Nestled in the heart of Tuscany, Florence is often referred to as the 'Athens of the Middle Ages'. The city is credited as the birthplace of the Renaissance and is home to countless masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. To make the most of your time in beautiful Florence, you need a well-planned itinerary which covers all that the city has to offer. Our 3-day itinerary guide has the best places to visit in the city, travel tips and everything you need to plan a trip to Florence and more!
From the iconic terracotta-tiled dome cathedral, the Duomo to the legendary Galleria dell'Accademia, the city’s storied history makes it an absolute must-visit. On the north bank of Florence is the beautiful Piazza del Signoria, one of the most visited squares for featuring the enormous Palazzo Vecchio and the renowned statue, Perseus with the head of Medusa. Our Florence 3-day itinerary guide has everything you need to explore the most iconic landmarks and attractions in Florence. From the Uffizi Gallery to the Palazzo Pitti, we've got it all covered and much more!
Best Time to Visit Florence
While your experience in Florence will be special no matter what time you visit the city, April, May and September are generally considered to be the most pleasant. While warm, the weather during these months is enjoyable, allowing you to explore the city in all its glory without fearing the sun.
These months witness an average temperature of around 24°C, making them ideal for sightseeing. Keeping the weather in mind, we recommend packing light and airy summer wear, like cotton shirts, shorts, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen.There are several events you can enjoy in the months of April, May and September. Here's a handy list of the most popular events:
Vivicitta is a non-competitive half marathon set against the unique artistic backdrop of Florence Holy Week and Easter: Apart from the Easter masses organized throughout the city, 'Explosion of the Cart' is a fun experience you should witness while in Florence
Labor Day events and concerts, including a fun flag throwing event in Piazza della Signoria. Artigianato e Palazzo, a unique artisan crafts fair organized in the gardens of Palazzo Corsini
Featuring a procession of boats and lanterns, the Festival of Lanterns is one of the largest festivals in Florence. On the last Sunday of September, a float competition themed around wine is organised in the village of Impruneta. The Grape Festival of Impruneta concludes with music and dance!
Florence 3-Day Itinerary: A Detailed Guide
Piazza del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo
Located in the heart of Florence, Piazza del Duomo is one of the most visited places in Europe. The square houses important historical landmarks, including the iconic Florence Cathedral, Giotto's Bell Tower, Baptistry of St. John, Opera del Duomo Museum, Loggia del Bigallo and more. Explore the beautiful square in the early hours of the day when it's not as crowded for the best experience. There are dozens of eateries in the area like Panini Toscani, the Braceria dei tre amici or VETRERIA Ristorante Boutique.
Arguably Florence's most well-known landmark, the Duomo, also known as Florence Cathedral, is an integral part of Piazza del Duomo. The immense cathedral features a stunning pink, white and green facade and a charming campanile which towers over the Florence cityscape. You can get to the dome of the cathedral by paying €18 and climbing 463 steps. Incredible panoramic views of Florence await you at the top of the dome!
A fine example of civil architecture with rusticated stone, Strozzi Palace is a majestic palace in Florence. Work on the palace began in 1489 by Benedetto de Maiano with the Palazzo Medici used as inspiration. The palace features open, airy courtyards with tall columns, creating a uniquely Italian space. Presently, the palace is used to host international expos such as the annual antique show, fashion shows and other cultural events.
Shop at Fontana del Porcellino
Next, head to the Porcellino Fountain which is located next to the arches of the Mercato Nuovo. According to local legend, putting a coin in the pig's mouth and rubbing its nose ensures good luck! Apart from this quirky bit of superstition, the fountain is located to the south of the former goods exchange building. You can shop for silk, brocades and woolen clothes at the market adjacent to the fountain. If you're looking to spoil yourself with some self-care, this shop houses hundreds of exquisite perfumes,soaps, candles and more.
Located between via dell'Ariento, via Sant'Antonino, via Panicale and Piazza del Mercato Centrale, the Central Market is another Florentine highlight. Created when Florence was the capital of Italy, the market is renowned for primarily selling various ingredients of Tuscan cuisine. You can also purchase fresh fish and shellfish or go for something that's been imported in the northern corner of the market.
Piazzale Michelangelo (for the sunset)
End your first day in Florence on a memorable note by visiting Piazzale Michelangelo. While you'll be greeted with stunning views of Florence no matter when you visit Piazzale Michelangelo, the best time to go for this experience is at the end of the day as the sun is setting. Apart from stupendous views of the city, the piazza is home to a bronze replica of Michelangelo's David.
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria
Begin your second day in Florence with a visit to the legendary Piazza della Signoria. An L-shaped square situated in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria was the original point of focus of the Florentine Republic and still represents the political focus of the city. The majestic square is flanked by Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza del Duomo and the gateway to Uffizi Gallery, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Florence.
Located in close proximity to Piazza della Signoria, the Uffizi Museum is one of the most illustrious art museums in Italy. The museum holds a massive collection of priceless artwork, specifically from the Italian Renaissance period. Being one of the most visited museums in the world, Uffizi Gallery waiting times can be as high as five hours. By your tickets online to avoid standing in the queue and also visit the gallery during non-peak hours.
Gallery of the Academy of Florence is a famous art museum in Florence. Featuring a large collection of paintings by Florentine artists, particularly from the 1300-1600 period, the gallery is renowned for housing Michelangelo's masterpiece David. The Galleria dell'Accademia is the second most visited art gallery in Florence, after the Uffizi and makes for an interesting experience since the focus is much more linear.
Santa Maria Novella Church
Located opposite Florence's main railway station from which it derives its name, the Santa Maria Novella is a stunning church. Santa Maria Novella is the first great basilica of Florence and also the city's primary Dominican church. Featuring striking frescoes by artists from the Gothic and early Renaissance era, the exterior facade of the church is worth the price of admission alone!
Start your last day in Florence by visiting Pitti Palace. Home to several important museums, the palace was built in the 15th century by Filippo Brunelleschi for Luca Pitti. Featuring clear Renaissance inspiration, the palace now functions as the largest museum complex in Florence. Some major museums and art galleries that are a part of the Pitti Palace include the Palatine Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Porcelain Museum, Carriages Museum and more!
An integral part of Pitti Palace, the Palatine Gallery occupies the first floor of the palace. The well-known gallery was established at the end of the 18th century by the Habsburg-Lorraine family who hung about 500 masterpieces in the ceremonial rooms. Beautiful work by master artists like Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, Tintoretto and more are housed in the Palatine Gallery.
Boboli Gardens, a fine example of the 'Italian Garden', is a historical park located in Florence. Spread across an area of 45,000 square meters, the gardens doubles as an open-air museum with statues from ancient and Renaissance periods on display. Boboli Gardens also houses large fountains and caves, including the famous Buontalenti grotto. Spend some quality time with your loved ones at Boboli Gardens in the wee hours of the morning when the crowds are limited.
Wind down for the evening by taking a leisurely stroll across the Ponte Vecchio. This medieval, stone closed, segmental arch bridge is located over the Arno River. The bridge, one of the very few of its kind, is known for still having shops built along it. While butchers initially occupied these shops, they are presently occupied by jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers.
Getting Around Florence
Florence boasts a robust public transport network and you can plenty of ways to get around in the city. Here are some of the most popular options you can choose from:
Buses in Florence are primarily run by ATAF and are either orange or deep purple and white. A single ticket is valid for 90 minutes and you can get tickets from any sales point displaying the ATAF stickers. There's also an ATAF ticket booth in Piazza Stazione where you can purchase tickets from. While there are plenty of bus lines in Florence, buses are always crowded, especially since a lot of locals use them as well. If you're planning to take a bus, give yourself at least a 30-minute leeway taking traffic and route diversion into consideration.
There's one electric tram line running in Florence, from Via Alamanni station to the suburbs of Scandalli. There are 14 stops in total and the entire journey takes around 25 minutes. The second tram line connects Piazza dell'Unita Florence Airport. If you're short on time, the tram is your best bet since you don't have to worry about getting stuck in traffic. You can get Florence tram tickets from the ticket-dispensing machine available at every stop or directly from the driver.
Unlike other big cities where you can just flank down a taxi, things are a little different in Florence. Here, you can either locate a taxi rank or book your taxi by calling one of the two main operators in the city, Taxi Radio and Taxi Socota. You can also book a taxi using private app-based taxi services.
Handy Tips for your Trip
- One of the best ways to explore Florence is on foot. The beautiful city is pretty compact and you can actually travel to each of the city's main attractions within 20 minutes from the city center. This makes Florence the perfect city to explore on foot. If you're not a big fan of walking, you can also rent a bike and drive around the city.
- If you're cautious about spending too much money while in Florence, don't worry. The city isn't all that expensive, esoe if you're careful about where you spend your money. For instance, avoid tourist traps like eating next to Ponte Vecchio or the Medici Chapels since restaurant this close to major Florence landmarks will be expensive.
- Learn a few essential Italian phrases before your trip. While people will understand English, your effort to learn Italian will be appreciated. Here are a few common phrases you can learn: Hello: Buongiorno Bye: Ciao Thank you: Grazie Please: Per favor You're welcome: Prego
- A lot of museums, shops and restaurants in Florence remain closed on Mondays. Don't be disheartened if you come across a closed sign. There are attractions which are open only on Mondays which you can visit instead. These include the Medici Chapels, Casa del Vino and more!
- From the iconic terracotta-tiled dome cathedral, the Duomo to the legendary Galleria dell'Accademia, the city’s storied history makes it an absolute must-visit. On the north bank of Florence is the beautiful Piazza del Signoria, one of the most visited squares for featuring the enormous Palazzo Vecchio and the renowned statue, Perseus with the head of Medusa. These are just some of the most well-known landmarks and attractions in Florence and there's a lot more for you to explore, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Pitti and much more!
- There's no better way to get a peek at authentic Florence than by visiting the local markets. From antique goods to organic produce, there's plenty to buy at Florence's local markets. These markets are located at Cascine Park, San Lorenzo Central Market and Sant'Ambrogio.
- Since you'll be in Florence for three days, you can opt for the convenient Firenzecard. This card follows a simple 72 formula; €72, 72 hours and 72 museums! While it's difficult to explore 72 museums in three days, you can still get access to the popular attractions within buying tickets for them individually.
- If you're in Florence for your birthday, make your way to The Duomo Museum. You can get free access to the popular tourist attraction on your birthday!
- Book your tickets for museums and other attractions online. Not only can save you a lot by opting for combo deals but you also get to skip the queue at the ticket counter for these attractions.