So after going around Italy for a few days, we finally get to Florence and I can confidently say that Florence is one of my favorites so far. Our whole trip was 3 weeks long, and if I would’ve known how much we were going to like Florence, we would’ve definitely stayed a bit longer. Of course, in two days you won’t be able to see everything, but you will definitely be able to enjoy the highlights of this city with no rush. You can actually read my First Time in Europe to learn more about my whole trip and all the other places we visited.
Florence is also a great base city if you are planning to travel to Pisa for a day, which is what we did. As well as some other towns that are less than two hours away. Sienna is another town that you are able to travel to from here. Next time I visit Florence, because I will definitely be back, I will be taking a day or two to visit Sienna, and of course to spend more time in beautiful Florence.
If you are going during high season, keep in mind that most places will be super crowded, so expect to find long lines. We went in mid November, so it wasn’t too crowded, but it was a bit colder than expected. You do have the option to purchase a City Pass to skip some of the lines.
The next morning, we had a quick breakfast that was provided by the Hotel. We didn’t waste any time, and started our route right away. We started our route visiting the Galleria dell’Accademia, home to Michelangelo’s David. If you only visit one museum in Florence, make it the Academy. We had purchased skip the line tickets, which weren’t really needed for the season that we went. There was no line. You can also choose a tour to walk you around the Gallery. We chose not to at this point. It wasn’t crowded so we had time to walk around and enjoy the art. After doing the obligatory gawking at the David, we walked a few more minutes and continued with our exploring.
From here we walked to the Piazza San Marco, where you’ll find the Museo San Marco and the Basilica. We spent a few minutes inside the Basilica, but opted out of visiting the Museum.
The Mercato Centrale was just a few minutes from here so we decided to head there. I have to say that this was the most organized market I have ever seen. It has become one of the most popular tourist market in the city. Here you will be able to find everything you are looking for. From the best leather you could find, to tasting pasta, pastries, vegetables, cheese, wine, and more.
After spending quite some time here, buying souvenirs and tasting some of the amazing food, we headed to the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, which is where the famous Duomo is situated, the Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Baptistry. But before getting there, we passed by the Medici Chapel. We sat down outside for a few minutes to have a quick-lunch that we had prepared.
Once arriving at the Cathedral, it was just beautiful. This is the most iconic sight of the city. We went inside the Cathedral, but you also have the choice of walking up the stairs. We opted out of that one because a few of my family members have heart problems, and you aren’t able to go up if you do. It is over 450 steps, so you could only imagine. But you can get some amazing views of Florence from here. We spent quite some time here, just walking around, and even tried one of the local pizzerias in this area.
We continued our walk and found ourselves at the Piazza Della Signoria, where you can find a replica of the David, the Fountain Neptune, among other amazing statues.
Our walk then lead us to the Ponte Vecchio, last remaining original bridge,. We walked along the river back to our hotel and had dinner at a restaurant that was close by.
We started our second day a bit later this time. We spent some time enjoying our breakfast before heading on our exploring ventures. This time around, we decided to take our time walking to our next destination, we wanted to enjoy the beautiful city. We even made a quick stop at a local vegan restaurant to try their smoothies.
Our first destination for the day was the Boboli gardens. This is a peaceful outdoor space in the city. You do have to pay to enter but it is definitely worth it. You get one of the most amazing views over the city and some beautiful tree-shaded paths. It is also a great spot to stop for a while and just enjoy. Take a picnic, read a good book and relax. We definitely took our time walking the garden, a few hours to be exact.
By the time we were done enjoying ourselves there, we were hungry again. So we decided to walk down the Ponte Vecchio and enjoyed some of the local pizza and Gelato. Be aware that the prize might be a bit higher around this area.
Spend some time exploring and prepare to discover hidden gems. You can then end your day at Piazzale Michelangelo, which is also another great spot for beautiful views of Florence. It’s a bit of a long walk there, so you can take a taxi or the bus. Aim for the sunset views.
Watch this video to see more of our trip to Florence.
What you should know about your visit to Florence:
Tip # 1: Visit during slow season. We were able to enjoy a lot because we didn’t have to wait in long lines to go into these places. We visited in November, which was a bit colder than expected, but I hear that late September/October, or late March/April are great times to visit as well, less traffic and good weather. Also, keep in mind that things may cost you more when you go during summer time.
Tip # 2: Do not squeeze too many things in. Florence is a great place to get lost in, walking around through and enjoying the views.
Tip # 3: Prepare snacks. We bought tons of coffee and hot chocolate during our walks because it was super cold, but they were so delicious that we didn’t mind the extra expenses. However, do prepare some snacks and water for when you are out. This will save you tons because it will help you avoid buying something to eat in every corner. Enjoy the local food, of course. We tried to always get a hotel that included breakfast, and prepared something for lunch, so that all we had to really sit down for was dinner. We also waited to ask the locals what they recommended for us to eat, instead of looking for restaurants online.
Tip # 4: Like I mentioned at the beginning, look for a place to stay that is close to the train station, so that you don’t have to walk around much with your bags. Get familiar with the map of the area you’ll be staying in and places you’ll be visiting.
Tip # 5: It is also recommended that you contact your Bank before leaving, to let them know that you will be making purchases in a different country so that they don’t block your card. Also, ask if they charge you for using your card, if they have any fees, to see if its more convenient to only use cash. You should still carry a certain amount in cash.
Tip # 6: Try to purchase your tickets early, and when I say early, I really mean early. We bought our plane tickets almost a year ahead of time, and the train tickets we purchased months in advanced. Trust me, this will help you save A LOT.
Tip # 7: The TripAdvisor app was a big help before and during our trip. In finding where to stay, where to eat, and even the places to visit. Also, we purchased a lot of the things we needed for our trip, like our Travel Power Adapter, through Amazon.
Tip # 8: Lastly, although it wasn’t such a big problem here, be aware of pickpockets, or people asking you to sign anything, to look at something. Keep your bags tight while walking or taking the train or escalators.
Like I said, there is always more to see, so just do some more research and see what else you would be interested in. But take your time to enjoy Florence. You can visit the Uffizi Gallery, as well as the other museums, churches, and palaces.
Well, I hope that this itinerary and tips for Florence help you during your next visit. And if you do follow it, or take any tips from here, please write me. I want to know how it went for you. Don’t forget to read my Europe Trip post to read more about my whole trip and the other places we visited in Europe. Who knows, maybe you follow our same 3 week route.
One of the main things I loved about Florence, other than its amazing views, the architecture, fashion, culture, and loving people, was that everything is within a few minutes walk. So I highly recommend to ditch any plans you may have of using the bus, or car, unless you’re not able to walk for long periods of time. It is such a beautiful small city.
I will definitely be coming back to Florence. There are tons of things we didn’t have time to see, and I would love to visit.
Here are the recommended Itineraries for my trip: