Florence, also known as ‘The Cradle of the Renaissance’, is the largest and arguably most beautiful city in Tuscany. Defined by its piazzas, religious monuments, museums and beautiful architecture, the Tuscan capital is a romantic paradise.
This iconic city attracts millions of tourists every year, from history buffs to backpackers and art fanatics. Wondering how to make the most of your weekend away? Here are the places you simply can’t forget to visit.
1 Day in Florence | The must-do’s
On the morning of day one, you’ll want to make sure you see the unmissable of the unmissable. Housing works from renowned artists including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, the Uffizi Gallery isn’t just one of the best Tuscan museums – it’s one of the most breath-taking galleries in Italy. And, there’s no better place in Florence to admire renaissance art.
Even though you’re in a bit of a rush, we advise setting aside two hours to explore the Uffizi Gallery. Book your visit in advance to avoid long queues. Add a few euros to the entrance fee, and you can go on a guided tour to make sure you don’t miss the masterpieces.
After a morning of fine art, you’ll want a great place to stop for lunch. Piazza del Duomo is a large square located in the heart of Florence. From every angle, this historic piazza and its surroundings look remarkable. But its main draw is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, otherwise known as the ‘Duomo.’
The Duomo is one of the finest examples of renaissance architecture in Tuscany, defined by its iconic rooftop dome that was designed by Brunelleschi. After some incredible Florentine food in the Piazza, we highly recommend viewing the Baptistery and its bronze Gates of Paradise. Inside the cathedral, you can admire intricate mosaic floors and beautiful frescoes. Climb to the top of the bell tower for a bird’s-eye view of the square below.
After lunch, cross Ponte Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti and walk to the Oltrarno area of Florence to find the magnificent Pitti Palace. Inside this renaissance masterpiece, you’ll find museums including the Modern Art Gallery and Palatine Gallery. If you struggle for time in the afternoon, we recommend heading straight for the beautifully landscaped Boboli Gardens. It’s one hell of a backyard and offers sweeping views of the city.
If you have more time | Local Experiences
Today you’ll be hitting all the smaller details you missed on day one. Ponte Vecchio is conveniently located right next to the Uffizi Gallery. Constructed in the 12th century, its name translates to ‘Old Bridge’. It’s one of the most celebrated landmarks in the city, connecting the areas of Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti (both of which are sights to behold).
The bridge can be crammed with visitors and locals at any time, but just crossing this landmark is an adventure itself. Atop the bridge, you’ll find historic buildings, restaurants and a host of goldsmiths. Looking to top up your jewellery collection while visiting the Tuscan capital? Ponte Vecchio is the place to go.
For lunch on your second day, you’ll want a truly local culinary experience. The world-famous Bistecca alla Fiorentina - or Florentine steak - is a must-try and you’ll find it in restaurants all around the Ponte Vecchio. You should also give the beautiful Papardelle al Cinghiale pasta a try, as well as Florence’s outstanding Gelatos.
After a good afternoon exploring Florence’s food scene, head to Piazzale Michelangelo before the day draws to an end. From this hilltop square, you can relish the best views of the city. Get there in time for sunset to add a touch of romance to your Tuscan adventure.
Florence is a key stop on our travel network that stretches across the whole of Europe. Explore the continent at your leisure and meet friends along the way!