10 Non-Touristy Places to Visit in Florence, Italy | Solo Female Travel
Florence – the capital of Tuscany, is one of the busiest cities in Europe. The art and architecture lure travellers throughout the year. And if you are planning a solo trip to Florence, I suppose you already know about the top attractions of Florence. But what you might not know is the non-touristy places to visit in Florence. Yes, even in a touristy city like Florence, you have access to non-touristy corners like Oltrarno neighbourhood, Vasari Corridor, Fiesole, Sant’Ambrogio Market, and more.
Wished someone had spilt all the beans about the best-kept secrets of Florence? Do not worry—my command is to grant your wish!
So, if you want to explore this Italian city like a true Italian, keep reading. These non-touristy places will surely pique your interest.
If you are in Florence for a two- or three-day visit, explore one of these non-touristy places for a new experience. Or, if this is not your first time in the city, you can even consider this as an alternative guide to Florence.
Ready to explore the hidden gems of Florence? Let me take you through a new adventure awaiting you in Florence, Italy…
10 Non-Touristy Places in Florence, Italy
1. Oltrarno – Explore Beyond the Arno
Oltrarno means “beyond the Arno.” And that is exactly why everyone should spend their time in this neighbourhood of Florence.
Didn’t get it? Hold on, let me break it up for you. Oltrarno is where you get to live and breathe as a typical Florentine.
The neighbourhood lies south of the Arno River, just opposite all the must-visit tourist places in Florence.
In about 10 minutes (walking) from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, you will reach Oltrarno. Full of narrow alleys, cafés and pubs. I call it the coolest area of Florence.
That said, there’s a lot to do in this non-touristy area. Although with the spike in tourism, some spots are already under tourist radar, here are my must-do things in Oltrarno, Florence:
- Watch the artisans in their traditional element
- Visit the Pitti Palace – known for its Palentine Gallery
- Check out the greenery at Boboli Garden
- Study the gorgeous Renaissance Fresco cycle at Brancacci Chapel
- Hike up to the Basilica of San Miniato Al Monte Abbey for a heavenly sight of Florence
- Enjoy nightlife like a local at Piazza Santo Spirito
Besides, if you prefer to stay in a less touristy area in Florence, you’ll love to stay at Oltrarno. Plus, the stays are supremely affordable.
2. Le Murate: The Walled-Up Complex, 16 Minute Walk Away from Florence Cathedral
For an unforgettable solo adventure in Florence, visit the Le Murate Complex Via dell Agnolo. It is literally a non-touristy gem of the city! It’s sheer luck if you stumble upon this place without any prior knowledge, like I did.
The complex is nothing fancy. It blends effortlessly with the rest of the city. But what fancies me about this place is the history and culture of it. The moment you step inside the courtyard, you can sense the walls have a lot to say!
The Le Murate we witness today is a modern hub for artists and cultural events. In fact, it is a residential complex. But originally, Le Murate was a convent and a prison. Fascinating, right?
It was built for the Benedictine sisters in 1424. In the 19th century, with the turn of events under French rule, the convent transformed into a prison. It served as a prison for over 100 years.
Now, you can attend events and strike up a conversation with the locals to gain further insight into Le Murate. Also, there’s Caffé Letterario. Head up there for a cheap breakfast (the table tops are windows of prison) or art-filled activities.
3. Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella: One of the Oldest Pharmacies Worldwide
Next on the list is a pharmacy that dates back to 1221. I bet typical tourists have no idea about this spot in Florence. This place is the epitome of the elegance of the past. As you walk in, you will realise it is not like any ordinary pharmacy you’ve been to. And, of course, it smells really nice in there.
It is an ultimate testament to herbal care. You will learn about how Officina initially curated medicines for monks. And how it became a popular hub for perfumes and essential oils over four generations.
You can even collect some unique perfumes and skincare products suitable to your budget. Officina remains open every day from 9 am to 8 pm.
4. Le Cascine – The Cheapest Market of Florence
If you happen to be in Florence on Tuesday, a visit to Le Cascine, one of my favourite non-touristy places in Florence, is a must. It is an ideal place to see the Florentines up close.
Make your way to the Le Cascine at Parco delle Cascine (the biggest park in the city) as soon as it opens at 8 am. You can rent a Vespa and take a bike tour up to the market. Or you can opt for a tram from Santa Maria Novella Station.
Collect souvenirs, fresh produce like honey or jam, and many such items to nibble on. The market covers an area of one kilometre. It remains open till 2 pm.
Once you’re done touring the market, spend some time in the park. The greenery will surely soothe your eyes. After all, it is not a very common sight in Florence!
5. Visit Santa Trinita Bridge
Another non-touristy place in Florence is Santa Trinita Bridge. While Ponte Vecchio draws all the limelight, Santa Trinita demands equal attention!
You might even cross the bridge unknowingly or walk on it to picture the Ponte Vecchio. So, while you are there, learn about its history and the ups and downs the bridge has been through, and marvel at the architecture that is worth your time.
6. Bargello National Museum – The First National Museum of Italy
Tired of the crowded museums? Pay a visit to the Bargello National Museum. Being one of the non-touristy museums in Florence, it is comparatively less crowded. But people tend to skip it for Uffizi and Accademia.
Best part? The museum lies at the historical centre itself. Plus, the diverse collection of sculpture and Renaissance art of this museum gives equal competition to the popular museums of the city.
Here, you will find works of Michelangelo, Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Cellini and many more. Two must-see at Bargello National Museum:
- David’s statues in Donatello’s room
- Michelangelo’s free-standing sculpture of Bacchus
7. Vasari Corridor – The Secret Passageway
Literally a hidden gem of Florence, the Vasari Corridor connects two major attractions of Florence – the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace. Built by Giorgio Vasari in 1564, the corridor is one kilometre in length.
This remarkable corridor, now a museum, starts from the West Corridor of Uffizi. It follows the Arno River and extends toward Ponte Vecchio. From there, you will get an unparalleled view of the city.
The corridor further continues through Santa Felicita church. It allows you to peek inside without actually entering the church. The corridor ends at the Boboli Garden.
As you walk through the corridor, you will be greeted by history and art like the rest of Florence. Plus, some rare sights of Florence.
It is scheduled to re-open to the public this year itself. Book a tour in advance to this non-touristy place in Florence. And look at Florence from the perspective of the royals – the Medici.
8. Stibbert Museum and Garden: Escape from the Chaotic City Centre
Is collecting your hobby? Then, you will adore Stibbert’s collections. He was a passionate collector, so much so that he converted his 19th–century villa into a museum.
From arts to artefacts, he owns over 50,000 items. Amidst all the items, armour and weapons collection from different ages steals the limelight. It sure will leave you awestruck. His collection showcases the evolution and highlights the trends of different eras.
Once done with the museum, explore the garden encompassing the museum. The garden boasts a pond, an Egyptian temple, and fountains. The greenery ensures even under the Tuscan sun, you will be able to roam around in the garden smoothly.
You might wonder why such a diverse location comes under the non-touristy places to visit in Florence. This is because of the distance. Unlike other museums, it is a bit far from the historic centre of Florence.
To get there, you can either take a taxi or opt for the tram.
9. Fiesole – Feel Florence from a Scenic Height
Talking about non-touristy places in Florence, I cannot skip mentioning Fiesole. It is like a short day trip from Florence. Fiesole is just 30 minutes from Florence. It is a town in the suburbs of Florence perched on a hilltop.
You will get the entire view of Florence from here. Besides, check out the Etruscan and Roman heritage too. And if you are travelling to Florence in summer, do attend the summer festival – Estate Fiesolana.
10. Sant’Ambrogio Market – A Traditional Market
The last on the list of non-touristy places in Florence is Sant’Ambrogio Market. While Mercato Centrale is popular among tourists, Sant Ambrogio Market is quite the opposite. It is traditional, and Florentines flock to it on a day-to-day basis.
The foodie inside you will be jumping with joy after experiencing the true local food culture of Florence. The local vendors sell fresh produce, giving you an authentic farm-to-table feel. Also, treat yourself to regional delicacies. There are a lot of small eateries within the market.
Bonus: Check out Florence’s tiny wine windows, too. Order one usual and savour it.
My Ultimate Thought On Non-touristy Places in Florence
Apart from these ten non-touristy places to visit in Florence, you might come across many on your own.
It sure helps you connect with the city on a deeper level. Be it a neighbourhood, unpopular museums, secret corridors, or local markets, these non-touristy places will leave an everlasting impact.
And, if you need a guide to make your way to Florence, read my ultimate Florence guide for solo travellers.
Also, let me know in the comment your favourite non-touristy place in Florence. Ciao – see you around on my next blog.
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.