning Resources

Below are the resources we use to plan all of our trips, find great deals, and pack our bags with affordable gear. We received a small kickback whenever you purchase something through a link on our site. But rest assured, there is no additional cost to you. In fact, in some cases you even get a greater discount for shopping through NBV! A Win, Win!