Florence on a budget
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Florence on a budget

A student's guide to a budget-friendly trip to Florence.

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Wed 07 Dec 2022 6:09 PM

It’s no secret that Florence can be a very expensive place to live in or to visit. With soaring accommodation prices, tourist traps around every corner, and many costs reflecting the high demand, money can disappear very quickly. If you’re wanting to visit Florence on a budget, or if you’re already here and wanting to reduce some euro expenditure, here are some much more affordable places in the city.

Sleep

Yellow Square
Bright colours and contemporary design in the dorm-style accommodation at YellowSquare. Ph.Iuri Niccola

YellowSquare hostel, in viale F. Redi, near the medieval Fortezza da Basso, is an excellent option for staying in Florence on a budget. With 250 beds in either mixed or women’s dorms, as well as 12 private rooms, there is an affordable option for everyone, plus it’s easily reached from Santa Maria Novella train station, the airport and the city centre on the T2 tramline.

Prices can be as low as sub-20 euro per night in low season for a bed in an ensuite dorm sleeping up to 8 people.

Lunch

Café Rondinelli (via dei Rondinelli 5) is a great place to grab a quick lunch on a budget. With low-cost schiacciate, pasta dishes and other meals, this friendly and cosy family-run café is ideal if you find yourself in need of food in the centre, as it can be found just a five-minute walk away from the Duomo.

Dress

Humana Vintage on via delle Belle Donne is a vintage shop that is perfect if you need an extra coat or jumper on a budget. Filled with well-priced secondhand pieces, they have frequent sales and offers, so you can easily get a bargain if you go on the right day. Shopping here also means that your money will go to a good cause as the shop is part of the Italian branch of the worldwide non-profit Humana People to People, which uses any money raised for projects in the Southern Hemisphere, including work on sustainable agriculture, health and education.

Gelato

Plenty of places in Florence make and serve gelato for good prices and usually the best ones aren’t too expensive! For example, Gelateria dei Neri has low-cost options, as does Gelateria La Carraia, Gelateria Perché no! and Gelateria della Passera, all of which are known for their excellent gelati in a wide range of flavours!

Dinner

Gustapizza (via Maggio 46R) is great for a pizza dinner if you can get in. Starting from just six euro, prepare to queue, although it’s worth waiting in line. You can sit in or takeaway from Tuesday to Sunday.

Drink

The Box, on borgo Pinti, is on-point for budget drinks. Seating is very limited, but when a glass of red wine is only one euro, it’s ideal for grabbing a drink with a friend without breaking the bank. Similarly, L’Uva e il Vino on via del Leone is perfect for going out for drinks. The generous glasses of wine are all four euro in a locale with cosy seating and a relaxed feel.

Study

The Oblate (via dell’ Oriuolo 24) is a free and quiet public library with plenty of indoor and outdoor study spaces, and a top floor terrace with beautiful views of the Duomo, making it the perfect place to study! There is also a fairly reasonably priced café there if you get thirsty or peckish.

Free things to do

There are things to do in Florence for free or at a low price if you know where to look. Entrance to the Duomo is free, for example, although extras such as climbing Brunelleschi’s dome and Giotto’s bell tower require a paid ticket. Furthermore, piazza della Signoria is a great place to go for free, with the impressive statues in the Loggia dei Lanzi and the entrance into the courtyard at Palazzo Vecchio making for great sights. Piazzale Michelangelo is another sublime place to go for an incredible view of the city, and the Rose Garden right next to it is a beautiful (and much less crowded) place to sit and relax for a while.

If you want to experience a bit more life, there are also plenty of markets you can wander around and hunt for bargains! I frequented the Sunday market in piazza Santo Spirito, but there are plenty of others, including Sant’Ambrogio and Le Cascine. It can be great fun to look around, even if you don’t buy anything!

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