In central-northern Italy, Florence is the Capital City of the Tuscany region. It is called Florentia by Latinos and Firenze by Italians. Florence is known for its Renaissance art, monuments, and architecture. Every year, it attracts millions of tourists due to its wonderful destinations.
Travelling to Florence can be budget-friendly. There are numerous tourist attractions that require no fees. In this article, we will provide you with 10 free things to do in Florence, Italy.
In Florence, there are several places to visit and many things to do without paying a penny. Here is a list of the top free things to do in Florence, Italy.
1. Loggia dei Lanzi (Loggia dei Signoria)
Loggia dei Lanzi, also known as Loggia dei Signoria, is an amazing landmark in Florence. Visiting it is one of the free things to do in Florence. It is a roofed-stone arched gallery with open walls on two sides. Built in the 14th century at the Piazza della Signoria, it houses wonderful Renaissance sculptures.
2. Medici Villas and Gardens
Additionally, going to the Medici Villas and Gardens is one of the top free things to do in Florence. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, they consist of a series of 12 rural villas and two gardens. The villas and gardens were owned by the Medicis, who ruled Florence throughout the Renaissance era between the 15th and the 17th centuries.
Built in harmony with the natural landscape, these villas are the first example of the connection between architecture, environment, and gardens. This integration forms the spectacular landscape of the area. Visiting all the Medici Villas and Gardens is free.
3. Biblioteca delle Oblate (The Oblate Library)
If you are a bookworm, seize the opportunity and head to the Oblate Library. A visit to this three-level public library is one of the top free things to do in Florence. People with special needs can completely access the library. Memberships are free to everyone, including foreigners.
In the library, you can borrow up to eight books for 30 days, two music CDs, and two DVDs for 7 days. You can also connect to the internet for free by subscribing with your valid ID. There are multimedia stations to watch documentaries and movies.
On the ground floor, there is the Conservation and Local History section where you can find antique books covering the History of Florence and Tuscany. On the first floor, there are three large reading rooms equipped with computers, satellite TVs, DVD players, and a modern collection of books.
On the library’s second floor, there is a large terrace, a café, and a newspaper library with the Duomo view. Furthermore, there is the kids’ section where the library holds reading sessions, events, and workshops for kids all year round.
4. Arno River
Another free place you can go to in Florence is the Arno River. It is the second most important river in Central Italy after the Tiber River. There are a lot of activities you can do on the Arno Riverbank.
To get a suntan, you can sunbathe on the sand. You can also jog, walk, and ride a bike on the riverbank. In the nearby bar, you can relax, listen to live music, watch the river, enjoy the fresh air, and eat a snack.
5. Parco delle Cascine (Cascine Park)
On the north bank of the Arno River, Parco delle Cascine is Florence’s monumental and historical park. Going there is one of the top free things to do in Florence. Parco delle Cascine was established as the Medicis’ farming and hunting estate. There are around 19,000 trees in the park and several beautiful meadows. Enjoy the marvellous views of its gardens. Also, explore its amazing sculptures and buildings.
6. Giardino dell’Orticoltura (Horticultural Garden)
Visiting Giardino dell’Orticoltura is one of the free things to do in Florence. It is a small botanical garden where you can relax and enjoy scenic green views. The garden has an antique greenhouse and a horticultural library.
7. Giardino delle Rose (The Rose Garden)
One of the best free things to do in Florence is to enjoy the wonderful views of Giardino delle Rose. A visit to Giardino delle Rose is among the free things to do in Florence, too. It is a botanical garden in the Oltrarno district. The garden has access to Piazzale Michelangelo, which is within a walking distance. Giardino delle Rose houses a donated Japanese garden, roses, lemons, and other plants.
8. Palazzo Strozzi (Strozzi Palace)
Palazzo Strozzi is Florence’s largest palace and visiting it is one of the top free things to do in Florence. It is owned by Filippo Strozzi, a member of one of the largest and wealthiest families in Florence who was a rival to the Medici and exiled by them. Strozzi returned to Florence to own a magnificent palace that surpasses that of the Medici and to assert his family’s continuous prominence.
Palazzo Strozzi introduced a new building structure to Renaissance architecture. That is because it is a free-standing structure on which all its four sides are surrounded by streets. On Thursdays evening from 6 pm, visiting Palazzo Strozzi is free.
9. Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
Across from the main railway station of the same name, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is Florence’s first and principal Dominican basilica. It is one of the top free things to do in Florence as it has a Gothic Romanesque Renaissance architectural style. The basilica has an impressive marble facade with emerald green and white patterns. Many chapels and cloisters are incorporated into this vast basilica.
10. Florence’s State Museums, Parks, and Gardens
All state museums in Florence are free to visit at specific times. You can enter them for free on the first Sunday of each month. In addition, you can visit Florence’s gardens and parks and pay nothing. Gardens like Giardino dell’Orticoltura, Giardino delle Rose, and Giardino di Boboli and parks like Parco delle Cascine are free of charge.
Places for Shopping on a Budget in Florence
Women and men love shopping. When travelling, shopping is more fun when you buy souvenirs! In Florence, there are many places where you can shop if you are on a budget. Here are some of them.
1. San Lorenzo Market
Do not miss the experience of shopping at San Lorenzo Market, which is the largest street market in Florence. Shopping there is one of the fun things to do in Florence. San Lorenzo Market has many street vendors and numerous surrounding shops. The prices are affordable, and you most often get the price you ask for.
San Lorenzo Market consists of two separate markets. The first one is the two-level indoor Central Market, known as Mercato Centrale, which sells food. The second one is an outdoor market that sells clothes, leather goods, and souvenirs. On your way home, do not forget to buy the delicious gelato of Florence!
Ciao-Ciao is another market where you can shop while you are on a budget. It is a clothing store with several branches around Florence. To buy t-shirts, socks, scarves, and other basic stuff, Ciao-Ciao offers huge sales.
3. Piazza Italia
Piazza Italia is another great clothing store in Florence. If you are looking for upper-class clothes at affordable prices, Piazza Italia is the best place for you. The clothes there are dressy casual and not too formal. In this shop, you will also find various elegant accessories, purses, and shoes.
Shopping at Oviesse is one of the best things to do in Florence while you are on a budget. It is an affordable clothing store in Florence. Oviesse offers office clothes, baby clothes, casual skirts, tops, accessories, shoes, and men’s clothes.
There are several free things to do in Florence, Italy. You can also visit Florence while you are on a budget. To know more about Florence and its astonishing tourist attractions, read our article about the best things to do in Florence. If you have kids, we also provide 10 fun things to do in Florence with Kids.
Enjoy your stay in Florence!