Free things in Florence

Sights in Florence

The medieval shop-lined Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) over the Arno River in Florence (Photo by Gary Campbell-Hall)
Ponte Vecchio
Florence: Centro Storico

Florence's "Old Bridge" is a medieval span lined by tiny goldsmith shops

 (Photo by Marc Buehler)
Piazza della Signoria
Florence: Centro Storico

Florence's main square is a public living room filled with ancient and Renaissance statues and fountains

 (Photo by Mac9)
San Miniato al Monte
Florence: Oltrarno

A gem of a Romanesque church perched atop a hill overlooking Florence

 (Photo by Tim Adams)
Piazzale Michelangiolo
Florence: Oltrarno

The greatest viewpoint over Florence

 (Photo by Rutger Blom)
Mercato Nuovo
Florence: Centro Storico

Florence's covered "New Market," a.k.a. the "Straw Market", a.k.a. the "Market of the Little Pig"

 (Photo by Sailko)
Loggia de' Lanzi
Florence: Centro Storico

An airy medieval porch filled with Renaissance and ancient Roman statues

The view of Florence from the Parco della Rimembranza of Fiesole (Photo by Rufus46)
Panoramic gardens
Florence: Fiesole

Spectacular postcard views over Florence in the valley below

 (Photo by Arnaud 25)
Florence: Centro Storico

The statue-lined terrace in front of the Palazzo Vecchio tells Florence's story in sculpture

 (Photo by Mia Battaglia)
Florence: Centro Storico

A Gothic granary-turned-church decorated by early Renaissance sculptures

This Filippo Brunelleschi–designed church was called the most beautiful church in the world by Bernini (Photo by Randy Connolly)
Santo Spirito
Florence: Oltrarno

The church of Santo Spirito in the Oltrarno: Brunelleschi at his best

"Confirmation of the Franciscan Rule" (1483–85) by Domenico Ghirlandaio in the Sassetti Chapel (Photo Public Domain)
Santa Trìnita
Florence: Centro Storico

A church by the river with amazing, courtly Renaissance frescoes by Ghirlandaio

'Last Supper' (c. 1450) by Andrea Del Castagno (Photo by Jean Louis Mazieres)
Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

A gorgeous, hidden Last Supper fresco in Florence

The facade (Photo by Max_Ryazanov)
SS. Annunziata
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

A treasure trove of Renaissance architecture and Mannerist art, and final resting place of several late Renaissance masters

'Last Supper' (1480) by Domenico Ghirlandaio (Photo Public Domain)
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Ghirlandaio frescoes, a long-lost Giotto masterpiece, and the final resting places of Botticelli, his Birth of Venus muse, and the namesake of America itself

 (Photo by Giuseppe Moscato)
Piazza Santa Croce
Florence: Santa Croce

Santa Croce square in Florence

 (Photo by Pufui PcPifpef)
Bellosguardo Hill
Florence: Oltrarno

Bellosguardo is the forgotten hill of Florence, rising above the Oltrarno and offering more intimate views across the city than the famous ones from Fiesole

Fontana del Nettuno (Photo by Morio)
Neptune Fountain
Florence: Centro Storico

The statue-studded fountain Florentines love to hate

The sitting room (Photo courtesy of the Landmark Trust)
Casa Guidi
Florence: Oltrarno

The Brownings' home in Florence for a few short, happy years

 (Photo by Anton Nistratov)
Santa Margherita de' Cerchi
Florence: Centro Storico

A tiny medieval church with several Dante associations

'The Fiesole Altarpiece: Madonna and Child with Saints' (1424–30) by Fra Angelico and Lorenzo di Cfredi (Photo Public Domain)
San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence: Fiesole

This country church on the road to Fiesole was where the future master Fra' Angelic first put on monk's robes and picked up paintbrushes

The Chapter House, with central 'Crucifixion' fresco (1387) by Niccolò di Pietro Gerini (Photo by Sailko)
Santa Felícita
Florence: Oltrarno

One of the oldest churches in Florence is decorated with Mannerist masterpieces

The nave (Photo by Sailko)
San Felice
Florence: Oltrarno

Beautiful Gothic paintings and a reference in English literature

 (Photo by Samuli Lintula)
Cimitero degli Inglesi
Florence: Outskirts

Eternal resting place of Elizabeth Barret Browning

 (Photo by Nikko Max)
Parco della Cascine
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

A beautiful public park stretched along the Arno just outside the center of Florence

'Madonna and Child with Saints' triptych by Bicci di Lorenzo, on the High Altar (Photo courtesy of the Comune di Fiesole)
Cattedrale di Fiesole
Florence: Fiesole

Fiesole's 11th-century Cathedral contains some delicate Mino da Fiesole carvings


Experiences in Florence

A street in the outdoor market (Photo by Sergio S.C.)
San Lorenzo leather market
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Florence's outdoor San Lorenzo leather market is a great place to bargain for a classic Florentine souvenir

The central market is a great place to get fresh food (Photo by Renato Torii)
Mercato Centrale
Florence: San Lorenzo / San Marco

Florence's central covered food market

Via Vecchia Fiesolana (Photo courtesy of the Comune di Fiesole)
Hiking from Fiesole
Florence: Fiesole

Hiking a narrow path past lovely villas from Fiesole back down into Florence


Planning a trip to Florence

 (Photo courtesy of FirenzeCard)

Enjoy free admission to various Florence sights and monuments (along with skip-the-line privileges), plus discounts at other attractions


Sights in Italy

This house in the Tuscan hills needs someone to house-sit and watch their dog for three weeks this spring...

Sights and experiences you can get for free in Italy


Experiences in Italy

 (Photo courtesy of Paris Greeters)

Free greeter programs around the world encourage locals to welcome you to their hometown


Lodgings in Italy

The Palagetto Guest House in Florence will give you a room in exchange for: Installing mosquito screens, professional photographs of the rooms, printing brochures for them, gently used bikes, installation of a shower by a professional plumber, or origami (Photo courtesy of the property)

Free lodgings in Italy: Hospitality networks (couchsurfing), home swaps, and house sitting services


Ways to sleep for free in Italy

 (Photo courtesy of Europosters)

Couchsurfing and other hospitality networks allow you to sleep for free in other member's homes

Getting to know some locals is a bit part of staying with a fellow hospitality club member (Photo courtesy of The Affordable Travel Club)

Hospitality networks gather folks who are willing to put up fellow members in their homes for free or for a small fee

This luxurious Tuscan apartment is in Pietrasanta, by the Forte dei Marmi seaside resort, halfway between Pisa and the Cinque Terre (Photo courtesy of Homeexchange)

Trading spaces isn't just a show on basic cable anymore. It's a way to live life like a local on your travels absolutely for free—so long as you let the local borrow your life (and home) in return.

This house in the Tuscan hills needs someone to house-sit and watch their dog for three weeks this spring... (Photo courtesy of

Sleep for free on vacation in Italy by watching someone's house (and, often, watering their plants and feeding their cat)

The Palagetto Guest House in Florence will give you a room in exchange for: Installing mosquito screens, professional photographs of the rooms, printing brochures for them, gently used bikes, installation of a shower by a professional plumber, or origami lessons by a Japanese artist. (Photo courtesy of the property)

Programs like WWOOF and Helpx let you barter your services for a free place to stay

Sailboats (Photo by plb06)

If you love sailing, or just have an unquenchable taste for adventure and new experiences, you can sign on to help crew a boat just about anywhere in the world, including Italy


Dining in Italy

Many Italian bars lay our free snacks in the evenings (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Yes, there are a couple of ways to enjoy excellent Italian food absolutely free


Planning for a trip to Italy

Skype is the cheapest way to make international calls (Photo by Skype)

Use Skype (and an internet connection) to make and receive free voice and video calls—or have your friends and family Skype your cell in Italy for 10¢ per minute or $3 per month.

Useful links
Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for rail travel

English (inglese) Italian (italiano)  Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...train station la ferroviaria [or] la stazione lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah [or] lah stat-zee-YO-nay
ticket un biglietto oon beel-YET-toh
first class prima classe PREE-mah CLAH-say
second class seconda classe say-CONE-dah CLAH-say
one way solo andata SO-low ahn-DAHT-tah
round trip (return) andata e ritorno ahn-DAH-tah ay ree-TOUR-noh
Just the supplement Soltanto il supplemento soul-TAHN-toh eel sou-play-MEN-toh
Just a seat reservation Soltanto una prenotazione soal-TAHN-toh oo-nah pray-no-tah-tsee-YOH-nay
I have a Eurailpass Ho il Eurailpass oh eel YOO-rail-pahs
sleeping couchette una cucetta oo-nah koo-CHET-tah
berth in a sleeping car un posto nel vagone letto oon POH-sto nell vah-GOAN-nay LET-toh
track binario been-AR-ree-yoh
train treno TRE-no
car (carriage) carozza ka-RO-tza
seat posto PO-sto
departures partenze par-TEN-zay
arrivals arrivi ah-REE-vee
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay
left luggage deposito bagagli day-PO-zee-toh ba-GAHL-yee
punch your ticket timbrare il biglietto teem-BRA-ray eel beel-YET-toh
Is this the right platform for the Rome train? E questo il binario per il treno à Roma? ay KWAY-sto eel been-AR-ree-yo pair eel TRE-no ah RO-ma? 
delayed in retardo een ree-TAR-do
strike sciopero SHO-pair-oh
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
City / Train station names
English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Main station
Rome Roma Termini
Florence Firenze Santa Maria Novella
Venice Venezia Santa Lucia
Milan Milano Centrale
Genoa Genova Porta Principe
Naples Napoli Centrale
Leghorn Livorno Centrale
Turin Torino Porta Nuova

Useful Italian for air travel

English (inglese) Italian  (italiano)   Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is... Dov'é doh-VAY
the airport l'aeroporto LAHW-ro-port-oh
the airplane l'aereo LAIR-reh-oh
terminal terminal TEAR-me-nahl
flight volo VOH-lo
gate uscita d'imbarco oo-SHEE-tah deem-BARK-oh
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
keep going straight sempre diritto SEM-pray dee-REE-toh
departures partenze par-TEN-zay
arrivals arrivi ah-REE-vee
delayed in ritardo een ree-TAR-doh
on time in orario een oh-RAH-ree-yo
early in avanti een ah-VAHN-tee
boarding imbarco eem-BARK-o
connecting flight la coincidenza la ko-een-chee-DEN-za
check-in accettazione ah-chet-ta-zee-YO-nee
immigration controllo passaporti cone-TRO-lo pah-sa-POR-tee
security check controllo di sicurezza kohn-TRO-lo dee see-kur-AY-tzah
customs dogana do-GA-na
shuttle la navetta lah na-VET-tah
boarding pass carta d'imbarco kart-ta deem-BARK-o
baggage claim ritiro bagagli ree-TEER-oh bah-GA-lyee
carry-on luggage bagaglio à mano bah-GA-lyo ah MA_no
checked luggage bagalio bah-GA-lyo

Useful Italian for car travel

English (inglese) Italian  (italiano)  Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
car automobile ow-toh-MO-bee-lay
scooter/motorboke un motorino oon mo-tair-EE-no
gas station stazione di servizio stah-zee-YO-nay dee sair-VEE-tzee-yo
gas benzina ben-ZEE-nah
diesel gasolio [or] diesel gah-ZOH-lee-oh [or] DEE-zell
Fill it up, please al pieno, per favore ahl pee-YAY-noh, pair fa-VOHR-ray
Where is... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the highway l'autostrada lout-oh-STRA-dah
...the state highway la statale [written "SS"] lah sta-TAHL-eh
...the road for Rome la strada per Roma lah STRA-dah pair RO-mah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
keep going straight sempre diritto SEM-pray dee-REE-toh
to cross attraversare ah-tra-vair-SAR-ay
toll pedaggio peh-DA-jo
parking parcheggio par-KEH-jo
road map carta stradale kar-ta stra-DA-lay
where can I pay the fine? dove posso pagare la multa DOH-veh Po-so pag-GAR-ray la MOOL-tah

Typical road signs / terms » more

English (anglais) French (français) 
Stop Stop
Exit  Uscita
Staffic light Semaforo
One-way Senso unico
Dead-end Strada senza uscita
Parking prohibited No parcheggio or parcheggio proibito
Pedestrian zone Area pedonale
Limited Traffic Zone (you pay to drive in) ZTL or Zona Traffico Limitato

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah

* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).