Florence is one of the most beautiful Italian cities to visit and one amazing place to spend a long weekend away. That being said, the cost of a trip to Florence (as with any city) can mount up. Thankfully, there’s a huge amount of the best free places to visit in Florence during your trip.
Honestly, Florence is jam-packed full with gorgeous sights, beautiful buildings and views that are just too good to miss.
It’s the kind of city where there is just so much to do!
Just make sure to make ample time for gelato. 🍦
After all, no trip to Florence is complete without devouring your weight in it. Now, all the gelato will inevitably bite into your budget, but hopefully, these free places to visit in Florence will leave your bank balance a little happier and your travels go that bit further.
With that in mind, take a look below at some of the best free places to visit in Florence. Some are piazzas, some are the best spots for sunset and some are the beautiful historical buildings that line the street.
Hopefully, I can introduce a good few free spots you should experience in Florence. 🇮🇹
1.) Wander through Piazza del Duomo
Home to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza del Duomo is one of the best free places to visit in Florence that you just can’t miss. Probably one of the most iconic buildings and piazzas in the city, it houses a huge range of little cafes, the Duomo itself and the Museum of Opera.
Now, although you’ll need to pay a fee to enter to some of the viewpoints here, you can actually access the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazza del Duomo totally for free.
Once inside you will be treated to an array of statues as well as amazing marble work and intricately carved columns.
2.) See the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo
Okay, so Piazzale Michelangelo is one of my very favourite and best free places to visit in Florence around sunset. It’s the kinda spot that sometimes gets overlooked (if you want to stay completely near Duomo itself).
That being said, you should take the 30-minute walk to this incredible viewpoint, which offers views all across the city. Honestly, this is the place to come if you want to take in some of the best panoramic views of Florence.
If you’re planning to visit around sunset, arrive a little earlier and enjoy the best viewpoint. It’s a gorgeous way to finish of a day exploring.
3.) Find San Miniato al Monte
Dating from the 11th century, this gorgeous church is known for its colourful frescoes as well as its crypt if you are brave enough to venture into the depths.
Perched right next to Piazzale Michelangelo, it’s easy to actually visit both at the same time.
Once inside, take a wander around the beautiful building, see the stunning marble naive and watch the sun rays beam through the church.
It’s a gorgeous place.
Just make sure to visit in daylight, too. It can get quite dark inside and the lighting isn’t the strongest here.
4.) Explore Piazza Della Signoria
Probably, the most famous piazza in all of Florence, Piazza Della Signoria is also something of an outdoor art museum and the sculptures here are not to be missed. Best of all, it’s totally free for you to wander around, explore and see at your leisure.
Once you’re here, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the replica of Michelangelo’s David, see Medici lions and find Hercules and Cacus. All of which are nearly 500 years old.
5.) Enjoy San Lorenzo Market
If you want to see some of the best of the local produce in Florence then make your way to San Lorenzo Market. It’s one of the best free places to visit in Florence that’ll give you a good little taste of Florentine life.
Once you’re here, take a peruse around the winding streets and see the gorgeous little shops.
Now, I know this does go against the (free) grain, but I’d definitely recommend stopping here for a relaxing espresso or Tuscan wine, the food stalls are just incredible and it’s a really good place for an inexpensive but local bite to eat.
6.) See Ponte Vecchio
Let’s be honest, Ponte Vecchio is probably one of the most well-known bridges in Europe. Not only is it a stunning piece of history, but it’s still one you can use to this day.
Built way back in the 12th century, Ponte Vecchio has some stunning views over the Arno River and some gorgeous houses and stalls to see. That being said, once you’re on the bridge, there are literally loads of ways to part with your hard-earned cash…, especially with the jewellery stores.
For a great view of Ponte Vecchio, head along the banks of the River Arno and see it from a distance. It’s stunning.
7.) Visit Piazza Santa Croce
Located in the Santa Croce neighbourhood, Piazza Santa Croce is a hive of local activity and you can also take in the views of the gorgeous basilica at the same time.
Once you’re here, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the statue of Dante Alighieri and stop off for coffee in one of the local traders’ stalls. Oh, also head inside Palazzo Cocchi-Serristori and the totally stunning Palazzo dell’Antella (which are great).
Throughout the year, there’s also a range of leather merchants that sell local goods and crafts, too. Just remember to haggle if you’re buying a bigger purchase.
8.) Gorge at La Fierucolina
Usually held on the third Sunday of every month, La Fierucolina Market is a great place to visit if you want to see an authentic side of the city. That being said, if you intend to buy some of the organic and local produce, you will need to dig into your pockets.
Alternatively, if that’s not your thing, head across the River Arno and wander the river route around the historic centre itself.
9.) Head inside Strozzi Palace
One of the best things about Strozzi Palace is that it offers totally free entry to its Exhibition of Contemporary Art several nights a week. So make sure to plan your visit in advance. It’s well worth visiting, especially if you’re in the centre itself.
Check the local listings to see the latest dates, especially for free entry.
10.) Explore Bardini Garden
Bardini Garden is a little gem in Florence and something that the majority of the visitors to the city fail to see. It’s a proper undiscovered gem in the city and has some gorgeous views across Florence itself.
For me, it’s easily up there as one of the best free places to visit in Florence. Just make sure to visit here on the first Sunday of every month, this is when the gardens open for free entry.
11.) See Mercato Delle Pulci
This well-loved flea market is totally free and you can spend a great afternoon browsing all the brick-a-brack that the sellers have to offer.
Now, obviously, you will need to take a little money if you want to buy something but that’s not a necessity. Take a stroll, view all the antiques on display and spot rare coins.
It really is a fun and unique place to visit in Florence. Also, for a great place to stay in Florence, check into the Montebello Splendid Hotel that’s near Santa Maria Novella Basilica.
12.) Find Mercato Nuovo
Okay, so Mercato Nuovo is one of the best free places to visit in Florence if you want to make sure you return.
Yes, there’s a heap of gorgeous little stalls and plenty of places to buy a trinket (or two). But, make sure you visit the statue of the bull that stands proudly here. It’s said that if you want good luck (and a chance to return to Florence) you’ve gotta give it a big rub.
True or not, you’ve got nothing to lose (well, maybe a little dignity but what the heck).