Florence in 2 Days: everything you need to know

If you are going to spend two days in the city of Tuscany you have to be prepared for two marathon days. But they will be unforgettable. Take note of how you can organize yourself to get the most out of them.

María Cano

María Cano

12 min read

Florence in 2 Days: everything you need to know

Piazza del Duomo Cathedral | ©Kai Pilger

Florence has numerous palaces to see, museums to visit, churches to enter and corners to discover. If you go for two days it will be an express and very tight trip, but you will be able to enter the essential and visit the most beautiful corners of the city. I propose an itinerary for each of the days. Will you join me?

And if you want to complement these plans with other proposals, read the post what to see and do in Florence.

Day 1: Duomo, Galleria dell'Accademia and Santa Croce

Entrance to the Galleria dell'Accademia| ©Mongolo1984
Entrance to the Galleria dell'Accademia| ©Mongolo1984

The first day of your trip I recommend you to see all the surroundings of the Duomo Square with the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Dome of Brunelleschi, the Baptistery ... Continue through the area of San Lorenzo and Santissima Annunziata. And, of course, enter the Galleria dell'Accademia and Santa Croce. Also, take advantage of the lunch hour to taste a pizza taglio and the afternoon snack to try a delicious gelato.

Start your morning in the Duomo Square

If you are going to be in Florence for two days, I recommend that you start your tour first thing in the morning in Piazza del Duomo. It is an essential visit and, at the same time, it is the area where most tourists are concentrated. Therefore, it is recommended that it is the first plan of the itinerary. Qualified as an open-air museum, in Piazza del Duomo you can visit the Florence Cathedral, Brunelleschi's Dome, Giotto's Campanile, the Battistero di San Giovanni, the Crypt of Santa Reparata, the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and the Loggia del Bigallo. So, be prepared to spend a large part of the morning because the offer of proposals in Piazza del Duomo is very wide.

Take a visit to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

After spending a few minutes enjoying the beauty of Piazza del Duomo, do not hesitate to enter the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Designed by the architect Arnolfo di Cambio in the early 15th century, its white and green marble façade is truly dazzling. As soon as you enter you will see the tomb of Filippo Brunelleschi, the architect of the dome.

The Duomo has the title of being the third largest cathedral in Europe after St. Peter's (Rome) and St. Paul's (London). Do not hesitate to buy your tickets to the Duomo of Florence in advance and you will avoid wasting unnecessary time waiting in line. I remind you that you have a lot to see in the Florence Cathedral and every minute is gold.

Book the Florence Duomo tour

Be dazzled by the Brunelleschi's Dome

Interior decoration of the Duomo's dome| ©John W. Schulze
Interior decoration of the Duomo's dome| ©John W. Schulze

Another must on your visit to the Duomo is to climb Brunelleschi's Dome, one of the most impressive works of the Italian Renaissance. At 46 meters in diameter and 114 meters high, the dome of the Duomo was an engineering challenge. Its interior decoration is the work of Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari and depicts a series of scenes from the Last Judgment. On the way up, don't hesitate to look at the church's pavement, it will surprise you. The 463 steps have a last stretch a little narrow, because the climb takes place between the two domes, the inner and outer, but it is worth it, as it is one of the best viewpoints in Florence.

Contemplate the doors of the Baptistery.

The Battistero di San Giovanni is the oldest building in Piazza del Duomo. Work of Lorenzo Ghiberti, it is characterized by its octagonal plan. It is located in front of the Duomo of Florence and is the place where traditionally baptisms were celebrated. The decoration of its facade, like Santa Maria del Fiore, is made of white and green marble.

Its three doors stand out:

  • The south door: by Andrea Pisano, depicts various scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist, the four theological virtues and the four cardinal virtues.
  • The north door: By Lorenzo Ghiberti, it is decorated with scenes from the life of Jesus and the four evangelists.
  • The Gate of Paradise: This is the most popular of all and has 10 bronze panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament. I recommend that you go through each of the scenes and have your picture taken in front of it. It is a true marvel.

Regarding the entrance fee, it is 5€ for adults and 3€ for children 7-14 years old.

Book the tour of the Baptistery and the dome of Brunelleschi

Take a selfie next to the Giotto's Campanile

In the Duomo, in addition to climbing Brunelleschi's Dome, you have the possibility to climb Giotto's Campanile. A work that dates back to 1359, and was started by Giotto and completed by Andrea Pisano.

In principle, I do not recommend climbing the Campanile, especially if you are only going to Florence for two days, as you will have to climb more than 400 steps and you will have a similar view to the dome.

Stroll around Piazza della Repubblica

On your trip to Florence you can not miss the Piazza della Repubblica, imposing for its size. A nerve center of the city since Roman times. Today, it is a very top area where you can find elegant cafes and stores of top brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.

Immerse yourself in the surroundings of Santa Maria Novella

A must on your trip to Florence is to visit the surroundings of Piazza Santa Maria Nouvella, where the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is located, with Gothic and Renaissance style features. In addition, you can not miss the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, in Via della Scala that sells remedies and perfumes made with formulas of all life. A trip back in time.

Book tickets to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Visit the Basilica of San Lorenzo

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

And after seeing the Duomo, do not hesitate to go to what was the first cathedral of the city of Florence for three centuries, the Basilica of San Lorenzo. The current temple was built on the original in the mid-fifteenth century and was a project of Filippo Brunelleschi. Its great stone facade stands out, as well as the Medici Chapel, where the remains of some prominent members of the family lie. Visiting hours are from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Regarding the entrance fee, it is around 7 €.

Book a tour of the Renaissance and the Medicis

Do your shopping at the San Lorenzo Market

The San Lorenzo Market is one of the most popular markets in the city of Florence. In addition to the indoor food stalls, there are hundreds of outdoor stalls that stretch along the surrounding streets and sell everything from clothing, leather goods, handicrafts... It is a very busy area and it is a wonderful place to stroll around and soak up the atmosphere and bustle of this place where tourists and locals mingle.

Visit the area around Santissima Annunziata

Piazza Santissima Annunziata is a beautiful arcaded square where, in addition to the church of the same name, there is also the National Archaeological Museum and the Hospital of the Innocents. A statue of Ferdinand I stands out in the center of the square.

On your two-day visit, do not hesitate to enter the Basilica of Santissima Annunziata. It is free and is one of the most beautiful in the city of Florence. Its interior, in baroque style, stands out for its golden tones and the mark of artists such as Andrea del Sarto, Michelozzo, Andrea del Castagno and Leon Battista Alberti. Opening hours are from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm and from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

And after the visit to Santissima Annunziata, and before starting your next plan of the day, the visit to the Accademia Gallery, I recommend you make a quick stop for lunch. You can opt for a pizza taglio at one of the many pizzerias in the center.

Contemplate Michelangelo's David in the Galleria dell'Accademia

Michelangelo's David in the Accademia Gallery| ©Elias Rovielo
Michelangelo's David in the Accademia Gallery| ©Elias Rovielo

Along with the Uffizi, the Galleria dell'Accademia is the Florentine museum that attracts the most tourists. It houses Michelangelo's quintessential work, the 'David', as well as other sculptures by the artist such as 'San Matteo' and the 'Paletina'. The Academy also houses works by renowned artists such as Botticelli, Andrea Orcagna and Fra Filippo Lippi, as well as an exhibition of musical instruments from different periods. Admission to the Accademia Gallery is priced from 12 € for adults and 2 € for young people aged 18 to 25 years. Regarding the opening hours, the Accademia Gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 6:45 pm.

Book a guided tour of the Accademia Gallery

Let yourself be dazzled by the largest Franciscan church in the world, Santa Croce.

And after the Accademia Gallery, do not hesitate to end your first day's itinerary with a visit to the Church of Santa Croce. A temple that stands out for its size, being the largest in Florence after the Cathedral, with a length of 115 meters and a width of 38 meters. Its paintings, sculptures and frescoes of great artistic value stand out, including works by Brunelleschi, Donatello and Giotto. Very popular is the pantheon with almost 300 tombs of personalities such as Machiavelli, Galileo Galiei, Michelangelo and Lorenzo Ghiberti.

The opening hours of Santa Croce are Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and Sundays and holidays from 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Regarding the price of admission is about 8 €.

Taste a delicious ice cream at La Carraia

And after finishing your visit to Santa Croce, go to the Gelateria La Carraia which is located very close to the church, in Via dei Benci, just over five minutes walk. In this gelateria you can enjoy the best ice cream in Florence. They have a wide variety of flavors to choose from and the prices are very affordable.

La Carraia is open every day of the week from 11 a.m. to midnight and they have another establishment next to the Carraia Bridge, in Piazza Nazario Sauro. My recommendation: go every day you are in Florence.

2. Day A dream day: Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti and Piazzale Michelangelo.

Palazzo Vecchio| ©Hannes Hiller
Palazzo Vecchio| ©Hannes Hiller

On the second day you must visit the Uffizi Gallery, the Vecchio Bridge, the Palazzo Vecchio and the Pitti Palace. Also, be sure to explore the Boboli Gardens, enjoy the views from Piazzale Michelangelo and discover San Miniato al Monte.

Traveler's tip

If you go to Florence for two days you will have to prepare for two intense days. However, they will be unforgettable and you will have the opportunity to discover one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Start the morning at Piazza della Signoria

The second day's itinerary through the city of Florence begins in Piazza della Signoria, which is located between the Arno River and Piazza del Duomo. It is one of the most beautiful places in the city and I recommend that, upon arrival, you sit next to the Loggia della Signoria, an arcaded gallery, and let your eyes wander through each and every one of the beautiful corners of the square, as well as its sculptures. One of the most characteristic elements of the square is the Fountain of Neptune, from the 16th century.

A historical detail: The Plaza de la Señoría was the seat of civil power and the place where public executions took place. In fact, right in front of the Fountain of Neptune is a plaque commemorating the condemnation of Girolamo Savonarola, who was hanged and burned for heresy.

Pay a visit to Palazzo Vecchio

The most important building in Piazza della Signoria is the Palazzo Vecchio, designed by the architect Arnolfo di Cambio in the early 14th century. Inside you can find works by various artists such as Domenico Ghirlandaio, Bronzino or Giorgio Vasari. The most popular room of the palace is the Sala dei Cinquecento.

It is open every day of the week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., except on Thursdays when opening hours are reduced, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Book a visit to the Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace

Tour of the Uffizi Gallery

Inside the Uffizi Gallery| ©DO Travel
Inside the Uffizi Gallery| ©DO Travel

And after the visit to the Palazzo Vecchio, it's the turn of the Uffizi Gallery, the most visited museum in Florence next to the Accademia Gallery, and a must-see on your trip to Florence. The visit has an estimated duration of three to four hours. If you want to speed up the tour, feel free to check out the best works in the Uffizi Gallery of the picture gallery before your visit. Botticelli's 'Primavera' and 'The Birth of Venus', Raphael's 'Madonna of the Goldfinch', Michelangelo's 'Tondo Doni', Filippo Lippi's 'Madonna and Child with two Angels', Giotto's 'La Maestà di Ognissanti'... are some of the most renowned paintings in the art gallery.

Tickets to the Uffizi Gallery are priced from 12 € and can be purchased in advance. The opening hours are from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 am to 6:30 pm.

Buy tickets to the Uffizi Gallery

Take a lunch break next to the New Market

Once you have finished your visit to the Uffizi Gallery, don't hesitate to go and touch the nose of the porcellino in the Mercato Nuovo. This way, you will be sure to return to the city of Florence and have good luck. And after seeing this symbol of the city, don't hesitate to browse through the various stalls of the New Market, buy a few snacks and, of course, take a break for lunch in the surrounding area. But make sure you do it quickly because time is running out and there is still a long way to go.

Stroll along the Ponte Vecchio

The next stop on the tour is the Ponte Vecchio, one of the most beautiful places in Florence. This stone suspension bridge dates back to the mid-14th century and is the oldest in Europe. It is notable for its houses and hanging stores that are currently occupied by jewelers and goldsmiths, but where butchers used to be concentrated. A curiosity: it survived World War II and it is said that it was because Hitler expressly requested that it be respected.

Explore the Pitti Palace

Just across the Ponte Vecchio, south of the Arno River, you will come across the Pitti Palace, which stands out for its size and Renaissance style. It has a series of museums: the Palatine Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Silver Museum, the Museum of Costumes and the Museum of Porcelain and, throughout history, has been the place of residence of families such as the Pitti or the Medici of great influence in the city.

Tickets are priced from 10 € and the opening hours are from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 am to 6:30 pm.

Discover the Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens| ©Andrey O!
Boboli Gardens| ©Andrey O!

Inside the Pitti Palace you can escape the hustle and bustle of Florence in the Boboli Gardens, a haven of peace where you can lose yourself and discover the various statues, fountains, grottoes and even stop for a snack.

They cover an area of 4.5 square kilometers and are open every day of the week from 8:15 am. The closing time is between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. depending on the time of year when you visit and the entrance fee is from 6 € for adults.

Book a visit to the Boboli garden and the Pitti Palace

Enjoy the best view of the city from the Piazzale Michelangelo

Once you have explored the Boboli Gardens, go up to the Piazzale Michelangelo and enjoy the best views of the city of Florence south of the Arno River. To get there you can take the bus. The lines that go up to the viewpoint are 12 and 13.

Be dazzled by San Miniato al Monte

If you are in Piazzale Michelangelo, be sure to go up to the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte, one of my favorite places in Florence. This church, in Romanesque style, is a true marvel. In addition, if you are lucky enough that your visit coincides with an organ concert you will live a moment to remember.

Recommendations for visiting Florence in two days

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

If you are only going to spend two days in the city of Florence you will have to stick to a very tight itinerary. The city has a lot to offer.

  • It is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes, as you will spend many hours on foot and the days will be intensive.
  • It is essential that you bring your camera to capture all the beauty of the city.
  • Enjoy an ice cream whenever you can and make a ranking of flavors.
  • Two days are not enough to see Florence so both days will be very intensive. Therefore, I recommend that you do not sit down to eat in a restaurant at noon. Eat a quick lunch to avoid wasting time and enjoy a more relaxed dinner.