This hopelessly romantic city is packed to the brim with beauty, art, culture… and tourists! Break away from the crowds and experience the local side of Florence.
As the lights twinkling from the windows of the Ponte Vecchio reflect onto the Arno river and the towering Duomo catches the last rays of golden light, it’s easy to see why this Renaissance city enchants every traveller lucky enough to wander its storied streets. But the secret is out, and Florence has topped the charts of “must-visit” cities for years. While climbing to the top of Brunelleschi’s red cathedral dome and getting up close and personal with Michelangelo’s David are bucket list items, our Florence photographers have given us the scoop on their favourite off-the-beaten-path activities.
1. Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella
Founded in 1221, this stunning pharmacy is one of the oldest in the world. Not only is the ancient building itself awe-inspiring, with beautiful frescos overhead and stunning 16th-century architectural details, but it also sells award-winning, botanically inspired beauty products that are worth the price tag.
2. Clet Abraham street art
As you lose yourself in the winding Italian streets, a unique kind of art may catch your attention. This French street artist sneakily adorns street signs across the city with graphic stickers, and today, his art can be found all around the world. How many can you find?
3. Tepidarium del Roster
This intricate iron and glass greenhouse was dubbed the “crystal palace” in 1880, and today, it’s still a stunning piece of unique architecture among the stone buildings of Florence. Today, it’s worth a stroll through the well-tended garden and to admire the design.
4. Le Rampe del Poggi
Flytographer Camilla loves to visit this highly-decorative romantic ruin that has been painstakingly restored to its 19th-century glory. Admire the incredible detail throughout this four-tier fountain and wander the quaint streets of the traditional neighborhood of San Niccolò.
5. Villa Bardini
The Bardini Gardens are often overlooked by travellers, so these stunning grounds still feel like an undiscovered secret. From panoramic views of the city to dazzling Wisteria tunnels to Baroque stairwells fit for royalty, allow plenty of time for getting lost among the many pathways.
6. Scuola del Cuoio
This historic and prestigious leather school adjacent to the stunning Santa Croce church is the pinnacle of artisan craftsmanship in the city. Watch these leather masters at work, and should you choose to purchase one of their handmade bags, the hefty price tag is worth it for a tangible piece of Florentine history.
7. Le Murate
This former Florentine prison complex has been transformed into a hip spot for an aperitivo, drinks and often free entertainment. Tucked away down a side street, it’s a hidden spot perfect for mingling with a local crowd.
8. The Bargello National Museum
Why spend hours waiting in line for the Uffizi Gallery or the Accademia Gallery, when this stunning museum is hidden in plain sight in the center of the city? The building alone is worth visiting for its beautiful courtyard, balcony and large halls, but as home to Renaissance sculptures and masterpieces by Donatello, Michelangelo, Cellini and more, it’s a must for art-lovers.
9. Nu Ovo
If you’re tired of the classic Italian breakfast fare – a cappuccino and pastry – and ready for something savory and filling, head to Nu Ovo. This trendy restaurant specializes in egg-based dishes, and it’s Flytographer Sonya’s go-to spot for breakfast.
10. Ditta Artigianale
Coffee isn’t just a drink, it’s a way of life! To caffeinate like a local, don’t take milk in your coffee after 11am, drink your coffee at the bar instead of take-away, and cool down with a caffè freddo if you’re visiting during the summertime. If you want to bring home some of the best Italian coffee around, there’s no better spot than Ditta Artigianale for speciality beans.
Ready to experience Florence like a local? Book a vacation shoot with one of our talented Florence photographers to hear even more local tips and capture the magic of this beautiful city.