Florence is no doubt one of Italy’s most beautiful places. The capital of the Tuscan region, this city is the birthplace of the Reinassance and boasts stunning works of art and breathtaking architecture. But, after factoring in the cost of a Florence hotel, sipping delicious wine from the region and indulging in some of Italy’s finest foods, the wallet can take a hit. Even with the ever-dropping Euro, Florence can get pricey in terms of admission to museums like the Uffizi Gallery and more.
But, that shouldn’t stop anyone from planning a trip to this magnificent city. In fact, there are plenty of free activities in Florence that can add history, architecture, art and more to a holiday — without breaking the bank. There are plenty of free things to do in Florence.
Check out the Churches
Florence is packed with churches. Perhaps the most famous (ok, the most famous) is the Duomo, also known as Santa Maria del Fiore. Dating back to the late 1200s, this masterpiece is one of the largest churches in the world. Highlights of this magnificent church include a clock which first started keeping time in the 1400s (and still does, today!) as well as frescoes of “The Last Judement” by Giorgio Vasari.
The Duomo offers free entry to its masses every Sunday (7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon and 6 p.m.), as well as free entry daily. If you have some extra cash, check out the dome of the church, the bell tower and the crypt for around $12.
If one church isn’t enough, head to the Abbey San Miniato al Monte. Considered to be one of the highest spots in the city, this 11th century church also offer free entry daily. Masses are free, too. Here, you can explore medieval frescoes, as well as the cemetery where Carlo Collodi, who penned “Pinocchio” is buried, and stunning views of the city below.
Take a Free Walking Tour
For a comprehensive look at Florence, take the free city walking tour. Tours treat guests to anecdotes about the city, landmarks and more. Plus, it is a great way to find spots to return to later. While the tours themselves are free, it is important to note that tips are the way tour guides make their living, so be sure to earmark around 5 euros for your guide.
Hit the Beach
While not on a major body of water, Florence does have its own city beach. Head to the Arno River to escape the heat, chill out and lounge for an afternoon before heading back to town.
Enjoy Contemporary Art
Florence has quite a bustling art scene which extends beyond the typical Renaissance works. Two galleries offer free admission: Biagiotti Art Project, which highlights young and emerging artists, and Galleria Alessando Bagani.
Go for a Wander
This Italian town is packed with markets offering everything from organic produce to leather, jewelry and meat. For the true market experience, check out the Piazza del Mercato Centrale, which is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m Monday through Saturday. If you’re looking for a more offbeat Florence experience, check out the San Lorenzo Flea Market or the Mercato Delle Pulci. Of course, if you shop, you will spend, but there is plenty of wandering to last a few hours without opening that wallet.