Our self planned walking tour of Florence – Part 2

During our two days in Florence, we did two different walking tours of Florence. These were self planned, and self guided tours. And the advantage was that we did them at our own pace. Since, we were free to stop on whichever location we wanted. Or, change our course whenever we wanted. And take as much time as we wanted. While we did our first walking tour of the city of Florence the day we arrived here. And that was almost a 5 hours tour. We did our second walking tour of Florence the very next day in the morning.

tour of florence

Our second walking tour of Florence

After having a great walking tour in Florence the day we arrived, it was so difficult to wait for the second one. However, the next day, we also planned to visit Pisa. The trip from Florence to Pisa is not a very long one. We started for it by 12 in the noon. So, we decided to head on our walking tour as early as possible in the morning. And do a 3-4 hours walking tour of Florence in the freshness at the start of a new day. Before heading to Pisa later in the noon. While our first walking tour of florence covered the areas around river Arno, this second walking tour of florence was centered around the same side of the river as our accommodation, Palazzo Dei Ciompi.

Just like the last time, we marked our destinations on a google map and started the walking tour of Florence from our apartment. You can find the map at the end of this post. This time, we covered some important historical spots, particularly from renaissance period including Piazza Della Signoria and Piazza Del Duomo to name a few. As we started from the apartment, we went first to Piazza Della Signoria.

Stop1: Piazza Della Signoria

Piazza Della Signoria is a fourteenth centuary L-shaped square in front of Piazzo Vecchio. It is considered one of the most important focal points of the origin of the republic of Florence. Since over centuries it stands witness to a lot of important political events in the history of the republic of Florence and later. Including the return of Medici. The Medici were the first princely dynasty that were thrown out of power and sent into exile. But  later they returned back to Florence. And that also not by war or marriage or inheritance. But rather by commerce! You can read into details about the history of Medici and other Florentine rulers here.  Also, you can admire the Piazzo Vecchio and several other buildings of historical importance, while standing in the square of Piazza Della Signoria.

tour of florence

Stop2: Piazza Del Duomo

Moving on from Piazza Della Signoria, we arrived at yet another very important landmark. Located right into the heart of the Florence of renaissance, the Cathedral square or the Piazza del Duomo is the center of attraction in Florence. In fact, it is one of the most visited sites in Europe as well as in the whole world. And this square contains some of the most remarkable structures of Florence, including the Florence Cathedral, Opera del Duomo Museum, Canonici’s palace, the Arcivescovile to name a few.

Florence Cathedral

The Florence Cathedral is also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of flowers. It is the main church of Florence. It’s as difficult to describe it’s glory in words as it is to capture it’s architectural wonder in a single shot of your camera. The Cathedral opens early in the morning. And mind you, queues can be seen as early as 6 – 7 in the morning at the entrance of this cathedral. The cathedral complex also houses Giotto’s Campanile and the Baptistery.

tour of florence

Giotto’s Campanile & Baptistery

Giotto’s Campanile is one of the most famous campaniles in Florence. Giotto, the famous architect built it. So, it’s name. While the Florence Baptistery, also known as the Baptistery of Saint John is one of the oldest buildings in the city. And it holds the title of a minor basilica now.  It’s octagonal structure and huge periphery are the testimony to it’s unique architecture. Together, the three buildings, namely the Florence Cathedral, the Giotto’s Campanile and the Florence Baptistery stand in a complex that is a UNESCO world heritage.

Take a round in front of the Cathedral complex. And then head towards it’s left to a street where lies Galleria Dell’Accademia.

Stop3: Galleria Dell’Accademia

From the Duomo, we took a turn towards the left, entering into a lane to finally arrive at the next spot on this walking tour. So, let’s head to the gallery of the Acedemy of Florence. It is an art museum in the heart of Florence that has on display one of the most sought out creations of Michelangelo – David. David is an example of the perfection of sculpture and art. And thus, is highly admired throughout the world. Without doubt , it is the piece of art that attracts everyone to the Gallery of Academy.

The gallery also has a collection of renaissance paintings. It also displays florentine paintings from the renaissance period. That includes works of several artists apart from Miichelangelo, including Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pontormo, Andrea del Sarto, Allessando Allori, Orcagna and many others. Many of these magnificent works of art were earlier part of the Medici family’s treasure. Later the last of the Medici family donated these masterpieces to the people of Florence so that the same art could be enjoyed by everyone.

Stop4: Piazza San Marco

Our next stop, Piazza San Marco is yet another city square in Florence. With prominent buildings surrounding it. One of them being Museo Nazionale di San Marco, an art museum with many prominent works of art by great artist like Fra Bartolomeo, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Alesso Baldovinetti, Jacopo Vignali, Bernardino Poccetti and Giovanni Antonio Sogliani. Like many other properties in Europe, the building that houses the museum became a state property in 1866 and later became the museum.

Moving on, San Marco church and convent are another prominent structure standing on the Piazza San Marco. And both of these buildings showcase prominent medieval architecture. Next there is academy of fine arts of Florence, a prominent art gallery. And a few other important places. There are benches in the square where you can sit and rest your feet.

Stop5: Piazza di Santa Maria Novella

Tour of Florence

FromSan Marco Square, return to Galleria Dell’Accademia. And trace your steps back to the Duomo. Then take a right and keep moving straight ahead on your walking tour of Florence to arrive at Piazza di Santa Maria Novella. It is yet another beautiful square of Florence. At one end of this square stands Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. This is one of the most beautiful churches in Florence.  In fact, it is the city’s principal dominican church. Read more about of the rich history of the church here. You can sit here in the square, or even just lay down in the grass lawn, and take rest, watching the big historical buildings that surround the square.

After visiting here, we traced our steps back to the Duomo and from there to our apartment. But not without exploring the lanes near the Duomo a bit. As we approached these lanes, they were abuzz with the early morning tourists. While on the other end, the locals were opening the shutters to their shops, ready to get into business. We walked these lanes, tracing our step back. Here goes our google map for this walking tour of Florence.

You can replace your own accommodation as the starting point of this walking tour and then go through the tour like we did. Do find out some useful tips on how to do a perfect walking tour in Florence, in our post about our first walking tour of florence.

Tips on taking this walking tour of Florence

  1. For the duomo and the places around it, you must get the entry tickets well in advance. We saw big queues as early as 7:30 in the morning. Also, it will consume a good amount of time. So, plan accordingly
  2. Keep a bottle of drinking water with you. You can refill it when ever you wish from the fountains.
  3. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  4. If you have a kid with you, consider taking a stroller along.
  5. Take time, take breaks and take it slow with the walking tour. Otherwise you will exhaust yourself.
  6. While you go from the Duomo towards your last stop, Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, there are plenty of shops. In case you have been planning on shopping, this is the perfect place for you to do the same.

A walking tour through the heart of Florence in Tuscany, Italy including the walk to Dumos

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    • Thanks a lot! We had a wonderful time in Florence, a trip that we will remember for the rest of our lives

  4. Florence looks incredible. I love self guided tours for the fact that you can go at your own pace. Plus half the fun is planning it out and researching the places you want to visit. Great post

  5. Walking is one of the best ways to see and appreciate the beauty of a certain place. Florence looks stunning. I wouldn’t mind walking all day long with these sights and amazing architectures! xx

  6. The first shot is such a fantastic one of Florence. Did you get that one from the statue of David? This piece got me back my own memories from my first quick visit not so long ago. Though I could not manage an in-depth tour of this place as you have!

    • Thats actually from the roof of our apartment building Ami. We had to bug the owner to unlock the doors for us , and it was totally worth it. Picture credit to my friend who accompanied me on the trip

  7. I love Florence and I do lot of self planned walking tours when traveling. Yours is a great example. I love your pictures and detailed information. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Ahh beautiful Florence. Such great memories of last year and my sister’s wedding float back to me by looking at your great photos. Unfortunately we didn’t make it into the Cathedral due to the queues, I didn’t know people starting lining up as early as 6am?! Anyhoo, it is a fantastic city to explore and simply laze around and people-watch with a bottle of Peroni in your hand. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • You are right. It is a city where you don’t need to do anything specific to enjoy it. We enjoyed every bit of our time here for sure

  9. The self guided walking tours are the best ones. One you have ample of time to explore the place; second is you can take the feel of the place as you want. Seems you had an awesome time. I loved your descriptive post; pictures and duper helpful map. Thanks for sharing

    • Thank you so much Suruchi, and what you said is so right. Self guided walking tours are the best of all

  10. Ugh, I love Florence SO much! It’s such a gorgeous city, isn’t it? Plus so easy to walk all around (stopping for gelato, coffee and food along the way…). Thanks for sharing!

    • You are right Kamara. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and easiest to walk around.

    • Definitely, to learn about a place, you have got to take it slow and indulge in walking and exploring on your own

  11. We are going to be traveling to Italy with an older family member who has trouble doing a lot of walking. Just wondering if you happened to see motorized scooters for rent in your travels around Florence – or would it be too difficult to get around?

    • It shouldn’t be difficult to get around Tanya. Motorized scooters are indeed available. And as it’s very pedestrian friendly, just like we had stroller for kid, you could use something similar for the elderly like a foldable push chair..and I guess it would be super easy doing these walking tours then

  12. Walking tours are the best way to explore the most intricate parts of the city! I remember taking 2 of my guests to a walking tour of old delhi and guided them through the less crowded streets (cos we had started early!). They loved the experience and thanked me profusely for it! So I feel that some of the tips you have given on the blog post are really helpful and one must keep them in mind so that the travelers are at ease!

    • You are right. Walking tours are very beautiful way of exploring any place. And the ones in a pedestrian friendly place like florence, they are even better

  13. Truly, Florence is such a beautiful place with all those stunning scenery that would satisfy us. I like all those beautiful buildings that has an intricate design. I haven’t been here yet, but you seemed to have tour me around. I think that ambling around is sound cool and awesome. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    • Thanks so much! I am glad you enjoyed the virtual tour with us. Florence is no doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world

  14. Walking really is a great way to see things. Was it hard to plan the self walking tour? I am so bad with directions so I often get lost. But then again, if I get lost in a beautiful place like Florence, I wouldn’t really mind. Love your pictures!

    • If you can’t remember directions, there are so many offline apps and even offline google maps to help you out. So, don’t refrain from enjoying the magic of walking tours anymore

  15. I regret now !! i jus book for Belgium !! i search for florence but have a toddler with us not an ideal a combo to visit (Florence and Venice) Between i am bookmarking for my sure next tour to Florence

    • We did visit all these places with our toddler and enjoyed every bit of it. The cities are very pedestrian friendly, stroller friendly and beautiful. You can visit the next time

    • We had a fantastic time indeed. With the apartment stay, the self designed walking tours that we took around Florence, the vegan restaurant just besides our apartment – yes – it was one of the most memorable parts of our tours

  16. I haven’t been to Florence yet, but it’s on my wish list. This is a great walking tour. I love how you just plan out your trip using google maps. I sometimes do the same, but for some reason I never stick to my set itinerary. I’m always trailing off somewhere else that attracts my eyes for that moment. Bookmarking this for future reference. Some great tips and pointers here.

    • Thats a part and parcel of the journey. I also feel, a few things should always be left unplanned and a little window of time be left to execute them

  17. This was a nice itinerary! I have not done a walking tour using Google Maps. I like all the places that you have visited. The architectural designs and sculptures are amazing. You should have also featured the places where you had a snack or meal. I would love to visit Florence someday.

    • We are planning to feature those places as well Iza, we plan to write an article on our vegetarian and vegan endeavors in Europe. Stay tuned

  18. One of my biggest regrets was not spending more time in Florence & Tuscany. We cramped everything and it wasn’t enough. One of my fondest memories were people watching at the piazza and having dinner at a tiny restaurant alfresco and being serenaded over great food and a bottle of Chianti.

    • The whole place turns so magical, particularly towards the night. With the open sitting by the front of almost every restaurant that starts twinkling with candlelights by the evening.

  19. It’s good to know to get tickets for the Duomo in advance so you’re not waiting in lines. I didn’t know that before. I was also really interested in seeing Piazza di la Signoria since it was an important politicalhub through the ages.

  20. WOW! I’ve never thought Florence would have such a beautiful architecture!
    I’m wondering how you manages to organize such an interesting walking tour, I’d love to know some tips!

    Cheers from Argentina!
    – Maria Jesus

    • We googled about the interesting places to visit, and those we found of interested, dropped them on a map and then arranged them by dragging up and down so they were all in a sequence. As easy as that !!

  21. Wow! The architecture is just amazing – especially Florence Cathedral! I’m not surprised it’s going to be part of a World Heritage site. But even though the attractions of the walk would take all day, I’m sure I’d be able to fit in some time for shopping!!

    • For sure. The shops are all around the main area itself. So, you can definitely squeeze in some time.

  22. Such a magical city. The architecture and sculptures are just amazing. Walking tour is a prefect way to take in the beauty at a slow pace.

  23. This is the most beautiful walkable city. though sometimes during the vacation times it is very crowded. so it is always better to start early to avoid the crowed. thanks for sharing this writeup! it’s been very helpful! cheers!

    • Thank you. We went there during the long easter holiday and we did find the streets crowded particularly around the duomo. But we didn’t mind. It was rather like the whole city was in a festive mood

  24. I love Florence! i also love walking tours both organized ones and ones you do your self. How cool that you got to add a map to your post, thats a great idea!

  25. Haha! Same pinch! I’m also writing about Florence right now on my blog and I too walked about Florence myself!!!
    Yes, I too struggled to get a decent shot of the Duomo covering as much as possible!
    I missed the Piazza St. Marco of this list!

    • Wow..thats great to hear Bhusha. Were we exploring Florence at the same time? That will be so much more weird . Who knows, we might have bumped into each other as well or crossed our paths while there.

  26. I absolutely love this city – so much culture and beautiful architecture! Did you guys climb the Duomo or go to the top of Giotto’s bell tower?

  27. In a city like Florence, even the lesser known neighbourhoods become a treat for the eyes. For us, wandering off in unknown directions and getting lost with an agenda is a recipe for a perfect day.

  28. Loved reading this post, it brought back lovely memories of our own visit there. We consider Florence to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Walking around the city is an experience itself and something one would cherish for a long, long time.

    • You are right – Florence is one of the most pedestrian friendly cities that I have been to. And it is like an open art gallery. Every structure, every street, every building has something unique, something charming about it. It was a delight wandering around in florence.

  29. Florence sure is one beautiful city, and definitely a walkable and compact one as well. Agree that an early start is key; even if you have booked a ticket in advance, you don’t want to get caught up in the crowds. Great photos you have of this magnificent city too 🙂

    • Thanks Joe. And you are right. Starting early is important to avoid the crowd at the important monuments

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