One Day in Florence: How to See Florence in a Day

One day in Florence may not be enough time to master the city, but it is enough time to fall in love with it!

We would know: our first trip to Florence was for one day… and our second was for a month.

We’ve since returned to Florence enough times that we’re starting to lose count, and we love the city more and more with each visit. Looking back, it’s downright impressive that our obsession with the city started with a trip that included only one day in Florence.

Trying to see Florence in a day? We want to make sure you leave just as smitten with the city as we are–here’s what we recommend you do there.

Two Days in Florence Itinerary: View from Bell Tower
Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.

The Perfect One Day in Florence Itinerary

Start at the Galleria dell’Accademia.

As the city of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Da Vinci, and many others, it’s no surprise that the Cradle of the Renaissance has maintained a reputation for stellar art collections through the centuries.

Sadly, with only one day in Florence, a visit to the incredible Uffizi only makes sense for serious art buffs who are willing to forgo seeing much else of Florence–but for everyone else, you can still get a taste of Florence’s art scene at the Galleria dell’Accademia.

This is the home of Michelangelo’s famous David, and we can attest that this statue is utterly mind-blowing to see in person–pictures and replicas simply do not do it justice.

Since the Galleria dell’Accademia is fairly small–it was literally built to house David–it’ll be easy enough to work your way through the few other rooms quickly, get a taste of Florence’s art scene, and then head out to enjoy the rest of your one day in Florence.

Predictably, lines at the Galleria dell’Accademia can get extremely long, even in the low season, so we strongly recommend you purchase skip-the-line tickets in advance to avoid wasting any time during your one day in Florence.

Don’t worry about lines: book your tickets to see David now!

Timed Entrance to David & the Galleria dell’Accademia

One Day in Florence: Visit David in Galleria dell'Accademia

Stroll over to Mercato di San Lorenzo.

7-minute walk from the Galleria dell’Accademia.

As one of Florence’s oldest markets, the bustling Mercato di San Lorenzo is an excellent place to people-watch, purchase small souvenirs, and photograph all of the overflowing stalls that are bursting with leather goods.

Keep in mind that the Mercato di San Lorenzo of today is geared almost exclusively toward tourists, and as a result, the quality of the leather may not be the best–we wouldn’t recommend purchasing a pricey jacket or large bag here without doing lots of research on the maker (and doing lots of haggling).

21 Best Day Trips from Florence (+ Detailed Travel Advice)

Generally, if you want to purchase an item of that caliber while in Florence, it’s better to head to a reputable leather shop than a touristic market.

However, if you’re not looking for a lifetime purchase but merely a belt, small wallet, journal, etc. to commemorate your one day in Florence, this can be a fun place to browse.

Two Days in Florence Itinerary: San Lorenzo Market

Duck into Mercato Centrale.

Right next door to the Mercato di San Lorenzo sits the Mercato Centrale, one of my favorite places in the city!

This market is all about the food: whether you want to photograph the beautiful fruit stands, pick up some olive or truffle oil to ship home, buy a large block of cheese, or purchase a hot meal from one of the many stands selling pasta and other goods, Mercato Centrale has you covered.

If you’re hoping to pick up an edible souvenir during your one day in Florence, this is the place to do it–in addition to the oils mentioned above, vacuum-packed parmigiano-reggiano, cantucci cookies, and traditional balsamic vinegar are all excellent choices!

Things to Do in Florence: Shop at Mercato Centrale

Head over to the Piazza del Duomo.

6-minute walk from Mercato Centrale.

Ah, the Piazza del Duomo: as the home of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral (better known simply as the Duomo), this is the most iconic spot in Florence and one of the most iconic spots in all of Italy.

Visiting the Duomo in Florence: Complete Guide + Tips!

While in the Piazza del Duomo, be sure to enter the cathedral (it’s free to enter, but everything else on this list requires a ticket), tour the baptistery (especially be sure to take note of Botticelli’s incredible carved doors on the side that faces the cathedral!), and climb to the top of either Giotto’s Bell Tower or Brunelleschi’s Dome for amazing views.

The Piazza del Duomo is one place where prior planning for your one day in Florence will make or break what you get to do there: to climb to the top of the cupola, you’ll need to reserve your ticket at least several days in advance.

kate storm standing in front of florence duomo front doors

While that is a hassle, it will work to your advantage with limited time in Florence: while you don’t need to reserve in advance to climb the bell tower, the lines do get long and you may not have time to wait and still make it to everything else you hope to see in the city.

101 Important Travel Tips for Italy

For that reason, we recommend booking your ticket to the attractions at the Piazza del Duomo in advance, including your timed cupola reservation.

If you’d prefer to climb the bell tower and the line is too long, you can consider trying to loop back around to the Piazza del Duomo near sunset–that’s what we did when we climbed it, and we were able to avoid the bulk of the line that way.

Keep in mind that both climbs require lots of stairs–463 for the dome and 414 for the bell tower–so be prepared to sweat a bit!

Don’t miss your chance to climb the dome: book your ticket to the Duomo Complex today!

Florence Cathedral Ticket with Dome Reservation

2 Days in Florence: Duomo view from bell tower

Walk over to the Piazza della Repubblica.

3-minute walk from the Piazza del Duomo.

The Piazza della Repubblica marks the former site of the Roman Forum of Florence, and it was the center of the city in the time of the Roman Empire.

Today, it is a beautiful square that is home to a gorgeous carousel–be sure to stop by and snap some photos, and even jump on a horse if you like!

One Day in Florence: Piazza della Repubblica Carousel

Stop by the Fontana del Porcellino & rub his nose.

3-minute walk from the Piazza della Repubblica.

Just down the road from the Piazza della Repubblica sits the Fontana del Porcellino–and this bronze pig has a couple of traditions attached.

Be sure to stick a coin in his mouth and make a wish as it drops into the grate–if the coin falls through the gate, your wish is said to come true.

What to Do in Florence at Night: 13 Fun Ideas

More straightforward and important to travelers, however, is the tradition surrounding his nose: rub it, and you’re said to be guaranteed to return to Florence one day!

The leather market that is set up next to the Fontana del Porcellino is called the Mercato Nuovo. Like the Mercato di San Lorenzo from earlier in the day, the market is quite touristy–but if there’s something you had your eye on at the Mercato di San Lorenzo and regret not picking up, you can probably find another version of it here.

Kate Storm in a blue polka dot dress rubbing the nose of the porcellino in Florence--don't to rub his nose so this won't be your last 2 days in Florence Italy!

Wander over to the Piazza della Signoria.

2-minute walk from the Fontana del Porcellino.

Home to the Palazzo Vecchio (Florence’s active city hall since the Middle Ages!), a beautiful open-air museum showcasing some incredible statues, the beautiful Neptune’s Fountain, and the Uffizi Gallery, the Piazza della Signoria is one of the prettiest and most historically important piazzas in Florence.

Though you likely won’t have time to go inside the Uffizi with only one day in Florence, the open-air collection of statues is quite the consolation prize–some of Florence’s best-known statues are located here, including the horrifying but artistically masterful Rape of the Sabine Women.

Violence is a prevalent theme in this collection of statues–they are impressive, but also somewhat disturbing.

If you’re moving quickly through Florence and still have a bit of time, you may want to consider touring the Palazzo Vecchio while here–the building is impressive, and the view from the top is one of our favorite views of Florence!

Want to squeeze in a visit to the Palazzo Vecchio? Book your ticket to the Palazzo Vecchio today!

Just can’t say no to the Uffizi?

Save time & book your ticket in advance: Timed Entrance to the Uffizi Gallery

Statue in Florence's Piazza della Signoria as seen during a day in florence italy

Stroll across the Ponte Vecchio Bridge.

4-minute walk from the Piazza della Signoria.

Spanning the Arno River at its narrowest point, the Ponte Vecchio is known for its distinct look of having buildings built along either side of it–and as the shops there today are glittering with jewels and gold from every angle, it’s quite the lovely place for a walk!

The pedestrian bridge can get quite crowded, but it is one of the most iconic features of Florence and offers beautiful views of the Arno River.

Of course, you can’t get the best view of the Ponte Vecchio while you are on it–for that, head to the nearby Ponte Santa Trinita.

What to Do in Florence: Ponte Vecchio

Enjoy the sunset from the Piazzale Michelangelo.

20-minute walk from the Ponte Vecchio.

The Piazzale Michelangelo is one of Florence’s best-known viewpoints, and there’s no better place to watch the sunset on your one day in Florence.

Try to get there a bit before sunset, not only to grab a great spot to enjoy the view, but to have the opportunity to take some beautiful photos before the sun starts to go down.

From there, it’s time for one of two things: either a walk to the train station to bid Florence goodbye, or, if you’re spending the night in the city, out to dinner for a delicious Tuscan dinner!

Fun Things to Do in Florence: View from Piazzale Michelangelo

Tips for Spending A Day in Florence

Start early, and have breakfast Italian style.

The biggest key to making the most of one day in Florence is getting an early start: 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 the city.

Italian Breakfast Guide: How to Enjoy Breakfast in Italy

Before arriving, have a quick breakfast Italian-style: a cappuccino drunk standing up at the bar (aka coffeeshop), 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.

Pile of Italian breakfast pastries as seen when ordering coffee in Italy

Save time & book your tickets in advance.

We’re big believers in planning ahead to avoid waiting in line, and when you’re working on an extra short timeline and have only one day in Florence, that becomes even more important.

We strongly recommend purchasing tickets for both the Galleria dell’Accademia and the Duomo before arriving in Florence–your whole day will go so much smoother for it!

Advance planning may even save you some money–you wouldn’t be the first travelers to show up at a popular sight, see the gigantic line, and immediately decide to pay the local ticket scalpers whatever they ask (we definitely ended up doing this ourselves at the Vatican once).

Purchase your tickets to the Galleria dell’Accademia and the Duomo today!

Timed Entrance to David & the Galleria dell’Accademia

Florence Cathedral Ticket with Dome Reservation

One Day in Florence: Reflections in Arno River

Pick out some food options ahead of time to avoid delays when exploring.

With only one day in Florence, you’ll want to avoid wasting any time worrying about where to eat!

Here are a few quick eats in Florence that we love and that are very closely located to the path marked on this one day in Florence itinerary–we don’t think you’ll be disappointed with any of them!

We’ve intentionally avoided any spots that will take a particularly long time or are far out of the way, instead focusing on delicious, fast meals to keep you going throughout your one day in Florence.

If you’re spending the night in Florence, you’ll want to head out after watching the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo for a gut-busting, multi-course, delicious Tuscan meal–for that, we can recommend Il Latini (a bit touristy but utterly fabulous). We hear excellent things about Osteria Santo Spirito as well–for both of these restaurants, you’ll want to make dinner reservations in advance.

One Day in Florence: Cooking Class in Tuscany

Trattoria MarioneVia della Spada

We weren’t sure what to expect when we first ate at this trattoria–we picked it out on a whim–but their pesto is, hands down, the best we have ever had–we’ve been dreaming about it ever since!

How to Eat Pizza in Italy: 13 Practical Tips (+ Toppings Guide!)

Gusta PizzaVia Maggio

Gusta Pizza is well-known, but that’s no reason not to stop by! True Napoli-style pizza is quite rare in Tuscany, but Gusta Pizza does an incredible job.

The pizza is delicious and prices are fair–but the crowds are no joke.

We recommend taking your pizza to go, and eating it while people-watching in front of the nearby Palazzo Pitti instead of battling the crowds inside the small restaurant.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm at Gusta Pizza in Florence with sliced pizza in front of them. Gusta Pizza serves the best pizza in Florence Italy

Il Panino del Chianti Via de Bardi

We love this panino shop!

The panini are so good, the shop is adorable, and the location is perfect for grabbing a bite to eat in between crossing the Ponte Vecchio and heading up to Piazzale Michelangelo.

Best Food in Florence: What to Eat + Experience

Gelateria Edoardo Piazza del Duomo

Conventional travel wisdom would suggest that a gelato shop located within sight of the Duomo would be overpriced and underwhelming–but there are exceptions to every rule, and Gelateria Edoardo is that exception.

Their gelato is delicious, and some of the flavors are so creative. I highly recommend their cinnamon gelato, and Jeremy swears by the traditional vanilla.

Things to Eat in Florence: Gelato

Don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

Half the fun of Florence is simply being there: wandering the streets, admiring the buildings, hearing the music from the buskers echoing across the squares, strolling around with a scoop of gelato in hand.

While this one day Florence itinerary does take you through many of the best sights of Florence, we intentionally structured it to allow plenty of time for ogling Florence on foot–which, after around half a dozen visits to Florence, is still one of our favorite things to do there.

Planning a Trip to Italy: Your Easy 11-Step Checklist

Getting Around During One Day in Florence

Florence is quite small and assuming you don’t have any physical limitations, you likely won’t need anything other than your own feet to get around during your one day in Florence.

I’ve included the walking distance between each attraction above: as you can see, most of them are very close together!

Kate Storm in a red dress sitting on a bridge in front of the Arno with the Ponte Vecchio visible in the background--be sure to seek out this view during your 2 days in Florence Italy

More Time in Florence?

There is no limit to how long you can stay in Florence and be entertained!

If you have more than one day in Florence, be sure to stop by the beautiful Uffizi Gallery, to climb to the small church of San Miniato al Monte for amazing views over the city, to check out the Palazzo Pitti and nearby Boboli Gardens, to visit the Santa Croce Church where Galileo and many others are interred, and to visit the incredible Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy.

If you have more than a few days in Florence, be sure to also get out into the Tuscan countryside: whether you’re looking for a wine tour, a day trip to a nearby village (Pisa is popular, Lucca, Siena, and San Gimignano are better), a chance to ride a Vespa through the Tuscan hills, or a cooking class overlooking the countryside, Tuscany has you covered.

75 Fantastic & Fun Things to Do in Florence

Where to Stay for One Day in Florence

If you’re spending the night during your one day Florence visit, your main priority should be location: choose a hotel that is centrally located, within easy reach of some of Florence’s top attractions, and hopefully the Santa Maria Novella train station, and you’ll be golden.

Here are a few options that we recommend.

The Most Instagrammable Places in Florence: Boboli Garden


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 impeccable location in Florence will be sure to have you swooning!

Check rates & book your stay at B&B Le Stanze del Duomo!


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.

Check rates & book your stay at Bargello Guest House!

The 11 Best Views of Florence & How to Visit


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!

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Lungarno!

photo of florence duomo from above, black text on a white background reads "one day in florence"
About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

32 thoughts on “One Day in Florence: How to See Florence in a Day”

  1. So beautifully written (not to mention the gorgeous pictures)! We are gonna be in Florence for a day, in a few days from now, and I could not have found a better itinerary to refer to (it pretty much covers everything I was eyeing at). The fact that you have mentioned the time taken to get to each of these stops makes it even more useful. Thanks and much love from India x

  2. This is fantastic!
    I am perusing Gate 1 Travel for an independent European trip from London, to Paris, to Rome. I am 99% sure, I’m booking this 8 day trip to surprise my mother for Mother’s Day 2020. We would travel late May. My husband and I visited Rome as a port stop on a Mediterranean cruise in June 2017. Unfortunately, we were not able to enter Livorno because of the weather; therefore, we missed an opportunity to visit Florence. With the exception of entering the Vatican (which I will definitely do with my mother), I pretty much saw what I wanted while in Rome for 6 hours. I was thrilled to see Florence is only a 90 min train ride from Rome. And, was over the moon to read this blog! I will follow it to the “T” as we add a day in Florence to our itinerary! I look forward to posting following the trip!

  3. I would like to thank you for this guide! It was extremely helpful! We followed it during our day in Florence on 25/10/2019 and everything was great, especially the stops, their descriptions/meanings and the walking distance between them. Overall, our trip was amazing 🙂

  4. Thank you for this guide. It’s really amazing! Very helpful. We’re gonna be in Florence for a day, in a few days from now so for us it’s really useful. You’ve taken amazing pictures.
    All the best for you, my friends! <3

  5. Hello there, I am traveling to Europe in May 2020 for all of 12 days and hoping to cover London, Paris, Florence, Rome, Barcelona and Madrid… In your honest opinion do you really think this is doable or should I leave Florence out and just go straight to Rome from Paris?

    Thank you so much

    • Hi Darlene! We personally wouldn’t recommend trying to cover five major cities in 12 days, especially ones requiring this much travel between them–it will be exhausting and you’ll end up spending a lot of time in transport.

      We’d recommend cutting 1-2 cities–whichever your bottom choice (or even better, bottom two choices) are. If that’s Florence for you, as much as we adore it, I would recommend skipping.

  6. Hi Kate! Thanks so much for this guide! We are traveling for our honeymoon in May 2021. We have booked a cruise from Venice through the Greek Islands for a week so the week before we thought we would do some land traveling through Italy. We will be flying into Barcelona (because it was near the top of our list) and after a few days there, we will be traveling to Rome for 2 days, Florence for 2 days, and then up to Venice. Gotta love the train! I feel that we can do most of Florence that we want to see in a day. I would like to take a day trip to Pisa and the countryside. I know this is a lot of travel (hence the week cruise after) but we are up for it and there isn’t too much travel time. What do you recommend in terms of taking a trip around the Tuscany countryside and Pisa. And 2nd, I am worried about traveling with all of our luggage. I know there is not much to do about that, but do you have any experience with this and any tips to follow? Thanks!

    • Hi Melissa! Sounds like an amazing trip you have planned.

      You can definitely tour the Tuscan countryside for the day. Unless you really want to see Pisa specifically, I’d recommend focusing somewhere else. If you do want to see it, I’d go for half a day (it’s an easy 30-minute train from Florence), and then move on somewhere else–Pisa is easily paired with Lucca, for example.

      If I were in your shoes, personally I’d book a tour of the Chianti countryside, San Gimignano, and maybe Siena. It’s the go-to choice for spending one day in the Tuscan countryside and is absolutely lovely. We have all the best day trips from Florence, including more details on that one, rounded up here:

      As for the luggage, it’s a hassle, but it’s not too bad. There’s generally plenty of spaces on the trains for it, and large train stations in Rome, Florence, Venice, etc, all have luggage storage options on-site if you need to drop it off and then explore for a few hours after.

      Hope you guys have a fabulous trip!

  7. Thank you so much for your one day itinerary. My Husband and I will be taking our first lift time trip to Europe this May 2020. We are flying into Paris for three days before we board our Italy Royal Cruise Vacation. I was thinking of adding one day to Florence. So is it best to fly into Florence from Paris and then take a train into Rome?
    or should we fly?

    • Hi Lucy!

      Yes, assuming your cruise leaves from Rome, I’d probably fly from Paris to Florence and then take the train from Florence to Rome.

      Hope you have a wonderful trip!

  8. Hi Kate! So happy that I stumbled again:) at your blog. I saw it first during our Venice trip in June and sent you few comments. This time I was desperate for some ideas for Florence, which I visited with five of my girlfriends many years ago and this time came with my husband and son. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you! We have a day and a half left, have seen many things already including Boboli gardens and fantastic Jeff Koons Shine exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi and going to Uffizi today (not sure how would that go with my 10 year old son;)), but you convinced me to visit Accademia Galleria, as I thought it is also large and it would be too much to see it this time. I booked it for tomorrow morning before we leave for Croatia for few days and eventually home to Slovenia. We had few great dinners here and I can recommend La Spada restaurant. If you have a place to recommend for dinner especially on the other side of Arno or anywhere else in Florence for our last night here that would be great. Otherwise stay well, keep on writing, I will definitely have it in mind for our next Italy visit! With warm regards from Florence, Alex

    • Such high praise, thank you Aleksandra! I love hearing we were able to help people have a great trip. 🙂 Florence is so beautiful, I can’t wait to get back myself.

      For dinner, I can highly recommend Osteria dell’Enoteca–I still remember my meal there like it was yesterday! It’s on the far side of the Arno, past the Palazzo Pitti, but not too far to walk.

  9. Thank you for this guide! My wife and I are about to travel to Rome and we’re planning a day trip to Florence and this is super helpful! 🙂

  10. We totally followed your itinerary and so glad for that! Had a great time. The only thing I’d add is that for folks looking to get back to Rome at night, book the last possible train. The sunset is around 8:30 PM (May) – and the casual dancing/singing starts after.

  11. Hello, great site and thankyou for all of the helpful information. How come when I go to book the tickets at the link for ‘Galleria dell’Accademia’ to see David, it will only allow timed entrance at 9:15 at not at the 8:15 opening time? Please help

    • Hi Greg!

      I’m not sure, but generally speaking, if a tour/ticket time is sold out it won’t show. Different available times show on different days due to availability.

  12. Kate,
    came across your site as I sought guidance for Florence-in-a-day–not that Florence isn’t worthy of more time. If only! Taking your advice, word-for-word, and very much looking forward to our visit there –high speed train from Rome–this week. Thank you!

  13. We hit every place you recommended, plus the Boboli gardens and the hilltop church above piazzale michaelangelo. It was incredible! I really appreciated your guide, thank you!

    • Sounds like a wonderful and packed day!

      So glad our guide was helpful, and thank you so much for coming back to tell us so! Makes my day. 🙂

  14. Hello.
    June 28th, I will be doing majority of the 1-day agenda you kindly well detailed planned out in the above blog/ article. Thank You. I will be booking in advance.

    Wanted to see if we could chat offline (email below). I love to travel and want to be able to work while traveling while living the life we should be living. Any way, I was hoping I could pick your brains on blogging / traveling. I know this is not those place to do so and I am sorry for the leaving this message here.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.


    • Hi Wallace,

      So glad we could help!

      We don’t offer consultations or anything of that sort (simply don’t have the time!), but we’re always happy to answer a few questions for readers who shoot us an email about their plans. 🙂

  15. Hello
    I’m writing this with a big smile on my face after completing most of the things on the list during my 6 hours in Florence today. Thanks to your extremely detailed itinerary, we were easily able to navigate our way around! The sugar on the top was having an authentic gelato at Gelataria Edoardo as per your recommendation 😄 And of course, the best part of our day was our walk up to Piazza Michelangelo; what a sight it was!! Thank you for helping us make our few hours in Florence so memorable😄

    • Thank you for making my day, Swathi! Your comment sure put a big smile on MY face. 🙂 So glad you’re having a wonderful time in Italy and that we could be a small part of your trip.


Leave a Comment