How to Visit Florence as a First Timer
One of Italy’s most popular destinations, the Renaissance city of Florence has so much must-see art and architecture that it can be overwhelming to figure out what to do and how to do it. Here are our tips to help first-time visitors experience the best of the Tuscan capital.
Get Oriented on a Segway or Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Ideal for the first day of your trip, a hop-on hop-off tour provides an easy introduction to the city so you can get the lay of the land before exploring further on your own. If you prefer a guided experience, opt for a Segway tour for the ease of motorized transport and a local insider to tell you about Florence’s top sights.
Book a Skip-the-Line Ticket
The city’s major attractions, such as the Florence Cathedral (Duomo), the Uffizi Gallery, and the Accademia Gallery, draw large crowds and long lines, especially in the high summer season. Book skip-the-line admission ahead of time to the places you want to visit and spend your time sightseeing instead of queuing.
Climb to the Top of the Duomo
A quintessential Florence experience, walking up the 463 steps to the top of Brunelleschi's Dome (Cupola del Brunelleschi) provides a bird’s-eye view of the city from its heart. Not all visitors to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (aka the Duomo) make the long trip up—there is no elevator and it’s not recommended for travelers with certain health issues—but those who do are glad they did.
Enjoy the View from Piazzale Michelangelo
On the south side of the Arno River, just outside the city center, the hillside Piazzale Michelangelo offers a panoramic view of the city’s red rooftops, towers, and dome. It’s a popular site for sunset photo ops.
Learn How to Make Authentic Italian Cuisine
Eating is a major part of any trip to Italy, and you can learn how to make true Italian pasta, pizza, gelato, or other dishes by taking a cooking class. It’s a great way to experience local culture and discover recipes to take home with you.
Visit Wine Country
If you have the time, set aside part of your stay in Florence for a day trip to Chianti, where you can taste wine and other local delights and admire the Tuscan scenery—it’s just as beautiful as you imagine.