This beautiful Italian city is awash with culture, but your trip needn't break the bank.
Florence is renowned for its museums and art galleries, but sometimes, all the tourist stops in Firenze (what the Italians call their city) can become rather expensive. Fortunately, with some careful planning, it's possible to make your money go a bit further. Follow the tips below to visit Florence on a budget:
Buy Combined Tickets
Keen to visit the stunning Piazza Del Duomo? A single ticket costing €18 gives you access to famous monuments including the Opera Museum and the Baptistry of San Giovanni. Among the masterpieces on display are works by Michelangelo.
You have 72 hours from visiting your first choice of monument to seeing the rest. If you're a dedicated culture vulture, you might want to buy the Firenze Card. For €85, this pass gives you priority access for 72 hours to both permanent and temporary exhibitions on all museums in the circuit. Plus, you have unlimited use of the city's bus and trams for those 72 hours. Don't forget that Florence is a compact city, so you could walk everywhere.
Visit the Free Gardens
The city's picturesque Rose Garden on Viale Giuseppe Poggi 2 boasts over 1200 botanical varieties and 400 varieties of roses. This public park can be enjoyed year-round. It also houses lemons and a Japanese garden donated to Florence by the sister city of Kyoto. The park, which was created in 1865, offers amazing views over the city. Look out for its advanced irrigation system and a pipeline carrying water to numerous outlets throughout the garden.
Elsewhere in Florence, the Giardino dell'Orticoltura is a nineteenth-century garden and greenhouse. It runs exhibitions of seasonal plants and flowers, plus other initiatives to promote gardening and biodiversity.
Head for the Markets
If you prefer your food cheap, fresh and seasonal, the city's food markets and osterie (like taverns) are the places to go. Try the simmered meat or simmered tripe at stalls like Da Nerbone in Piazza Mercato Centrale, which caters to market workers and tourists alike.
For serious foodies, visit the San Lorenzo Food Market. The first floor offers typical Tuscan fare as well as bakeries. The ground floor is host to the vibrant market with fresh meat and fish, fruit and vegetables. Here, you can buy delicious sandwiches on the hoof.
If you prefer a sit-down meal in a trattoria, many restaurants in the city offer lunch deals. Remember that you will be charged extra for sitting down.
Enjoy the Free Views
Rather not pay out for museums or spend your precious time in queues? Beautiful, free views are everywhere in Florence; you only have to look. Take some snacks and visit the viewing terrace at Piazzale Michelangelo. The view from there across the River Arno to the heart of the city is not to be missed.
Alternatively, buy a simple picnic lunch and make tracks for Parco delle Cascine, formerly a farm estate for the Medici family. At 118 hectares, it's now the biggest public park in Florence. Originally created as a hunting estate and pig farm, the park houses the Agriculture Department of the University of Florence.
Record the Sights
With so much jaw-dropping beauty everywhere you go, why not use your phone to capture the sights? Use a pop-out phone ring to securely prop up your phone and snap the world going by. If you're looking to buy a phone ring there are plenty of sites available.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of art and culture available, but by being savvy, you can enjoy more of what's on offer in Florence, for far less.