Florence

Things to do in Florence

Inspiration comes easily in Florence. A stroll along a cobbled street yields tiny cafes serving delectable pastries. Architecture and artwork that have withstood the test of time are practically around every corner.

If only one stop were on your itinerary it would have to be Galleria delgi Uffizi, one of the top things to do in Florence, but also in all of Italy. As one of the world's leading art museums, the Uffizi displays paintings and sculptures by Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and more.

The city is filled with cathedrals, but the true icon is Il Duomo, which is still regarded by modern architects as a masterpiece. You can climb 463 steps to the top and take in the view, which will likely stay with you for years to come.

Shopaholics are also well served here: Stroll chic Via de'Tornabuoni for big homegrown brands such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, Emilio Pucci, Ferragamo, and more; join in the fray at the San Lorenzo street market; or check out antiques along Via Maggio. Note that most shops are closed on Sundays.

Since its reopening in 2005 following 50 years of neglect, the 10-acre Gardens of the Villa Bardini in the Oltrarno have become a favorite with Florentines seeking a moment’s repose in the heart of the city.

In the center of the city, creative types flock to this pocket-size bar for its fresh-fruit cocktails. Inside, the red leather booths and pool tables are packed, an art show is always up, and hipster sightings are probable: Look for members of hometown band the Killers.

Brancolini Grimaldi Arte Contemporanea, with locations in Rome and Florence, presents a program dedicated exclusively to contemporary photography and video.

Recent renovations at this sprawling Renaissance-Mannerist palazzo have opened up archives, grottoes, and sights that had been closed years.

With his obsessive dedication and talent, Salvatore Ferragamo (1898¬–1960) was the Mozart of handmade shoes.

View the church's frescoes by Perugino, Andrea del Sarto, and Jacopo da Pantormo.

American Carole Biagiotti represents the likes of Italian street painter Ericailcane—known for his whimsical fauna-themed paintings and drawings.

The Uffizi contains the world's most magnificent collection of Renaissance art from the greatest of Old Masters. This relatively small gallery, occupying the sumptuously decorated halls of the ruling Medici dynasty's one-time office complex, can easily take up a full day.

Donated to the state by Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi in 1969, this 144-piece collection contains seminal paintings, sculptures, and ceramics from the medieval and Renaissance periods. Scandalously, since 1998 it has been housed in a (usually) closed section of the Uffizi.

The museum includes the famed monks' cells with frescoes by Fra Angelico.

A gallery-café featuring rising and established names such as 1970's Pop artist Mario Schifano.

Snowy-bearded chef Fabio Picchi announces dishes through his open kitchen window at Teatro del Sale, a restaurant and theater club. At Picchi’s command, patrons queue up for platters of tender boiled meats, or risotto al dente with salty mussels.

Billed as the oldest opera house in Italy, the Teatro della Pergola was built in 1656 as a private theatre for the Grand Dukes of Tuscany.

The museum houses an impressive collection of African and Asian art.

Created in 2006, the FPS has hosted a clutch of exhibitions that have earned international praise; 2010’s Bronzino retrospective—the most comprehensive to date of the Mannerist painter’s work—garnered unprecedented attendance and requests from major American and European museums to host it.