With roots tied deeply to the Renaissance, Florence, Italy has it all: churches, markets, wine, Italian food … but there is so much more than meets the eye. After you’ve booked your Florence hotel and start the trip planning, (which needs to include spots like the Uffizi Museum and Duomo, for starters), be sure to expand your list. While absolutely breathtaking just to be in the city, there are other, fun and offbeat attractions in this city to create some seriously colorful memories and amazing experiences.
Meet a Street Artist
Art takes on street signs in Florence, thanks to Clet Abraham, who hails from France originally. Known simply as CLET, he’s created removable stickers to adhere to street signs and turns them into art. Wander around town and see what you can find, or simply head straight to his studio, located in San Niccolò, to meet him, check out his street art and even see some of his other work.
Check out Armor
Perched above the city is Stibbert Musuem, which encompasses two villas and features one of the largest collections of historic armor in the world. The ancient wartime uniforms span the globe and are actually set up to depict battles. It’s truly impressive.
Find the Hidden Stairwell
Most likely, a trip to Florence includes the Uffizi (and it very well should). But, what most don’t know is that there is a secret staircase here that delivers you into another world. Be sure to make an appointment to tour the Vasari Corridor, which was built in 1565. Originally a private walkway for the Medicis, today the kilometer-long passage includes a self-portrait collection that dates back to when the walkway was built and takes you through the 20th century. There’s even a wall of mini-portraits painted by Bronzino, and a private view of the Santa Felicità church to take in.
Look at Wax
Want to see life-like figures of disemboweled people? If you do, head to the Museum of La Specola. Created by med students in the 18th and 19th centuries, these anatomical wax models depict some seriously twisted problems, and look incredibly life-like. The museum also has a collection of taxidermied animals which have long since existed on earth.
Get Your Map Fix
If you’re like me and love maps, be sure to include the Medici Hall of Maps on your itinerary. Located in the Palazzo Vecchio, 54 historic maps are on display here from Stefano Bonsignori and more and date back to the 1500s.
Flea Market Love
There are plenty of markets to explore in Florence, including Piazza dei Ciompi. This is a hotbed for antiques and rare flea market finds, perfect for your take-home-treasure. If you’ve got flexibility in your schedule, hit this market the last Sunday of the month when it grows in size and features hundreds of more vendors selling everything from lamps to clothing. Head earlier in the day to avoid the crowds. And, to get your first pick of what’s being sold.
Editor’s Note: This post is a part of the #CityLove Hipmunk campaign.