A Walking Tour of Florence

Nathan Lane

Italy Travel Expert
Condé Nast Top Travel Specialist

When exploring a city, I prefer to plan my day around a theme. Rather than seeing an assortment of famous things, I enjoy the idea of a walking journey with a mission. One of my favourite themes in Florence is tracking down different iterations of “The David.”

First, book your time slot to visit the real David at the Accademia Museum. You can go online and purchase your ticket in advance. Once you’ve picked your time, base your walk around it. The journey, with stops, will take about two hours from the starting point to your arrival at the Accademia.

Start with a taxi ride or a brisk walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo, which offers great views of the city and will introduce you to a bronze replica of The David. It’s a pretty magical scene, with Brunelleschi’s Duomo dominating the skyline.

From here, walk down to the Arno River. I prefer to walk through the Porta San Miniato and across the Ponte alle Grazie.

Arrive at the Bargello Museum, where you’ll find a fabulous bronze David by the Renaissance artist Donatello and another by Andrea del Verrocchio, along with many other great works. I find encouragement for a glass of wine later in the day by admiring Michelangelo’s Baccus.

After exiting the museum, take a short stroll to the Piazza della Signoria. At this point, you deserve a café, so I suggest a stop at the forever-classy Caffe Rivoire, a Florentine institution. In the café’s square, a marble copy of The David stands in the same spot where the original stood for over 400 years.

From here, walk north on the posh Via Calzaiuoli and pass between the Duomo and Battistero di San Giovanni. Stop to appreciate the gorgeous bronze doors by Pisano and Ghiberti, then make a small diversion right around the Duomo and follow Ricascoli all the way to the Accademia Museum. The walk from Caffe Rivoire to the Accademia should take 15 minutes.

To take out any guesswork, I made this map to help guide you on your journey. If you’re looking for more to do in Florence, be sure to check out our insider’s guide.

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