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Plan the perfect trip to literary Florence with these inspirational travel ideas. Known as the heart of the Renaissance period, Florence, Italy, has inspired countless writers throughout many centuries. You’ll learn about the top places that have captivated the imaginations of authors and readers alike. Let’s go on a literary journey!

Collage of pictures related to literary Florence.

Famous Literary Florence Locations to Visit

Florence, Italy, is a charming city renowned for its rich history and stunning art and architecture. As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence was a hub of creativity and innovation for influential people like Dante, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. Today, it remains a bustling center of art, culture, and history for tourists.

It’s not hard at all to find lots of literary things to do here. In fact, nearly all the major tourist attractions have connections to books and authors. Even better, many of them are free and open to the public!

Note: We booked tours of the locations we visited through Viator.

Arno River/Ponte Vecchio

Arno River and Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence Italy.

Ponte Vecchio, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

The Arno River flows through the heart of Florence, Italy. One of its most iconic features is the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge lined with shops that has crossed the river for centuries. It’s been a hub for trade and commerce since medieval times.

These popular locations are simply a must for every visitor, literary or not.

I even found a little shop dedicated to Pinocchio there! This famous children’s novel was written by a Florence-born author, and much of the story is set in the city, inspired by the marionette artisans there.

These locations have also been featured in A Room With a View by E.M. Forster, Inferno by Dan Brown, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant, and Romola by George Eliot.


Basilica de Santa Croce

Basilica de Santa croce in Florence Italy.

Piazza di Santa Croce, 16, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Basilica de Santa Croce is a beautiful church that is the final resting place of many notable Italians, including the famous poet Dante Alighieri, whose memorial is located here.

It’s been featured in Romola by George Eliot, The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant, and Inferno by Dan Brown.


Boboli Gardens

boboli gardens in Florence Italy.

50125 Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy

The Boboli Gardens showcase Renaissance landscaping, including greenery, sculptures, and fountains. Created in the 16th century, these gardens were once the private domain of the ruling Medici family, representing their wealth and power.

They’ve been featured in Inferno by Dan Brown.


The Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore)

Collage of photos of The Duomo in Florence Italy.

Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

The Duomo is a massive architectural marvel, known for its iconic dome designed by Brunelleschi. It symbolizes Florence’s artistic and architectural achievements during the Renaissance.

Each and every inch of the exterior and interior impresses you with exquisite detail. We took a brief, early morning, skip-the-line tour, and we recommend this, as it gets very crowded. It’s another must for anyone visiting Florence.

It’s featured in Inferno by Dan Brown, The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant, and Romola by George Eliot.

Hotel Brunelleschi (where we stayed) is where the main character in Inferno stayed! It’s a 4-star hotel right near the Duomo, and it has a 2 Michelin Stars Restaurant. Our room was very bright, clean and spacious. I felt very comfortable there and we enjoyed the free breakfast.


Museo Casa di Dante

dante alighieri statue in florence, italy.

Museo Casa di Dante, Via Santa Margherita, 1, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Museo Casa di Dante is a museum dedicated to the life and works of the renowned poet Dante Alighieri, located in the house where he is believed to have been born.

You can see things like a reproduction of his bedroom, with his writing desk, and an immersive show.


Piazza Della Signoria

Piazza Della signoria in Florence Italy.

P.za della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Piazza Della Signoria is a historic square known for its impressive statues and architecture, including the Palazzo Vecchio. It has been a center of political and social life in Florence for centuries.

To date, it remains bustling with tourists. It’s definitely one of the most crowded locations in Florence!

It’s been featured in A Room With a View by E.M. Forster, The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant, and Romola by George Eliot.


Uffizi Gallery in Florence Italy.

Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous art museums in the world, holding a large collection of Renaissance masterpieces, including works by artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli.

While you can buy a ticket to see the original Statue of David inside, there’s also a replica right outside the Gallery, if you’re short on time.

It’s been featured in A Room With a View by E.M. Forster, Inferno by Dan Brown, and Romola by George Eliot.

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for plaques around town where famous writers once stayed, including Henry James, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Fyodor Dostoevsky, George Eliot, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Best Places to Read a Book in Florence

Collage of places to read a book in Florence Italy.

Alimentary Uffizi (pictured above): a little meat and cheese cafe (that is the only of its kind in Florence, owning its own pig farm in Tuscany) where my husband couldn’t stop eating, tucked into the tiniest little nook located at Via Lambertesca, 10/R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Brac: a cafe/bookstore/art gallery hybrid spot located atVia dei Vagellai, 18/R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Florence National Central Library(pictured above): known for known for its extensive collection of books and manuscripts and located at Piazza dei Cavalleggeri, 1, 50122 Firenze FI

Hotel Medici (pictured above): a great (and not too crowded) rooftop bar with a perfect view of the Duomo located at Via dei Medici, 6, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Piazza della Repubblica (pictured above): a charming square with a carousel where you can grab a cappuccino at an outdoor cafe and people-watch while you read (as we did), located at 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Piazzale Michelangelo: a panoramic terrace with stunning views of the city located at Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Procacci: a simple yet absolutely delectable truffle sandwich cafe where I couldn’t stop eating, located at Via de’ Tornabuoni, 64R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Signorvino Firenze (pictured above): a modern wine bar and shop overlooking the Ponte Vecchio located at Via de’ Bardi, 46/R 48/R, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Todo Modo: a bookshop with a full wine and pasta bar located at Via dei Fossi, 15/R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

FOOD TIPS

  • Food: Florence is most known for steak and Tuscan wine. Enjoy it! What it’s NOT known for is bread. Florentinians have not used salt since a long-ago feud with Pisa. It’s not tasty. Be prepared.
  • Authenticity: For the most authentic food and other goods in Florence, look for the “Associazione Esercizi Storici Fiorentini” seal in the window. This Association is made up of historical Florentine companies that “promote, qualify, protect and enhance their historical activities” and “make [their] activities known nationally and internationally as cultural, social, characteristic and traditional heritage of the city of Florence.”
  • Food labels: Look for the label DOCG on wine. These wines have to be made in specific zones and with particular regulations. Look for the label DOP on food. This certifies that the products are locally grown and packaged using traditional methods.

Read Your Way Through Florence With These Books

BEST FLORENCE BOOKS

Read More About: Books Set in Florence and Books Set in Italy

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most literary city in Italy?

Florence is often considered the most literary city in Italy, given its rich history, stunning architecture, and association with famous writers like Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. The city’s history has inspired generations of writers and artists.

What novel takes place in Florence?

One novel that takes place in Florence is A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. The story follows a young Englishwoman’s journey of self-discovery while visiting Florence, exploring themes of love, class, and societal expectations.

Who are the poets of Florence?

Florence has been home to many influential poets throughout history, including Dante Alighieri, known for The Divine Comedy, Petrarch, a pioneer of the Italian Renaissance, and Giovanni Boccaccio, renowned for his work in prose and poetry.

Plan Your Literary Florence Trip With This Map

Track all the places mentioned above to plan your trip below:

Sources

Besides my personal experiences in Florence, Italy, I relied on countless sources, from blogs to Wikipedia, social media videos, and beyond. Some of my favorite resources for Florence, Italy, are these books:

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