Florence is probably most famous for its art, with the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Galleria dell'Accademia displaying famous artists such as Raphael, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Leonardo da Vinci. The cheapest option, if you want to see it all, is to invest in a Firenze Card, which can be used for 72 hours and includes entry to over 60 museums, galleries, historic villas and gardens, as well as a three-day transit pass. While the card may set you back around $80, the value for the money is incredible if you were to visit even just seven-ten of these museums and galleries, which usually charge between $10 and $30 for one-time entry. If you only want to see one or two exhibits or visit one or two museums then it might be useful to time your trip with the city's free Sunday initiative. Started in 2014, attractions such as the Galleria degli Uffizi and other cultural sites, museums and archaeological parks, are free on the first Sunday of every month.
One of the most recognizable symbols in Florence is the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Entrance to this 13th century Gothic cathedral is completely free for tourists (yay!), but you will have to pay around $10 to climb Brunelleschi's Dome. If you are keen to see more than just the interior and exterior of the Basilica then you can purchase a combined ticket, which includes the Duomo and crypt, the Baptistery, Giotto's Bell Tower and Brunelleschi's Dome, and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. The Duomo Complex ticket costs just $10 and is a great deal if you have the time to visit all of these locations.
While the traditional sit-down meal in some parts of Florence can be a little above the average traveler's price range, it doesn't mean you necessarily have to grab a chain sandwich or supermarket snack to stay within budget. A great way to eat in Italian style while keeping within your budget is to locate one of many fixed price menus in Florence, usually found in the business district of the city. This will help you to know exactly what you are spending on lunch and dinner before you finish your meal, and pick one that suits your budget.It's also important to steer clear of tourist centers for your meals, as these tend to be overpriced and the food usually isn't as authentic when compared to authentic local places. Ask around for somewhere where locals eat, or pick up a local guide for that month for some of the off-the-beaten-path restaurants at a fraction of the cost. You can also find some local taverns, known as osterie, in the city-run food markets that serve fresh, local Tuscan food at affordable prices.
Florence has plenty of green spaces, hilltops, and outdoor art that are pieces of history and spectacular view spots that won't cost you a penny. For your fix of free art visit the Piazza della Signoria, here you will find replicas of famous sculptures such as David, Judith and Holofernes. Enjoy the Piazza's open-air sculpture gallery, the beautiful fountain and views of the Palazzo Vecchio, a 14th century palace that overlooks the Piazza. For amazing views of the city take the bus to Piazzale Michelangelo, here you can view the city in all its glory from the top of the hill. The city also has a number of free public rose gardens in the Oltrarno district that feature sculptures, art and lots of varieties of rose.
If the heat of Florence gets too much to bear, then the city has some ways for budget travelers to cool off. Head to the public pool Piscina Costoli for just $5 after 3pm, or to the banks of the Arno River and the Spiaggia sull'Arno, a free urban beach with sand, deckchairs and games. You can even partake in free yoga on a Wednesday if you have the time.
When you choose to visit Florence can also affect the cost of your trip. For example, if you visit in the late summer months, such as August, September and even October then you may be able to take in one of the many free festivals taking place in the city. From film and art festivals to free evening concerts, plenty of Piazzas and public markets host events in the summer evenings and during daytime in the summer season, and may be worth planning your trip around.