Stephanie Yoder a RoamRight Blog Author

Hidden Attractions in Florence, Italy

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Tourists flock to Florence, one of the most visited cities in the world, to experience its world-class art, food and culture. As a result you'll find that even during the off-season this beautiful city is absolutely packed with people. Every major attraction from the Duomo to the Ponte Vecchio is an experience in wading through tourists and dodging touts to get a decent picture.

Despite the crowds it is still possible to find peace in Florence, but to do so you'll have to look beyond the major sights. Here are some other, less known but still interesting, Florence attractions worth a visit:
 

San Miniato al Monte

The Duomo of Florence gets all the glory, but there are many other amazing churches found all around the city. San Miniato, perched up on the highest peak in town, is considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in Italy, but is often overlooked due to the massive amount of steps required to reach it. The hike is worth it: dating back to 1013, the basilica is a stunning example of Romanesque architecture and features beautiful frescos and elaborately decorated floors. The highlight however is the amazing, panoramic view of Florence below you.

 

Bardini Gardens

The recently opened Bardini Gardens are a little known alternative to the ever-popular Boboli Gardens. You can forget you are even in a city wandering these quiet, romantic gardens, until you catch sight of the view. The gardens feature Roman statues, secret grottoes and colorful flowers. The centerpiece is an elaborate baroque staircase flanked by terraced lawns.

 

La Specola

Both fascinating and kind of creepy, La Specola is definitely a unique addition to any tour of Florence. This natural history museum is actually the oldest public museum in all of Europe. While wandering the wood paneled halls you will stumble across curiosities like a stuffed hippopotamus, exotic plants and a collection of 18th century medical instruments. The highlight is the museum's extensive collection of wax anatomical displays: realistic wax models of beautiful women splayed open to show their internal organs. These were once used to study the body before dissection became widespread.

 

Gucci Museum

If a creepy wax lady isn’t your thing, check out this museum that showcases the work of one of Florence's greatest fashion designers. Housed in a 14th century villa, the Gucci Museum mixes their classic clothing collection with contemporary art displays. You'll find everything from classic purses to iconic Oscar gowns to a custom Gucci Cadillac convertible. Before you leave, make sure to check out the (pricey) gift shop.

 

Fiesole Hill

Just a few miles outside of the city is you will find the charming town of Fiesole. A bus ride from the city center will get you there for around two euros. This is a great place to spend a relaxing afternoon exploring the town's Etruscan ruins, still operating amphitheater and Roman baths. The spotlight of course is the view of the surrounding Tuscan hillsides. You might just forget all about the busloads of tourists waiting for you back in town.

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About the Author

Stephanie Yoder

Stephanie Yoder, a RoamRight Blog Author

Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.

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