Florence is fueled by art and architecture, with a healthy dose of delicious Tuscan cuisine thrown in for good measure. With everything from Renaissance palaces to sculptures by Michelangelo, the capital of Tuscany soon captures the hearts of curious explorers.
Free walking tours in Florence are a popular way to check out the city. You’ll discover iconic landmarks as well as hidden gems, as you explore from river to rooftop.
How do free walking tours in Florence work?
Is this your first time contemplating booking free tours in Florence? If so, don’t worry, the concept is pretty simple. There are no fixed prices for these excursions, and no booking fee is required when you reserve your place online.
All you need to do is take some cash with you and tip the guide after the tour. The amount is entirely up to you.
How much should you tip for a free walking tour in Florence?
While there is no specified price for free walking tours in Florence, it’s always good to have an idea of how much other travelers tip. Most people offer around €10 or €15 per person. Some have given just €5 while others fork out €50 for particularly memorable experiences.
The rule of thumb is to consider the tour length and how informative the guide was, then tip accordingly.
What are the best free walking tours in Florence?
The huge variety of free Florence walking tours could keep you busy for weeks. Yet if you only have a short time in the city, these are the cream of the crop.
Renaissance and Medici free walking tours
If it’s your first time in Florence, these historic tours are a superb introduction to this ancient city. They cover the major attractions as well as a few hidden wonders, with plenty of fascinating facts to accompany the visits.
Find out how the powerful Medici banking family influenced the city’s history, and see where these famous characters went about their daily lives. You will pass by the Medici Chapel and the Palazzo Medici Riccardi which was the private family residence. History buffs will love discovering that Lorenzo the Magnificent once lived here.
You’ll discover the city’s Renaissance legacy everywhere you turn in Florence – it really is a masterclass in architecture and artistry. Other tour highlights include the San Lorenzo market and church, the Gothic cathedral, and the beautiful Baptistery of St. John.
Most of these historic excursions end at the Ponte Vecchio – the famous medieval stone bridge with shops built on top of the arches.
Florence from above free walking tours
Enjoy a different perspective of this beautiful Tuscan city as you head to some of the highest points in town. You’ll escape the bustle by wandering along hidden alleyways and through tranquil gardens, eventually ending up at the old city walls. Enjoy the shade of the olive groves as you stop for a breather.
From here you will enjoy superb panoramas out across Florence, so keep your camera handy. See if you can spot some of the city’s famous monuments as your guide regales you with local stories and folklore.
Back down in the historic center, you’ll visit Galileo’s House and the Bardini Gardens, as well as St. George’s Gate and Belvedere Fortress. Other highlights include San Miniato’s Gate and some wonderfully perfumed rose gardens.
You do need to be relatively fit as the walk uphill requires a bit of effort, but the pace will be relaxed so just take it slow and steady.
Sunset Florence free walking tours
If you thought Florence was gorgeous by day, just wait until you see it at sunset. The oranges and golds flood the city with color, making the terracotta rooftops glow before dusk descends.
You’ll be exploring off the beaten tourist trail on these free tours in Florence as well as taking in some of the classic monuments. Favorite stops include the Piazza Antinori, the Church of San Gaetano, and the Palacio Strozzi.
The final moment of magic takes place from your vantage point on Ponte Vecchio – Florence's most atmospheric bridge. Watch as the sunk sinks behind the city, and feel the romance fill the air as Florence’s night scene gets going.
Legends and ghosts free walking tours
Discover the darker side of Florence on these legendary walking excursions. There’s history and art to enjoy, but the main focus will be on surprising anecdotes, tall tales, and creepy stories about the city’s former inhabitants.
The tour begins at Piazza Santissima Annunziata where you’ll learn about the city’s first orphanage, and hear how a famous painter dealt with some disagreeable monks. Next up is Piazza San Marco, the site where Cosimo the Elder was deceived into spending much of the Medici fortune.
Discover the legends that surround Piazza Duomo, where the church hides secrets about how sculptor Donatello once saved someone’s life. You’ll have your fill of intrigue, ghosts, and ancient family dramas on these fun Florence walking tours, so keep your wits about you.
Street art and Oltrarno district free walking tours
These free walking tours in Florence take you into the heart of the Santo Spirito and San Ferdiano neighborhoods, which are collectively known as Oltrarno. See the city from a new perspective as you discover the urban artists who have left their mark on these famous streets.
The Florence of today is about so much more than Botticelli, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo. Here in Oltrarno, contemporary culture has traded places with classical art, brightening up the sleepy streets.
As you stroll through the squares and alleyways, check out the artisan shops and creative workshops that jostle for space in this buzzing hub. You might even spot artists grafting away on their latest projects.
See if you can spot the colorfully reimagined Renaissance murals by Florentine artist Blub, which pop up throughout the neighborhood.
In which languages are free walking tours in Florence operated?
Florence walking tours are conducted in a wide range of languages since Italy is such a popular European destination. Many guides are multi-lingual, and you’ll easily find an excursion in English, Italian, or Spanish.
There are also quite a few free tours in French and German, and some in Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese too.
Where do free walking tours in Florence start?
The popular Renaissance and Medici historical walking tours often start in Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, or outside San Lorenzo Church.
Meanwhile, the Florence from above tour begins just south of the Ponte Vecchio in Piazza Santa Felicita.
Free walking tours in Florence at sunset kick off from in front of the Grand Hotel Baglioni or the Piazza di Santa Maria Novella.
For the legends and ghosts free walking tours, you will need to make your way to Piazza Santissima Annunziata or Piazza Strozzi.
The meeting points for Oltrarno street art tours are in Piazza del Carmine or Piazza Santo Spirito.
How long do free walking tours in Florence last?
Free tours in Florence last between 1.5 and 3 hours, although most take about 2 hours. This is plenty of time for the city to reveal some of its most precious gems.
As the tours are themed, you might like to try more than one in a single day.
When is the best time to join a free walking tour in Florence?
Whether you prefer to venture out first thing or fancy waiting until the afternoon, there are free walking tours in Florence on offer throughout the day. Want to avoid the crowds? Then opt for an earlier excursion if you can.
For the sunset tours, you’ll head out in the early evening to enjoy Florence in its best light.
Free tours are a fun way of getting your bearings, so we recommend booking one for the beginning of your stay.
Should Florence free walking tours be booked online?
Booking free walking tours in Florence online means your place is instantly guaranteed. Something that’s rather important as these excursions are popular and do fill up fast.
Having your spot secured also means more time spent enjoying your trip, rather than wasting it having to research places to visit.
Reservations are free, and you don’t even need to put in any card details to confirm your place. If you find you need to cancel at the last minute, you can do so without charge.