Discover Florence like a local

Discover Florence like a local

Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is a perfect destination for history and art lovers. The Renaissance legacy is still present in its medieval streets, and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is one of the most photographed in the world.

The beauty and wide offering of things to do in Florence are part of the charm of this Italian gem. It is easy to fall in love with its character and get lost in its cobbled neighborhoods, be amazed in its art galleries, and marvel at the beautiful design of the hanging houses at the Ponte Vecchio.

If you are thinking of planning a getaway, this is your perfect destination. Discover Florence like a local and make the most of your trip! 


Best things to do in Florence

Visiting the Duomo is a touristy thing to do, but it is a must in Florence! When you get to Piazza del Duomo, a magnificent facade decorated with white, green and pink marbles will welcome you; the perfectly symmetrical distribution of its details impresses all visitors. Considered a symbol of Florentine wealth, the cathedral is crowned by a magnificent iconic dome. Make sure to visit their official website to check their schedules. 

After exploring the cathedral, there is no better plan than getting lost in the streets around it. You can head to Piazza della Repubblica, two minutes away from the Duomo, to see what was once the city's Roman Forum.  From here, we recommend heading to Piazza della Signoria. This stunning public square is decorated with sculptures, which makes it a true open-air museum. If you want to explore this area and learn more about its past and secrets, as well as all the must-see sights of Florence, you should check out the Free Walking Tours available here. You can read the reviews to choose the one that fits your interests the best!

One of the best things to do in Florence is crossing the Ponte Vecchio and admiring the views over the Arno river. It is one of the most wonderful spots in the city from which to take some pictures! Not far from here, you can find the Pitti Palace, a Renaissance building that dates back to the 15th century and served as a residence for the Dukes of Tuscany. Now it houses different museums and art galleries that can be visited. 

Need to take a break? Locals head to Piazzale Michelangelo to relax and admire sunsets over the city. Considered one of the best viewpoints in Florence, it offers picture-postcard panoramic views of the city, in which the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore stands out from the rest of the copper rooftops. As it is an outdoor park, you can enjoy a relaxing picnic here. 

Another of the free things to do in Florence like a local is visiting the Mercato Centrale. In this local market you can buy fresh products from the region, such as wines, pasta and cheeses of all kinds. Outside the Central Market is the Mercato di San Lorenzo, which mostly sells leather products. Florentines shop here, so why not join in?

3 Hidden Gems in Florence

Discovering a city like a local requires going to secret places! These are our top three hidden gems in Florence, spots that tourists normally miss and that are adored by intrepid travelers and locals. 

·San Miniato al Monte. This cute little medieval abbey has a beautiful Romanesque facade and charming interiors, but the best thing about it is that it is located on a hilltop. Here you can get stunning views over the city in a relaxed environment, as little to no tourists know about the place. It is a great alternative to Piazzale Michelangelo, especially during the summer holidays when the city is crowded with travelers. 

·Giardino Bardini. These terraced gardens overlook the city, so there is no better place to enjoy nature and the views at the same time! Special events are held here throughout the year, like small concerts or exhibitions. If you are lucky enough to come here in spring, you will admire the blossoming wisteria which impregnates the air with its unique scent during this time of the year.

·Piazza Santo Spirito. A relatively unremarkable cobblestone public square by day, It is later, after local boutiques begin to close up, when Piazza Santo Spirito spot comes to life. Facing onto the square, many bars and restaurants have terraces and patios where locals come to have an after-work drink. It is one of the most beloved night spots in Florence, so make sure to include it to your visit!





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Where to eat in Florence

You can’t leave Florence without trying the traditional local food! Tasting the excellent Florentine dishes for a small price is possible. The historic center is the best area to try typical food, and you can find a wide variety of options. The most common and inexpensive restaurants are the so-called osteria, which have a rustic, tavern-alike atmosphere, or the trattoria, known as traditional family restaurants. Here you can find delicious dishes from the Tuscany region. 

We especially recommend these restaurants: 

Pizzeria Giovanni Santarpia

Address: Via Senese, 155/rosso

This pizzeria offers a delicious menu, with vegan and vegetarian options to choose from. Leave room for dessert: their tiramisu and panna cotta taste like heaven!  

Osteria de’ Cicalini

Address: Via delle Oche, 15/rosso

Considered one of the best restaurants in Florence, locals come here to have traditional food prepared with seasonal ingredients. Typical gastronomy is presented here with a dash of sophistication to bring it to a gourmet status! Try their spaghetti alla chittarra with rabbit and zucchini flowers or their carpaccio with lemongrass. You won’t be disappointed. 

Osteria di Giovanni

Address: Via del Moro, 22. 

The star dish here is the bistecca alla fiorentina, a juicy beef steak that has become one of the most popular dishes of Tuscan cuisine. It is cooked on the grill and is usually served rare or medium-rare.

Osteria Pepò

Address: Via Rosina 4/6.

Pappa al pomodoro is a Florentine classic dish made with Tuscan bread, garlic, basil and olive oil


We hope this guide will help you discover Florence like a local and explore the city from a whole different perspective. 

Visit our website to find the best free tours guided by excellent local guides, as well as budget activities & experiences, in destinations all around the world!

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