20 Essential Things to Do in Florence

There’s something in the water in Florence. No one place has produced more masterpieces than the Tuscan capital. With a homegrown talent sheet that includes names like Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Giotto, Dante, and a certain Medici family, Florence more than earned the moniker ‘birthplace of the Renaissance’. As the heartland of Western history’s most seismic artistic and cultural movement, there are, needless to say, lots of things to do in Florence.

Cast a glance across the city’s vermilion rooftops and you’ll see several of the world’s most culturally significant monuments, art galleries and architectural treasures in one enchanting panorama, all set against a watercolor backdrop of rolling Tuscan hills. Timelessly pretty and largely unchanged since the 15th century, it’s kind of hard to imagine the Renaissance being born anywhere else!

While many of the most popular things to do in Florence revolve around Renaissance wonders, that’s only half the story. The capital of Tuscany remains a beacon of the arts, culture and entertainment to this day, making for one of the most vibrant tourism destinations in Italy – although Renaissance treasures remain the star attraction for obvious reasons. With so many amazing things to see and do it’s hard to know where to begin.

So if you’re looking for things to do in Florence, here’s a handy list of everything you need to check out while you’re visiting the City of Lilies.

1. Uffizi Gallery

Nowhere is Florence’s Renaissance heritage more front and center than the world-famous Uffizi Gallery. This magnificent museum began life as the Medici offices – hence the name Uffizi – and was originally intended to house the offices of the fatcat Florentine magistrates. A boutique art gallery was installed on the top floor to display the private collections that Florence’s wealthy families were amassing. And over the years, this private gallery swelled and began to take over more floors of the building. As the Italian Renaissance flourished under the Medici’s patronage, so too the collection grew, and what once was a boutique art gallery had become one of the world’s most important museums.

With the death of Gian Gastone de’ Medici, the last Grand Duke of Tuscany, in 1737, the Uffizi Gallery and its treasure trove of masterpieces (not to mention a number of swanky Medici villas), were gifted to the Tuscan state by Anna Maria Luisa, the last Medici heiress.

Today, the Uffizi Museum is the most visited Italian art museum, and one of the essential things to do in Florence. With works by Da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Dürer, Rembrandt, Titian, Caravaggio, Botticelli, and more, you’re bound to find a famous painting or sculpture around every corner.

Painted highlights include Sandro Boticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera; Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation; Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo; Titian’s Venus of Urbino; Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Beheading Holofernes; and Caravaggio’s Medusa. Sculptures to look out for include Laocoön and His Sons by Baccio Bandinelli, Mars Gradivus by Bartolomeo Ammannati, Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini, as well as a number of classical Roman and Hellenistic sculptures that are scattered throughout the breathtaking museum.

All told, the Uffizi Museum is one of the genuinely unmissable things to do in Florence. Check out our ultimate guide to the Uffizi Museum, for a more detailed account of this Renaissance art powerhouse.

2. Accademia Gallery

Opened all the way back in the 1780s as a teaching facility for students at the Academy of Fine Arts, Florence’s Accademia is now synonymous with one work in particular: Michelangelo’s iconic statue of David. One of the most famous statues in the world, and arguably one of the top things to do in Florence, this colossal marble sculpture is prime Michelangelo.

Technically flawless in execution, the five-meter-tall marble statue of David was originally commissioned as one of a number of religious statues set to be stationed along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral. However, it was instead unveiled in 1504 on the public square outside the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of civic government in Florence, in a bold political statement that ruffled feathers as far as Rome.

Due to the biblical mythology surrounding the figure of David, Michelangelo’s statue of David came to symbolize the plucky underdog reputation of the Florentine Republic. Then an independent city-state characterized by civil liberties that were far ahead of the time, Florence was threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states, and indeed the growing monopoly on power of the Medici family. It is said that the statue of David was placed intentionally so that his glaring eyes were pointed towards Rome where the mighty Medici family were ensconced.

The statue was eventually moved to the Galleria dell’Accademia in 1873, and has been wowing visitors ever since. Other artworks to look out for include Michelangelo’s famously unfinished Slaves, a set of captive figures enslaved in marble; Giambologna’s original plaster cast for his terrifying Rape of the Sabine Women statue in Piazza della Signoria; 15th-century paintings by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Uccello, and more.

3. Selfie Museum Firenze 

While the Florentine patrons of yore had to sit for hours while their likeness was masterfully recreated on canvas, these days, the barrier to entry for creating a memorable self-portrait in Florence is significantly lower. Just a few hundred steps from the hallowed halls of the Accademia Gallery, an altogether newer and more interactive cultural attraction is vying for your attention.

The Selfie Museum Firenze is a novel cultural space dedicated to creativity and focused on fun. Suitable for all ages, it’s one of the most lighthearted and fun things to do in Florence. The two-story exhibition space is a dazzling, winding maze of immersive art, optical illusions, sound installations, kinetic sculptures, digital storytelling, and augmented and virtual reality.

You’ll probably want to keep your phone at the ready because, at the Selfie Museum Firenze, you aren’t just a passive spectator; you are the active subject in your own work of art. The museum features works from over 400 international artists, each of whom has created spectacular scenarios with plenty of references to iconic artistic movements of the past, as well as current themes and settings that make for some incredible bespoke photos.

From surreal dreamscapes to simple minimalistic backdrops and the brushstrokes of great paintings, you can transport your self-image across a myriad of eye-popping sets and installations. It’s a fun, interactive way to propel your imagination into active creation, and will leave your culture receptors hungry for more input. Which is good, because there are lots more things to do in Florence, once you’ve completed your selfie masterpieces.

4. Florence Cathedral and Brunelleschi’s Dome 

Easily the most famous and emblematic landmark in the City of Lilies, Florence Cathedral has been the elegant centerpiece of the Florentine skyline since it was completed all the way back in 1436. One of the grandest monumental church buildings in Italy, if not the world, its iconic dome – designed by Renaissance man Filippo Brunelleschi – is the largest masonry dome in the world by quite some margin.

Inside Florence Cathedral, you’ll get a close-up glimpse of the splendid marble choir of Bandinelli, the precious stained-glass windows worked by Donatello, and the mysterious clock by Paolo Uccello. The floor is a kaleidoscope of gorgeous geometric patterns set in marble, and the ceiling? Well, let’s just say that the Sistine Chapel was put on notice when the interior of Brunelleschi’s Dome was frescoed by Giorgio Vasari in 1572. Depicting vivid scenes from Dante’s Divine Comedy, the inside of the dome is as impressive as the outside, which is really saying something.

Visiting Florence Cathedral and Brunelleschi’s Dome are two of the most popular things to do in Florence. There are various options for guided or self-guided visits of each, and it’s possible to combine a visit to both. But keep in mind that not all Florence Cathedral tickets include access to Brunelleschi’s Dome, and not all Brunelleschi’s Dome tickets include access to the cathedral. Just to complicate matters, Florence Cathedral itself is often affectionately known as Il Duomo (the dome), so be sure to select the correct ticket types if you’re planning a visit to the cathedral, the dome, or both.

5. Opera del Duomo Museum

The Opera Del Duomo Museum houses the art and treasures of Florence Cathedral

There’s so much spectacular history and so many amazing artifacts associated with Florence Cathedral that it needs its own museum just to house its overspill of cultural treasures. The Opera del Duomo Museum is just such a museum. Containing many of the original works of art created for Florence Cathedral, the museum is located just east of the Duomo, near its apse.

The Opera del Duomo Museum was first opened back in 1891, and reopened again in 2015 after significant refurbishments and extensions. Without necessarily having the same name recognition as the Uffizi or Academia, the Opera del Duomo Museum houses one of the world’s most important collections of sculpture, covering an area of ​​6,000 square meters, with 25 rooms spread over three floors.

The museum’s collection includes more than 750 special statues and objects from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. These include the original restored northern bronze door of the Battistero with beautiful scenes by Lorenzo Ghiberti, the silver baptistery altar, the wooden statue of La Maddalena (Mary Magdalena) by Donatello, and the unfinished Pieta Bandini by Michelangelo, which stood in the Duomo until 1980.

Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to combine your visit to the Duomo with a ticket that includes access to the Opera del Duomo Museum. 

6. Palazzo Pitti & Palatine Gallery

Stunning ceiling frescoes inside the opulent Palazzo Pitti

While there’s no shortage of palatial architecture in Florence, it might surprise you to learn that Palazzo Pitti is Florence’s only royal palace. At a whopping 32,000 square meters, this majestic former royal residence is also the largest museum complex in the city, with works by Raphael, Titian, Rubens, and more waiting to be discovered in the Palatine Gallery.

In the palace’s beautiful royal apartments, you’ll see an eclectic mix of sumptuous furniture, paintings, fine sculpture, and decorative gilding and stucco at every turn. Nowhere else can you get such an intimate snapshot of how Florence’s wealthy, powerful rulers and aristocrats lived in luxury.

Meanwhile, in the Palatine Gallery, four centuries of high-style Tuscan living can be gleaned from the masterful Renaissance and Baroque paintings that line the walls. The collection includes beautiful artworks by Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Pietro da Cortona – and many more. In another flair of the personal, the Palatine Gallery isn’t organized chronologically, nor by school of painting. Instead, the arrangement reflects the tastes of the former residents.

A visit to the Palazzo Pitti and Palatine Gallery will give you a sense of the everyday opulence of the aristocratic families who called the shots during the Renaissance. It’s one of the truly unmissable things to do in Florence.

7. Boboli Gardens

The beautiful Boboli Gardens provide on e oof the best outdoor things to do in Florence.

You can’t visit Palazzo Pitti and not stop by the Boboli Gardens. A wonderfully landscaped sculpture park located just behind the Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens is an extravagant mix of nature, meticulously pruned gardens, architecture, and sculpture – as well as a slew of museums. Boboli Gardens offers some of the best things to do in Florence all in one place.

Stroll along the geometric paths of this manicured greenspace, and you’ll be surrounded by a near-perfect expression of Renaissance ideals: natural beauty, formally ordered, beautifully adorned architecture, plus real and imitation ancient structures. In fact, this garden was one of the first landscape projects to define exactly what the Renaissance ideal of natural beauty would be.

A visit here is a great chance to step away from the bustle of the city and appreciate nature – there are some particularly impressive old oak trees. The influence of ancient culture can be seen all through the gardens, from Neptune’s Fountain to the Fountain of the Ocean by Giambologna, to Giorgio Vasari’s Large Grotto. And of course the Egyptian obelisk from the 13th century BC.

8. Palazzo Strozzi 

The impressive interior of Palazzo Strozzi

What’s that? You crave even more Renaissance edification? Step inside Palazzo Strozzi for an intimate glimpse at how the other half lived in Renaissance Florence.

Proof that the insecurities of wealthy men have always manifested as the overcompensation of building enormous structures, Palazzo Strozzi was built with the particular purpose of being bigger than Palazzo Medici – some things really do never change!

Today, the fabulous freestanding palace is a focal point of Florence’s cultural scene. A laboratory for art, culture and innovation, the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi is a cultural space with a rotating schedule of fascinating exhibitions that draw links between Florence’s Renaissance heritage and the evolution of Italian art and culture more broadly.

Constructed around the original Renaissance courtyard, the public square that the Palazzo calls home is host to a number of events, all year long. Stick around for concerts, performances, installations, and more.

The palace’s latest exhibition, Donatello, The Renaissance, sets out to reconstruct the outstanding career of one of the most important and influential masters of Italian art from any age. The exhibition is designed to celebrate Donatello in dialogue with institutions of Florence and juxtaposes his work with masterpieces by other Italian Renaissance masters such as Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, Raphael, and Michelangelo.

9. Medici Chapels

The heavenly ceiling murals of the Medici Chapels

The two Medici Chapels in the Basilica of San Lorenzo make up an incredibly lavish mausoleum and a key site on the Florence Renaissance trail. They not only contain three beautiful Michelangelo sculptures, they’re also the final resting place for 49 members of the powerful Medici clan.

Once inside, you’ll be welcomed by a statue of Anna Maria Luisa de Medici, the last member of the family. She is the one who bequeathed the entire Medici family collection of art to Florence, including Michelangelo’s sculptures. Her only condition was that it would always be available for the public to enjoy.

Highlights here include Michelangelo’s Sagrestia Nuova, the great artist’s first efforts at architecture. Its innovative approach suggests later bold moves he would make when working on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

The three sculpture groups on the tombs are: Dawn and Dusk on the sarcophagus of Lorenzo il Magnifico; Night and Day on the sarcophagus of Lorenzo’s son Giuliano; and the unfinished altarpiece of Madonna and Child.

10. Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio is one of the most famous ad historic buildings in Florence.

Oh Palazzo Vecchio, what might have been? The main symbol of civic power in Florence, this stately monument was once the town hall of the Florentine Republic, and heralded an early shift toward democratic governance at a time when one-man tyranny was still all the rage across Europe.

Palazzo Vecchio’s famous Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred) was where Florence’s 500-man Grand Council would meet to discuss the most pressing matters of the day, like whom to exile and whom to execute. But this was the height of the Renaissance, and so they couldn’t be expected to brood and argue amongst each other without some serious Mannerism masterpieces to set the mood.

Out of all the sumptuous halls and chambers in Palazzo Vecchio, the Hall of the Five Hundred is easily the most grandiose. With gorgeous goldwork and masterful paintings adorning the ceilings, and enormous murals flanking the cavernous hall. Setting foot inside will instantly transport you back to Renaissance Florence.

And yet, amazingly, part of what makes Palazzo Vecchio’s Hall of the Five Hundred so special is what’s not here. Namely, two murals by the two poster boys of the Renaissance. It just so happens that Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were once commissioned at the same time to work back-to-back on two battle murals for the Hall of the Five Hundred. Unfortunately, history’s most talented double act didn’t work out, and neither work was ever completed.

Leonardo – ever the innovator – was experimenting with adding wax to his pigments to create a vivid and visceral new style of painting for his commission, The Battle of Anghiari. However, the great master grew impatient, as it took longer for the waxy paint mix to dry, and in a rare engineering brain fart, Da Vinci decided to place fire braziers beside his work to help it to set faster. A hall of horrified onlookers watched as Da Vinci’s half-finished fresco promptly melted into a waxy mess on the floor, being completely destroyed in the process. Oops!

Meanwhile, Michelangelo received a summons from Pope Julius II for another fresco job on the ceiling of a certain chapel in the Vatican, and the rest was history. Michelangelo abandoned his preparatory sketches for his commission, The Battle of Cascina, which were left to be scribbled over and destroyed by overzealous art apprentices. Had the murals been completed, Palazzo Vecchio would likely be just as famous as the Sistine Chapel is today. On the bright side, the massive murals by Giorgio Vasari are still a sight to behold, and the lines are considerably shorter than the Vatican’s!

11. Bargello Museum 

The Bargello Museum provides a more low-key Renaissance art experience in Florence.

Another Florence monument with some seriously fascinating history is the Bargello Museum, whose story is as impressive as the masterpieces it contains.

Once a notorious prison and execution megaplex, it was here, on the rooftop parapets surrounding the Bargello Museum, where the lifeless bodies of Florence’s executed criminals and enemies of the Republic were strung up for all to see. It’s thought that this is where Leonardo da Vinci – who, as luck would have it, lived in the building opposite – used to sneak across the street at night to steal the cadavers for his scientific studies and anatomical drawings.

The building has seen sieges, riots, and fires, but remains standing tall to this day, and offers one of the best hidden-gem museum experiences in Florence. So if the long lines of the Uffizi Museum or Academia Galleria are off-putting to you, the Bargello Museum might be more up your street. With a collection that includes four Michelangelo sculptures and Donatello’s famous bronze David statue, the Bargello Museum offers an intimate audience with Renaissance masters, without the famously long wait times and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds of Florence’s larger museums.

There’s a room entirely dedicated to Michelangelo, the centerpiece of which is his magnificent statue of Bacchus, who stands stark naked and proudly surrounded by the artist’s first sculptures, which you can get right up close to. You’ll also find glorious Gothic decorative arts, and in the 14th-century hall, Donatello’s early marble masterpieces. You’ll also be awed by Roman and Byzantine ivories, Renaissance jewels, and busts of Florentine personalities created by highly revered artists from the 15th century.

The Bargello is known by many names, so you might see it signposted as the Palazzo del Bargello, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, or Palazzo del Popolo (Palace of the People).

12. Leonardo Da Vinci Interactive Museum Florence

Visitors get hands-on at the Leonardo Da Vinci Interactive Museum in Florence

Braziergate aside, if anyone ever deserved a monographic museum devoted entirely to their singular genius, it was Leonardo. But with many of the great Renaissance man’s most important artworks inconveniently tied up in elite art museums and private billionaire collections all over the world, getting the full Da Vinci experience isn’t always easy.

Luckily, Da Vinci was more than just a mere artist; he was also something of an inventor too. The Leonardo Da Vinci Interactive Museum Florence lets you enter the mind of history’s most overachieving polymath, in a fully hands-on experience that lets you interact with Leonardo da Vinci and his greatest inventions.

Inside you’ll see working examples of Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machines, robots, a submarine, an underwater breathing apparatus, a suspension bridge, as well as sketches and prototypes for excavation and lifting machinery, as well as helicopters, bicycles, water skis, and even machine guns!

Enter the room of Leonardo’s mirrors to discover how his studies on light inspired the invention of photography and projection. Take a picture next to his helicopter and armored tank. Engage in interactive workshops, and build some of his most interesting inventions, including the famous mobile bridge, the dome, and the polyhedron.

By blending authentic recreations, graphic visualizations, and touchscreen displays, this cutting-edge museum paints a remarkably complete picture of a real Renaissance man.

13. Galileo Museum

From one Florentine luminary to another (Pisa was part of the Florentine Republic at the time), the Galileo Museum serves to highlight the profound legacy of Galileo Galilei on western thought, by letting you dive into Galileo’s mad imagination and inventions via interactive exhibits, original scientific instruments and more!

Without overstating anything, Galileo revolutionized humanity’s understanding of science and the universe, with empirical proof that the Earth orbited the sun, at a time when even suggesting such a Copernican notion was seen as heliocentric heresy. Nestled in the heart of Florence, this fun-packed museum explains and celebrates his incredible achievements, without which, we likely wouldn’t have the foundational science to make things like interactive museums possible.

In the museum’s Medici collection, you can check out some of Galileo’s original scientific instruments, including his iconic telescope and the lenses he used to discover the moons of Jupiter. And you’ll see his real middle finger, perfectly preserved in an ornate glass vial, and presumably directed at anyone who ever cast aspersions on the value of the empirical scientific method.

After that, you can browse an incredible collection of ancient Italian scientific equipment, including Antonio Santucci’s armillary sphere – the largest in the world. You’ll come to appreciate just how much Tuscany has contributed to modern science.

Feeling inspired? Study up in the gigantic scientific library (with over 15,000 works) or go wild with the hands-on exhibits and interactive displays.

14. Hop-on Hop-off Bus Florence

Breeze around Florence in the Hop-on Hoop-off sightseeing bus!

If it’s your first time in Florence, or you simply like to avoid high-stress scenarios like figuring out public transport in a busy Italian city, then the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Florence may be one of the smartest purchases you make on your city break.

This fleet of air-conditioned buses will whisk you between 44 stops, specially chosen to give you a comprehensive introduction to Florence’s rich history and dazzling culture. With audio guides in eight languages, you can brush up on your local history between attractions, while the open-top buses offer the most comfortable way to see all the sights with unbeatable panoramic views along the way. You may never want to hop off!

But when you do get off to investigate the sights, you’ll do so safe in the knowledge that the buses run every 60 minutes. So that means more time for sightseeing and less trudging between attractions. Plus, with free WiFi and air conditioning, they’re the perfect way to rest and recharge on your way to the next must-see attraction in Florence.

15. Museo di San Marco

The elegant facade of the Museo di San Marco

The renowned painter Fra’ Angelico was a superstar of the Early Renaissance, and you can see Angelico’s most famous frescoes as you explore the 15th-century religious complex now known as the Museo di San Marco.

Fra’ Angelico completed most of his work while being known as ‘Il Beato’ (The Blessed) for his piety, charity, and divine artistic talent. He was named a saint in 1984 by Pope John Paul II, giving his “Blessed” moniker the official seal of papal approval. In the Museo di San Marco you’ll see a range of his paintings, including the famed Deposition of Christ.

There are a number of stunning and significant frescoes here too – including Giovanni Antonio Sogliani’s The Miraculous Supper of St Domenic and Fra’ Angelico’s Crucifixion and Saints in the former chapter house. The fresco Annunciation is Fra’s most famous work here – and for good reason!

There are even more religious reliefs and devotional frescoes in the cells, all of which are in stark contrast to the plain rooms that Savonarola – a Dominican friar and preacher – lived in from 1489… until he pushed the church too far and was hanged in the square. Sheesh!

16. Santa Maria Novella

the gorgeous Santa Maria Novella, a centrally located Florence must-see!

Located a stone’s throw from Florence’s main railway station – with which it shares its name – the Santa Maria Novella was the first great basilica in Florence. While it might have since been outshone somewhat by the mighty Duomo, if you like grand religious architecture, this Dominican church is still one of the top things to do in Florence.

Once inside, 15th-century frescoes and artwork of the Middle Ages compete for your eyeballs as you explore its charming chapels and cloisters.

Highlights include Giotto’s Crucifix with the Madonna and John the Evangelist, Masaccio’s Holy Trinity, and Domenico Ghirlandaio and Filippino Lippi’s late 15th-century fresco cycles. The Italian Gothic architecture of the Chiostro dei Morti (Cloister of the Dead) never fails to leave an impression, while the frescoed scenes from Dante’s Divine Comedy in the Cappella Strozzi di Mantova will give you goosebumps, with dramatic representations of paradise, purgatory, and hell.

17. National Archaeological Museum

The only thing about being the birthplace of the Renaissance is that it’s all anyone ever remembers you for. So if you needed reminding that there’s more to history-hunting in Florence than just the Renaissance, the National Archaeological Museum is here to help. Inside this resplendent repository of rare, ancient goodies, you can see incredible examples of Etruscan, Roman, and Greek artifacts, as well as a dedicated Egyptian Museum that’s second-largest in all of Italy!

As one of the oldest museums of its kind in Italy, with one of the most important collections for the study of Etruscan art and civilization as well as Egyptian artifacts, the National Archaeological Museum will make you forget all about those bourgeois hipsters of the 16th-century Italian art scene, with real treasures of antiquity that the likes of Michelangelo could only dream of seeing up close.

See sarcophagi, statues, statue torsos, vases, and Greek free-standing sculptures known as kouroi. Many of the Etruscan artifacts outside were actually found here in Florence, excavated, cleaned up with meticulous care, and put back into the garden for your viewing pleasure!

On top of all that, the Egyptian Museum has over 14,000 pieces including vases, amulets, and bronzes from different ages.

18. Palazzo Davanzati

See how Renaissance-era citizens of Florence lived at Palazzo Davanzati

Seeing the artist’s impression of Renaissance life is all very well and good, but what was life really like back in 13th and 14th-century Italy? If only there was some kind of time capsule that offers an unblemished view of a typical Middle Ages Florentine abode. Such a place would surely be one of the best things to do in Florence…

Enter Palazzo Davanzati. This unique museum lets you explore the home of a medieval Florentine family. Witness 13th and 14th-century artwork and relics up close, and see what life was like during the Renaissance. Built by the Davizzi family in the middle of the 14th century, and passed to the Davanzati family at the start of the 16th century, this incredible house lets you step into the world of a Florentine family home, right around the time the Renaissance was being born.

From the terracotta floors to the wooden ceilings, you’ll get to see the transition from medieval tower house to Renaissance building, and see furniture and household utensils from the 14th to the 19th century. See the saloon once used for receptions, the dining rooms, and the nuptial chambers where the residents slept.

19. Stibbert Museum

The amazing collection of arms and armour at the impressive Stibbert Museum

If there’s a common thread linking every important era in human history, it’s that humans are never done fighting over who gets to weave said thread. At the Stibbert Museum, this is plain as day to see. Beginning as the private collection of armor enthusiast Frederick Stibbert, the Stibbert Museum houses a vast collection of armor and weapons from just about every flavor of historical hand-to-hand combat there has ever been. It’s also got some decent art.

The expansive villa, which was once Stibbert’s home, has 57 rooms that exhibit his eclectic collections of art and artifacts from around the world. There are paintings, ornate furniture, ancient porcelains, Tuscan crucifixes, Etruscan artifacts, and even an outfit worn by Napoleon Bonaparte.

The most astonishing part of the museum is undoubtedly the 16,000-piece collection of weapons and armor. Not taking any chances with his home security, Stibbert’s collection includes European, Oriental, Islamic, and Japanese arms, and armor from the 15th century through the 19th century. The cavalcade room is a grand hall filled with no fewer than 14 knights on horseback and 14 foot-soldiers dressed in armor and holding assorted weapons. The collection of Samurai armor contains over 80 suits and hundreds of swords.

Nobody ever tried to burgle the Stibbert household.

20. All’Antico Vinaio – the Best Sandwich in Florence

The reassuring lines outside All’Antico Vinaio - home of the best sandwich in Florence

According to the locals, if you haven’t been to All’Antico Vinaio, you haven’t really been to Florence. This Florentine culinary institution was first opened in the 1960s, but it really came into its own after changing hands in 1989.

Today, it boasts the singular distinction of offering the consensus pound-for-pound most delicious sandwich in Florence. Now with three locations on the same street, All’Antico Vinaio serves hundreds of hungry locals and tourists alike every day, with leaning towers of cold cuts and artisanal fillings packed between Florentine schiacciata bread. It’s every bit as essential a Florence experience as the Uffizi or Il Duomo.

One of the better ideas you can have in Florence is following a guided gastronomy tour of the city’s culinary highlights. Let an expert foodie guide take you from hidden gem to hidden gem and give you a proper taste of Florence, with stops at some of the best eateries in the city. This lets you sample the best of Florentine cuisine, surrounded by the reassuring murmur of local accents, and avoids the expensive tourist traps.

With some gastronomic tours even letting you skip the infamous lines at All’Antico Vinaio, you can be in sandwich heaven without the fuss of queuing up in the rumbling lunchtime rush, although you may have to sample some authentic local side-eye if you do…

Worth it!

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