Planning a trip to Florence Italy doesn’t have to break the bank. Italy on a budget is not complicated, it just takes some thinking outside the box and doing your research. Kudos to you for doing just that!
There are plenty of things to do in Florence Italy on a budget. If you want to know what to see in Florence on the cheap, the possibilities are endless. Visiting this gorgeous Renaissance city is like walking through an open-air museum that won’t cost you a Euro. Consequently, it is not necessary to pay for all the top Florence attractions to have a wonderful experience and get a feel for this delightful city.
Here's a Shortcut
- Best Place to Stay in Florence on a Budget
- How to travel to Florence on a Budget
- Places to See in Florence Italy on a Budget
- Best Museums in Florence on a Budget
- Free Things to Do in Florence
Best Place to Stay in Florence on a Budget
I would venture that the best place to stay in Florence on a budget is an Airbnb rental. It will save you tons of money over a hotel.
This is my top tip of how to travel Italy on a budget! You will have more space and more amenities than a hotel, plus you won’t have to pay for multiple rooms for a family.
If you are staying in an Airbnb, there is the possibility of doing laundry, which will allow you to pack a carry-on and avoid baggage fees and lost luggage headaches.
Staying in an apartment allows you to buy some fun local groceries. It doesn’t have to be complicated- grab some pre-made pasta in the refrigerated section, local sauce, some mouth-watering pecorino cheese, and some fresh basil to throw on top and you have a meal that can feed 4 people for around 10 euro. Have this meal for dinner and maximize your budget by taking advantage of lunch deals around the city, which are always cheaper than dinner!
I also highly recommend grabbing something easy like fresh pastries, local fruit and yogurt for breakfast. The yogurt you find at the grocery in Italy is so delicious, and I particularly recommend stracciatella (chocolate shavings in vanilla yogurt) or limone (lemon). If you come in the summer, the fruit is magnificent and full of flavor, plus most of the options at the store are actually grown in Italy, which is a treat we are not used to in the States.
How to travel to Florence on a Budget
Cheap trips to Italy do exist, they just take some planning. If you want to find cheap flights to Florence, I recommend not flying into Florence at all! The best way to travel in Italy is by train.
Take the train from Pisa, where the budget airlines fly from major cities all over Europe. For example, while there aren’t usually cheap flights from London to Florence, there are regularly $26 roundtrip tickets on RyanAir to Pisa from all over Europe, including London Stansted Airport.
Places to See in Florence Italy on a Budget
If you visit Florence for the first time, it is so important to walk everywhere. As I mentioned, Florence itself is like an outdoor museum with stunning architecture that spans more than 1000 years of architectural styles, the most prevalent being Gothic and Renaissance.
Put away your phone (except for photos, of course!) and just wander a bit, walking down smaller streets and alleys. You can escape the hoards when you don’t follow the Google map route, but instead, make up your own path to the Florence attractions. Yes, you may get lost, but there are so many places to see in Florence that aren’t on the tourist trail.
Best Museums in Florence on a Budget
Stefano Bardini Museum
One of the best places to visit in Florence on a budget is the Museo Stefano Bardini. Bardini was one of the foremost antique collectors in Italy and his collection is full of fascinating art, suits of armor, dragon statues and a wild boar statue similar to the famous one at the Porcellino Market.
The admission tickets are less than half the price of other museums at €7.00 for full-price tickets. Children under 18 are free, as are disabled visitors and their companions.
Forte Di Belvedere
One of the most magnificent panoramic views of Florence and a great place to come at sunset, this 16th century fort next to the Boboli Gardens is a great deal, with entrance tickets at only €3 for full-price tickets and like many museums in Florence is free for children under 18 and disabled visitors and their companions.
Free Things to Do in Florence
Some of the best things to do in Florence are free! These are some of my favorites.
One free walking tour Florence offers is the original Florence Free Tour. There are other similar tours with the same structure, where you only tip what you can afford at the end! This is a great opportunity to get a sense of the city and the proximity of the Florence tourist attractions to one another. By taking one of these free walking tours you are sure to get started on the right foot (ha ha) sightseeing in Florence Italy.
Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the top things to do in Florence Italy and has amazing views of the city. After you get your fill of tourists and people selling trinkets at Piazzale Michelangelo, you will be delighted to find that on either side of it are free gardens to relax in and have a picnic. Walk down the hill to Giardino delle Rose for stunning gardens with views to die for all year round. On the other side of the hill, for a limited time each spring during the month of May, Giardino dell’Iris is open for free, as well.
Tucked behind the Duomo is a library with an entry garden that is a welcome reprieve from the crowds just around the corner. And, if you take the elevator to the top floor, you will have a jaw-dropping close up look at the Duomo. It’s a casual cafeteria, so simply pull up a chair and have a look!
Basilica of San Miniato al Monte
Have you ever thought you would listen to Gregorian monks chant in an 11th century church? You can do just that at 5:30 pm during the summer at San Miniato al Monte. This, along with wandering the church and the graveyard behind it, where the creator of Pinocchio is buried, are Florence activities you may not have heard of!
Another one of the top things to see in Florence for free is also a church and it has some unique features. Orsanmichele is a Gothic church and museum not far from the Duomo.
One fascinating thing about this church is that it was previously a granary and along the side of the sanctuary, you can see the grain chute openings in the bottom of the columns. This church has a museum that is open for free a few hours a week on Mondays, but the sanctuary is open much more frequently.
As you can see, there are plenty of cheap and free things to do in Florence. After all that walking, you are going to be hungry, so check out our post of what to eat in Florence Italy, including some of the best cheap eats around.