We are in love with the rich, decadent, glorious life lived in Italy, and Florence is overflowing with exactly that. If Florence is in you travel plans, we’re sure you’ll want to enjoy plenty of the popular sights — but may we also recommend venturing further into the lesser-known hidden gems of the city? If exploring local life appeals to you, here are five tips that will help you find the best things to do in Florence — all crafted by our local on-the-ground experts!
1. Visit the Santo Spirito Markets
Open seven days a week from 8am to 2pm, the Santo Spirito Markets are a must-visit in Florence. From Monday to Saturday you will find growers and local wares available, and on Sundays the theme rotates from week to week, changing from organic markets where you can find food products, like local olive oil, pecorino cheese, and artisan beer and wine from bio-dynamic farms, to vintage markets with eclectic furniture and clothing. While you’re in the main square here, stop in to the Basilica di Santo Spirito to view the Crucifix sculptures by Michelangelo from 1493.
2. Be awed at Brancacci Chapel
This is the closest thing you’ll get to the Vatican in Florence. Brancacci Chapel is known as “the Sistine Chapel of the Early Renaissance” for its beautiful fresco by Massaccio and Masolino, created back in the 15th century.
3. Indulge at Gilli
Gilli is the oldest café in Florence, having opened back in 1733. Try their delicious pastries, biscuits, coffee, and chocolate with a cappuccino in the morning, or any of their other coffees any time of the day at the bar with the locals.
4. Take it all in at Giardino Bardini
Apart from the incredible view overlooking Florence’s skyline, up here in the garden on Giardino Bardini you can wander among flowering plants and take in the history of the property — the garden’s origins date back to the 16th century. This is one of the most tranquil spots in Florence, and is perfect for those looking for a romantic stroll with picturesque views.
5. Get your gelato fix
Of course the absolute most important thing to do in Florence (and Italy) is to eat authentic gelato. Pastry chef and general gelato wiz Simone Bonini is the guy to go to in Florence, as he creates incredible sorbets and cream gelato. Each week he surprises us with a cheese sorbet, like parmigiano reggiano or fresh pecorino! Trust us, his creations are well worth trying!
Hungry for more Florence? Take a peek at our Florence tours!