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Visiting Florence for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do


Visiting Florence for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do
Hi, I'm Leah!

Leah Still Joll is a freelance writer based in San Francisco with a specialty in travel writing. Her favorite destinations include Maui, Sayulita, the Northern California coast, Paris, Morocco, Indonesia, and Western Australia.

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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 recommendations to help first-time visitors experience the best of the Tuscan capital.


Take a tour

By bus or Segway, the choice is yours.

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.

Go sightseeing

Book skip-the-line tickets

For time-saving convenience.

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.

Skip the lines in Florence
Hands holding phones snap photos of a painting in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
Skip-the-line tickets can help you avoid the crowds at the Uffizi. Photo: Hunter Bliss Images / Shutterstock

Climb to the top of the Duomo

And enjoy some of the city's best views.

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.

Experience the Duomo

Learn to cook like an Italian

The way nonna used to make it.

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.

Take a cooking class
Person mixes together a bowl of tomatoes during a Tuscan cooking class
Taking a Tuscan cooking class is a must in Florence. Photo: William DeShazer / Viator

Enjoy the view from Piazzale Michelangelo

A great place for Florence photos.

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, too.

Take a postcard-worthy photo

Visit wine country

For a boozy day trip.

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.

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More ways to explore Florence

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Hi, I'm Leah!

Leah Still Joll is a freelance writer based in San Francisco with a specialty in travel writing. Her favorite destinations include Maui, Sayulita, the Northern California coast, Paris, Morocco, Indonesia, and Western Australia.

Keep exploring
See all Florence tours
2,557 tours & tickets
Things to do in Florence
See all things to do in Florence
Florence Neighborhood Guide
6 Must-See Florence Neighborhoods and How to Visit