Hidden Gems in Florence

Ah, Florence, the cultural capital of Italy. It’s a holidaymaker’s and tourist hot spot and for many good reasons. Openly famous destinations include Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Uffizi Gallery. But what if you want something a little different? Here are our top hidden gems in Florence for you to discover and enjoy.

a picture of Florence

Specola Museum

Straight into the unusual, Specola Museum truly is something to behold, and quite possibly not for the faint-hearted! It was first opened in 1775 to the general public, as long as they looked ‘clean’.

This inspired museum has earned its title as the largest and most famous wax anatomical collection worldwide; it is also the oldest museum in Europe, holding a personal collection of the famous Medici family. Among its extensive collection, the Specola Museum also holds full wax anatomical female bodies, some posed in erotic shapes and others with their insides exposed.
This one might not be for everyone, but it’s definitely a hidden gem and quite possibly something you have not seen before!

Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory

 Located on the very hill where Galileo Galilei made his celestial observations, this incredible observatory is known as a public centre for scientific research and is also part of the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF).

Visiting the observatory will find you amongst state-of-the-art telescopes in an outstanding location that offers a breath-taking view of the city.

For those who want to dive right into the magical world of astronomy, workshops are held each year, so be sure to check ahead if you want to catch one. If you are more interested in a casual wander, then the magical garden adorned with planetary art sculptures is definitely not something to miss.

a picture of a starry sky

Todo Modo

Sometimes there is nothing better than taking your time strolling down Italian streets, but what if you knew that there was a unique bookshop amongst them, also? Todo Modo offers a wide selection of both exquisite English and Italian books that line the walls up to the ceiling, sitting in a stunning modern building. If you are one to get lost amongst the tales and stories, then you might be pleased to know Todo Modo have their own bar, manned by its very own winemaker and chef.

This is the perfect place to discover your new favourite book, and also for a spot of lunch!

Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy

Hailed as one of Italy’s best-kept secrets, the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy is somewhere truly fascinating to visit. Being one of the world’s oldest pharmacies, there is already something enchanting and precious about it; and when you find out more, it will keep you captivated. This pharmacy once made treatments for the black death, has no advertising and brings in enthusiasts from all over the world.

Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy now works with botanicals, where their beauty products are renowned, including soaps and perfumes. If that isn’t enough to tempt you, it’s situated in the most delicate building, making the whole experience intoxicating.

botanical perfume bottles and flowers

Torrigiani Garden

Florence is notable for its acclaimed gardens, most popular being the Boboli Gardens or the Giardino delle Rose, but maybe something a little different and more unknown is preferred. This is where Torrigiani Garden comes in.

Originally inherited by Marquis Pietro Torrigiani, this land was revived into a glorious botanical garden. This immaculate garden spans almost seventeen hidden acres and is recognised as the largest privately-owned garden in Europe within the walls of a city. Architect Luigi de Cambray Digny redesigned the garden, including a neo-gothic tower in relation to the family crest.

Visitors to the garden are welcome and guided tours are also available if you want to find out the rich history that comes with this beautiful land.

If this has piqued your curiosity to explore hidden gems in Florence, have a look at our recommended restaurants there too! Alternatively, why not browse our apartments in Tuscany and find the perfect, unique place to lay your head?