Florence is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and the epicentre of the Italian Renaissance. Celebrated for its glittering architecture and art history, the Tuscan city attracts thousands of backpackers every year. From the iconic Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore to Michelangelo’s David, the city of Florence captures the essence of Italian style and culture.
The Italian Renaissance city may seem like an expensive place to visit for backpackers at first. But you can save big money staying in a budget hostel or low cost hotel in Florence. Book your holiday here and discover the wonders of Tuscany without breaking the bank.
Save money sightseeing in Florence
Some of the best sightseeing in Italy is free and there is no better example than Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge). The medieval bridge is an iconic symbol of Florence and is sprinkled with shops and eateries like most European bridges were in the Middle Ages.
Completely free you can stroll down this bridge and explore the boutique shops without a care in the world. Most backpackers won’t even realise they’re even on a bridge until they arrive in the centre, where you’ll discover two romantic terraces offering magnificent views of the Arno river.
Piazza della Signoria is another free place to explore in Florence. The cultural and economic heartbeat of the city is one of the world’s greatest town squares and here you will discover the late 13th-century Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) and the Uffizi Galleries.
At this tiny art museum, you will discover some of the world’s greatest paintings from artists of the early and High Renaissance period, including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and Caravaggio.
*The Uffizi is free to all visitors every first Sunday of each month. Likewise under 18’s can enter for free too. Full price tickets are only €8 and EU citizens between 18 and 25 years old only have to pay €4 (ID card or passport required).
Accademia Gallery is most famous for its sculptures by Renaissance artist, Michelangelo. His magnificent statue of David (see above) within the Tribune are what first attracts thousands of backpackers to the museum every year.
With a discount Firenze Card you can enter the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries and a lot more for only €72. The card grants admission to Florence’s major museums, villas and historical gardens. Lasting for 72 hours (three days) you also get unlimited free access to the city’s trams and bus network for the duration of the card.
Florence Cathedral, the Duomo is one Italy’s crowning icons with its glorious Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Standing out like a beacon across the city, the red-tiled construction is a breathtaking feat in engineering. Free to visitors throughout the year, the climb up the spiral staircase is relatively steep, but once you reach the top, the interior views will stay with you forever.
Florence’s art history has earned the city a sterling reputation internationally. With many of the city’s museums and sights free of charge, Tuscany can be enjoyed without spending much money. Book your holiday today and explore the wonders of Florence on a budget.
Where to eat cheap in Florence
A local favourite near Piazza Santo Spirito is Gusta Pizza. It’s widely considered to be one of the best pizzeria’s in town and for €5-€8 euros you can grab a superb pizza. Arrive early if you want to eat inside, but most people get a pizza and sit on the steps of Santo Spirito church with locals.
Osteria il Buongustai near Piazza della Signoria is a popular lunch option for locals and travellers alike. Here you get fresh pasta, risotto and pizzas for under ten euros. If you want to fork out a little more then Trattoria Anita, which is close to Piazza Santa Croce, sells Tuscan home cooking for around €10-€12 for a first, second and side dish.
Where to stay in Florence
- New Hostel Florence is a super friendly hostel only 200 metres away from Santa Maria Novella railway station. Perfect for first-time arrivals in the city wanting clean affordable rooms with free Wi-Fi. Rooms are available from €23.32
- Hostel 7 Santi is a recently converted convent offering affordable dorms and rooms in central Florence. Rooms are available from €12.10
- International Student House Florence is only two minutes away from Santa Maria Novella railway station, right in the heart of Florence. Offering super clean rooms and lots of fun, it’s an excellent place to hang out on holiday. Rooms are available from €15.89.