Ponte Vecchio in Florence
Things to do

Off the beaten path in Florence

Florence is a must-see city when traveling to Italy with its iconic art, beautiful architecture and cathedrals, and impressive history. The birthplace of the Renaissance is a city you can return to time and time again and still feel inspired to explore it further. While there are many popular things to do in Florence, there are some really fun ways to go off the beaten path in Florence as well!

If you want to see some hidden gems and visit secret spots in Florence, we’ve got you covered with our picks of the top six things to do off the beaten path!

From climbing to new heights for amazing views to going underground to see some hidden art by Michelangelo, these are some of the coolest and unusual things to do in Florence to help you get off the tourist track and away from the crowds. 

Are you ready to discover some secret spots in Florence, Italy? Let’s get to it!

Basilica San Miniato al Monte

Everyone knows to head to PIazzale Michelangelo for amazing views of the city, both during the day and especially at sunset. But, if you want to avoid being packed in like sardines to enjoy the view, head a bit further up toward this church for a unique view of the city. 

The Romanesque church itself is worth a visit to see its beautiful exterior and interior if you want to see more of Florence’s historic buildings during your time in the city. 

Giardino Bardini

After checking out the Boboli Gardens, head off to the more secret garden, Bardini Garden! This hidden gem in Florence is alive with color and vibrant flowers and greenery and also has a wonderful view of the city and the Duomo – the ideal spot for any travel photographer! Known for its fragrant wisteria and olive trees, this garden dates back to the 13th century when it was owned by the Mozzzi family.

Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy

Step inside the oldest pharmacy in Florence and check out the oils, spices, perfumes, soaps, and lotions, some with recipes going back hundreds of years. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The pharmacy dates back to the early 1220s when it was used to grow herbs for medicines for the monks. 

If you want a fun souvenir from Florence, stop in to pick up your own bottle of Acqua di Santa Maria Novella, the perfume given to Catherine de Medici for her wedding.

The Stibbert Museum

Go all the way off the beaten path by checking out the Stibbert Museum in Florence and check out its unique and quirky collection of artifacts. The collection was created by Frederick Stibbert, who left his collection to the city after his death.

While there are more than 50,000 pieces in the collection, the most famous pieces are the suits of armor and weapons, the Egyptian temple, and some incredible works of art. 

Michelangelo “prisoner” graffiti

In the 16th century, Michelangelo had to go into hiding from the Pope and power of the church and hid under the Medici Chapel. He was in hiding for more than three months and seemed to spend that time working on his artistic craft by decorating the walls with “graffiti.”

Some art historians even think he did reproductions of images from the Sistine Chapel under the Medici Chapel. Interestingly enough, the graffiti wasn’t even discovered until 1976!

The viewing isn’t always open so you might have to wish on your lucky stars to check this Florence off the beaten path activity off your list.

See Galileo’s middle finger

As odd as it is, you can see the middle finger of Galileo in Florence. Visit Museo Galileo to learn about his life and work in science as well as see other permanent and temporary exhibits, along with his preserved finger. 

His finger was originally removed 95 years after his death by Anton Francesco Gori and finally  made its way to the science museum, and then in 2009 a few more fingers and a tooth belonging to Galileo was found at an auction. 

Do you have any tips for going off the beaten path in Florence? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook!

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Hey, I'm Stephanie! I'm a copywriter living in beautiful Denver with my husband Rick, and our dog Rocco. I love traveling, writing, reading, and being outside as much as possible - unless I'm on the couch binge watching Stranger Things with a glass of wine! Thanks for reading and being a part of the adventure with Back to the Passport! ❤️

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