Florence is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With its twisting and turning streets, the stunning River Arno and incredible architectural attractions like the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio bridge, it’s no wonder tourists flock from all over to experience these breathtaking sights. While the major tourist spots are easy to locate, don’t forget to venture to some of the city’s lesser known locations in order to capture your own unique view of Florentine life.
Jazz Club Firenze
A hidden gem set in the heart of Florence’s winding streets is the city’s Jazz Club. The perfect place to relax after a day of exploring all the sights, the club offers a selection of drinks and food as well as live music sessions you can enjoy until the early hours. What’s more, if you’re looking for a hotel in Florence, Italy, set right in the heart of all the action, look no further than the Hotel Brunelleschi, a luxury boutique hotel just a stone’s throw away from the Jazz Club and a host of other incredible attractions.
The beautiful Bardini Gardens, set on the south bank of the River Arno, is one of the city’s best kept secrets thanks to the overwhelming popularity of the neighbouring Iris and Baboli gardens. The 4 hectare space is usually pretty quiet, especially in the colder months, and is home to fantastic floral displays and statues, as well as panoramic views of the city. A must-see is the wisteria tunnel which lines a baroque staircase leading up to the garden’s coffee shop.
Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella
Situated on the Via Della Scala, the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. It was established by Dominican Friars around 1221 who sought a place to create balms and medicines for their infirmary. Incredibly, the pharmacy is still operating to this day. It’s a great place to pick up a host of souvenirs and gifts from cosmetics and fragrances, to herbal elixirs, liqueurs and traditional Florentine foods.
The River Arno
While you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the famous Arno River from one of the many Florentine bridges, you may also want to consider travelling up it’s banks to one of the city’s quieter spots. If you fancy a relaxing afternoon away from the bustle of the city centre then why not rent a bike and explore the river yourself? There are plenty of sights to see in all directions. However, one of the best things to do is grab some traditional Florentine delicacies and head west to the Parco delle Cascine. Here you’ll find 208 acres of grassy fields to enjoy some peace and quiet or explore.
Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory
Set on the outskirts of Florence amid the hilly area of Arcetri, the Astrophysical Observatory is one of the city’s most intriguing historical sites. Once home to Galileo Galilei — who famously spent the last few years of his life in the Arcetri Villa under house arrest — the Observatory is a fantastic place to spend a morning surrounded by science and culture. It’s home to the Department of Astronomy of the University of Florence, who carry out various research projects and hold courses on the site, so visitors can expect to see students hard at work. You can also take a guided tour to see Galileo’s residence while you’re there.