Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region of Italy, is without a doubt one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, if not the world. Filled with iconic landmarks, a first-time visitor may find it a bit daunting to fully experience this alluring city on a short weekend trip. But our 2 days in Florence itinerary will help you with that!
Because if you plan in advance there is every possibility that you will enjoy every moment of the limited time you have at your disposal. This specially crafted two day Florence itinerary will guide you through the best ways to see the highlights of the city which became the Cradle of Renaissance in the 15th century.
2 days in Florence itinerary: A weekend of art, history & culture
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Snapshot: Florence 2 day itinerary
- Day 1 of 2 day Florence Itinerary:
- Galleria dell’Accademia,
- Piazza del Duomo,
- Florence Cathedral, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Baptistery,
- Piazza Della Signoria,
- Palazzo Vecchio,
- Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens,
- Basilica of Santa Croce
- Day 2 of 2 day Florence Itinerary:
- Uffizi Gallery,
- Ponte Vecchio bridge,
- Museo Galileo,
- Piazza della Repubblica,
- Piazzale Michelangelo
Getting to Florence
Florence is a city located in the Tuscany region of Italy. It is known for its art and architecture, including its medieval and Renaissance churches and palaces. Florence was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and is a popular tourist destination – it attracts millions of visitors each year.
To kick start your Florence 2 day itinerary, plan to arrive in the city the night before.
And then from there hop on a high-speed train to get to Florence.
- Rome to Florence is 1.50 hours by train
- Milan to Florence is 2 hours by train
If you wish to fly to Tuscany internationally, your options are Pisa (Galileo Galilei International Airport) and Florence (Amerigo Vespucci Airport). In order to get to the city centre from the airport, you can ride a shuttle bus, or take a private transfer.
- Florence airport to Center hotel: Private transfer from airport to hotel. Shared taxi. Note that you can only carry 1 luggage and carry-on. Book your transfer here
- Transfer by Deluxe Van: From Florence Airport to/from Florence City Center, click to reserve your spot
Where to stay in Florence? Best areas in Florence for sightseeing
For hotels and accommodation in Florence, we recommend staying in a central area, close to the Duomo with views. You can book a place with terrace access or a rooftop pool in Florence. Like La Terrazza sul Duomo B&B with an awesome terrace.
The Arno River divides Florence into two halves. The city center is located in the northern part where most of the top spots are found, and where you will be spending most of your time.
Another hotel, especially for first-time visitors, that occupies a great location between the Central Train Station and the Duomo is Hotel Baglioni.
Situated in the San Giovanni district, the hotel has a fine rooftop restaurant, good internet connectivity, and is close to Galleria Dell’accademia, Uffizi Gallery, and Palazzo Vecchio.
Hotel Vasari is another option. We stayed here on one of our trips, and it is conveniently located between the centre and the train station.
A popular 4-Star choice for families is the spacious FH55 Hotel Calzaiuoli at an easy walking distance from the historic sites. Though we have not stayed there, it is said their complimentary breakfast spread features delicious Tuscany favorites and traditional Florentine pastries.
If you are unable to get an affordable room in the San Giovanni district, the Santa Croce district is a viable second option. Here you will find lovely dining outlets and lots of shops selling leather products. The only drawback is that the train station is a bit far, about thirty minutes away by walk.
Really quick, here are the recommended hotels for Florence in 2 days,
- La Terrazza sul Duomo B&B: La Terrazza is our favorite place to stay in Florence. It has gorgeous suites and comes with rooftop access. Their breakfast is amazing too. Book your stay here
- Grand Hotel Cavour Florence: Grand Hotel is an upscale 4-star hotel in Florence, with a rooftop bar. The best part – the hotel is part of a heritage property, dating back to the 13th century. Click to view photos and prices
- Hotel Baglioni: Enjoy views of the Duomo in this stunning hotel located close to the train station and the centre. Book your stay here
- Hotel Vasari: This is a budget 3-star hotel located near the Santa Maria Novella Florence station and is about a 15-minute walk from Palazzo Vecchio. The property is slightly dated, but its location is nice for transportation and sightseeing. Take a look at the availability here
You don’t need a car to explore Florence on a weekend. But we would strongly recommend buying the tickets for the most visited attractions in advance.
Florence draws millions of tourists each year and there is no such thing as a low season. The waiting lines are huge, plus tickets for some popular attractions come with a fixed time slot.
If you happen to visit during the peak summer period, you may have to spend hours standing in a line in the scorching heat. Additionally, you will waste so much time you will miss out on other attractions in your two days in Florence.
Day 1 of 2 days in Florence itinerary: Galleria dell’Accademia, Piazza del Duomo, Florence Cathedral, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Baptistery, Piazza Della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens, Basilica of Santa Croce
Begin your first day early by enjoying some of the most delectable Italian pastries at Vecchio Forno. Do not forget to sample their croissants too as they are considered to be the best in the city.
Then head out as soon as possible to the Galleria dell’Accademia if you want to beat the crowds. There are also cafes close to the galleria if you prefer to grab breakfast nearby (like the Ristorante Accademia).
The gallery opens at 09:00 am so take advantage of your early start to comfortably admire the most famous work of Michelangelo, the 17′ high marble statue of David.
Book a guided tour to learn more about the place and also get priority access to the museum. You won’t need more than an hour to see everything, but this tour will cover all the exhibit areas including the historical significance of the works of art.
Florence Cathedral or Duomo
The most iconic landmark in Florence is undoubtedly the Duomo, also known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, located on Piazza del Duomo.
The cathedral forms a part of the great complex which includes Giotto’s Bell Tower, Baptistry of San Giovanni, Opera Museum, Crypt of Santa Reparata, and Brunelleschi’s Dome.
While the cathedral is free to visit, you need to pay for admission to climb the tower or visit the Baptistry. The 463 odd narrow steps leading to the top may sound taxing but is worth every drop of sweat once you set your eyes on the views from the top.
You can buy an entry ticket to the Duomo, which also includes access to the bell tower.
Alternatively, you can also book a 2 hour guided tour of the Duomo complex. This includes an expert local guide who will take you around sharing stories and the history of the stunning Duomo and the Baptistery.
By now you are sure to be tired and hungry, so it is time to savor an authentic Italian meal. The Ravioli e’ Raviolo serves some of the best fresh ravioli in Florence. Not only are they extremely delicious, but you can also choose from a wide range of sauces to create your own meal.
Highlights of Piazza della Signoria
Up next is the beautiful art gallery from the 14th century, Loggia del Lanzi, also known as the Loggia della Signoria is worth a look. It is located adjacent to Piazza dei Signori and Piazza Vecchio.
The beautiful 14th century gallery is home to a number of prominent statues, including a replica of Michelangelo’s David. Today it serves as an open air museum for masterworks of sculpture. An easy free stop in the piazza to rest your weary feet.
Continue walking by the dei Calzaiuoli, the street by the bell tower, to visit the Palazzo Vecchio, or the Old Palace area, the center of Florence’s political rulers for centuries.
Get on the Vasari Corridor to connect to Palazzo Pitti from Palazzo Vecchio.
The Pitti Palace houses some of the most important museums in Florence. The Palatine Gallery is the main gallery of Palazzo Pitti and it contains a large collection of over 500 Renaissance paintings.
Spend an hour or two exploring the palazzo and its major galleries.
Grab one of these tickets for the Pitti Palace,
Behind the palace lie the famous 111 acres of Boboli Gardens, another place of historical importance for Florence. This open-air museum and park is home to trees dating back hundreds of years which offer respite to visitors from the harsh sun during summers.
There are large fountains (like the Fountain of Neptune) and decorated caves inside the gardens, which are worth exploring.
The gardens were once a part of the powerful Medici family’s residence and are situated on a steep hill. Walk all the way to the top if you want to enjoy some remarkable views of the city and the surroundings (Note: You will need a separate ticket to visit the gardens)
Ticket options are,
- Timed entry to Boboli Gardens
- Boboli Gardens Small-Group Walking Tour
- (Combined tour) Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens and Palatina Gallery Tour
You might also like: Medici Family History tour
Basilica of Santa Croce
Utilize the rest of the afternoon by paying a visit to the Basilica of Santa Croce, the second largest church after the Duomo. The church is located on Piazza di Santa Croce, around 800m southeast of the Duomo.
This 13th-century building is the resting place of many well-known Italians such as Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei and Machiavelli and we found the interiors even better than the Duomo.
The piazza is a nice hub for people to hang out, so you might find it a bit crowded in the evenings – but the vibe is amazing. Would still recommend it to anyone visiting Florence.
Finish a satisfactory first day by treating yourself to an equally satisfying dinner at Bentu & Soi on Piazza del Pigneto. Their Sardinian dishes are excellent and the service is impeccable.
The wine and the delicious seafood soup which includes mussels, clams, prawns, lobsters and octopus is unbelievably tasty.
Another restaurant renowned for its Florentine dishes is Trattoria Nerone, located a few meters away from the Duomo. Its cozy and carnival interiors have been delighting customers for years.
We found it the best for traditional rustic Tuscan cuisine and the vast collection of fine local and international wines.
Day 2 of 2 day Florence itinerary: Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio, Museo Galileo, Piazza della Repubblica, Piazzale Michelangelo
Get up early on your second morning for breakfast at the popular La Loggia degli Albizi, famous for its ham and cheese with croissants. On your way try and walk by the Duomo before 8 am.
Not only will you admire its beauty but will find the cathedral square almost deserted.
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most visited museums in Florence, located in the historic city center. The lines here will be long at all times and tickets are valid for certain time slots only.
That said, it is an institution not to be missed as it holds a large collection of priceless works, especially from the period of the Italian Renaissance, by great artists like Michelangelo and Leonarda da Vinci among others.
Ticket options include,
- Timed entry to the Uffizi Gallery
- Uffizi Gallery Guided tour
- Uffizi Gallery Skip-the-Line Audio Guided Tour with Host
Dating back to the 14th century, the Ponte Vecchio, meaning the Old Bridge, is a closed-spandrel segmental-arched bridge and one of the oldest bridges in Florence spanning the Arno River.
The special feature here is the Vasari Corridor that passes over the bridge and the number of shops that have been here since medieval times.
Ponte Vecchio is said to be the most romantic spot in Florence, as it provides great views of the river and the bridge itself.
The bridge resisted severe damage due to flooding in 1966, but it survived somehow and is beloved by locals and visitors alike.
You can cross Ponte Vecchio admiring shops and later head to the Ponte Santa Trìnita. This is the oldest elliptic arch bridge in the world and offers a great angle to capture the Ponte Vecchio.
For some of the best locally sourced Tuscan food and fine wine in an informal vintage environment, stop for lunch at La Prosciutteria Firenze located on Via dei Neri. This quaint place serves the best nibble boards for a great price prepared in the traditions of the past.
Along the way, you will also find cute cafes where you can stop for a gelato (or two!)
If you are a science fan, then the Museo Galileo is the place to go. It is located along the River Arno and close to the Uffizi Gallery.
The 11th century building known as Palazzo Castellani, where the museum is housed, holds a virtual treasure trove of scientific instruments you can set your sights upon.
The collection dates back from the Medici and Lorraine Grand Dukes’ era and includes some originals belonging to the great astronomer himself. Book your entry ticket here
(Note you can swap the museum for a visit to the Medici Chapel and Mercanto Centrale – market instead. Or visit the Mercato Nuovo, new leather market close to the next sightseeing stop – Piazza della Repubblica)
Next, walk the pretty Piazza della Repubblica. This is the Roman heart of Florence and the main square in the city. The Column of Abundance, dating back to 1431, situated here marks the point where once the Roman forum stood.
Today the square serves as an impromptu stage for shows by street artists, especially after sunset. The historical cafes used to be the meeting points of the artists and writers of the past.
On your last evening in Florence, head to Piazzale Michelangelo for some stunning views of all the places you have visited. It is a twenty minutes detour from the city center, but well worth the effort. Try and be there before sunset, even though it will be crowded.
We suggest you climb a bit further to the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte, for better views and no crowds at all.
After soaking in the views of the city, head to the Ristorante il Granaio Firenze located at Via dei Tavolini, one of the most famous streets in the heart of the city. It is a perfect place to end your last evening in a friendly and intimate atmosphere.
Alternate ideas for your two days in Florence itinerary
2 days in Florence is not enough to explore it all, but you can surely make the most of your visit by picking your favorites (based on your personal interest).
Here are some options to swap (or add) to your itinerary above.
So if you like Tuscan cuisine, we recommend an authentic evening food and wine tour. The best thing we liked about this excursion was that you get to explore some local outlets which excel in wines and other local specialties.
The cost is all-inclusive and you get to sample the finest meats, cheese, focaccia, and wines in the company of an expert. You can book the tour here
You might like this combined tour: Market visit and a cooking workshop
If you have time left after the visit to the Accademia Gallery on day one of the itinerary, you must visit the 15th-century Basilica of Santissima Annunziata. Inside the building is where the Miraculous Annunciation is said to have occurred.
It is said the painting of the face of the Virgin Mary was made by the hand of an angel as the original artist Friar Bartolomeo had fallen asleep.
Another church worth visiting (or at least stopping by on your 2 day itinerary for Florence) is the Santa Maria Novella. It is conveniently located opposite the main railway station.
This is also the first great basilica in Florence, chronologically.
For history buffs, the Medici Chapel, the final resting place of the Medici family, is a must. Some famous members buried here include Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Giuliano.
The building itself is very impressive with fine architecture and many statues made by Michelangelo. Here is an entry ticket
If you are looking for a fun-filled family activity the San Lorenzo market district is a great place for buying things for your friends back home without denting the pocket.
The indoor Mercato Centrale market, built in 1874, is still a favorite with the locals for buying fresh groceries.
It is home to food stalls and the outdoor market that retails leather, clothing, and souvenirs.
A visit to both these outlets offers the perfect respite from the hectic sightseeing museum tours of Florence. Mercato Centrale and Medici Chapel are a 2 minute walk away.
Extending your Florence 2 day itinerary: Day trips from Florence
Once you have had your fill of the amazing sights of Florence, you can use it as a base for exploring more of Tuscany, which can be covered on a day trip.
You can reach these locations listed above, by bus or train. If you plan to stop on the way, it is better to go by car or on a guided tour.
The vibrant streets of Siena are just an hour’s drive away from Florence and are a mecca for architecture lovers.
Siena is a beautiful city located in the heart of Tuscany, Italy. It’s home to stunning architecture, delicious food, and plenty of things to do. The Duomo is one of the most iconic landmarks in Siena. This beautiful cathedral is a must-see for any visitor to the city.
Piazza del Campo is another must-see in Siena. This square is home to some of the most beautiful architecture in the city, as well as a number of popular restaurants and bars.
You can read our 1 day in Siena itinerary for inspiration.
Prefer a tour instead? Here is a recommend half day tour (opt for a tour, if you don’t have access to a car, as public transport take 1.50 to 2 hours to get there)
Pisa takes about ninety minutes to reach by road and an hour by train from Florence. This is an easy day trip idea from Florence to check out the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Visit the Piazza dei Miracoli, climb to the tower first, and then explore the Monumental Graveyard, the Cathedral, and the Baptistry.
Do try to get there as soon as gates open in the morning, to explore the wonderful landmark without the crowds. Here is a day tour of Pisa to book
Chianti is world-famous for its fine wines and is located in close proximity between Florence and Siena.
The hills here are studded with vineyards, wineries, and charming medieval villages. You can enjoy some wine tasting here apart from other local products.
Horseback riding tour: If you want to explore the Tuscany countryside in an unforgettable way, a horseback riding adventure will give you the best opportunity to enjoy the authentic attractions of the Chianti region.
San Gimignano is a town in Tuscany with origins dating back to the 7th century. It is famous for its medieval architecture, especially its towers. There were about 72 tall towers that were built between the 12th and 14th centuries, today only a few remain.
Other than the towers, there are restaurants and wine bars, as well as a few museums and a Gothic cathedral.
Take note that the only public transport available to access is by bus. The downside of going by bus is the time taken and the infrequency of service. It is better to hire a car and add Siena, Chianti, and even a wine tasting stop for this day trip.
Read: How to spend one day in San Gimignano
Things to do in Florence Itinerary 2 days: Sightseeing Map
Is 2 days enough for Florence?
Florence has so much to offer, that full 2 days may not be enough. In order to make the most of a weekend in Florence, you must focus on the core highlights (Duomo, Ufizzi Gallery, and Galleria dell’Accademia) and pay for an entry ticket to explore it intimately. Ensure you book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment on your planned days of travel.
After this, pick 1-3 attractions based on your interest (we recommend the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens), and then quickly visit Ponte Vecchio, Piazzale Michelangelo, etc. (open attractions).
As Florence is compact, most likely you will see many attractions along the way. And you may have to admire many of them from outside only, which incidentally is also a visual treat as they are so aesthetically and architecturally beautiful to behold.
If you have an extra day or two, you can then visit the inside of all museums and churches listed above (like Santa Maria Novella, Medici Chapel, and more).
How many days in Florence is enough?
As a first time visitor to Florence, 3 days is enough to get a glimpse of the iconic landmarks like the Duomo complex, Ponte Vecchio, Piazzale Michelangelo, Renaissance museums – Uffizi and Accademia, and Piazza della Signoria.
In 3 days, you can also set aside time to unwind with delicious Tuscan food or go wine tasting!
Of course, the more time you have the better. If you are an art fan, you must plan for extra time to intimately visit some of the other top galleries, churches, former palaces, and more.
Travel Tips for Florence Italy
One of the best things about Florence is that it is a relatively small city, so you can easily walk to most of the major attractions. However, if you do need to take a taxi, they are very inexpensive and plentiful.
In addition, the food in Florence is absolutely amazing! There are so many restaurants to choose from.
And of course, no trip to Florence would be complete without sampling some of the world-famous wine. My favorite memory is drinking wine from the rooftop of our hotel, overlooking the beautiful cityscape.
Now here are some quick tips for Florence,
- Florence is located in central-northern Italy. Italy is an EU member and follows the Schengen agreement (for visa purposes)
- Euro is the official currency in Italy.
- When dining in Florence, opt to eat like locals do – by standing at the bar, rather than ‘sit down’. This ‘sit down’ or coperto is a fee. It varies from 1 to even 5 €, and it is applied in most famous and touristy places. Italians and visitors, all have to pay this fee – it is pretty normal!
- Most people speak Italian in Florence, including shop owners, and servers. So it is a good idea to brush up on some phrases.
Other Florence Tips:
No matter how many days you intend to stay in the birthplace of the Renaissance, the best way to explore the city is by foot. It takes just thirty minutes to get from one end of Florence to another, which allows you the perfect opportunity to discover the little things like narrow roads and beautiful frescoes on the way which makes Florence so special.
If you are planning to visit Florence in the summer, buy skip-the-line tickets for every attraction on your bucket list.
Having said that, there are three sights for which you must book tickets in advance, no matter the time of the year, unless you want to spend hours and hours waiting in long lines. These are Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia, and Florence Cathedral.
Florence has quite a number of city passes which can really save you a lot of money and unnecessary waiting in lines.
The most recommended one is the Florence Pass, which at €89 allows you priority access to Uffizi Gallery, Galleria Dell’accademia, and a guided tour of the amazing Brunelleschi’s Dome. You can indicate the date and time slots you want at the time of booking.
Before coming to Florence, ensure you have Euros in a big stash. ATMs in the Tuscan region charge an unusually high fee on MasterCard and Visa.
Carrying enough cash will save on commission fees and exchange rates. You will need cash to pay in trattorias, souvenirs, etc.
Safety and security
Petty crimes like purse snatching and pickpocketing are quite rife in Florence. It is advisable to keep your cash, cards, and passport safely tucked in and out of sight at all times under your clothing.
One should be especially careful at the popular attractions like the Duomo and Uffizi Gallery when waiting to get in and indoors as well.
Budget for 2 day Florence itinerary
As budgeting plays a huge role in planning a trip, we have laid down the average cost for your Florence two-day vacation.
Even though Italy is a popular travel destination it is not as costly as Paris or London. Here are a few budgeting tips to keep in mind:
- Summer is the most expensive time to visit Florence, so if traveling in high season book your accommodation at least six months in advance to get the best deal.
- You will need to plan for spending an average of €125 per day for your trip to Florence. While fancy meals will cost €25, transport will cost about €18. You can save money on food by eating in trattorias (local informal cafes, without sitting down).
- Accommodation for a single person is €69 per night and for a couple in a reasonable hotel will come to €140 per night.
- If you are traveling with a group or as a family with kids, the kids tickets are cheaper and hotel rooms can be shared.
- Typical prices of transportation are €8 (taxi within city),€25 (taxi from airport),€5 (bus from airport) and €5 (full day bus pass).
Is Florence Italy worth visiting?
After reading about our experience of traveling to Florence and visiting some of the highlights like the Uffizi Gallery, Duomo Cathedral, and piazzas with food and wine tasting, hopefully, you have been inspired to visit this amazing city for yourself.
While we could go on forever describing all of the wonderful things there are to see and do in Florence, we will conclude by saying that it is truly a one-of-a-kind city and you will not regret adding it to your travel bucket list!
If you liked our two day Florence blog, then you will also enjoy the following Italy guides,
- Rome: Rome in one day | Rome Instagram Spots | Rome 3 day itinerary
- Milan: One day in Milan | Visiting Milan Cathedral | How many days in Milan
- Venice: One day in Venice | 2 days in Venice itinerary | Gondola ride in Venice
- Italy: 7 days in Italy | 10 days in Italy itinerary | What to wear in Italy | Italy in November