The Top 14 Free Things To Do In Florence
Everyone loves to save money, especially on vacation. So finding free things to do in Florence is a major win! There are quite a few free things to do from the San Lorenzo Market to the Santa Maria del Fiore. From the historic center to the outskirts of the River Arno, Florence is a nice place to visit.
When you visit Florence, it is great to know which are the free attractions and when certain places have free entry. Take in the natural beauty of the Italian city of Florence as you see what the local life is like exploring the alleys and plazas.
Be sure to take a walk through the Mercato Nuovo to get a look at the "Fountain of the Piglet," which is actually a wild boar statue. For good luck, touch his nose and place a coin in his mouth. The Piazza Santa Croce is also free and has one of the greatest art collections in Italy as week as the Pazzi Chapel.
Florence, Italy is an amazing place with beautiful buildings full of art and spectacular views. There are many wonderful neighborhoods in Florence, and the city gives you a view of what Florentine life must have been like compared to the city of Florence today. With artworks like the Last Supper, Michelangelo's David, and the Fountain of Neptune, be prepared to be amazed.
Almost all of the churches are free and have some of the best art in Florence. One of these, the Orsanmichele Church on dell'Arte della Lana is a little gem filled with beauty. Drop off your bags at a luggage storage site in Florence before you explore though. You cannot bring them with you. And don't let bags weigh you down!
The Palazzo Vecchio was one of the first communes in the 13th century and was an important defensive position for the magistrates. Arnolfo di Cambio, who also built the Santa Croce Church and Duomo, also took part in this building.
The Basilica di Santa Trinita also features the Virgin Mary chapel and works by Andrea del Castagno and Andrea del Sarto. You will also see Renaissance art and chambers, a Medieval fortress, and Roman ruins dating back to the 1st century.
Piazza del Duomo
The Piazza del Duomo at the Santa Maria del Fiore is the most popular spot in Italy. Being such a famous attraction, you may be surprised that there is no charge to be there. Although you may have to spend a few euros to see some of the Duomo monuments, the plaza is free to explore.
As home to the Duomo Complex including the Duomo Museum, Giotto's Bell Tower, and the Florence Cathedral, you will most likely have to book your tickets in advance or hire a tour guide who can get you in without standing in the lines.
Piazza della Signoria
There are many things to see at Piazza della Signoria like the Fountain of Neptune from 1565, the Palazzo Vecchio, and the Palazzo Uguccioni. Piazza della Signoria is completely free to visit and you can get some selfies with Michelangelo's David, one of the two copies in Florence.
Between the plaza and Piazzale degli Uffizi, the Loggia dei Lanzi has a collection of statues made between 110 and 1599. Among those in the Loggia dei Lanzi include a fight between Hercules and Nessus, the Medici Lions from 1598, and the Ulpia Marciana from 110.
Santa Maria Novella
Right in the middle of Florence, Santa Maria Novella is a bustling area of the city where you can find several plazas, grand hotels, and even a few museums. One of these, the Old Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, dates back to the 1200s and is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world.
Other landmarks include the Stibbert Museum, Fort Basso, the Strozzi Palace, and the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. Be sure to see the art inside the church and if you don't mind spending a few bucks, check out the Accademia Gallery, home of the Last Supper and Michelangelo's original David.
San Lorenzo Market
The San Lorenzo Market is free but you may find yourself spending money on some of the fantastic items for sale in the food stalls of fresh produce and other items. It is a great place to find souvenirs too. This free market starts at the Via Nazionale and goes all the way to the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
Since it is a flea market, you will always find unique items from jewelry to house linens. While Florence, Italy has many markets all over the city, the San Lorenzo Market is the most well-known and is open from 9 AM to 7 PM Tuesday through Saturday.
Parco delle Cascine
Are you looking for something to do with your energetic kids? The largest park in Florence, Italy, also known as le Cascine Park, has 395 acres of green pastures, scenic views, and several gardens to enjoy. You can get to Parco delle Cascine through Piazza Vittorio Veneto, which also has free entry. The rose garden along the Arno River by the Piazzale Michelangelo also hosts contemporary art exhibits free of charge.
Planned and devised for the Medici Family in 1563, this historic park used to be their hunting and farming estate. The park was closed to the public until the early 1800s when the Grand Duchess changed it to a public park. On Tuesdays, you can even shop there at the marketplace.
We guarantee you have never seen a bridge like this before. The original pedestrian bridge was built over the Arno River in 1218 but it was rebuilt after it was damaged in a flood in 1345. It is more than just a covered arched bridge. In fact, inside the bridge on both sides, there are shops that sell jewelry, crafts, and other items.
The Ponte Vecchio is a double-decker bridge with shops on top of each other. The top level connects the Uffizzi, Pitti, and other palaces and the lower one is mainly for shops. You can also see musicians and artists performing on and around Ponte Vecchio and there is always something going on.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site features an interesting history, stellar gardens, and stunning architecture as well as an amazing view of the city skyline. Nestled on the outskirts of Florence, this spot gets you away from all the hustle and bustle all for no charge.
The collection of 39 homes and two gardens were built as early as the 1400s. Each one was home to one of the Medici family, which is why they are named the Medici villas. Boboli Gardens is one of the properties and is one of the 12 spots on the UNESCO world heritage site list.
Be sure to see Michelangelo's David at the center of Piazzale Michelangelo while you are in Florence. Although the original statue is kept at the Galleria dell'Accademia art museum (Accademia Gallery), this one is totally free anytime you want.
Piazzale Michelangelo is a fantastic spot to people watch or to get the most stunning views of the sun setting in Florence or watch the sun's rays beaming inside the church. The plaza is not as old as the others, designed in 1869 by Giuseppe Poggi sandwiched between two very special (and free) gardens.
San Miniato al Monte
It is worth it to learn about the legend of San Miniato (Minas the Armenian Prince) dating back to 259 AD. Although it does not end well for the prince, this church in Florence was the final resting place for the Christian after being beheaded by Emperor Decius.
The church was built in 1018 and with its marble floor and Medieval frescoes, you will want to head inside this church. Better than any of the art museums in Florence, the San Miniato is one of the more artistic in the city. And since it is always free to enter, you can go anytime.
Convent of Sant'Apollonia
One of the only places in the world where you can see a true masterpiece, the Saint Apollonia Convent and Church boasts the original Last Supper (del Castagno). This famous fresco was done by Andrea del Castagno in 1450 and can be seen covering the entire wall in the dining room.
But that is not all there is to see here. A bit higher up, you can find three other paintings done by Castagno, the Crucifixion, Entombment, and Resurrection. Besides these artworks, you can also visit several other rooms with works from Raffaello da Montelupo, Paolo Schiavo, and Neri di Bicci.
Inspired by the Palazzo Medici, the Strozzi Palace is a very symmetrical building, giving it a solid but glamorous look unlike most of the Renaissance architecture in the city of Florence. Although it was left unfinished in 1504, it was eventually completed.
The stunning palace itself is a work of art and is worth it just to see from the outside. However, you should head inside where you can see the interior courtyard with a stunning arched stone facade. The palace is free to enter on Thursdays from 6 PM to 10 PM.
Totally free on the first Sunday of every month from October through March, the Uffizi Gallery is a must-see. What began as an office building (Uffizi means offices in Italian) for the Medici Family in 1560 has turned into the location of some of the most famous artworks.
For example, the "Self Portrait as a Young Man," done by Rembrandt in 1628, "Flora," done in 1515 by Titian, and "The Annunciation" by da Vinci in 1472 are all displayed here. Located on the banks of the Arno River, the Uffizi Gallery is ranked as the 25th most visited art museum in the world.
Across the river from the Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace is also free on the first Sunday of the month, including the famous Boboli Gardens. The Renaissance building was constructed in 1458 and was originally the home of Luca Pitti before being bought by the Medici family.
The palace was also used by Napoleon in the 1700s before being donated to the people in 1919 by King Emmanuel III. The main gallery, the Palatine Gallery, has more than 500 pieces with works by Rubens, Raphael, and Titian. Be sure to see the Boboli Gardens behind the palace.
Free Things in Florence
The state museums of Florence, Italy are free on the first Sunday of the month from October through March so try to take advantage of that. Others have their own special free days. But some places are always free including Florence's largest park, the Piazza della Repubblica, and Giardino Delle Rose, the Rose Garden of the city of Florence.
Another free thing to do is to see the wooden crucifix done by Michelangelo in Santo Spirito. You may want to spring the small fee for some of the more important sites but why not keep your travel budget low with all the free things you can find in Florence.