One of the wonders of Florence, Italy is that for such a small city it is filled with so many truly incredible things to see and experience. Located in the Tuscany region of Central Italy, Florence has been a place of importance since the Renaissance, where it was a central hub for art and culture. These days, Florence remains one of the greatest places to see seminal works of art, is an epicenter for fashion throughout the world, and is an incredible place to explore the culinary scene and laid back culture of Italy.

Of all the works of art able to be viewed during a trip to Florence, the most popular is unquestionably Michelangelo’s David. This iconic statue, which stands 14 feet high, can be viewed at the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze as part of a large collective. A visit to see The David just scapes the surface of what you are able to do on a trip to Florence though.

Here are four recommendations for some of the most magical things to do in this city that are a little bit more off the beaten path.

The Bardini Museum and Gardens

Located across the street from each other, this garden and villa were both once owned by Stefano Bardini, an 19th century painter and art dealer who had a passion for works from the Renaissance. After his death, the villa was transformed into a museum, where visitors can now view his collection of paintings, sculpture, ceramics, furniture, and more. The gardens were simultaneously restored, and now allow visitors to explore acres of stunning natural beauty.

Piazza Santo Spirito

Those looking for an authentic taste of what it means to be a Florentine should spend at least one evening in Piazza Santo Spirito. This local’s haunt comes alive each night as the cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs located along it fill up. It is also a wonderful place to visit during the day, when you will be able to find artisanal vendors. Of particular interest is an antique market that is held here on the 2nd Sunday of every month.

The Brancacci Chapel

The Brancacci Chapel is comparable to the Sistine Chapel in almost every way, minus the crowds. This work of art was built during the early part of the Renaissance and features paintings by the lesser known painter Masaccio, who was nonetheless comparable to DaVinci and Michelangelo. In fact, Masaccio is considered the first great painter of the Renaissance, making him an influence to these other, more famous, painters. Brancacci Chapel is therefore a place where you can experience firsthand the onset of this period of revolutionary art.

The Monastery of San Marco

This monastery turned museum offers another chance for visitors to experience the early Renaissance firsthand. This building was built and decorated in 1443 by the renowned architect Michelozzo and painted with frescos by Fra Angelico. He created a unique fresco for each monk’s cell that was designed to inspire that particular inhabitant. Over the years this monastery has been meticulously preserved and now it offers a true glimpse into the past, making it a wondrous place to visit even for those not interested in Renaissance art.

If you are ready to plan your dream trip to Italy, let me help you design the perfect trip! Reach out to me any time so that we can get the planning started.

Contact Kira

Kira GartnerKira Gartner is the owner of Blue Sky Destinations, a boutique travel agency specializing in river cruises, luxury expedition cruises and customized European vacations. For years she has helped curious travelers plan vacations that allow them to unwind, reconnect, and immerse themselves fully in a destination. Reach out to her for a free consultation - and let her start designing your dream vacation!