2 Day Florence, Italy Itinerary

Duomo in Florence

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Fall in love with Florence with this 2 day Florence itinerary! Yes — it really is possible to see most of Florence in just two days. Now, if you have extra time we FULLY recommend spending more time in Florence. But if you are traveling through Italy trying to see as much as possible in as short a time as possible, it’s possible to do most of Florence in two days!

Florence is an absolutely magical city. It is the Cradle of the Renaissance and is full of beautiful art, amazing food, and quaint streets for wandering. We think that no matter how much time you spend in Florence, you’ll keep wanting to come back — we certainly do!

Getting to Florence

Depending on where you are coming from, there are several ways to get to Florence. Florence is located in the Tuscany region of Italy. While not as big of a city as Rome, it is still a major city in Italy and so it is easy to get to.

Getting to Florence by Train

If you are traveling to Florence from elsewhere in Italy, taking a train is probably the most common and easiest way to get there. The Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence is a major hub for central Italy, so you won’t have a problem finding a train to Florence.

The Santa Maria Novella train station is also located in central Florence. You can walk from the train station to the The Duomo in just about 10 to 15 minutes.

Getting to Florence by Plane

Florence’s airport is the Amerigo Vespucci Airport, and airlines offering service here include mostly regional lines plus some major European airlines such as British Air, Iberia, and Lufthansa.

The airport is located northwest of the city center and there is a bus that runs between the airport and the train station (from which you can likely walk to any central Florence destination.)

Getting Around Florence

You don’t necessarily need a car to get around Florence. (If you are coming from another city with a rented car though, make sure you will have a place to park it near your accommodations.)

Florence, while a major city, is pretty compact and so it completely walkable.

There is also a public bus option in Florence that you can use to get either from one side of the city to another or to a nearby smaller town (we loved taking the bus to Fiesole for the afternoon!).

To take the bus in Florence, purchase a ticket from a small shop; many coffee shops and newsstands sell them (look for “ATAF” stickers on their windows). When you get on the bus, use the ticket validating machine to validate your ticket. Here’s more information about taking the bus around Florence.

Where to Stay in Florence

We recommend staying near the central area of Florence, either near the Duomo or across the Arno River (an area known as “Oltrarno”) near the Palazzo Pitti or Santo Spirito. Staying centrally located will make the city easily walkable.

Keep in mind that Florence is a very safe city, so while you should always be aware of your surroundings, there aren’t necessarily any areas of Florence you should ‘avoid’ out of safety concerns. So we recommend looking at a map and finding accommodations near the attractions you most want to see.

Florence Itinerary: Day 1

Stop One: Piazza del Duomo and The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Let’s start our 2 day Florence itinerary with the most iconic Florence sight: The Duomo. This church, also known as The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is famous for its dome by Brunelleschi.

Florence Italy Duomo

The biggest attraction (at least to me!) here is just to admire it from the outside. The way the Duomo completely takes over the plaza (and really the whole city) is just stunning. Really I could just spend a long time hanging out in this plaza.

You can to inside The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore too, but if there is a long line, don’t stress about it. The outside is definitely the more impressive part here!

If you have time, there are also other things to do at the Duomo. For €18 you can buy an OPA pass, which will give you access to several Duomo related attractions:

  • Climbing to the top of Brunielleschi’s Dome in the cathedral
  • Climbing Giotto’s Bell Tower (next to the cathedral)
  • Visiting the Baptistry of St. John (in front of the cathedral)
  • Visiting the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (a museum behind the Duomo)
  • Visiting the Santa Reparata (a crypt underneath the cathedral)

If you want to spend most of your morning with the Duomo, our recommendation would be to spend some time admiring the outside. Then use the OPA pass to visit one or two of the listed attractions. Then, if you have time, visit the inside of the cathedral (I’m not kidding when I say this is NOT the highlight attraction though).

Stop Two: Ponte Vecchio

After visiting the Duomo, walk across Florence’s famed Ponte Vecchio (which means “Old Bridge”). This bridge is notable for the shops that line it, which once housed butchers, tanners, and farmers. Today the shops are filled with souvenir shops, jewelers, and artists.

The bridge is also notable because of the upper-level hallway that connects the Palazzo Pitti to Palazzo Vecchio known as the Vasari Corridor. It was built by the royal family in 1565 so they could travel from place to place easily and conspicuously.

You don’t have spend a lot of time on the Ponte Vecchio. Just stroll along it and enjoy the sites and shops. (If you have time one evening, we recommend coming back and seeing how the shops are closed up at night!)

After recent renovations, there are plans to reopen the Vasari Corridor to visitors in 2021. There will be a special ticket available to purchase when it is opened, and you will be able to travel from the Uffizi Gallery to the Palazzo Pitti. (If you are interested in doing this, you might save this for your Uffizi visit.)

Stop Three: Palazzo Pitti

The Palazzo Pitti was once home the Medici family and has turned into an iconic museum in Florence. Here you can walk through rooms of art (including both Renaissance and modern art), the Royal Apartments, the Porcelain Museum, the Costume Gallery, and the Carriage Museum.

Tickets can be purchased online in advance. We recommend getting the PassePartout pass for €18, which gives you access to the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens, and the Uffizi Gallery for 5 consecutive days.

Stop Four: Boboli Gardens

The Boboli Gardens, built by the Medici family, is located directly behind the Palazzo Pitti. It is basically a large open air museum of winding paths with sculptures and fountains. You can spend as long or as short of a time here as you wish. But it’s a relaxing way to end the afternoon.

You can buy a single ticket just for the Boboli Gardens; but, like with the Pitti Palace, we recommend purchasing the PassePartout 5 Days pass for access to the Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, and Uffiizi Gallery.

Stop Five: Santo Spirito

For the evening, spend some time in Santo Spirito, a smaller neighborhood in Florence near the Pitti Palace known for the Basilica di Santo Spirito. There are some fantastic restaurants here (we loved Osteria Santo Spirito), and this section is generally less busy than some of the more popular tourist areas. If you are looking for some nightlife, this is a good go-to spot with some smaller (and more locally populated) options.

Florence Itinerary: Day 2

Stop One: Galleria dell’Accademia

We’ll start are second day in Florence by seeing the one thing everyone in Florence wants to see — David. You might be surprised to learn that David isn’t located at the Uffizi Gallery (which is one of the most well-known museums in the world), but rather at the smaller Galleria dell’Accademia.

This museum is located in the north part of Florence, near Piazza San Marco and the University of Florence. And while David is the headliner here, there is a good amount of other art to see — from Renaissance paintings to sculptures to the Museum of Musical Instruments. Our favorite was the unfinished sculptures of Michelangelo leading up to David!

Purchase tickets and reserve a time for visiting the museum. We recommend reserving the earliest time available. Self-guided audio tours are also available for an additional cost.

Cinque Terre

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Stop Two: Piazza della Signoria

The Piazza della Signoria is a central plaza in Florence south of the Duomo and near the Uffizi. It is the central square (well, really more of L) in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, which was once the seat of Florence’s government.

Here you can see replicas of many famous sculptures (including David) and enjoy the people watching. This is a nice place to stroll through and admire the art. Then sit down, take a rest, and watch the city move.

Piazza della Signoria

Stop Three: Uffizi Gallery

Now it’s time for one of the most famous art museums in the world — The Uffizi Gallery. This is a huge museum, and just know going in that you won’t be able to see it all. We recommend doing a bit of research ahead of time so you can make sure to prioritize the parts of the museum you most want to see.

The Uffizi is FULL of Renaissance art and the collections include paintings, sculptures, and more. You could spend an entire day here (or more), but since we only have two days in Florence, try to be efficient with your time.

We also recommend buying your tickets ahead of time (remember, you can buy a combined ticket for the Uffizi, The Pitti Palace, and the Boboli Gardens).

Stop Four: Basilica of Santa Croce

Next head to the Basilica of Santa Croce, which is located in the Piazza di Santa Croce. This plaza is a bit smaller and quieter than some of the other major plazas, which makes it a nice place to relax and get out of the crowds for a bit.

If you’d like to visit the church here, you can. You can buy a ticket online, but you can also buy a ticket there. Crowds usually aren’t particularly heavy here compared to other Florence attractions.

Otherwise, just spend some time in the afternoon cooling off in this plaza (and find some gelato to enjoy!).

Basilica de Santa Croce

Stop Five: Piazzale Michelangelo

For your last evening in Florence, you absolutely HAVE to go to the Piazzale Michelangelo. This plaza has THE MOST STUNNING views of the city, and they are particularly lovely at sunset.

This is very popular place, so getting there a bit before sunset if recommended. You can get there by following the footpath and stairs from Piazza Guiseppe Poggi.

This plaza is an absolutely must-do in Florence. It helps you see just how dominating the Duomo really is in the skyline, plus gives it you views of the whole city and a bit of the countryside beyond the city. It’s just gorgeous and will make you want to come back to Florence again and again.

(PS — If the Piazzale Michelangelo is too crowded, I’ve heard several recommendations to visit San Miniato al Monte instead, which is just a little further up the hill than Michelangelo.)

View of Florence from Pizzale Michelangelo

Florence 2 Day Itinerary Map

Use this map to guide you through our 2 day Florence Itinerary. Each day is a separate layer and you can click the icon in the upper left corner to view or hide them.

Florence Restaurant Recommendations

There are so many fantastic restaurants in Florence. Here are just a few recommendations:

  • Trattoria 4 Leoni — this is a hugely popular restaurant in Florence, so you’ll want to get a reservation ahead of time.
  • Osteria Santo Spirito — a funkier side of Florence with absolutely fantastic food.
  • Les Mossace — a truly authentic Florence restaurant with a community feel and wonderful Tuscan dishes.

More Things to See in Florence

If you have more than two days in Florence, here are some more ideas of what to see!

  • Fiesole — Take a trip up into the nearby Tuscan hills and tour this small village. You can easily take a bus up here (the Number 7 bus from Piazza San Marco).
  • Palazzo Vecchio — Tour the museums and secret passageways of the Palazzo Vecchio.
  • Dante’s House — Tour Dante’s House and learn more about his fascinating life.

Florence Travel Tips

Here are a few tips for your trip to Florence!

  • If you feel lost, look for the Duomo! The Duomo absolutely dominates the skyline, so try to figure out where it is and it might help you find your way. (Admittedly, it can be hard to see when you are in small alleyways, but if you are in a place where you can see it this is helpful!)
  • Dress appropriately for religious sites. If you are visiting the inside of churches you’ll need to dress according to the dress code with covered knees and shoulders.
  • Never pass up a chance for gelato. I mean, in Italy this is just common sense!