If there is one thing I know about Florence after spending 1+ years living here, it is that this enchanting city straight out of the Renaissance is impossible to see in one day. However, if you happen to be short on time, that doesn’t mean you can’t still try to “see it all” in just 24 hours! To help you make the most of one day in Florence, I’ve selected my favorite museums, churches, landmarks, and restaurants to create the perfect 24 hour itinerary (complete with helpful tips!). I hope that this itinerary helps you fall in love with Firenze as much as I have!
Note: This itinerary requires a lot of walking and can be tiring, particularly if you are stopping in Florence as part of a larger Italy trip. Don’t be afraid to cut back on some of the museums or make the itinerary your own. If you have questions, feel free to contact me!
8:00 AM: See David at the Galleria dell’Accademia
For those hoping to see the most famous man in Florence, you’ll want to purchase tickets online in advance! The lines to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece are always long, and you won’t want to spend hours waiting to get in. I recommend shopping for tickets at least a couple of days in advance and getting your day off to an early start by heading to the museum as soon as it opens.
9:30 AM: Mercato Centrale & Mercado di San Lorenzo
Mercato Centrale is Florence’s famous central market. Today, the top floor is filled with trendy (and yummy) eateries, while the lower level is home to traditional stalls with vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, meat, and other goods. Stop inside and pick up a snack before venturing outside.
Just outside the Central Market lies the San Lorenzo leather market. This outdoor section is where many of Florence’s famous leather goods are sold. The atmosphere is a fun frenzy of buying and selling, and you are sure to discover a souvenir or two worth taking home. Just be sure to check the quality of the leather before you buy, and don’t forget to bargain!
10:30 AM: The Duomo or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The Duomo di Firenze is one of the most stunning and iconic cathedrals in the world. The church itself is free to visit, but you will need a €15 ticket to climb the cupola (the dome section), the bell tower, visit the baptistry, site beneath the church, and the newly re-opened Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. During high season, the lines to climb the Duomo can be hours long, however the view is incredible! For more tips on visiting the Duomo, click here. If you are facing terrible lines, you may want to just enjoy the Duomo from the ground, and try hitting one of Florence’s scenic rooftop bars instead.
12:30 PM: Piazza della Repubblica
Heading from the Duomo to the Piazza della Repubblica will take you past some of Florence’s best shopping. You’ll know you’ve made it to the right piazza when you spot a carousel adding a touch of whimsy to the historic plaza. Spend some time perusing the shops nearby, hop on the carousel, or grab a coffee at Caffe Gilli, Florence’s oldest cafe (it opened in 1733!).
1:00 PM: Lunch At Salumeria Verdi
For lunch, I’d suggest heading to my favorite panino place in town, Salumeria Verdi, also known as Pino’s. The panini here are simply amazing, and you are likely to eat one made by Pino himself! Pino’s is an institution for locals and visitors alike. If you happen to drop by, be sure to say hello from me!
1:45 PM: Basilica di Santa Croce
If you are still on schedule, try stopping by the Piazza di Santa Croce. The church is absolutely stunning, both inside and out, and is the site of the city’s annual calcio storico event (pictured above) . If you are ahead of schedule or really love visiting churches, then consider heading inside. You’ll be able to see funerary monuments erected to the likes of Dante, Galileo, and Ghiberti, among others! There is also a leather shop attached where you can observe the handmade production of quality leather goods.
2:00 PM: Gelato/Coffee on Via Dei Neri
If you can only visit one of the top 10 gelaterias in all of Florence, make it Gelateria dei Neri. The gelato there is simply incredible. Be sure to try a sample of the dei Neri carmel. My favorite combo? Dark chocolate & cream. If you aren’t in the mood for gelato, consider an afternoon coffee from Ditta Artigianale, their capuccino are to die for!
2:30: Piazza della Signoria
The Piazza della Signoria is one of Florence’s most beautiful piazzas. There you’ll find Neptune’s fountain, the Palazzo Vecchio, or “old palace”, a fake statue of David (in case you couldn’t visit the real one), and a free, yes free, open air museum! The piazza is also popular among Florence’s street performers, so you can probably enjoy some life music as you enjoy the art around you.
3:00 PM: Uffizi Gallery
Art lovers won’t want to miss this opportunity to visit the world famous Galleria degli Uffizi. With works by Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci, the museum is a must-see when in Florence. Just be sure to purchase tickets a few days early, otherwise you will most likely face extremely long lines. If you are unable to get a ticket, instead consider hopping over to the Bargello museum, its smaller and less well known, but certainly worth seeing.
5:00 PM: Ponte Vecchio & Ponte Santa Trinita
The “Ponte Vecchio” or old bridge is considered one of the most beautiful sights in Florence, and it truly is a must see. Walk across the bridge itself and shop for jewelry at the shops on the bridge, or head to the Ponte Santa Trinita for the best view of the bridge itself.
6:00 PM: Sunset At Piazzale or Rooftop Aperitivo
If your feet aren’t killing you yet, you won’t want to miss sunset at the Piazzale Michelangelo. Just be sure to check what time the sun goes down so you arrive on time! Every day, locals and tourists gather to watch the sun set over Firenze and the streets below begin to light up for the evening. You’ll have to walk up quite a few steps, but the view is unforgettable.
If you’ve had enough walking for the day, then you can find an equally beautiful view from the Westin Excelsior rooftop bar (pictured above). Aperitivo there begins at 7 and for €20 you’ll get a delicious cocktail and snacks.
7:00 PM: Dinner
There are so many delicious places to eat & drink in Florence that it is difficult for me to suggest just one! For dinner I’d recommend dining at Osteria Santo Spirito. The food is delicious, and this restaurant happens to be locate don the same side of the river as the Piazzale Michelangelo. Other great places closer to the city center include Acqua al 2 and the charming and romantic La Giostra. No matter which of these you choose, you’ll want to make a reservation in advance as each of these restaurants are quite popular!
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Use this color-coded map to help you navigate around the city! Just start with Red and work your way through the rainbow!
What is on your list of must-does in Florence? Let me know in the comments!
Planning your own trip to Florence? Be sure to check out all of my Florence posts here!
You might also like these helpful posts:
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