Florence is a tourist magnet as some may say as it sees millions of tourists pouring in and out every year. The famous places are always going to be full of crowds and you may not want to be stuck in queues for most of the time you are in the city. So to make the best of the time you have, why not explore the less explored, the hidden gems off the beaten path and see if you stumble upon some mystery that hasn’t been solved yet. Florence has a load of such hidden gems for you to explore. Here is a list of 19 hidden gems in Florence off-the-beaten path for you to visit on your upcoming trip to the city:
Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy is one of the most stunning hidden gems in Florence off-the-beaten path. It is the oldest pharmacy in Italy. This ancient pharmacy is still functioning and you can browse and buy items off the shelf. The workers are very attentive to all the questions you may have and help you pick out goods. This hidden gem is a unique one that should be on your Florence bucket list.
The Specola Museum houses exhibits on display that will keep your curiosity engrossed. The wide range of specimens and taxidermy installations are educational as well as artistic. You can explore the museum and its many sections and take in all the details of the sculptures on display. The museum also has a zoological section dedicated to displays of animal anatomies and taxidermies. The museum stays relatively off the beaten path and you won’t find it crowded.
If you want an amazing view of the Duomo and don’t want to wait around the crowded piazza then the Tower of Arnolfo is the best place in Florence for you to visit. The tower offers an amazing view of the Duomo and you don’t have to climb loads of stairs as well. The tower itself is an architectural marvel and should be on your list of hidden gems Florence off-the-beaten path.
One of the more unique hidden gems of Florence is the art pieces on traffic signs by the French street artist Clet. Clet transforms regular street signs or traffic signs into humorous street art pieces by adding elements that would regularly not be found on traffic signs. These high street art pieces can be found all over Florence and you can also visit Clet’s studio and get yourself a souvenir to take back.
La Berta is a Florentine legend, a head sticking out of the bell tower of the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore. The stories around it are enough to grab your attention and make you want to visit this hidden gem. The white head of a woman does give a very eerie feeling when looked at but it is worth the visit as you get to know about all the legends around the appearance of the head.
Buontalenti Grotto is an amazingly decorated grotto that will surely grab your attention. Located inside the Boboli gardens, this stylized cave is a hidden gem you must visit when in Florence. The grotto has separated rooms all differently designed for different purposes. The interiors of the grotto were designed to give the appearance of stalactites and stalagmites along with rock carvings and frescos to match. The magnificence of the grotto is not to be missed and this hidden gem should definitely be on your Florence bucket list.
Dante’s house is located right next to Piazza Della Signoria, a perfect replica of the original house the famous Italian poet was born in. Dante is known worldwide in the spheres of art and literature for his epic poem the Divine Comedy and his house is dedicated to the display of his life and works. The exhibition runs across three floors and covers different aspects of the poet’s life. It’s a hidden gem that should be on your list of places to visit while in Florence.
You normally won’t expect an amazing view from a cemetery but Florence comes at you with surprises all the time. The Cimitero Delle Porte Sante is such a cemetery that has one of the best views of the city. The burial ground itself has beautiful architecture within it but also lets you look at some of the best panoramic vistas of Florence. The statues and chapels within the cemetery are stunning to admire and pay the perfect homage to the ones who have passed on.
The cemetery is open from 9 am to 5 pm from Mondays to Saturdays and closes at 1 pm on Sundays. It is located very close to the Piazza Michelangelo and you can walk to the cemetery.
The Bardini gardens are the perfect place for you to spend a quiet relaxed afternoon at. The four hectares of the garden are covered with orchards of different fruits, woods, and trees that let you immerse yourself in the arms of nature. The garden is famous for the purple tunnel made by the wisteria flowers which bloom in April- May. You can also enjoy an amazing panoramic view of the city from the Belvedere terrace located in the garden.
Located inside the Galileo museum is the finger of Galileo, the heretic who took on the church and was persecuted. It is preserved in a glass container and can be seen on display. The finger is prominent as it was recovered from Galileo some 95 years after his death and holds significant value to the scientific community of the world. Even though it’s not a sight to behold or a place to visit, this hidden gem should be on your list for its significance to the human history it possesses.
The Stibbert Museum is a treasure trove of valuable weaponry from the medieval period. Stibbert was an avid collector of all things warfare and kept them in his private collection. Soon his collection was big enough to be kept in a building of itself. This is now the museum where you can visit and explore the many rooms filled with medieval weapons and armor that are fascinating to look at. The museum also houses paintings and tapestries that ate to the theme of the other things on display, all related to war and weapons.
The villa is a treat to visit and is a hidden gem not very crowded. This should definitely be on your Florence bucket list.
The Duomo is one of the most visited places in Florence but the museum it has right next to the bell tower is hardly visited by the large crowds flocking the famous building. This museum is Magnifique, it houses some of the best artworks and sculptures in the city. The museum also offers an amazing view of the dome from its terrace. You can admire the numerous artworks that are stored and conserved there. The sculptures are another major attraction that can keep you engaged for hours at a time.
The museum houses important works by famous artists like Michelangelo and Donatello which just can’t be missed. This museum should definitely be one of the hidden places in Florence on your bucket list.
The hidden drawings of Michelangelo were accidentally found in the 1970s in the Medici chapel. These drawings were made when he was in hiding and were not commissioned by the Medicis. These drawings are said to be the doodles he did when he was all alone and holed up to escape the tumultuous happenings in Florence.
You can admire these extraordinary pieces at the chapel museum. The originals are kept sealed behind closed doors but at times they do allow people to visit them and see them up close which can be an amazing experience. You can visit this amazing hidden gem at the Basilica di San Lorenzo which is located in Central Florence.
The Orsanmichele Church contains a tremendous collection of artifacts to discover and learn from. Before it was transformed into a church, the congregation was the city’s primary grain market. It displays sculptures by some of the most renowned artists over the years. It houses the painting of the Madonna Delle Grazie which is said to grant the wishes of the people who pray to it. The gothic interiors of the church are exquisite and admirable. There is also a museum that you can visit to learn more about this hidden gem of Florence.
If you want to witness renaissance architecture in its purest form then you have to visit the Hospital of Innocents located in the Piazza Della Santissima Annunziata. This building is the best example of how amazing renaissance architecture was, pure art as the design of the building represents.
It used to be an institution for the orphaned which had different rooms to accommodate them, feed them, let them indulge in play, and also educate them, all of this under one single roof. This marvel of architecture is a hidden gem you cannot miss when you visit Florence.
Some other suggestions –
Fiesole is a small village near Florence which is significant because Leonardo Da Vinci tried to fly here. This village is the palace where Da Vinci was testing his early flying machines but when he actually tried to fly he failed miserably and almost died. This place is now considered one of the most important places to visit in Fiesole which is a hidden gem off the beaten path.
Right by the Piazza Pitti lies the Via Toscanella which is known for the murals that are drawn on the walls of the street. This street and the art on the walls are a sight to behold and a hidden gem that you won’t find unless told about. The murals are mesmerizing and should be on your list of hidden gems to visit in Florence.
Inside the Dominican church of San Marco, you can find the mummified remains of St. Antoninus who was once the Archbishop. This shrine is considered holy for the Dominican order and the relic is definitely one of the hidden gems in Florence worth visiting.
The San Marco Museum is the place where you can admire amazing works of art without the queues and crowds. The museum houses paintings, sculptures, and frescoes all made by some of the most influential personalities of Florence. The most notable of these art pieces is the Last Supper fresco by Ghirlandaio which is magnificent. You should definitely not miss out on this beautiful hidden gem in Florence off-the-beaten path during your time in the city.
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