Florence is a city full of photo spots like the Duomo

Florence Instagram Spots & Unique Tips For The Best Photos

Florence is one of the most Instagrammable places in Italy and a must-see for anyone visiting Tuscany. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world, full of incredible sights and photo spots, but it’s important to be realistic with your expectations of Florence best Instagram spots so you don’t end up disappointed.

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Why might you be disappointed? You have probably seen pictures of a beautiful girl all alone in a square in Florence, surrounded by medieval buildings, and no one else around except the girl. Well, maybe a pigeon or two keeps her company in the lonely square.

The truth is quite different, so be realistic. Florence is visited by 10 to 15 million tourists every year. This means that 30 to 40 thousand tourists visit the city every day. Of course, there are many more in the summer, with July and August being the high-season months.

Florence is also quite compact, so most of the tourists stay in a relatively small area of the city where most of the main attractions are located. So you will have to share Florence photography spots with a lot of other people.

However, I don’t want to discourage you. You can still take some beautiful pictures for your Instagram or family album. Let me show you how.

General Tips For Taking Photos In Florence

Timing: Florence is less crowded in the early morning or late evening. Take advantage of the golden hour. This is the time shortly after sunrise and before sunset, when the light is soft and warm.

The season: Spring and fall are the best times to visit Florence. In summer, the city is crowded and very hot. Be sure to bring a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Lens: Most of the time a wide-angle lens will be your best bet.

Filter: A polarizing filter will come in handy when taking photos in Florence in harsh daylight. It will make the colors more vivid and reduce reflections from the water near the Arno River.

The historic center of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Several sites make up the historic center of the city and they are the best Instagram spots in Florence.

Via de’ Cerretani

One of the most beautiful Florence instagram spot, the Duomo, can be seen even before reaching the square in front of it

As you walk to the Piazza del Duomo (The Cathedral Square), you will get a glimpse of the distinctive red dome of the Duomo (Florence Cathedral).

Piazza del Duomo

Around the Piazza del Duomo you will find the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo), the Baptistery of St. John (Battistero di San Giovanni) and Giotto’s Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto), which is the bell tower of the Cathedral.

Florence Cathedral

To photograph the Cathedral and Giotto’s Bell Tower, it’s better to use a wide-angle lens or to take the photo from as close to the ground as possible. The different perspective makes for great pictures.

Florence Cathedral

TIP: You can enter the cathedral for free, but you’ll have to wait in a long line. If you have bought one of the passes (you need one to climb the dome or the bell tower), you can skip the line.

Inside the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, take a picture of the dome from above. It makes a nice octagonal pattern.

Florence Cathedral dome from inside

Use a telephoto lens for best results, although with a decent smartphone, you could get a decent photo. I took the picture below with my phone.

Turn your back to the altar and look at the clock above the main door.

The clock in Florence Cathedral

It looks rather bizarre with its 24 Roman numerals and only one hand moving counterclockwise.

Brunelleschi’s Dome (Cupola del Brunelleschi)

Florence Cathedral iconic red dome

Climb the nearly 500 stairs for a close-up view of the impressive dome and fantastic views of the Florence skyline.

Note: To take a picture of the dome itself, you’ll need to climb Giotto’s Bell Tower.

Giotto’s Bell Tower

Giotto's Bell Tower

Giotto’s Bell Tower is the Florence Instagram spot you can’t miss. From the top, you’ll have a 360° view of the Florence skyline.

Florence rooftop view

And you will have the best view of the cathedral’s red dome. The pictures come at a price: you’ll have to climb more than 400 stairs (no elevator) to get to the top. 

Climbing to the top of Giotto's Bell Tower is a must if you are after Florence instagram spots

TIP: Try to book a time slot for the Bell Tower as early as possible. Look at the line in the picture if you have any doubts. That is the line for the Bell Tower. I didn’t understand how such a line could form, since everyone has a time slot.

When you get to the top of the tower, have a look at the ground for a different perspective of Giotto’s Bell Tower.

Giotto's Bell Tower view from above

Piazza della Repubblica

Rinascente Firenze is a department store located in Piazza della Repubblica. In addition to the high-end stores, it has a rooftop restaurant with a spectacular view of Piazza della Republica and a partial view of the Duomo. 

Rinascente rooftop
Photo credit: Canva

TIP: Many customers complain about bad service, mediocre food, and long waits, so it’s up to you to go there or not. 

I would suggest going to Piazza della Repubblica at night when the square is very lively and beautifully lit.

Piazza della Signoria

Palazzo Vecchio and Arnolfo Tower
Photo credit: Canva

Very early in the morning, you might have the chance to have Piazza della Signoria all to yourself as in the photo above.

Most probably it will look like this, which doesn’t make it less beautiful.

Palazzo Vecchio and Arnolfo Tower

At Piazza della Signoria you will find Pallazo Vecchio with the Arnolfo Tower, a replica of Michelangelo’s David, the Fountain of Neptune (Fontana dell Nettuno), Perseus with the head of Medusa. 

Neptune Fountain in Florence

Mercato del Porcellino

Porcellino Market is one of the most colorful photo spots in Florence

Mercato del Porcellino is famous for selling leather goods such as bags, wallets, and belts. You can also find scarves, souvenirs, and a variety of handicrafts.

The colorful market makes for a great photo opportunity.

Mercato del Porcellino is located in Piazza del Mercato Nuovo, near the Ponte Vecchio.

Il Porcellino

Il Porcellino is a bronze statue of a boar believed to bring good luck

On the south side of the Mercato del Porcellino is Il Porcelino. It is a bronze statue believed to bring good luck. You may have to wait in line to rub the boar’s snout.

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio in Florence Italy

Ponte Vecchio or “The Old Bridge” is the oldest and most famous bridge in Florence. The current bridge was built in 1345, but its history dates back to Roman times when it was made of wood. There are many shops along the bridge. Once they were butchers and farmers shops. Today the shops are jewelry stores, art galleries and souvenir shops.

TIP: In the middle of the bridge, overlooking the river, is the bust of Benvenuto Cellini, a famous 16th century sculptor.

The best pictures of the Ponte Vecchio can be taken from the neighboring bridges Ponte Santa Trinita and Ponte alle Grazie or from the banks of the Arno River.

Be sure to take pictures of the bridge from different angles and at different times of day. You will be surprised how different the bridge looks from different points of view.

View from the windows of Uffizi Gallery to the Duomo and the Arnolfo Tower

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest art museums in the world. It was built in the second half of the 16th century to house the offices (uffizi) of the Florentine magistrates. The building was commissioned by the Medici family and designed by Vasari. Later, the Medici family began to use the upper floors to display their collection of art. In 1765, the Uffizi officially became a museum and was opened to the public. 

As you admire the vast collection of masterpieces, raise your head and look up at the ceilings.

Uffici Gallery ceilings are a masterpiece themselves

Look out the windows. Although the windows aren’t perfectly clean, you’ll have one of the best views of the Arno River bridges, including the Ponte Vecchio. 

Ponte Vecchio is one of the iconic Florence instagram spots.

The Monumental Sundial

You can find the Monumental Sundial at Piazza dei Giudici, right in front of the Galileo Museum.

The Monumental sundial is one of the lesser known Florence instagram spots.

It is a modern installation but pays homage to the historical significance of Florence in the development of astronomy as a science.

Ristorante Toto

Ristorante Toto interior

Take some pictures in a typical restaurant in Florence. I can recommend Ristorante Toto in Borgo Santi Apostoli. Aside from having an interior nice enough to be a photo spot, the restaurant is known for its quality Italian food and friendly service.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Florence skyline at sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo
Photo: Heidi Kaden

Piazzale Michelangelo has a great view of the Florence skyline. 

You can get to Piazzale Michelangelo by car (finding a parking space can be a headache), by bus 13, or on foot from the historic center of Florence.

The best time to take pictures of Piazzale Michelangelo is at sunset. Try to get there at least half an hour before sunset to get a spot before the crowds. Position yourself on the corner and stay until an hour after sunset to capture different lighting.

To wrap it up: Florence is a city full of Instagram spots, making it an excellent destination for photography year-round. Spring and fall offer mild weather and beautiful light. In winter, Florence is less crowded and beautifully decorated for the holidays. Try to shoot early in the morning and late in the evening to take advantage of the golden hour.

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