Ah, Florence: a renaissance city, figuratively and literally, filled with only-in-Florence sights, sounds and smells. You can walk through town multiple times within one day, exploring its endless alleys and nooks, all of which offer adventure and beauty. The city, of course, features the world’s best gelato and some of mankind’s greatest artworks.
If you’re yearning for an artist’s view of Florence, start with a cafe breakfast of coffee and a pastry, then venture out to see Michelangelo's David at the Galleria dell’Accademia, along with hundreds of other pieces of prized art. David is surrounded by several other Michelangelo masterpieces, including Saint Matthew and Four Slaves, and the museum is also home to incredible paintings by Ghirlandaio and Bronzino. Make sure to visit the exhibition of Florentine Gothic paintings. The Accademia is always packed, so be sure to make reservations ahead of time to avoid the lines.
After that, walk closer to the center of the city, near Piazza del Duomo, and enjoy a true Italian lunch at Trattoria San Lorenzo. Start with prosciutto e melone, a staple appetizer. After you’ve gotten your fruit and ham fix, finish the meal with a generous plate of lasagna and a glass of sparkling water.
The Santa Maria del Fiore, commonly know as The Duomo, lies just a few blocks aways for the trattoria. The entire city surrounds it, and the beautiful marble panels, massive windows and meticulously crafted paintings on the exterior are phenomenal. You can go up to the top of the church and view the city, but be prepared for extended waits.
After walking around The Duomo at least ten times, venture to the other side of Florence and behold the masterpiece of Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. One of Florence’s most underrated landmarks, it holds several fascinating chapels. Patrons can spend the entire day here for less than 10 euros, making it one of the more affordable sightseeing options. The gothic exterior is nothing short of exquisite, and you can usually find some impressive street performers showing off near the steps. Be aware, though; they do expect some sort of compensation for the show.
After visiting Santa Maria Novella, walk to the Boboli Gardens, a park that houses sculptures from the 16th through 18th centuries. The sculptures are only a part of the experience here, as the garden temples, grottos, and nympheums are also stunning. The garden, which offers unforgettable views of the city, is relaxing and secluded, so take advantage of the peace and serenity.
Because you’re in Italy, and pizza and pasta in one day are a must, grab a slice of cheese from one of the numerous restaurants lining the streets before your final stop at the Ponte Vecchio bridge, one of the most recognized images of Florence, and with good reason. Arching over the Arno River, the bridge lies in the center of the city, near museums, shops and famous restaurants, and offers an enchanting view of this majestic town.