Exploring Florence Streets

Strolling Florence Streets With Tips Along The Way



If you are here it means you are someone who likes to wander around the streets of the city you are visiting. You like to see the beauty but also feel it. And you likely appreciate those moments as much as the iconic attractions, wonderful views, and amazing food.

How do I know that? It’s because that’s me too.

I wonder whether you are here because you miss Florence streets, or you want to know what to expect, so you can start day dreaming about your time in this magnificent Renaissance city.

Either way, let me take you there through my pictures. I will also share stories and tips along the way.

Piazza del Duomo

Let’s start here as this is likely to be the one attraction you are most eager to see.

Florence Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore covers the entire Piazza del Duomo, so you can peek at it from all the streets that lead to it. These include:
Via del Proconsolo
Via dei Calzaiuoli
Via dei Martelli
Via Ricasoli
Via dei Servi
Via dell’Oriuolo
Via dello Studio

The first time I saw the Cathedral on my last trip to Florence, I was coming from Via dell’Oriuolo, all the way from Via Vincenzo Gioberti.

That was a nice way to see the Cathedral. It’s like it started revealing itself a bit at a time, while we circled around it in anti-clockwise direction, from the side of the Opera del Duomo Museum until we reached the other side with the Battistero di San Giovanni and the Campanile di Giotto.

Throughout our week in Florence, we go to see the cathedral from different angles, and in different weather conditions. You can see from the images, there were gloomy and sunny days.

I suggest you explore the cathedral from different angles, both for your own pleasure and for photographing it.

My favorite streets for taking the best shots of the Duomo are Via dei Servi and Via dello Studio.

Florence Streets That Merge Into Stunning Squares

If you liked the feeling of getting out of a narrow cobbled street into the large Piazza del Duomo, there are many more streets leading into stunning piazzas in Florence.

The ones you’ll likely pass by a hundred times are Piazza della Signoria and Piazza di Santa Maria Novella.

Piazza di Santa Maria Novella is where you’ll find the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella. Piazza della Signoria, other than being the location of Palazzo Vecchio, is also on the way to other iconic museums in Florence – the Uffizi Gallery and the Bargello Museum. Here, you can also admire the Fountain of Neptune and the David reproduction.

My favorite piazza in Florence, both because it happened to be less crowded and also because of the very typical architecture, is Piazza della Trinità.

There’s Palazzo Buondelmonti, the Colonna della Giustizia in the middle, and Ferragamo’s Museum. Other than that, you can also find beautiful designer shops.

Piazza Santa Trinità Florence

The Busy Streets In Florence

Florence is renowned for being a busy city, and that’s normal considering it’s among the top three most visited cities in Italy, together with Rome and Venice.

So you should expect to encounter crowds no matter the season or month you choose to visit.

The last time I was in Florence it was mid October and I must say that I was surprised the crowds were not too bad. So if you want to escape the busy season, while still enjoying the good weather, early Fall is a great time to go.

Do you see that long queue in the third image above?
That’s the queue to enter the Accademia Gallery in Florence. The entrance is in Via Ricasoli.

Nearly every day out of the 6 days I spent in Florence I saw the same queue in that street, so please book your ticket in advance to avoid all the waiting.

The real tip I want to give you is this: if you plan to try a sandwich at Antico Vinaio, which you must while in Florence, head to their shop in Via Ricasoli. All the others have queues as long as the Accademia one, while this shop only has 4 to 5 people waiting because everyone is focused on entering the museum.

Florence Streets Near River Arno

No trip to Florence would be complete without a walk along the River Arno, and a stop on Ponte Vecchio bridge, all made better while enjoying a delicious Italian gelato.

In the last group of images I showed you, you can see Via dei Gondi. That street, which I really liked for its architecture, was a little busy because it’s one of the streets that leads to the river and the Lungarno degli Archibusieri street.

That’s exactly where I was heading too.

View of Ponte Vecchio Florence
View of Ponte Vecchio Florence

Once you get to Ponte Vecchio, I have two ice cream shop options to recommend:

  1. Gelateria della Passera – artisan shop 3 minutes from Ponte Vecchio with a few high quality flavors.
  2. La Carraia – ice cream shop with many flavors but further from Ponte Vecchio.

The first was my favorite and it also happens to be the closest to the famous Florence bridge. If you are coming from Via dei Gondi, once you get to Ponte Vecchio, walk to the other end and you’ll soon find the ice cream shop.

If you choose to la Carraia, as soon as you cross the bridge, turn right and keep walking straight along Lungarno Guicciardini. After 8 minutes you’ll see the gelateria at the corner, opposite the Carraia brigde.

Lungarno Florence street
Lungarno Florence street

Florence Shopping Streets

Before we start wandering away from the crowds, we must check out Florence shopping streets. Below are a few I managed to capture while being mesmerized by the many designer and high street shops. So pardon me, if I didn’t take more.

Via de’ Vecchietti was one of my favorite shopping streets in Florence. It’s tucked away from the crowds, and it feels very elegant. This is where Luisa Spagnoli and Dolce Gabbana are located; if you turn the corner, you’ll find Jimmy Choo; and if you keep walking towards Via dei Sassetti you’ll see Louis Vuitton.

Via de Vecchietti Florence Street

Shopping was not the reason I came here. It was to have breakfast at Galleria Iginio Massari, a famous pastry chef. Unfortunately, the experience didn’t live up to my expectations. You can read more about it in my Florence Breakfast article. There, I share all the delicious breakfast spots I got to try, as well as tips on what to eat and why.

Restaurant Streets In Florence

After all this walking is likely that you are famished. So where should you head for lunch or dinner?

First things first, let me suggest an aperitivo spot. My favorite was at the Rinascente Rooftop Bar in Piazza della Repubblica, right after Via Roma.

If you’d like to read about my full experience on this aperitivo spot in Florence, I recommend you check out my Florence 4 Day Itinerary post.

When it comes to restaurants, I suggest not too be tempted by the convenience and the views of those surrounding the Duomo. I checked a few out and while the ambience was lovely, the food didn’t look authentic.

For dinner I suggest you head to Via Borgo San Lorenzo. It’s full of restaurants and dessert spots, and it’s only 3 minutes away from the Duomo.

If you’d like to dine at my 2 favorite restaurants in Florence, I share my review about each one in this post – 2 Hidden Gems Restaurants in Florence.

looking for the best restaurants in Florence
Via Borgo San Lorenzo in Florence

Beautiful Lesser Known Florence Streets

After exploring Florence center’s streets, it’s always nice to get truly away from those crowds. The best way to do that in my opinion is to explore new neighborhoods.

Even if you are lucky enough to be staying in the center, you still want to experience other neighborhoods because that’s what’s truly going to help you see what Florence is really like, especially for the locals.

Try visiting the area around Piazza della Libertà. It’s still in the city center but on the edges, close to Le Cure neighborhood. There’s a very good cafe called Caffè Lietta; you must try their budini di riso.

On the way there you’ll come across beautiful buildings, a few public gardens, and also the University of Florence.

If all you are seeking is some quiet time and a few moments to admire the architecture all by yourself, or almost, simply get away from the main attractions.

For instance, I am pretty sure that this location is not on your Florence to see list. I am referring to Porta al Prato, a gate built dating back to 1284.

Below you can see this corner that opens onto an area with restaurants and a guest house, called Relais Cavalcanti. The street is named Via Pellicceria. It’s close to Museo di Palazzo Davanzati. Nearby, there’s also a fountain called Fontana del Porcellino.

The tradition is to throw a coin in the mouth of the pig and then rub the snout for good luck.

Charming Alleys & Smaller Streets in Florence

While you wander away from those popular landmarks you’ll get the chance to come across smaller quaint streets, even alleys like the ones below.

Florence Streets At Night

Unless you are going for just a day trip, you can’t miss walking along the streets of Florence at night.

If you are concerned about safety, I would suggest you stick to the central areas like Ponte Vecchio, Lungarno, Piazza della Signoria, Duomo, etc. These are never empty.

Overall, I found Florence very safe at night but we went back to our accommodation by 10 pm and we always stuck to lighted streets. Even those streets without any people felt safe. However, always be mindful of your surroundings.

A nice stroll along the river with another gelato is the best way to end your day in Florence.

Ponte Vecchio at night in Florence

What Next?

I hope you enjoyed walking Florence streets with me, and you got a few tips and ideas along the way.

If you want to explore more of what Florence has to offer through my experience and suggestions, I have an entire section dedicated to Florence. Enjoy!

Posted in



Tagged with:

Alessia Spampinato