Florence vs Venice – Which City Should You Visit?

Florence vs Venice, which one should you pick as your next destination in Italy? While I understand that this is a pretty tough choice, here I’m going to provide you with a few hints to help you decide.

If you have at least two weeks or if it’s your very first time in Italy, I suggest you visit both cities, but if you really need to choose Venice or Florence, then I hope my tips will help you make a sound decision closer to your interests and needs.

Are you ready? Let’s dive in!

Image: Florence vs Venice, which one to choose?

Choose Florence vs Venice if

Arguably, this dilemma is as hard as the Florence vs Rome one. But since there are a few differences indeed, you can keep them in mind if you don’t have too much time in Italy and need to pick one. So if you are wondering whether you should choose Florence or Venice, in these cases, I suggest Florence.

If you are looking for art galleries

Florence is famous for its large art galleries, first and foremost the Uffizi but also the Accademia Gallery where is kept Michelangelo’s David. While Venice is home to notable mansions and historical palaces, Florence is a destination any art lover wouldn’t miss.

Known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, in Florence you are sure to find the masterpieces of most Italian artists such as Botticelli, Giotto, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael, Cimabue, Piero della Francesca, and more.

Image: Pick Florence vs Venice if you are into art galleries.

If you are a meat lover

While meat is present in so many Italian dishes, in Florence, it’s really a key ingredient. Eating the famous Florentine steak is one of the things many travelers want to do when they reach Florence, but that’s not the only meat dish.

A sandwich stuffed with lampredotto (veal’s stomach) is a common street food in Florence and quite often you will find pasta dressed with a meat-based sauce.

Image: Bistecca alla fiorentina in one of the best Florence restaurants for first-time visitors.

If you want to buy leather goods

Florence is famous for its leather production and all over the city, including in many shops in the historic center, you can find lovely accessories.

From bags to belts, to wallets, shoes, and jackets, if you are into leather products and are still wondering whether you should include Venice or Florence in your Italy itinerary, I recommend the Tuscan capital.

If you want to buy jewelry

The Ponte Vecchio bridge is not only popular for being a great photo background but also because it’s lined up with jewelry shops.

Here, you are sure to find finely crafted and hand-made pieces of gold and silver jewelry simple or with precious stones.

If you want to spend less

While Florence is not a very cheap destination in Italy, Venice is way more expensive. In Venice, everything is expensive, from the hotels to the restaurants to the public transport.

For example, a daily ticket in Venice costs 25€. It includes the ferry-boat because in the city of Venice this is the public transportation and it doesn’t even include all the routes. In Florence, with 14€, you buy a carnet with ten 90-minute tickets; in Rome, with 35€, you buy a monthly pass.

Image: Angela overlooking the Duomo di Siena Cathedral in a day trip to Siena from Florence.

If you are a day trip person

Florence is a beauty, but the whole region is also a charming destination to explore. Siena, Lucca, and Pisa are all fantastic towns to visit in a single day, but from Florence, there are so many day trips you can take.

Exploring small towns like San Gimignano or countryside areas like the famous Chianti vineyards are always great and easy experiences you can do from Florence.

Of course, you can also plan day trips from Venice such as the beautiful Verona and the Dolomites of the Veneto region, but I feel that this is easier from Florence than from Venice.

Choose Venice vs Florence if

Those of you who are wondering whether they should head to Venice or Florence, these are the cases I suggest Venice.

If you don’t mind humidity

Venice is in a lagoon so pretty much all year it’s a very humid place, especially in summer and winter. Humidity makes it feel colder in winter and hotter in summer.

Florence gets very cold, too, in winter, and hot in summer but it’s less humid so easier to face.

Image: Masks of Venice Carnival.

If you are coming for Carnival

Let’s face it, if you are traveling to Italy for Carnival, hardly a place is more fascinating than Venice. While there are Carnival celebrations across the country, Venice Carnival is one of the most spectacular.

You will see sophisticated masks swanning around the canals and streets, and parades and shows are organized across the city.

If you are on a romantic trip

Probably most places in Italy can be somehow romantic, but in my opinion, any hardly beats Venice. The atmosphere you are going to find is an utterly charming one, the views superb around every corner.

The series of canals and bridges has been giving a mysterious feel for centuries, and the thought of the prisoners sombrely walking across the Bridge of Sighs has been haunting us since its construction.

Gondola trips, scenic walks, stunning restaurant views are only some of the ingredients of a romantic stay in Venice.

Image: Choose Venice over Florence for a romantic trip.

If you are a photographer

Very much connected with the point above, Venice is also heaven for photographers. With water playing a major role, day and night reflections can offer endless photo opps.

Whether you are a wedding photographer, a travel blogger, or simply a photography enthusiast, if taking memorable pictures of unprecedented views is the ultimate goal of your trip, you should pick Venice over Florence.

Image: Choose Venice vs Florence for a photography trip.

What you are going to find in both Florence AND Venice

Plenty of art

Even though Florence is the most famous art destination in Italy, there is plenty of architecture and beauty to be admired in Venice, too.

From the Doge’s Palace to the Byzantine art and mosaics of San Marco Basilica to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, in the Serenissima, you will view the masterpieces of important artists such as Tintoretto, Titian, Artemisia, and Van Dyck, so Florence vs Venice will be a rather hard choice to make.

Image: Both Florence and Venice are rich in art.

A long history

Both Florence, home to the powerful Medici clan, and Venice, the Most Serene marine republic, have thousands of years of stormy past in the collective belts.

Wars, notable dynasties, rivalries, alliances, and treaties have been dictating the old days in both cities and regions, so if you are interested in history, you are likely to find both Florence and Venice very interesting destinations worth your time.

A rich culture

The same goes for culture lovers. From culinary traditions to festivals, both are rich in culture so the Florence vs Venice dilemma is quite tough.

Each cultural customs and mores are different because even though both Italian cities, they have gone through very different historical events, and the relative cultures are heavily influenced by the past.

Obviously Venetian culture reflects much of its marine past. The influence and relations with foreign countries also thanks to trade and commerce affected much of the local civilization.

Florence, on the other hand, has always been home to art patrons and, from its foundation to the time of papal rule, it has always been influenced by its proximity with Rome.

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