Florence Photography Locations
Your guide to finding the best vantage points and photo spots in Florence…
Terracotta roof tops, hidden courtyards and streets alive with historical features. Florence is a city to get lost in with your camera. Roam under the Tuscan sun and soak up the Italian culture in the city where bicycles and motorbikes are more popular than cars.
Below is a little guide and map to the best photography locations in Florence for your next visit…
Florence Photography Locations
#1 Fiume Arno (River Arno)
Weaving its way through the centre of Florence, the river is alive with photography opportunities. Rowers carve along the waterway creating sparkles of sunshine on the water surface. If the conditions are nice and still you’ll find loads of reflection possibilities around dusk with colourful facades doubling up in the river.
Best for: Reflections and creative angles of the facades of Florence. (Learn how to creatively use reflections here)
#2 The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore – The Duomo
Climbing to the top of cathedrals in Europe always offer unbeatable views over the cities below. The Duomo of Florence however goes one step further. You are barely restricted at the top and have to hold on as you delicately tread around the very tip of the dome. The climb up is through a very narrow staircase so if you don’t like being in small spaces…be warned, especially when you get stuck behind a crowd it can get a little cramped.
While you’re at the top, try and capture as many angles as possible. It’s a long way up to climb it again if you think of another creative shot like I did!!
Best for: Wide angle cityscapes, detailed shots of roof tops and the piazzas below, distant scenic shots and also photographs of the cathedral itself.
#3 Piazza Michelangelo
Overlooking the skyline of Florence, this piazza is a tourist frenzy. It is however, one of the best locations to photograph the city, especially at sunset, and there is plenty of room to find a great vantage point even if all of the tourist buses arrive at once. If you want to enjoy the scenery a little longer, I suggest walking here from the river as the views all the way up are worth capturing and offer a lot of varied angles.
Best for: Panoramics and sunset photographs over the rooftops of Florence (Learn how to photograph during Golden Hour here)
#4 Palazzo Vecchio – Piazza della Signoria
In the centre of Florence is this majestic piazza where the Palazzo Vecchio towers over the cobblestones below. An open air museum, free entry and fountains filled with statues…including Tritone himself, this piazza is your one stop photo spot. Usually filled with people, it’s a great chance to test your creative skills and take alternative angles of the buildings whether it be in puddle reflections, by framing them with other historical details or by arriving at a time when the piazza is a little emptier…think sunrise!
Best for: Cultural details and street scenes (Read more: Street Photography + Setting the Scene)
#5 Ponte Santa Trinita and Ponte Alla Carraia
Everyone loves to stand on the Ponte Vecchio and photograph sunset. My tip? Head for another bridge. Don’t fight the crowds when you can sit and soak up the atmosphere of Florence at dusk and watch as the sky changes colour over the Ponte Vecchio. Ponte Santa Trinita and Ponte Alla Carraia offer great views back toward the Ponte Vecchio which allows you to photograph this cultural gem rather than stand on it amongst hundreds of people! Take some nibbles, wine or pizza and make a picnic of it and sit on the bridge, it not only creates a great photo location, it’s a pretty special moment too.
Best for: Dusk skies over the Ponte Vecchio and action shots on the bridges and river below
#6 Mercato delle pulci
I’m a bit of a sucker for an antique market. One of my favourite things to do is rummage through for old postcards that show cities photographed decades ago with little love notes on them in foreign languages. At Mercato delle pulci, you’ll not only find oodles of collectables, antiques and odd bits and pieces, you will also discover a beautiful corner of Florence perfect for photographs. Located in Piazza dei Ciompi, this market is ideal for detail shots of times gone by. Picture old bicycles leaning against dusty windows, quaint arcades and locals with stories to tell.
Best for: Detailed shots of antique goodies, an alternate side of Florence.
#7 The Streets of Florence
Florence is one of those cities you can wander around without a map. Get lost amongst streets lined with history, Italian flair and ornate details that will have you photographing every little lamp, moped or door handle you come across. Do yourself a favour and allocate one day to simply roaming around Florence. No plans, no museums, no sights. Just take your camera and see where you end up. Be sure to venture across the river too, there are lanes brimming with cute store fronts and courtyards.
Best for: Street scenes and architecture, think ornate facades + leading lines.
Florence Accommodation: Where to Stay in Florence
Florence is one of those unique cities where the center is compact and quiet. With no cars allowed down certain streets, you’ll find wherever you choose to stay in Florence, it’s relatively calm and accessible to most of the photography locations listed in this guide.
Below you’ll find some of my favourite hotels that I’ve personally stayed in while researching this guide.
NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa – Housed within a beautiful old building, this hotel is stylish, comfortable and filled with historic detailing that’s worthy of many interior photos! Stay here to be based right in the city so you can walk all over from sunrise to dusk.
Hotel Delgi Orafi – With views overlooking the Arno River and Ponte Vecchio, this is the place is beautiful!
Plaza Hotel Lucchesi – A rooftop pool with panoramic views over the domes and rooftops of Florence, this hotel is WOW. It’s a little fancier than most, no doubt a little more expensive but if you’re here for a special trip or just want prime position to put your tripod, it’s well worth splurging here. It’s also located further down the river across from Piazza Michelangeo in a quieter more residential part of the city, still only a 15minute walk from the Duomo.
Read more: For photography location guides to other cities and regions around the world, visit ‘Destination Guides‘ for more.
If you’ve been to Florence, share your travel photos on Instagram by using the hashtag #thewanderinglens
For sharing on Pinterest…
Hello! I’m the founder and photographer behind The Wandering Lens.
With 17+yrs experience as a professional travel and landscape photographer, all advice found on this site is from my personal experience on the road. I hope it’s useful for your own travels and would love to hear in the comments about your trips and experiences around the world.
July 8, 2015 at 4:10 am
I just sighed out loud looking through these photos. Positively magical!
September 10, 2015 at 8:42 am
Saw these photos after the Venice and Burano ones….I am psyched!!! Thanks for sharing!
April 11, 2017 at 4:20 pm
Hello there, thanks so much for sharing, love your photos a lot. I am planning to do prewedding photo shooting in Florence and Tuscany, would you have any advice where i can get nice spot in Tuscany? Thanks 🙂
April 11, 2017 at 7:06 pm
Hi Kathy, thanks for your message! Lovely to hear you’re planning to do your pre-wedding shoot in Florence and Tuscany! There are so many beautiful locations throughout the region. What time of year are you planning to visit? I’m actually also a wedding photographer here in Europe, you’ll find my wedding work at http://www.lisamicheleburns.com if you’re interested in chatting further about shooting together! My email for weddings is firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
April 26, 2017 at 8:59 pm
This page is awesome, thank you so much for the tips, Lisa!
I will share a link to it on one of my posts about the prettiest cities to visit in Europe.
April 26, 2017 at 9:19 pm
Thanks Korinna, so glad you found it helpful 🙂 Are you visiting Florence soon?
May 22, 2017 at 3:06 pm
These photos are lovely and the suggested locations are really welcome.
I’m a member of South Manchester Camera Club in the UK and am visiting Florence next week with my wife and daughter and want to capture the feeling I had of my first visit some 40 years ago! This will help.
I hope to be submitting something into our monthly club competitions so will let you know how I fare!
Do you know if there iare any camera shops I can hire a tripod whilst there? I’m limited on what I can take so just taking my Canon 5D3, 16-35 and 24-105 lenses. What did you use mainly for these lovely photos?
Kind regards. Naeem Dean
May 25, 2017 at 6:53 pm
Hi Naeem, great to hear you’re heading to Florence this week! I hope the same feeling is there from 40yrs ago 🙂
For the shots above I mainly used a 28-300mm lens, nice and versatile. You’ll be fine with the 16-35 and 24-105mm, I rarely zoomed in too far whilst in Florence. I’m not too sure on camera shops that hire tripods in Florence, perhaps you could send an email to your hotel and ask if they have any recommendations?
Have a great trip!
July 14, 2017 at 9:16 pm
Wonderful piece of inspiration. You caught magical light in nearly all your pictures. Well done. I will be visiting Florence next week.
July 14, 2017 at 9:47 pm
Thanks Paul, great to hear it’s helpful for your upcoming trip! Wishing you a wonderful trip next week…there’ll be lots of people around this time of year so if you’re an early riser you’ll get to see the city in a beautiful light with less crowds 🙂
August 17, 2017 at 2:37 am
Thanks for your article, very helpful in planning. I will be traveling solo (male) in Florence in early-mid October this year. I like to walk around at night and take photos but unsure about how safe it is to break out a small miniature tripod and take long exposure photos all while watching out for possible issues. I recently did this in Venice (peak season) and never once had a concern but Florence is not an island so I’m somewhat concerned. Any thoughts or tips?
August 17, 2017 at 3:07 am
Hi Todd, exciting to hear you’ll be visiting Florence soon. In regards to safety, I can only offer the same advice I would for anywhere in the world. It’s just a matter of keeping an eye out and being aware. I’ve wandered Florence in the evening and never had an issue, for me it felt very similar to Venice. I can’t say it will be the same experience for you however Florence is gorgeous in the evening so wish you all the best for capturing beautiful photos!
August 19, 2017 at 2:59 am
What a lovely blog! I love your images and philosophy. We will be spending 5 days in Florence in early October. Any ideas please? Thank you.
August 20, 2017 at 3:24 am
I love your travel philosophy.
August 20, 2017 at 3:32 am
Thanks so much Howard! Are you travelling somewhere soon?
August 31, 2017 at 4:20 pm
Great pictures. I am traveling next week to Florence. Being newbie with DSLR not sure how great I will be able to in capturing Florence and other part of Italy. Is there any way I can share my photos to get expert comments. any tips for newbie. I am carring canon 1300D with 18-55 and 55-250 lenses.
September 2, 2017 at 11:00 pm
Hi Palak, great to hear you’ll be in Florence this week! You can share your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #thewanderinglens so I can find them. Otherwise if you are after tips and guidance on how to improve your photos I offer a mentoring service. You’ll find a lot of articles on my site that share tips for free but if you are keen to learn more and have reviews of your work, email me via email@example.com and we can chat. Have a great trip!
September 1, 2017 at 2:16 am
Hey – what a beautiful article! I am a street photographer from New York and do a lot of candid street style photographs of people and situations in the street. I have a tendency to capture vintage and older people, or hip areas – what are your suggestions for street photographer? (not necessarily the architecture)
Thanks in advance,
September 2, 2017 at 10:59 pm
Great to hear from you. I think you’ll find simply wandering around Florence will create a lot of opportunities to capture people and street scenes. Both sides of the river are filled with alleys, squares and less touristy spots if you venture a little further away from the main attractions. Have a great trip!
September 6, 2017 at 3:24 am
What a great article – certainly inspires !
We are off to Florence in a little under 4 weeks to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Dawn walks and night photoshoots will most definitely feature. It looks like a place where a photographer can hardly fail ! Really looking forward to following your recommendations (for both location and kit choices). Looks like I might have to create an Instagram account just for the trip !
Thanks for taking the time to share your work and experiences
September 25, 2017 at 12:59 am
Thank you so much for this article! I am leaving for Italy tomorrow and will be in Florence for a few days this week. This was very timely for me and I jotted down notes on a couple of new locations that you’ve mentioned.
November 3, 2017 at 8:20 am
The photo of the puddle and the reflection has to be one of my favourite photographs, it’s absolutely stunning! I’m heading to Florence again next week and this was a great read to find beforehand, thank you!
November 13, 2017 at 7:25 am
Great to hear Trina! I hope you’re having a great time in Florence…it’s such a photogenic city 🙂
March 6, 2018 at 10:40 am
What do you suggest for sunrise spots in Florence?
I’ve read that Piazza Michelangelo is nice, but since you mentioned it’s good for sunset doesn’t that mean sunrise is on the opposite side?
Leonardo Antonio Pandiani
March 23, 2018 at 4:03 am
Very nice body of work. Any botanical gardens or ‘secret gardens’ worth seeing in late March early April ? Looking at Florence, Rome and La Spezia
August 16, 2018 at 11:04 pm
Thank you for putting this together! Have been to Italy twice but visiting Florence for the first time in October. I love when fellow photographers share their insight!
October 16, 2018 at 3:07 am
Thanks for your tips! Those will be very useful during my coming trip to Florence. I was wondering if you faced any issues, restrictions with a professional camera/ lenses and backpacks in any museums or any concern about security in public places. Thanks in advance for any comments about these issues.
Lisa Michele Burns
October 16, 2018 at 5:02 pm
Hi Roberto, exciting to hear you’ll be visiting Florence soon. I didn’t have any issues regarding my backpack indoors anywhere however security measures could have changed recently. Normally in most museums or on top of the Duomo for example it will be near impossible to set up a tripod. I don’t travel with one so didn’t face any problems but I would assume a tripod would be the main issue in some places. Have a great trip!
January 21, 2019 at 2:51 pm
Thanks for the suggestions! Just to add one, across the busy street at Piazzale Michelangelo is a wide stair that leads up to the beautiful little church, San Miniato al Monte. The view is similar but the courtyard is much more tranquil.
Lisa Michele Burns
January 21, 2019 at 3:23 pm
Great to hear Mike, thanks for sharing this spot!
February 21, 2019 at 6:52 pm
Just came across your website, we are going to florence on Saturday thanks for all the tips
Lisa Michele Burns
February 21, 2019 at 7:47 pm
Great to hear Gerard, have a wonderful time in Florence!