Explore Unusual Things to Do in Florence

Explore Unusual Things to Do in Florence

Florence, the cultural heart of Italy, is renowned for its magnificent art, architecture, and historical landmarks. But beyond the popular tourist attractions, there are hidden gems and unique experiences waiting to be discovered. In this guide, we’ll uncover some unusual things to do in Florence. From offbeat museums and secret shopping spots to vibrant street art and breathtaking views, these unusual activities will add a touch of intrigue and wonder to your visit.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the lesser-known museums in Florence, such as the Museum of San Marco Monastery and Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library.
  • Visit the Hospital of the Innocents, the first orphanage in Europe, to learn about its fascinating history and explore the small gallery within.
  • Indulge in unique shopping experiences at the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, the oldest apothecary in the world, and the Scuola del Cuoio, a leather school in the Santa Croce Monastery.
  • Immerse yourself in Florence’s vibrant street art scene by exploring the streets of via Toscanella and beyond.
  • Enjoy breathtaking views of the city from the Giardino Bardini and San Miniato al Monte.
unusual things to do in Florence

Unique Museums in Florence

Florence, renowned for its rich history and art, is home to several unique and lesser-known museums that offer visitors a different perspective on the city’s cultural heritage. These museums provide an opportunity to explore hidden gems and discover remarkable artworks that are often overshadowed by the popular Uffizi and Accademia Galleries.

Museum of San Marco Monastery

The Museum of San Marco Monastery is a hidden gem that should not be missed. Located in the former Dominican monastery, the museum houses a remarkable collection of artworks, including exquisite frescoes by Fra Angelico. As you wander through the tranquil cloisters and cells, you will be captivated by the religious and spiritual ambiance that permeates the space.

Opera del Duomo Museum

The Opera del Duomo Museum is a treasure trove for lovers of Medieval and Renaissance art. Situated near Florence’s iconic Duomo, this museum boasts one of the world’s largest collections of sculptures from these periods. From masterpieces by Donatello to works by Ghiberti and Michelangelo, the Opera del Duomo Museum offers a fascinating insight into the artistic achievements of the time.

Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library

For a truly unique experience, visit Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library. Designed by the legendary artist himself, this library showcases his architectural genius. Explore the beautifully crafted reading room and marvel at the intricate details that reflect Michelangelo’s artistic vision. It’s a rare opportunity to step into the world of one of history’s greatest artists.

Museum of San Marco Monastery– Collection of artworks
– Tranquil atmosphere
Opera del Duomo Museum– Extensive collection of Medieval and Renaissance sculptures
– Connection to Florence’s Duomo
Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library– Architectural masterpiece by Michelangelo
– Rare insight into his artistic vision

Hospital of the Innocents

The Hospital of the Innocents stands as a historic landmark in Florence, holding the significant title of being the first orphanage in Europe. Founded in 1419 by the Silk Workers Guild, this institution played a crucial role in providing care and support to over 375,000 children throughout its impressive 500-year history.

Today, the Hospital of the Innocents not only allows visitors to explore its rich past but also offers a glimpse into the lives of abandoned children in Renaissance Florence. Within its walls, you’ll find a captivating small gallery that displays a collection of donated items and commissioned artworks, giving insight into the people and events that shaped the lives of these innocent souls.

“The Hospital of the Innocents stands as a testament to the compassion and resilience of the Silk Workers Guild and the enduring legacy of the first orphanage in Europe.”

Discovering the Hospital of the Innocents

Located in the heart of Florence, the Hospital of the Innocents is easily accessible and worth a visit to gain a deeper understanding of the city’s history. As you step inside, you’ll be transported back in time, surrounded by the beautifully preserved architecture and artifacts from bygone eras.

During your visit, take the time to appreciate the intricate details of the building’s facade, adorned with delicate carvings and sculptures. Marvel at the stunning architecture that blends Renaissance and Gothic styles, showcasing the grandeur of Florence’s past.

A Glimpse into History

Explore the Hospital of the Innocents and witness the profound impact it had on the lives of abandoned children. Learn about the care provided to these vulnerable individuals and the efforts made to ensure their well-being. From the innovative childcare techniques implemented at the time to the stories of hope and resilience, the hospital’s history is a testament to compassion and community support.

Through the gallery, delve into the lives of the children who passed through the doors of the Hospital of the Innocents. Examine the donated items, ranging from toys and clothing to personal belongings, which offer a glimpse into the daily lives of the children who found solace within these walls.

A Table Showcasing the History of the Hospital of the Innocents

1419The Hospital of the Innocents is established by the Silk Workers Guild, becoming the first orphanage in Europe.
15th – 18th CenturyThe hospital expands and attracts prominent artists and architects, resulting in exquisite renovations and artistic additions.
19th CenturyThe hospital shifts its focus from childcare to general welfare services as societal needs change.
20th CenturyThe hospital undergoes renovations and restoration efforts to preserve its historic significance.
Present DayThe Hospital of the Innocents serves as a cultural landmark, providing visitors with a chance to learn about the orphanage’s fascinating history.

Visiting the Hospital of the Innocents is an opportunity to honor the past and gain a deeper appreciation for the compassionate efforts of those who sought to provide care and support to vulnerable children.

florence trip

Shopping off the Beaten Path in Florence

Looking for a unique shopping experience in Florence? Look no further than the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy and the Scuola del Cuoio.

At the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, you’ll discover a true hidden gem. As the oldest apothecary in the world, this enchanting store is a testament to centuries of craftsmanship. Browse through a wide range of luxurious, handmade soaps, skincare products, and perfumes that have been lovingly created using traditional techniques. From elegant body lotions to exquisite fragrances, each product is a work of art that captures the essence of Florence’s rich cultural heritage.

If you’re interested in leather goods, the Scuola del Cuoio is a must-visit destination. Located within the Santa Croce Monastery, this leather school offers a unique opportunity to witness artisans in action as they handcraft beautiful jackets, bags, and accessories. As you explore the workshop, you’ll gain insight into the traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind souvenir or a stunning fashion statement, you’ll find it at the Scuola del Cuoio.

Street Art in Florence

Florence is not only known for its Renaissance art but also for its vibrant street art scene. The city streets are adorned with captivating murals, sculptures, and other artistic surprises. Discover the hidden gems of Florence’s street art by exploring the enchanting via Toscanella and the bustling Piazza della Passera.

As you wander through via Toscanella, you’ll come across a variety of modern frescoes created by talented artists like Yuri Hopnn and Moradi II Sedicente. These colorful artworks bring a contemporary touch to the historic streets of Florence.

In addition to the murals, keep an eye out for sculptures and quirky stick figures that add a unique charm to the lesser-known areas of the city. Each artwork tells a story and contributes to Florence’s vibrant artistic spirit.

Immerse yourself in the captivating street art scene of Florence and witness firsthand the creativity and expression that thrives in the heart of the city.

“Street art is a powerful form of self-expression that brings life and color to city streets. Through its vibrant murals and unique sculptures, Florence’s street art scene adds a modern twist to the city’s rich artistic heritage.”

Famous Street Art Locations in Florence

Via ToscanellaYuri Hopnn, Moradi II SedicenteFrescoes and modern artworks that showcase contemporary art.
Piazza della PasseraVarious artistsA vibrant square filled with colorful murals and sculptures.
florence views

Best Views and Hidden Gems in Florence

Florence, known for its breathtaking beauty, offers spectacular views from various vantage points. While Piazzale Michelangelo is a popular choice for panoramic vistas, there are hidden gems that provide equally stunning views and a more intimate experience. Two such hidden treasures are the Giardino Bardini and San Miniato al Monte.

Giardino Bardini: A Serene Oasis

Escape the crowded tourist spots and discover the tranquility of Giardino Bardini. This picturesque garden not only offers breathtaking views of Florence but also stunning architectural features and natural beauty.

As you stroll through the garden, you’ll encounter elegant staircases, enchanting olive groves, and the lingering fragrance of aromatic wisteria. Each step reveals a new perspective, guiding you to magnificent viewpoints where you can marvel at the city’s splendor. Whether you’re seeking a romantic escape or a peaceful retreat, Giardino Bardini is a hidden gem that promises to captivate your senses.

San Miniato al Monte: A Romanesque Wonder

Perched atop a hill overlooking Florence, San Miniato al Monte is a Romanesque basilica that embodies both spiritual and visual magnificence. Its position offers panoramic views of the city below and allows visitors to immerse themselves in centuries of history.

Step inside to explore the basilica’s intricate details and impressive artistry. From the detailed mosaic floors to the stunning frescoes along the walls, every inch of San Miniato al Monte tells a story of devotion and artistic brilliance.

After taking in the beauty inside, venture outside and find solace in the peaceful cloisters and the cobblestone paths that lead to the monastery’s garden. Breathe in the fresh air and revel in the sweeping views that stretch far beyond the city limits.

Whether you choose to visit Giardino Bardini or San Miniato al Monte, these hidden gems provide not only unparalleled views of Florence but also a deeper connection to the city’s history and natural beauty. Escape the crowds and discover the serenity and wonder that await in these hidden corners of Florence.

Hidden Statues and Local Secrets in Florence

Florence is a city filled with captivating hidden statues and enchanting local secrets just waiting to be discovered. One of the magnificent artworks that deserve your attention is the Perseus with the head of Medusa sculpture, created by the talented artist Benvenuto Cellini. This breathtaking statue can be found in the heart of Florence, specifically in the iconic Piazza della Signoria. As you take a closer look, you’ll uncover a hidden self-portrait of the artist on the back of the statue, adding an extra layer of intrigue and fascination.

When you’re ready to indulge in one of Florence’s culinary delights, pay a visit to Gelateria della Passera, conveniently located near the renowned Ponte Vecchio. This charming gelateria is known for its tantalizing variety of organic, handmade gelato. From classic flavors to unique and inventive combinations, Gelateria della Passera offers something to satisfy every sweet tooth. Take a leisurely stroll through the nearby picturesque piazza as you savor the delicious gelato, immersing yourself in the delightful ambiance of Florence.

Explore the History of Florence

To delve into the rich history of Florence, take a journey to two remarkable sites that offer unique insights into the city’s past. The Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio is a bustling local market filled with an array of food stalls, clothing, ceramics, and antiques. It provides a truly authentic and vibrant experience, away from the popular tourist areas.

Another historical gem to explore is the Ospedale degli Innocenti, which holds the distinction of being the first orphanage in Italy. Established in Florence in 1419, the orphanage offers a glimpse into the lives of orphaned children throughout the centuries. Discover the stories of resilience and compassion as you explore this significant site.

Immerse yourself in the history of Florence by venturing off the beaten path to these lesser-known but equally captivating destinations.

Guided Tours in Florence

Enhance your Florence experience with guided tours that take you to the most significant attractions. Explore the best Florence tours to make the most of your visit to this beautiful city.

Accademia Gallery

The Accademia Gallery is a must-visit destination in Florence, especially for art enthusiasts. This renowned museum houses one of the world’s most famous sculptures, Michelangelo’s David. Marvel at the exquisite craftsmanship and the sheer beauty of this iconic masterpiece.

Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is another highlight of Florence, known for its extensive collection of Renaissance art. Venture through the halls and admire works by legendary artists such as Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael. From breathtaking paintings to intricate sculptures, the Uffizi Gallery offers a truly immersive experience in the world of art.

Joining guided tours of these galleries allows you to skip the long lines, ensuring you have more time to delve into the artwork and learn about the historical significance of each piece. Expert guides provide valuable insights and anecdotes, enriching your understanding of the art and the artists behind it.

florence uffizi


Florence is a city full of hidden gems and unique experiences, offering a refreshing alternative to the typical tourist attractions. From exploring hidden museums to shopping off the beaten path, there are plenty of unusual things to do in Florence that will make your visit truly memorable.

Discover the city’s vibrant street art scene, where you can stumble upon modern frescoes and intriguing sculptures in lesser-known areas like via Toscanella and Piazza della Passera. For breathtaking views of Florence, venture beyond the popular Piazzale Michelangelo and explore the Giardino Bardini or San Miniato al Monte, where you can enjoy stunning vistas in a more serene environment.

Don’t miss the chance to uncover some of Florence’s local secrets, such as the hidden self-portrait on the statue of Perseus with the head of Medusa in Piazza della Signoria. And for a taste of authentic gelato, visit Gelateria della Passera near Ponte Vecchio.

By taking the time to explore Florence’s hidden gems and unique experiences, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and artistic heritage. So go ahead, venture off the beaten path and uncover the lesser-known side of this beautiful city.


What are some unique experiences in Florence?

Florence offers a wealth of unique experiences beyond the usual tourist attractions. You can visit unique museums like the Museum of San Marco Monastery, Opera del Duomo Museum, and Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library. You can also explore the Hospital of the Innocents, the first orphanage in Europe, and shop off the beaten path at places like the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy and Scuola del Cuoio.

Where can I find hidden gems in Florence?

Florence is home to many hidden gems that offer a different perspective on the city. You can find hidden statues and local secrets in places like the Piazza della Signoria and Gelateria della Passera. For breathtaking views and hidden gems, visit the Giardino Bardini, Piazzale Michelangelo, and San Miniato al Monte. You can also explore the history of Florence at the Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio and Ospedale degli Innocenti.

Are there guided tours available in Florence?

Yes, there are guided tours available in Florence that can enhance your experience. You can take guided tours to the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s David and explore the Uffizi Gallery, known for its extensive Renaissance art collection. These guided tours provide in-depth knowledge and skip-the-line access to make the most of your visit.