What To Do In Florence Besides Museums - Strolling Adventures
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What To Do In Florence Besides Museums

Ponte Vecchio view

What To Do In Florence Besides Museums

Many people head to Florence for the famous museums and art galleries but what if you aren’t all that interested? Is Florence worth visiting if you don’t go to museums? We think there is more to the city and have photos to prove it! Here is our list of what to do in Florence besides museums. 

Florence was part of our full two week Italy itinerary.

Self-guided walking tour of Florence

As a city full of history and wonderful architecture, Florence is great for exploring on foot. We think walking is the best way to see a place. Many Florence attractions are within walking distance and we were able to see a number of them while enjoying the charming streets along the way. You can still learn a lot about Florence and view pieces from its history without entering a single museum. This is our favourite of what to do in Florence besides museums. 

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Commonly known as Florence Cathedral, it is the third-largest church in the world. With construction beginning in 1296 and the front exterior not finalised until 1884, the building is an absolute masterpiece. There are so many little details so take your time to look all around. Admission to the cathedral is free, arrive early to avoid long queues. Florence Cathedral exterior

Giotto’s Bell Tower

Located next to Florence Cathedral, Giotto’s Campanile is a beautiful example of 14th-century gothic architecture. Started in 1334 by Giotto, it was finished by other architects and artists. A 414 step climb will take you to the top. If you wish to enter, admission is included in the Grande Museo del Duomo €18. Giotto's Bell Tower

Church and Museum of Orsanmichele

The intricate details on the windows caught my eye as we walked by. This building was once a storehouse that later became a church after a painting of a blessed mother bought worshippers. Orsanmichele

Piazza Della Signoria

A Florence square that is full of history. Here you will find a replica of Michelangelo’s David (the original is in the Galleria dell’Accademia) standing outside Palazzo Vecchio. There is also an open-air gallery of sculptures and The Fountain of Neptune. Piazza della SignoriaFlorence David Statue outside

Piazzale degli Uffizi

Although we didn’t visit The Ufizzi Gallery, a walkway passes by the exterior which features sculptures as part of the building. This walkway leads down to The Arno River. Uffizi exterior

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio means ‘old bridge’ and it is a big part of Florence’s history. The only bridge to cross the Arno River in Florence until 1218. After a flood, it was rebuilt in 1345. Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge not destroyed by Germans in World War II instead, they demolished the medieval buildings either side to block access. The bridge was spared again during a flood 1966 and still stands today. Walk over the bridge to view the shops and then head further along the river to get a view of the bridge itself. Ponte Vecchio view

St Trinity Bridge

This bridge provides a great view over the river towards Ponte Vecchio. It was built between 1567 and 1569 and features statues representing the four seasons. St Trinity Bridge Florence

Pitti Palace

A large palace originally built for the Pitti family in 1457. It was further enlarged after being sold to the Medici’s in 1549. The Pitti Palace now houses various museums and galleries, behind it lies the Boboli Gardens. If aren’t interested in visiting the museums, a single ticket is available for entry to the gardens. Pitti Palace

Piazzale Michelangelo

A hilltop square providing a wonderful view out over Florence. As well as the city view, you will also find a bronze David replica statue, Cafes and restaurants and many street vendors are set up across the square. Piazzale Michelangelo view

San Niccolò Tower

Built in 1324, this tower was once a gate for the city walls. The tower has a walkway to the top for panoramic views of Florence however, it was closed during our visit in October. San Niccolo Tower

Florence National Central Library

I spotted this building from the other side of the Arno River and it is the largest public national library in Italy. Florence National Library

Florence Streets

The best part of walking around is seeing all the little streets along the way. Self walking Florencewhat to do in Florence walking tour

Visit Mercato Centrale Firenze

A place to visit in Florence other than museums and galleries is the central market. A food market selling fresh foods to take home and meals to eat on the spot. The market also houses a cooking school. After wandering around the market looking at all the amazing produce on offer, we purchased some fresh pasta and sauce to cook back at our Airbnb for a great budget dinner that night. 

Enjoy an Aperol Spritz

A great way to enjoy your time in Florence is to head out for an Aperol Spritz. We had walked by a couple of restaurants promoting a spritz happy hour so, went back later in the afternoon to enjoy an Italian cocktail.

Day trip from Florence

Florence makes a great base for exploring other areas. Many beautiful Tuscan towns can be easily reached from Florence. If you want to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it is a simple train ride away, we stopped on our way from Cinque Terre.

We chose to do a day trip from Florence to Siena, an Italian city with medieval buildings. Getting a bus to Siena was easy, we bought return tickets at the bus terminal near Firenze S.M.N Station. We did have some trouble finding the right bus back as they only changed the destination name at the last minute. If in doubt just ask which bus is going to Florence. 

Siena was really busy and they were setting up for a horse race, this was outside of the normal dates of The Palio di Siena. It was hard to get a good look at the medieval streets but we were still able to enter Piazza del Campo and view the Duomo di Siena from the outside. Siena CathedralSiena day trip

Best location to stay in Florence

I think staying near Firenze S.M.N Station is the best option. Not only will you be walking distance from the station but most attractions are also within walking distance of this area. We chose to stay in an Airbnb (this one) and walked to and from the station as well as starting our self-guided walking tour from there. Nearby we also went to a supermarket, got takeaway pizza and washed our clothes at a laundry. 

Are you using Airbnb for the first time? Use our link and get up to $76aud off your first stay!

If you prefer to stay in a hotel, there are a number of options in the area too.


Florence in October

Our stay in Florence was in mid-October and we enjoyed great weather. It was cloudy but not cold, perfect for walking around the city. Crowds at sights were bearable, although we still recommend getting out early as they definitely grew as the day went on. 

How long to stay in Florence

We stayed in Florence for 3 nights and as we weren’t visiting any museums or galleries it was too long. The city is clean and tidy and the buildings are beautiful but after a while, it felt a bit too same-same. You could add in some more day trips though as like I said there are many wonderful towns nearby.

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What to do in Florence besides museums

  • Ellie
    Posted at 20:50h, 01 September Reply

    Woah Florence looks so beautiful! I had no idea there was so much more than the museums! The bell tower looks beautiful, and you can’t go wrong with a nice aperol spritz! definitely one to add to my bucket list


    • Elisha
      Posted at 03:27h, 02 September Reply

      Thanks Ellie, Florence is a really beautiful city. Perfect for strolling.

  • L - Franglais27
    Posted at 21:10h, 01 September Reply

    Interesting post! I haven’t been to Florence as yet but when travelling I like to visit one or two museums only. So, this will certainly be a handy guide for me when I do visit!

    • Elisha
      Posted at 03:29h, 02 September Reply

      Thank you. Lots of history to be seen all around the city.

  • Kimberly Leatherwood
    Posted at 20:48h, 07 September Reply

    Spectacular!! Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing!

    • Elisha
      Posted at 23:02h, 08 September Reply

      Thank you very much.

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