Known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is overflowing with bucket-list attractions.

The city’s enormous popularity among travelers worldwide means many of its bucket-list destinations are overcrowded throughout the year. However, Florence’s beauty is by no means limited to these stops. In fact, much of its charm can be discovered by leaving the well-trodden tourist tracks and exploring its fascinating history.

Want to dig a little deeper? Here are 5 less well-known spots to get you started:

Laurentian Library

Perhaps the library of greatest historical importance to Florence, the Laurentian Library, situated in the San Lorenzo Basilica, houses over 11,000 manuscripts and 4,500 early printed books. It comprises two rooms, which were made to house the Medici family’s book collection. The iconic Renaissance sculptor and painter Michelangelo was commissioned to build the library by the Pope of the time. After he moved to Florence a decade later, work continued until it opened in 1571.

You can enter the library via the cloister of the San Lorenzo Basilica free of charge. Just note that it’s only open from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm!

San Miniato Al Monte

For sweeping views of Florence away from the crowds, set aside an hour to hike up to and visit San Miniato Al Monte. The church, though relatively modest compared to its larger, more popular neighbors, is very beautiful, with a stunning green and white marble facade and gorgeous Romanesque architecture and detailed frescoes. From the city center, the walk will take about 30 minutes, plus time to explore the top. The best part is that it’s free to enter.

National Museum of Bargello (Florence’s Sculpture Museum)

Works from Donatello, Bellini, and Michelangelo are just some of the masterpieces making up this unparalleled museum. Fun fact: it’s located in a former prison, so the museum’s exterior is quite austere! You could easily spend an hour or two here exploring the various rooms and their works. Note that while it is open from 8:15 am most days, closing times vary so check their website to be sure. The cost of entry varies but it’s free for the first Sunday of every month!

Palazzo Medici Riccardi

This is the first home of the Medici family, a grand building with a Renaissance facade and rustic stone walls. The palace remained the main residence until the exile of Piero de Medici in 1494. The most beautiful part of the chapel is easily the Magi Chapel, with frescoes famously created by Benozzo Gozzoli. Interestingly, the museum also hosted a dinner between Mussolini and Hitler. Entry is only 7 euros for those over 25 years old. Opening hours are 9 am to 9 pm daily, apart from Wednesdays.

Boboli Gardens

For 12 euros, take a stroll through one of the best-manicured city gardens in Italy. The Medici family established the layout of the gardens, creating what is an outdoor spectacular of statues and perfectly shaped hedges, trees, and plants. The lush, Renaissance-style landscape is less well-known than Giardino Bardini, meaning you’re more likely to enjoy a peaceful experience here. Enjoy the baroque staircases, olive trees, and wisteria throughout, and the panoramic views of Florence beyond its green walls.

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