What are the best things to do in Florence Italy? The must-sees, but also the unusual things? Florence is one of the most romantic European destinations. In addition to its architecture, Florence is also a very interesting cultural destination to discover, but also one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Find out in this post all you need to know before going to Florence and our best travel tips for visiting Florence in 2 or 3 days. Let’s go!
- What to do in Florence 🤩
- Walking tour 👍
- Best areas to visit in Florence 💚
- Nice places where to eat 😋
- How many days to visit Florence? 📆
- Itinerary for 2 days 🌟
- Itinerary and tips for 3 days ✨
- Getting around in Florence 🚕
- What to visit around Florence? 🇮🇹
1. TOP 16 bets things to do and visit in Florence Italy
Florence is a very rock city in terms of cultural and historical heritage! You will find a lot of interesting places to visit there: so many that you will certainly have a hard time choosing! In order to help you make the choice, here is our list of the best things to do in Florence, but also further on the good addresses and more detailed itineraries to visit Florence in 2 or 3 days.
River right bank. The Arno river crosses the city of Florence. In order to find your way around better, you should know that the right bank of the river is more central. The right bank is where the Florence train station is, but also most of the best things to do in Florence, and in particular the Piazza del Duomo. You can take this point as a reference point for finding accommodation in Florence (find more tips in this post: Best places to stay in Florence).
1.1 Discovering the Piazza del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo is located in the heart of downtown Florence. This square is one of the must-see places to visit in Florence. During a weekend in Florence of 2 or 3 days, you can start the discovery by this square. Here, we find one of the most famous monuments of Florence, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, as well as the Baptistery of San Giovanni.
Good to know! The visits to the different places of Florence will quickly increase the budget of this trip. Moreover, in high tourist season (spring, and especially summer), expect a long wait. Not everything has to be visited absolutely during a 2 or 3 day trip to Florence. As this blog article progresses, we will try to give the elements to help you make your own selection.
1.2 Visiting the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its dome is impressive. Built in the 15th century by the architect Brunelleschi, the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the largest masonry dome in the world! It is over 155 meters high. The size of the cathedral is also impressive compared to other monuments in Florence. It is for this reason that we can say that the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is clearly the emblem of the city of Florence.
Going to the top of the Brunelleschi’s dome. Entrance to the cathedral is free, but not access to the dome, nor to its panorama of Florence. If you want to see the dome more closely, it is necessary to take a ticket on site, or to book a guided tour with skip-the-line access in order to save time (prices for guided tours). You will also have to climb 463 steps to get to the top of the dome.
1.3 Going to the top of Giotto’s Campanile or the bell tower of Florence Cathedral
In order to discover a beautiful view of the historic center of Florence and its surroundings, you can climb Giotto’s Campanile, or the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. After climbing the 414 steps of the bell tower, you will be rewarded with a 180 degree view of the city of Florence! If the steps are not enough for you, then you can choose either to climb the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (and even see the dome up close) or to climb the Campanile by Giotto. Doing both doesn’t necessarily make sense.
1.4 Visiting the San Giovanni Baptistery
Still on this same Piazza del Duomo, you can also visit the Florence Baptistery of San Giovanni. This monument is much smaller than the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. You can visit the Baptistery separately from the cathedral and the bell tower, tickets are sold separately.
Find the prices of hourly entrance tickets to the Cathedral, Giotto’s Campanile and the Baptistery of San Giovanni on the official website in English.
1.5 Discovering Piazza della Signoria
Among the essentials to see in Florence, there is of course the Signoria Square (wiki page)! This square is 400 meters, or 5 minutes on foot, from Piazza del Duomo. You could say that the Piazza del Duomo is the religious heart of Florence, while the Piazza della Signoria is its political heart. A pretty fountain representing Neptune is located on the square. If you are going to visit Florence in 2 or 3 days, Piazza della Signoria (Signoria Square in English) must be part of your itinerary to discover the city.
In Piazza della Signoria is Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio. Since its construction and for a long time, the Palazzo Vecchio was the seat of the government of Florence. Today it is the town hall of Florence. The interior of the Palazzo Vecchio can be visited. There are very beautiful rooms which testify to the influence of the city of Florence, especially during the Italian Renaissance.
- If you want to visit the Palazzo Vecchio, allow about 1 hour. This tour will be especially interesting for those who are very interested in the history of Florence.
- The Palazzo Vecchio is only open to the public 4 days a week. Find the timetables on the official website of the museums of Florence.
1.6 Visiting the Uffizi Gallery in Florence
If we had to recommend a single visit to Florence, we would have recommended that of the Uffizi Gallery. It is the choice of many visitors. The Uffizi Gallery is another must-see place in Florence. This is where you will discover the most beautiful works of Italian Renaissance artists!
How long does the visit take? Between 1h30 and 3 hours to visit the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
If you can’t find any more tickets (limited access), and if you want to save time (a lot of waiting in high tourist season, i.e. approx. from April to October), we recommend to book skip-the-line tickets. Find out more here: prices and tickets for the Uffizi Gallery + audioguide.
1.7 Visiting the Accademia Gallery in Florence Italy
The Accademia Gallery in Florence is known for its collection of statues, including that of David by Michelangelo. This statue, famous all over the world, is magnificent. If you are hesitating between the Uffizi Gallery or the Accademia Gallery, choose the Uffizi Gallery instead. And if you appreciate art, and especially Renaissance art, then do not hesitate: visit both.
Time needed: at least 1h30 to visit the Accademia Gallery in Florence.
Tickets. If you can’t find any more tickets (limited access), in order to save time on site, you can take the skip-the-line tickets + audio guide.
Highly recommended. In order to avoid a lot of waiting and to save money, you can also opt for passes that include several visits at the same time (check this option and prices here). However, sometimes, even with the passes, there is also a wait, but if you wish to visit both the Uffizi Gallery, and the dome of the Florence Cathedral, and the Accademia Gallery, the pass may be worth the shot.
1.8 Walking on the Ponte Vecchio
The Ponte Vecchio is the symbol bridge of the city of Florence! Built in the 14th century, the Ponte Vecchio is both a pedestrian street and a shopping mall. It is interesting to see the bridge from afar, but also to take it to cross the Arno river to visit other areas of Florence, less central.
1.9 Visiting the Palazzo Pitti in Florence and strolling through the Boboli Gardens
The Palazzo Pitti (or Pitti Palace) in Florence is located just across the Arno River. The palace building is built in the Renaissance style, which gives it a rather massive and brutal look. Once inside, we no longer find this brutality, but we discover very beautiful pieces and works by artists recognized throughout the world. A must place to visit in Florence for art lovers!
Visiting time: about 1h30 to visit the interior of the Pitti Palace in Florence, and an hour more to visit its garden, that is to say the Boboli Gardens.
You can visit the palace separately from the gardens. There may be a wait in spring or summer, but outside of this period there are fewer people. In spring or in summer, the better option is to take skip-the-line tickets (prices and availability day by day to visit the Pitti Palace).
1.10 Visiting to the central market
Visiting the San Lorenzo market is one of the best things to do in Florence Italy. It is the largest market in Florence. Its specialty is leather, but it also has a whole section dedicated to Tuscan gastronomy, which is definitely worth a visit! If you come to visit Florence in 2 or 3 days, and want to take a break from museums, then the San Lorenzo market is a perfect place for you.
1.11 Visiting the Medici Chapels of the Basilica of San Lorenzo
A stone’s throw from the San Lorenzo market is the San Lorenzo Basilica where you can see the magnificent Medici Chapels. During your trip to Florence, do not hesitate to add the Medici Chapels to your itinerary of discovery!
In high tourist season, especially in summer, you can book skip-the-line tickets to visit the Chapels.
1.12 Visiting the Church of Santa Croce in Florence
Built in 1294, the Church of Santa Croce in Florence houses the tombs of famous Florentines such as Galileo, Machiavelli, Michelangelo or Dante. We can say that it is the Florentine Pantheon.
1.13 Strolling through the Bardini Garden
What to do in Florence apart from the museums? During your stay of 2 or 3 days in Florence, if you want to take a break in a beautiful and quiet place with a view of the city, come to the Bardini Garden! This place is magical. In peace, you can walk in its alleys, discover its pretty statues, admire its orchard and its plants. It is a real relaxing break that you can offer yourself by coming to this garden. We recommend! Admission to the Bardini Garden is chargeable, but can be combined with admission to the Boboli Gardens.
1.14 Discovering a beautiful panorama of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo
Another place allows you to see a beautiful panorama of Florence: it is the esplanade of Piazzale Michelangelo. Also located on the other side of the Arno River, just like the Bardini Garden, Piazzale Michelangelo offers a beautiful view of Florence. You can get here by car, or by bus 12 or 13 from downtown Florence. Unlike the Bardini Garden, access to the esplanade is free, but there are also a lot more people, and the setting is less pretty.
1.15 Visiting the National Museum of Bargello in Florence Italy
Another must-see place of art in Florence, the National Museum of Bargello! In this museum we find the largest collection of Tuscan Renaissance statues: masterpieces by Donatello, Michelangelo, Verrocchio… Magnificent, what more can we say?! You can book skip-the-line tickets for Bargello in Florence here, or on the Florence Museums website.
1.16 Visiting the Church of Santa Maria Novella
The Church of Santa Maria Novella is located not far from the Florence train station. The facade of the church is particularly pretty. If we look more closely, we discover sails and ships. They refer to the Rucellai family, who financed the facade of the church.
2. Visiting Florence : walking tour
Walking is the best way to visit Florence. The main routes to take to visit Florence on foot link the unmissable places of the city. You can take these 4 places as a point of reference: Santa Maria Novella Church, Ponte Vecchio, Medici Chapels, Florence Cathedral. We will add a walking route map later in this blog post.
With a guide. If you are going to visit Florence in 2 days, in order to better know the city, its districts and its history, you can book a guided walking tour (check the availability and the price for the walking tour in English or another language). During the visit, thanks to the guide’s explanations, you can really better understand Florence, and make the trip even more interesting and memorable.
3. Best areas to visit and stay in Florence
The right bank of the Arno river (where Florence Cathedral is located, and the train station) is livelier, but also noisier. Here is our selection of apartments and hotels where to stay to visit Florence and enjoy your trip.
Alfieri Signature Suites: located on the banks of the Arno River, this hotel is perfect for visiting Florence on foot. The rooms are tastefully decorated, some of them directly overlooking the river. From the hotel terrace, there is a lovely view of the city and the dome of Florence Cathedral.
Tornabuoni Place: located in the heart of the historic center of Florence, this hotel offers double rooms for an excellent romantic getaway. This hotel is well located to visit all the best things in Florence.
Hotel Garibaldi Blu: mixing modern design and frescoed ceilings, the decoration of this hotel is surprising, but also striking. The location is perfect, right in front of Piazza Santa Maria Novella and its cathedral. Some rooms overlook the square directly.
Capri Moon Guest House: This guest house is also located in downtown Florence and offers rooms decorated in a traditional Tuscan style. The location is ideal for visiting Florence on foot.
Boheme Apartment: this apartment for 4 people is located on the left bank of the Arno river, in the quieter part of the city of Florence. However, the location remains interesting, because from the apartment you can still visit Florence on foot. It is a good place to sleep in Florence with the family.
4. Nice places where to eat in Florence
When you travel to Italy, you inevitably expect to eat well. Discovering Italian gastronomy is one of the best things to do in Florence. So, what are the nice places to eat in Florence, if you come here for a weekend or more? Click on the location to open Google Maps location and reviews.
- GUSTARIUM: a very good pizzeria in Florence! Here you can choose to take slices of different pizzas, to eat in or take away. The choice of toppings is varied. The location is very good, right in the heart of downtown Florence.
- Panini Toscani: a good address for a quick and good lunch in Florence! Fresh Tuscan products, a good welcome, and very good paninis, to eat on the spot or to take away to continue discovering Florence.
- Ristorante Oliviero 1962: a Tuscan restaurant in the heart of downtown Florence, not far from the Arno river. The food is delicious, and the service is excellent. This is a very good place to eat in Florence at night.
- Cantinetta delle Terme: a friendly atmosphere, nicely decorated and very good dishes, and a top-notch welcome! An address to remember if you are going to visit Florence in 2, 3 days or more.
- Degusteria Italiana: the place is magnificent, the dishes are refined. Prices are above average, but worth it. A great time to spend with family or lovers.
- Gelateria dei Neri: a perfect place to enjoy a good Italian ice cream as we like it!
5. How many days to visit Florence?
You can visit Florence in 2 or 3 days, but there are so many places to visit that you can even stay there for a week! Florence is a city rich in cultural heritage. Art lovers will love Florence.
6. Itinerary and tips for visiting Florence in 2 days
What are the best things to do in Florence in 2 days?
- Discover Piazza del Duomo
- Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence
- Go to the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (tickets for visiting the Duomo)
- Go to Piazza della Signoria
- Visit the Uffizi Gallery in Florence (book skip-the-line tickets and check prices)
- Walk on the Ponte Vecchio
- Visit the Medici Chapels inside the Basilica of San Lorenzo
- Take a trip to the central market of Florence
7. Itinerary and tips for visiting Florence in 3 days
What to do in Florence in 3 days, in addition to the activities mentioned above?
- Visit the Palazzo Pitti in Florence (book skip-the-line tickets)
- Stroll through the Bardini Garden in Florence
8. Getting around Florence
Visit Florence by foot. Florence is a city that can easily be visited on foot. The main and best things to do and visit in Florence are located in the city center. To go to the other side of the Arno river, you can take city buses, but it is quite possible to go there on foot. In general, once installed in your accommodation, we visit Florence on foot.
Going from the airport (or train station) to downtown Florence. Traveling with suitcases in downtown Florence is possible, but not necessarily the most comfortable. In addition, some streets are paved, which makes traveling with suitcases even less pleasant. The simplest solution is therefore to take a taxi from the airport directly to the accommodation (check the price of the Florence transfert airport).
9. What to visit around Florence?
Several interesting places are located near Florence. With a few extra days, you can include these places in your trip. For example:
- Pisa: known for its leaning tower, this former small port city can be reached from Florence by train (1h journey) or by car (1h30).
- Siena: simply one of the most beautiful Tuscan cities! Siena is 70km from
- Florence: 1h30-2h by train to go from Florence to Siena, or 1h30 by car.
- Monteriggioni and San Gimignano: medieval villages accessible by car from Florence.
- Cinque Terre: these are the 5 villages that are considered the most beautiful in the world! The Cinque Terra are part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Visiting Florence is visiting one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. You will certainly fall in love with Florence. If you have the possibility to leave more than 3 days, it is a good opportunity to include Pisa or Siena in your travel itinerary.