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Boat Trips and Tours in Florence

One great way to take in the spectacular sights of Florence is by going on a boat tour. Taking to the water gives you a different perspective of the city and allows you to see a multitude of monuments you wouldn't be able to see from the land.

From its Renaissance art galleries to its historic bridges, the city is full of one-of-a-kind landmarks. So, book a boat tour in Florence and see the city in a new light.

You will find below all you need to know about boat tours, one of the most exciting outdoor activities in Florence.

There are plenty of boat tours in Florence that differ depending on your preferences. From detailed architecture to stalactite caves, you can see it all from the deck of a boat

Florence river cruise in a traditional barchetto

Starting in the center of Florence, you'll amble along the city streets with your guide, taking in its sights and sounds. As you walk towards the river, you'll pass by the Uffizi Gallery, which is home to masterpieces by da Vinci and Botticelli.

Once you hop aboard your Florentine barchetto, you'll start your journey down the River Arno. You'll gain a striking perspective of the city's Romanesque and Baroque architecture, and hear tales of Florence’s historic secrets.

Sunset gondola tour in Florence

The most romantic way to see the city of Florence is from the seat of a gondola, as the skies turn miraculous shades of pink and orange. You'll board your traditional Italian vessel and journey down the meandering River Arno.

Along the way, you'll pass under historic bridges and see an array of fascinating monuments that line the river bank. You'll hear interesting insights into the city as you sail past its many gems, before enjoying a celebratory aperitif.

Private Florence boat tour

Private boat tours in Florence allow you to have a more personalized experience. You'll have a professional guide who is dedicated to your enjoyment and will be happy to converse with you about the sights you see.

With a glass of prosecco in hand, you'll gain knowledge about the city that only locals are privy to.

Tuscan cruise with lunch

Cruises of Tuscany travel away from Florence to the Tyrrhenian Sea. You'll explore the cliffs and coves that line the coast, and see the pristine waters in this part of Italy.

You'll discover ancient watchtowers, stalactite caves and natural phenomena as you enjoy the sights from the water. You'll be provided with an Italian feast, prepared by your captain on board.

How much do boat tours in Florence cost?

Florence river cruises cost approximately €60 per person and you'll participate as part of a group.

Sunset excursions cost between €80 and €150 per participant. These include a short walking tour of the city and a guide who is trained in both art, and history.

Private boat trips cost around €150 per head, and you'll have a professional guide to provide information about landmarks you pass.

You can expect to pay €200 for a boat tour of Tuscany. This includes lunch, as well as soft and alcoholic beverages.

Which places are seen on a boat tour in Florence?

Located on the banks of the River Arno, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest and most popular art museums in the world. Founded in 1581 by the Medici family, the Uffizi Gallery was constructed over a period of 21 years and designed by Giorgio Vasari.

The building houses masterpieces by some of the most famous artists in history, including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael.

Over time, the gallery has expanded to over 13,000 square meters across more than 45 halls, in order to accommodate its ever-growing collection. Featuring mostly Renaissance art, the Uffizi Gallery exhibits over 100,000 drawings and prints alone.

Santa Trinita Bridge

Boat tours in Florence usually pass under the historic Santa Trinita Bridge. It is the oldest elliptic arch bridge in the world, dating back to the 16th century.

There have been several bridges built across the River Arno since the 13th century, two of which succumbed to flooding. After being rebuilt, the Santa Trinita Bridge was once again destroyed during World War II.

The reconstruction you see today has been reformed from original stones found in the river. During the 16th century, Cosimo II de' Medici married and had four statues erected on the bridge, to represent the seasons.

The spring statue — Primavera — lost its head during the World War II bombings and remained decapitated for several years after the reconstruction of the bridge.

Palazzo Corsini

Palazzo Corsini is a majestic example of baroque architecture that stands out along the banks of the River Arno. It serves as another reminder of the power of the Medici family, who constructed several grand palaces and buildings across Florence.

The palace was built over 50 years and was finally finished at the beginning of the 18th century. Several notable Florentine artists were commissioned to decorate its fine halls, including Dandini and Gherardini.

How long does a boat trip last?

Florence boat trips along the River Arno usually last around an hour. However, if you wish to travel to the Tuscan coast, you can expect to spend 8 hours exploring the seas in the west of Italy.

Where do boat tours leave from?

Typically, you'll meet your guide at the tour operator's office in the center of Florence. From there, you'll weave your way towards the River Arno, enjoying the sights of the city as you pass by. Some tours have offices on the banks of the river.

Wherever your tour departs from, you'll be informed of your meeting location with plenty of time to arrange transportation.

When is the best time for a boat trip in Florence?

While you can participate in a Florence boat trip at any time of day, sunset is the most spectacular time to sail along the water. You'll watch the city come to life as the sunshine is replaced with inky black skies and the city is illuminated with thousands of lights.

Boat excursions on the River Arno are an ideal way to become acquainted with the city, so book yours for your first day or two in Florence.

Which other water activities can be done in Florence?

Travel tips

  • Boat tours in Florence require good weather to operate. If it's raining, your tour will be canceled and rebooked for another day of your trip.
  • For a traditional Italian experience, travel down the River Arno on a barchetto — a type of Florentine gondola.
  • Arrive at your meeting point several minutes before your start time.