The Best Photo Locations in Florence (with map)
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Often considered one of the most beautiful cities in both Italy and the world, there is an abundance of stunning photo locations in Florence. The combination of amazing Renaissance architecture, breathtaking art and beautiful light make for some incredible photo spots in Florence. We had the chance to explore this beautiful city and we fell in love with Florence, its culture and its iconic sights. We’ve put together this list of our best photo locations in Florence. From epic panoramic vistas to more intimate spots around the city, it’s our guide on where to take the best photos of Florence. We hope you have as much fun photographing the city as we had!
Best photo locations in Florence tip: We’ve included a map with all our best photo locations in Florence at the bottom of the page. There’s also a link to an interactive Google Map where you can save the locations to your Google Maps.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The crown jewel of Florence is, without doubt, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. This beautiful cathedral actually comprises three distinct sections, each representing a great Florence photo spot with unique photography opportunities: the cathedral itself, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the iconic Brunelleschi’s Dome.
Tickets: entrance to all three of the sites is included in the Florence Duomo Museum pass which you must purchase before joining the individual queues. The ticket office is located at the back of the cathedral beside the Duomo Museum. In order to secure tickets to climb the dome itself, you will need a ticket with an assigned time to climb. During busy periods the dome climb slots sell out days or even weeks in advance, so make sure to check ticket availability on the official website before you visit Florence.
Best photo locations in Florence tip: Florence is one of the busiest tourist destinations in Europe and as a result expect to have queues at most sights, even if you have pre-booked tickets. Make sure to book your tickets to the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery and Gallery Della Accademia at least 4-6 weeks before you visit Florence and leave plenty of time to visit each attraction.
Where to Stay in Florence
- FH Hotel Calzaiuoli – we stayed in the FH Hotel Cazaiuoli and it is an excellent choice. The location is super central and the rooms are chic Italian style. Most of Florence’s sights are within a 5 to 10 minute walk making it the perfect base to explore the city. With a super central location and chic, Italian style rooms, we loved using the Hotel Calzaiulli as a base for exploring Florence – click here for prices!
- Hotel Bernini Palace – Located just off Piazza Della Signoria, Hotel Bernini Palace is a quality hotel in a perfect location for exploring Florence. It has comfortable, classicly styled rooms and a delicious breakfast – click here for prices!
- Hotel Spadai – Hotel Spadai is one of the top-rated hotels in Florence. With a great location 2 minutes from the Duomo, extremely comfortable rooms and an affordable rate, this is one of the best budget hotels in the city centre – click here for prices!
1 | Giotto’s Bell Tower
The bell tower of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral is one of our favourite photo locations in Florence. For us, it has the best view of the Duomo in Florence and also boasts stunning views across the city. As you ascend the steps of the tower you’ll have a number of great photo opportunities. There are three floors: the top floor is an open-air section with 360 degree views of the centre of Florence. The views from the roof deck are incredible, however, it’s quite difficult to get a shot of the dome without catching the metal railings in the frame.
The best images can be captured between the second and third floors: keep a look out for openings on both the second floor and on the stairwell to the top floor where you can get unobstructed shots of the Duomo and surrounding buildings.
Best Florence Photo locations tip: Access to Giotto’s Belltower is via the entrance at the bottom of the tower. Entrance is general admission once you have the Duomo pass ticket so the queue can get really long very early in the day especially during the busy summer months. Aim to get there around 30 minutes before opening for the best photo opportunities.
2 | Brunelleschi’s Dome
Brunelleschi’s Dome is one of the highlights of Florence and also one of the best photo spots in the city. The view from the top looks incredible: the leading lines of the dome roof beneath the viewing platform is one of the iconic shots of Florence.
Best photo locations in Florence tip: We didn’t book in advance and, unfortunately, we were not able to secure a time slot for the dome climb and we missed out on climbing the dome. Don’t make the same mistake if you are travelling during peak season! Make sure to book your tickets well ahead of time!
There are two options for photographing the interior frescos of the dome, either from ground level within the cathedral or as part of the dome climb. It’s easy to get lost staring up at the incredible frescos until you get a pain in your neck!
3 | Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral
The cathedral itself is incredible both inside and outside and easily worthy of a photo spot of its own. The beautiful marble exterior and red roof make for some nice images and the interior is beautiful too. The facade of the cathedral is full of intricate details and splashes of colour so it’s worth taking the time to pick out some of the details.
Best time to photograph: Early morning is definitely the best time to capture images of the exterior of the cathedral. There aren’t any crowds and the cathedral is well lit.
4 | The side streets off the Duomo
Before you leave the cathedral area make sure to check out this great photo location we found as we left the cathedral and made our way towards the Arno river. There are many hidden views of the Duomo around the neighbouring streets but this was our favourite.
Best photo locations in Florence tip: there is a great angle of the dome from a small side street called Via della Studio where it meets Via della Canonica, located on the south side of the cathedral. From here the Duomo rises above the narrow street and I really like the composition.
Arno River and the Florentine Bridges
Florence is famous for its iconic bridges which cross the beautiful Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio is by far the most famous. This medieval stone bridge still has shops and trading stalls located along it. In the past these were butchers shops, while today they are filled with high-end jewellers, art dealers and souvenir stalls.
Best time to photograph: the bridges remain lit throuhout most of the night and are really beautiful after dark. The early morning light is best for photos of the Arno river, when there is a beautiful glow and simmer off the water onto the bridges.
5 | Ponte alle Trinita
While the Ponte Vecchio is the most famous bridge, I think the best images are actually not from the bridge itself, but from the neighbouring bridges of Ponte alle Grazie and Ponte alle Trinita. So instead of trying to take images from Ponte Vecchio or the surrounding banks, head straight to either of the other bridges to capture the Ponte Vecchio in all its glory.
Ponte alle Trinita (or Trinity Bridge) is my personal favourite as it gives the best images of Ponte Vecchio with the backdrop of Piazza Michelangelo on the hill in the background.
6 | Ponte alle Grazie
Ponte alle Grazie also offers nice views of the Ponte Vecchio and sits to the east of the Ponte Vecchio. If you continue along the Arno river the arches of the Ponte alle Grazie also look great in the early morning Florentine light. Usually, there are rowing teams on the water in the morning, but I guess it was a little too cold when we visited!
7 | Ponte Vecchio
A Florence icon and a must capture in the city! We loved visiting the Ponte Vecchio very early in the morning prior to dawn when the trader stalls were closed and the atmosphere serene. The bridge is beautiful and is steeped in history.
Best photo locations in Florence tip: For less crowded shots of the Ponte Vecchio during the day try the Corridoio Vasariano, a columned corridor on the north side of the Arno river between the Uffizi Gallery and the Ponte Vecchio. You can frame the Ponte Vecchio nicely in between the gaps of the stone corridor columns and you won’t have to fight for a photo spot as most visitors use the street.
8 | Piazza Michelangelo
Piazza Michelangelo is probably our favourite place in Florence. The large elevated piazza south of the Arno river offers incredible panoramic views across Florence. From here you can capture the postcard images of the Florence skyline and, as a result, it is very popular with photographers.
The Piazza itself is a short climb up from the Arno river. We recommend taking the route via Porta San Miniato on the way up and when you’re finished walk down to the river via the Gate of Saint Nicolas for a stroll along the river. Porta San Miniato is one of the historic old gates into Florence.
Best photo locations in Florence tip: This location works great at sunrise or sunset, but sunrise was our favourite. We were lucky to get a beautiful sunrise and the transition from blue hour to golden hour was specatular.
There are a number of images you can capture from here: the Duomo in the Florence skyline, the Ponte Vecchio stacked with the other bridges on the Arno river and images of the city against the backdrop of the mountains.
At sunset, there is a fantastic ambience at Piazza Michelangelo and it’s the perfect place to relax, enjoy a stunning sunset with a bottle of wine and capture a few beautiful photos of Florence in the famous Italian sunlight.
9 | Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte
While most photographers head to Piazza Michelangelo for images of the Florence skyline and the Duomo, many don’t realise that another great spot to get the iconic shot of the Duomo is located just a few minutes walk away. The Abbey of San Miniato al Monte is a beautiful church located on the hill behind Piazza Michelangelo. Due to its higher elevation, you get a unique view of Florence and in particular the Duomo against the roofs of Florence.
Best photo locations in Florence tip: Unfortunately the abbey is not open early enough for sunrise during the summer. We visited in winter and the 7:30am opening game me enough time to get some photos before the sun climbed too high in the sky.
10 | Calcio della Rose, the Rose Garden
As you climb the steps of Scalea del Monte alle Croci from Porta San Miniato up to Piazza Michelangelo make sure to stop into the Rose Garden on the left side of the climb. I stumbled upon this garden during our December visit and was blown away with the views from here.
Calcio della Rose, the Rose Garden, is free to enter and offers unique views over Florence framed by the colourful rose and flower arrangements. Despite being December when we visited there were still some roses in bloom. In summer months this garden would be epic for photos with all the flowers in bloom.
Best time to photograph: The Rose Garden is open 9am to 6pm weekdays and 10am to 6pm at weekends. While it’s not open for sunrise it would be better to visit here between 9am and 10am when the light hits the rose garden
11 | Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens
We’ve included Pitta Palace and Boboli Gardens together as the entrance to Pitti Palace includes entrance to the incredible Boboli Gardens located to the rear of the palace. There are a number of notable photo spots in the Boboli Gardens.
For the best view of the Gardens walk up the central walkway past Neptunes Fountain to the highest point at the back of the gardens. From here you’ll have the best view of the palace and Florence below.
Before you exit the gardens try to explore the Kaffehaus (Coffee House) section of the gardens. Located on the northern part of the site, these gardens have the best view of Florence. The Kaffehaus is the large green building in this section of the garden and the gardens in front are known as Prato della Meridiana. In this area of the gardens can get some unique angles on the dome and the Florence skyline.
The best view of the Duomo from the gardens is from the path leading out of the gardens and back into the palace. From the path, there are beautiful views of the cathedral dome and the Florence skyline.
Best time to photograph: Aim to visit the palace in mid-afternoon, which will place you in the gardens in the late afternoon when the soft evening light is hitting Florence.
12 | Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is one the most impressive squares in the city and another of our favourites. Like any Piazza in Italy, I find it best to photograph when it’s quiet, often just before and during blue hour in the mornings before sunrise. In the evenings the piazzas are the heart of Florence and bustling with activity. This makes for great street photography, however, if you’re trying to capture the buildings the mornings are much better.
13 | Palazzo Vecchio and Tower
Located on a corner of Piazza della Signoria is one of the many towers of Florence which is attached to Palazzo Vecchio. The entrance courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio is beautiful and you’ll need a wide-angle lens (16mm minimum) to capture the full courtyard.
The view from the tower is one of the best views in Florence, however despite queuing twice for over 3 hours to get access we were unable to actually get up to the top!
14 | Uffizi Piazza & Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most popular places to visit in Florence and is also a great spot for Florence photos.
The first photo location is the Piazza in front of the Uffizi Gallery. This symmetrical columned courtyard is an iconic image of Florence and it best shot at night or very early in the morning. Outside of these times, the piazza is very busy with tourists.
There are a number of great photo spots within the Uffizi Gallery itself. The most beautiful room of the Gallery is ‘The Tribune’ room. Originally designed as a room to hold art and previous belongings, ‘The Tribune’ is truly stunning with a unique shell encrusted roof.
The second floor of the Uffizi offers beautiful views of Florence and the outdoor area of the Caffetteria Bartolini has great views of the Duomo.