We know it's almost impossible to condense the things to do in Florence in a list of 10! You would need at least a couple of days to fully enjoy the city, visit museums and neighbourhoods and get the taste and vibe of the city.
But in case you only have a short time to spend in Florence, here is a 1-day itinerary with a list of the 10 unmissable, intense, unique and Florentine-like things to do.
Any trip to Florence must include a visit to the Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the western world. It contains paintings that belong to the XVI-XIX centuries and some Italian Renaissance masterpieces by artists such as Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.
Reservation is not compulsory, but definitely highly recommended.
This beautiful square, dominated by the imposing Palazzo Vecchio and surrounded by wonderful buildings, has a series of remarkable statues. In addition to the replica of Michelangelo's David, at the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio, and the Nettuno fountain, here you can visit for free the Loggia dei Lanzi, a unique example of an open-air sculpture gallery, home of the Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini, the Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, and many other artworks.
In the square there are also a large number of restaurants and bars, for a stop surrounded by the beauty and history of Florence.
Make time to visit San Lorenzo Central Market, the largest and oldest one in the centre of Florence. Given its location, today it is more popular with tourists than Florentines, but it’s still worth a visit for its history, architecture, picturesque stalls and picturesque stalls selling local products and traditional dishes.
The "real" market is on the ground floor (open until 2pm), while the first floor now hosts a modern food court with stalls dedicated to different Italian and international specialties (open until midnight).
For a more "local vibe", head to the Sant'Ambrogio area where the homonymous market is located (open until 2pm).
Since you're already at the market, this is the right time and the right place to have lunch with the most Florentine street food of all: panino con lampredotto! Lampredotto is part of the cow’s stomach (it might sound strange, but it is delicious), cooked in a broth containing herbs and tomatoes, and used to fill a panino. It's sold at stalls (trippai) around the city and, of course, here in the Central Market.
Climbing the massive Brunelleschi's Dome, at the top of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore, is one of the most breathtaking experiences you can have in Florence: from up there the whole city is at your feet and the view is just incredible.
But beware, this is quite a challenging activity!
After climbing the Duomo, you definitely deserve a prize: a snack or a drink at the Caffetteria delle Oblate, with view on the Dome you've just conquered. The cafeteria is on the roof of one of the public libraries of Florence: the Biblioteca delle Oblate. It is a popular place for students during the day and a cool place for everyone during the aperitivo hours and in the evening.
It's time to go and see one of Florence’s landmarks and certainly the most photographed bridge in the city: the iconic Ponte Vecchio. It was built at the narrowest part of the Arno and it’s distinguished as being the only remaining bridge to have houses and shops on it. In part this is because there is something important on top of those: the Vasari Corridor. This secret passageway, built by Vasari for Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici in 1565, links Palazzo Vecchio to the Pitti Palace. In 1593, the jewelry stores that tourists so love were brought here on command of Ferdinando de' Medici who thought that the previous tenants – butchers – smelled too bad.
Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge spared bombing during the German retreat of August 1944.
The view from Piazzale Michelangelo is justly famous and has been reproduced on countless postcards and snapshots over the years.
It can be reached from viale Galileo, viale Michelangiolo or from Piazza Poggi, climbing the famous stairs known as the Rampe del Poggi. In the middle of the piazza there is a monument made up of bronze copies of some of Michelangelo’s works: the four allegories from the Medici chapel in San Lorenzo and the famous David, with his gaze directed towards the hills on the other side of the city.
Coming down from Piazzale Michelangelo you can go and discover the Oltrarno, the district on this side of the river, one of the more “intimate” areas of Florence, one that almost feels like a small town.
It is an area of history and art heritage, monuments and museums, churches, palaces and parks - Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, Piazza Santo Spirito - but also an area full of artisan workshops where mosaic-makers, wood carvers, gilders and goldsmiths carry on century-old traditions.
Given that it's dinner time already, know that the Oltrarno cherishes a great number of cozy restaurants, like the ones in and around Piazza della Passera.
Perhaps the square in Florence that more than any other is loved by locals and tourists alike. Santo Spirito still feels like a "true" neighbourhood meeting point and the atmosphere here is absolutely different from other popular spots of the city.
Its good coffee places and cool bars also make it a great place to end this intense day in Florence!