Hoping to spend 2 days in Florence but not sure how to start planning your trip?
After spending months exploring Florence, 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, and we have absolutely loved having the opportunity to share this 2 day Florence itinerary with family and friends over the last few years.
From world-class art to delicious gelato to fantastic markets, here’s how to spend a couple of days in Florence.
Table of Contents
Day 1 in Florence Itinerary: David, the Duomo + Iconic Views
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!
With only 2 days in Florence to work with, we recommend booking either skip-the-line tickets 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, 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 unfinished Michelangelo sculptures are definitely worth seeing as well.
Don’t worry about lines: book your tickets to see David today!
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 2:30pm (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. If you’re hungry, this is a great place to grab a quick and affordable lunch as part of your Florence itinerary!
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.
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 usually buy ours from the office located 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, if you can’t get a ticket, simply climb the bell tower instead–we did that on one of our first trips to Florence and absolutely adore the view.
As a bonus, when you climb the bell tower, you have an amazing view of the cupola itself!
Have your heart set on climbing the cupola? Make sure you get the chance to visit by booking your climb before arriving in Florence!
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 (Santa Croce actually has a more ornate interior than the Duomo) 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.
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 (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.
Time your visit for sunset and grab a glass of wine while there for an especially memorable evening!
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.
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 toward the Fontana del Porcellino and stop to rub the pig’s nose.
The walk down Via Calimala from the Piazza della Repubblica 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 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 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!
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–it’s home to one of our personal favorite views of Florence!
Enjoy some time at the Uffizi.
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 Arno from its windows).
How long you spend at this world-class art gallery can be highly dependent on your personal preference, 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 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.
Skip the line & book your Uffizi tickets now!
Prefer to take a tour? This popular tour is incredibly well-reviewed and covers both the Uffizi and the Galleria dell’Accademia!
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–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 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!
Prefer a sandwich? Il Panino del Chianti is near the Ponte Vecchio and incredibly affordable and tasty.
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.
Be sure to make yourself up to the garden in near the Porcelain Museum for some magnificent views over Tuscany!
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!
Wee 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: 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!
Where to Stay 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!
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.
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 our personal “if we ever really want to splurge” hotel in Florence. 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 days in 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.
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.
We’ve now visited Florence more than half a dozen times on trips ranging from one day to one month each, and 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: a trip to Pisa and Lucca is one of the most iconic, as well as a trip to Siena, San Gimignano, or the Chianti countryside, though there are countless day trip options in beautiful Tuscany or beyond (Assisi, Orvieto, and Bologna are three of the best day trips from Florence outside of Tuscany).
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.
Florence is also an excellent place to dive into Tuscan cuisine–a Tuscan food tour or cooking class is a fabulous way to spend an additional day in Florence!
Tips for Enjoying 2 Days in Florence
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, 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.
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–and elevators/lifts are far from a guarantee, especially at small, family-run properties.
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 that will absolutely eat up hours of your limited time in Florence without careful planning.
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 8:15am, 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.