The main sites of Florence are all a must see: the Duomo and Baptistery, the Uffizi Museum, the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s statue of David, and Piazza Signoria. But beyond these most popular places, Florence has so many hidden treasures and possibilities to engage with the local life of the city through experiencing the culture. Here are some of our top recommendations for activities and things to do in Florence Italy.
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From the charming local neighborhood of San Niccolo, across the Arno, it is possible to ascend up a series of stairs and walking paths to the Church of San Miniato al Monte, the most ancient church in Florence, erected on one of the highest points of the city on the site of an ancient shrine to 3rd century Christian martyr St. Miniatus. This is one of the most beautiful spots in the city for the view, especially at sunset, when you can hear the cloistered monks chanting vespers. The church’s architecture is significant as a classic example of Tuscany’s Romanesque style. You can also visit the monastery gift shop here to purchase natural remedies and beauty creams, along with herbs and spices, cultivated in the monks gardens and prepared according to ancient recipes.
We reccomend you to book a Prontopia Local connection when in Florence in order to get a better understanding on how to get around and have precious local tips!
Cucina Toscana is among the most famous of Italy’s regional cuisines, and is indeed a fun one to learn to prepare. The bounty of the region of Tuscany as a producer of wine, cheese, olive oil, beef, and produce allows visitors to experience in person why locally sourced ingredients are the secret of Tuscany’s simple recipes. Florence has a range of options for cooking classes, from classes in the home of a typical “mama” chef, to cooking schools. Among our favorites are Florence Food Studio and Mama Florence both in the Oltrarno, a neighborhood classically considered to be where you will find local and authentic Tuscan food that is not touristy.
Florence is the center of many of the handcrafted Italian goods famous around the world: leather, jewelry, woodworking, pottery, and design. Supporting artisans who pass on the time-honored knowledge and mastery of these cultural traditions is important, and fun! Visiting artisans studios in the Oltrarno area across the river, or along the streets leading to Santa Croce for leather, is a great way to experience the local culture today and get a deeper sense of Florence’s mercantile legacy in history.
Tuscan ceramics are a famous souvenir (and one you should covet while in Florence). Why not learn more about this ancient craft with a workshop in Tuscan ceramics at an artists studio. Enzo Formizano offers fun ceramics workshops at his Officina Laboratorio Ceramica Studio, where you will learn classic techniques for decorating ceramics with Tuscan designs. There are even classes offered in the evening accompanied by an aperitivo! See the Facebook page here for details.