Most Popular Articles
- Explore Tuscany: Day Trips from Florence
- Top Five Florence Cathedrals and Churches
- Romantic Florence Getaway
- Florence Art Museums and Galleries
Walking In Florence: See the City's Streets
Jan 11 , 2011
Explore the streets of Florence on foot, letting the smells and sounds charm you. Learn about the best route and don’t miss out on the must-see stops along the way when walking in Florence.
You learn the most about a city by walking its streets, talking to its people, and immersing yourself in the daily culture and routines. Interacting with the locals is personal way to see the city (and it also helps burn off some of those calories you’ve consumed at Florence’s fabulous restaurants).
Let’s begin your walk in Florence at the Ponte Vecchio. This charming bridge dates from around 1345 and has plenty of shops. Butchers were the first occupants of the shops, but today you’ll find art dealers, souvenir sellers, and jewelers.
Piazza del Carmine
From here cross the river and take the second right to follow Via Di Santo Spirto and Borgo San Fredinano to Santa Maria Del Carmine in the Piazza del Carmine. This church is famous for displaying Renaissance frescos by Massccio and Masolino da Panicale that were later finished by Filippino Lippi. The frescos are thought to have pioneered early Renaissance frescoes in Italy.
From here you’ll head to the Palazzo Pitti, home to the Galleria Palatina. The expansive Medici palace can’t be missed by anyone walking in Florence. To get there, take Via Santa Monaca and Via Sant’ Agostino to the Piazza di San Felice and Piazza de’ Pitti. Inside are numerous works of art that will leave you speechless. You’ll probably find it hard to leave the Palazzo Pitti, and it’s okay to stay, but coming up on your route is one the oldest churches in Florence.
Piazza di Santa Felicita
Head north out the piazza on Via de’ Guicciardini to find Santa Felicita in the perfectly named Piazza di Santa Felicita. It was built on the site of a fourth-century basilica, and inside there are paintings from as far back as the 1500s by Jacopo Pontormo. His vibrant colors and unsettling compositions will amaze all art lovers. Next, continue your walk in Florence with a trip up to the Forte Del Belvedere.
Forte Del Belvedere
Behind the church, head east and take the Costa di San Giorgio; it’s steep but its beauty is worth the hike, and along the way, you’ll pass by the former home of the famous scientist Galileo. Just past Galileo’s old house on the right is the entrance to the front. This fort used to be a part of the city’s outer defenses in the 16th century and served as a troop garrison for over 100 hundred after its completion.
San Miniato al Monte
When you leave Forte Del Belvedere turn left on Via Belvedere that follows some of the old city walls with outstanding views of the Tuscan hills. When you reach the bottom of the hill take a right on Via del Monte alle Croci. At this point, why not take a break for some wine at the wine-bar Osteria Fuoris Porta? After your much-deserved breather, take a left up the stepped Via di San Salvatore al Monte. When you reach Viale Galileo Galilei turn right and head up a few more steps to the 11th century church of San Miniato al Monte. Treasures inside include an apse mosaic from 1297, a pulpit, and the brilliantly decorated Capella del Cardinale del Portogallo.
If you find yourself feeling a bit tired, you can catch a bus back to the city center from Viale Galileo Galilei or, if you’re up to it, walk to the Piazzale Michelangelo. It’s barely north of San Minato and a great way to end your walk in Florence. Finish your walking trip with sweeping views of the city and then follow the path to Museo Bardini. Your last stop is home to art and artifacts not seen at the major museums in Florence.
At the end of the day your feet may be tired, but you’ll never forget the sights, sounds, and smells of your exciting and breath-taking walk in Florence.