I recently visited Florence and was on a very tight budget. So it was essential to find great places to visit for very cheap. Obviously, you should put aside your money for things like the Ufizzi, L’Academia and the Borgello. But there are ways to keep from overspending and still have a great time.
Il Duomo (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore)
Il Duomo, ironically NOT “dome” in Italian, but rather it name derives from domus Dei, Latin for “house of God”. It is the cathedral of Florence and was designed in the Gothic style by Arnolfo di Cambio to later be be built and engineered with its famous dome shaped roof by Fillippo Brunelleschi.
Italian for “old palace,” this is still the civic center for government in Florence. And it has some great stories of murder, betrayal and, of course, the Medicis! But don’t be fooled – that is not the real David (go to L’Academia for that)! By the way... there are so many David's in Florence you could make a coffee table book about them.
A romantic viewpoint by night and a bustling shopping center by day, this “old bridge” dates back to Medieval times and stretches over the famous Arno River. Although it is said to be the oldest wholly-stone, closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge, but it's not true. (I have no idea what that even means...)
Piazza della Repubblica
If not for the creepy carousel, go for the street musicians. This beautiful plaza provides a great soundtrack for the happy-go-lucky strolls of giddy tourists. (Have you ever wondered where they got that phrase, happy-go-lucky?)
Piazza Michelangelo and San Miniato al Monte
This piazza, right below the hill that houses the little basilica of San Miniato, was named after Michelangelo, and rightfully so – he erected a defensive wall made of mattresses during the Siege of Florence in order to protect the city! (Oh Michelangelo, you so crazy!) The best views in Florence are seen from this Piazza and you can get some yummy gelato while you’re at it!
**My best tip for any trip is to go to iTunes and look up free podcasts for the attractions you are visiting. I went sightseeing in Paris with one and I learned so much!
For more budget travel tips, see my other articles here!