Iconic architecture, legendary food, and compelling history are just a few reasons to spend 2 days in Florence–one of our favorite cities on the planet!
Hoping to spend about 48 hours in Florence but not sure how to start planning your trip?
After spending months exploring Florence (including our most recent 2022 visit), we stand by this guide to seeing Florence in 2 days as the best way to see the highlights of the Cradle of the Renaissance with limited time.
Over the last several years, we have also loved having the opportunity to share this 2 day Florence itinerary with family and friends!
From world-class art to delicious gelato to fantastic markets, here’s how to spend a couple of days in Florence, Italy.
Table of Contents
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How We Structured This Itinerary for Florence, Italy
Florence is one of our absolute favorite cities to visit, and we’ve designed this itinerary to help you fall in love with it in just two days!
Our shortest trips have been visiting Florence on day trips from Rome, and our longest trip included a full month of “living” in Florence, with many medium-sized trips mixed in as well!
Based on our time in the Cradle of the Renaissance, we’ve included a mix of suggested tours, tickets, and independent attractions that will help you explore the best of the city efficiently.
In 2022 and beyond, planning ahead is more important than ever: after the last couple of years, many attractions (not just in Italy!) have moved to requiring reservations, and there’s a chance that will become the new norm.
If you stay in a central location, this itinerary is entirely walkable–helped along by the fact that Florence is a small city that lends itself to wandering!
The Ultimate 2 Day Florence Itinerary
Day 1 in Florence Itinerary: David, the Duomo + A Food Tour
Start with the Galleria dell’Accademia.
After putting on some comfortable walking shoes and grabbing a cappuccino and pastry at whatever bar catches your eye, it’s time to see David!
We once waited in line for about half an hour in the middle of a weekend day in early November, and it can easily be triple that during busy periods.
The Galleria dell’Accademia is fairly small, you’ll be unlikely to spend more than an hour there unless you’re an enormous art buff.
David is definitely the star of the show (and absolutely worth seeing–the statue blew us away when we saw it in person!), but the musical instrument display and the unfinished Michelangelo sculptures are definitely worth seeing as well.
Prefer the context of a tour?
This popular option covers both David and the Duomo!
Walk over to Mercato San Lorenzo.
Florence’s famous outdoor leather market is bustling and beautiful–it’s a great place to shop for small souvenirs, people watch, and take photos.
What we wouldn’t necessarily recommend is buying expensive leather goods from a stall here without further research (and plenty of haggling).
We definitely aren’t leather experts, but suffice it to say that not all leather goods are created equal, and a tourist market can be a great place to overpay for a substandard product if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
That being said, the market is incredibly photogenic and a fun place to pick up small Italian souvenirs–Jeremy’s wallet came from this market in Florence!
Head into the Mercato Centrale.
Right next door to the outdoor San Lorenzo market sits the indoor Mercato Centrale, one of our favorite places in Florence and home to all kinds of delicious delicacies.
Mercato Centrale is bursting open with delicious food six days a week until around 2:30 PM (it’s closed on Sundays).
The ground floor includes food stalls selling everything from fruit to fish to olive oil, and a few stalls selling cooked meals such as takeaway pasta.
Upstairs, you can find even more stalls selling prepared food, as well as tables to sit at, and in one corner, a kitchen designed for cooking classes.
If you’re hungry, this is a great place to grab a quick and affordable lunch as part of your Florence itinerary!
Optional: pay a visit to the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy.
While the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy is slightly out of the way on this itinerary for Florence, if you’re looking for a fabulous perfume, a historic building, or even just the chance to meander through another Florence neighborhood, it’s worth a visit.
Tucked behind an unassuming door in the Santa Maria Novella neighborhood sits the oldest and possibly most opulent pharmacy in the world.
Established in 1221, the pharmacy was once a place of healing.
Today, it’s more of a place for unique soaps, perfumes, and lotions–some of them made from original recipes dating back hundreds of years.
The pharmacy is also located very close to Trattoria Marione, which is a fantastic place to stop for lunch if you’re hungry!
Stroll back toward the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
Of course, you can’t wrap up the first day of your Florence itinerary without a chance to admire the magnificent Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, or more commonly, the Duomo!
The Duomo itself is free to enter, but the surrounding museums (including the bell tower, cupola, baptistery, and the underground ruins below the Duomo) all require a ticket.
We’ve written an entire guide to visiting the Duomo, as making the most of your time there can require quite a bit of planning!
Here’s the short version, though: with 2 days in Florence, you don’t have time to see it all, but you should absolutely prioritize climbing either the dome (which requires booking in advance) or the bell tower (which is easier to access).
The interior of the cathedral itself is a bit plain compared to its exterior, but the interior of the Baptistery is magnificent and you should go inside if you have time!
This fantastic tour that we discussed above is an incredibly memorable way to experience both the Duomo and David.
Prefer to visit David independently and then explore the Duomo via tour? This tour is the perfect option.
Head to the Basilica of Santa Croce.
From one church to the next!
After finishing up at the Duomo, walk over to the Basilica of Santa Croce for a look at another stunning house of worship in Florence and some very memorable tombs, including those of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo.
There’s also a memorial to Dante in the church, however, his actual tomb is located in Ravenna (another Italian city well worth a visit).
Santa Croce has a more ornate interior than the Duomo, and visiting both places means that you have now seen the two most famous churches in Florence!
Make your way to Piazzale Michelangelo.
Florence’s skyline is unique: for years, buildings were not allowed to be built higher than the base of the cupola on the Duomo, and the result is a somewhat uniform skyline, with the incredible cathedral and cupola erupting out of it.
One of the best places to admire this view is from the enduringly popular Piazzale Michelangelo.
It’s a bit of a hike to get up there (about a 20-minute climb from Santa Croce, quite a bit of it uphill), but it’s worth it to go a bit out of the way.
Not too tired when you reach the top and want to admire the Florence skyline from an even higher angle?
San Miniato al Monte is located only another 5 minutes or so of climbing up the hill and boasts another incredible view of Florence–and one that is a bit less crowded than the more popular vantage point at Piazzale Michelangelo.
Finish up your first day in Florence with an incredible food tour.
It’s no secret that Tuscany is all about the food–and with only 2 days in Florence, one of the absolute best ways to make sure you try a wide variety of traditional dishes is with a food tour!
We adore taking food tours around the world, and this incredible evening food tour in Florence was no exception.
A food tour in Florence is a fantastic way to sample the best of what the region has to offer, without having to commit to a whole dish.
That is especially relevant for the famous bistecca alla fiorentina, which is simultaneously one of the city’s most iconic dishes and one of its most expensive (a typical steak you order at a restaurant feeds at least 2 people).
We loved our Florence food tour so much that we have returned to several of the featured businesses after the tour was over!
Day 2 in Florence Itinerary: The Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio + Beyond
Start your morning with a stroll toward the Piazza della Repubblica.
As the social and commercial center of Florence for thousands of years, Piazza della Repubblica is an unmissable sight during your 2 days in Florence and an excellent place to kick off your second day in the city.
Once the home to Florence’s Roman Forum, Piazza della Repubblica was later used as a popular marketplace in the Middle Ages and then as a Jewish ghetto during the 16th century.
Today, the piazza is a bustling, busy place, home to a beautiful carousel, plenty of restaurants and shops, and usually a street musician or two.
Stroll down Via Calimala toward the Fontana del Porcellino.
The walk down Via Calimala from the Piazza della Repubblica is filled with some of Florence’s most high-end shopping.
If you’re looking to splurge on designer clothes or sunglasses, you’ve come to the right place!
Even without the inclination (or cash) for shopping, though, the street still makes a beautiful walk.
It’s almost always busy, and as you get close to the Fontana del Porcellino, you’ll see some street artists start to pop up here and there.
The Fontana del Porcellino consists of a large bronze boar (what else, in Florence?) with an extra shiny nose.
Legend says that if you rub his nose, you’ll be guaranteed to come back to Florence one day!
On our most recent trip, we even had our dog Ranger touch his nose–a little silly, yes, but why take any chances after the last couple of years!
The fountain is located on the edge of Mercato Nuovo (also sometimes called the Mercato del Porcellino), on the far side from where you’ll be approaching from if you are coming from the Piazza della Repubblica.
Wander toward the Piazza della Signoria.
Just a short walk away from the Fontana del Porcellino sits the Piazza della Signoria–one of the prettiest piazzas in Florence.
This piazza is home to the Fountain of Neptune, the Palazzo Vecchio, and one of the famous “fake Davids” here!
Perhaps most memorably, the Piazza della Signoria home to the Loggia dei Lanzi, whose collection of incredible statues is essentially a small, free, outdoor museum.
We loved taking a seat and people-watching in this piazza, and have spent several memorable nights eating some gelato on the steps that lead to the statues while listening to a talented busker and enjoying the hustle and the bustle of the city around us.
Piazza della Signoria, no matter what time of day you visit, is always magical.
If you want to add another epic view of Florence to your 2 day Florence itinerary, consider heading to the top of the Palazzo Vecchio while you’re here.
The Palazzo Vecchio is home to one of our personal favorite views of Florence!
Tour the legendary Uffizi Gallery.
As the Cradle of the Renaissance, visiting the heart of Florence’s Renaissance art collection is an important part of any 2 day Florence itinerary!
Home to masterpieces by not only hometown heroes like Da Vinci and Botticelli, but also other celebrated Italian artists like Caravaggio, exploring the Uffizi is an incredible experience.
(And that’s even before you get a chance to admire the stunning views of the Ponte Vecchio from its windows!).
How long you spend at this world-class art gallery can be highly dependent on your personal preference, but a fast pass through the masterpieces is considered to take about 2 hours, with 3-4 hours needed for a more thorough visit.
Booking a ticket or a tour in advance is virtually required, as the lines for the museum can get very long and it is even known to sell out!
We personally love the context of a tour in the Uffizi–the context of a guide truly brings the art to life, and as a bonus, you’ll likely move much more efficiently with a guide than on your own (they know where everything is, after all).
Book your Uffizi tour today!
Prefer to explore independently?
Grab skip-the-line tickets for your preferred time now!
Take a stroll across the Ponte Vecchio bridge.
When you’re finished at the Uffizi, make your way to the nearby Ponte Vecchio and stroll across it while admiring the jewelry sparkling from every shop window and the views of the river on either side.
The Ponte Vecchio is iconic, and we enjoy the walk so much that we make sure to stroll across it at least a couple of times every time we visit Florence.
Enjoy a tasty lunch in Florence.
Once you’re on the other side of the river, it’s time to find food: there are countless restaurants to choose from, but if you’re hoping to eat pizza during your 2 days in Florence, the best place in the city is right around the corner.
Very few pizza places in Florence actually use the wood-burning oven that is necessary to make “true” Napoli-style pizza, but Gusta Pizza has one and uses it well.
The pizza lives up to the hype: we love it and definitely recommend it.
If the restaurant is crowded (it probably will be), feel free to take your pizza to go and enjoy it outside–we’ve enjoyed ours while sitting in front of the Palazzo Pitti more than once!
Not in the mood for pizza?
Il Cernacchino and Il Panino del Chianti are two of our favorite panini shops in Florence that are near the Ponte Vecchio, and you can’t go wrong with a visit to either!
Make your way to the Boboli Gardens (and maybe Palazzo Pitti).
Right after stuffing yourself with pizza is the perfect time to go for a walk, right?
The Boboli Gardens are the perfect place to stroll around, (hopefully) soak up some sunshine, and enjoy beautiful views of Florence.
Be sure to make your way through the garden all the way to the Porcelain Museum–the views of Tuscany from there are sublime.
The Boboli Gardens are located right behind the Palazzo Pitti, as both the palace and gardens once belonged to the famous Medici family.
Today, the imposing Palazzo Pitti is a beautiful art museum.
Odds are that you won’t have the time or inclination to visit, having just finished up at the Uffizi, but if you want to see as much as humanly possible during your 48 hours in Florence, you might be able to squeeze it in!
Head back across the Arno River via the Ponte Santa Trinita.
After wrapping up at the Boboli Gardens, it’s time to head back across the Arno River.
… But first, go ahead and pick up a scoop (or two, who’s counting?) of gelato!
We have never eaten a bad gelato in Florence (and we’ve sampled more than our fair share), but one of the shops we particularly love is not far out of the way on this itinerary.
Gelateria della Passera serves delicious, creamy, homemade gelato for very competitive prices, and their gelato makes the perfect snack to eat when heading back toward the Arno River.
This time, cross the river via the Ponte Santa Trinita to get an amazing view of the Ponte Vecchio itself!
Step inside the Church of Santa Trinita.
Located just a short walk from the bridge that shares its name, this gorgeous Florence church is free to visit and well worth stopping inside!
Like many ornate places in Florence, it’s hard to tell from the outside just how special it is once you step inside–and that’s part of the appeal.
With roots in the 11th century, the Church of Santa Trinita is best-known for its 15th-century frescoes (head up to the front of the church, to the right of the altar), but everything about it is captivating.
It doesn’t take long to see, even if you pay 1 Euro to duck into the small crypt (not necessary, but cool to see if you have a minute).
Settle in for a multi-course Tuscan meal.
As you get ready to say goodbye (for now) to the Cradle of the Renaissance, finish up your second day in Florence with a full, multi-course Tuscan meal!
This includes four traditional courses: the antipasto (appetizer), primo piatto (this is where you’ll usually find pasta dishes, though it can be other things), secondo piatto (the meat course), and dolce (dessert).
Even then, it’s not over–coffee traditionally comes after the dolce course, and an amaro (a bitter shot, such as grappa, to aid digestion) may follow the meal.
Writing a full list of delicious restaurants in Florence would literally be a full-time job, but a few that we’ve loved include Osteria dell’Enoteca (a bit more upscale), Trattoria Anita (casual and cozy), and La Stracotto (love their lasagna).
Restaurants usually open for dinner in Florence around 7:00 or 7:30, so don’t plan to eat before then.
And, if you have your heart set on a particular place and/or aren’t planning to arrive right when your restaurant of choice opens, strongly consider making a reservation!
Where to Stay in Florence, Italy
We have stayed all over Florence, from renting apartments in the heart of the historic center to basking in the (comparative) peace and quiet of hotels in Oltrarno.
Our biggest piece of advice for where to stay for only a couple of days in Florence is this: location is everything.
As long as you’re within a 15-minute walk of at least some of the major landmarks such as the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, or Uffizi, you’ll be able to easily navigate Florence on foot.
If you stay far enough out that you need to take a bus to reach the center (Florence doesn’t have a metro system), you’ll limit the amount of time you can spend exploring.
Each of these properties gets excellent reviews and makes a wonderful place to stay during your first time in Florence!
B&B Le Stanze del Duomo — Though Florence hotels can be a bit pricey and stretch the definition of “budget”, B&B Le Stanze’s beautiful rooms and an impeccable location in Florence will be sure to have you swooning!
Located practically next door to the Duomo, B&B Le Stanze del Duomo offers simple rooms with a divine location.
Bargello Guest House — Located in the heart of Florence, this property is only a short (read: less than 5-minute) walk away from some of Florence’s highlights like the Palazzo Vecchio.
Staying here, you’ll be within easy walking distance of the best of what Florence has to offer.
We loved our stay in this unassuming guest house!
Hotel Lungarno — Nestled right against the Arno River and home to one of the best views of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence (not to mention some of the best views of the rest of Florence from their top deck), Hotel Lungarno is famous and well-reviewed for very good reason.
This is our personal “if we ever really want to splurge” hotel in Florence, and we’d love to check in one day!
You can’t go wrong using Hotel Lungarno as your base for one day in Florence!
Getting Around During 2 Days in Florence
Florence is a small, compact city.
Assuming you’re staying within a comfortable walk of the city center, for most people, this entire 2 day Florence itinerary can be completed on foot!
Buses and taxis are available in Florence, but we very rarely use them.
Florence is just too much fun to wander through to bother with anything else, and due to driving restrictions in the historic center, buses and taxis can’t always get you where you’re going anyway.
We absolutely, without a doubt, do not recommend renting a car while staying in Florence.
If you’re taking a Tuscany road trip after leaving Florence, it’s much easier to pick up your rental car as you leave the city than deal with the hassle of having it during your couple of days in Florence.
However, if you find yourself in a situation where it’s unavoidable to have a car in Florence, an easy way to handle it is by booking a hotel with a private garage–we loved staying at Hotel Silla for many reasons, but their easy-to-reach private garage was definitely one of them!
More Than 2 Days in Florence?
If you have more than 2 days in Florence, you absolutely won’t run out of things to do in the city.
Even after all of our trips to Florence, we’re still finding new things to love about the Cradle of the Renaissance with each visit!
With extra time, consider adding on a couple of day trips out of the city.
You can also add on a trip to one of Florence’s lesser-known museums, like the Stibbert Museum, Bargello Museum, the Galileo Museum, or the interior of the Palazzo Pitti.
Both were absolutely unforgettable!
Essential Tips for Visiting Florence in 2 Days
Keep an eye on museum closures.
Keep in mind that some of the biggest museums in Florence, including the Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia, and the Palazzo Pitti (which is home to the Boboli Gardens) are closed on Monday.
If one of your 2 days in Florence is a Monday, you might need to make some adjustments!
The Duomo and Duomo museums are open on Mondays, and all the museums close on some holidays.
If you have mobility concerns, choose a place to stay carefully.
Narrow, steep staircases are very common in Florence–we’ve climbed many of them to reach apartments or hotel rooms!
Elevators/lifts are also far from a guarantee, especially at small, family-run properties.
If you have mobility concerns, look carefully at the property you’re considering before booking!
Definitely book museum tickets or tours in advance.
We covered this a bit above, but it bears repeating!
Florence’s top attractions, including the Galleria dell’Accademia that houses David, the Uffizi Museum, and the cupola of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, generally have exceedingly long lines.
Without careful planning, this can eat up hours of your limited time in Florence, and make the experience feel more like Disney than Italy.
By booking tickets in advance, you’ll save enormous amounts of time during your 2 days in Florence!
Hotels and Airbnbs will make a copy of your passport.
… Or take a picture, or write down the number… you get the idea.
This is done for tax purposes on their end and is totally normal, so don’t worry about it!
Start early, and have breakfast Italian style.
The biggest key to making the most of only a couple of days in Florence is getting an early start.
For example, the Galleria dell’Accademia opens at 8:15 AM, and we recommend being there right as the doors open to get a great jump on exploring on your first day in Florence.
Before arriving, have a quick breakfast Italian-style: a cappuccino drunk standing up at the bar (aka coffee shop), plus a sweet pastry if you’re hungry, is the perfect way to start an Italian morning.
And I’m serious about standing up–Italian bars charge extra for the luxury of drinking while seated!
Embrace the tradition, save a few pennies, and drink standing–it’s more fun that way, anyway.