There are few places that capture the imagination quite like Florence does. Whether your idea of an amazing trip is eating good food, exploring museums and art galleries, or just wandering charming streets and alleyways, our 3 days in Florence Italy itinerary has something for everyone.
As the capital of Tuscany, Florence is an amazing place to visit on its own for a few days but you may even be able to squeeze in a trip to the stunning surroundings.
Where to stay in Florence
Florence is relatively compact in comparison to what it offers, so you can basically stay anywhere in the historic center and be walking distance to most of the places we’ll recommend. Here are a couple particular areas that are popular:
Santa Croce area: If you’re looking for the most bustling part of town, look no further. This historic area surrounding a lovely piazza is perfectly placed for bars and restaurants, as well as being close to museums and other landmarks.
Santo Spirito area: This piazza south of the river offers a more laidback experience of Florence, but you’re still walking distance to all that the city has to offer. It’s also got some of the city’s best restaurants within a stone’s throw.
How to get to Florence
Florence has its own airport, Florence Airport(FLR), which is very close to the city center. However, the airport is quite small, so it’s common to fly into Pisa Airport instead.
Pisa Airport is only about an hour’s drive from Florence, and there’s a direct bus to Santa Maria Novella train station.
If you’re planning to visit Florence for 3 days on a longer trip to Italy, you can catch direct trains to Florence from many other parts of the country, including Rome, Milan, and Venice.
Overview of your itinerary for 3 days in Florence
Here’s a quick breakdown of what to see and do in Florence for three days:
Day 1 in Florence
- Breakfast at a cafe on Piazza della Republicca
- Take a walk around the historic center
- Have a local lunch at Buca Dell’Orafo
- Walk (and shop) along Ponte Vecchio
- Visit the Boboli Gardens
- Watch the sunset from Piazza Michelangelo
Day 2 in Florence
- Spend your morning at the Uffizi Gallery
- Explore (and eat) at San Lorenzo Market
- Visit Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery
- Climb the bell tower of the Duomo
- Try Florentine Steak at Ristorante la Giostra
Day 3 in Florence
- Discover the Museum of San Marco
- Grab lunch at Al Antico Vinaio
- Squeeze in a half-day wine tasting
- Have a late dinner at Osteria Santo Spirito
Day 1 in Florence
Have breakfast at a cafe on Piazza della Republicca
So much of Florence’s charm is in the ancient piazzas and the cobblestoned streets, so coffee and a pastry outside at the Caffe Gilli in Piazza della Repubblica is a perfect way to start your day.
This historic square filled with cafes and shops is a central point of Florence, and you can people watch over your espresso to your heart’s content.
Take a walk around Florence’s historic center
The center of Florence is a UNESCO world heritage site, and it’s not a challenge to see why.
Spend your morning getting oriented, and soaking up all that this centuries-old city has to offer, from the public statues and beautiful Palazzo Vecchio on Piazza della Signoria, to the incredible dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
It may be worth booking a tour- having a local to tell you the history of all of the landmarks definitely adds a lot of value to the experience.
Have a local lunch at Buca Dell’Orafo
Nestled just to the north of the river, Buca Dell’Orafo is a rustic restaurant, housed in the tiny basement of an ancient residence. This place is very local and offers an introduction to traditional Tuscan foods like wild boar and rabbit.
Check out Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio is easily one of the most iconic landmarks in Europe- a medieval bridge built in 1345, it’s lined with shops selling jewellery, art and antiques.
Step into any store, and you can look to the back to see windows pointing straight onto the Arno River.
It’s incredibly unique, and the stores there are so fun to browse. It’s also the way to get south of the river, where you’ll spend the rest of your day.
Visit Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens
Walk about five minute south of the river, and you’ll arrive at Palazzo Pitti (as it’s known to Italians), the former stronghold of the Medici family- who you can’t go to Florence without hearing about.
The Medici family were the primary rulers of Florence for centuries, and one of the most important families (if not the most important) in the history of Italy.
They commissioned some of the most important art pieces of the Renaissance, and financed the building of many of the Florentine buildings (their history and drama has also inspired a lot of media).
An important building to the Medici family, Pitti was their chief residence for some time, and now houses the largest collection of art in Florence, including famous pieces by Raphael and Titian and dozens of rooms filled with stunning frescoes.
It’s hard to imagine anything could beat the inside of Pitti Palace, but the backyard is arguably even more impressive, as it houses the iconic Boboli Gardens.
Built by the Medici family, it’s one of the most important examples of an Italian Garden, which was later picked up by royals and the upper class throughout Europe. The gardens are open to the public on a combined ticket with Pitti Palace, and they’re truly impressive.
Watch the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo
Piazzale Michelangelo is on the top of a hill overlooking all of Florence, and it’s the perfect place to spend the end of your first day. The piazza is famous for two things: a massive replication of the Michelangelo’s statue of David, and the amazing sunset views from its stone steps.
Combine dinner with this activity – grab a pizza at Gustapizza in Piazza Santo Spirito (often called the best pizza in Florence), some wine, and walk up the stairs (we promise it’s worth it!) Once at the top, you can sit on the steps, cheers the view, and appreciate the incredible beauty of Florence at dusk.
Day 2 in Florence
Spend your morning at the Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous art museums in Italy, and in the world. It houses collections of art from the Middle Ages to now, including famous pieces like Botticelli’s the Birth of Venus and Caravaggio’s Medusa.
If you go to one art museum in Florence, make it this. We’d recommend booking a skip the line ticket to the Uffizi, as you may wait a while otherwise.
Explore (and eat at) San Lorenzo Market
Located behind San Lorenzo Church, San Lorenzo Market is the central market in Florence, known worldwide as a destination for foodies (both professional and amateur).
The food section is the two-level Mercato Centrale, and inside you’ll find vendors selling Tuscan delicacies like truffles and salami, as well as prepared food stalls. A casual lunch here is a great way to enjoy the bustle of the place, and have some incredible local food.
You can also pick up incredible souvenirs to take away, from wine to olive oils. If you have a bit more time, you can also explore the rest of the market to find high-quality leather goods and other traditional items.
Visit Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery
Seeing Michelangelo’s statue of David is the number one thing on many Florence bucket lists, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Although the Accademia Gallery (where the statue is housed) isn’t as famous for the rest of its art, it does have other sculptures by Michelangelo and a large collection of paintings by Florentine artists.
However, it would honestly be worth going just to see the David- it’s hard to say how lifelike the statue is in person, and it really demonstrates why Michelangelo is still often seen as the best sculptor of all time! Again, a skip the line ticket will be your best friend.
Climb the bell tower of the Duomo
The Duomo, more formally known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower, is the crown jewel of Florence.
You’ll have already likely walked by it, as it’s right in the center of the city and hard to miss, but this is your chance to see it closer up!
The cathedral is open to the public for free, but you can buy a ticket to climb up Giotto’s bell tower, which is located next to the cathedral and offers beautiful views of Florence (and the Duomo) from the top.
You can buy a ticket that also includes the Duomo, and climb up to see the interior of the cathedral from up high, as well as some beautiful frescoes along the way.
Try Florentine Steak at Ristorante la Giostra
Tonight, we try another famous Italian dish- Bistecca alla Fiorentina, or Florentine Steak in English. It’s a very specific cut of meat prepared in a unique way, and it’s one of the landmarks of Italian cuisine.
La Giostra is a great place to try it- housed in a medieval stone building, it boasts amazing views of the Duomo.
While it’s famous for its Florentine Steak, it’s also a great option for vegetarians, offering delicious pastas with typical Florence ingredients like artichokes, asparagus and pecorino.
Day 3 in Florence
Discover the San Marco Museum
Museo San Marco is a remarkable museum housed in a 12th century monastery south of the river. It houses mostly religious art, which is appropriate for the setting, and offers fascinating insight into Florence’s history.
Grab lunch at All’antico Vinaio
No trip to Florence would be complete without having lunch at All’antico Vinaio. A simple takeway spot offering traditional Panini (which is just the Italian word for sandwiches), you’ll often see a huge line spilling out down the street.
They’re famous for their homemade creams made from flavors like eggplant, artichokes, and pecorino, so make sure to pick a panino including one of these!
Squeeze in a half-day wine tasting tour
As Florence is located right in the middle of wine country, escaping to the countryside is a great way to wrap up your time there.
Chianti is the most popular region, and on a half day wine tour you can see two Chianti vineyards as well as get some panoramic views of the stunning Tuscan hills around Florence.
They also typically involve tastings of other local products like balsamic vinegar, cheeses, and olive oil.
Have a late dinner at Osteria Santo Spirito
Osteria Santo Spirito is a homestyle Italian restaurant located south of the river, in a beautiful and buzzy square called Piazza Santo Spirito.
They specialise in cosy dishes like beef stew and truffle gnocchi, and are open until 10:15 pm- meaning you can get a quick nap in after your wine tasting! Cheers some more chianti, indulge in delicious food, and reminisce on your busy but glorious few days in Florence.
Tours in and around Florence
There are an infinite number of things to do in and around Florence, but here are some of the most interesting tours we’d recommend to really get to know the city:
City center walking tour
As there’s so much history and culture in Florence, booking a Florence walking tour is a great way to make sure you’re not missing out on any of the most interesting parts of the city. It’s also a great way to get a local’s insight into this magical place.
Pasta making class
As you may have gathered, food is an important part of visiting Florence! Pasta is such a staple in Italy, and it’s actually pretty easy to make fresh.
Join the Pastamania pasta making class to learn how to make three varieties of pasta with a local chef. The class even includes wine, so it’s a real dining experience!
Skip-the-line art tours
The museums in Florence are world-famous, and with that comes lots of lines! Book tours like this one that includes both the Uffizi and the Accademia Gallery , and you’ll be able to make the most of your days in Florence while also being told things you never would have learned by just exploring on your own.
Half-day wine tasting tours
While there’s so much to see in Florence in 3 days, the area around is also beautiful. You can book a half-day wine tasting in the Tuscan countryside to get a chance to explore the Tuscan countryside, as well as trying local food and wines.
3 Days in Florence Conclusion
We hope we’ve provided you with a plan for 3 perfect days in Florence, and that you enjoy your visit to this majestic city!
Whether you’re looking to explore Florence on its own or while travelling around Italy on a longer trip, save this article to make sure that you hit all the famous landmarks, museums, and culinary experiences that Florence has to offer.
Recommended tours in Florence
- Tuscany Day Trip from Florence: Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa and Lunch at a Winery
- Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence with Optional Hiking
- Pizza and Gelato Cooking Class at a Tuscan Farmhouse from Florence
- Cooking Class and Lunch at a Tuscan Farmhouse with Local Market Tour from Florence
- Small-Group Wine Tasting Experience in the Tuscan Countryside
- Chianti Safari: Tuscan Villas with vineyards, Cheese, Wine & Lunch from Florence
- Florence Vespa Tour: Tuscan Hills and Italian Cuisine
- David & Accademia Gallery Tour – Florence (Tickets are included)
- The dark side of Florence – Mysteries and Legends
- Best of Florence: Small Group Tour Skip-the-Line David & Accademia with Duomo
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