Perfect 3 Day Itinerary for Florence, Italy
I will be honest and say I was not expecting Florence to be one of my favorite Italian cities when we planned our first two week adventure through Italy. We enjoyed it so much that we dedicated a large portion of the second two week trip through Italy in Florence to dive beyond the tourism. It is really impressive how much culture in jam packed into the city and there are many resources to help you escape the tourist traps (thank you Girl in Florence!). It is very easy to build a week itinerary using Florence as the base to explore not just the city but surrounding areas as well. Since people typically visit a few different places when traveling to Italy, I decided to make a three day itinerary that can be expanded or cut down to two days depending on the trip.
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Where to stay?
We stayed on the opposite side of the Arno river which has some great advantages. Accommodations are typically cheaper because it is away from the tourist circle and with that comes more authentic dining options close to your home base. Airbnb market is strong in Florence so do not forget to check there. There is also this lovely bonus of having to cross the Ponte Vecchio bridge countless times throughout the day for postcard views.
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What is there to do?
There are so many icons in Florence to visit and it is very possible to check them off your list in a short trip:
- Museums – While the most famous in the city are Uffizi Gallery and Academia Gallery, there are so, so many museums to choose from so if you have a longer stay to discover them, take advantage. Depending on where you visit, consider purchasing the Firenze Card which allows access to over 70 attractions for three days. More importantly, this pass permits visitors to enter the priority line to the most popular museums without needing reservations to save time waiting in line. That being said, definitely work Uffizi Gallery and Academia Gallery into your trip (they are so incredible!), visit them first thing in the morning, and make reservations ahead of time to avoid long lines.
- Churches – It would not be a visit to an Italian city without a few church stops and Florence showcases one of the best – the Duomo!
- The Duomo, properly know as Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, is enormous and while the exterior may not be as flashy, the inside is incredible. While you are here, climb to the top of the Cupola or climb the stairs of the bell tower – we chose the Cupola and boy it is a unique experience! It is not strenuous as there is frequent stopping on the way up- but there are 463 steps with no lift (so keep that in mind). Once you reach the Cupola, you climb what resemble attic stairs onto the perch where you get the most expansive view of Florence and the surrounding towns. Make reservations for these activities or flex that Firenze Card.
- Other churches to visit (again, there are countless churches you can visit!)
- Basilica di San Lorenzo – burial place of Medici Family
- Medici Chapel – fascinating history and where you can find Michelangelo’s Sagrestia Nuova for the famous sarcophagi of “Night and Day” and “Dusk and Dawn”
- Basilica di Santa Croce – where you will find the tombs of Michelangelo and Galileo
- Pick your best weather day and head over to Boboli Gardens – simply beautiful and a lovely change of scenery
- Piazza della Signoria is my favorite piazza and I am sure I am not alone in this – it is an outdoor, over sized sculpture display
- There are so many markets to explore – make sure to swing by Sant’Ambrogio Market
- While it is a long walk, grab gelato at Il Gelato di Filo for the journey and head up to Piazza Michelangelo for the most spectacular view of the Arno and Florence
- Day Trips – Florence is so close to many spots to make the perfect day trip. I included one in the itinerary but you can always sub out the day trip for a more relaxed version of the itinerary.
- Tuscany is the most obvious day trip and there are many options at your disposable. We did not have a car so we chose Tuscan Wine School with their Super Chianti and Wine Time – both were wonderful
- Take the bus to Panzano to visit the famous butcher Dario
- Check for local events, especially harvest festivals in the fall such as this truffle festival a bus ride away
- Festivals – speaking of festivals, Florence is full of them so take advantage of them if you trip corresponds with any. We were luck to overlap with three and it made the trip extra special.
Where to eat?
This list could be endless! Do your research ahead of time because you should never have a bad meal in Italy- period. I will highlight my favorites and ones that I recommend to people but know this is by no means a comprehensive list and would send you over to Girl in Florence for the most up to date news of the Florence food scene.
- Bars and Wine Bars – Le Volpi e l’Uva, Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina, La Menagere, Gecko
- Cheese and Wine – Head to Formaggioteca Terroir
- Sandwiches – Maledetti Toscani, Il Fratellini
- Coffee – Ditta Artigianale (coverts to a wine bar at night – so cool!)
- Gelato – My sugar, Il Gelato di Filo, Gelateria La Sorbettiera
- Meals – Trattoria Pandemonio (favorite!), Trattoria Anita, Osteria dell’Entocea, Trattoria Osvaldo (for famous Florentine steak), Trattoria Giovanni (great lunch deal)
- Do not forget to experience apertivio culture before dinner! Typically in the early evening, places open up that have a full spread of all you can eat appetizers with the purchase of a drink.
Combining our favorite discoveries in two visits, here is the itinerary I recommend!
|Day 0||Arrive in Florence|
Evening walk to:
– Ponte Vecchio
– Piazza della Signoria
– Palazzo Vecchio
|Day 1||Uffizi Gallery |
Duomo / Cupola
|Day 2||Academia Gallery|
Basilica di San Lorenzo
Basilica di Santa Croce
|Day 3||Day trip of choice |
Italy is our most traveled country – Read all the blog posts for Italy here!
If you have been to Florence before, let me know what I missed and what your favorites are!