Only about 400 thousand people live in Florence, but there are so many attractions here that it is no wonder to get confused by their abundance. After all, there are more than 70 museums in Florence alone, and some of them are included in the cohort of the most visited in Italy. So that you can take the most from your trip to the capital of Tuscany, BlogoItaliano has prepared a set of ideas for what to see in Florence in a few hours, 1, 2, 3 or 4 days.
What to see in Florence in a few hours
Immediately make a reservation that watching Florence in a few hours is catastrophically small. It is advisable to allocate at least 1 day to the city, and preferably 2 or even 3.
If you arrive by plane to Florence or Pisa, it is worth considering that you need to leave at least an hour on the road from the airport to the city.
The Baptistery of San Giovanni - one of the very first buildings in the city
No matter how you ride, all transport communications in Florence are tied to the main train station - Santa Maria Novella, from which you can easily reach all the main attractions.
In all the details of how to get from the airports, BlogoItaliano has already written separate detailed articles for the terminals in Florence and Pisa, so now we will not repeat it.
If you arrive in Florence by train from other cities in Italy, it’s still easier - in 90% of cases you will arrive just to Santa Maria Novella.
Ponte Vecchio - the oldest and most famous bridge of the city
As soon as you leave the station building, you will immediately find yourself in front of the first sight of Florence - one of the oldest churches, by whose name the main railway junction of the city is named. Church of Santa Maria Novella It was erected in the late XIV-early XV centuries.
What sights you see next depends on how much time you have. It will take 2-3 hours to quickly walk around the most important places in the historic center of the city. True, the inspection will be very cursory and superficial.
The remaining time, if any, can be spent visiting one of the two main galleries of the Florence Uffizi or the Academy. In order not to lose time in lines where it is quite possible to stand for several hours, it is better to purchase entrance tickets in advance - via the Internet. You can do this using the links below.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. So, after admiring the church of Santa Maria Novella, we recommend that you go down Via Panzani to Via del Giglio, turn left and walk to the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
The basilica is notable for the fact that the remains of almost all representatives of the Medici family lie here, and the tombstones for the family crypt were made by Michelangelo himself.
Rounding the basilica of San Lorenzo, you will see a sculpture by Giovanni delle Bande Nere, and behind it across the road - the Palazzo Medici Ricardo with a small garden. This palace was the first secular building in the city, made in the style of the early Renaissance.
Next, go along Via de Gori along the palace and turn right onto Via de Martelli, which will lead you to the most important attraction of Florence - the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
Here you can go into the Cathedral itself, climb the 42-meter dome or the 85-meter bell tower of Giotto, visit the nearby Opera del Duomo Museum, which today houses almost all the original works of Michelangelo and Donatello’s masterpieces that once decorated the cathedral, as well as a glimpse into Baptistery of San Giovanni, built in the 5th century.
Sculptures at the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio
Via de Martelli, which smoothly passes into Via de Calzaiuoli, will soon lead us to Signoria Square, which is called the “open-air museum”. Before the Palazzo Vecchio you will see a whole gallery of sculptures by Michelangelo and Donatello, as well as the Neptune Fountain.
Passing from Signoria Square through the courtyard at the Uffizi Gallery, you will come to the banks of the Arno River near one of Italy's most famous bridges - Ponte Vecchio, which has retained its appearance since the XIV century. Like 7 centuries ago, there is a lively trade, except that the move is now not meat, but jewelry.
Having crossed the Ponte Vecchio bridge, you should head along Via de Guicciardini to the Pitti Palace, the construction of which the enterprising banker Louis Pitti was never able to complete.
But the wife of Duke Cosimo I of Medici, Eleanor of Toledo, who received the palace after the death of a banker, arranged not only the building itself, but also the lands around it. So here appeared the famous Boboli Gardens with fountains, paths and views of Florence from the hill.
A walk through the Boboli Gardens takes you to Porta Romana, the Roman Gate, once the southernmost point of medieval Florence.
From here, along Via de Sirragli, we return to the Arno River, paying attention on the way to the Basilica of Santo Spirito, where you can see the works of Filippino Lippi and Michelangelo, and in the Romano Museum, to the left of the temple, Andrea Orkany's "Last Supper" inspired Leonardo da Vinci to create one of his most famous works.
We cross the Arno River along the Ponte alla Caraia bridge and from Piazza Caria Goldoni Square we exit onto Via dei Fossi which will lead us back to Santa Maria Novella Square and the station of the same name - the starting point of a short walk around Florence in a few hours.
What to see in Florence in 1 day
BlogoItaliano already had a detailed article on what to see in Florence in 1 day, so it can be used as a ready-made guide to action.
Within a whole day, you will be able to do much more and not only be able to "run" around the city, but also visit the Uffizi, Bargello and della Academy (or even one of them!) Gallery to see the masterpieces of the great artists of Italy with your own eyes.
The Uffizi Gallery is located next to the Palazzo Vecchio and stores paintings by Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Caravaggio. This museum is famous not only for its collection, but also for queues, so it is better to buy tickets in advance via the Internet.
Not far from Piazza della Signoria, Via del Proconsolo is also home to the Bargello National Museum with a valuable collection of sculptures, including those by Donatello and Cellini.
Neptune Fountain in Signoria Square
Via Ricasoli leads to the Academy Gallery, where the original statue of Michelangelo David is located. From here it is a stone's throw to the Palazzo Medici Riccardi.
The Basilica of Santa Croce, where the great Florentines are buried, deserves special attention. Only one grave here is still empty - this is the grave of Dante, expelled from Florence and buried in Ravenna, from where the body of the poet never returned to his homeland.
On the opposite bank of the Arno River - almost opposite the Basilica of Santa Croce - from Piazzale Michelangelo offers a beautiful view of the whole city. We recommend you to come here late in the evening to enjoy Florence in the rays of the setting sun. Even if you have only 1 day in Florence, then Piazzale Michelangelo is worth a visit.
What to see in Florence in 2 days
2 days in Florence is a great opportunity to visit not one, but several art galleries without rush and fuss. Or look into those museums, which usually do not have enough time in pursuit of the main attractions.
Here are just a few ideas to see in Florence in 2 days, which you can take note of:
- Galileo Galilei Museum on Piazza dei Giudici is a real excursion into the history of science with a huge number of exhibits, one way or another connected with the activities of scientists of past centuries.
- AT Leonardo da Vinci Museum Via dei Servi, 66 / 68R presents the drawings of his inventions and their real embodiment. Videos demonstrate the actions of mechanisms, many of which are ahead of their time.
- Dante House Museum on Via Santa Margherita it looks very ancient, but it was built only in the 20th century - it’s true, indeed at the very place where, according to historians and archaeologists, the “original” was located.
The Santa Croce Basilica is called the "Pantheon of Florence"
What to see in Florence in 3 days
If your stay in Florence does not promise to be short, you should consider buying a ticket for a sightseeing bus.
Such a “travel card” will allow you to get off the bus and board it back an unlimited number of times within 1, 2 or 3 days, depending on the route chosen.
At the same time, in the saloon of a double-decker bus, an audio guide in Russian and 7 more languages will tell you about all the main attractions of Florence, and the always-on wi-fi will allow you to immediately share photos with your friends from the top open area.
Bridge of the Holy Trinity (Santa Trinita) over the Arno River
It’s definitely worth the time tasting tour in the Chianti wine region, where you will find an excursion to the wine cellar and acquaintance with the exquisite tastes of local wines and snacks.
The program of such a tour often includes a visit to some of the towns close to Florence, for example, the fortress of Monterigione, sung in Dante's Divine Comedy.
What to see in Florence in 4 days
4 days in Florence is a great opportunity to explore not only the city itself, but also the Tuscany region as a whole. We will list only the three most popular destinations for a country trip from Florence, but in reality there are much more options.
First - This, of course, is Pisa with the famous leaning tower, the Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral and the ancient cemetery Camposante Monumental.
Oaks grow on the top of the Guinigi Tower in Lucca
There are excursions, within which you can see not only Pisa, but also the no less interesting city of Lucca with countless towers, on one of which centuries-old oaks grow - this is the famous Guinigi tower. The cathedral of the 6th century and the amphitheater area, where gladiatorial battles once took place, have been preserved here.
Second - the cities of Siena and San Gimignano, which carefully preserve the spirit of the past. San Gimignano is loved for towers and ramparts, and Siena - for Gothic spiers and arches. They say that in Siena there is not a single modern building - only ancient buildings, cathedrals and squares that survived more than one generation of Siena.
The town of San Gimignano has preserved its medieval appearance to this day.
Finally, the third - This is the Cinque Terre - a conservation area included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is not one, but five whole towns located right on the rocky cliffs of the Ligurian Sea. The spectacle is truly unique and worthy of attention.
More details about each trip can be found in our article 5 of the most popular excursions from Florence for 1 day.
Useful Tips for Florence
In Florence, quite expensive hotels and rental housing, even by the standards of expensive Italy. But at the same time, many hotels that did not have time to sell rooms in advance regularly conduct sales. At such sales, you can save up to 60-70% of the usual cost of housing. Actual "hot" hotel offers in Florence can be found in the form below.
No matter how many days you come to Florence, you will take much more from the city if you take a walk along it with a guide. Feedback and contacts of the guide who showed us the city on our first visit can be found in this article.
Another ready-made solution that will save you a lot of time in Florence is a ready-made city route from BlogoItaliano. It is designed for 1 day, but you can well squeeze it up to several hours, or stretch for 2, or even 3 days.
Complete with the route are ready-made labels for the maps.me application. They will allow you to transfer a walk map with all the main attractions to your smartphone in a few minutes and easily navigate in the city even without the Internet.
You can find more details on BlogoItaliano routes to the most interesting cities in Italy on this page.