A day in Florence

Florence is one of our favorite cities in Italy. While I recommend having at least a few days there, we realize that’s not always possible. If you’re staying in another part of Italy, such as Rome or Venice and plan to take a day trip here, check out this itinerary so you don’t miss a thing!

Leather Markets

A day trip in Florence means you’ll most likely be arriving by train to Firenze Santa Maria Novella, so we’ll begin there. Only 8 minutes walking from the train station, you’ll come across Florence’s leather markets. It’s a great place to buy a nice gift (for yourself or a loved one). I’ve bought a leather glasses case, purse and belt for various family members. Since you may not be headed in this direction until you’re leaving Florence, I recommend stopping in the morning so you don’t miss the market on the way back. (If shopping isn’t for you – feel free to skip over this one).

  • Cost: Free to browse
  • Estimated time needed: 30 minutes

Galleria dell’accademia

From the leather markets, only 8 minutes walking is the Galleria dell’accademia. I recommend purchasing tickets for this museum in advance to avoid waiting in such a long line. In this museum you’ll find Michelangelo’s famous David statue. The museum is also home to a lot of other pieces of renaissance art, but is small so you’ll probably only spend about an hour here.

Duomo

After you’ve spent some time with David, you’ll want to walk another 5 minutes over to the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral). Entering the Cathedral is free but I recommend taking it a step further and climbing to the top! You’ll also want to pre-purchase tickets for this as well, as they often sell out in advance. (If you’re unable to purchase them ahead of time and it’s sold out, you can also try to climb to the top of the Bell Tower for a similar view). Be prepared: it’s 463 steps to the top of the Duomo with no elevator. This is not an activity for those who may be claustrophobic or afraid of heights.

  • Cost: €20
  • Learn more here: Duomo
  • Estimated time needed: 1-2 hours

Lunch at Panini Toscani

If you climb to the top, you’ll have worked up quite the appetite. Luckily, one of our favorite spots in Florence is directly behind the Duomo (about a 2 minute walk). Panini Toscani is a small sandwich shop that serves fresh meats and cheeses from different parts of Italy. If you see a line outside the door, don’t be alarmed since it moves quickly! They only allow a certain number of people in at a time so everyone can sample the meat and cheese they have available and learn about the regions in Italy it’s from. Then you can customize your own panini based on which items you liked best. It’s also a quick bite that you can enjoy at a table outside (admiring the beautiful Duomo) or while walking to your next stop.

  • Cost: €8-12
  • Learn more here: Panini Toscani
  • Estimated time needed: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Ponte Vecchio

About 10 minutes from Panini Toscani, you’ll come across Ponte Vecchio, which translates to ‘Old Bridge’ in English. It is the oldest bridge in the city and survived the bombings during WWII, which damaged a lot of the other bridges in the city. Ponte Vecchio is filled with stores, so it’s a unique experience to walk across and window shop (or really shop)!

  • Cost: Free
  • Estimated time needed: 15 minutes

Once you’ve crossed the bridge, you’ve got some options for how to spend your afternoon in Florence. If you’re up for a walk to catch an amazing view – you’ll want to continue another 20 minutes walking (up-hill) towards Piazzale Michelangelo. If you’re not interested in this walk and prefer a museum downtown – skip this one and check out the Uffizi Gallery.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Arguably, Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the best things about Florence since it offers stunning views of the river, the Duomo and the rolling hills of Tuscany. While on your walk, find a store and grab a bottle of wine to bring with you – it’ll be a nice treat when you get to the top! If you’re interested in visiting Piazzale Michelangelo, but not up for the long walk, public busses 12 & 13 will take you from the city center there.

  • Cost: Free
  • Estimated time needed: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Uffizi Gallery

Now that you’ve checked out Ponte Vecchio, you’ll want to cross back over the bridge again to the side you originated from. About 5 minutes from the bridge, you’ll come across Uffizi Gallery. If you’re a fan of renaissance art and enjoyed the Galleria, you’ll love Uffizi.

  • Cost: €28
  • Learn more here: Uffizi Gallery
  • Estimated time needed: 1-2 hours

Santa Croce Basilica

Santa Croce Basilica

If you’re not interested in another museum, Santa Croce Basilica is not far from Ponte Vecchio and also a beautiful area of town to check out! You can go inside the Basilica to see where Michelangelo, Galileo and some other notable people are buried.

  • Cost: €8
  • Reserve spots online here: Santa Croce Tickets
  • Estimated time needed: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Gelato at Vivoli

If you’ve chosen to enjoy a bottle of wine at Piazzale Michelangelo, it’ll take you 20 minutes walking to get to Vivoli, but if you’re at the Uffizi Gallery it’ll only take about 8 minutes. “A day in Italy without gelato is not a day at all.” – said me, while holding a cone of gelato in each hand. On my work trip to Florence, my tour guide recommended this spot and it was some of the best gelato I’ve had!

  • Cost: €3-5
  • Estimated time needed: 15 minutes
Piazzale Michelangelo

From Vivoli, it’s about 20 minutes walking back to the train station. If you’ve got a bit more time – Piazzale Michelangelo is even more stunning at sunset (if that’s possible) so make that one of your last stops of the day instead.

Arrivederci, Amanda

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