Florence at night is a completely different city than during the day. The daytime can be glorious, under the Tuscan sun, but it can also be hot, crowded and rumoroso (loud).
When my husband and I want to soak up Florence, we pick one of these 15 things to do in Florence at night.
While you can do some of these activities if you have kids, most of these things to do in Florence at night are simpler and more enjoyable (in our opinion!) kid-free.
Here’s our list of 15 favorite things to do in Florence at night.
Take A Walk Along The Arno River
In the heat of summer or the middle of winter, an evening stroll along the banks of Florence’s river is a nice way to pass an hour or so.
If you’re in a sporty mood, you can walk (or run!) on the gravel and dirt paths on the Oltrarno (meaning, other side of the Arno – the opposite side of the river from the historic center with the Duomo). In the evening, the paths are full of locals running, walking, and cycling, so it’s a fun way to mingle with Florentines and get some exercise.
If you’re dressed in non-sporty clothing (maybe even new purchases from Florence’s shops), go for a walk along the river. You can do a loop from Ponte alle Grazie (beautiful views of Ponte Vecchio with the sunset in the background if you time it right) along the river to Ponte Amerigo Vespucci, cross the bridge, and make your way back to the Ponte alle Grazie. It’s a little over 3 kilometers and takes around 45 minutes (without stops). Want to make it shorter? Cross over any of the bridges you pass along the way.
Tip – While it’s a nice spot for a walk or jog in the morning or daytime, I don’t recommend hanging around the Parco delle Cascine trails at night. There are lights in some places, but if you don’t know the area well, I’d avoid it. It’s a huge park and it’s easy to lose your way or end up in a dark and possibly unsafe area.
Head Over To The San Frediano Neighborhood
San Frediano is lively (but not wild!) in the evenings. There are a lot of restaurants, bars, and cafes, some of which spill onto the streets. The evening begins with aperitivo and you’ll find all ages sipping glasses of wine and Aperol spritz inside cosy bars, standing on the sidewalk, or sitting at an outside café.
Lonely Planet even listed the neighborhood as one of the 10 Coolest Neighborhoods in the World in 2017.
La Cite Libreria is a library/café/bar and has a chill vibe and cozy atmosphere. Locals and visitors line up for gelato at the neighborhood’s two best gelaterie, Gelateria La Carraia and La Sorbettiera.
Tip – This neighborhood is also worth a visit during the day. It, and the nearby San Niccolo neighborhood are full of artisan shops and great places for a bite to eat.
Get A Gelato
Most agree that Florence is the birthplace of gelato. ‘Study’ your history by sampling some! And it doesn’t need to be a summer evening – you’ll see Florentines eating gelato during all seasons.
Gelato Flavors To Try While You’re In Florence:
- buontalenti – buontalenti
- ricotta e fichi – ricotta & figs
- pistacchio – pistachio
- nocciola – hazelnut
- melone – cantaloupe
- cocomero – watermelon
Tip – Avoid gelato that’s piled high in the displays or that’s very colorful! Neither are signs of high-quality gelato.
Take A Cooking Class
This one requires a little planning ahead, but there are plenty of cooking classes available in the city center. We love Jacopo and Anna’s cooking class (it’s great with kids too!). You’re cooking in a real kitchen and it feels like you’re spending your evening cooking with friends.
Learn how to make ravioli, how to cook arista alla Fiorentina (Florentine-style roasted pork loin), or a special Italian dessert. You can find classes tailored to your cooking level and menu preferences, like this gluten-free cooking class.
Have A Sunset Aperitivo
Try a spritz or a negroni at Grand Hotel Baglioni’s B-Roof, sip a trendy cocktail at The Westin Excelsior’s fashionable Sesto or enjoy a glass of Tuscan wine with a view of the Florence skyline at Empireo at the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi.
Be sure to reserve a table with a view (it’s not guaranteed!). The fee hotels charge outside visitors is hefty, but it’s worth the splurge for the views!
Some aperitivi also have finger foods and snacks. Large spreads are increasingly common and have their own name – apericena – a combo of aperitivo and cena (dinner).
Tip – If you want the view but not the price tag, pick up some wine, cheese, and olives at a supermarket and check out the suggestion below. See our Guide to Italian Grocery Stores + 5 Important Things to Know!
Walk Up To Piazzale Michelangelo
As the sun sets, this large piazza overlooking the city is a prime spot for viewing bella Firenze. Don’t go expecting a quiet, romantic moment – it’s a crowded spot in the evening.
If you’re looking for a more tranquillo setting – walk a little bit further up the hill, to San Miniato al Monte and its equally incredible view. If you time it right, you can hear the monks chanting the evening prayers (currently 18:30 but check here for the latest info). If you want to check out the church (and not just the view of Florence), make sure you check the website for closing hours.
Climbing up to Piazzale Michelangelo (and San Miniato al Monte) is a nice little workout. If that’s not your thing (or you’re decked out in a fancy dress and high heels), you can also take the bus to the top.
Window Shop On Via De’ Tornabuoni
Gucci, Ferragamo, Fendi, Prada, Armani, Bulgari, Versace, Tods, – check. This pedestrian street is the place for high-end Italian designer shopping (and there are plenty of other international fashion powerhouses).
Stroll down the street for some window shopping when the shops are closed.
When your eyes are tired, satisfy your tastebuds with aperitivo (the truffle panini are worth the stop!) at Procacci, or have an elegant evening at the Cantinetta di Antinori or a nearby Michelin-starred restaurant.
Tip – Procacci also has a wall full of specialty food items that make perfect souvenirs.
Have Dinner In A Lively Piazza
You can’t go wrong with a place like Piazza della Passera and its surrounding side streets like via del Pavone. The restaurants’ tables spill out onto the piazza and streets and the scene can feel like a movie. Make a reservation if you’re set on a certain restaurant or want a great outdoor table.
We’re loving Osteria del Pavone, with its artsy interior and mix of classic and unique dishes.
Tip – Skip dessert and get a gelato at Gelateria della Passera, an excellent (tiny!) gelateria located right in the piazza.
Climb To The Top Of The Duomo
Most people think of climbing to the top of the Duomo or Giotto’s belltower as a daytime ‘touristy’ activity.
Climbing the 463 steps to the top of the Duomo is a whole new experience at night. Not only can you check out the frescos on the inside of the dome – you also have a magical view of Florence and the twinkling lights of the city.
Get a close up look at the Duomo by climbing the bell tower next door. There are more than 400 steps to the top, but you can catch your breath at platforms along the way.
Tip – Skip these climbs if you’re claustrophobic or have heart or knee problems. The walkways up to the top are maintenance staircases and are steep and narrow. There are no elevators!
Sample Tuscan Wines
Florence is surrounded by prime wine territory in all directions – Settle onto a stool at a wine bar at Le Volpi e L’Uva or Enoteca Pitti Gola and sample Tuscany’s incredible wines.
The region is home to the famous Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Super Tuscans.
Check out some of the lesser-known but equally satisfying Tuscan wines like Morellino di Scansano and Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Listen To Music On The Ponte Vecchio
Florence’s iconic Ponte Vecchio is worth a visit during the day when the bridge’s gold shops are open and the wares are on display (we love Vettori). The jewelry is beautiful and the shops are such an important part of the city’s history.
In the evening, the shops are closed and boarded up, but the crowds come back for sunset. Often, a musician or group of musicians will play. It can be crowded but still a great experience.
Do An Evening Museum Tour
Many of Florence’s museum ‘biggies’ offer evening tours. You can combine aperitivo with an evening stop at:
- The Accademia and its famous David statue looks different after a glass or two of prosecco.
- The Uffizi Galleries have an elegant and calm atmosphere in the evening.
- Palazzo Vecchio is worth an evening visit to see the map room and Michelangelo’s Genius of Victory without the crowds.
- Palazzo Strozzi often has interesting modern exhibits to counter all of the Renaissance art you saw during the day.
See A Movie At The Cinema
Odeon Firenze is located just off Piazza della Signoria and it will probably be the most gorgeous cinema you’ve ever been to.
It dates to 1922 and found its destiny as a cinema after the original plans to create a luxury hotel were scrapped.
It’s hosted many international stars – and you could be next! Grab a snack, settle into your cushy seat and enjoy current films, replays of classics, and foreign movies.
Look For Street Art
Florence’s most famous street artist is Clet. Originally from France, he’s made his home in Florence and has a studio in the San Niccolò neighborhood.
Many of his works are part of street signs and have political messages.
You can download an app from his website and go on a search for some of his art that’s located throughout the city center.
Toast The Night In A Bar, Lounge, Or Nightclub
Admittedly, my husband and I don’t do this anymore. We have to get home to our little ones.
But, if you’re visiting Florence, stopping by a trendy bar or nightclub can be a fun and entertaining cultural experience.
Colle Bereto – is ‘contemporary, sophisticated, and lively’ and whenever we pass by in the evening, it looks like a great spot for people-watching and passing the night away. It also has a clientele over the age of 20 (which isn’t the case for many lounges and nightclubs in Florence).
There you have it – our list of our favorite things to do in Florence at night. I hope you’ve found something on this list for your evening out in Florence.
Whatever you decide to do, please remember to be safe – don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in your hometown at night!
The historic center is very walkable, but if you need to, you can call a taxi (of you’re your restaurant call one for you). Women traveling solo from 21:00 to 02:00 have a 10% discount on taxi fare.
How can I get back to the Santa Maria Novella train station after an evening exploring Florence?
If you’re in the historic center, you may be a quick, easy walk away. However, you can always call a taxi at +39 055.4242 or +39 055.4390.