If you’ve got a week to spend in Florence you’ll have enough time to really get a feel for the city. But as the birthplace of the Renaissance there’s no shortage of things to keep you occupied. From Brunelleschi’s Dome to the world-famous Uffizi, atmospheric trattorias to bustling markets.
So here we show you how to organise your sightseeing, allowing you to dig a little deeper into the city each day. We’ve also got tips on the best tours, and where to wine and dine yourselves. Ready? Lets go.
Florence in a week – a complete itinerary
DAY 1 – The Cathedral Complex
On your first day in Florence, so we recommend taking an early morning walk along the Lungarno. There are some lovely views of the river and plenty to look at along the way. Stop for a nice cappuccino at one of the bar-pasticcerie 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.
=> Discover the 20 Best Florentine experiences!
It’s time to explore the Cathedral Complex, the absolute highlight of the city. The entrance to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is free but you must book in advance and buy a ticket if you want to climb Brunelleschi’s Dome and/or Giotto’s bell tower. The views alone make this trip worthwhile!
This great (and good value for money) guided Tour of the Duomo Complex will allow you to access the Cathedral’s hidden terraces, and includes the visit to the Crypt. A full immersion into the fascinating world of Florence’s Duomo.
SEE FLORENCE FROM ABOVE: If you have time at the end of the day, make your way to Piazzale Michelangelo to see the magnificent view over the city. Best enjoyed at sunset!
=> 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.
DAY 2 – See the David and San Lorenzo
Start the day with a coffee and a pastry at the bustling Robiglio Cafe in Via dei Servi. Then head over to the Accademia Gallery to meet Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Statue of David. Remember to book ahead, to shorten the waiting time (you can do so on the official site). To learn all David’s secrets, we recommend that you join a Guided Tour led by an art expert.
At lunch head to San Lorenzo to check out the indoor Food Market. Grab a panino from one of the downstairs stalls or head upstairs for more seating and a browse around the modern open space food heaven . Once you’ve given your eyes and your stomach a workout, head out to the outdoor market in San Lorenzo to look around this historic market.
EXTRA TIME: If you want to continue the Michelangelo theme today we can recommend a trip to the Medici Chapels with the new Sacristy (designed by Michelangelo), which is just around the corner, annexed to San Lorenzo Church. The visit will probably take you less than an hour.
DAY 3 – Delve into the Uffizi
On the third day it’s time to visit the Uffizi Gallery. This has some of the most important collections of Renaissance art in the world. Once again it’s a good idea to book a Guided Tour of the Uffizi in advance so you can skip the queues and enjoy a tour with a professional tour guide.
Stop for a rest at the Uffizi Gallery Cafe where you can can enjoy a view over Piazza Signoria from above. Once you’ve finished the tour you can explore Piazza Signoria and in particular the collection of sculptures in the Loggia dei Lanzi.
=> Discover the Highlights of the Uffizi, including Botticelli and Da Vinci.
BONUS ATTRACTION: don’t miss the small Church of Orsanimichele, a real jewel located off Via Calzaiuoli.
In the afternoon, head along to Santa Croce to see Santa Croce church and square. Inside the church there are tombs of such great names as 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 the Scuola del Cuoio where you can watch the artisans at work. Santa Croce is a lively spot in the evening too, filled with lots of bars and eateries.
DAY 4 – Pitti Palace & the Oltrarno
You can dedicate the day to Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli gardens. Palazzo Pitti is home to the Galleria Palatina, with its collection of Renaissance paintings, and the Royal Apartments. After you’ve had a look around, take a wander in the vast Boboli gardens behind the palace filled with statues and peace.
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.
NIGHTLIFE: 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!
DAY 5 – Palazzo Vecchio & Shopping
This morning we’re sending you on a visit to see Palazzo Vecchio, the old seat of government that dates back to the 14th century, and was completely revamped by the Medici. You’ll have walked past this building already, but we can highly recommend seeing its magnificent rooms including the Hall of the 500. If you can, go on the Secret Passages Tour which will gets you into hidden passages and secret rooms that are closed to the general public.
If you want to spend an afternoon walking around, try out the area behind Piazza Signoria, the Medieval heart of Florence around Via Santa Margherita. For some shopping head for Via dei Calzaiuoli, luxurious Via Tournabuoni, lively Via del Corso and Borgo Albizi.
Alternatively if you can’t get enough of those museums, make your way to the Bargello Museum. This ex town hall (and at one time a prison) is Florence’s museum of Renaissance sculpture including early work by Michelangelo.
SOME TOP FLORENTINE RESTAURANTS : Coco Lezzone, Gustavino, Il Latini, Cinghiale Bianco, Trattoria Da Burde, Perseus, Buca Lapi.
DAY 6 – Frescoes & Views
Start the day with some frescos. Choose to visit the atmospheric former covent of San Marco with its touching and intimate frescoes by Beato Angelico. Or head to the beautifully decorated Santa Maria Novella Church where you’ll find some remarkable Renaissance frescoes and a beautiful courtyard. To know more about fresco-spotting in Florence, check out the best frescoes in Florence.
If you haven’t been already, end the day on a high note with a walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo. From the Oltrarno walk along the river, to San Niccolo tower and up along Le Rampe. This is a lovely walk and the view of Florence from the Piazzale is breathtaking particularly around sunset.
SECRET GARDEN: If you’ve already been up to Piazzale at this point, head instead for the Giardino Bardini. An Italian Renaissance Garden with lovely shady spots, fantastic views and even a restaurant.
=> Discover Florence’s most beautiful gardens.
DAY 7 – Get a taste of Tuscany
On the last day (or on one of them) we suggest heading out of Florence and seeing a little of the countryside that surrounds the city. There are many tours that will pick you up in Florence and take you on wine and food tasting excursions in the Chianti area, like this Chianti Afternoon Wine Tour. It’s a great and easy way to experience Tuscany while you enjoy a glass of their delicious nectar.
If you’d like to explore more of Tuscany, and see Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano, check out these 1-Day Guided Tours of Tuscany from Florence!
Best 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.
=> Learn some curiosities about the Medici family, that ruled Florence for 300 year.