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. The 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 some of Florence’s best attractions during this time.
With this itinerary, we are going to show you our favorite parts of the city for you to experience. Honestly, having only 2 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, Mart and I made Florence our “home base” while we explored the must-see towns in Tuscany and it was perfect. After spending a few days in Rome, and the Cinque Terre, Florence and Tuscany were a delightful end to our trip.
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2 Days in Florence
How to Get Around Florence
Florence is a city best explored on foot, especially while you are visiting the historic city center.
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.
One of my favorite things about Italy is walking down the cobblestone streets being 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. We found their bus and tram system easy to navigate and usually punctual.
You can purchase tickets for the buses at the tobacco or newsstands and they 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 a little 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 our first day and 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 Duomo.
Where to Stay During Your 2 Days in Florence
Florence is filled with accommodations and making a decision 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.
In my opinion, you should stay as close to the city center as you can afford since you only have 2 days in Florence.
Marty and I stayed in the Laurus al Duomo Hotel. The hotel was beautiful!
Our room was one of the largest rooms and bathrooms that we have ever stayed in while visiting Europe. Equipped with tons of storage, a mini-fridge, and lovely toiletries, this room was a winner for sure. 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 a friendly staff to welcome guests.
If that isn’t really your style, then 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.
We also love “living like a local” and renting an apartment if possible. When we do this, we always book with Airbnb.
There are so many great Airbnbs in Florence that you are bound to find something that fits your budget and style. If you’ve never booked with Airbnb before, be sure to use our link to get $55 off of your first booking!
Suggested Tours in Florence:
2 Days in Florence-Day 1
As I stated above, having only 2 days in Florence is not much time.
Florence is so full of life, culture, and history that we will just begin to scratch the surface using this itinerary.
Marty and I decided that if we had a friend or family member ask 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 come back.
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 2 days in Florence!
Piazza del Duomo
Today you are going to get an early start and hit the ground running. I mean, you have to since you only have 2 days in Florence!
Our first stop is the Piazza del Duomo, one of Florence’s most iconic and treasured squares.
It’s in this area that you will find Florence’s famous Duomo (Florence’s cathedral), the breathtaking Baptistery, and Giotto’s Campanile, the cathedral’s bell tower.
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), then you should be ready to climb the Campanile (Giotto’s Bell Tower) that opens up at 8:15 am.
Now do take note that there are over 400 steps and no elevator so be sure you are wearing comfortable shoes and that you had your morning espresso shot. Stick with it, for waiting for you at the top are stunning views of Florence.
If you aren’t up for the workout first thing in the morning then 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, take note that they are not the original doors. The original doors are in the Opera Museum.
Once inside the Baptistery you can take in the incredible art that surrounds you including a stunning mosaic on the ceiling.
If I were you, I would purchase skip-the-line tickets in advance for the Duomo. If you didn’t, then hopefully the line isn’t too long yet 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 Florence’s 13th-century cathedral is truly breathtaking.
Enjoy 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 building from the outside as well-it is huge!
Once inside this free attraction, you will immediately notice how huge it is. There seems to be endless space in this massive building.
You have the chance to climb even more stairs if you are so inclined. The viewpoint from the cathedral’s dome requires you to tackle over 460 steps, so 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 Duomo:
If you would like more time exploring this area then you can 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 is going to be a famous Square in Florence, Piazza della Signoria. Piazza della Signoria is one of Florence’s main squares.
Despite the fact that 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
Now you have a decision to make you can visit either the Uffizi Gallery or the Galleria dell’Academia. Both museums house priceless pieces of art, so you really can’t make a bad decision.
Save one for your next trip to 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 boasts a collection of historic art that is unimaginable.
For it is inside the Uffizi that you will find masterpieces by masters such as Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo, and Giotto. It is also in the Uffizi Gallery that you will find a collection of private art from the Medici family.
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! Here are some recommended tours and skip-the-line tickets:
Galleria dell Accademia
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.
Most know for being home to Michelangelo’s David, the Galleria dell Accademia is so much more. After you have skipped the line with your previously purchased tickets, take time to view the David and then explore the other pieces of artwork that are housed in this great facility.
Here are some of our recommended tours and skip-the-line tickets:
Gelato in Florence
You can’t have 2 days in Florence 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!
Ponte Vecchio Bridge
Our final destination for the day is Florence’s most famous bridge, the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. Originally built in 1345, this bridge still has shops on it just as it did when it was first created!
Now, granted, the shops have changed dramatically, but they still exist. What used to house butchers now houses jewelers.
When looking at the Ponte Vecchio, notice the corridor across the top, the Vasari Corridor. This corridor was built so that the Medici family could cross the Arno River without having to be down with the common people.
It allowed Cosimo Medici to get from his house, Pitti Palace, to his work, Piazza della Segnoria. Parts of the corridor are open to the public if you would like to see them inside.
2 Days in Florence-Day 2
Now that you have been introduced to a little bit of Florence’s culture and history, today will allow you to dive a little deeper.
Today we will be covering the famous home of the Medici Family, Pitti Palace, their immaculate gardens, Boboli Gardens and then checking out an incredible spot for an iconic view of Florence.
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 Pitti Palace, Marty and I came across a coffee shop advertising a café shakerato. Now, one of my blogger friends had told me I have to try one, so I took this opportunity to duck inside a little local coffee shop and order up a café shakerato.
Guys, if you are a coffee lover, you have to try this.
The gentleman behind the bar took fresh ground espresso combined with some simple syrup (optional), put it in a shaker container with ice, and shook 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 palace is not very appealing. Don’t be fooled though, the inside is beautiful and well worth your time and money.
Now if I were you, I would go ahead and buy the combo ticket that includes Boboli Gardens because you’re going to want to go there too. If you are choosing the Uffizi (as noted above), then 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 as well. 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. S
eeing 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 to the Medici Family. Here you will find acres of perfectly manicured gardens full of fountains and sculptures.
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 where you find yourself 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 honestly saved one of our favorite places as the perfect ending to your 2 days in Florence.
Make your way to Piazza Michelangelo to end your day (try to get there right before sunset). When you first arrive at the piazza you might be a little underwhelmed, but just wait for it. Make your way down to the terraced area and prepare yourself for the most breath taking view of Florence ever.
Stretched out in front of you in the entire city of Florence. You can see the Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio, and the historic city center.
From this vantage point, the entire city seems calm and beautiful. Take special note of the way the building and light are reflecting off the river while the massive Duomo towers majestically above the city below.
Once you see this view, you understand why Piazza Michelangelo is so popular, especially at sunset. Take it all in as you reflect on your time in Florence and dream of the day that you will return.
Final Thoughts on 2 Days in Florence
Well, that is your 2 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:
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About the Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. While she is a professional educator by day, her passion for travel has her jet-setting all over the world during her free time.
Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blog, That Texas Couple. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.