Gluten-Free Florence: A Travel Guide for Celiacs

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Italy is one of the most popular European countries to visit, especially for foodies and history lovers. The Mediterranean country boasts excellent attractions and some of the most notable artworks in the world! We at Happy Celiac want our gluten-free friends to spend their pre-vacation time building the ultimate Florence itinerary rather than worrying about where they can find gluten-free restaurants in the city. That is why we have dug our heels in and done all the heavy lifting to create this ultimate guide to eating gluten-free in Florence. This guide won’t only cover where you can find gluten-free restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores, but we will also provide tips and tricks to eating gluten-free in Florence so that our celiac travel friends can become experts in traveling gluten-free! So grab a spoon and let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

Tips for Eating Gluten-Free in Florence

Before heading out on your holiday to Florence, we first have a few pre-travel tips for those who want to make eating gluten-free in Florence as seamless as possible. 

Get an Italian Gluten-Free Restaurant Card 

One of the biggest worries for celiac travelers is that restaurants won’t understand what celiac disease is or grasp the severity of this autoimmune condition. This concern is even greater when there is a language barrier. However, celiacs don’t need to rely on inaccurate translator apps or learn Italian to ensure their needs are understood. Instead, you can download our Italian gluten-free restaurant card and print it out before traveling to Florence! This is the ultimate travel companion for celiacs. The small card, written by a local Italian and seasoned celiac traveler, is specifically tailored to Italian cuisine. It includes a brief overview of what can and cannot be consumed, how to prevent cross-contamination, and how to ensure your meal is celiac-safe. Our Italian gluten-free restaurant card advocates for your gut and ensures your dietary needs and requirements as a celiac are safely met!

Be Careful With Beers Labeled Gluten-Free

A cold beer on a hot Italian day is a very tempting offer, especially for tourists who have been walking the city all day. However, if you’re a celiac, we do have a warning to impart. Beers labeled gluten-free beers aren’t actually brewed naturally gluten-free, instead, they are gluten-removed. While there is much debate around whether or not it is safe for celiacs to consume these beers, we will leave it up to you to use your best judgment. For peace of mind, always ensure gluten-free beers are labeled with the official EU symbol for gluten-free products. One of the most popular Italian breweries that offers gluten-removed beers is Peroni. 

Check Out the Italian Celiac Association

If you’re a celiac traveling to Italy, you should definitely familiarize yourself with the Italian Celiac Association (AiC). The organization has fantastic resources on its website, such as information on gluten-free Italian brands, local tips, recipes, and more. Every restaurant that is AiC certified has undergone training on what celiac disease is and how to safely prepare food for gluten-free patrons. Make sure to download the AiC app as there is a directory of gluten-free restaurants all across Italy!

Official European gluten-free crossed grain symbol
Official gluten-free symbol in the EU

Make Reservations

The gluten-free restaurants in Florence listed below are the best in the city but they are by no means a secret. Many of the establishments have loyal local patrons as well as many eager tourists who are looking to indulge in their gluten-free dishes. It’s best to call ahead and make a reservation to guarantee you’ll get a table, especially at dinner time. Also, be sure to mention in advance that you are celiac as this will give the kitchen time to prepare a safe space to make celiac meals. 

Check the Restaurant’s Hours Before Arriving

In Italy, many restaurants have specific hours for serving meals and other hours for just snacks and drinks. For example, if you rock up to a restaurant for lunch at 3:30 p.m., there is a good possibility the establishment may be closed or just serving drinks. While you can still find plenty of food to grab on the go like pizza and sandwiches, a good rule of thumb is to keep in mind that most Italian restaurants serve lunch from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. and dinner from around 7 p.m. onwards.

Best Gluten-Free Restaurants in Florence

Below you will find the best restaurants, bakeries, cafés, and gelato shops in Florence. Whether you’re looking to devour a gluten-free pizza, sample tiramisu, or indulge in a saucy pasta, this list has got you covered! 

If you’re an avid traveler or someone who is tired of researching gluten-free restaurants in every new city they visit, then consider downloading our ebook “100% Dedicated Gluten-Free Restaurants Around the World,” which features over 1000 restaurants and bakeries worldwide that are verified gluten-free. This way, you’ll have the best gluten-free restaurants on hand no matter where your adventures or work takes you! 

Editor’s Note:

Restaurants and bakeries marked with a “★” are completely gluten-free. In all other establishments, gluten-free items are offered alongside gluten-containing options, and cross-contamination may be a concern for individuals with celiac disease.

Also, please be aware that restaurants and their menus are subject to change. To ensure a safe and enjoyable dining experience, we strongly recommend contacting the restaurant directly before planning your visit.

Sgrano ★

This 100% gluten-free restaurant is one of the best places in the city to try authentic Italian breads, sandwiches, and desserts. Visitors will find an array of Italian celiac options, like schiacciate (crispy Tuscan flatbread), focaccia, hot focaccia sandwiches, biscotti, and fluffy tiramisu. This rustic restaurant is located less than a five-minute walk from the Basilica of Santa Croce.

Address: Via dei Neri, 49r, 50122 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Osteria dello Sgrano ★

Osteria dello Sgrano, the sister restaurant of Sgrano, is an excellent celiac-friendly restaurant for those looking to get their fill of homemade gluten-free pasta. Visitors can opt to enjoy an aperitif on the veranda or cozy up at a table inside. The restaurant serves up 100% gluten-free dishes along with vegan and lactose-free options. Trust us, once you sample one of Osteria’s pasta dishes, you’ll be making reservations to come back again and again!

Address: Via dei Benci, 30r, 50122 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Risotteria Melotti ★

Located a few short steps from the Museo Leonardo Da Vinci, this gluten-free restaurant is not to be missed. Risotteria Melotti offers a great selection of authentic Tuscan dishes, such as arancini, tiramisu with melotti rice plum cake, and 15 different kinds of risotto! If that’s not enough to convince you of a visit, they also have a lovely veranda with views of the Domul Santa Maria del Fiore.

Address: Via dei Servi, 65r, 50122 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Gluten-free dish at Sgrano in Florence, Italy
© Sgrano | Instagram

Ristorante Quinoa ★

Ristorante Quinoa, located just down the street from the Santa Maria Novella, is another excellent restaurant to visit while wandering the heart of Florence. Visitors can opt to sit outside in the courtyard or at a table inside. While the entire menu is gluten-free (with some vegan and lactose-free options), some of the more popular dishes to try here include ravioli, gnocchi, the vegan burger, and Pad Thai. This restaurant recently blew up on TikTok, so be sure to call in advance to ensure you get a table!

Address: Vicolo di Santa Maria Maggiore, 1, 50123 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Bottega Artigiana del Gusto ★

If you’re on the hunt for a gluten-free bakery in Florence, then make your way to Bottega Artigiana del Gusto in the Gavinana district south of the Arno. This lovely bakery offers only celiac-friendly goodies, like profiteroles, puff pastries, and breads. Bottega Artigiana del Gusto doesn’t only sell fantastic baked goods, but also gluten-free pizza, sandwiches, and several gluten-free products like pasta that visitors can bring back to their Airbnb.

Address: Via Erbosa, 12r, 50126 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Raw Vegan Firenze ★

Those looking for a healthy gluten-free restaurant in Florence should check out Raw Vegan Firenze. This 100% vegan and gluten-free restaurant serves raw vegan dishes and drinks for those who want to help heal their body. Visitors will find a delicious menu of food, such as pizza, poke bowls, burgers, and wraps.

Address: Via Sant’Agostino, 11B, 50125 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Gluten-free fried foods at Ristorante Quinoa in Florence, Italy
© Ristorante Quinoa | Instagram

L’OV Osteria Vegetariana ★

Two blocks south of the Ponte alla Carraia sits a restaurant built for vegetarians and celiacs, L’OV Osteria Vegetariana. The interior has a rustic feel with plenty of lush plants, creating a cozy and upscale feel. The restaurant is only open for dinner (except on Sundays) and has a great menu of regional and international-inspired dishes. All of the food on the menu is vegetarian and gluten-free, plus there are several vegan dishes.

Address: Piazza del Carmine, 4R, 50123 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Raffaella Boutique ★

If you’re looking to grab a snack on the go or stock up your Airbnb pantry with gluten-free goodies, then head over to Raffaella Boutique in the Le Cure neighborhood. The shop has plenty of pre-packaged celiac products such as cookies, fresh pasta, pizza, granola bars, and biscotti, or you can grab a fresh baked good to go. Lactose-free options are also available.

Address: Via Madonna della Querce, 20R, 50133 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Mama Eat

While Mama Eat may not be a 100% gluten-free restaurant, it might as well be since everything on the menu can be made gluten-free (and most lactose-free)! Mama Eat is located a five-minute walk from the Basilica of Santa Croce and serves up fantastic pizzas, pasta, fried foods, and Italian desserts.

Address: Via dell’Acqua, 2, 50122 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Burger at Raw Vegan Firenze in Florence, Italy
© Raw Vegan Firenze | Instagram

Mister Pizza

If you’re in the Piazza del Duomo and craving a slice of the good stuff, then make your way to Mister Pizza. This is the ultimate spot for celiacs to enjoy a slice of gluten-free pizza in Florence as the restaurant is located right in front of the Duomo and is surprisingly very affordable. All of the pizzas can be made sans gluten, including the calzones. Oh, and the cherry on top? The restaurant is open until 4 a.m., so if you’re craving a saucy slice of za after a night out, head to Mister Pizza! There are two locations in the city with the other Mister Pizza located near Casa Buonarroti.

Address: Various locationsVisit Website

Ristorante Lorenzo de’ Medici

Those looking for an upscale elegant restaurant for a date night in Florence should make their way to Ristorante Lorenzo de’ Medici. This Tuscan restaurant is AiC-certified and serves up some seriously fantastic gluten-free dishes, such as pizza, truffle ravioli, and classic Italian desserts.

Address: Via del Giglio, 49/51 r, 50123 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Da Garibardi

Trattoria Da Garibardi is another fantastic Tuscan restaurant with a warm rustic vibe inside. Visitors can sit down at a table surrounded by stone walls and arches while sampling some delicious dishes off their gluten-free menu like Florentine steak, wild boar, pizza, and homemade pasta.

Address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 38R, 50123 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Gluten-free pizza from Mister Pizza in Florence, Italy
© Mister Pizza | Instagram

Le Botteghe Di Donatello

Located in the heart of Florence right across from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore sits Le Botteghe Di Donatello. This lovely Italian restaurant offers fantastic views of the surrounding area from both its indoor and outdoor dining areas. Visitors will find a great selection of gluten-free foods, including Florentine bruschetta, risotto, pizza, and chocolate cake.

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 28R, 50122 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Trattoria Cammillo

This cozy trattoria near Pitti Palace offers a great space for celiacs to enjoy a meal in Florence. While the restaurant isn’t 100% gluten-free, they are AiC certified and offer a great selection of celiac-friendly pasta, fish dishes, and even fried foods (we recommend trying the fried zucchini flowers). This is a very popular restaurant in the city, so we highly recommend booking your table well in advance.

Address: Borgo S. Jacopo, 57/r, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Pizzeria La Luna

Another fantastic place to grab a slice of gluten-free pizza in the city is at Pizzeria La Luna. There are two locations in Florence; one near the Italian Football Museum and the original near the Torre della Zecca. Both establishments serve up classic Italian pizzas with gluten- and lactose-free options, along with other delicious foods normally off-limits to celiacs, like fried mozzarella and gluten-free beers. Tourists can drop by to dine inside or order for takeout or delivery.

Address: Via Vincenzo Gioberti, 93R, 50121 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Gluten-free steak at Le Botteghe Di Donatello in Florence, Italy
© Le Botteghe Di Donatello | Instagram

Hostaria il Desco

Those looking for a nice date night restaurant that serves up gluten and non-gluten regional dishes should book a table at Hostaria il Desco. This classic brick-lined trattoria cooks up some seriously delicious meals and there is a separate menu for celiacs. Some highly recommended sans-gluten dishes include the Chianina beef filet that’s covered in a fresh black truffle and white truffle cheese sauce and the pistachio cheesecake! Dishes can also be ordered for delivery through Deliveroo.

Address: Via delle Terme, 23/R, 50123 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Ciro & Sons

This elegant restaurant located near the Basilica di San Lorenzo is the perfect place to stop in for lunch or dinner when touring the city. Visitors will find a fantastic selection of gluten- and lactose-free options, as well as vegan plates. In fact, all of the food on the menu can be made without gluten, like pizza, pasta, tiramisu, and fried calamari.

Address: Via del Giglio, 28/r, 50123 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Pasticceria Gualtieri

If you’re near the Boboli Gardens and are looking for a sweet or savory snack, then make your way to Pasticceria Gualtieri. This lovely bakery has a great selection of gluten-free baked goodies, like cream-filled croissants, profiteroles, and millefeuille. We recommend trying the shop’s specialty – a one-of-a-kind gluten-free cake called Iris cake that was created by the bakery owner to celebrate the flavors of Florence! This is a great spot to grab a treat on the go or enjoy a light pasta lunch.

Address: Via Senese, 18/red, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy

Gluten-free spaghetti from Mama Eat in Rome, Italy
© Mama Eat | Instagram

Cortese Café 900 ★

Located right across the street from Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, this organic pastry and ice cream shop only serves up treats that are organic, lactose-free, vegan, and gluten-free. Owner Vito Cortese has perfected his own raw baking method that doesn’t include the use of flour, eggs, milk, or butter, offering a variety of goodies to those with allergies or who are health-conscious.

Address: P.za di Santa Maria Novella, 12R, 50123 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Grom ★

Grom is a well-established gelato shop with multiple locations throughout Italy. The shop is 100% gluten-free and offers a large selection of ice creams and gluten-free cones, plus a good selection for those who are lactose intolerant.

Address: Various locationsVisit Website

Antica Gelateria Fiorentina ★

Another excellent ice cream shop to try out is Antica Gelateria Fiorentina, located beside the Basilica di San Lorenzo. Those cruising the nearby attractions can pop in and grab a sorbet or ice cream to go in a cup or a cone. The entire establishment is gluten-free and also offers a variety of lactose-free and vegan options.

Address: Via Faenza, 2a, 50123 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Gluten-free pastries from Bottega Artigiana del Gusto in Florence, Italy
© Bottega Artigiana del Gusto | Instagram

Gelateria Roberto

If you’re wandering in the Navoli district of Florence and are looking to cool down, then head to Gelateria Roberto. This gelato shop offers gluten-free options along with a spacious interior with tables to sit down and enjoy your sweet treat.

Address: Via Giovan Filippo Mariti, 3, 50127 Firenze FI, ItalyVisit Website

Gelateria SottoZero

Gelateria SottoZero is a chain of ice cream shops with multiple locations across Florence. This gelateria offers a large selection of creamy gluten-free ice creams, along with gluten-free cones.

Address: Various locationsVisit Website

Permanently Closed Gluten-Free Florence Restaurants

  • Il Desco Bistrot
  • Starbene Gold Bakery
  • Bioveggy
Gluten-free gelato from Antica Gelateria Fiorentina in Florence, Italy
© Antica Gelateria Fiorentina | Instagram

Best Hotels in Florence for Celiacs

When it comes to finding accommodation for a holiday, many travelers choose to book hotels that offer complimentary breakfast or an on-site restaurant to save their wallets and get the most out of their time on vacation. Unfortunately, not all hotels think of their celiac guests and often offer little to no gluten-free options. That’s why we have gone out of our way to find the best hotels in Florence for celiacs. All the hotels listed below are certified by the AiC and offer on-site restaurants and/or breakfast with more than just one gluten-free option. 

Those uneasy about eating gluten-free at a hotel could also opt to book an Airbnb, as most rentals come with a kitchen where tourists can prepare their own meals knowing there won’t be any cross-contamination.

Best Supermarkets in Florence for Celiacs

Italy is actually a very celiac-friendly country with all of the top supermarket brands like Conad, Coop, and Carrefour offering a fantastic selection of gluten-free goodies such as cookies, crackers, pasta, bread, cereals, and more. For a dedicated gluten-free supermarket in Florence, head to Riccardo Gasperini Senza Glutine

Must-Know Italian Words and Phrases for Celiacs

While it’s not necessary to learn Italian before visiting Florence, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with some phrases and words to help you on your holidays. Below are some must-know phrases and words for celiacs. While you might have your phone on you at all times, picking up these few key phrases can help you read Italian labels and menus much quicker. If you don’t want to stress about trying to explain your celiac needs in another language, then consider downloading our Italian gluten-free restaurant card.

  • Gluten-free — Senza glutine
  • Flour — Farina
  • Wheat — Grano
  • Barley — Orzo
  • Rye — Segale
  • Oats — Avena
  • Spelt — Farro
  • Breadcrumbs — Briciole di pane
  • Semolina — Semolino
  • Wafer — Wafer
  • Bread — Pane
  • Breaded — Impanato
  • May contain traces of gluten. — Può contenere tracce di glutine.

Everything Else You Need to Know Before Traveling to Florence

As we stated earlier, we don’t want your holiday to be based solely on where you can and cannot eat. So to help you seamlessly plan your holiday to the Art Capital of Europe, we’ve gathered all the must-see attractions and all the relevant information you need to know to have a fun and stress-free vacation in Florence. 

Best Time to Visit Florence

The best time to visit Florence really depends on how you want to experience the city. Florence is an incredibly popular place to visit, especially in the summer due to the weather, so those looking to avoid long queues and crowded city streets should steer clear of the city from June until September. Florence’s shoulder seasons are a great alternative for travelers who are still craving warm weather and are looking for more budget-friendly options. The fall shoulder season (October) and spring shoulder season (April and May) still offer warm temperatures hanging around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Chances of rain are a little higher in Tuscany during this time, but the tradeoff is that you’ll have fewer crowds and lower prices. 

How to Get Around Florence

Getting around Florence is quite an easy task seeing as most of the attractions are in the city center. Using your own two feet to navigate the historic city center is the best way to get from attraction to attraction, especially since the center is a designated Limited Traffic Zone (ZTL), meaning only those with a permit can drive on the streets. You can actually walk from one end of the old town to the other in about 30 minutes! 

If your Florence itinerary takes you outside of the city center, then you’ll want to grab a multi-destination or one-way public transit ticket from a newsstand or tobacco shop. Bus and tram tickets purchased on-board from the driver are more expensive. Another option for getting around outside the city center is by using taxis or Uber.

Best Things to Do in Florence

Now that you know when to visit and how to get around, let’s make sure you’re visiting the best attractions in Florence!

Top cityscape view on the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore church and old town in Florence
© RossHelen | shutterstock.com

Discover Florence’s Top Attractions in Piazza del Duomo

Piazza del Duomo is a must-see in Florence for tourists, especially since it’s home to some of the city’s most iconic attractions. Visitors should start their tour of the plaza off with a visit to the Florence Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Travelers will be awe-struck by the Gothic and Renaissance-style interior, which boasts an iconic painted dome and stunning frescoes. The cathedral and Crypt of Santa Reparata are free to visit, but tourists wishing to explore the on-site museum or experience breathtaking views of the Duomo from the top of Giotto’s Bell Tower will need to purchase tickets. We highly recommend booking tickets well in advance as no matter what time of year you visit, the cathedral is packed with people. Other notable attractions around or near the Duomo include the Opera del Duomo Museum, the Museo Leonardo Da Vinci, and the Leonardo da Vinci Interactive Museum

David by Michelangelo at the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, Italy
© Isogood_patrick | shutterstock.com

See Michaelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery

It should come as no surprise that some of the most famous Italian artworks come from and are on display in Florence; it’s the Art Capital of Europe, after all! The Accademia Gallery is easily one of the most famous tourist attractions as the museum is home to incredible masterpieces like Michaelangelo’s David and Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabines. Several other recognizable Italian artists also have their work on display here, like Botticelli, Da Vinci, and Caravaggio. We highly recommend you purchase your entrance tickets well in advance here.

People sitting on the steps of the Basilica di San Lorenzo church in Florence, Italy
© JanKranendonk | Depositphotos

See Michelangelo’s Library at the Basilica di San Lorenzo

The Basilica di San Lorenzo is an absolute gem to visit and the oldest Florentine cathedral in the city. Visitors can tour the church with an audio guide and admire its incredible frescoes and painted dome, along with its exquisite marble detailing. There are several notable pieces inside that were designed and executed by Michaelangelo, including the Sagrestia Nuova, a sacristy housing the Medici family’s monuments, and the Laurentian Medici Library, which houses over 11,000 Medici family manuscripts. Visitors can also see the tombs of the Medici family in the Cappelle Medicee located in the cathedral. 

Uffizi Gallery, East Corridor, one of the main museums in Florence
© T photography | shutterstock.com

View Works by Botticelli at The Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most popular attractions in Florence and for a good reason. It is known worldwide for its impressive collection of artworks ranging from the Medieval Ages to modern times that spans over two large floors. This art museum is so popular that it sees roughly four million visitors every year (that’s nearly 11,000 visitors per day), so visitors will want to buy entrance tickets well in advance. Some of the highlights inside the Uffizi Gallery include The birth of Venus by Botticelli, Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci, and Medusa by Caravaggio. Visitors should expect to spend about four hours inside the Uffizi Gallery. 

Tourists in Wonderful Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy
© Olena Kosynska | shutterstock.com

Go For a Walk in Giardino di Boboli

If you’re looking to enjoy an afternoon stroll outside, then make your way to the ever-beautiful gardens of Giardino di Boboli. This open-air museum and gardens feature several beautiful sculptures from the 17th and 18th centuries, along with Roman antiquities. Visitors could easily spend half a day exploring all the buildings, artworks, flower gardens, and paths in the massive 111-acre park. Giardino di Boboli was originally laid out in the mid-16th century by the Medici family in an Italian style. It quickly became one of the most important Italian-style gardens in the world and an iconic model for other gardens in Europe. You can purchase your entrance tickets to the Boboli Gardens here.

Interiors of Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy
© isogood | Depositphotos

Explore Pitti Palace

Right beside Giardino di Boboli sits another excellent Florence tourist attraction, Pitti Palace! Pitti Palace was originally built in the 15th century as the private residence of a wealthy merchant. Since then, the Medici, the Hapsburg-Lorraine, and the Savoy dynasties have called Pitti Palace home for about four centuries. Today, this massive complex is home to an incredible collection of paintings, sculptures, and other important objects from Florence’s past. Visitors can tour this opulent estate on their own or book a guided tour of the palace and Boboli Gardens. Highlights of the estate include the Royal Apartments, the Medici Treasury, and the Palatine Gallery. If you are visiting Pitti Palace without a guided tour, you can purchase your tickets in advance here.

Beautiful sunset over Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo), Florence, Italy
© gillmar | shutterstock.com

Enjoy the Views from Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo is a hillside garden that is a must-see for those sightseeing in Florence. Visitors can take in incredible views of the city from the plaza’s ideal hillside setting and even snap a picture of the iconic bronze replica statue of Michaelangelo’s David towering over the city skyline. While the views are always special from the plaza, sunset time is particularly captivating as tourists will get to watch the soft golden-hour colors blanket Florence. However, because it’s so popular at golden hour, we recommend getting there an hour beforehand to grab a good spot to view the sunset. 

Ponte Vecchio bridge over the Arno River in Florence, Italy
© fokke baarssen | shutterstock.com

Shop for Souvenirs on the Ponte Vecchio

One unique attraction in Florence that is not to be missed is Ponte Vecchio. This 14th-century Medieval-covered bridge arches over the Arno River and is Florence’s oldest bridge (and the only one to survive WWII untouched). The bridge was once the home of the Butchers Guild in the 1500s where fish and meats were sold in make-shift shops suspended above the river and held up by wooden stilts. But this soon became an issue for the Medici family as their primary residence at Pitti Palace used the bridge to connect the family with Florence’s government and aristocracy. The smell from the butchers was quite unbearable, so in 1590, Medici Grand Duke Ferdinando I expelled the merchants from the bridge and invited goldsmiths and jewelers to occupy the space. However, getting rid of the Butcher’s Guild wasn’t the total end game of the Medici family. Grand Duke Cosimo I, the father of Ferdinando, came up with the idea of a specialized walkway lined with precious artworks that only the Medici family could use. You know, to avoid rubbing shoulders with the common folks! Today, the private walkway is known as the Renaissance Vasari corridor (Corridoio Vasariano) and can only be visited with a licensed guide, or tourists can roam the souvenir and jewelry shops on the main level on their own.  

View of Piazza della Signoria square with Palazzo Vecchio reflecting in a puddle at sunrise in Florence, Italy
© Sergey Dzyuba | shutterstock.com

Discover the Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio, constructed in the 14th century, is Florence’s historic town hall. This beautiful building boasts some incredible sculptures on its exterior and equally exquisite sights on the inside. Visitors can explore the ornate Renaissance chambers and paintings, Roman ruins, and even the remains of a medieval fortress. Highlights of the attraction include the Hall of Five Hundred (which you might recognize from the movie Inferno with Tom Cruise) and the exceptional panoramic views from atop Arnolfo Tower. Visitors can visit the courtyard for free, but admission into the museum and building does require a ticket (which we recommend buying in advance here). 

Cathedral Santa Maria dei Fiore, Florence, Italy
© pavel068 | shutterstock.com

Visit Michelangelo and Galileo’s Tombs at the Basilica of Santa Croce

If you haven’t gathered this already, Florence is home to some of the world’s most famous artists, politicians, and scientists. You can view the tombs of two of the most prominent Florentine figures, Michaelangelo and Galileo Galilei, at the Basilica of Santa Croce. This Neo-Gothic Franciscan church is the world’s largest Franciscan church and it remains closely tied with Italy’s patron saint, Saint Francis. Local lore even says the church was discovered by the beloved Saint Francis. Inside, visitors will find eye-catching frescoes and sixteen chapels ornately decorated. It is said that Michaelangelo chose Santa Croce as his final resting place so that on Judgement Day, the first thing he would see is Brunelleschi’s dome at Pazzi Chapel through Santa Croce’s open doors. You can purchase your entrance ticket in advance here.

Best Day Trips From Florence

While there is no shortage of fun things to do in Florence, visitors should plan to spend a day or two in the Italian countryside to get a feel for local life outside Florence. Below are the best day trips to consider when visiting Florence! 

The world famous Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa, Italy
© Rolf_52 | shutterstock.com

Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of Italy’s most quirky and popular attractions, so why not see it for yourself with a day trip from Florence? Pisa is easily reached from Florence in about an hour and 10 minutes by both car or train. Once there, you can of course snap a photo in front of the iconic leaning tower, but you can also explore other topnotch attractions nearby like the Piazza del Duomo, the Pisa Cathedral, and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. If you and your group are looking to cool off with a swim, then hit the water slides at Amusement Park Piccolo Mondo or make your way to one of the sandy beaches at Marina di Pisa. Pisa can be visited on a self-guided day tour or as part of a full-day guided tour group from Florence that includes transportation, attraction tickets, and a winery visit. 

Aerial cityscape view from the tower on Bologna old town center with Maggiore square in Italy
© RossHelen | shutterstock.com

Bologna

Italian regions are very unique, and while Florence is captivating in its own right, so is the neighboring city of Bologna. Bologna is well worth a visit, especially since it’s only an hour and a half bus/car ride away. Bologna boasts a rich history to be explored, specifically its academic and cuisine-based history! Visitors can visit the Western world’s oldest continually operating university, the University of Bologna, which was established in 1022. Other must-see attractions in the city include the portico arcades of Via Rizzoli, the medieval Two Towers near the Palazzo della Mercanzia, and the Piazza Maggiore. 

Scenic view of ocean and harbor in colorful village Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
© Martin M303 | shutterstock.com

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is the ideal Florence day trip destination for those who want to escape the bustling city life and experience the Italian Riviera. The area encompasses a collection of colorful seaside villages that have been built along a rugged coastline on steep terraces. Here, you and your group can enjoy sweeping views from the Sentiero Monterosso cliffside hiking trail (which connects the villages), head to the beach for a day of swimming in the sea, or explore one of the five villages, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, or Monterosso. To get the most out of your day trip to Cinque Terre, we recommend joining a guided tour from Florence.

San Gimignano medieval town, Tuscany, Italy
© waku | shutterstock.com

San Gimignano

Another fantastic day-trip destination from Florence is San Gimignano – a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its picturesque skyline and medieval towers. The 13th-century walled town is the ideal place to get lost in Italian architecture and visit countryside attractions. Visitors can climb up the Torre Grossa for unmatched views of the town and surrounding olive and grape fields, and explore the attractions at Piazza del Duomo. This is a great destination for those who want to experience a quaint Tuscan village. We recommend visiting San Gimignano on a full-day guided tour, but tourists can also explore the town on their own seeing as it’s only an hour’s drive from Florence or an hour and 40-minute bus/train ride. 

Landscape of the Tuscany seen from the walls of Montepulciano, Italy
© Jarek Pawlak | shutterstock.com

Montepulciano

Those looking to venture out to the countryside and visit some of Italy’s famous wineries should consider booking a full-day tour to Montepulciano. Visitors can sample Montepulciano’s famous Vino Nobile wines at one of the many cellars in the village, visit the Renaissance cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or roam the narrow stone streets to explore the city’s eye-catching medieval architecture. There are several guided tour packages from Florence to Montepulciano (including options to group visits to Montepulciano and with other nearby towns and vineyards), or tourists can make their own way there in just over an hour by car. Public transit to Montepulciano is possible but requires multiple transfers and takes over three hours. 

Well, there you have it, the ultimate guide to visiting Florence as a gluten-free tourist. We hope you have found all the information you need to make your trip to Florence unforgettable!

Ben is the founder of Happy Celiac and a seasoned globetrotter with over 15 years of experience living gluten-free. He has embarked on a full-time travel adventure for the past decade, crisscrossing the globe from Europe to South East Asia and the Americas, exploring gluten-free dining options in every corner of the world. His first-hand experience in navigating the culinary intricacies of gluten-free travel has given him a unique perspective on travel and adventure, which he shares through his writing. His expertise and authority in the field make him an excellent resource for anyone looking to explore new destinations.

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