Florence is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. This city has a village atmosphere that can’t stop bringing visitors back repeatedly due to its old-world charm.

However, you might be bored of going to the same few tried and tested museums or destinations. You might not yet know that there are many unique things to do in Florence, including a lot of non touristy things to do in Florence that will show you another side of this fantastic destination. 

Here are some Florence hidden gems to add to your itinerary next time you travel to Italy!

See also: Cheap but Chic: Budget Hotels in Florence

Finding hidden gems in Florence streets
Finding hidden gems in Florence streets

Unique things to do in Florence

Selfie Museum

The Selfie Museum is an international sensation that features incredible installations created by many artists designed to be used as a backdrop for Instagram photos and selfies!

Selfie Museums started as far back as 2015, with one of the first museums located in the Philippines. Now, Florence is the home to the first Selfie Museum in Italy

You should know that it’s not an actual museum but more of an interactive experience designed for entertainment. Each person is encouraged to immerse themselves in their surroundings. 

You can expect corridors of colourful backdrops, optical illusions, and more. Don’t forget to wear an #instagrammable outfit. 

A ticket gets you 1.5 hours of access to over 50 installations created by international artists. It’s also open every day from 10:00 – 19:00pm. 

Individuals can expect to pay €13, with student discounts and bundled options available for families. Booking is essential, so don’t miss out on one of the most unique things to do in Florence – book your ticket here.

All’Antico Vinaio Food Tour

All’Antico Vinaio is a renowned sandwich store in Italy, known for its ‘schiacciata’, sandwiches made on focaccia-style bread. It first opened in 1989 and has since opened branches in Rome, Milan and even across the pond in New York.

If you are looking for non touristy things to do in Florence but still want to enjoy great food and drink, you would love the All’Antico Vinaio – Skip The Line food tour. 

You can expect just under three hours of unique eats, featuring 7 different stops and 4 kinds of wine. You’ll start with traditional Italian espresso and pastries, enjoy a fantastic sandwich at All’Antico Vinaio, drink Chianti wine and enjoy a sweet surprise at the end. 

Florence food markets in Italy
Florence food markets – depositphotos.com

Small bakeries of Florence

If you’re exploring the alleys of Florence during the day, you might not even notice the bakeries. But at night, they come alive.

As you make your way back from a club or your new favorite rooftop bar to your place to stay, you’ll be surprised at how many people are in Florence’s bakeries at this time of night. Student groups bustle around, grabbing cheap snacks. Some of the bakeries open as early as two in the morning and offer small delicacies.

With a fresh-smelling croissant in hand, it’s even more enjoyable to walk back through the pleasant night air.

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo

This is one of the best non touristy things to do in Florence for any fashionistas who happen to be in Florence instead of Milan.

The Museo Salvatore Ferragamo is one of the most unique things to do in Florence off the beaten path! It’s a fashion museum entirely dedicated to the life and work of world-renowned fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo and his company. He is known for his prolific shoe design and production. The museum features over 10,000 models of shoes created and owned by Salvatore Ferragamo. 

The museum is open every day from 11:00 until 19:30, and admission costs €16.50. You can also expect seasonal exhibitions at the Salvatore Ferragamo museum if you’re lucky!

Villa Bardini

Often, the Bardini Gardens in Florence are missed by travellers. It wouldn’t be wrong to feel like you’re discovering a new place while visiting the beautiful premises of Villa Bardini.

Villa Bardini features a 17th-century villa with many acres of gardens. This area offers some of the best views of Florence and regularly hosts art exhibitions and other significant events.

You don’t want to rush your visit to these lush gardens! There is no better place to lie under the trees and simply relax. It might not be the most fitting for the title of non touristy things to do in Florence, but it’s worth a visit anyway. 

Bardini Gardens in Florence
View from the Italian-style Bardini gardens in Florence, Italy – depositphotos.com

Romantic gardens of Florence

Especially in summer, the beautiful gardens of Florence are like a little oasis. A refreshing breeze blows through your hair and colorful flowers sprout around you.

Among the most popular gardens are the Boboli Gardens with the adjacent Palazzo Pitti. Between monumental fountains and hedges as tall as houses you stroll dreamily through the garden. Pack a blanket and some Italian treats in your backpack. From the garden’s lawn, you can enjoy a picnic and idyllic views of Florence and the surrounding Tuscan mountains.

A bit wilder and less structured is Giardino delle Rose. A romantic ambiance with variety of roses characterizes this park.. Almost kitschy, but still simply beautiful. However, if you’re more into well-tended English-style gardens, it’s best to check out Giardino Torrigiani.’

Acquario di Livorno (Livorno Aquarium)

You may not think of an ‘aquarium’ when you think of ‘Florence’. That’s because it’s not in the city centre of Florence – it’s actually in Livorno, about 1.5 hours away by car. 

However, the Acquario di Livorno (Livorno Aquarium) is one of the most unique things to do in the broader Florence area.

Inside, you’ll find a Mediterranean-style aquarium that features unique international exhibits. You’ll discover blacktip sharks, jellyfish, manta rays and sea turtles.

This is a fantastic opportunity for families with children looking for Florence hidden gems to enjoy. Other visitors enjoyed the tremendous sights, helpful staff and relative quietness of the aquarium compared to other tourist destinations in Florence.

Admission is around €16.00, with more significant price discounts if purchasing online. It would be a great destination to make a day trip adventure with other non touristy things to do in Florence and its greater area!

Tettuccio Thermal Spa

Located between Florence and Versilia in Montecatini, Tettuccio Thermal Spa offers four different thermal pools in Europe’s oldest spa town. These baths contain mineral salts and other precious elements, set in a beautifully landscaped garden to create the most dreamy spa day ever. 

If you are looking for the ultimate in relaxation, this is the perfect thing for you – and one of the most unique things to do in Florence.

There is a beautiful fresco in the cafe here, a historical writing room (sala di scrittura) and a few shops to browse.  

You’ll also find unusual healing treatments here, such as drinking the thermal water. There are also more traditional spa treatments, such as massages, facial treatments and thermal baths. 

San Niccolò

If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Florence’s tourist traps, then head to the artists’ quarter!

Here you’ll find art galleries, unique street art by Blu or Carla Bruttini, quaint bars and restaurants, and so much more. Make sure to climb up the Torre di San Niccolò for a stunning view of the cityscape below. And don’t forget to check out Michelangelo’s famous sculptures at Piazzale Michelangelo while you’re in the area!

Finally, round out your experience with some nightlife exploration in this vibrant district.

Appennine Colossus

There are some sights in Florence that are so unknown that few travelers visit them.

However, if you have some time to spare, it’s worth taking a look at the imposing Appennine Colossus just outside the city. The statue is located in the charming garden of Villa Demidoff di Pratolino, 30 minutes from the historic city center. It towers over the adjacent lake almost suffering. The masterpiece was made in the 16th century by the Flemish artist Giambologna and is still the main attraction of the villa, which is impressive in itself.

When you walk around the garden, you can’t help but feel a sense of melancholy. It’s as if the statue is waiting for something or someone. Perhaps it’s looking for appreciation from travelers who often miss it because it’s hidden away in this remote spot.

The Appennine Colossus is definitely worth a visit if you want to see something unique and get away from Florence’s crowded tourist attractions.

Florence antique flea market

A great insider tip is to check out the summer flea market in Piazza dei Ciompi. Every last weekend of the month, Sant’Ambrogio hosts a huge antique flea market.

You’ll find over a hundred stalls here with all sorts of treasures. If you want to bring your friends or family back an unique souvenir from Florence, this is definitely the place to go. There are also lots second-hand items if you’re looking for something different for your next party night in Florence.

The Piazza dei Ciompi Flea Market is the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs for your friends and family back home. With over a hundred stalls, you’re sure to find something special for everyone on your list. Second-hand items abound, so you can be sure to find something that no one else will have.

Clet Abraham’s creative street art

Clet Abraham is a world-renowned Pop Art artist who has left his mark in Florence. If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to explore the city, why not try searching for Clet’s artwork? His specialty is transforming ordinary road signs into unique works of art that are often humorous but also critical of society.

Having lived in Florence for 20 years, the city definitely bears his signature! If you can’t get enough of Abraham’s art, be sure to visit his studio at Via dell’Olmo 8r.

Hiking the Path of the Gods

If you love hiking and want to experience the Italian outdoors, then the Path of the Gods is one of the best hikes in Italy, full of natural beauty and history. It’s an epic adventure just waiting to be discovered, and we hope that you can share your memories with us if you happen to take on the challenge.

If you’re thinking of hiking from Florence to Bologna, you’ll find plenty of useful information in this video to help you plan your own adventure along the trail.

Ponte Vecchio

And last, but not least, the very popular Ponte Vecchio. Though I guess everyone knows this bridge, it’s still an unique and special place to see and visit.

At dawn, the Ponte Vecchio is suffused with a golden light. The city of Florence is just waking up and there’s not a soul in sight. It’s peaceful and quiet, making it the perfect time to admire this historic bridge. Especially lovely are the colorful apartments located on it.

On the other side of the bridge is the Vasari Corridor—a private walkway built by Medici family that stretched 1.2 kilometers from their palace into town center. Its walls were once lined with an impressive collection of artworks but today only a few remain.

Summary 

There are many unique things to do in Florence that will take you off the beaten track to find a bit of quiet during your visit – you just need to know where to look!

If you like fashion and art, you will love the Selfie Museum or Salvatore Ferragamo museum, two of Florence hidden gems that aren’t always busy.

If you are after a family outing, take a trip to the Livorno Aquarium just outside Florence for a lovely day out. Solo travellers may enjoy the Tettuccio Thermal Spa or Villa Bardini for the ultimate holiday bliss. 

No matter what you’re looking for, we’re sure you’ll find non touristy things to do in Florence during your next trip to Italy!

Author

  • Travel Dudes
    Travel Dudes

    I'm sure you've had similar experiences I had whilst traveling. You're in a certain place and a fellow traveler, or a local, tip you off on a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always add something special to our travels. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.