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Two Days in Florence Itinerary: View from Bell Tower

2 Days in Florence: The Ultimate Itinerary

Italy

Ah, Tuscany: who could ever resist such a classic and beautiful travel destination? Two days in Florence will never be enough to explore every nook and cranny of the charming capital of Tuscany, but it’s definitely enough to see the highlights (and eat tons of gelato).

Planning a trip to Tuscany? Check out this itinerary for 2 days in Florence!

We intentionally left this itinerary fairly fluid, without scheduled meal times or specific times noted for certain activities–we want this two days in Florence itinerary to work for multiple schedules!

2 Days in Florence: Duomo

What to See in Florence in 2 Days

Day One in Florence

Start with the Galleria dell’Accademia.

After putting on some comfortable walking shoes and grabbing a cappuccino and pastry at whatever bakery catches your eye, it’s time to see David!

Since you’re short on time with only two days in Florence, we recommend either purchasing tickets to the gallery or a tour in advance to avoid what can be a long line. We waited in line for about half an hour in the middle of a weekend day in early November–word is that 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 unfinished Michelangelo sculptures are definitely worth seeing as well.

Shop affordable tours & schedule entrance to the Galleria dell’Accademia here!

Timed Entrance to Michelangelo’s David & the Galleria dell’Accademia

Two Days in Florence Itinerary: David at Galleria dell'Accademia

Walk over to the San Lorenzo Market.

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.

Two Days in Florence Itinerary: San Lorenzo Market

Head into the Mercato Centrale.

Right next door to the outdoor San Lorenzo market sits the indoor Central Market, one of our favorite places in Florence.

Mercato Centrale is bursting open with delicious food six days a week until around 2:30pm (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. This is a great place to grab lunch if you’re hungry at this point!

We visited this market at least six times during our month in Florence, but there’s definitely one purchase that stands out: we kept our apartment stocked with delicious 63-month aged parmesan for the month we were there, and we are already getting cravings for it again.

Two Days in Florence Itinerary: Mercato Centrale

Stroll back toward the Duomo.

No visit to Florence would be complete without a visit to its iconic cathedral!

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.

Combined tickets for all portions of the museums, which are the only kind of ticket available, can be purchased at a few offices around Florence–we bought our tickets from an office directly behind the Duomo.

Keep in mind that a climb up the cupola will likely need to be scheduled days in advance, so plan to book ahead of time or simply climb the bell tower instead–we did that and loved the view.

Plus, when you climb the bell tower, you have an amazing view of the cupola itself!

Lines can get long for all of the attractions, but the time of day can have a huge impact. We timed our climb up the bell tower for sunset, thinking that the line might be long, but we actually only had to wait 5-10 minutes–much better than the 45-minute wait being estimated when we stopped by in the middle of the day!

2 Days in Florence: Duomo view from bell tower

Head to the Santa Croce Church.

From one church to the next: after finishing up at the Duomo, walk over to Santa Croce Church to see another iconic cathedral (Santa Croce actually has a more ornate interior than the Duomo) and some very memorable tombs–including those of Dante and Galileo.

Settle in for a great sunset at 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? From the Piazzale Michelangelo.

It’s a bit of a hike to get up there–20 minutes of walking from Santa Croce Church, quite a bit of it uphill, or you can grab a cab–but it’s worth it to go a bit out of the way.

Time your visit for sunset and grab a glass of wine while there for an especially memorable evening!

What a beautiful city to get to call "home" for a month! * Florence, we love your food, your wine, your architecture, your side streets, your art, your easy access to the Tuscan countryside, the way you can compete with Paris for the title of most romantic city in the world, and did we mention the food? Because seriously, your food. * We've been based in Florence for about a week now, with about three weeks to go. To say we are having a fantastic time would be an understatement! * Tell us in the comments: what do we need to do while here in Tuscany? We have tons of incredible things planned, but are always on the lookout for more exciting things to do (and eat!). * * * * * #florence #tuscany #italy #firenze #toscana #ig_florence #ig_italy #itsamazingoutthere #neverstopexploring #passionpassport #darlingletsbeadventurers #offtoseetheworld #alifewelltraveled #justgoshoot #artofvisuals #getoutstayout #stayandwander #living_europe #ig_europe #discovertuscany #adayinflorence #adventureculture #italyiloveyou #traveleurope #exploretocreate #italytravel #inspiredtravels #letsgoeverywhere

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Day Two in Florence

Wake up and walk toward the Piazza della Republica.

This piazza is home to Florence’s beautiful carousel–be sure to stop and take a photo, or even ride it if you’re feeling inclined.

2 Days in Florence Itinerary: Piazza della Republica Carousel

Stroll toward the Fontana del Porcellino and stop to rub the pig’s nose.

The walk from the Piazza della Republica is filled with some of Florence’s most high-end shopping, so 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!

The fountain is located behind a small leather market that fills up the square, on the far side from where you’ll be approaching from if you are coming from the Piazza della Republica.

2 Days in Florence: Porcellino

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 (unfortunately closed for renovations as of November 2017, but hopefully it reopens soon!), the Palazzo Vecchio, and a small open-air museum that shows off some absolutely incredible statues.

We loved taking a seat and people-watching in this piazza–we spent a memorable night this fall 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. It was absolutely magical!

Read Next: 2 Days in Rome: Your Complete Itinerary

2 Days in Florence: Piazza della Signoria

Enjoy some time at the Uffizi.

Right next door to the Piazza della Signoria sits the famous Uffizi museum.

How long you spend at this world-class art gallery can be highly dependent on your personal preference (and penchant, or lack thereof, for art in general), but the Uffizi’s website recommends a 3-4 hour visit, or 2 hours for a fast pass through of all the masterpieces.

Like the Galleria dell’Accademia from yesterday, we definitely recommend purchasing either tickets or a tour in advance, as the lines for the museum can get very long and end up taking a big chunk out of your day.

Shop affordable tours & scheduled entrance to the Uffizi here!

Timed Entrance Ticket to the Uffizi Gallery

Take a stroll across the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

After all that art, I’m sure you’re hungry!

When you’re finished at the Uffizi, make your way to the Ponte Vecchio bridge that is nearby, and stroll across 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 enjoyed the walk so much we did it at least 10 times while 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–it’s a bit more of a southern Italian tradition, hence the “Napoli” in the name–but Gusta Pizza has one and uses it well.

The pizza lived up to the hype: we loved 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 ended up eating ours in front of the Palazzo Pitti!

Read Next: Florence or Rome: Which Classic Italian City is Right for You?

2 Days in Florence Itinerary: Ponte Vecchio

Make your way to the Boboli Gardens.

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.

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 didn’t eat a bad gelato in Florence (and we sampled more than our fair share), but one of the shops we particularly loved is not far out of the way: 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!

Florence, you are just as incredible (and delicious) as we remembered. * Last year, we visited Florence on a day trip from Lucca with my dad and grandparents. It was one of our favorite days of 2016, and ended with a long meal that included way too much tasty food and several bottles of wine. * Being back in the city has brought back all those memories--including taking family photos and shaking off (possibly the same) scammers on this bridge last summer. * As absolutely rewarding as our current long term travels are, there's no doubt that being away from loved ones is the hardest part. As much fun as we are having in Florence, we would love to teleport loved ones here to spend the weekend with us! * * * * * #florence #pontevecchio #firenze #tuscany #toscana #ig_florence #ig_italy #italy #italy_photolovers #italytravel #ilovetuscany #alifewelltraveled #adventureculture #artofvisuals #justgoshoot #gltlove #wearetravelgirls #girlswhotravel #girlsvsglobe #dametraveler #passionpassport #neverstopexploring #getoutstayout #adventureanywhere #travelandlife #stayandwander #volgoitalia #discovertuscany #adayinflorence #ig_toscana

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Getting Around Florence

Florence is a small, compact city. Assuming you’re staying within a comfortable walk of the city center, for most people, this entire two days in Florence itinerary can be completed on foot!

Buses and taxis are available in Florence, but with the exception of one bus ride the day we arrived in Florence, we didn’t use them. We were staying a 5-10 minute walk from the Duomo and found that the location was perfect for walking anywhere that we wanted to go.

Planning an Italy Trip: How Many Days in Florence?

We’re big believers that however much time you have available is the right amount to visit a destination, but that doesn’t help much when it comes to planning an itinerary and making choices between different areas of a country!

We visited Florence for the first time in 2016, just spent a month there in 2017, and will probably be back again in 2018–in other words, we completely love it and don’t think that you can spend too many days in Florence.

On an Italy trip that might also be balancing how many days in Florence with how many days to spend in Rome, Venice, and other Italian highlights like Cinque Terre, the Amalfi Coast, and/or Lake Como, we still recommend spending at least 2 days in Florence.

With just cutting a few items, this itinerary could possibly be more-or-less completed in one day, but it would be a huge rush.

If you have the opportunity to spend more than 2 days in Florence, definitely take advantage of it! Extra days can easily be filled up with day trips to other Tuscan villages, a cooking class, a Vespa tour, art classes, or dozens of other activities that will be calling your name once you get to Tuscany!

Read Next: 2 Weeks in Italy: The Perfect Itinerary for First Time Visitors

Romantic Things to Do in Tuscany: Tuscan streets in rain

Museum Closures in Florence

Keep in mind that some of the biggest museums in Florence, including the Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia, and the Palazzo Pitti (which holds the Boboli Gardens) are closed on Monday, so 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.

Where We Stayed in Florence:

Airbnb Apartment in the Heart of Florence — We based ourselves in Florence for our month in Tuscany, and it would be impossible to beat the location of this apartment! It was less than a 10 minute walk to the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, the Ufizzi, and many other sites in Florence. There was a little street noise at night, especially on the weekends, but it was worth it to us! The apartment is very small, but fully stocked–we cooked most nights we were there. We would not hesitate to stay here again while in Florence!

Never used Airbnb before? Sign up with our link for a discount on your first stay!

If we were in Florence for a shorter visit, we would likely stay in a hotel.

Here are a couple Florence hotels that are similar to what we usually stay in (budget-to-mid-priced, in a solid-to-excellent location, well reviewed, and with wifi) that we would strongly consider staying in on a return visit:

Bargello Guest House (9.1 rating on Booking.com) — 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.

Ghirlandaio Firenze Guesthouse (9.0 rating on Booking.com) — Housed in a 19th century building, this guesthouse is tucked away a bit further from the action than the other–which in Florence means that you’re still just a 15-minute walk from the Duomo!

2 Days in Florence Itinerary

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19 Comments

  • Nicole Anderson | Camping for Women December 8, 2017

    From everything I’ve heard about Florence and Tuscany more broadly, it is a truly wonderful place. No wonder you are drawn back again and again. The culture and unique surrounding natural beauty is inspiring. I can’t wait to see and experience it myself and this post has gone a long way toward convincing me that I need to go sooner rather than later!

    • Kate Storm December 12, 2017

      It definitely is very magical–I agree with visiting sooner rather than later!

  • Ha December 9, 2017

    I started my day in Florence with Galleria dell’Accademia as well <3 I really love the museum and that gorgeous David statue. I even bought a book there! I also went to Piazzale Michelangelo to see the sunset there. The view was so amazing 🙂 I really love this guide as it brought back many memories.

    • Kate Storm December 12, 2017

      So glad it did! I agree, David is just so impressive–there’s nothing like seeing it in person.

  • Abigail Sinsona December 9, 2017

    I have always wanted to go to Italy and Florence would be among the top of my list to visit! You’ve only convinced me to want to explore it. What a great roundup of sights to see. I’m sure that 2 days won’t be enough, but at least I’d know now that in 2 days, I can see enough to truly experience this beautiful city!

    • Kate Storm December 12, 2017

      Oh, you definitely can! Florence is physically much smaller than its giant reputation, but that doesn’t take away from how epic of a destination it is!

  • Joanna December 9, 2017

    I have actually spent a month in Tuscany as well and I have been to Florence quite a few times. Your 2 days itinerary covers the main attractions of the city very well and I love that you gave recommendations about Mercato Centrale. It’s a fabulous place to explore the local cuisine, isn’t it? I loved gazing at the city from its bridges as well and there is no better place to watch the sunset from than Piazza Michelangelo.

    • Kate Storm December 12, 2017

      Mercato Centrale is definitely an excellent place to eat… and Tuscan cuisine is among our favorites in the entire world!

  • Mel Butler December 9, 2017

    I just love Florence and Tuscany that are truly amazing places full of history. Even the Ponte Vecchio Bridge is full of history, as I wrote a whole post on it. That is a great 2 day itinerary that you have put together there, especially as there is so much to see and do in this wonderful city. I can completely understand why you would visit outdoor San Lorenzo market and the indoor Central Market 6 times with all that amazing produce.

    • Kate Storm December 12, 2017

      Yes, we definitely loved the Mercato Centrale–eating was one of our favorite things to do in Florence! Lol.

  • Alouise December 9, 2017

    Every person I know who’s been to Florence raves about the city, and from reading this post I can see why. I would love to visit the Galleria dell’Accademia and the Uffizi museum. Great tips about buying tickets in advance, especially on a short visit you don’t want to wait in more queues than you need. I also love the tip of climbing the bell tower for the Duomo at sunset. Less crowds, and I can imagine the views (and the lighting) would be pretty stellar as well.

    • Kate Storm December 12, 2017

      We’re definitely all about skipping lines on short visits! We didn’t bother on this trip since we were going at such a leisurely pace, but with just a couple of days it definitely opens up a lot more of your time.

  • Juergen Klein December 9, 2017

    Your post certainly covered the main sights in Florence. I know the city fairly well as I used to have a supplier there for years and visited at least five times a year. But you left out some pleasures Florence is famous for. Browse the galleries with hand-marbled paper and eat some ice cream, best off the main tourist drag – Florence has some of the best Italian gelati of the world! And if you want to spoil yourself buy a good leather jacket or leather bag in Florence – another handicraft the city is well known for (out of peak season the prices can be bargained down and are rather cheap).

    • Kate Storm December 12, 2017

      Oh yes, gelato is a must while in Florence! I included one shop on here, but I think we ate gelato at least every other day while there lol.

  • Paulina December 11, 2017

    I have never been to Florence but it is so high on my bucket list. It looks like a postcard and I am in love with your night shots. The itinerary is just perfect for a weekend get away. Definitely need to get more concrete on my travel plans to Florence 😉

    • Kate Storm December 12, 2017

      It’s definitely worth being high on the list! The night shots were such a happy accident–we were trying to avoid the worst lines for the bell tower–but it worked out so very well!

  • Martha December 11, 2017

    My favorite tourist stop in cities are the markets. I love browsing through merchandise that is unique to the locale —sometimes this is very unique and something I’ve never seen before. Loved your vibrant photo of the masks. I also love admiring the city from above, which I think it often overlooked if the city isn’t graced with skyscrapers. Florence is truly a beautiful city. Great post!

    • Kate Storm December 12, 2017

      Same here–markets are just the best all over the world. Plus, that’s where the food lives!!

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