Small, but powerful That’s Florence. It’s so compact that it’s possible to get a complete experience of the city within just four days, and it’s full of Renaissance architecture, art, and history. Our itinerary hits all the highlights, from Michelangelo to the Medicis, but also goes beyond them to the less-well-known–and less-crowded–attractions, which are just as spectacular.
To maximize your time, we’ve put together places based on the area, noting the less crowded places if you go there early. We’ve also scheduled time to let these masterpieces be absorbed. Between basilicas and museums, You’ll wander through Medieval streets and explore your taste buds at trattorias, bars, and gelaterias. We’ve chosen only stops praised by Tripadvisor users, meaning you don’t have to waste time with a sham.
MORNING: A landmark architectural design with spectacular city views
Start early to Piazza del Duomo famous place brimming with architectural marvels. Take a break with a cappuccino and croissant early before the area gets overrun. Anyplace is acceptable; however, Cafe de la Paix is the best choice since it’s right near the bright white marble facade of one the largest cathedrals: Florence Cathedral or Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo which is your first stop in the morning.
If the caffeine does not increase your heart rate, the more than 450 steps to the top of the Dome of the Florence Cathedral, Cupola del, Brunelleschi will. However, the climb is well worth it, taking in the fantastic dome itself and the amazing view of the city that will blow your breath off (if you haven’t been there before). The best tip is to know that entry to the cathedral and the dome are separate. The cathedral is also free, but the lines are incredibly long. If you’re unable to muster the patience or dress appropriately for church, make sure you book a pre-paid ticket to view the dome that is the main attraction here and even more stunning than the cathedral’s interior.
At the time of writing as of this writing, the ticket to the dome grants access to all Piazza del Duomo monuments for three days, including that of the Campanile di Giotto bell tower. Suppose you’re not looking to climb another 400 steps. In that case, you can view the 14th-century Gothic marvel from the outside and visit it with the Museo dell’Opera di Duomo (OPA) in its place and spend about an hour wandering between the 750 works of art connected to the Duomo. “The Gates of Paradise,” spectacularly paneled doors made from gold-plated bronze, are the main attraction here, along with works created by Michelangelo and Donatello.
Travelers report: “[The Dumo] is essential when you visit Florence. From the outside, it’s breathtaking. It’s stunning and even better to eat drinks and food at one of the restaurants close to it, and to simply admire the structure. With the dome, you are able to go all the way to the top and get to take in all the fine details. It was the most enjoyable part of our visit, and I’d love to repeat it!” –yasmineyvonne
Afternoon: Markets and medieval streets
It’s time to have a bite after your hard-working morning climb. Go across the street towards La Strega Neocciola Gelateria Artigianale in Firenze Duomo, open until noon. Treat yourself to a truly exceptional gelato. It’s difficult to choose a bad in terms of flavor, and Pistachio is the most popular flavor in case you don’t have a preference.
When you’re done with your treats, take the five-minute walk for five minutes to Mercato Centrale. The market in the open air is filled with Italian food items: pizza pasta, panini, pasta lasagna, and gnocchi. Pasta Fresca can be a popular choice for fresh and delicious pasta dishes for a reasonable cost.
The carbs will provide the energy to stroll along cobblestone streets toward the Arno River. It can be Florence’s historical center, the city–a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its own right because of its Medieval and Renaissance origins and preserved architectural styles.
The main street is the pedestrian-only shop-lined Via Calzaiuoli. Please take a look at the Piazza della Repubblica, which is an open-air square that has its very own carnival. Check out the Piazza della Signoria, a central courtyard featuring an iconic fountain. Fountain of Neptune, the sculptures in the outdoor area that are part of Loggia of Lanzi as well as the magnificent historic town hall Palazzo Vecchio, where a replica of Michelangelo’s David remains on its original site. If you’re in the mood, you should visit the inside to take in the vast frescos and ceiling with panels and the views of the Duomo; however, you might need to reserve a ticket in advance.
When the afternoon draws to an end, stroll across the Arno by the famous historical Ponte Vecchio bridge lined with shops where vendors sell gold jewelry made by the city’s renowned goldsmiths (S. Vaggi, a popular choice). You’re now in the Oltrarno neighborhood, “the other side of Arno.”
HISTORIC CITY CENTER TOUR OPTIONS
- The Best of Florence Private Tour explores the city’s hot spots and hidden gems along each side of the Arno within just three hours, starting from the Duomo up towards Palazzo Pitti. The best part about this tour is that the guides can accommodate your needs and preferences.
- The rich history of the wealthy and powerful Medici family is firmly linked to the past of Florence. Florence. This Renaissance & Medici Tales walking tour traces the story of this family while walking through its most well-known squares. The time is a Tripadvisor top pick, highly rated by over 2000 reviewers. (Note it is important to note that guides get paid in tips. Providing at least 10 euros for the best tour is expected.)
- If you’re a fan of monuments over squares and squares, it’s The Essence of Florence two-hour walking tour is a great way to discover places you would overlook. (Similar to the Medici tour, it is a gratuity-based tour, and you must be prepared to pay at least 10 euros directly to your guide.)
Evening: A sunset (and pizza) over Florence
If the sun begins to sink, approach The Piazzale Michelangelo. There’s no doubt that compared to the quick strolls through the city’s center, the Piazzale Michelangelo is an arduous hike. If you’ve finished where you’ve been, it’s around 20 minutes of walking, including an uphill climb at the close. (If you’re exhausted after reading this, a number 12 bus will drop you right at the highest point.) The reward is breathtaking views of the entire terracotta-roofed city. Make sure you’re on time, and you can enjoy drinks or gelato while taking in the spectacular sunset. Then, enjoy the evening view while eating pizza at the perfect location Terrazze Michelangelo.
Detours worth taking on the way
- Church and Museum of Orsanmichele997Religious Sites, Art Museums
- Museo di Palazzo Davanzati668Speciality Museums
- Piazza della Repubblica1,207Scenic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
- Museo Nazionale del Bargello3,055Government Buildings, Historic Sites
- Via de’ Tornabuoni275Points of Interest & Landmarks
- Battistero di San Giovanni4,452Architectural Buildings, Religious Sites
AM: Renaissance icons at Uffizi
The Uffizi Gallery (Gallerie Degli Uffizi) is one of the most renowned museums thanks to its treasure trove in Renaissance art. Pre-booking a ticket before it opens is the best way to avoid crowds. Look at Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” first, and then enjoy the remainder of the morning, taking in the ancient artifacts and Renaissance masterpieces created by Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo (da Vinci), Caravaggio, and Giotto without stopping.
Travelers have said: “The Uffizi is wonderful and overwhelming! The opportunity to look at many of the artwork that the Medicis patronized, collected, and exhibited is an absolute pleasure. This is the Uffizi is a stunning structure as is it’s Renaissance artwork collection here is unparalleled. I strongly recommend taking an afternoon break once you arrive at the cafe. Relaxing outside with a Bellini and a bite to eat, and a cup of coffee with the Duomo on the horizon allowed us to contemplate what we’d observed and to take a breath before heading back in to get further.” –NDP
UFFIZI GALLERY TOUR OPTIONS
- Suppose you still need to do a refresher course on art background. In that case, The audio guide, available at the museum’s entry point at a modest cost, can assist you in navigating the museum’s most important artifacts. The bookshop also has guides if you’d instead print.
- The Small Group Uffizi Gallery Guided Tour lasts at least 1.5 hours and is limited to nine people. It puts art into context and focuses on the most famous pieces in the museum. Admission and tours are included.
- This Minimal Group-Guided Uffizi Museum + Accademia Museum Walking Tour explores Florence’s two most well-known museums, as well as a brief city tour that takes place between. Ideal for those who prefer to concentrate on the best of Florence and the highlights, the 3.5 tour is a great way to see various places in one trip.
An AFTERNOON: A beefsteak as well as the Basilica
Three hours in Renaissance art is a good excuse for a relaxing lunch. Look at Trattoria Alfredo, which serves classic Tuscan dishes such as fresh Tagliolini pasta served with truffles from the region.
The next stop is the Basilica of Santa Croce, located right across the street. The Medieval church is well-known for its frescoes created by Giotto and also its inhabitants: Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli are all in this church. It’s possible to spend an hour looking around, after which you can stop at the Scuola del Cuoio. This acclaimed leather school is in a monastic building just behind the Basilica. You can observe the artisans at work and browse for leather goods that are reasonably priced.
It’s time to take an afternoon break from gelato. The Tripadvisor reviews rave that Gelateria La Carraia in Santa Croce serves up the most delicious gelato they’ve ever tried. You could also test your taste with a tasting test!
Travelers have said: “[Basilica of Sante Crocewas one of the highlights of my visit to Italy. It was incredibly touching to visit the graves of so many famous scientists and artists. I visited a variety of churches and basilicas over 12 days, but I think that this one was by far the most memorable one. It’s for me an “do not miss” experience!” –Ann345678
Evening: Buon appetito
Stroll around the less crowded Santa Croce neighborhood to take into the local culture before heading to the bar to unwind with your aperitivo of the day (Italy’s alternative to Happy Hour). Lo Schiacciavino serves the finest wines (chianti is a regional specialty) and a delectable tagliere (a cheese and meat platter). Dinner is served at Adagio is a great place to help local food with a la carte menus or a tasting menu that highlights local and seasonal produce. The day is finished by dining at Buca10, a welcoming bar in the neighborhood that allows you to raise a glass.
Detours worth taking throughout the route
- Giardino Bardini1,138Gardens, Points of Interest & Landmarks
- Casa Buonarroti192Speciality Museums
- Basilica San Miniato al Monte5,381Architectural Buildings, Religious Sites
- Palazzo Pitti5,935Art Museums, Speciality Museums
- Giardino di Boboli5,080Gardens
AM: Michelangelo’s masterpiece, as well as a 15th-century monastery
Get ready for a full day of exploration in Ala Grande Caffe, known for its pistachio-filled cappuccinos and croissants, then stroll around towards Galleria dell’Accademia, one of Florence’s most well-known museums. Make sure to reserve a ticket to avoid the crowds, then head straight for the main attraction, Michelangelo’s David. It’s OK to visit the statue and then leave for a while, but why not spend one hour sifting through the Florentine artworks here?
Stroll across the street to the Museo di San Marco when you’re in the neighborhood. In the shadow of other blockbuster sites, the 15th-century monastery with its early Renaissance frescoes is a hidden treasure. Girolamo Savonarola once lived here–his epic story, with spoilers, is about his father’s death.
AFFAIR AFTERNOON the church of Medici and the home of Gucci
Travel south until you reach another part of the historic city’s central area. Take a detour through an iconic Dominican Monastery Basilica of Santa Maria Novella in addition to The Basilica di San Lorenzo, the church belonging to the Medici family. It’s worthwhile to pay for tickets to visit the extravagant Medici chapels, which house the burial grounds of the Medicis and sculptures created by Michelangelo. Take a lunch break in the Trattoria Toscana Gozzi Sergio next to the church. Peposo, a Tuscan stew made of beef, is a favorite.
If you’re already a bit churched out, Continue south and switch to shopping. There are the gods of Italian High Fashion; Prada and Gucci are located on Via Tornabuoni. You can also cross the Arno for antiques along Via Maggio, boutiques on Via Romana, or artisanal shops along Via dei Serragli. Many shops are open from 7 to 7 pm.
Travelers report: “We were surprised to discover [Basilica di Santa Lorenzo] so devoid of tourists. The crypt of the Medici Chapelsis where the remains of many Medici are resting. The staircase leads to the breathtaking Chapel of the Princes, constructed in the 17th century. The walls are entirely covered in semi-precious stones, a must-see. The dome above is large, that displays the stories of Genesis. From the chapel, you’ll be able to access another delight–the “New Sacristy” by Michelangelo.” –Roy R.
Evening The evening is a celebration of upscale Italian dinner and Negroni.
You can indulge by booking an appointment for dinner at Cuculia Restaurant Cuculia – Ristorante, which serves an elegant and modern version of traditional Italian meals. The tasting menu is fantastic. After dinner, take a five-minute walk across the bridge and visit the Manifattura Modern bar with a sophisticated style that keeps the glamour flowing. If you’re a fan of bitter, go for a Negroni. This drink was created in Florence in 1919. (Thank you to Negroni.) Negroni.)
FLORENCE FOOD TOURS
- Part walking tour Part food tour The 10-Tastings tour of Florence takes in the pastry shops, churches, and food markets, offering snacks of the local cuisine and a glass of coffee and wine.
- If you’re eager to experience the taste of Italy at home and experience authentic Italian cuisine, the Original Cooking class and the Market tour are necessary. It takes place in the Central Market and teaches you how to cook pasta and other Italian dishes, such as tiramisu, in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
- If you’re more committed to your pasta, this interactive Pastamania course focuses on making specific pasta varieties like ravioli, tortellini, and fettuccine. With a lot of 5-star reviews, this is a sure winner.