3 Days in Florence: Everything You Should Know
Florence is the capital city of Tuscany, the most important region in Italy, known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and where the foundations of the Italian language were laid.
For centuries Florence was ruled by the most powerful family in Florence, the Medici. They have contributed to building many iconic landmarks in Florence like the Uffizi Gallery and the Boboli Gardens.
The Renaissance city of Florence makes for a perfect trip for all art lovers out there. See extravagant palaces and churches to museums holding some of the most world-known pieces of art like Michelangelo's Statue of David. Experience Florence's Duomo and the dome which is the largest masonry vault ever built.
If you are planning on visiting Florence, you have to make time to visit all of these masterpieces. 3 days in Florence are just enough to get a taste of this wonderful city and have you wanting to come back for more.
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Morning: Explore Piazza del Duomo
What better way to start your first day in Florence than to explore the Duomo Complex, the top attraction of the city? Located at the heart of Florence's historic center, this massive complex includes the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, the Florence Baptistery of San Giovanni, Brunelleschi's Dome, Crypt of Santa Reparata, Giotto's Bell Tower, and the Opera Museum. Duomo, the Baptistery, and Giotto's Bell Tower share the same Gothic-Renaissance style architecture and famous marble design, which make wonderful photos for your gallery.
Though there is a single admission ticket to enter the other buildings, the entrance to the Cathedral is free. While it is impossible to see all of the attractions in one morning, you could always come back the next day or continue exploring the complex in the afternoon.
Florence's Cathedral is the largest in Italy. The construction of the Florence Cathedral began in 1296 on the site of the 7th-century church of Santa Reparata but was completed 140 years later. The Cathedral is the tallest building in Florence and boasts the most impressive Gothic-Renaissance-style architecture you have ever seen. It is impossible to skip it during your 3 days in Florence.
One of the coolest things to do while you are in the Duomo is to climb the dome, which is the largest masonry vault ever built. From here, you will get the most stunning views of Florence.
The Dome of the Cathedral is only accessible by tour guides. There is no lift, and due to the many steps, climbing up the Dome is not recommended for people afraid of closed spaces and heights, as well as people with heart conditions.
After climbing the Dome, you will more than likely work up an appetite. Head down to Panini Toscani, just a short walk from Museo dell'Opera del Duom. Here you can choose your own sandwiches and enjoy them sitting outside, with a view of the cathedral and watch the crowd go by. The place opens at 10.30 am every day.
Afternoon: Meander through Uffizi Gallery
Museums and galleries are an inevitable part of your 3 days in Florence. There are so many important artworks in Florence, that it's hard to know where to start. One of the most popular galleries in Florence is Uffizi Gallery.
Situated along the banks of the Arno River, Uffizi Gallery was the first modern museum in Europe. Like many other notable features of Florence, such as the Boboli Gardens, the Belvedere, the Medici Chapel, and the Palazzo Medici, this Gallery was also built by the Medici family, the wealthiest family in Florence for centuries.
If you are an art aficionado, you are in for a treat. Home to works of art from different famous Italian artists, Uffizi Galery is any art lover's dream. Prepare yourself to see some of Medici's most important art collections, including the "Birth of Venus" by Botticelli, Raphael's "Madonna of the Goldfinch," and "Venus of Urbino" by Titian.
Once you are done you can reflect back on the masterpieces you just saw with a glass of local wine and ravioli in the Degusteria Italiana agli Uffizi, just a 0.1 mile from the Gallery. They are open every day from noon until 3 pm and reopen again from 7 pm until 10 pm.
Evening: Take a food tour
When in Tuscany, do what the Tuscanians do. And that is to eat, eat, and eat some more. Inspired by the food of the peasants from the farming region, Tuscan cuisine is all about "poor cooking", which means making simple meals using fresh and simple seasonal ingredients. Nothing fancy, nor expensive.
The Florence Sunset Food Tour is the perfect tour for you if you want to get a taste of Tuscan cuisine. This three hours long walking tour will take you to some of the city's best eateries and restaurants in some of the trendiest neighborhoods in Florence.
From truffle cheese and homemade pasta to cured local meat and local wine, you'll get to try food that will satisfy even the most sophisticated palate. Sit back, enjoy a cooking demonstration and learn how to prepare the perfect Florentine steak.
Florence itinerary - Day 2
Morning: See the Boboli Gardens and the Pitti Palace
Your second day in Florence should start with a relaxing morning in these wonderful gardens. Located up the hill, behind the Pitti Palace, you may need to prepare for some walking if you are not in shape, but it will be a walk well worth it. This popular tourist destination is filled with roses, lemon trees, and lush landscapes that inspired the gardens of many European courts.
Spread across 111 acres, you could easily spend a few hours exploring the beautifully landscaped areas. Start with the Amphitheatre and Neptune's Fountain, then walk along the “Viottolone” avenue lined up with cypresses and statues all the way down to the "Isolotto" pond. Other highlights include the Garden of the Cavaliere, the Koffeehouse, and the Grotta Grande.
Right next to the gardens you will find Palazzo Pitti or Pitti Palace, home to four museums including the Treasury of the Grand Dukes, the Palatine Gallery, the Imperial and Royal Apartments, the Gallery of Modern Art, and the Museum of Costume and Fashion.
The entrance to the gardens is about $12, but you can get a combined ticket to enter both Pitti Palace and the gardens for least than $22. It is a good idea to pack some food, as Boboli Gardens is a wonderful spot for a picnic.
The Palace is open from 1.30 pm until 6.30 pm every day except for Mondays, and the gardens are open every day from 8.15 am.
Afternoon: Explore art galleries and enjoy museum hopping
With only 3 days to explore the entire city, you should definitely plan ahead. Florence itself is one big living museum, boasting some of the most important artworks in the world.
Your 3-day Florence itinerary should definitely include a visit to the Accademia Gallery, on Piazza San Marco, where you can see the famous sculpture of David by artist Michelangelo up close. There are 30 replicas of Michelangelo's David around the world, and the first one can be found in Piazza della Signoria, just in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall, where the original sculpture of David stood from 1504 to 1873.
San Marco Museum, formerly a convent, is a must-visit for anyone who appreciates frescoes. Here you will find a series of fresco paintings from the early Renaissance period painted by the famous Italian painter Fra Angelico.
Other galleries worth visiting are the Palatine Gallery and the Modern Art Gallery where you can admire many contemporary art exhibitions. If you have extra time, you can visit the Porcelain Museum and the Treasure of the Grand Dukes or the Fashion and Costume Museum.
But since the entire medieval city is a museum of its own, a walk in the city center, Piazza della Signoria, and Piazza della Repubblica will be more than enough to give you a daily dose of the art and history of Florence.
You can finish your museum hopping with delicious lunch at Braceria Dei Tri Amici for the best pasta dishes and truffle fillets in Florence. After that, you can stop by Da Angelo near Ponte Vecchio, the famous bridge in Florence, for the most flavorful artisanal gelato in the region.
Evening: Go on a romantic walk in Villa Bardini
Evenings in Florence can be very romantic and Villa Bardini gives its visitors the most enchanting experience. Located in Giardino Bardini, in the hilly part of Oltrarno, the gardens boast the most stunning views of Florence.
Take your loved ones and enjoy a few hours in these enchanting gardens, which also serve as an exhibition center and a venue for all kinds of events. The gardens close at 7 pm.
There are a few restaurants near the gardens, like La Logetta di Villa Bordani, APEritivo a Villa Bardini, and La Leggenda dei Fratti where you can savor Italian dishes with the best views of the city.
Florence itinerary - Day 3
Morning: Visit Florence's churches
A great part of Florence's history are the Basilicas of Florence. For your last day of visiting Florence, you could spend a few hours and visit a few of them. Start with the Basilica di Santa Croce (Santa Croce church) located on Piazza di Santa Croce, 0.5 miles from the Duomo.
The church began construction in 1294 on the site of a Franciscan church and represents the finest examples of Italian Gothic architecture. It is a church of many tombs and funerary monuments of famous Florentines like Niccolo Machiavelli, scientist Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo, and Vasari. The church is open from 9.30 am until 5. 30 pm every day, except for Sundays, when it opens at 12.30 am. Entry tickets cost around $10.
After that, you can stop by the Il Francescano Tavern for a rustic Italian breakfast. On weekdays the tavern is open from 6 am, but on the weekends it opens at noon.
Further north, in a 15 minutes walk are the churches Santa Maria Novella and San Lorenzo. You can also stop by the San Lorenzo Market, the most famous outdoor and indoor market in Florence. In San Lorenzo Market you can do your last day shopping for souvenirs, leather, clothes, and gifts to bring home.
Afternoon: Take a day trip exploring the best of Tuscany
Your 3-days in Florence itinerary should also include a day trip to at least Pisa, Siena, and San Gimignano. For the best experience, you can book a tour and let professional guides take you around.
From a Gothic Cathedral in Siena to strolling the medieval streets of San Gimignano, a visit to the famous Leaning Tower in Pisa, to a 3-course lunch paired with some of the best local wine, these day trips usually take half a day, so make sure you plan well ahead.
Evening: Watch the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo
There is no better way to end your trip to Florence than to watch the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo. Make it a little exercise and walk up to the hill on the south bank of the river Arno to the Piazza where you will come across lots of entertainment. From street vendors and street artists to live music, this will be the perfect way to end your wonderful adventure in Florence.
When the sun sets, head down to La Loggia del Piazzale Michelangelo for the most creative Tuscan dishes in a two-centuries-old building boasting galleries and a rooftop terrace with amazing views of the city.
Visiting Florence in 3 Days
If you are looking to spend some romantic time with your partner, Florence is your city. If you want to visit a place where you can be surrounded by centuries-old art and architecture, Florence is your place. If you want to try the tastiest food in Italy and Europe, Florence, Tuscany is the place to be. All of this will make for an amazing trip to Florence, be it 3 days or more.
Still planning your visit to Florence? Check out these guides for more ideas!