There are so many popular cities in Italy, each seeming to have its own unique personality, and I will be the first to tell you that Florence is no exception to this.
This bucket list city is overflowing with culture, history, Renaissance architecture, and amazing food.
While only 2 days in Florence isn’t a lot of time, if you follow a good itinerary (this one) and make the most of your time here, you can easily see some of Florence’s best attractions.
Home to great minds like Leonardo da Vinci and incredible Renaissance art, Florence is a must-see!
With this two days in Florence itinerary, we will show you our favorite parts of the city for you to experience.
Honestly, having only two days in Florence will give you just enough of a taste for this beautiful Italian destination that you will want to come back to!
On our most recent trip to Italy, Marty and I made Florence our “home base” while we explored the must-see towns in Tuscany during day trips.
We participated in a food tour, and a walking tour, and just found ourselves becoming immersed in the sights and sounds of Florence. It was truly glorious!
So, figure out what to wear in Italy in summer so you can start packing!
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2 Days in Florence Itinerary
How to Get Around Florence
Florence is a city best explored on foot, especially while visiting the historic city center, as most attractions are within walking distance of each other.
Being in a car or on a bus doesn’t allow you to experience the full atmosphere of the historic streets like being on foot does, as much of the city center is a limited traffic zone.
One of my favorite things about Italy is walking down the cobblestone streets surrounded by medieval buildings while the sounds and smells of Italian life swirl around me. It’s truly magical.
With that in mind, though, if you are venturing beyond the center of Florence, then Florence has a great public transportation system.
This is actually one of my favorite tips for your first visit to Florence. Unlike some major cities, we found the Florence bus and tram system easy to navigate and usually punctual.
You can purchase bus tickets at the tobacco or newsstands, which come as a single trip or a multi-trip ticket. If you buy one from the driver, you pay about a Euro more, so try to purchase in advance if possible.
Of course, you can also take a convenient hop-on, hop-off bus tour to get to know the city better and to get to some of the harder to walk to destinations on our itinerary, like Michelangelo’s Square.
Marty and I chose to take a hop-on, hop-off tour on our first day. We found it a convenient and economical introduction to the city and an easy way to get to Pitti Palace and Michelangelo’s Square from our hotel by the Florence Duomo.
Where to Stay During During Your 2 Days in Florence
Florence is filled with accommodations, and deciding can sometimes be tough. Like any other tourist area, location is key.
The closer you stay to the city center, the more expensive the accommodation will be, but then the farther away you stay, you will be spending too much time and money on travel expenses getting into the city center.
You should stay as close to the city center as possible since you only have two days in Florence.
Other than the day trips you have planned, you will spend most of your time in the historic center of town which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Marty and I stayed in the Laurus al Duomo Hotel. The hotel was beautiful and was the perfect home base to explore Florence!
Our room was one of the largest rooms and bathrooms we have ever stayed in while visiting Europe.
This room was a winner, with tons of storage, a mini-fridge, and lovely toiletries.
They also provided a huge buffet breakfast every morning that you could eat on the terrace while looking out onto the rooftop of the beautiful Duomo.
For a luxury experience in Florence, consider Hotel Bernini Palace. This converted 15th-century palace maintains its Renaissance romance with luxury amenities, beautiful décor, and friendly staff to welcome guests.
If that isn’t your style, you might want to check out the Hotel Il Poeta Dante instead. The Hotel Il Poeta Dante is in a great location, is budget-friendly, and has a nice buffet breakfast.
Suggested Tours in Florence:
2 Days in Florence Itinerary-Day 1
As I stated above, having only two days in Florence is not much time. I mean, this is one of the most fabulous towns in Tuscany!
Florence is so full of life, culture, and history that we will begin to scratch the surface using this itinerary.
Marty and I decided that if a friend or family member asked us what our favorite things in Florence were, the attractions on this itinerary would top our list.
While you won’t have the chance to see everything, you will get a good idea of Florence and know whether or not you would like to return.
We will start day 1 in the heart of Florence’s historic city center. Today you will visit an iconic church, discover a historic piazza, encounter masterpieces of art, and be treated to a classic bridge in Florence.
So, now that you know what the day has in store, let’s get started on our two days in Florence itinerary!
Piazza del Duomo
Today you will get an early start and hit the ground running. Since you only have two days in Florence, go to the Piazza del Duomo!
Our first stop is the Piazza del Duomo, one of Florence’s most iconic and treasured squares.
You will find Florence’s famous Duomo (the Florence Cathedral), the breathtaking Baptistery, and Giotto’s Campanile, the cathedral’s bell tower, in this area.
The minute you walk up to the square, you will notice that the building are related to one another as they are decorated in the same style and share similar architectural pieces.
The Baptistery and the Campanile (Giotto’s Bell Tower)
If you got an early start (as mentioned above), you should be ready to climb the Campanile (Giotto’s Bell Tower), which opens at 8:15 am.
Now take note that there are over 400 steps and no elevator at the bell tower, so wear comfortable shoes and have your morning espresso shot. Stick with it; waiting for you at the top are stunning views of Florence.
If you aren’t up for the workout first thing in the morning, you can start in the Baptistery instead.
Outside of the Baptistery, you will notice the large ornate bronze doors. While everyone wants a selfie with these, note that they are not the original doors. The original doors are in the Opera del Duomo Museum.
Once inside the Baptistery, you can take in the incredible art surrounding you, including a stunning mosaic on the ceiling.
Florence’s Duomo (The Florence Cathedral)
If I were you, I would purchase skip-the-line tickets in advance for the Duomo. If you didn’t, hopefully, the line isn’t too long since we got an early start.
Do note that it is free to visit the Duomo, so you decide if it is worth it or not for the skip-the-line pass.
Even from the outside, you notice that the 13th-century Florence Cathedral, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is breathtaking.
Enjoy the Florence Cathedral, the sculptures that line the side of the building, and the glorious dome that looms overhead. Take in all of the sights and sounds of Florence that surround you.
Notice the immense size of the Florence Cathedral from the outside as well-it is huge!
Once inside the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, you will immediately notice its huge size. There seems to be endless space in this massive building and lots of gorgeous Renaissance art.
You can climb even more stairs if you are so inclined. The viewpoint from the cathedral’s dome requires you to tackle over 460 steps, more than the Campanile.
I’ll let you decide if you want to do one, both, or none of these climbs.
Here are our recommended skip-the-line tickets for the Florence Cathedral:
Opera del Duomo Museum
If you would like more time exploring this area, add the Opera Museum to your itinerary. The Opera Museum house the original bronze doors of the Baptistery, among other artifacts and artwork.
Piazza della Signoria
Our next stop will be a famous Square in Florence, Piazza della Signoria. Piazza della Signoria is one of Florence’s main squares.
Even though this square is not lined with shops and restaurants, it is still a significant square in Florence’s history. For you see, this is the square where the Bonfires of the Vanities happened!
Marty, being the statue lover that he is, couldn’t stop snapping photos in this square.
In the center, he loved the Fountain of Neptune and Cosimo I de Medici.
There is also a replica of Michelangelo’s David. Across the courtyard, you will notice several lifelike statues under a terrace. These statues are the Loggia dei Lanzi.
Uffizi Gallery or Galleria dell’Academia (Accademia Gallery)
Now you have a decision to make. You can visit either the Uffizi Gallery or the Galleria dell’Academia (Accademia Gallery). Both museums house priceless art pieces, so you can’t make a bad decision.
Save one for the next time you are visiting Florence.
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most popular attractions in Florence, so you might want to consider a guided tour as this place is expansive! The Uffizi Gallery boasts an incredible amount of Florence’s Renaissance art collection.
Inside the Uffizi Gallery, you will find masterpieces by masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaello, Michelangelo, and Giotto. You will also find a collection of private art from the famous Medici family in the Uffizi Gallery.
Even if you don’t want to do a guided tour, you should definitely purchase the skip-the-line tickets for the Uffizi and buy them early! You don’t want to waste any time during your 2 days in Florence.
Here are some recommended tours and skip-the-line tickets for the Uffizi Gallery:
Galleria dell Accademia (Accademia Gallery)
Florence is known throughout the world as a Renaissance city that was home to numerous inspirational artists. Many of the pieces from these artists wound up right here in the Galleria dell Accademia, also called the Accademia Gallery.
Most known for being home to Michelangelo’s David, the Galleria dell Accademia is much more, boasting works from many famous Renaissance artists.
After you have skipped the line with your previously purchased tickets, view Michelangelo’s David and then explore the other pieces of artwork housed in the Accademia Gallery while visiting Florence.
Gelato in Florence
You can’t have two days in Florence itinerary and not enjoy delicious gelato every chance you get, and now seems like the perfect time for you to take a gelato break.
I think I ate gelato every single day that we were in Italy. One of my favorite gelatos in Florence came from Gelateria dei Neri. Give it a try and see what you think!
I loved eating gelato while watching the many street artists that are easily found within walking distance of Florence’s historic center.
Of course, any good food tour in Florence will introduce you to some of the city’s best gelato also!
Ponte Vecchio Bridge
Our final destination for the day is Florence’s most famous bridge, the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. Originally built in 1345, the Ponte Vecchio Bridge still has shops, just as it did when it was first created!
Now, granted, the shops have changed dramatically since the inception of the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, but they still exist.
What used to house butchers now houses jewelers on the Ponte Vecchio.
When looking at the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, notice the corridor across the top, the Vasari Corridor.
This corridor on the Ponte Vecchio was built so the Medicis could cross the Arno River without being down with the common people.
It allowed Cosimo Medici to get from his house to his work, Piazza della Signoria. Parts of the corridor in the Ponte Vecchio are open to the public if you want to see them inside.
2 Days in Florence Itinerary-Day 2
Now that you have been introduced to some of Florence’s culture and history, today will allow you to dive a little deeper.
Today we will cover the famous home of the Medici clan, Pitti Palace, their immaculate gardens, Boboli Gardens, and then check out an incredible spot for an iconic view of Florence.
Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti)
We’re going to head south of the Arno River today and explore the home of the Medici Family, Pitti Palace.
On the walk to the palace, Marty and I found a coffee shop advertising a café Shakerato just a short walk from the palace. Now, one of my blogger friends had told me I had to try one, so I took this opportunity to duck inside a little local coffee shop and order a café shakerato.
Guys, you must try this if you are a coffee lover.
The gentleman behind the bar took fresh ground espresso with some simple syrup (optional), put it in a shaker container with ice, and shook it like crazy. He then poured this concoction into a wine glass.
Anyway, on to Pitti Palace. Upon arriving at the Palace, don’t be fooled. We walked up, and I remember thinking, “this is it?”
From the outside, the Palazzo Pitti is not very appealing. Don’t be fooled; the inside is beautiful and well worth your time and money.
Now if I were you, I would buy the combo ticket that includes Boboli Gardens and Palazzo Pitti because you’re going to want to go there too. If you choose the Uffizi (as noted above), you can get a combo ticket that includes all three and save some money.
Of course, you can always choose a guided tour of Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. There are many to choose from!
We loved exploring the palace room by room. The extensive collection of artwork, including paintings, tapestries, and statues, was amazing.
Seeing the architecture and the grandeur of the palace did not disappoint either. You can definitely tell that Pitti Palace has been a royal residence for generations.
Boboli Gardens were the private gardens of the Medici Family. You will find acres of perfectly manicured gardens full of fountains and sculptures here.
Honestly, this was a welcomed escape from the concrete of the city.
Commissioned by Cosimo Medici over four centuries ago in 1594 and designed by Niccolo Pericoli, Boboli Gardens has withstood the test of time.
The work continued on the gardens for over 400 years to create what visitors get to see today. Today the gardens are more of an open-air museum than a garden.
The entire area spans over 11 acres, so bring comfortable shoes.
Upon entering the garden from the courtyard of Pitti Palace, you follow the staircase up to the lily fountain, actually called the artichoke fountain by locals because of its peculiar shape.
From there, you walk toward the amphitheater, surrounded by statues and an Egyptian Obelisk brought over from Luxor in 1789! As you continue to explore Boboli Gardens, you will come across.
Of course, you can take several guided tours of the gardens if you would like more details on the history and art.
I saved one of our favorite places as the perfect ending to your two days in Florence.
Make your way to Piazzale Michelangelo to end your day (try to get there right before sunset).
You might be underwhelmed when you first arrive at the Piazzale Michelangelo, but wait for it. Make your way down to the terraced area and prepare for the most breathtaking view of Florence ever.
Stretched out in front of you at the Piazzale Michelangelo is the entire city of Florence. You can see the Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio, and the historic city center.
From the vantage point of Piazzale Michelangelo, the entire city seems calm and beautiful, especially the Arno River.
Take special note of how the building and light reflect off the river while the massive Duomo towers are majestically above the city below.
Once you see this view, you understand why Piazzale Michelangelo is so popular, especially at sunset.
Take it all in as you reflect on your time in Florence and dream of the day you will return.
What to Do With More Time in Florence
The Medici Chapels are two structures at the Church of San Lorenzo.
While the Church of San Lorenzo was the official church of the powerful Medici family, the Medici Chapels serves as the final resting place of the Medici family.
Of course, in typical Medici style, this is more than an ordinary mausoleum. The Medici Chapels contain marble-clad walls adorned with precious stones all surrounded by sculptures from famous Renaissance artists like Michelangelo.
The chapels are now museums that are open to the public for a small admission fee.
Granted, some of you might want to include the Palazzo Vecchio on your 2 day Florence itinerary since it is one of the historic buildings in Florence.
The Palazzo Vecchio was constructed in 1299 to house the government organizations of Florence, but in the 16th century, Cosimo Medici ordered the building to be decorated and turned into his residence.
Cosimo renamed the building the Ducal Palace and resided here until moving to Pitti Palace. At that point, the building was renamed the Palazzo Vecchio and finally house the government offices.
Today, the Palazzo Vecchio is home to a museum and is open to visitors.
Santa Maria Novella
The Santa Maria Novella Church and Cloisters is an incredible church that dates back to the 11th century. Inside, you see fabulous examples of artwork and years of construction and reconstruction.
The glorious building has been restored several times and is a testament to the Florentine Renaissance architecture of the time period.
Close to the train station, the Santa Maria Novella is one of the first religious buildings that many tourists see and is a powerful reminder of the wealth of Florence.
Santa Croce Church and Museum
The Santa Croce Church and Museums is considered to be one of the richest churches in all of Florence.
Adorned with beautiful frescoes by Giotto, and a chapel designed by Brunelleschi, the church is definitely a feast for the eyes.
While people come to see its beauty, the real reason the Santa Croce Church and Museum is so popular is the people that call this their final resting place.
The Santa Croce is the final resting place of some of the greatest minds and artists of Florence’s history, like, Michelangelo, Rossini, Galileo Galilei, and Machiavelli.
During your visit, you can see the incredible artwork, visit the crypt, the bell tower, the numerous chapels, and more.
Final Thoughts on 2 Days in Florence Itinerary
Well, that is your two days in Florence, friends! As we said, you weren’t able to see everything, but hopefully, you were able to fall in love with all of the things that make Florence unique and fascinating.
While You’re Here, Check Out Some of Our Other Italy Posts:
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight:
We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best flight prices. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines worldwide to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.
Book Your Vacation Package:
If you want to book an entire vacation package, we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use, and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.
Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!
For full guided vacations, including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all your needs while ensuring a great experience.
Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop shop.”
Book Your Accommodations:
We always begin our search by checking out honest reviews on TripAdvisor hotels. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site!
There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it offers a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.
Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!
If you want a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.
Tour Companies We Trust:
We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!
CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.
Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.
Looking to Save Time and Money?
Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!
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About the Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through creative content creation and her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel and accompanying social media accounts. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.