Florence is an easy city to fall in love with. The pulse of Italy’s heritage and culture is strong and steady here, it being the birthplace of the Renaissance. From gorgeous architecture to thriving outdoor markets, sprawling vineyards and olive gardens, to historic works of art – there’s an incredible amount of things to Eat, See and Do in Florence.
Here’s my Top Five Things to Do in Florence:
Climb to the top of the Duomo:
Over the vast expanse of terracotta-tiled roofs towers the central Cathedral or Duomo, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore – Florence’s most iconic work of architecture.
Cupola del Brunelleschi – the dome – is the largest one ever built of masonry. Ascending the dome is incredibly difficult, and once you start it you can’t turn back, but the 360° view from the top is worth it.
Take a Wine Tasting tour in the Tuscan Countryside:
To come all the way to the heart of Tuscany and NOT do a Wine Tasting would be a great injustice. I highly recommend booking with a local operator – it may be a touristy thing to do, but it’s also great fun! You’ll get to see more of the beautiful countryside, try some great wine and nibbles, and meet new people.
Plus, you’ll also learn more about how the grapes and olives are grown, cultivated and bottled into wine and olive oil right here on the estates. Tasting it here, in the midst of gorgeous scenery, is unlike anything you’ll taste anywhere else.
Visit Botticelli’s Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Galleries:
Great art can sometimes be overrated (I’m looking at you, Mona Lisa), but Botticelli’s Birth of Venus is certainly not. The painting was also the first work on canvas in Tuscany.
Commissioned by the Medici family back in the day, it’s much bigger in person than you’d think. Heralded for its grace and femininity, looking upon this painting should definitely be on your Bucket List.
Go for a walk in the Boboli Gardens:
Behind Palazzo Pitti, the Boboli Gardens house a vast collection of Roman statues and antiquities. Larger than life, both in design and reality – you’ll feel like Alice in Wonderland just taking a stroll through the wide gravel avenues lined with towering hedges and trees.
The gardens are beautiful, with stunning views of the city, lavish fountains, a man-made island and hidden grottos.
Visit Il Mercato Nuovo at the Fontana del Porcellino:
The ‘New Market’ in Florence is a lively outdoor market, bursting with stalls selling everything from souvenirs, to knockoff designer bags in the softest Florentian leather. Bargaining for goods here is a must, and an experience much more thrilling than the regular old retail shops.
The focal point here is the bronze Fontana del Porcellino – Fountain of the Piglet – where legend says that if you rub the snout of the pig for good luck, it will bring you back to Florence someday.
I only had a few days in Florence, and these were experiences that I’d go back for in a heartbeat. Apart from my top five, there’s also Ponte Vecchio – with its high-end jewellery shops, the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, Piazza della Signoria – with a replica of Michelangelo’s David as well as other important statues, Palazzo Vecchio and the countless other Piazzas – each unique in its own way, and the original statue of David at Galleria dell’Accademia. Remember to check online in advance, for ticketing and timings.
Enjoy the Photo Journal below and follow me on Instagram @blehlovesfood for more photos and anecdotes from my travels!