Florence is loaded with history, art, and culture that will keep you busy (and in awe) for days. Unfortunately, entries to most of the famous and popular sites can get pricey, especially if you aren’t a member of the EU. But don’t fret just yet! There are plenty of things you can do in Florence without spending a euro, while still getting a rich experience of Florentine culture.
1. Musicians in the Piazza
One of the best things about the bustling piazzas in Florence is the free entertainment. Whether you’re walking around the cobblestone streets during the day or strolling around after dinner in the evening, piazzas are the perfect place to stop and relax. In the Piazza Repubblica, jazz musicians (and sometimes guitarists) serenade the square. Sit on a bench in the sun and people-watch while listening to the tunes.
After dinner (or anytime in the evening), wander down to the Piazza della Signoria and sit on the steps to the great Uffizzi Gallery. The musicians vary from night to night, but they usually play covers from American bands such as Simon and Garfunkel, The Eagles, and everything in between. Speakers project the music throughout the piazza, so you can get a great show from anywhere. It’s the perfect way to end the evening!
2. San Miniato al Monte
San Miniato al Monte offers exquisite panoramic views of the city of Florence. You can even take a peaceful walk though the wooded grounds where 3000 Cyprus trees are planted. However, the greatest attraction is inside the monastery. Around 5:30 pm each evening, the monks conduct an hour and a half service with Gregorian chanting in the candlelit crypt. It’s free to watch and is definitely a sound not to miss.
3. Wine Tasting at Enoteca Alessi
What’s better than authentic Tuscan wine? Free authentic Tuscan wine! Check out this little wine-bar from 5pm to 7pm for free wine tastings throughout the week. (It’s near the Duomo) When you’re done, you can head over to Grom gelateria for gelato. I highly recommend the flavor combination of ciaccolate extranoir or baccio with pear. After all, dark chocolate compliments a good wine!
4. Free Museum Days
Florence houses some of the world’s most famous museums such as the Accademia, the Uffizi Gallery, the Bargello National Museum, the Pitti Palace and many more. If you’re visiting Florence, visiting all or many of these museums could take a toll on your wallet. Fortunately, there are several opportunities to get into these state museums free of charge. In the winter months, museums do not charge an entry fee on February 8th.
If you’re a woman, you can get into the museums free on March 8th, which is International Women’s Day. And if you’re in Florence over the summer, keep your eyes and ears open for any news about admittance to the Accademia. During the summer nights, the museum has a free entry once a week allowing tourists to see “El David” in his glory.
5. Le Cascine Park
On a nice day, get away from the hustle and bustle of the city by heading over to Le Cascine Park. Just 15 minutes outside of the city center (toward the western part of Florence), this park is located along the Arno River and is the perfect place for those who want a break from the city or those who want get a little physical.
The park is equipped with basketball courts, tennis courts, a public swimming pool, and areas where you can run, bike, and go horseback riding. If you’d rather take it easy, bring a blanket with you and set up your own little picnic on the grass. Every Tuesday, there is a huge market that carries everything from food to clothes, so bring a few euro with you (or just a camera—there have been spottings of caged squirrels at the market) because you may find some treasures!