Florence is part of an 8 days trip through northern Italy!
If you want to know more about the complete trip, click here.
Florence is known as one of the most cultural and historical cities in the world. This city is an open-air museum where you can admire the facades of the awe-inspiring basilicas and cathedrals. It is packed with amazing architecture and places of significance.
If you are looking for a dose of culture and a cradle of the Renaissance, romantic, enchanting, and utterly irresistible buildings, Florence is the perfect place to visit, and will not disappoint.
The entire city is a showcase of the Italian Renaissance. Some of its sights are among Italy's best-known icons - Ponte Vecchio, Michelangelo's David, Brunelleschi's Dome. That’s why it would take weeks to see everything Florence has to offer!
“Everything about Florence seems to be coloured with a mild violet, like diluted wine.”
Where to go? What to see? What to eat? In this city guide, we present you the route we did in the Summer of 2019, a trip we absolutely loved and think its a must for young couples.
We only dedicated one and a half days to visit this magnificent city, as one of the mornings was spent exploring Pisa. From all the cities we visited on our trip, this is the one you should make an effort to expand the time as much as you can, so you can take advantage of all the things the city as to offer. Here you'll find a quite extensive city guide you can use to visit Florence in 2 days (or in one and a half-day).
Tip 1: Keep in mind that some of the biggest museums in Florence, including the Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia, and the Palazzo Pitti are closed on Monday, so manage your days according to this information.
Day 1 - Half a Day Activities
🔺 Day 1 🔸Day 2
1. Piazza and Church of Santa Maria Novella
€: Paid Entrance | Time: 30 min | ★★★✩✩
The square and church of Santa Maria Novella are located right in front of the main railway station. During our stay, it was probably the monument we “visited” the most, as our hotel was only a few minutes away.
The Church has a similar design to both the Duomo and the Basilica of Santa Croce, with polychrome and white marble that create a striking and mesmerizing front facade, in a typically renaissance architecture style. Don’t simply admire the exterior space, but take look a the interior too, with some of the city's finest frescoes. In our visit, we decided not to spend our time visiting the inside space of the church, as we had a pretty narrow schedule.
2. Piazza San Lorenzo, Basilica San Lorenzo & Medici Chapels
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€: Paid Entrance | Time: 60 min | ★★★★✩
The Basilica di San Lorenzo (or Basilica of St Lawrence) is one of the largest churches in Florence, located at the center of the city, in the square with the same name, and not far away from the dome. The church is the home to many important “firsts” in the world of art and architecture. The Medici family, probably the world's greatest patrons of the arts that ruled Florence for many years during the Renaissance, brought together the masters of their age to build a church complex for their own worship. There is so much to see and explore at the Basilica, you can enjoy a pretty good though the prestigious works of art and architecture. As you tour the church (the Old Sacristy, the New Sacristy, the Princes' Chapel and the Laurenziana Library), you'll find the works of other Renaissance masters
San Lorenzo is the burial place of the Medici family, in what is called the Medici Chapels, where you'll find beautiful marble statues by Michelangelo in the New Sacristy.
3. San Lorenzo Market
€: Free| Time: 60 min | ★★★★✩
The market is constituted of two separate markets: an indoor market, known at the Mercato Centrale, where you can taste some delicious Tuscany food; and the outdoor section, where you can find leather products, clothing, and many souvenirs. Both markets are a great addition to your sightseeing, and we recommend you to try some of the delicious food they sell there. We ate some of the most memorable Italian food (pasta, obviously, as we are addicted to it…) in one of the numerous stands in the central market (the one that sells pasta to cook at home also sells ready to eat pasta - super cheap and delicious), so we recommend you to take some rest doing the same.
4. Galleria dell'Accademia
€: Paid Entrance | Time: 30 min | ★★✩✩✩
Accademia Gallery houses Michelangelo's original marble statue called David, standing tall at its center. The Gallery is fairly small, and you will spend no more than an hour inside unless you’re an enormous art buff.
We have to say, we were a little disappointed with the gallery, but the enormous and wonderful statue of David turn it into an experience you won’t forget.
The gallery is one of the most visited places in Florence, so we highly recommend you to buy your tikes in advance. You can save time waiting in the long lines at both these outstanding art museums with a Skip the Line tickets.
5. Piazza di Santa Croce & Church of Santa Croce
All rights reserved to Carlo Di Pasquale
€: Paid Entrance | Time: 60 min | ★★★✩✩
Sitting in the Piazza di Santa Croce, the church takes the center position and frames the square perfectly. The church of Santa Croce features a front facade that includes pink, green, and red marble polychrome panels contrasted with polished white stone.
Santa Croce actually has a more ornate interior than the Duomo, home to the tombs of some of the most influential Renaissance artists, including those of Dante and Galileo.
6. Piazzale Michelangelo
€: Free | Time: Sunset | ★★★★★
Do you want to finish your day in a place that offers you the best view of Florence (and of the Cathedral)? Then this is the place. Located on the South banks of the River Arno, the Piazzale sits high on a hill, his terrace above the city is an obligatory stop for any visitor. The best time to enjoy it in relative peace in the late afternoon, especially at sunset. Only from this terrace can you fully appreciate the city center and how the monuments are disposed of.
The view from the Piazza is unique and you can truly see Florence in all its glory. We highly recommend you to finish your day here, while you eat a piece of bread with pesto and some wine (as we did), a pure 5-star meal with the most beautiful vision of Florence you can imagine.
7. Other places if you have time
Have you finished the first day but have free time to explore some more? Here are some options for places and monuments you can to try!
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This fine example of Renaissance architecture houses some of the most important museums in Florence: the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments, the Silver Museum or Museo degli Argenti, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Porcelain Museum, and the Museum of Costume and Fashion. You can spend an entire day seeing all Pitti Palace.
Note: The museums have created a single ticket and made opening times the same for all museums, to simplify the itineraries of all visitors.
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Behind and connected to the palace are the Boboli Gardens. Covering an area of 45,000 square meters, the gardens are some of the largest in Florence and are a true delight to walk through. This is the perfect place to escape the city, though all the myriad of different sections, fountains, obelisks, and worldly trees, plants, and flowers.
Day 2 - One day full of experiences...
1.Piazza del Duomo & Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
€: Paid Entrance | Time: 120 min | ★★★★★
The duomo is possibly (most certainly, we dare to say) the most celebrated cathedral in the world! It is simply the jewel of the city. It is impossible to miss it! Literally, as it is so enormous and located in the center of the old city. The exterior and front facade of the Cathedral, covered in white marble and red, pink, and green polychrome designs, is breathtaking, and the perfect background for a picture of the city.
The Duomo complex is formed out of the Piazza Duomo and a group of buildings:
- the Duomo (or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, with its famous cupola)
- he Baptistery
- the Giotto’s bell tower (when you climb the bell tower, you have an amazing view of the cupola itself!)
- the Church of Santa Reparata
- the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
Begin by walking around the square to admire the intricately inlaid marble exteriors, then step inside each one of the buildings we describe to look more closely at the stained glass works of art that greet you wherever you look.
To avoid waiting in long lines buy a ticket, consider buying the tickets online.
Tip: Visit the piazza at night. The square is almost empty, and it’s the best time to admire the artwork!
2. Piazza della Repubblica
€: Free | Time: 120 min | ★★★✩✩
This piazza is home to Florence’s beautiful carousel. Be sure to stop and take a photo.
3. Via dei Calzaiuoli & Church of Orsanmichele
€: Paid Entrance | Time: 60 min | ★★★✩✩
Next, continue your tour by walking via dei Calzaiuoli (the street by the bell tower). On your way along this classic street, you can admire the square architectural structure of the church of Orsanmichele and the many statues that adorn its sides by great artists.
4. Fontana del Porcellino
€: Free | Time: 10 min | ★★✩✩✩
The Fontana del Porcellino consists of a large bronze boar. Don’t be surprised with the extra shiny nose: the legend says that if you rub his nose, you’ll be guaranteed to come back to Florence one day!
5. Piazza della Signoria & Palazzo Vecchio
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€: Free | Time: 30 min | ★★★★✩
Secondly, only to the Piazza del Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria is just as important and contains a myriad of buildings and classical art.
Piazza della Signoria, the 2nd most important square of Florence, represented the center of Florence's political power for centuries. It reunites a myriad of buildings and classical art:
- the main structure of the Piazza is the magnificent Palazzo Vecchio, with its huge clock tower and fantastic statues of David and Hercules.
- the wonderful fountain of Neptune, on the left of the palace;
- the Loggia dei Lanzi, on the right of the palace, which contains some beautiful Renaissance sculptures;
- the grand statue of Cosimo Medici, near the fountain of Neptune.
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Palazzo Vecchio: €: Paid entrance | Time: 80 min | ★★★★✩
You can visit the interior of the Palace Vecchio and see the originally decorated rooms, such as The Hercules Room and The Room of Cybele. To the right of Palazzo Vecchio, you can admire the Loggia dei Lanzi, where wonderful statues are on display.
6. The Uffizi Gallery
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€: Paid entrance | Time: 80 min | ★★★★✩
Right next door to the Piazza della Signoria, you have the Uffizi Palace and Gallery, considered one of the most important Italian museums in the world. If you don’t have time to visit the museum (or simply can’t waste de money on the ticket), enjoy the exterior view as the vast building, stretching along with the river building, is a marvel for itself. If you decide to take a look inside, there you can find an immense collection of Renaissance Art from several artists such as Da Vinci, Titian, and Raphael.
7. Ponte Vecchio
€: Free | Time: 40 min | ★★★★★
The Ponte Vecchio is another recognized icon of Florence you can't miss. It is certainly one of the city's prettiest scenes. Walk onto this fantastic structure and look at the various shops and vendors. You will find jewelers, art dealers, and souvenir shops.
Tip: when coming back, cross the river via the Ponte Santa Trinita to get an amazing view of the Ponte Vecchio itself!
Where to Sleep?
In Florence, we stayed at a very nice 2 Stars Hotel called Hotel Elite. The women that received us, Nadia, was amazing, super helpful, and spent time telling us what to visit and at what time to do it. She also recommended a super cheap and amazing restaurant!
Where to Eat?
Following the suggestion of Nadia, we went to Trattoria il Contadino: we paid 15€ per person, which included wine, 2 main dishes, and dessert! Oh boy, this is your local homemade food for Italians, they were simple people, but very nice and the food was marvellous, one of the best places to eat!
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If you want to know more about the complete trip, click here.