Florence in 1 Day: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

If you are going to spend a day in Florence get ready for a real marathon. The capital of Tuscany has a countless list of museums, monuments and places of interest to visit.

María Cano

María Cano

11 min read

Florence in 1 Day: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Florence, Italy | ©Maegan White

Florence is a city to fall in love with. Its museums, churches and palaces, as well as its squares and streets make it a unique destination. Of course, if you are going to stay only one day you have to measure very well the time and stick to a tight itinerary. My recommendation is to visit the Duomo first thing in the morning and then walk around the city following the itinerary detailed below. Get ready for a magical trip!

  • Florence Duomo Cathedral, Dome, Baptistery and Opera Museum Tour
  • From $163
  • 2h
  • Includes entrance tickets to the Florence Cathedral, the Opera Museum and the Baptistery of St. John.
  • Skip the line access
  • Expert guide
  • Book now
  • Florence Basilica di Santa Maria Novella Tickets
  • From $20
  • 2h
  • Explore the basilica, its works of art and the 13th century tombstones in the cloisters.
  • Access without queues
  • Tablet with audio guide
  • Book now
  • Florence Uffizi Gallery Tickets
  • From $34
  • At your own pace
  • Admire works by artists such as Raphael, Michelangelo, Dürer, Rembrandt and Titian.
  • Access without queues
  • No guide
  • Book now

Start early in the morning at the Duomo Square

Piazza del Duomo is the nerve center of the city of Florence, so booking a tour of the Duomo of Florence is an ideal plan to get to know this enclave where the Cathedral of Florence, the Dome of Brunelleschi, the Campanile of Giotto, the Crypt of Santa Reparata and the Battistero di San Giovanni are located. It is also undoubtedly the busiest place in the capital of Tuscany. It is well worth sitting and contemplating this open-air museum. In addition, in this square you can also visit the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and the Loggia del Bigallo. The offer of plans in the Duomo square in Florence is very numerous.

Book a tour of the Duomo of Florence

Enter the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence| ©Kai Pilger
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence| ©Kai Pilger

Going only one day in Florence, I recommend you to walk around and let yourself be dazzled by each and every corner of the city of Florence. Of course, if you want to enter a monument, book tickets for the Cathedral, popularly known as Duomo. Undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful and impressive cathedrals in Europe, as well as the third in size after St. Peter's (Rome) and St. Paul's (London).

From the early fifteenth century, was designed by the architect Arnolfo di Cambio and is characterized by its marble facade in white and green. Inside is the tomb of Filippo Brunelleschi, the architect of the dome.

I recommend you not to waste a moment and buy tickets to the Duomo of Florence in advance. You have a lot to see inside the Florence Cathedral and you should not waste time.

Book tickets for the Cathedral

Climb the Brunelleschi dome

Exterior of the Dome| ©Vicente Camarasa
Exterior of the Dome| ©Vicente Camarasa

Climbing Brunelleschi's dome is one of the must-see sights in the city of Florence. To do so, you will have to overcome a total of 463 steps, but, believe me, it is worth it.

The dome of the Duomo is one of the most spectacular works of the Renaissance, it has a diameter of 46 meters and a height of 114 meters. Regarding the interior decoration, it is characterized by a representation of scenes of the Last Judgment, the work of Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari. I recommend you to book tickets for the Brunelleschi Dome in advance so you don't miss your ticket and get ready to enjoy one of the best views of the city of Florence.

Book tickets for the Brunelleschi Dome

Be dazzled by the Baptistery

Baptistery of the Duomo| ©Cristian Martínez
Baptistery of the Duomo| ©Cristian Martínez

In front of the Duomo is the Baptistery of San Giovanni. Considered the oldest building in Piazza del Duomo, it is characterized by its white and green marble facade.

If possible, because it is always crowded, do not hesitate to make time and take a picture in front of the Gate of Paradise, one of the three access doors, which is characterized by its ten bronze panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament. On your day visit to Florence, I don't recommend you go inside, but an ideal plan is to book a tour of the Baptistery and Brunelleschi's dome in Florence.

Book a tour of the Baptistery

Take a picture of yourself next to Giotto's Campanile

Giotto's Bell Tower| ©Bradley Weber
Giotto's Bell Tower| ©Bradley Weber

If you go to Florence for a day, you can skip the Giotto's Campanile, especially if you have climbed Brunelleschi's dome. Be sure to take a selfie with the Campanile in the background, a work that Giotto started and Andrea Pisano finished in 1359. Of course, if you dare to go up you should know that you will have to overcome more than 400 steps. As well as from the dome you will have one of the best views of the city of Florence.

Book a guided tour of the Duomo complex

Take a lunch break around the Central Market

lampredotto panino| ©Kari
lampredotto panino| ©Kari

After seeing the Duomo area in depth, I recommend that you head to the Central Market area, also known as the San Lorenzo Market, and take a break to eat a panino di lampredotto, a typical regional snack made from spiced beef tripe. Afterwards, take the opportunity to browse the market's many stalls and buy your souvenirs of the trip. This market is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am. Another option is to book a gastronomic tour of Florence.

Book a gastronomic tour of Florence

Marvel at the Basilica of San Lorenzo

Basilica of San Lorenzo| ©Sailko
Basilica of San Lorenzo| ©Sailko

Next to the market, in Piazza San Lorenzo, you will find another must-see of your trip, the Basilica of San Lorenzo, designed by Michelangelo and Brunelleschi, you can visit it from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. Also, inside you will have the opportunity to visit the Medici Chapel, a crypt where the remains of Lorenzo the Magnificent and another fifty members of this popular Florentine family lie. Book a guided tour of Florence and enjoy this and other places that will captivate you.

Book a guided tour of Florence

Visit the cloister of Santa Maria Nouvella Square

Basilica of Santa Maria Nouvella| ©Commonists
Basilica of Santa Maria Nouvella| ©Commonists

Continue your walking tour to Piazza Santa Maria Nouvella, recently renovated, and home to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, one of the most important basilicas in Florence. Its construction began in the mid-13th century and was completed a century later, and combines features of Gothic and Renaissance style.

I recommend that after enjoying your ticket to the basilica of Santa Maria Novella, you stop at the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, which is located on Via della Scala, just two minutes walk from the square. It sells perfumes and remedies made from traditional formulas. This pharmacy is not in the guidebooks and is a real marvel. It won't take you more than half an hour to visit.

Book tickets for the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Take a look at Palazzo Strozzi

Strozzi Palace| ©Teo Pollastrini
Strozzi Palace| ©Teo Pollastrini

Very close to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, you can stop, take some pictures and enter the Palazzo Strozzi, one of the greatest exponents of Renaissance architecture in the city of Florence. Built by Filippo Strozzi, a member of one of the most influential Florentine families, it is an imposing stone building.

Let yourself be impressed by Piazza della Repubblica

Republic Square| ©Elias Rovielo
Republic Square| ©Elias Rovielo

Continue your walk until you reach Piazza della Repubblica, which you will access through a large arch. In this square, imposing for its size, is the Column of Plenty where two of the main roads of the ancient Roman city crossed. In addition, there is a merry-go-round that is the sensation of the smallest of the house.

You can take a break and have a coffee in one of the elegant cafes located in the arcades of the square, and if you are passionate about fashion you have to know that here are the stores of top brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.

Book a guided tour of Florence

Be entertained by every detail of Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria| ©Zolli
Piazza della Signoria| ©Zolli

And from square to square: your next stop will be Piazza della Signoria, located between Piazza del Duomo and the Arno River. An enclave that has always been linked to the civil power of the city. In fact, it became the site of trials and executions.

The most characteristic building in the square is the Palazzo Vecchio, dating from the fourteenth century. On one side of the door you can see a replica of Michelangelo's statue of David, and on the other the statue of Hercules and Cacus. And inside you can see works by artists such as Giorgio Vasari, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Bronzino. My favorite rooms are the Sala dei Cinquecento and the Sala delle Mappe Geografiche, where you can look up your city through the different centuries. Book a guided tour of Palazzo Vecchio and get to know it in depth.

In the square you will also find the Loggia della Signoria, a 14th century arcaded gallery that combines Gothic and classical elements and the fountain of Neptune, which dates back to the 16th century and was the first public fountain in the city of Florence. In addition, you can see other statues such as the statue of Perseus with the head of Medusa, the statue of Cosimo I de' Medici .....

Book a guided tour of Palazzo Vecchio

Look for the main works of the Uffizi Gallery

Inside the Uffizi Gallery| ©Matteo Lezzi
Inside the Uffizi Gallery| ©Matteo Lezzi

The Uffizi Gallery is a must-see in Florence, but if you go only one day it is not recommended to enter because the estimated duration is a minimum of three hours.

Of course, you can always book your ticket to the Uffizi Gallery without queuing and make a quick visit in search of the best works of the Uffizi Gallery as *The Madonna and Child with two Angels * by Filippo Lippi, *The Spring * by Botticelli, etc.. For this, it is advisable that you have studied the route. Also, do not hesitate to visit the article on tickets to the Uffizi Gallery for all the details.

Book tickets for the Uffizi Gallery

Touch the nose of the porcellino in the New Market

Porcellino at the Mercato Nuovo| ©Sicrea
Porcellino at the Mercato Nuovo| ©Sicrea

A must if you want to return to Florence, and considering that your visit is only one day, I recommend you to go and touch the nose of the porcellino. Tradition says that if you touch it, you will come back to Florence and it is also good luck, so don't hesitate! Also, the porcellino is located next to the Mercato Nuovo, so you can take the opportunity to take home some local handicraft gifts such as leather goods or souvenirs.

Book a bike tour in Florence

Cross the Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio| ©VXavier
Ponte Vecchio| ©VXavier

And after touching the snout of the porcellino, your next stop will be one of the most emblematic places in Florence, the Ponte Vecchio. Dating back to the mid-14th century, it is the most historic and oldest stone bridge in Europe. Its houses and hanging stores have had different uses over the years: in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were occupied by butchers and later by jewelers and goldsmiths who have remained until today.

Book a private electric scooter tour in Florence

Stroll in front of the Pitti Palace

Pitti Palace| ©Nathan Rupert
Pitti Palace| ©Nathan Rupert

Crossing the Ponte Vecchio you will arrive in front of the Pitti Palace, a Renaissance style palace of great dimensions, dating from the mid-fifteenth century and located south of the Arno River.

It has been the place of residence of various families of great influence in Florentine life as the Pitti, the Medici or grand dukes of the Tuscan region. Today, it houses an important collection of works of art, as well as porcelain, period costumes.... In fact, it comprises a series of museums: the Palatine Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Museum of Costumes, the Silver Museum and the Museum of Porcelain. In addition, inside is the Boboli garden.

If you were going for more than a day I would recommend you to book your tickets for the Pitti Palace and enjoy each of the collections it houses, but with so little time I advise you to limit yourself to contemplate the architecture of the building.

Book tickets for the Pitti Palace

Climb up to Piazzale Michelangelo

Viewpoint of the Pizzale Michelangelo| ©Peter Oshkai
Viewpoint of the Pizzale Michelangelo| ©Peter Oshkai

And as the finishing touch to a spectacular day, go up to the Piazzale Michelangelo and enjoy spectacular views of the city of Florence. You can get there comfortably if you book the Florence tourist bus. If you look closely it is the image of many of the postcards of the city of Florence and the panoramic view is really impressive. This square is located on a hill south of the Arno River and also houses a replica of Michelangelo's David in bronze.

Book the Florence tourist bus

Recommendations for visiting Florence in one day

Taking pictures of Florence| ©Jackie Jabson
Taking pictures of Florence| ©Jackie Jabson

If you are only going to spend one day in the city of Florence, you have to be prepared for a day against the clock. Here are some tips that you can take into account for this express trip:

  • Don't obsess about getting into the sites: If you are only going to be in Florence for one day, it is more convenient to walk around as much as possible and soak up the city: its streets, its architecture, its people, its atmosphere....
  • Take advantage of any break to have an ice cream: they are a delight for the palate.
  • Wear comfortable shoes like booties.
  • Don't forget your camera.
  • At noon do not sit down to eat in a restaurant: The ideal is to eat something fast, as we have detailed in this one-day guide, so as not to waste time and thus take advantage of the day as much as possible.
  • If you are only going to Florence for one day, I recommend that you start the day early in the morning in Piazza del Duomo and stroll through the main sites throughout the day. Let yourself be dazzled by each of the palaces, churches, museums, as well as every corner of the city of Florence.
  • And if you want to go deeper into each of the proposals or even know other alternatives, visit the post what to see and do in Florence.

Book a guided tour of the Accademia Gallery