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First Timer's Guide To Florence, Italy

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Hew Lee Yee

Klook Travel Curator

First-time in: Florence


The capital of the Tuscan region in Italy, Florence boasts a seemingly endless number of Renaissance masterpieces and architecture. Aside from the many historic landmarks, interesting museums, scenic landscapes and lively piazzas, you can also expect to find a myriad of Tuscan cuisine that’ll steal your heart.

If you’ve never been to this wonderful city, here are just a few of the highlights in Florence.

Klook activities in Florence


Uffizi Gallery Guided Tour with Fast Track Entry

  • Visit the oldest and most visited art gallery in the entire world
  • Skip the long lines with our skip-the-queue access
  • See the masterpieces of Renaissance giants: Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Leonardo’s The Annunciation and Michelangelo’s Tondo Doni
  • Get inspired by your guide's commentary and have a better understanding of the art works in front of you

Tour is inclusive of:

  • English-speaking guide
  • Fast track entry ticket to Uffizi Gallery
  • Earphones for bigger groups

Meet-up time: 4:30pm

Meet-up location: Uffizi Gallery, in front of Door #1

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Small Guided Tour with Fast Track Entry to Duomo and the Secret Terraces

  • Admire the panoramic view from the top of Duomo
  • Climb up the secret terrace that most tourists and Florentines have not even visited
  • Get exclusive access to the circular room (only with this tour!) and see the artwork restoration process before your very eyes
  • Enjoy the benefits of the Duomo complex ticket: get access to the Cathedral, Crypt, Baptistery, Giotto's Bell Tower and Brunelleschi's Dome for 48 hours

Tour is inclusive of:

  • Guided tour of Duomo & Terrace + Duomo Complex Tickets
  • Professional guide
  • Guided tour of the Cathedral with skip the line access
  • Exclusive visit to the Duomo Terraces
  • Guided overview and explanation of handcrafted replicas of the original tools used in the construction of the Dome
  • Skip the line and reserved access to Brunelleschi’s Cupola

Meet up time: 2:15pm

Meet up location: Duomo Complex Ticket Office, Piazza di San Giovanni, 7, 50123 Firenze FI

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Bike Tour: Tuscan Hills and Winery Estate

  • Breathe in fresh air on a 28 km round trip bike tour of Florence's beautiful countryside
  • Soak in the sweet Italian sun while away from the crowds and the noise of the city
  • Get panoramic views of Florence and its countryside - its rolling hills, olive groves and wonderful vineyards
  • Take a sip of high-quality wine, and find out why Tuscany is the most famous of all Italian wine regions
  • Be accompanied by a professional and knowledgeable guide

Tour is inclusive of:

  • English speaking guide
  • Roundtrip transportation
  • 24-speed bicycle & helmet
  • Tuscan lunch, 1 bottled water, wine and olive oil tasting

Meet up time: 9:15am

Meet-up location: Via Romana, 43 RED number

Please note that in Florence, there are 2 types of house numbers: red and blue. Red is for commercial activities and blue is for houses. You may find 2 equal numbers in a road that differ only for the color.

To get there, take bus 11 to Romana Station then walk down Via Romana for about 130 meters.

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Florence highlights


Piazza della Signoria

Serving as the main and most famous piazza in Florence is the grand Piazza della Signoria. With a dominating town hall, Palazzo Vecchio, this square is certainly hard to miss! Throughout the year, you can find this bustling square alive with plenty of activities as well as the occasional concerts, events, or fairs.

Surrounding the squares are numerous sculptures and galleries. Perhaps the most eye-catching ones are in Loggia dei Lanzi, a gallery of statues right by the piazza. The square is also a hub of sorts with the adjacent Uffizi Gallery as well as a connection to Palazzo Pitti via the Vasari Corridor.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/ySBmL & https://flic.kr/p/aygxza

Piazza del Duomo

Right at the historic center of Florence is a prominent piazza in the city, Piazza del Duomo. It’s a major hotspot due to the surrounding landmarks around the square, namely the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Giotto's Bell Tower (Campanile), the Cathedral Museum (Museo dell’Opera del Duomo) and more.

Many like to scale the height of the bell towers to witness the stunning view from above. It can be difficult to find your way in the crowd, so it’s worth to join a guided tour with a fast track entry.

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Uffizi Gallery

Easily one of the world’s oldest and most visited gallery is right here in Florence, which is the Uffizi Gallery. It’s home to masterpieces of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaello, Botticelli, Giotti and many more.

With a wide collection of the greatest works produced during the Italian Renaissance, it’s easy to spend hours in there. For an even more immersive experience, a guided tour will take you all the important artworks and give you great insights.

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Mercato Centrale

A feast for all your senses right at the heart of San Lorenzo, the Mercato Centrale is a must-visit spot when you’re in Florence. On the ground floor is a delightful hodgepodge of fresh produce essential to Tuscan cuisine from fruits and vegetables to seafood, cured meats, cheeses and other delicatessen goods.

As you wander to the upper floor, you’ll find a huge food court tempting you all sorts of local favourites like freshly-baked pastries, loaded sandwiches, homemade pasta dishes and more food than your belly can contain! Besides that, surrounding the outside of Mercato Centrale is the San Lorenzo Market where you can find leather, clothing, shoes to souvenirs stalls lining the streets.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/4MenUB

Palazzo Pitti

This larger-than-life 15th century palace is a stone’s throw away from Florence’s iconic medieval bridge, Ponte Vecchio. At the time of construction, the Palazzo Pitti was the largest private residence in Florence.

Also referred to as Pitti Palace, it was at one time the residence for the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. Easily one of the more grandiose buildings in Florence, it’s also home to several monumental museums and galleries.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/awdjTm

Another major draw to the palace is the garden that is at the back of the building, the Boboli Gardens. Loved by locals and tourists alike, this green oasis is home to a number of important sculptures. It’s the perfect place for a nice stroll and to seek refuge from the sun during hot summer days.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/aB1kct

Piazzale Michelangelo

Arguably one of the top lookout points in Florence, Piazzale Michelangelo boasts a fantastic panoramic view over the city either day or night. Although you can get there by a car or bus, most people prefer to venture there by foot.

Getting to the top is a bit of a hike but it’s surely well worth it and the journey to the top is just as wonderful. Just below and to the left of Piazzale Michelangelo, you’ll find the Rose Garden, otherwise known as Giardino delle Rose.

Photo Credit: https://oddviser.com/italy/florence/piazzale-michelangelo

If you can, do make a quick pit stop at the garden where you’ll find over 350 varieties of roses during the right season. From the garden, you’ll also be able to enjoy the magnificent view while being surrounded by the lovely blooms.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/yp73VQ

Piazza Santo Spirito

One of the liveliest parts of Florence, the Piazza Santo Spirito is lined with local restaurants, bottegas, local artisans and more. During evening time, it truly comes alive when the trattoria, cafes and nightclubs open.

The piazza is great for dining al fresco and do some people-watching. You can also find the square filled with people hanging out around the fountain or on the steps of a nearby church. It’s also the go-to spot for events and concerts from time to time.

Photo Credit: https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-monuments/piazza-santo-spirito.html

San Niccolo

On the other side of the Arno river, you will find a charming neighbourhood of San Niccolo. With its prominent towering Tower of San Niccolo, the area is also home to a number of there attractions.

The vibrant Piazza San Niccolò, lively Arno Beach, grand Porta San Miniato, just to name a few, are part of San Niccolo’s charm. If you have the time to spare, walking around and getting lost in the area is a great way to discover some hidden gems.

Photo Credit: https://palazzosanniccolo.it/

Tuscan countryside

If you’ve had enough dose of history and art, the Tuscan region also boasts great landscape with lustrous nature in the countryside. Away from the heart of Florence, you can find peaceful hills, scenic winery estates and even more stunning hillside villas.

Getting to the countryside may not be the easiest and straightforward, but a relaxing day tour can bring you to the best spot, away from the crowd. Sipping wine and relishing in the fresh air - this is the life!

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Cinque Terre

A popular day tour when in Florence is to the Cinque Terre National Park. The breathtaking colourful seaside towns on Cinque Terre will captivate you in an instance. The clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea, vibrant buildings, winding pathways and rustic villas simply look like they’re from a fairytale.

Make sure to pack along your swimsuit because the water by this scenic, centuries-old seaside village is lovely for a swim. Get those cameras ready too because something tells us, your fingers will be very trigger happy!

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Must-try food in Florence


Bistecca alla Fiorentina

As the name suggests, which translates to Florentine Steak, this one is for the meat-lovers! It’s a cut of T-bone weighing anywhere from 1 to 4 kg, that’s fire-grilled over roasted chestnuts. It may have only simple seasonings of salt, pepper and lemon but that’s all it needs!

Also, we heard that it’s rude to request for the chef to cook it to your liking. So it’s best to leave it to the chef to prepare the Bistecca alla Fiorentina the way it’s supposed to.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Lampredotto

A popular street food that you can find at food carts in Florence, this dish seems to have many people divided. It’s typically made with tripe as the filling and paired with a crusty bun dipped in cooking broth or sometimes served separately on a plate. Some variations also come with the addition of spicy red sauce or herbal green sauce.

A dish for the Florentinian common folks during the medieval times, it’s a must-try even if you may be slightly squeamish!

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Gelato

Although you can find gelato at almost every corner in Italy, you can find some of the best ones in Florence itself! This city is home to not only artisanal gelato but also some very unique flavours and flavour combinations.

A tip when looking for good gelato, avoid any vivid, artificially-coloured ones that are piled high up for display. If you can find a place which makes them in small batches, it’s bound to be a winner!

Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/175358979220074448/?lp=true