If Florence is still sitting atop your bucket list but you have yet to cross it off, a trip to this dream destination may be more achievable than you think. Despite being one of the most famous cities in Italy, there are plenty of wonderful free things to do in Florence. Here are ten of the best activities to enjoy in Tuscany’s beloved capital without having to consult with your wallet.
- 1 Explore Some of the City’s Most Famous Squares
- 2 Marvel at One of the Most Spectacular Skyline Views in the City
- 3 Admire the Beauty of Nature at Giardino Delle Rose
- 4 Take Advantage of a Free Museum Visit
- 5 Take a Sunset Stroll Along the Ponte Vecchio Bridge
- 6 Join a Free Walking Tour
- 7 Tap Into Your Bookish Sensibilities at Oblate Public Library
- 8 Enjoy the Local Talent at a Free Street Performance
- 9 Browse Some of the City’s Many Outdoor Markets
- 10 Rub the Nose of Il Porcino
- 11 Author Bio
Explore Some of the City’s Most Famous Squares
Of all the free things to do in Florence, exploring the stunning squares tops the list. Luckily, Florence is home to many wonderful piazzas that you can visit without spending a dime. Plus, these popular gathering places feature some of the most impressive landmarks and monuments you’ll find. So whether you have just one day in Florence or you’re planning a longer itinerary, square-hopping is obligatory!
No exploration of Florence’s famous squares would be complete without a visit to the Piazza del Duomo, arguably the most iconic of them all. This square is a wonderful place to admire Italian craftsmanship, including the Florence Cathedral and Brunelleschi’s famous Dome, Giotto’s Campanile, the Baptistry of St. John, and more.
Although you’d need to pay to climb to the top of the dome, you can, fortunately, enjoy plenty of free fun with your feet planted on the ground. Plus, you can also enter the Florence Cathedral sans charge.
While it’s hard to beat the renown of the Piazza del Duomo, it’s far from the only beautiful square in Florence. Piazza della Signoria is another stunning example of artistry in the city, featuring everything from the Fountain of Neptune to a replica of David. More of a free outdoor museum than a square in the traditional sense, you can easily lose an hour in this stimulating environment.
In addition, don’t forget to pay a visit to Piazza della Repubblica, just a brief walk from Piazza del Duomo. Featuring a golden carousel, this is also an ideal spot to hit if you’re traveling with children.
Marvel at One of the Most Spectacular Skyline Views in the City
If you thought you had to pay a premium to gain access to the most superior views in Florence, think again. In fact, the crème de la crème – Piazzale Michelangelo – welcomes eager visitors completely free of charge! This gorgeous 19th-century piazza is what Tuscan dreams are made of.
Provided you’re able to make the noble climb up to the top, you’ll be handsomely rewarded with one of the most enviable vantage points in the entire city.
Admire the Beauty of Nature at Giardino Delle Rose
After snapping some incredible skyline photos and descending the steps of Piazzale Michelangelo, head down to Giardino Delle Rose, located just adjacent.
The tranquility and beauty of this public rose garden is worth significantly more than the nonexistent fee to enter! In fact, a leisurely garden stroll here is easily one of the best free things to do in Florence and a great way to escape the typical mid-day crowds.
A May visit is ideal for catching the peak rose bloom, but the garden offers a welcome respite from busy city life in nature’s sanctuary year-round. You can easily lose hours at this beautiful garden by simply wandering the footpaths, admiring the views, and perhaps even catching some artists at work painting the beautiful backdrop.
In addition, you may wish to bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy the peaceful surroundings from the comfort of a park bench or the soft green lawn.
Take Advantage of a Free Museum Visit
It’s no secret that Florence is world-renowned for its impressive art and history. In fact, the city is considered the “capital of arts,” boasting an impressive roster of geniuses, from Michelangelo, to Brunelleschi, to Leonardo da Vinci. One of the best places to witness the many marvels created within the city is by visiting a museum.
Fortunately, Florence sometimes removes the barrier for entry by offering some museum freebies, including special visiting times for a cash-free admission. For instance, state museums such as the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Pitti make themselves free to visitors on the first Sunday of the month. Just be sure to confirm online or call ahead before your visit.
In addition, Uffizi is always free for minors under 18 years of age, EU citizens with a disability along with a family member, members of the International Council of Museums, and journalists with a valid professional identification.
Take a Sunset Stroll Along the Ponte Vecchio Bridge
The Ponte Vecchio is one of the most beautiful landmarks in all of Florence. This famous pedestrian bridge is a perfect place to stroll any time of day. In addition, it’s also one of the best spots to witness the beauty of Florence at night, particularly around sunset. At this time, you can catch golden hour over the Arno River, a totally free experience that’s not to be missed.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer a stroll during the daytime hours, you can browse some of the unique vendors that set up shop along the bridge. Here, you’ll find a treasure trove of everything from jewelry, to art, to interesting trinkets. Keep in mind that the bridge tends to be much more pedestrian-heavy during the daytime, as it’s one of the city’s most popular attractions and thoroughfares.
Join a Free Walking Tour
With so many fascinating sites to observe in this pedestrian-friendly city, you may wish to explore on foot by joining a walking tour. Fortunately, there are numerous free walking tours offered throughout the city. You can select from a variety of tours to meet your unique needs, whether that’s a self-guided tour with audio, a tour covering famous landmarks, or otherwise.
Just keep in mind that although you won’t need to pay upfront, these tours operate according to a tips-based system, so it’s customary to offer a token of your appreciation. It’s generally accepted practice that you should pay whatever you think the tour was worth.
Tap Into Your Bookish Sensibilities at Oblate Public Library
Oblate Public Library is another fun and free place to check out while you’re in the city.
Once a convent, this library offers so much more than reading material. While the first floor is dedicated to three large reading rooms for the bookworms, the second floor is home to a café with beautiful views over the city.
Whether you’d love to curl up with a good book or simply admire the view from the top, you can’t miss a stop at this underrated gem in the heart of the city.
Enjoy the Local Talent at a Free Street Performance
Given the many visionaries to come out of Florence, it’s no surprise that artists tend to flock to this creative-minded city. Street performers are certainly no exception to this, and you’ll likely come across a number of them while strolling the many historic districts.
While you can’t really plan around these spontaneous performances, street performers will often set up shop in the city’s many squares, as that’s where crowds tend to gather. Without a doubt, you’ll want to devote some time to watching these talented artists when you get the opportunity. From painters, to dancers, to jugglers, to singers, you’ll certainly never be bored with all of the free entertainment in a city as lively as Florence.
Browse Some of the City’s Many Outdoor Markets
Florence is known for its many stimulating outdoor markets. In fact, if you can think of an item, there’s probably an outdoor market for it. From fine leather goods to fresh produce, markets are set up all around the city.
Although spending money isn’t the objective when it comes to finding free things to do in Florence, you can easily spend hours wandering through the markets enjoying free samples, people-watching, practicing your photography, and gathering inspiration.
Some of the most popular markets in the city are Mercato Nuovo, Mercato Centrale, San Lorenzo Outdoor Market, and the Florence Antique Market.
Rub the Nose of Il Porcino
Before your trip to Florence comes to an end, you cannot miss your opportunity to rub the nose of Il Porcellino! This little bronze statue of a wild boar sits along the Mercato Nuovo and is an important fixture in the city.
It’s widely believed that rubbing the boar’s nose promises your return trip to Florence. Even if you’re not particularly superstitious, this is a fun (and free) way to end a memorable trip to Tuscany’s capital!
For a relatively small city, there are many fun and free things to do in Florence once you look beyond the surface. Plus, with plenty of fascinating back streets to be discovered off the beaten path, you’ll manage to find numerous free activities – even after completing this list!
So if you’ve been putting off a trip to famous Firenze, this is your sign to book a trip; your wallet will thank you!
The Carry-On Chronicles is a travel blog focused on storybook gems across Europe, the United States, and beyond, with a special focus on the Mediterranean region. Follow along for detailed destination guides, practical advice, and a dose of whimsy!