15 Free And Cheap Things To Do In Florence, Italy

Between our move, unexpectedly large upfront payment for an apartment, and daycare, our first year living in Florence was a real struggle on our tight budget. We didn’t have the extra cash to do a lot of sightseeing since most sights in Florence have a high entrance fee. Instead, we found a load of free and inexpensive things to do in Florence that both worked with our budget and with a toddler. So, if you’re visiting Florence and want to maximize your travel budget in a very expensive city, here are 15 free and cheap things to do and one that you shouldn’t skimp out on.

15 Free + Cheap Things in Florence

1) Piazzale Michelangelo

Possibly one of the most iconic views of Florence, Piazzale Michelangelo is a free place to enjoy a panoramic view of Florence as well as a copy of Michelangelo’s David. Free.

2) San Miniato al Monte

Often overlooked, San Miniato al Monte typically isn’t packed with tourists, and in my opinion, it is the most beautiful church in Florence. The intricate beams, stunning exterior marble work, and view over the city makes this a highlight of Florence for me. There is also a cemetery and park surrounding San Miniato al Monte. Free.

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3) Oblate Library

The Oblate Library is a wonderful place to visit with children as the downstairs floor has children’s books in several languages and kid-sized bathrooms. The top floor has a cafe and outdoor area with great views of the Duomo. Free.

4) Gelato

Though not free, you have to try gelato while in Florence! There are so many places to try, but I’ve shared my favorite gelaterias in this post. Note that gelaterias near the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio should be avoided since the costs are high and gelato quality is generally low. About 2 EUR.

5) Iris Garden

The Iris Garden is only open for a few weeks in April/May for the flowering of numerous varieties of Iris. The Iris Garden is right next to Piazzale Michelangelo, making it easy to visit together. Check the website to see if your trip coincides with the opening. Free.

6) Rose Garden

On the other side of Piazzale Michelangelo is the Rose Garden. Unlike the Iris Garden, the Rose Garden is open year-round and flowers can be seen both in the spring and fall. This is definitely worth a visit both for the flowers and the views of Florence. Free.

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7) Coffee

Explore a part of the Italian way of life by popping into a local cafe for an espresso (or cappuccino if it is the morning) and a croissant (called brioche in Florence). I love Cafe Piansa for people watching and their coffee. Approximately 2.10 EUR for a brioche and espresso.

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8) Mercato Sant Ambrogio

Visiting a local market is one of my favorite ways to immerse myself in the food culture of a new city. It also is an excellent spot to people watch and pick up souvenirs. Mercato Sant Ambrogio has a large outdoor section full of fruits, plants, veggies, and more. Inside, there is a cafeteria and more vendors. Free.

9) Piazza del Duomo

In my opinion, visiting the inside of the Duomo di Firenze can be skipped—the exterior is what is truly stunning. Free.

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10) Cascine Park

Cascine Park extends 160 hectares in the eastern part of Florence. The park can easily be reached from the city center and provides ample trails for running and space for kids to play. Free.

11) Street Art

Though graffiti is illegal in Florence, street art can be found in the most unlikely places. Check the street signs and utility boxes on the streets for work by Clet and Blub, respectively. Read more about these artists here. Free.

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12) Free Walking Tour

When my cousins visited in the fall, they spent a day doing a free walking tour. I love free walking tours when I travel, and my cousins suggested this walking tour in Florence. Free but with a suggested tip.

13) Wine

Aside from coffee, wine is the other beverage highlight of Italy, particularly of Tuscany. Pick any bar, particularly on in southern Florence, grab a seat outside, and enjoy a nice glass of wine in the evening. Approximately 5 EUR.

14) Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio is a medieval stone bridge with living spaces and stores atop. The bridge is always crowded, but it is worth walking across and viewing from either side. Free.

15) Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy

Believed to be the oldest pharmacy in the world, the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy is an amazing place to visit whether or not you are looking to purchase anything. Definitely pricey, those on a budget can skip making purchase and instead marvel at the frescos and old-style pharmacy counters. Free or more.


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Worth the Money

 Of the places I’ve visited in Florence that cost an entry fee, the Accademia Galleria is worth the entry fee. Seeing the David in person is stunning. Be sure to buy tickets online so you don’t have to wait in line.