Florence, located in Tuscany, is Italy’s most-toured city. Each year, over 22 million travelers step foot here -- being home to Michelangelo’s David, the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio. Firenze was the cradle of art and learning in the Renaissance and the birthplace of Dante. But, with so many sights to see, it’s easy just to skim the surface – sticking to the postcard places. So, what are some non touristy things to do in Florence, Italy?
When you visit Italy, the top non touristy things to do in Florence include. . .
5. SAVORING OUTDOOR ART
Florence is an art lover’s paradise – filled with over 35 museums! But, you don’t need to enter the Uffizi to enjoy Florence’s masterpieces. Art abounds in the city’s public piazzas and private gardens. Located in front of Palazzo Vecchio, the Piazza della Signoria is an open-air Renaissance square. Original works of art fill the piazza – including the Fountain of Neptune (1563), Cellini’s Perseus (1554) and the Medici Lions (1598). Across the river, you can enjoy a stroll through the gardens of Palazzo Pitti or walk the scenic sculpture gardens at Villa Bardini.
4. CRUISING THE ARNO RIVER BY BOAT
Boat rides are not just for Venice. In the warmer months, visitors to Florence can cruise under Ponte Vecchio in a barchetto – a traditional wooden boat. As the sun sets over this Renaissance gem, travelers will enjoy a cooling glass of prosecco. Our local boat captain will share intrigue and secrets from Florence’s history on this remarkable tour. Can you think of anything more romantic?
3. DISCOVERING MICHELANGELO'S SECRET MASTERPIECES
Michelangelo’s David (1504) has become a symbol of the Italian Renaissance. To see the original, travelers must go to the Accademia Gallery. Few tourists, though, realize that many other Michelangelo masterpieces are found in Florence. The Medici Chapel, designed by Michelangelo, houses marble tombs carved by the artist. Additional works by Michelangelo can be viewed in the Bargello, the Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio, and Casa Buonarroti – a building owned by Michelangelo himself.
2. EATING SOUP, NOT SPAGHETTI
Many Americans think Italy means pizza and pasta. But, Florentines prefer their supper to be soupier. Tuscany, the region where Florence is located, is famed for stews (minestra) and soups (zuppe). Tuscan soups are mainly vegetarian – offering a healthier option after all those rich gelatos. Some must-try soups in Florence include ribollita (vegetable, beans and bread -- shown in photo below), pappa al pomodoro (tomato and bread stew), and farro e fagioli (bean and grain soup).
1. ARTISANS, ARTISANS, ARTISANS
On the calmer side of the Arno, travelers can delight in the craftsmanship of Florence’s handiwork traditions. Accompanied by an expert guide, they’ll go behind-the-scenes at artisan workshops – including marbled paper, gold-leaf art, etched engravings, and hand-formed leather. The artisans here apprentice for years to become masters in their craft. As an added bonus, this quarter – the Oltrarno – brims with Tuscan trattorias and vibrant outdoor cafes.
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