Florence's Ponte Vecchio at sunset. Photo: copyright Rui Santos
Often described as the world's greatest outdoor museum, the city of Florence in Italy has more precious artworks and national treasures than many entire countries can claim.
Travel in Europe
and Italy can be expensive for many tourists but Florence is a place where you do not always need to pay entry fees to see stunning sites. Book your Flights to Rome
today, and you will be in Florence before you know it. Now, here is a list of 10 free things to do in Florence.
The Pitti Palace is located on the south bank of the Arno River. Having been owned by the powerful Medici family this palace is worth seeing in itself, irrespective of whether you venture inside to the galleries. It costs nothing to take a stroll near to the Boboli gardens of the palace which give spectacular panoramic views of Florence and the surrounding countryside.
While you are close to the river you should take a moment to see the Ponte Vecchio. The name Ponte Vecchio means Old Bridge. This was the only bridge in Florence which survived World War II and it connects the old Medici palace with the Uffizi.
The Uffizi is a favourite spot for street performers who do their shows in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. The music and performance art are very entertaining and completely free to watch, although tips are encouraged.
Almost every city in Italy has a wonderful cathedral. Florence is no exception and the Duomo di Firenze is the city symbol. The huge dome was designed by the Renaissance genius Brunelleschi and you can also see a statue of him in the piazza.
The Baptistery, known in Italian as the Battistero of San Giovanni, is one of the most eye-catching buildings in Florence. It has impressive bronze doors and a fascinating design which covers the octagonal structure.
For open air bliss head to the Piazzale Michelangelo which overlooks Florence from a hill. Away from the traditional tourist sites this is a nice place to relax and see the sunset replaced by the city lights. Access to the Piazzale Michelangelo is via the Rampe di San Niccolo in front of the national library.
In the centre of Florence is a great place to relax in a romantic atmosphere. Neptune's Fountain is located in the main square and this architectural delight is accompanied by the soothing sounds of rushing water.
Presuming that you will need to spend money eventually to eat, San Lorenzo Central Market is a good place to go. You can stock up on local delicacies such as cheese, bread, wine and salami to put together a perfect picnic. The stalls also sell clothes, leather goods and other knickknacks. Wake up early to get the best deals as it closes at midday.
Head to Santa Croce for artisan displays in the craft of leather making. There is also an attractive church here.
You can't head home without souvenirs. For free samples of perfume Dominican monks at the Santa Maria Novella chapel produce all sorts of elixirs and scented lotions.
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