When we went to Europe in August '16, one of the posts I was certain I had to write was a guide to getting the most in while in Florence on a short trip. We spent a week in Rome, over a week in southern Italy, and then had short stops in northern Italy, including Florence, Venice and Cinque Terre. I was shocked at everything we "crammed" in while visiting Florence. We were there for a total of about 48 hours, we arrived the evening of August 25th, stayed the 26th and left the morning of the 27th. We did a lot of research and preparation to make sure we hit all the sights that were on our must see and do list while there. This wasn't our first time to Italy, however it was our first time in Florence, and since we knew time was limited there, we wanted to make sure and do it right. Disclaimer: there are sights we chose not to squeeze into our schedule (as nothing else could possibly fit) like the Uffizi Galleries, touring the Duomo, and of course I would have loved to fit in a day trip to a Tuscan winery. Next time! Regardless, we fit a ton of amazing sights in and I want to share with you exactly how we did it all in a short window of time in hopes that it helps you plan your short stop to Florence.
Day 1- Half Day
- Arrive In Florence.
- Dinner in Piazza del Duomo so you can see the Florence Cathedral, the Giotto's Campanile (the bell tower), and the Florence Baptistery.
- Gelato on the Ponte Vecchio bridge.
- Wander Piazza della Repubblica and see carousel lit up at night.
Day 2- Full Day
10 a.m.- Tour Giotto's Bell Tower. You can get great views of the Duomo and areal shots of Florence and its famous red rooftops.
11:15 a.m.- Statue of David at the Accademia Gallery. Make sure to get tickets ahead of time. There are almost always lines for the main attractions in Italy, but most of the time you can easily skip the line by buying a ticket ahead of time online. The David is a must see. It really is magnificent! Buy your tickets ahead of time here: http://www.firenzemusei.it/
12:45 p.m.- Lunch at All' Antico Vinaio, a sandwich shop that is so popular it will most likely have a long line (see photo below). Best sandwich I have ever had!
2 p.m.- Tour the Boboli Gardens.
3-5 p.m. - Riposo, Italy's midday siesta. Of course you do not have to nap or rest, but we were extremely tired from the busy schedule of sight seeing and tons of walking in the August Italian heat.
6 p.m. - Aperitivo. This is light eats and a drink prior to dinner. Since the Italians eat dinner fairly late, I found aperitivo necessary since we were doing so much walking and burning so much energy.
7 p.m.- Piazzale Michelangelo to watch the sunset. You will want to see what time the sun sets while you are there, we were there in August so this was when it was. Watching the sun set over Florence was one of my favorite memories of our entire month long trip. It was absolutely breathtaking. There was a crowd of people enjoying the same thing. We drank wine and watched the sunset light up the city with most beautiful tints of red, pink, purple, etc. It was wonderful and the perfect way to end our busy day exploring Florence.
9 p.m. - Dinner time. We ate at Circus Ristorante in Piazza della Signoria and it was one of the best pizzas I had in Italy (and we've been up and down that country). I must remind you though, we did not eat at many restaurants in Florence since our trip was short, so maybe look up reviews, but honestly I thought this place was delicious and I love a good dinner in a piazza. Italy is a place of gathering and social festivities and piazzas are the center of that. You might pay a bit more to eat there, but read reviews, find a good restaurant and enjoy.
Day 3- leave florence
Grab the most delicious caffè you can find (maybe an espresso or a cappuccino), and grab something sweet to nibble on as you savor your final moments in Florence.