Florence is truly a magical city. Having been the nucleus of the Renaissance, the art, architecture, and culture of Florence rival any city on the globe. Florence continues to be a hot spot as it is consistently in the top 3 most popular study abroad destinations for college students while still driving hordes of tourists looking to do more than study. Many often mention how expensive Italy is and how it will put quite a dent in your while to take a trip there. We are here to tell you the opposite.
For Americans, this summer is THE time to travel to Florence. The USD and EUR are virtually at a 1:1 exchange rate for the first time we can remember, making a trip to Italy more affordable than it has been in decades. To top this off, we are here to provide you a list of 10 things to do in Florence for €10 or less!
1. Climb the Duomo – €10
The Duomo is the face and center of Florence, as every cathedral built in the Gothic Era was intended to be. Many visit Florence, take picture in front of it, sit on the steps, and venture inside to light a candle to a patron saint but don’t realize that you can actually climb to the top of the Duomo (the copula) and get one of the most spectacular views the city has to offer. For only €10 you can climb to the top! Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as it is quite a hike. This is a great way to burn off those pizza and pasta calories though! Another note – The corridor is also quite narrow, so be polite and have good climbing etiquette.
2. Baptistery of San Giovanni – €10
We wanted to make sure to put the Duomo and the Baptistery right next to each other for two reasons. 1, they are literally right next to each other in Florence and 2, if you purchase a €10 OPA pass, you gain entrance to both the Duomo and the Baptistery. You’ll be able to venture into the baptistery and also climb up to the copula for just €10!
3. Piazzale Michelangelo – Free!
Speaking of spectacular views of the city….
Piazzale Michelango is somewhat of a vantage point on the south side of the city, across the River Arno and up in the hills of Florence. Here you will find a replica statue of David, vendors hoping to sell souvenirs and a hoard of people taking pictures of the view. When we say vantage point, we mean it. You can literally see the entire city and then some from up there!
4. Palazzo Pitti – €8,50
The palace was purchased by the Medici family in 1549 and immediately became the home to the ruling families of the Grand Dutch of Tuscany. Later in the 18th century, Napoleon leveraged the palace as a power base before the palace was originally donated to the Italian people in 1919. The palace boasts a number of rooms, all lavishly decorated as well as a spacious front courtyard. The palace is also host to the Boboli Gardens.
5. Giardini di Boboli – €7
The Boboli Garden is situated at the back of the Pitti Palace, almost as a luxurious back yard. This was the main seat of the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany at Florence. This is a spectacular place for an afternoon stroll and can also serve as the perfect place to sit and read.
6. Galleria dell’Accademia – €10
The Accademia is home to what is arguably the most famous sculpture of all time: The David. Pictures and paintings truly do not do him justice. Take a moment to really examine the beauty of the David. The immaculate detail coupled with the lifelike essence and its massive size can bring you to silence. You’re going to be tempted to take your phone out and take a picture and within seconds you’re going to have a number of security guards yell-whispering at you, “No Foto!” If you’re going to take a picture be quick, be discrete, and be respectful of the art and those around you.
7.Ponte Vecchio – Free
You’d be surprised the value you can get out of a bridge. The Ponte Vecchio is more than just a way to get across the River Arno. Of course, it is a beautiful destination for photographs. Additionally, there are a number of small stores on the bridge that sell jewelry and art. Butchers were the original shop owners on the bridge but were removed because of the smell.
Just off on either side of the bridge there are a number of places that are great to sit, enjoy a bottle of wine, and just relax. Depending on the time of year this also makes for a great sunrise or sunset spot.
8. Giotto’s Campanile – €8
The bell tower climb is another great activity for those of you who want to incorporate a bit of physical activity into your tourist endeavors. The bell tower reaches almost as high as the copula of the Duomo and provides those who reach the top a 360 degree panoramic view of the city that includes an up close look at the Duomo. Same as No. 1 – wear comfortable shoes and be respectful as the path is quite narrow.
9. Palazzo Medici – €7
The Medici Palace was home to the Medici family and is a beautiful piece of architecture. The palace is well known for its stone masonry and offers plenty of beautiful art.
10. Gelato! – €2 to €5
You can’t go to eat-ily and not enjoy gelato at least once. Big stress on “at least” here. When in Italy, gelato is an everyday thing for us. It’s almost a requirement. Gelateria di Medici is what we believe to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of Florence gelato.
If you’re going to be in Florence for a few days, knock out everything on this list and you’ll spend no more than €66. Considering the wealth of knowledge you stand to gain and the amazing experiences you’re sure to have, €66 is nothing! Arrivederci!