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Florence is renowned for being the birthplace of the Renaissance and has been named one of the most beautiful cities in the world countless times. Millions of tourists flock there each year to take in the romance, indulge in the beauty and drink in the famous architecture.
If you’ve been lucky enough to visit Florence for work, the after 5:00 pm scene will leave you wanting more. The city is completely walk-able but the public transportation is generally reliable. Many of the famous sites and monuments are free to enjoy and taking an evening stroll around town will transport your mind away from the tasks of the day and leave you floating in the clouds.
San Miniato al Monte
The first option on our after 5:00 pm adventure takes us to San Miniato al Monte which is comprised of a church, a monastery and a cemetery that just celebrated their 1,000 year anniversary. San Minato is also famous for its breath taking views and being one of the highest points in the city. It can be reached by foot or by taking the 12 or 13 bus from various points in town, including the train station. If you make it by 5:30 pm you’ll be able to catch the evening service which includes Gregorian Chants. Religious or not, it is a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Just down the road is Piazzale Michelangelo one of the top places to visit in Florence. The incredible view overlooking the city is the perfect place to see the sunset, and take in the historical city with countless other tourists. Here you will find another replica of David made from bronze, which has turned green thanks to oxidation.
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria, is rich in Italian history, culture and is home to the Palazzo Vecchio, the Loggia dei Lanzi, and the replica of David amongst other notable monuments. The piazza dates back to the early 1300’s, and was once the home of the original Statue of David by Michelangelo (until he was moved to the Academia in 1873). The bottom floor of the Palazzo Vecchio can be enjoyed for free, however we recommend climbing the tower for the current fee of €10. There are varying choices of price if you also want to visit the museum and architecture site. Once you have experienced the beauty of Palazzo Vecchio head back down to the piazza to the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi, where you can find an open air sculpture gallery of marble statues. The piazza is also the gateway to the Uffizi Gallery, one of Florence’s most famous museums. Neptune’s fountain, Tribunale della Mercanzia, and Palazzo della Assicurazioni Generali are all also found here. In short, Piazza della Signoria is not to be missed, it’s one of the top attractions in Florence.
Enjoy Tuscan Cuisine
Once you have taken in some of the sights you will likely be ready for some famous Tuscan cuisine. There are endless amazing choices for food in Florence. If you’re looking for an easy, delicious to-go option head to Via dei Neri, a street that is famous for their delicious affordable sandwiches and charcuterie. You will know you are in the right place when you see the large crowds of travelers and locals alike waiting to purchase sandwiches. All’Antico Vinaio is so famous for their sandwiches they have three locations on the same street, and all of them will have a long line for lunch (however don’t be deterred, the lines move quickly). Currently costing only 5 euro, these sandwiches are large enough to feed two.
If you feel like having a sit down meal we recommend you head to Osteria Mescita Antica near Piazzale Michelangelo. It is one of the oldest restaurants in the city and even has part if it’s dining area in what used to be a church’s crypt. You will not find the menu in English here, so be prepared to speak to your waiter or have google ready.
Discover Santo Spirito
If you remain on the south side of the Arno, finish your night in Santo Spirito, the best spot to end your evening in Florence. This hip neighborhood comes alive in the night with countless wine bars and aperitivo at reasonable prices. This is where the young residents come to have drinks and socialize. It is not uncommon to find live music as you make your way through this historic neighborhood.
Walk the City
Florence is one of the best places in the world to get lost in. There are countless historical landmarks, buildings, churches, and of course delicious gelato. There are many activities to keep you busy in Florence during the evenings. You never know what piece of history you might find.
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