Best 2-Day Itinerary for Florence (Map Included)

2 days in florence

This 2 days in Florence itinerary will help you plan the perfect holiday to Tuscany. The itinerary is perfect for first-timers, covering all the must-see attractions and how to skip the lines.

2 days in florence
Always book skip the lines tickets with GetYourGuide, Civitatis or Tiqets (you get a mobile ticket voucher + free cancellation). Tickets from the attractions’ official websites, in most cases, are non-refundable.
Book guided tours with TakeWalks (small groups + free cancellation up to 72 hours).

Located on the banks of the Arno River, Florence (Firenze in Italian) is the most popular city in Tuscany. It’s one of those places you must see at least once in a lifetime. In fact, no visit to Italy is complete without a visit to Florence.

Firenze is known for its impressive cathedral, Brunelleschi’s dome and the Chianti wine! The city is also associated with the creative genius Leonardo da Vinci, world-famous brand Gucci and the House of Medici.

The powerful Medici family ruled the city for almost 300 years. Thanks to their patronage of culture and the arts, Florence became the cradle of Renaissance in the 15th century.

2 days in Florence itinerary

Florence is filled with iconic sites and monuments and you’ll need probably a week to see everything. Yet, two days are a good start to see the city’s highlights.

This Florence itinerary is perfect for all visiting the capital of Tuscany for the first time. I’ve also included helpful tips on how to skip the lines for the Duomo, Uffizi and Accademia Gallery. And if you have some additional time, I’d recommend you take a day trip to Pisa or Lucca.

To discover the city with a guide, take this Free Walking Tour of Florence. Another option is this Walking tour with David and Duomo, that includes skip-the-line access to the Accademia.

Find a detailed map of my 2-day itinerary for Florence at the end of the blog post.


The perfect 2-day itinerary for Florence, Italy

  • Day 1: Accademia Gallery, Florence Cathedral, Loggia dei Lanzi, Palazzo Vecchio, Basilica of Santa Croce
  • Day 2: Pitti Palace, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery, Piazzale Michelangelo

There is one thing I can really recommend – buying tickets for the most visited attractions in advance. Florence is one of the most popular destinations in Italy and there is no low season. The city is always full of tourists and the waiting lines are hours long.

This is especially true if you’re visiting in the busy summer period. Believe me, you don’t want to spend hours in lines in the heating summer sun. In addition to that, you’ll waste much time in queues and it won’t be possible to see everything in two days.

Having said that, let’s get to the main question – how to spend 2 perfect days in Florence?

My favourite place to stay in Florence is Hotel Spadai. The location is fantastic, at a walking distance to the Duomo and the train station. Rooms are spacious and soundproof.

Already have a hotel booked? Then check your hotel’s location and make sure it’s in a good area (see my guide to the best area to stay in Florence).


Booking.com

Day 1: Accademia Gallery, Florence Cathedral, Palazzo Vecchio

Morning

Have breakfast at Vecchio Forno

08:00 AM – 08:20 AM
Start your day with some Italian pastries at Vecchio Forno. They offer the best croissants and pastries in all of Florence.

Vecchio Forno

Admire Michelangelo’s David

08:30 AM – 09:30 AM
The first stop on your Florence itinerary is Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell’Accademia). The gallery houses one of the most famous works of Michelangelo, David. The marble statue represents the biblical figure David and it’s 5.17m (17 feet) tall!

Most of the people visit Galleria dell’Accademia mainly because of the statue of David. So, take advantage of the early opening times (at 8:15 AM) and see the artwork without the crowds.

Tickets are timed entry, so book a skip-the-line ticket to Galleria dell’Accademia in advance (especially in the high season). Another option is to book a tour with an art historian guide. You’ll not only learn the fascinating story of Michelangelo’s David but also get priority access to the museum.

Besides the David, the gallery features many other works by Michelangelo, including the unfinished Slaves in the Hall of the Prisoners. You’ll also find a collection of Renaissance paintings.

The gallery is not big, so you’ll need no more than an hour to see it all.

Florence Cathedral and Baptistery of Saint John

09:40 AM – 12:30 PM
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (or simply known as the Duomo) is Florence’s most iconic landmark. It has dominated the city’s skyline for more than eight centuries.

The exterior of the cathedral is extremely beautiful, decorated with a mix of pink, green and white marble. Yet, the Duomo is most famous for its impressive brick dome, constructed by Brunelleschi.

The construction of the cathedral started in 1296 and it took nearly 150 years to complete. The dome was added later in the 15th century.

Located on Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral is a part of a great complex. It includes the Duomo, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry of San Giovanni, the Crypt of Santa Reparata and the Opera Museum.

It’s free to visit the cathedral, but you have to pay to climb the dome, the bell tower or visit the baptistry. Decide in advance what you want to see and book tickets for each of the sites here. However, my advice is to buy the combined Duomo ticket, that gives you access to all sites and it’s much cheaper.

How to visit the Duomo

Before visiting, I’d recommend you to take a look at some photos of the interior of the cathedral. Although the exterior is outstanding, the interior is rather plain. So decide if you really want to visit the cathedral, before queuing.

Also, note that the cathedral opens at 10 AM. This means that even if you go before its opening time, there already would be a line. So, I’d recommend you to book a free ticket here for a certain time slot.

There is a strict dress code to enter the cathedral, your knees and shoulders should be covered. So be sure to dress appropriately, otherwise, you’ll be turned away on the entrance.

 

How to climb the cupola of the Duomo

To get inside of the cathedral’s dome, you have to climb up 463 steps. The entrance is from Porta della Mandorla (north side of the cathedral). The climb is totally worth it, as the views from the top are phenomenal. Yet, if you suffer from vertigo or claustrophobia, you’d better skip it.

Unlike the cathedral, the cupola opens at 08:15 AM. To climb it you have to book tickets in advance for a certain time slot. Another option is to book a guided tour of the cupola, that also includes free entry to the baptistery and the bell tower.

For a view of the cupola and its surroundings, climb the Giotto’s Bell Tower (414 steps to the top). The climb is as claustrophobic as the cupola, but there will be fewer tourists.

Florence Cathedral

How to visit the Baptistery of Saint John

The Baptistery of Saint John (Battistero di San Giovanni) is the most ancient church in Florence. Named after St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of Florence, the temple dates back to the 4th century AD.

The baptistery is decorated with three sets of splendid bronze doors. The most important one, the East Door leads to the cathedral. It’s known as the Gates of Paradise, a fully Renaissance masterpiece by Ghiberti and his assistants.

Gates of Paradise

Note that these are not the originals. The original doors are kept in the Museum Opera del Duomo.

To visit the Baptistery of Saint John you have to buy a separate ticket or use the combined ticket for the Duomo complex.

Baptistery of Saint John
More tours of the Duomo

Lunch at Raviolo è Raviolo

12:30 PM – 01:30 PM
For the best ravioli in Florence, visit Raviolo è Raviolo. They offer super tasty and fresh ravioli.

You can select from a wide range of ravioli and sauces, creating your favourite combination.

Raviolo è Raviolo
Afternoon

Admire the sculptures at Loggia dei Lanzi

01:30 PM – 02:00 PM
Right next to Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio, you’ll find Loggia dei Lanzi. It’s a beautiful arched gallery from the 14th century.

The gallery houses a number of statues, including the Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini. There is also a replica of Michelangelo’s David.

Loggia dei Lanzi

Tour Palazzo Vecchio

02:00 PM – 04:00 PM
Initially called Palazzo della Signoria, the building was the seat of the city government in the 14th century. Later in the 16th century, the palace served as the residence of Cosimo I de’ Medici.

However, it all changed when he married the Spanish princess, Eleonora di Toledo. Cosimo I de’ Medici moved his residence to the more luxurious Palazzo Pitti because it was better suited for his wife’s taste. And Palazzo della Signoria changed its name to Palazzo Vecchio (the old palace).

The artist Vasari built a secret passage that connects the old palace and Palazzo Pitti, crossing Arno River through Ponte Vecchio. As you may have guessed, this is the famous Vasari Corridor.

To visit Palazzo Vecchio, I’d recommend booking a ticket in advance (especially in the high season). The included audio guide will allow you to go at your own pace through the palace, providing in-depth information about each room.

Nowadays, Palazzo Vecchio houses a museum. Some of its highlights are the Hall of the 500, Vasari’s tapestries, Dante’s death mask, the map room, and many more. You can also climb Arnolfo’s tower for better views of the city.

Hall of the 500
Palazzo Vecchio

As you probably have noticed, Arnolfo’s tower is not centred on the front. This is because the tower initially belonged to the ancient palace of the Foraboschi, standing on the site of the current palace.

Palazzo Vecchio

Visit the Basilica of Santa Croce

04:15 PM – 05:00 PM
Basilica of Santa Croce is the second largest church in Florence, exceeded only by the Duomo. This 13th-century basilica is the final resting place of many famous Italians. Among the numerous tombs, you’ll find the names of Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Lorenzo Ghiberti.

Basilica of Santa Croce

Dinner

Finish the day with a dinner at Osteria Dell’Osso. The Bistecca alla Fiorentina was cooked perfectly, pasta was fresh and the tiramisu was fabulous!

Osteria Dell'Osso pasta
Osteria Dell'Osso tiramisu
To enjoy the best of Tuscan cuisine, I recommend joining this Authentic Evening Wine & Food Tour. What I love about the tour is that you visit local spots to try authentic specialities and wines. This is the best food tour you can take!
More ideas for your first day in Florence

See the religious art at the Museum of San Marco

Housed in a 15th-century convent, the Museum of San Marco has the largest collection of sacred art in Florence. The museum is home to the beautiful Last Supper by Domenico Ghirlandaio and many of Fra Angelico’s paintings.

 

Basilica of Santissima Annunziata

Basilica of Santissima Annunziata is a gorgeous 15th-century church, right next to Accademia Gallery. If you have a few spare minutes, take a look inside and see the Miraculous Annunciation.

According to the legend, the painter Friar Bartolomeo fell asleep despaired, because he couldn’t paint the face of the Virgin Mary. When he woke up, he found the painting completely ready, finished by an angel’s hand.

 Santissima Annunziata

Museum of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure

It’s a small museum, featuring a unique exhibition of marble inlay artwork. I promise you’ll be wowed by the craftsmanship of the artisans of the Medici family.

Marvel at the Medici Chapels

Medici Chapels (Cappelle Medicee) is the final resting place of the Medici Family. Among them are Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Giuliano. The architecture of the building is quite impressive and you can see many statues by Michelangelo decorating the tombs.

You can book your Cappelle Medicee skip-the-line ticket here.

Medici Chapels
Medici Chapels
Medici Chapels dome

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is the first landmark you’ll see on your way to the city centre from the train station. This 13th-century church is one of the most important Gothic churches in Tuscany. Even if you don’t go inside, stop for a 5min and enjoy its beautiful marble facade.

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Day 2: Pitti Palace, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery

Morning

Have breakfast at La Loggia degli Albizi

08:00 AM – 09:00 AM
Start the second day of this 2-day Florence itinerary with breakfast at La Loggia degli Albizi. Try the croissants with ham and cheese.

La Loggia degli Albizi

If you get up early enough, try to pass by the Duomo before breakfast. You’ll have the chance to appreciate its beauty and grandness without the crowds. Before 8 AM, the cathedral’s square was almost empty.

 

Tour Pitti Palace

09:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) is one of Florence’s largest architectural monuments. It was initially built for the Pitti family in 1457 (hence the name). However, in 1549 the Medici bought the palace to serve as their main residence.

Nowadays, Pitti Palace houses several museums – Palatine Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Treasury of the Grand Dukes, Museum of Costume and Fashion, Imperial and Royal Apartments. The ticket to Palazzo Pitti gives you access to all of them. It’s up to you to decide which ones you want to visit (or all of them).

Pitti Palace

The only thing that is not included is Boboli Gardens, that lie behind the palace. You’ll need a separate ticket to visit the gardens.

If you get to the palace early enough and buy your ticket before 08:59 AM, you’ll have a 50% discount on the price of admission. Note that the tickets are timed and in this case, you have to enter the museum in the first time slot (from 08:15 AM to 09:25 AM).

Otherwise, I’d recommend booking online your Palazzo Pitti tickets here (especially in the high season).

Palazzo Pitti

Stroll along Ponte Vecchio

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Built in the 14th century, Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence. What makes it so special, is that the Vasari Corridor goes over the bridge. Also, there are still shops along Ponte Vecchio, as it was during medieval times.

To get the best view of the bridge, go to Ponte Santa Trinita and look to the side.

Ponte Vecchio

Salami and cheese platter

12:00 PM – 02:00 PM
For lunch stop at La Prosciutteria Firenze. Delicious simple food, great wine and friendly atmosphere!

La Prosciutteria Firenze
Afternoon

Admire the Renaissance art at Uffizi Gallery

02:00 PM – 04:00 PM
Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) is one of the finest galleries not only in Italy but also in Europe. The gallery features a rich collection of Renaissance artworks. Among them, you’ll find masterpieces of Leonardo, Botticelli, Raffaello, Michelangelo and Caravaggio.

Waiting lines are long, as the gallery is one of the most visited museums in Florence. Book your Uffizi skip-the-line ticket here (even if you’re visiting in the low season). Another option to skip the lines is by taking this Ultimate Uffizi guided tour (small groups + priority entry access).

Don’t miss the views towards Ponte Vecchio from the second floor of the museum.


More tours of the Uffizi Gallery

The best view of Florence

04:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Finish the second of your 2 days in Florence with the best view of the city. Piazzale Michelangelo is about a 20min walk from the city centre, but it’s totally worth the detour.

From the square, you look out over the entire city of Florence, including the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio. As it’s a super popular spot to watch the sunset, expect it to be overcrowded. So, my advice is to climb a little further to the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte. The view is the one and the same with one important difference – no crowds at all.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Dinner

Ristorante Il Granaio Firenze is located on one of the most characteristic streets in the heart of Florence. Featuring an intimate and peaceful atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot to end your day with a delicious meal. Both the lasagna and the fresh pasta were fabulous!

Ristorante Il Granaio Firenze pasta
Ristorante Il Granaio Firenze lasagna
More ideas for your second day in Florence

Admire the sculptures at Bargello National Museum

Bargello National Museum features a remarkable collection of Renaissance sculptures. The exhibit includes masterpieces by Donatello, Verrocchio, Michelangelo and Cellini. Housed in a 13th-century fortress and prison, the building of the museum itself is worth a look.

Gucci Garden

If fashion is your thing, then don’t miss the Gucci Garden. The museum is housed on the second floor of the shop and it traces the evolution of Gucci design. You’ll have the chance to see some of their iconic outfits!

 

Basilica of San Miniato al Monte

Basilica of San Miniato al Monte is just a short walk from Piazzale Michelangelo. Besides the beautiful city’s views, you’ll find here a small church with a gorgeous marble facade. Built between the 11th and 13th centuries, the basilica is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture.

Basilica of San Miniato al Monte

Museo Galileo

If you love science, then Museo Galileo is the place to go. The exhibit features a wide collection of scientific instruments and experimental equipment. You’ll have the chance to see instruments from the Medici collections, including a few originals that once belonged to Galileo himself.

Must buy tickets in advance

If you’re visiting Florence in the summer, I’d recommend you buying skip-the-line tickets for each attraction you want to see. Yet, there are three sights for which if you don’t book in advance, you’d waste hours in lines (even in the low season).

Uffizi Gallery – the most popular museum in Florence (5,600 visitors per day). Lines are always long and tickets are valid for a certain time slot. So, be prepared and book in advance your Uffizi Gallery ticket here.

Galleria dell’Accademia – the city’s second most popular museum. Tickets are again timed entry, specifically for the date you booked. You can book your Galleria dell’Accademia ticket here.

Florence Cathedral – the cathedral is free to visit, but you have to pay if you want to climb the dome. Tickets are timed and often sold out for the day, so book your Duomo ticket here in advance.

Florence

How many days in Florence

Is 2 days in Florence enough?

2 days in Florence are the perfect amount of time to explore the capital of Tuscany. In two full days, you’ll be able to see the most popular sights, including Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia and even climb the Duomo.

For my trip to Florence, I used this DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. I love their travel guides, as they have practical information, walking tours and a durable map!

What if I don’t have 2 full days in Florence?

If you have less than 2 days, you can still follow this Florence walking itinerary, but with a few modifications. Don’t visit both palaces, choose between Palazzo Vecchio and Pitti Palace. I’d recommend Pitti Palace, as it’s more spectacular.

Also, don’t visit the cathedral, climb the dome only. The interior of the cathedral is rather plain. It won’t be worth the queuing, especially if you’re short on time.

2 or 3 days in Florence?

The more, the better. Besides the most popular attractions, there are tens of gorgeous little churches and art museums. So, all I can say is that 2 days is the minimum to explore Florence.

If you’re planning any day trips to Pisa or Siena (see further in the post), add another day or two.

Best time to visit Florence

Florence is one of Italy’s most popular destinations. Thus, there is no real low and high season, the city is crowded 365 days a year. Yet, in the months of June, July and August, the crowds are unbearable, plus the weather is very hot and humid. Avoid the period if you have any choice in the matter.

Best time to visit Florence is the months of April, May, September and October. Weather is pleasant and the rustic colours of Tuscany are at their best.

Florence Duomo

Getting around in Florence

Find here a detailed map of this Florence walking itinerary.

The best way to get around Florence is by walking. The historic city centre, where all the tourist attractions are, is small and easily explored on foot. If you book a hotel on the north bank of Arno River, inside the yellow ring, you won’t need any public transport.

How to get to Florence

By train

Florence is easily accessible via high-speed train from many other Italian cities. The main train station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella, is in the historic city centre, just a 10min walk from the Duomo.

If you’re planning to travel by train through Italy, book tickets in advance (they are cheaper if you buy earlier). Check timetables and book tickets online at ItaliaRail official site.
By car

The historic centre of Florence is declared a Limited Traffic Zone (ZTL). This means that you can’t enter without a permit, let alone to park. If you’re arriving by car I’d recommend you leave it in the outskirts of the city (see car parks here) and stay near the Duomo.

If you’re planning to rent a car, book with Rentalcars (they offer the lowest price).
By air

The closest airport is Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola (FLR). It’s just 5km away from the city centre. The easiest way to reach it is by taking the shuttle bus, Volainbus.

The shuttle runs every 30min, 7 days a week (20min journey to the main train station).

Day trips from Florence

San Gimignano and Siena

Siena and San Gimignano are two small towns with fascinating medieval architecture. San Gimignano is famous for its towers and because of them, it’s known as the Town of Fine Towers. Siena is known for its stunning cathedral and huge medieval square.

How to get to Siena and San Gimignano

  • the easiest way to tour both cities in one day is by taking this Tuscany Day Trip to Siena and San Gimignano. Plus, the tour includes a delicious gourmet lunch at a local vineyard! 
  • Siena – there is a direct bus (line 131 R). It runs between Busitalia SITA Nord Autostazione in Florence and Siena-Via Tozzi (1h20min journey).
  • San Gimignano – the most convenient way is by renting a car (there is no direct train or bus from Florence)

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is one of the most dramatic coastlines in Italy. Its name means Five Lands and it comprises of five small fishing villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. You’ll be captivated by gorgeous beaches and scenic walking trails.

How to get to Cinque Terre
There is no easy way to get to Cinque Terre from Florence by public transport or even by car it’s not that simple. Moreover, there are 5 villages to explore! Thus I’d recommend you taking this Cinque Terre Day Tour from Florence (it’s the most popular one).

Pisa

Pisa

One of the most visited cities in Tuscany, Pisa is famous for its Leaning Tower. Located about 1h away by train, the city is a great destination for a day trip from Florence.

As most of the tourist attractions are packed around the tower, you can easily explore Pisa in a day. Take a look at my detailed Pisa day trip itinerary for more details.

For an overnight stay, check out my guide to where to stay in Pisa for one night.

How to get to Pisa

  • take this Pisa Day trip with Winery Lunch. The biggest advantage of this organized tour is that you’ll visit not only Pisa but also Lucca. This medieval city is one of Tuscany’s hidden gems! Plus, the tour includes lunch at a local winery with wine tasting and seasonal food.
  • take a train from Firenze Santa Maria Novella to Pisa Centrale (1h15min journey). From the train station to the historic centre it’s about a 15min walk

Bologna

Bologna

Bologna is famous for being the food capital of Italy. This medieval city is not only rich in history, but also in food. It’s the place where pasta Bolognese originated.

Find out how to see the city on a day trip in my guide for one day in Bologna. For an overnight stay, check out my guide to where to stay in Bologna.

How to get to Bologna
Take a train from Firenze Santa Maria Novella to Bologna Centrale (40min journey). From there it’s about a 15min walk to the city’s main square, Piazza Maggiore.

Rome

Rome

Located only 1h30min away from Florence, Rome is a great idea for a day trip. Of course, there is no need to say that you’ll need at least 3-4 days to see the city. Yet, if you’re short on time, a day trip is an option.

For more details take a look at my Rome suggested itinerary (including how to skip all the lines). For an overnight stay check out my guide to where to stay in Rome first time.

How to get to Rome
Take a train from Firenze Santa Maria Novella to Roma Termini (1h30min journey). From there you can take the metro to the Colosseum, Spanish Steps or Vatican City (depending on what you want to see).


More day trips from Florence

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About the author
Avatar Milena Yordanova
I'm a travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places and cultures. I want to show you how easy it is to organize your vacation all by yourself.

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