From the magnificent Duomo to the Rose Garden: here’s what to see in Florence for free and where to eat (well!) in the city for little money.

As we know, the city of Florence is a treasure trove of artistic and architectural heritage of immense value. Best of all, most of them are accessible even to travelers on a budget: besides the attractions that must be paid for, the cradle of the Renaissance is like a great open-air museum that reveals its beauty in its streets, in churches, and in unexpected corners. You must just know where to look! That’s why we decided to draft a practical guide that explains what to see in Florence for free (and where to stop to eat for at low cost). Let’s go!

First stop of a free tour in Florence: the Duomo

Let’s start from the Duomo: there’s no entry charge to the magnificent Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the most iconic building in Florence; you can also rent an audio guide for €2.50. Inside, you can admire priceless works such as the magnificent frescoes of the “Last Judgment” by Vasari, the clock with the heads of the prophets, the windows by Ghiberti and numerous paintings.

Outside, you will be amazed at the green, white and pink marble façade, the Baptistery and Giotto’s Bell Tower. Surmounting a column, you can also see an original sculpted bull’s head that has a very particular story behind it – we had previously mentioned it in our guide of strange places and legends to see in Florence, remember?

Enjoying Florence at no charge The Loggia dei Lanzi

Next to the Palazzo degli Uffizi, the Loggia della Signoria, also known as the Loggia dei Lanzi, is a masterpiece of medieval architecture: a space where public ceremonies were originally held, now housing Roman-era statues and some 16th-century masterpieces, such as Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus and Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women.

Cosa vedere a Firenze gratisLoggia dei Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria

What to see in Florence on a free-of-charge day trip: the basilicas

To get your fill of beauty and history, simply enter one of the city’s many churches. For example, besides being located in one of the best vantage points in Florence, San Miniato al Monte is one of the finest examples of Florentine Romanesque architecture, but the Basilica of Santissima Annunziata and the Basilica of  Santo Spirito are also interesting and rich in treasures.

The British Cemetery in Florence

The solemn and silent atmosphere that you experience at the Cimitero degli Inglesi in Piazzale Donatello is remarkable: an imposing monumental cemetery set among cypress trees and avenues, where more than 1,400 illustrious personalities rest, including painters, sculptors, poets, and philosophers of 16 different nationalities (so not only British of course).

Cosa vedere a Firenze gratis - cimitero degli inglesi credits Luca Bardazzi via Flickr

© Luca Bardazzi via Flickr

What to see for free in Florence: the Rose Garden

A must if you are a flower lover is the Rose Garden, in Oltrarno: over a hectare of land that houses more than 250 species of roses, bronze and plaster sculptures, and also a very distinctive Japanese style oasis.

Florence, where to eat for little money

In Florence, all national museums, normally for a fee, are free on the first Sunday of the month and on special occasions, for example on 8 March for all women. There are, however, museums that are always freely accessible: among these, the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, a small exhibition of the art of medicinal herbs, and the Cenacolo di Andrea del Sarto, annexed to the church of San Salvi.

Florence, where to eat for little money

Florence is also the capital of good food. If you prefer to avoid one of the many local restaurants and trattorias, you can also eat excellent quality food outdoors: street food offers you amazing tasty treats for just a few euros. Don’t miss the legendary Florentine schiacciata and lampredotto (a sandwich made with offal), which you can buy from kiosks on many streets or at the Mercato Centrale, which by the way, is also one of the best places to shop for handicrafts in Florence.

dove mangiare la fiorentina a firenze da mario

© Trattoria da Mario

To Florence with Italo

Rail travel is ideal for a low-cost trip: take advantage of Italo‘s great train deals to Florence and you get to town quickly and conveniently.  Santa Maria Novella station itself is already a place full of interesting things to discover, including frescoes and movie quotes… All strictly free, of course!