Florence is well loved by tourists. The architecture is stunning; the historical and cultural heritage is fascinating; and if you have never tasted Tuscan food, you are in for a treat.

It would be perfectly possible to wander around the city, see the major sites and have an amazing time under your own steam, but to see the city’s best, Florence tours with a local guide are highly recommended.

By exploring with someone in the know, you will get to experience the town’s culture and discover some of the city’s hidden charms in a way that only a local can show you. Here are some of the best off the beaten track attractions waiting for you here in the heart of Tuscany.

The Secret Hallways

In the Piazza della Signoria, a secret stairwell lies in waiting. Take the hidden entrance from the Uffizi Museum and follow the stairs up to the overhead passageway. The corridor stretches for nearly a kilometre along the river, all the way to the Ponte Vecchio.

The private passageway was originally constructed in 1564 by Giergio Vasari. The Medicis used it to walk between their residence at Palazzo Pitti and the Palazzo Vecchio.

Nowadays, the hallway houses an extensive collection of self-portraits by master painters from the sixteenth through to the twentieth century.

Lampredotto

Lampredotto is a cow's stomach boiled in a flavoursome broth of onion, herbs, tomatoes and carrots. This tender meat is served in a special bun that has been dipped in the broth (called a ‘semelle’) along with a good helping of salsa verde.

If you are looking for authentic experiences, trying Lampredotto at a street stall is one of the best. Florence tours offer the perfect opportunity to go for it!

Giardino Bardini

The Giardino Bardini is another of the city’s delightful secrets. This intimate garden was established in the Middle Ages, but restored in the early 1900s by an avid art collector named Stefano Bardini.

The atmosphere is peaceful, the flowers and views are beautiful, and there are plenty of cosy, quiet nooks for you to settle into during your time here. Look out for the tiny grottos, too.

17th Century Anatomical Waxes

The world’s largest collection of anatomical wax models is housed in La Specola, one of the first scientific museums to be opened to the general public in 1755.

The centuries-old waxes are surprisingly realistic and somewhat creepy. The women featured are normally in romantic poses, which has earned them the nickname ‘Venuses’.

La Specola also showcases an extensive collection of taxidermy. The star animal is a 17th century hippopotamus rumoured to have been kept in the Boboli Gardens by the Medicis.

Saving the best for last!
Photo by Heidi Kaden / Unsplash

Aperitivi and Live Music

When you start to feel peckish around 7pm, head over to the San Niccolò, Piazza Santa Spirito or Sant’Ambrogio districts to enjoy the aperitivo tradition.

Once you have paid a little extra than the standard prices for your ‘spritz’ (prosecco, soda and aperol), the bar will present you with a full spread of bitesize aperitivi.

Some venues, such as the Antico Caffe Del Moro play live music while you enjoy your cocktails and finger foods. It’s the perfect way to relax after a long day out seeing the best Florence tours have to offer!

As you can see, there are plenty of hidden quirks and cultural delights for you to discover during your visit to this iconic city.

The best Florence tours will be those given by a local guide and booked through a reputable company. Having someone in the know to show you around can make the experience all the more memorable!

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Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable excursions that are considered among some of the best. Florence tours are very popular, as are the Vintage Vespa trips, wine safaris and cooking classes. Wherever and whatever you want to explore Mauro's company promises excitement, adventure and above all, fun. If you're keen to experience the magic of Italy with the help of some passionate and knowledgeable tour guides, look no further than WalkAbout Florence for your next getaway.

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