The vibrant heart of the dreamy Tuscan region, Florence is one of Italy’s greatest gems. Whether you are there for Renaissance art and architecture, a romantic escape, or to dig into the legendary foodie delights, this place is going to steal your heart.
If you’re looking to get away from the tourist traps and dig into classic Italian culture, this is the city for you.
What to Expect in Florence
Language: Italian is the official language and it’s good to know a few basics like per favore (please) and grazie (thanks). You’ll find basic English is spoken in tourist areas but don’t expect fluency from everyone you run into.
Currency: Like much of Europe, Italy uses euros. Check with your bank before you go to see how conversion in foreign ATMs works and if there’s a charge for using your debit card. In most cases, you’ll find it’s a better rate than old fashion currency exchange offices.
Credit Cards and Banks: The majority of places accept credit and debit cards. Do keep cash on hand though for the occasional small business that is cash-only or has a credit card minimum. Unless you’re planning to be out of the city, you’re never far from an ATM so avoid carrying wads of cash.
Climate: From June to August, the weather will be hot and humid. You can expect steamy afternoons to get up into the 90s, and many places don’t have AC so you’ll be feeling it. Meanwhile, in the winter, you’ll find frosty nights down into the 30s occasionally.
Best Time to Visit: Spring and fall are absolutely gorgeous in Italy. The city is full of life and endless sunshine. Read more about The Best Time to Travel to Italy.
Safety: While Florence is one of the safest cities in the world, do be aware of the possibility of pickpocketing and petty theft.
Getting Around in Florence
On Foot: Florence is a highly walkable city. You can walk across the center of the city in fewer than 30 minutes, and it’s your best option for getting around.
Driving: Trust me, you don’t want to rent a car here. Getting behind the wheel will leave you lost in a maze of narrow winding streets.
Buses: The ATAF bus system is easy and efficient. Check out the full details online or just hop on the bus that Google Maps recommends. You can buy tickets at selected stations, almost any convenience store, or by using contactless payment on the bus (check out the full info on their site).
Taxis: Meters start at 3 euros and are even more during the evening and on Sundays, so it can be a pricey option for short trips. Uber is no longer available here, but you’ll be able to grab a taxi on virtually any street.
Where to Stay in Florence
Florence is a magical, quaint city with serious Old World charm! I’d recommend staying central so you can easily walk around to the key sites, and enjoy the historical center of the city. It’s such a walkable city!
Here are the top hotels in Florence for all budgets!
This chic five-star hotel is in the heart of Florence, and ticks all the boxes. It’s just a few minutes walk to the Duomo, Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, and other gems!
Oozing 19th-century opulence, this place is everything you’ve ever dreamt of in an urban, Tuscan villa. I’d book it just for the stunning pool views!
Everything you’d expect from the Four Seasons, along with that Italian Renaissance allure, this is a seriously luxurious hotel! The hotel also has an on-site restaurant, Il Palagio, which uses local produce to create the most authentic, Tuscan dishes. There is also a seasonal Al Fresco pizzeria!
The best-rated hotel in Florence on TripAdvisor, this hotel never ceases to impress. You’ll find deals starting from under 120 euros for a cozy room in one of the city’s best areas.
Near the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazza Signoria, this place has a central location, without breaking the bank. It’s so lovely to be able to walk right outside your hotel and be in the heart of it all!
Hotel Milù has the perfect location in the heart of Florence’s historical center and offers beautiful views from the rooftop terrace. It is only a few minutes from the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio. On top of stunning views, this 14th-century artsy boutique hotel has five-star customer service.
If you’re looking for more of a budget and Tuscan countryside experience, this property has it all. Back in the 13th century, this place was a monastery—and it’s just a quick 20-minute drive from the center of Florence! It has true Old World charm and offers great deals on private rooms as well as dorm beds.
Where to Eat in Florence
I don’t think I really need to talk up Italian food… get ready to have the most amazing pasta, pizzas, and authentic Tuscan dishes while in Florence. Don’t be shy—try it all! And, of course, be sure to grab a gelato (or two!) while exploring for the day. Before your trip, be sure to check out my The Ultimate Guide to Eating Like a Local in Italy.
Here are the best restaurants in Florence, and my personal favorites!
Il Bufalo TripponeItalian, Deli
It’s all about fresh and local here. Sample the Tuscan cheese, cold cuts, and, of course, wine.
You can’t come to Tuscany without trying at least one pizza, and this is most definitely the place to do.
All’ Antico VinaioItalian, Deli
These sandwiches are on a whole other level. Trust me, you’ll be dreaming of the focaccia bread for years to come.
SENZ'ALTRO BistrotItalian, Pizza
The imaginative chefs will introduce you to your new fave Italian dish.
Fattoria Rossi FirenzeItalian, Mediterranean, Wine Bar
From the beautiful ambiance to the impressive wine menu to the farm-to-table dishes, this place is a must. It’s perfect for a casual, romantic meal!
Le Cappelle MediceeItalian
Famous for its homemade pasta and Florentine steak, this spot is a crowd-pleaser.
La GiostraItalian, Mediterranean, Tuscan
Come for the white truffles and prosecco, stay for the dreamy vibe.
Bottega ConvivialeItalian, Pizza
Locals love to argue about the best pizza in town and this place is definitely reaching for the gold.
Il BarrettoItalian, Mediterranean
This swanky, veg-friendly spot was made for romantic date nights.
What to Do in Florence
Walking along the stunning river Arno, and soaking in a warm Italian night, is an event all on its own. But there are so many activities to take part in while traveling in Florence! Discovering the fascinating history and strolling the world-class museums is a huge draw, along with sampling the world-famous Tuscan wines. You will also be blown away by the foodie and restaurant scene, so I recommend booking a food tour or cooking class if you have time.
I’ve listed my favorite things below and compiled more hidden gems in Florence here. Here are the top activities to do in Florence!
At the gateway of Tuscany’s wine country, you’ll find amazing chianti, along with unforgettable Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano vintages.
Italian food is far more than just pasta and pizza. In fact, each region has its own one-of-a-kind specialties that you’ll rarely see elsewhere.
In Florence, we’re talking Bistecca alla Fiorentina (steak), Lampredotto (sandwich), Papardelle al Cinghiale (pasta w/ boar), Tagliatelle Funghi Porcini e Tartufo (pasta with local truffles), Crostini Antipasto Toscano (a bread and spread starter), Pane Toscano (bread), and so much more. Go with a local to taste the best of the best.
This gorgeous 16th-century building in Piazza della Signoria is home to the most impressive collection of Renaissance art on the planet.
There’s one common ingredient that you’ll find in the best local dishes: truffles! Wander the forest with a local four-legged expert, track down your own hidden treasures, and learn the trick to make them taste incredible.
I’ve always found local recipes make the very best souvenirs. (I did a pizza-making class in Rome and it was a blast!)
An absolutely essential stop on any trip to Florence.
At the top of my to-do list in every Italian city is to go to as many parlors as possible to personally track down the very best gelato in town.
Another perfect souvenir, this art mecca is a dream locale for tapping into your local artist.
From this 19th-century piazza, you will get a breathtaking view of the city. Come for sunset, and bring your own picnic or grab some wine and snacks at one of the local shops.
This Gothic church is one of the most iconic sites of the site. Bring your camera and give yourself plenty of time to explore and dig into the history.
To make the most out of your time, I’d highly recommend joining a Take Walks tour! Find the one that speaks to you! I’ve been on tours with Take Walks all around the world and am always so intrigued by what they have to offer—plus it’s a great way to see the city in a whole new light!
This medieval bridge, now adorned with love locks, is the only bridge to World War II and actually the very oldest stone bridge in all of Europe. It’s become an icon of this city and it’s a must-see for any visitor.
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