Exploring Florence in the open air
Outdoor urban adventures in the Tuscan capital.
Museums may get most of the glory, but don’t get so caught up in the institutional itinerary that you miss the greatest attraction of all: Florence itself.
Year-round, you can’t go wrong exploring the city outdoors; in the Tuscan capital, the climate is generally mild (and you probably don’t need much convincing when it comes to the treasures that await you). Whether you’re traveling with friends, your “other half”, or your family, the options for savoring Florence from sidewalk to hilltop to waterfront and back again are endless.
Get started on your visit by going on a stroll that will acquaint you with the city’s most famous families down the centuries: in particular, the Medici dynasty, known for their roots as bankers but better known for their essential Renaissance-era role as patrons of the arts, having helped fund the oeuvre of masters like Michelangelo. It’ll help you get a handle on the historic faces and eye-catching building facades that are so vital to understanding the city’s character.
If you and your fellow travelers want to dig a little deeper, start from the top and head toward the bottom. Take an afternoon sightseeing outing with a tour that begins beyond the city center in the charming hilltop village of Fiesole, above Florence, plucked straight from a postcard.
After a laid-back beginning in Fiesole, you’ll back down the hill and through cornerstone sites of Florence’s historic center, like the longtime seat of power in piazza della Signoria, or the exterior of the “Temple of Italian Glories,” Santa Croce. For a break from the fresh air—and an unforgettable experience with some of Florence’s second-to-none artworks—you’ll also get the chance to explore the
One afternoon not going to cut it? Get a look at this similar tour of town must-sees, but spread out over a full day.
You’ll love getting a taste of the local ritual of the passeggiata (leisurely stroll) as you move between the key spaces of the Accademia (home to Michelangelo’s David) and the Uffizi Galleries (home to myriad medieval, Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces). It’s the perfect full-day immersion into Florence’s far-reaching artistic history, and with it being private, you and your companions will feel like you’re getting the royal treatment—you won’t strain to hear your guide and you’ll feel like you’re being pampered rather than herded.
Want to up the exclusivity ante? Take a boat tour through the soul of the city—the Arno river, that is.
Whatever the mood of your trip may be—romantic, family fun, a girls getaway—a boat outing will fit the bill. Try to shoot for a sunset ride if you’re with your partner or go for a midday “booze cruise” with your girlfriends. For a full-family outing you’ll see the city from a different perspective and can challenge the kids to see who can remember the names of all the iconic landmarks you’ll pass, from Ponte Vecchio to the Corsini Palace. Perfect any time of day for any type of group.
Now put on your walking shoes, throw on a scarf and start your outdoor city adventure!