There are many cities in Europe that are very walkable and one of the most walkable is Florence. With its cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture, and plazas with cafes and restaurants, you can literally spend all day just wandering around the heart of the city. Don’t limit yourself to the main streets, though, as some of the most interesting shops and restaurants can be found by wandering the side streets. With the Duomo visible from almost every corner of the city, even if you get yourself a little lost, you can always head for the dome in order to get yourself back to bustling tourist areas.
We found it completely safe to wander the side streets and never worried about the people that were around us, but we also limited our wandering to the daylight hours. Walking the narrow streets will take you on a trip back in time as you get a feel for what it must have been like to live in the city hundreds of years ago when artists and philosophers wandered the same passageways. One of the best ways to get a true sense of the beauty of the city is to walk along the Arno River with views of Ponte Vecchio. Obviously, these streets will be a little busier, but the crowds reduce as you get farther away from the main bridges.
As popular as Florence is as a destination, you will often find yourself surrounded by throngs of people clambering to see the same sights as you. Sitting in one of the outdoor cafes and watching the crowds go by while having a wonderful glass of Tuscan wine can be a great way to relax and recharge in the beautiful surroundings. If you have the energy, walking up the hill to the Piazzale Michelangelo will provide you breathtaking views of the city. As you come back down the hill, you will find some wonderful restaurants and shops if you decide to spend some time on that side of the river before crossing back over to the heart of old town. The streets on that side of the river will also be a little less busy as well, but the quality of the locations will not disappoint.
There is something truly romantic about wandering the side streets of such a beautiful city as Florence. Regardless of the city that you are visiting, there can be many treasures to be found if you are willing to just turn off of the main streets. Obviously you need to be careful in some places as pickpockets can also be found once you are away from the crowds and are more vulnerable, so always be aware of your surroundings. Stop, go into the shops, talk to the locals, and perhaps enjoy some gelato, you will find those moments as special as seeing the Duomo or going to the museums.