Florence on a Budget: a Travel Guide for Tightfisted Tourists

Florence—also referred to as “the cradle of the Renaissance”—is a great place to visit if you’re traveling on a budget. Florence is filled with things to do that don’t cost admission and the city is relatively small compared to cities like Milan or Venice, which means that most of the main tourist attractions are within walking distance of one another. There’s no reason to worry about your wallet taking a beating. There are plenty of things in Florence that are perfect for the tightfisted.

1. Architecture

Florence is one of the oldest cities in the world. Many of its most famous buildings have been around for centuries. Visitors to Florence don’t need money to appreciate the fantastic architecture of the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s town hall, or explore the picturesque Piazza della Signoria, the political and social hub of the city.

2. Churches

Florence is a city with a rich religious tradition. If architecture isn’t your thing, many of the churches and other religious buildings in Florence are open to the public. Visitors should go see the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, the city’s main Dominican church. The Basilica is famous for its stain glass windows, some of which date all the way back to the 14th century. Admission to Santa Maria Fiore, the cathedral, is also free. Santa Maria del Fiore is the 3rd largest church in the world, after St. Peter’s (Rome) and St. Paul’s (London). Visiting churches is a great way to sample local art without spending money, since many of the churches in Florence also double as art museums.

3. Marketplaces

People working with a budget are free to peruse one of the many markets that Florence has to offer. One popular market is the San Lorenzo market, home to dozens of stalls selling clothing and souvenirs. The Mercato Delle Pulce, an open-air flea market famous for good bargains, is also very popular. If you’re looking for something with a little more local flavor, try Santo Spirito, a quiet daily market that specializes in fruit, vegetables and household appliances.

4. Parks

Visitors are free to explore the city’s many parks and gardens, most of which are free to the public. The Parco Delle Cascine is a great place to go if you’re traveling with children. Admission is free and there are playgrounds scattered across the entirety of the park. The Giardino del Palazzo Vivarelli Colonna is another great place for cost-conscious travelers. It’s a bit smaller than some of the other parks in Florence (Le Cascine, for instance) but it’s still a perfect place to take a break and relax in the shade.

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