How to spend a great day in Florence Italy

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First time in Florence - walking itinerary #Florence #italy #one day in Florence #Florence walking itinerary

florence italy

It was time to say goodbye to Rome. Fast and comfortable Trenitalia train took us to Florence. The journey took us almost 4 hours to reach the city of our dreams, but it was a pleasant one. For a moment we thought of going to Venice instead, as deciding between Florence vs Venice was a tough choice. However, we decided to visit Florence this time and leave Venice for the next.

The first thing everyone arriving in Florence Italy sees are the red roofs of the St. Maria del Fiore Cathedral with a high tower right next to it. The structure is so massive, it stands out and is visible from almost anywhere. We took our bags to the hotel right next to train station (beautiful Hotel Bellavista) and soon made our way towards the best attractions this town has to offer. Here are our Florence places to visit and things to do guide!

Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if clicked at no extra cost to you. Though the opinions remain my own

Piazza Michelangelo

A good way to start your tour of Florence Italy highlights is by visiting this great viewpoint. The whole town will be right in front of you – such a great photo opportunity! Once you get all the way up, you will be left speechless for a while. It is incredible and probably the most scenic town you will ever see. The view reminded me a little of San Marino.
How to get here? Take the bus 12 or 13 from the train station (S.M. Novella). Ticket price – 1.20€. Tickets should be bought in tobacco kiosks and validated on the bus. The journey takes approx. 30 minutes.

Moving around Florence will be done a lot on foot, so don’t forget to bring a good pair of walking shoes. My favorite pair for this trip is (#ad) New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam Arishi V4 – a perfect combination of light weight and cushioned shoes for long walks in the city. 

florence things to do

Ponte Vecchio

After enjoying the stunning view, it’s time to take some steps towards the famous Ponte Vecchio  – the old bridge. You will clearly see it – it’s the only “closed” bridge meaning no cars are passing over it. It almost looks like a house built over water.
Tip: Ice cream is really expensive here. One scoop can cost as much as 8,50€! If you really want some, take your time and look for it somewhere else in town. I promise you won’t have to walk far.

florence things to do

Piazza della Signoria

Keep walking straight across the Ponte Vecchio and you will reach Piazza Signoria. This is by far my favorite place in the whole of Florence. This L-shaped square is not only incredibly beautiful, it’s also a small open-air museum of it’s own. No matter where you look, masterpieces of art are looking back at you. If you’d like to know all about Florence’s secrets, pick one of the amazing (#ad) Rick Steves Florence guides with you for this trip!

florence things to do

Take your time and sit down for a while. The music seems to always be playing on Piazza Signoria – it’s a paradise for street musicians. People from all over the world are busy drawing in their sketchbooks. Others are taking photos with every possible angle. However, no photo can truly depict what is lying in front of you. You can only truly experience it by being there.

florence things to do
As the sun sets, a whole new life starts off at Piazza Signoria. The sculptures seem to come alive, their shades create new forms and you almost feel like traveling back in time. Among them is the replica of the famous and almighty David by Michelangelo – ideal forms and pure beauty. Opposite from David – Perseus with the head of Medusa – a darker version of the same beauty. Any moment now, and the great Cosimo I himself would come out of the Palazzo.

florence things to do

florence things to do

Santa Maria del Fiore

Walk down the street from Piazza Signoria and you will soon reach one of the symbols of Florence – another masterpiece created by mankind – the stunningly beautiful Basilica. Take a look inside if you can, or simply enjoy the beauty of this massive structure – it’s unlike any other cathedral you’ll see.

florence things to do

Right next to the cathedral, you will see one of the oldest buildings in the city, constructed between 1059 and 1128 – The Baptistery. Have a look at East Doors, or Gates of Paradise, by Lorenzo Ghiberti – very noteworthy sightseeing! These doors have ten panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament.

florence things to do

Il Porcellino – bronze boar fountain

We stumbled upon this little piglet while wandering the streets of Florence Italy. Unexpected, but I’m so glad we did! The statue is rather small but still attracts many visitors’ attention.

The tradition says – put a coin in his jaws and let it fall. If it falls through the underlying grating – expect good luck. Don’t forget to rub his nose to come back!

florence things to do

San Lorenzo market

To make the most of your visit to this awesome market, make sure to come early. The San Lorenzo market is comprised of two markets – the outdoor part selling leather goods and souvenirs and the indoor (also known as Mercato Centrale). The indoor market is a paradise for anyone interested in Tuscan food! You will find anything here – from seafood, pasta, olive oil, and all kinds of cheese to exotic fruits, pastries, and much much more. Some things you can even taste before buying – a great way to discover new products. Go up the stairs to the second floor to join a true Italian food party – many stalls selling delicious food and snacks and tables to sit down and enjoy them properly.

florence things to do
Hall of the Five Hundred (Palazzo Vecchio, Florence)

Our Impression of Florence

Words can’t describe how much I loved being here. The town has so much history, you can feel it with every step. Everything around you is constructed with so much love and beauty in mind, that you forget about the time and lose yourself in the moment. Everything, from the amazing architecture to fantastic and delicious food was perfect and high-class.

I recommend visiting Florence slightly off-season, as the crowds may spoil the impression. Due to its mild climate, a great time to visit would be anytime in (late) spring or (early) autumn, before the rainy season starts. If you are looking for a cheap place to stay, have a look at these options for Affordable accommodations in Florence. Also, if you have a little more time in Florence, consider taking a day trip to San Marino – tiny country with rich cultural heritage.

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How to spend one fantastic day in Florence, Italy #One day #Florence #walking #Itinerary #italy Best things to do in #Florence #Italy if you only have one day. This is a walking itinerary that will take you to coolest places in the city, all important landmarks and famous cathedrals.

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How to spend a great day in Florence Italy  How to spend a great day in Florence Italy How to spend a great day in Florence ItalyHow to spend a great day in Florence Italy

6 Responses

  1. Ashly

    Thanks for this itinerary! I will try this in May. Can anyone tell me how much time this will take? We are trying to see Pisa as well

    • Tigrest

      Hi Ashly,
      I recommend spending 1 full day in Florence and another day in Pisa. Actually you can do Pisa in half day too, it’s not that big.
      Have a great trip!

  2. Lorian Bartle

    I really have to recommend The Uffizi as a must-see in Florence. The art that’s on display there is outstanding. I do understand and appreciate that the process of getting in can be time consuming.

    Lorian Bartle

  3. Barbara Conn

    We will be on a cruise ship and one of our stops is in Florence and Pisa.we will not have a lot of time there but we are trying to decide as to either use the cruise excursion or personal tour.we will need transportation from the ship to Florence,does any private tours come to the ship..? The cruise is in June of this year.Thanks for your help.Barbara Conn

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