things to do in florence
20 Best Free Things to Do in Florence

Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, is a city that beautifully blends history, art, and culture into a captivating experience. While it’s famous for its world-class museums and historic landmarks, there are plenty of incredible things to do in Florence that won’t cost you a single Euro. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the 20 best free things to do in Florence, enabling you to uncover the city’s essence without denting your wallet.

1. Stroll Across the Ponte Vecchio 

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Our Florence adventure begins with the iconic Ponte Vecchio, a picturesque bridge that stretches gracefully over the Arno River. The charm of this medieval stone bridge lies in its myriad of jewelry shops that adorn both sides. Here’s the beauty: you can soak in the view and craftsmanship of these shops without spending a dime. Be sure to capture some postcard-perfect photos of the river and the cityscape.

2. Explore Piazza del Duomo

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Piazza del Duomo, situated at the heart of Florence, is a grand square that houses three magnificent architectural gems – the Florence Cathedral, Giotto’s Campanile, and the Baptistery of St. John. While you might need a ticket to access the interiors of these structures, admiring them from the square is a treat in itself. Revel in the splendor of the grand white, green, and pink marble facades.

3. Admire the Florence Cathedral 

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Within Piazza del Duomo, the Florence Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore, is a testament to the city’s artistic and architectural prowess. The exterior alone is an artistic marvel with its intricate Gothic and Renaissance elements. What’s more, the adjacent Florence Cathedral Garden is often open to the public for free, providing a serene escape from the bustling city.

4. Marvel at Giotto’s Campanile

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Adjacent to the Florence Cathedral stands Giotto’s Campanile, a towering bell tower designed by the renowned architect Giotto di Bondone. It’s a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. While climbing the tower requires a ticket, the intricate designs and statues adorning the exterior are a feast for the eyes. The vibrant colors and elegant design make this a must-see landmark for art and architecture enthusiasts.

5. Visit the Baptistery of St. John

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The Baptistery of St. John, also located in Piazza del Duomo, is an architectural gem with its distinctive octagonal shape and captivating bronze doors, including the famous “Gates of Paradise” by Lorenzo Ghiberti. While you’ll need a ticket to explore the interior, you can admire the exterior, soak in its history, and gaze at the impressive bronze doors from the outside.

6. Wander through Piazza della Signoria

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Piazza della Signoria is another central square in Florence, celebrated for its historical and political significance. Surrounded by impressive statues and grand buildings, this square has been the focal point of Florentine history for centuries. You can explore the open-air sculpture gallery, take pictures with replicas of famous statues, and simply soak up the atmosphere.

7. Admire the Loggia dei Lanzi

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The Loggia dei Lanzi, a covered outdoor gallery in Piazza della Signoria, houses a collection of statues, including the iconic “Perseus with the Head of Medusa” by Benvenuto Cellini and “The Rape of the Sabine Women” by Giambologna. You can stroll through this impressive gallery without spending a penny and appreciate the artistic craftsmanship on display.

8. Snap Photos of Palazzo Vecchio 

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Palazzo Vecchio, also located in Piazza della Signoria, is Florence’s historic town hall. While entry to the interior requires a ticket, you can admire the impressive architecture of the building from the outside. The towering fortress-like structure, adorned with sculptures and frescoes, stands as a symbol of Florence’s civic power and history.

9. Relax in the Boboli Gardens

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The Boboli Gardens, situated behind the Pitti Palace, provide a lush escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. These beautifully landscaped gardens serve as an open-air museum with fountains, sculptures, and stunning views of the city. While there’s an entry fee to visit the gardens, you can still enjoy parts of it without a ticket, including the grand entrance courtyard and some open areas. It’s a tranquil spot for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic.

10. Cross the Ponte Santa Trinita

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Ponte Santa Trinita is another picturesque bridge that spans the Arno River. It offers breathtaking views of the river, the Ponte Vecchio, and the city’s historic architecture. Taking a leisurely walk across this bridge is a lovely way to appreciate Florence’s timeless beauty.

11. Explore the Rose Garden
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The Rose Garden (Giardino delle Rose), situated below Piazzale Michelangelo, is a hidden gem in Florence. It’s a delightful spot filled with a variety of rose species and offers panoramic views of the city. Strolling through the garden, taking in the fragrant blooms, and enjoying the view is a serene and free experience.

12. Gaze at the Basilica of Santa Croce
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The Basilica of Santa Croce is often referred to as the “Temple of the Italian Glories”. It is a magnificent church that houses the tombs of many famous Italians, including Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, and Niccolò Machiavelli. While entry to the chapels and museums within the basilica requires a fee, you can admire the stunning exterior and the grandeur of the church’s façade.

13. Admire the Medici Chapels
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The Medici Chapels, part of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, are the final resting place of the prominent Medici family. While visiting the chapels’ interior requires a ticket, you can explore the exterior of the basilica, including the elegant facade and the Medici coat of arms adorning the walls.

14. Experience the Atmosphere at Mercato Centrale 
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The Mercato Centrale, also known as the Central Market, is a vibrant and bustling food market located in a historic building near the San Lorenzo district. Even if you’re not planning to shop for fresh produce or gourmet ingredients, visiting the market is a sensory delight. You can experience the lively atmosphere, admire the colorful stalls, and perhaps even sample some free food tastings from enthusiastic vendors.

15. Discover the Leather Market
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Florence is renowned for its high-quality leather goods.  You can get a taste of this craftsmanship by exploring the leather market. Located in San Lorenzo Market, this open-air market features stalls filled with leather bags, belts, wallets, and more. While shopping might not be free, window-shopping and observing the artisans at work is a cultural experience in itself.

16. Roam the Oltrarno District
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The Oltrarno District is situated on the other side of the Arno River. It offers a more local and less touristy experience of Florence. Its charming streets are filled with artisan shops, local markets, and a variety of trattorias and cafes. It’s an excellent place to immerse yourself in the daily life of Florentines.

17. Visit the Bargello Museum
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The Bargello Museum is home to an impressive collection of Renaissance sculptures, including works by Michelangelo and Donatello. Unlike the crowded Uffizi, the Bargello Museum often offers a quieter and more intimate setting for art enthusiasts to appreciate its treasures.

18. Admire the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte
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Perched on a hill overlooking Florence, the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte is a Romanesque church that not only boasts stunning views but also offers a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Its beautifully designed interior is a testament to Florentine artistry.

19. Enjoy Street Performances 
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Florence often plays host to street musicians and performers in various piazzas. Take some time to stop and appreciate their talents. You might come across everything from classical violinists to lively street artists who add a touch of local culture to your visit.

20. Take in the Beauty of the City
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One of the most exceptional free activities in Florence is to simply wander through its enchanting streets. Florence is a city best explored on foot. Basically, it rewards the curious traveler with hidden gems and picturesque corners waiting to be discovered. With its well-preserved Renaissance architecture and charming alleys, Florence’s historic center is a treat for the senses.

In conclusion Florence, the “Cradle of the Renaissance,” has an abundance of free attractions and activities that allow you to immerse yourself in its rich culture, history, and art without spending a fortune. From iconic landmarks like the Ponte Vecchio and Florence Cathedral to hidden gems like the Rose Garden and Oltrarno District, this city offers something for every type of traveler. Whether you’re wandering through the bustling markets, gazing at stunning sculptures, or savoring the atmosphere of its historic squares, Florence’s free offerings ensure that this extraordinary city remains accessible to all. So, set out on your adventure and explore the magic of Florence without breaking the bank.


June 3, 2024 at 7:51 pm

Wow, so much things to see!


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