Our self planned walking tour of Florence – Part 1

If you read about our adventure during our night tour of Paris, you might already know we recently did a tour of Europe. Before Paris, we did go to Italy, and spent 6 marvellous days in Italy. A couple of them in Florence. Here, we take you through one of our lovely walking tours of Florence.

If you don’t walk during your trip to Europe, I can’t agree you have experienced it the right way. And by walk, I mean a lot of walking. That is, more than five kilometers a day easily. The beauty and culture of Europe is best experienced through walking tours. So, when we planned our Europe trip, we decided to include walking tours profusely into it. And our first was a walking tour of Florence. We designed it ourselves. For this, we put the places on a google map, starting from our apartment. In fact, we designed two different walking tours of Florence during our stay.

A beautiful view during our walking tour along the banks of river Arno
A beautiful view during our walking tour along the banks of river Arno

Our first walking tour of florence

The first walking tour of Florence that we designed, started from our apartment and went through the bank of the river Arno, all the way to the other side. Along the way, we made several stops in this walking tour of Florence, to cover the beautiful cultural and historical spots.

The day we arrived in Florence, we had half a day after checking into our apartment. We got fresh and took some rest. As we stepped out of our apartment, we  were more than delighted to find a vegan restaurant nearby. ( We will soon write about our experience as vegetarians in Europe ) Thereafter, we had a sumptuous meal here before heading off to our first walking tour of Florence. We took almost four and half hours to complete the tour and return back to our apartment, Palazzo Dei Campi. But it was far from exhausting. So, without wait, let me take you through the places that we covered during this walking tour of Florence.

Stop 1 : The banks of river Arno

walking tour of Florence
Mesmerizing views across the river Arno

We started straight from our apartment (as you can see in the map at the end of the post) and after a left and a subsequent right, walked straight. Until we arrived at the banks of the river Arno. It was evening, and the view of gradually setting sun across the river was just mesmerizing. We couldn’t help but stop by the pedestrian walkway on the banks of the river and soak ourselves in the eternal beauty that was spread in front of us.

On one side you can see the river getting narrower and on top of it Ponte Vecchio – the beautiful bridge from ancient era abuzz with tourists and locals alike. While glimpsing on the other side, you can see the river expanding. And the beautiful Tuscany terrains spread on it’s border along with the fairytale mountain ranges in their backdrop. Overall, a picture perfect spot that seems to be leisurely created by a great artist. Not to mention, the water is so crystal clear that you can see almost till the river bed. Hats off to the people and government of Florence who have worked together to preserve this beauty.

Stop 2 : Uffizi gallery

Further, we proceeded along the bank of the Arno for another 500 meters, to arrive at Uffizi Gallery. It is one of the most famous museums of art work in the world. In fact, it holds on display a number of master pieces of art from the renaissance period. The arts on display here are the creations of Botticelli, Giotto, CimabueMichelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello and many others. As we arrived here, there was a festive mood all around. In the courtyard of the museum were several artists sitting and creating live sketches of those interested. I felt like being surrounded by the greatest works of arts. And the feeling was enthralling.

We sat in the courtyard of Uffizi Gallery for sometime, resting our foot and observing the abuzz atmosphere. PS: This is one place where you have to be particularly beware of the pickpockets. Since it is very crowded and it’s common for people to bump into or brush by each other while making their way in and out of this area.

Walking tour of Florence
The courtyard of Uffizi Gallery

Stop 3 : Ponte Vecchio

From Uffizi gallery, we proceed a little further along the banks of river Arno to arrive at the Ponte Vecchio bridge. It’s one of the several bridges built over the river Arno. And it is also believed to be built on one of the narrowest parts of the river. It has shops on both the sides, which was common in ancient days. Although, in the earlier era these were mainly butcher shops. But, now, they are predominantly goldsmith and jeweler shops. These shops have on display intrinsic gold ornaments, sunstone ornaments and even diamond ornaments on sale.

However, for us, the attraction was a spot halfway through the bridge, between the shops. This spot was the perfect location to admire the beauty of the river Arno and the Florence that spread around it. I don’t think I could see any other spot through my trip with such a magnificent view of the river and it’s surroundings. It was just so surreal. We took some beautiful snaps here, filled our bottle with water from one of the public fountains and then proceeded on further journey.

Walking tour of florence
Ponte Vecchio as viewed from near Uffizi Gallery

Stop 4 : Pitti Palace

Keep walking straight post thePonte Vecchio Bridge and you will soon arrive at the Pitti Palace. Referred to as the Palazzo Pitty in Italian, it was a town residence of a banker named Loca Pitti. It’s more than 5 centuries old and still stands robust. Now, it stands proudly as the largest museum complex in Florence, Italy. The Palace looks nothing less than a grand one. It has already stood the test of time through centuries. And the beauty is that it still seems as if it was built just yesterday.

Walking tour of Florence
Pitti Palace

Stop 5: Boboli Gardens

Right through the heart of Pitti Palace, there is way to the most flourishing gardens of Florence, the Boboli Gardens. So, they will be your next stop during this walking tour of Florence. The Giardino di Boboli or Boboli Gardens is home to several old sculptures dating as long back as the 16th centuary. Lush green and beautiful, the gardens are ever refreshing. There is an entrance ticket to the Boboli Gardens. You can buy it right in front of the Pitti Palace. And then go through the entrance of Pitti Palace behind it, to enter into the vast stretch of green that consists of the Boboli Gardens.

Walking tour of florence
Boboli Gardens

Stop 6: Small garden by the river Arno

From the Pitti Palace, we continued our walking tour of Florence by tracing our steps back till the Ponte Vecchio bridge. Upon arriving at the bridge, we walked down on the other side of the bridge towards Piazzale Michelangelo. However, almost a kilometer afterwards, we arrived at a beautiful spot. I am not sure of it’s name. As, it was not something we had marked in the map. We just spotted it and decided it was worth spending sometime. You will arrive here after crossing the second bridge post the Ponte Vecchio Bridge.

There is a way down to the bank of the river here. We could see people playing volleyball, or just sitting leisurely and having a picnic by the bank of the river. You can go down and enjoy a closer view of the river from here. Just near here, besides the roadside, there is a small green garden. We stopped by here and sat by the garden for quiet some time. The little one loved chasing the pegions here while some of us sat on the boundary wall lining the bank of Arno.

Walking tour of Florence
The garden by the sides of river Arno

Stop 7: Giardino Bardini

Giardino Bardini, the seventh stop on our walking tour to Florence, is a beautiful garden just opposite the small garden where we sat and relaxed. This is another renaissance time masterpiece lined with beautiful layouts and great sculptures. The garden has been opened to public only recently and is not so well known to many. However, it is perched upon a small hill. As a result, it provides not just greenery and refreshment, but a great view of the whole city of old Florence. Although you need to climb several stairs to reach to the top, I would recommend it strongly for the views that you will get from the top.

Walking tour of Florence
A view of Giardino Bardini from across the road

Stop 8: Piazzale Michelangelo

This last spot on our self planned walking tour of Florence doesn’t need an introduction. This is the most famous florentine Piazza. It was developed by Giuseppe Poggi in 1869. And is dedicated to the famous renaissance artist Michelangelo. It has bronze copies of several of his marble sculptures including the world famous David. Although the original David stands in Galleria Dell’ Academia which we did cover in our morning walk tour of Florence 

Map of our walking tour of Florence

After visiting Piazzale Michelangelo, we traced our steps back to the bank of river Arno. And then from there, we headed back to our accommodation. Although, if you look at the google map, it shows a walking trip of 6.3km, it might have been close to 7 km for us if we take the round trip in conclusion. Did we feel exhausted? Not at all. If anything, we felt rejuvenated and were more than ready to take up more such walking tours. In fact we didn’t walk the 7km stretch at a go. We took stops at every beautiful corner to admire the place. And we also took snacks breaks on the way and kept refilling our water bottle. All this kept us fresh as ever through the walk.

I guess the evening weather was also supportive. With mild and cold breeze blowing and the temperature just soothingly cold for us. Overall, this walking tour of Florence turned out to be one of the most cherished memories of our trip in Europe.

In conclusion

By the time you reach this last spot, you will be definitely needing some rest. So take some rest and head back to your accommodation, like we did to ours. Although it was as refreshing a walking tour of Florence as we had imagined it to be. You can use our map to plan your own walking tour. All you need to do is replace our accommodation with yours as the starting point. And if yours is way too far from the Arno, take a bus or another means of transport to reach here. Although, we would recommend staying in the old parts of florence to experience the real renaissance vibe.

Tips for a successful walking tour of Florence

  1. You can combine your trip to Florence with Venice and Rome as well, like we did. In fact, if you have got 2 weeks to spare, here’s a perfect 2 week Italy itinerary for you.
  2. Carry a water bottle with you. You need to be hydrated as you are doing a lot of walking. You can keep refilling your bottle from one of the several public water supplies or fountains while on this walking tour.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking to be done
  4. If you have wifi or data network, you can easily follow google map. Else, either you can download an offline map for your walking tour of florence, or, you can read the next point, which is like an insider tip
  5. We didn’t have network connectivity once we stepped out of our accommodation. So, we prepared this map on our phone, and right before starting from our room, we started the navigation. There after, we could still navigate offline, even after going out of the network reach. Of course, we couldn’t change anything in the map there after
  6. In case you need directions during this walking tour of Florence for any reason anywhere, you can easily reach out to others. This is a busy part of the city that is always thriving with locals and tourists alike. And they are all very helping.
  7. Beware of pickpockets. This is one of the busiest tourist spots of Florence and hence pickpockets are in full swing, making the tourists their soft target.
  8. There are several eateries in this whole area, but being the tourist hot spot, they are costly. We will advice, you pack your lunch or snacks from near your accommodation when you start, or prepare something in your apartment. And you can munch on it while you walk along the river banks or sitting into one of the many green gardens that we talked about above.
  9. If you are with a toddler or a baby, you can take a stroller with you. With so much of walking to do, it will ease carrying the baby.
  10. Do carry an umbrella with you. For, it did rain a little while we were on this walking tour. Luckily, we were on the bridge at that time, and we found a perfect shelter amongst the shops. And it stopped raining in another 10 minutes.

A self planned walking tour of florence. Self guided tour of florence along the bank of the river Arno. Also consists of a google map with all the sites marked

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Our apartment stay at Piazzo Dei Ciompi , Florence

Self planned tour of Florence – Part 2

A half day tour from Florence to Pisa

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104 Responses

  1. Ellie Mae

    Helpful information – thanks for also including a map because that really helped me visualize your first walking tour. Also, the tips are very helpful because it will help me know what to expect and plan for, just in case, like the umbrella and the map off of wifi. I might not have thought to bring an umbrella, and I often forget to start my map before I leave wifi :-).

    • Neha

      Thanks Ellie. I am so happy that you find all this information really useful

  2. Kareemah Ashiru

    Nice post! I went to Florence last year, it is a beautiful city 🙂 I didn’t have data so I couldn’t use any internet. I think Florence is easy to walk around.

    • Neha

      Yes, have to agree with you. Florence is a pedestrian friendly city

  3. Theresa

    Florence is on my bucket list, but I almost feel like I’ve been there now! Thanks for sharing your great photos and your walking tour.

  4. Penny

    I absolutely love your photographs. The paths and the perspective makes me feel as if I am truly walking down the lanes. It draws me.

  5. Siddharth and Shruti

    Florence is so beautiful! We love walking tours. Will keep in mind that we need to carry an umbrella. I’m sure Uffizi gallery has some breathtaking artwork but how stunning is the exterior!

    • Neha

      Rightly said..both exteriors and interiors of Uffizi are marvellous..

  6. Doreen Pendgracs

    Thanks so much for sharing your walking tour of Florence. I agree that walking is the best waybill explore the old European cities. You can then fully enjoy the sites, sounds, and smells!

  7. Marge Gavan

    By the looks of it your walk has been quite productive. You covered many places and they are all beautiful. I just recently discovered the joys of a walking tour when I went to Taiwan and I was able to learn more about the country by doing that than when I joined organized tours in which you stop in a place, take photos, ride in the vehicle, and then you’re off to another spot. And if I ever get to Florence I’d do the walking tour myself.

    • Neha

      Thanks Marge. We did walk a lot, cover a lot and enjoyed a lot 🙂 every bit of the walking tour to be precise. Did you write about your walking tour of Taiwan? We will love to have a look at it when we plan our own trip

  8. AllGudThings

    A well written, detailed descriptive post. This is going to be super helpful for the first time visitors to Florence. I liked your idea of map without net connectivity. Neha, your pictures are really beautiful. Hopefully will visit Florence soon.

    • Neha

      Thanks so much Suruchi!! Florence is so beautiful that anyone can take super beautiful pictures here

  9. Madhavi Kale Bodke

    Beautiful pictures.. this place looks great to visit.. I love to travel a lot.. your blog is going to be my guide.. subscribing..

    • Neha

      Thanks so much Madhavi!! We will definitely bring more and more interesting stories your way

  10. Cathy Salvador Mendoza

    Pitti Palace looks like a favourite place of the crowd! It looks stunning tho! And yes, seems like it was just built yesterday. Self walking tour is a lot better sometimes as it gives you freedom to do your own at your own convenience. Florence is a wonderful place. Would love to visit too! X

    • Neha

      Yes Cathy. All the monuments, buildings and cathedrals here are very well maintained. Repair work is immediately undertaken where required.

  11. Nikki

    Florence is high on my list of places to visit. It seem to have so much character and charm! Thanks for the informative read!

    • Neha

      Thanks Nikki. If you visit Italy, we will highly recommend spending at least a couple of days in Florence

  12. Ami Bhat

    The best way to explore Florence is by foot and am so glad to see a post that makes that easier. Loved all the pics in the post. You definitely made the most of the tour.

    • Neha

      Thanks Ami. We are so glad we designed and took up this walking tour. It was one of the most lovely tours that we did in Florence

  13. Shona @ paraphernalia.co

    Florence is so beautiful, walking is the only way to see it IMHO. I haven’t managed to get to Boboli Gardens yet. Next time! Nice walk, It felt like I was there.

    • Neha

      Thanks Shona. Glad you enjoyed it. Do visit the Boboli gardens next time when you are in florence.

  14. xxxgingerpawsoutdoorsxxx

    That is one adventurous walking tour! I like it that way as well when I visit a place. It gives you time to enjoy everything around you. I would love to visit Florence too. And this is a very good itinerary. Thank you for sharing this. It is a great help. I will save this for future reference!

    • Neha

      Thank you! Florence is such a charming place. We visited here for just 2 days but the memories remain afresh with us forever

  15. Thelittlelai: Beyond limitsl

    Oh Florence why are you just so beautiful, lovely and romantic. I have long been dreaming to visit Florence, I just can’t get aright time and enough funds, hopefully soon. I would love to amble around as well while enjoying all the beautiful views. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    • Neha

      Thank you! Definitely Florence is so charming and beautiful. A dream destination for all of us

  16. Johna

    Ahhh. I love Florence! We only went for a day so unfortunately we didn’t get to visit any of these places but I still fell in love with the city. So stunning!

    • Neha

      That’s expected 🙂 The city has such a magical charm about it

  17. Garth

    Great detailed post guys! Makes me want to visit Florence again. Not been for a number of years and missed some of the spots you suggest here, will try the Boboli Gardens next time! have pinned for future reference 🙂

    • Neha

      Thanks Garth. We wish you have as wonderful a time as your first visit, when you head here next

  18. travellingslacker

    Florence is one of the great European cities that I have always wanted to visit. Too much history and civilization in one place. Great details as always. Great that you planned the whole thing yourself. That is the best way to do it.

    • Neha

      Thanks Jitaditya. Florence urges you to explore it on your own. Such a charming town.

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