5 Things You Must Do in Florence

Michelangelo’s favorite hangout, hit up Florence to bring your art history books to life.

5 Things You Must Do in Florence

A city that’s all about its fine art holdings, people pilgrimage to Florence to refine their artsy palettes. Poking up high from the Florence skyline, everyone’s first stop is usually the world-famous Duomo, where entrance is always free. Once you’ve Duomo-ed, make sure you hit these five spots before leaving Florence.

Statue of David

Statue of David

You know what they say about big hands...? Check out David’s giant grabbers and his marble stones when you visit the Accademia di Belle Arti, where he hangs out. While you’re there, spend time with “The Prisoners”, some of Michelangelo's incomplete works. Although the gallery also contains works by other Renaissance big shots like Paolo Uccello, the biggest draw here is all about David.

OTP Tip: Don’t be fooled by the replica of David standing in the Piazza della Signoria. He may look exactly the same but the real deal is inside the gallery.

Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery

The grandaddy superstar of art museums, cozy up to the masters at the Uffizi where you’ll find the best of da Vinci, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Lippi, Michelangelo and Rembrandt. Every painting you’ve ever discussed in your art history class is here in real life. The gallery itself was built for the Medici family, with every hallway meticulously decorated with the most spectacular Renaissance art and sculptures in the world. Many of the pieces found here come from the family’s personal holdings and both Michelangelo and da Vinci used to hang out here for inspiration. Given Uffizi’s popularity, the wait to enter during peak tourist season (summer) can be up to five hours long.

Piazzo Santo Spirito

Piazzo Santo Spirito

Santo Spirito is a church in the artisan quarter that houses a large collection of Renaissance pieces in its 38 side chapels. If you’re all arted-out, check out the piazzo across the street instead where you can unleash your inner bohemian and drink amongst the locals. On Sundays there’s an antiques market and you can occasionally catch a farmer’s market as well.

Basilica di San Miniato al Monte

Basilica di San Miniato al Monte

Get your God on with a hike above the city to the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte, a church built between the 11th and 13th centuries. As you feel your quads burn upon the ascent, you’ll get aerial views of the cityscape and some of the best photo opps of Florence. Once you make it inside of the church, you’ll be hit in the face with expansive arches, beautiful frescoes, and intricate mosaics. There’s also a very fancy cemetary up there where you can visit the grave of Carlo Collodi, the original creator of Pinocchio, which he wrote in Florence. Bring some antipasti and wine for a cheap picnic outside of the church at sunset or pick up some monk-made booze, honey and tea from its adjacent shop.

Mercato Centrale

Mercato Centrale

A big food market that’s got every gourmet thing you can dream up. The market has countless shapes, sizes and colors of homemade pasta, fresh-baked Italian bread, stockpiles of dried fruit, nuts, cured meats, and spreads. This place has the best selection of incredible olive oil, balsamic vinegars of all tints and tastes, and enough fresh mozzarella to tie your arteries in knots. Once you’re done going googly-eyed over all the delicious offerings, hit up the Nerbone food stand for their acclaimed boiled beef sandwich.

Bonus: Yoga Firenze

If your muffin top overfloweth from too much pizza and pasta, waddle over to Yoga Firenze, one of the best studios in town. For those who don’t know ‘downward dog’ in Italian, several classes are offered in English, and, it’s near the Ponte Vecchio so you can squeeze in some sightseeing afterward.

We’ll admit, this list is just a tease. With such a wealth of art, food, and culture, there are way more than five things to do in Florence and it can be overwhelming to take everything in at once. If all the art gets to be too much, take a stroll along any of the city’s five gorgeous bridges to clear your mind.