See Florence in 3 days with this ever popular itinerary. Discover all the sights and delights of the “Cradle of the Renaissance”.
From the famed Cathedral to the atmospheric Ponte Vecchio, and all the masterpieces of art like Michelangelo’s Statue of David. If it’s your first time in Florence, this detailed itinerary will give you a good introduction to this endlessly fascinating city.
Florence in 3 days – Day 1
Start with an early morning walk along the Lungarno. The lovely views will put you in a good mood for the rest of the day. Stop for a nice cappuccino at one of the bars near the Ponte Vecchio and enjoy the sight of the old bridge waking up. Stroll up towards the Mercato Nuovo, stopping to touch the Porcellino for luck.
Then make your way to the Uffizi Gallery. It’s a good idea to book a Guided Tour of the Uffizi in advance. It means that you get to skip the queues and have an art-expert showing you all the highlights.
In the Uffizi Gallery Cafe you can enjoy a view over Piazza Signoria. Walk outside and admire the collection of sculptures in the Loggia dei Lanzi.
Discover the 20 Best Florentine experiences!
For lunch, walk to the Duomo and on to San Lorenzo Market. Grab a freshly made sandwich, or a slice of pizza, and stroll around the outdoor souvenir market.
It’s time to see the Cathedral (open 10-4.30pm). The entrance to the church is free but you must book in advance and buy a ticket if you want to climb the Dome.
If you’re still feeling energetic, take a walk or catch a bus up to Piazzale Michelangelo where you can admire the sunset and the best city view ever. Alternatively stroll around the shops on the elegant via Tornabuoni, via Calzaioli and Piazza della Repubblica.
If you’re in Piazzale Michelangelo, you could have dinner in the nearby San Niccolo’ district. It’s a lively area and good for after dinner nightlife.
Anyone looking for a compact travel guide with a map should consider Rick Steves Florence . Detailed, easy to read, is a good accessible guide to have with you.
First things first. You can’t visit Florence without seeing the real David in the Accademia Gallery. It’s worth the trip but book ahead, and allow yourself at least two hours. A good place for a coffee and a pastry is Robiglio Cafe in Via dei Servi. Pop over to Santissima Annunziata square to have a look at the loggia of Spedale degli Innocenti built on the original designs of Brunelleschi.
If you are a fan of frescoes, visit the intimate San Marco Museum, a former monastery filled with atmospheric early Renaissance frescoes painted by Fra’ Angelico.
Make your way down Via Dei Servi towards Piazza Duomo, and from there take Via del Proconsolo on towards Borgo Albizi. This street and adjoining Via del Corso is full of lovely little shops to browse in. At the end of Borgo Albizi you’ll find Piazza San Pier Maggiore which is a nice place to stop for lunch.
In the afternoon, head along to Santa Croce to see Santa Croce church and square. Inside the church there are tombs of many greats, including Galileo and Michelangelo. Don’t miss the Pazzi Chapel. If you decide to stay in the Santa Croce area you’ll find a lot of artisan leather shops, and plenty of charming little eateries. It’s a lively spot in the evening too.
You can dedicate the day to Pitti Palace and the Boboli gardens. Palazzo Pitti has many interesting museums, the highlight being the Galleria Palatina with its collection of Renaissance paintings. The Boboli gardens are a vast park behind the palace where you can spend a few hours to escape the crowds.
Alternatively Michelangelo fans will find more of his work at the Medici chapels. It adjoins San Lorenzo Church but it has its own separate entrance and ticket. For a full immersion in Renaissance sculpture that includes an early work by Michelangelo, visit the Bargello Museum.
=> If you’ve got more time in Florence, check out our Florence in a Week detailed itinerary!
After lunch take a walk to the Oltrarno. This is a lovely area to while away the afternoon, and it still has many of the original Florentine artisan shops that have been a feature of the area for centuries. The heart of the Oltrarno is Santo Spirito which is a lively area and a perfect spot for an evening aperitivo.
Discover the best restaurants and bars in San Frediano neighbourhood in the Oltrarno, recently labelled by the Lonely Planet as one of the coolest quartieri in the world!
Florence Walking Tours
A walking tour of Florence is a good way to get your bearings in the city. They usually last a couple of hours, and take you past the main sights. For first timers, there’s a Florence for beginners Tour, or if you’re interested in history, there are themed Tours about the Renaissance period and the Medici family.
Seeing all of Florence in 3 days is almost impossible. After you’ve spent a bit of time walking the streets you’ll realise just how much there is to see. You could organise a week’s holiday around a particular interest like art, shopping, or even food. But part of the charm is often just wandering around the less touristy areas and discovering all the city’s hidden corners and views.
=> Check out all the attractions in Florence that you can see for free!
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Header Photo – Photo credit: @Mustanjoe on pixabay