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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

6 Hidden Gems To Visit In Florence

Ajitsa A.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Ajitsa A.

Last updated : Oct 13, 20227 min read

Things To Do

No other place captures the dazzling beauty of the Tuscan region like Florence. Of course, we all love the major must-see sites such as the Mercato Centrale, The Uffizi Gallery, and the Palazzo Vecchio bridge. However, if you want more from the City of Lilies, there's a hidden side of Florence waiting to be explored! 

This article reveals our pick of hidden gems often left out of your average tour. For the traveler seeking adventure off the beaten path, GoWithGuide has a team of experts ready to take you on a customized journey through the little-known corners of this legendary city. 

The Florence Baptistery

blog imageKicking things off is the Florence Baptistery. Often overlooked because of the nearby Santa Maria Del Fiore church, this Baptistery entrance is enough to amaze you. High exterior walls constructed from Carrara's famous white marble and green Prato accents compete with gilded doorways depicting prominent Christian figures' lives. To see authentic Florentine Romanesque architecture, head to the south side door, where you'll find bronze carvings depicting the life of St. John. The northern doors are the works of Lorenzo Ghiberti, who sought to portray the life and death of Jesus Christ in extreme detail. 

Once inside, you'll appreciate the octagonal shape and surprising domed roof. Undetectable front the outside, the ceiling draws your attention with an elaborate 12th century mosaic. The entire roof holds visual interpretations of biblical significance, such as the Angelic Hierarchies, Scenes from the life of Christ, the life of St. John the Baptist, Genesis, and the Final Judgment. As one of the oldest churches in Florence, the Baptistery's roots trace back to the 4th or 5th century CE. Today, it celebrates Florence's close ties to the Catholic church and acts as a museum hosting Florence's most outstanding religious and historical arts. 

Giardino Delle Rose 

blog image

Sailko, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is the best pit stop if you're looking for a break amidst the tall towers and stone statues. Understated, peaceful, and full of beauty, the Giardino Delle Rose, or Rose Garden, is an oasis within the bustling city. Located in the Oltrarno district, below the Piazzale Michelangelo, it has significantly less foot traffic when compared to other nature-filled attractions like the Boboli Gardens. Brought to life in 1865 by legendary Florentine architect Giuseppe Poggi, the rose garden is a result of efforts to beautify the new capital. 

With over 400 varieties of roses watered year-round by an advanced irrigation system, you'll be able to enjoy the flora whenever you touch down in the city. If you're fortunate enough to visit Florence in the springtime, you’ll experience the blooming roses and lemon trees creating a heavenly aroma. As a nod to the city's historic art scene, ten bronze sculptures have been added along with chess pieces designed by the late Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon. It's the perfect place for a gelato-themed picnic. 

Scuola del Cuoio

blog imageYou cannot leave Florence without exploring the celebrated art of Italian leather crafts. The Scuola del Cuoio, or School of Leather, was born in the aftermath of World War 2 as Florentine friars and the leatherworking community came together to revive the city's economy and give war orphans a way to earn money. Thanks to its location along the Arno River, the school benefited from the high quantities of water needed for leather crafting. This, combined with the immense talent throughout the years, has led to pieces from the Scuola showing up throughout Florence's top shops and boutiques and in international car brands like Mazda and Fiat. 

Managed by the Gori family, visitors can create their own leather pieces, selecting courses that range from three hours to an entire week. Ask your GoWithGuide expert about class options, especially if you're in a time crunch. If you love luxury, the school has a shop with pre-made pieces from Francesca Gori’s collection. From python leather wallets to semi-precious stone encrusted handbags, there’s something for everyone. 

Opera Del Duomo Museum 

blog imageIf you love the Baptistery's art and want more, head to the Opera Del Duomo Museum. The exterior is so unassuming that you'd walk past it without a second glance, but all of that changes once you enter the building. You're met with 6,000 square meters, three floors, and 28 rooms, all dedicated to art, history, and religious imagery from around the world. Founded in 1891 to conserve the historical monuments from the Baptistery and the Duomo cathedral, the museum has evolved into a pillar of Florence's renaissance roots. 

With over 750 pieces and a 700+ year legacy of conserving artistry, it's one of the most important museums in Europe. After a significant remodel in 2015, the museum now balances the past and future of Florentine art. Look out for the Corridoio dell'Opera, a wall dedicated to the likes of Lorenzo Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Bandini, and Cesare Guasti, who made the museum possible.

Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy 

blog image

Moon rabbit 365, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You don't need a prescription to enjoy your time at this location. The Dominican friars behind the Santa Maria Novella had a knack for the ornate, creating a high-end infirmary where herbs from the monastery garden were transformed into healing balms, pomades, and medicine. It might sound strange, but this is one of the world's most beautiful, ornate pharmacies. With a history dating back to 1221, it's hard not to feel like you’re in a time capsule while touring the shop. 

Today, in place of herb-infused medicine, you'll find artisanal perfumes, soaps, oils, and elixirs spread throughout an impressive display. If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind piece, go for the Acqua di Santa Maria Novella. The monks created this perfume in honor of Catherine de Medici, and its formula remains unchanged from its 16th century original. 

Gelateria Della Passera 

blog imageWhen it comes to gelato spots in Florence, there are enough to keep you refreshed for the entire day. With that said, the Gelateria Della Passera sticks out as a must-visit spot because of its affordable, organic, handmade gelato. The restaurant's traditional vibe mixes well with the shops along the Ponte Vecchio. Despite the old-school feel, the gelateria offers various flavors, including vegan options, and it gets better. The gelato is made fresh daily, and since it's a favorite spot among locals, it sells out often, so you get the freshest flavors. 

Since the shop is small, only a few people can enter at a time, creating the perfect environment for intimate conversations with the shop's server and the customers outside. If you're staying in Oltrarno, even better! You'll be able to stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, stopping for a cup of gelato before returning to your hotel. 

Conclusion 

Worried about fitting Florence’s hidden treasures into your schedule? Get in touch with one of our local guides. With your own customizable itinerary, you'll be able to enjoy the major hotspots and Florence's uncharted treasures. Andiamo! 

Image Source: https://pixabay.com & https://www.pexels.com & https://unsplash.com & https://commons.wikimedia.org/

Florence Tour Guide - Mila L.

Mila L.

Italy

Hi! I am a licensed Tour Guide of Florence and its district, with a M.A. in English and French Literatureo. I have been working for over 30 years in Tourism, also as an International Tour Manager, organizing and guiding customized tours for English and Spanish speaking guests. All my tours are private and LGBTQ friendly. It would be fantastic to become one of your guides.                                                                                                                                 

Florence Tour Guide - Eva G.

Eva G.

Italy

Hi, I'm Eva! I've been living in Florence since 2012 and I've become a professional licensed tour guide in 2016, since then I did a lot of private tours around Florence and in Tuscany, working with families and small groups of friends. I'm still very curious and constantly learning new things about local history and artists, and Florence always gives you an opportunity to discover something interesting. I'm in love with my city and I live quite an active life, so I can tell you a lot of things not only about history, but also about modern life of Florence. During pandemic period I have finished the Wine Courses, so now I'm also professional sommelier, working in wine industry, and I can share my experience with you. We also have a nice wine cellar in the city center, where you can join one of our wine-tasting evenings. My concept of exploring Italy is doing it with taste and style. So during our tour we will have no rush and you will have an opportunity to really enjoy Italian style of life. Yes, I give a lot of historical information, but I'm very flexible and I always put your needs and wishes at the first place. So every tour is adopted to the client's preferences.                                                                                                                                 

Toscana Tour Guide - Giacomo C.

Giacomo C.

Italy

Giacomo is a travel operator based in Tuscany. He specializes in private food and wine tours in Tuscany. All his itineraries include visits to organic or biodynamic farms and wineries. He is able to customize departures from almost any accommodation in all of the provinces of Florence and Siena.                                                                                                                                 

Florence Tour Guide - Simona T.

Simona T.

Italy

I started riding by chance when I was about 20, I never stopped and enjoyed show jumping, cross country and the country trail riding with my horses. Today it is my life and I share my experience and my emotions on horseback with my guests and in the beauty, the history and the flavors of the Tuscan hilly countryside surrounding Florence.                                                                                                                                 

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