Florence in 3 Days: tips, what to see, and much more

If you are going to spend three days in Florence you are in luck because you will have time to visit all the must-see sights.

María Cano

María Cano

15 min read

Florence in 3 Days: tips, what to see, and much more

Piazza Michelangelo, Florence | ©Bjorn Snelders

Three days is the minimum time to get to know Florence in depth. In three days you can visit the essentials, as well as soak up the local culture and visit its museums, churches and major palaces. Want an itinerary to get the most out of it? Join me. And if you need more information, read the article what to see and do in Florence.

Day 1: See the best of Florence

Duomo Square| ©Juan Pablo Cejudo Urdampilleta
Duomo Square| ©Juan Pablo Cejudo Urdampilleta

The itinerary for the first day of your three-day trip to Florence begins in Piazza del Duomo, where you can visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, climb Brunelleschi's Dome, see the Baptistery doors and enter the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.

The tour will continue through Piazza della Repubblica, continue through the Mercato Nuovo and from there head to Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio. You will then cross to the other side of the Arno over the Ponte Vecchio and explore the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens, ending at Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato al Monte.

Start the day with energy at Piazza del Duomo

Start your trip in Piazza del Duomo, a true open-air museum that will dazzle you. The Duomo of Florence, the third largest cathedral in Europe, is located there.

But besides this impressive monument, in Piazza del Duomo you also have other things to see such as the Battistero di San Giovanni, Giotto's Campanile, the Loggia del Bigallo, the Crypt of Santa Reparata and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.

Book tickets to the Duomo of Florence

Discover the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

The Duomo is also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, a work of the architect Arnolfo di Cambio. It dates back to the early 15th century and its white and green marble facade will dazzle you. As soon as you enter you will see the tomb of Filippo Brunelleschi, the architect of the dome.

I recommend you to book tickets for the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in advance to avoid wasting time at the ticket office. With your ticket to the Duomo you can also enter many other places in the square.

  • Florence Duomo opening hours: the cathedral is open Monday to Saturday from 10:15 am to 4:45 pm.

Book tickets to the Duomo of Florence

Be dazzled by the Brunelleschi's Dome

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

The stellar plan in Piazza del Duomo is to climb Brunelleschi's Dome, which is 46 meters in diameter and 114 meters high.

You'll have to overcome a total of 463 steps, but the views are truly spectacular. The climb takes place between the two domes and its interior decoration, a series of scenes from the Last Judgment, is the work of Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari.

  • Hours Brunelleschi Dome: Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 19:00, Saturday from 8:00 to 16:30 and Sunday from 12:30 to 16:30.

Contemplate the doors of the Baptistery

In front of the Duomo of Florence is the Battistero di San Giovanni. With an octagonal plan, it is the oldest building in Piazza del Duomo and its exterior decoration is also made of white and green marble. But the most characteristic of this monument are its doors:

  • The north door: decorated with scenes from the life of Jesus and the four evangelists.
  • The south door: decorated with a series of scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist, the four theological virtues and the four cardinal virtues.
  • The Gate of Paradise: one of the major works of the Italian Renaissance. Its 10 bronze panels depict a series of scenes from the Old Testament.

In this case, it may be interesting to book a tour of the Baptistery and Brunelleschi's dome if you are interested in learning more about the history of the place around you.

  • Hours Battistero di San Giovanni: daily from 8:15 am to 10:15 am and from 11:15 am to 6:30 pm.

Book a tour of the Baptistery and the dome of Brunelleschi

Climb the Giotto's Campanile

In Piazza del Duomo you also have the possibility to climb Giotto's Campanile. This work was started by Giotto, but he died before he could see it finished and it was completed by Andrea Pisano in 1359.

Although if you go up to Brunelleschi's Dome you can always skip the visit to the Campanile, as the views will be similar.

  • Giotto's Campanile opening hours: open every day 24 hours a day.

Enter the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo

Inside the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo| ©Sailko
Inside the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo| ©Sailko

And finally, end your visit to Piazza del Duomo by entering the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, which houses a collection of original pieces of the Duomo, the Campanile and the Battisterio, as well as models and original sketches of the cathedral and the dome that were used for its construction.

  • Opening hours Museo dell'Opera del Duomo: daily from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. except Tuesdays when it is closed.

Be impressed by Piazza della Repubblica

Once you have finished visiting all the monuments in Piazza del Duomo, take the opportunity to eat a pizza taglio or a panino and head to Piazza della Repubblica, where you will find the Column of Plenty, a neuralgic point where the roads of the ancient Roman city crossed.

In this square, which is really impressive for its size, there are also elegant cafes and stores of top brands such as Dior, Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton.

Visit the Palazzo Strozzi

And if you leave Piazza della Repubblica through the Arc de Triomphe, very close you will find the Palazzo Strozzi, driven by Filippo Strozzi, a member of one of the most influential Florentine families.

It is an imposing stone building and an exponent of Renaissance architecture in the city of Florence. I also recommend booking tickets to Palazzo Strozzi in advance to ensure your visit.

  • Palazzo Strozzi opening hours: daily from 10:00 to 22:00 except Thursdays when it closes at 23:00.

Touch the nose of the porcellino

Next, head to the Mercato Nuovo area to meet one of the symbols of the Florentine city, the porcellino, and be sure to touch its nose. Legend has it that if you do, you will return to Florence.

And after this moment of superstition, stroll through the various market stalls and take the opportunity to buy some souvenirs, as well as some detail for friends and family.

Get to know Piazza della Signoria

The Plaza de la Señoría is one of the most beautiful places in the city. Do not hesitate to take a seat in the arcaded gallery, on the right side of the square, to study the various sculptures such as the sculpture of Perseus with the head of Medusa or that of Cosimo I de Medici.

In addition, the square is also home to the Fountain of Neptune, as well as a plaque on the ground that recalls the condemnation of Girolamo Savonarola, hanged and burned for heresy in 1498.

Step inside the Palazzo Vecchio

And, of course, if you are in Piazza della Signoria do not hesitate to book tickets for the Palazzo Vecchio, where you can see works by artists such as Bronzino, Giorgio Vasari or Domenico Ghirlandaio.

  • Hours: every day of the week from 9 am to 7 pm, except Thursdays when it closes at 2 pm.

Book tickets for Palazzo Vecchio

Walk along the Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio is one of the most characteristic places in Florence. This stone suspension bridge is a true marvel and dates back to the mid-14th century.

In the stores of the bridge you will see luxurious jewelry and goldsmith shops. But they were not always occupied by this guild, but between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was the place where butchers and slaughterers were concentrated.

Discover the Pitti Palace

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

And after crossing the Ponte Vecchio, south of the Arno River, you will find the Pitti Palace, in Renaissance style.

By booking tickets to the Pitti Palace you can visit the Palatine Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Silver Museum, the Costume Museum and the Museum of Porcelain.

  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 am to 6:30 pm.

Book tickets to the Pitti Palace

Visit the Boboli Gardens

And after exploring the palace, I recommend you to book a visit to the Boboli Gardens. With 4.5 square kilometers of extension, they are decorated with fountains and statues and it is ideal to take advantage and to have a small snack before continuing with the day.

  • Hours: every day from 8:15 am to 4:30 pm or 7:00 pm, depending on the time of year you visit.

Book a visit to the Boboli garden

Take the best pictures from the Piazzale Michelangelo

And after enjoying the peace of the Boboli Gardens, my recommendation is to take a bus and go up to the Piazzale Michelangelo from where you can take the best pictures of the city.

It is undoubtedly the best viewpoint in Florence and to get there you can take lines 12 and 13. The walk up the hill is very nice.

End the day at San Miniato al Monte

Once you have climbed the Piazzale Michelangelo, I recommend you to visit the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte, one of the most charming places in the city of Florence.

  • Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Sundays from 8:15 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. In addition, you can make your visit coincide with a Eucharistic celebration that takes place on weekdays at 6:00 pm and on Sundays and holidays at 5:30 pm.

Day 2: Experience a day of art

Uffizi Gallery| ©Andres Alvarado
Uffizi Gallery| ©Andres Alvarado

This will be a day marked by a visit to the main museums of the city: the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery. But there will also be time to visit Santo Spirito, the Basilica of Santa Maria Nouvella, the Basilica of San Lorenzo, the San Lorenzo Market and the La Carraia ice cream parlor.

Start the day at the Uffizi Gallery

I recommend that you start your day first thing in the morning at the Uffizi Gallery. The gallery opens at 8:15 a.m., so take the opportunity to arrive early so you can visit without the crowds.

Remember that the Uffizi is the most visited museum in the city of Florence and Italy in general so many tourists accumulate in front of the main paintings.

Before your visit, do not hesitate to make a review of the best works of the Uffizi Gallery and buy tickets for the Uffizi Gallery in time.

  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 am to 6:30 pm.

Buy tickets for the Uffizi Gallery

Eat in the surroundings of Santo Spirito

For lunch I recommend that you go to the Oltrarno district, which is located on the other side of the river, and walk around the area of Santo Spirito as well as the Basilica of the same name, one of the main basilicas of the city. This square has a lot of atmosphere and you can have a delicious focaccia, a traditional Italian dish.

Try one of the flavors of La Carraia

Inside the Heladeria La Carraia| ©Nathalie K
Inside the Heladeria La Carraia| ©Nathalie K

Before crossing back across the river over the Carraia Bridge, visit the Gelateria La Carraia, which is located in Piazza Nazario Sauro and try one of their wonderful gelatos. They are amazing and very inexpensive.

Visit Santa Maria Novella

Continue your tour to Piazza Santa Maria Nouvella, where you can book tickets to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella and take the opportunity to rest on one of the benches in this recently renovated square.

This church, which was completed in the fourteenth century, mixes Gothic and Renaissance details. Another must-see is the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, which dates back to the 13th century. It opened to the public in the 17th century and, to this day, still sells remedies and perfumes made with traditional formulas.

  • Hours: Monday to Thursday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. Fridays from 11:00 to 17:30. Saturdays from 9:00 to 17:30 and Sundays and religious holidays from July to September from 12:00 to 17:30.

Book tickets to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Enter the Basilica of San Lorenzo

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

Continue your itinerary by visiting what was the city's first cathedral: the Basilica of San Lorenzo.

The initial temple, which was built over the original, was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and inside you can visit the Medici Chapel. The entrance fee starts at 7 €.

  • Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00. And on Sundays from 13:30 to 17:30.

Buy some souvenirs at the San Lorenzo Market

Once you have visited the Basilica, let yourself be carried away by the hundreds of stalls in the San Lorenzo Market. There are articles of fur, textiles, handicrafts, food ... In addition, the bustle and atmosphere make it a unique place to stroll around and soak up the local life.

  • Opening hours first floor: Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 15:00 and Saturday from 09:00 to 17:00. Closed on Sundays and holidays.
  • Second floor opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 8:00 to 00:00 except December 25 when it is closed.

Marvel at the works of the Accademia Gallery

And after the Uffizi, the Accademia Gallery is the second most visited Florentine museum. And no wonder, since it houses Michelangelo's 'David'.

However, it also houses other works of great artistic value of the author as the sculpture of 'San Matteo' and the 'Paletina'. You can book tickets to the Accademia Gallery also online.

  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 18:45.

Book tickets to the Accademia Gallery

Day 3: Delve into the city

Galileo Museum| ©Elias Rovielo
Galileo Museum| ©Elias Rovielo

On the third day of your trip to Florence, I recommend that you take the opportunity to visit some important museums such as the Archaeological Museum, the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, the Stefano Bardini Museum, the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, the Museo Casa Di Dante or the Galileo Museum.

Of course, don't miss Santa Croce and Santissima Annunziata, two must-sees of your trip. And if you get the chance, try a bistecca alla fiorentina from Le Carceri.

Start the morning at the National Archaeological Museum of Florence

The National Archaeological Museum of Florence is located in the palazzo della Crocetta, next to Santissima Annunziata, and houses an important collection of Etruscan and Egyptian art.

Regarding booking tickets to the National Archaeological Museum without queues, the price starts at about 15 €.

  • Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm. Sundays from 8:30 to 14:00.

Book tickets to the National Archaeological Museum

Visit the Medici Riccardi Palace

Continue the itinerary at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, which was the first official residence of the Medici family. It is a place that escapes the usual tourist route and is hardly visited by a few straggling tourists, but it is truly amazing.

The palace, which mixes features of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, can be visited when booking a Renaissance and Medici tour or another tour of the area.

  • Hoarario: every day of the week from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm.

Book a Renaissance and Medici Tour

Be amazed by the work of Leonardo da Vinci

Book tickets to the Museum of Leonardo da Vinci is an interactive experience ideal to enjoy with the family. It is divided into different thematic areas (water, earth, fire and air) and features reproductions of some of his major inventions, as well as some of his original sketches and plans.

The price of admission without queuing starts at 12€ for adults.

  • Hoarario: from 10:00 to 18:00 from November to March. And from April to October until 19:00.

Book tickets to the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum

Go to Santissima Annunziata

Piazza della Santissima Annunziata| ©Hugin
Piazza della Santissima Annunziata| ©Hugin

And after enjoying this museum, head to the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata and sit down on one of the steps to contemplate it at your leisure. After a short break, visit the Basilica of Santissima Annunziata, which will surprise you with its golden tones and baroque style decoration. The cloister also stands out and admission is free.

  • Hours: from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm and from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

Taste the bistecca alla fiorentina at Le Carceri

Le Carceri is a restaurant with a lot of history. It is located on the remains of a former convent that was later a men's prison until the mid-1980s.

It preserves details of both the cells and the original 18th century frescoes, making it a perfect choice for tasting the main specialties of Tuscan cuisine such as bistecca alla fiorentina, wood-fired pizzas or rich pastas.

Visit the Great Synagogue of Florence

When contemplating the city both from the Brunelleschi Dome and from Piazzale Michelangelo you will be surprised by a green dome, the one of the Florence Synagogue, located in Via Farini and I recommend you not to miss it on your 3-day trip to Florence.

The entrance fee starts at 6,50€ and the reduced entrance fee is 5€.

  • Summer opening hours: Sunday to Thursday from 10:00. to 18:30. Fridays from 10:00 to 17:00.
  • Rest of the year: Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 to 17:30. And Fridays from 10:00 to 15:00.

Meet Santa Croce

The Church of Santa Croce is the second largest church in the city after the Duomo. It houses almost 300 tombs of important historical figures linked to the city of Florence such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo Galiei or Lorenzo Ghiberti.

The entrance fee starts at about 8€, but you can also book your guided tour of the Santa Croce and be accompanied by an expert guide.

  • Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Sundays and holidays from 13:00 to 17:30.

Book your guided tour of Santa Croce

Stop at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (National Central Library of Florence)

National Central Library of Florence| ©Gryffindor
National Central Library of Florence| ©Gryffindor

And from Santa Croce to your next destination, the Stefano Bardini Museum, you can make a brief stop at the National Central Library of Florence, one of the most important in the country. Founded in 1714 from the donation of the Italian scholar Antonio Magliabecchi.

  • Hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Pay a visit to the Stefano Bardini Museum

And the next stop is the Stefano Bardini Museum, which is located on the other side of the Arno, and has an important collection of works from Roman times to the eighteenth century such as the 'Madonna of Cordai' by Donatello, the 'Porcellino' by Petro Tacca, the 'Carità' by Tino di Camaino and 'San Michele Arcangelo' by Antonio del Pollaiolo.

  • Hours: Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00.

Visit the Museo Nazionale del Bargello

Inside the Museo Nazionale del Bargello| ©Paolo Villa
Inside the Museo Nazionale del Bargello| ©Paolo Villa

Next head to the Museo Nazionale del Bargello which houses an important collection of sculptures from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, Medici medals and a military repertoire of arms and armor, among other objects.

One of its main rooms is the Sala di Donatello with important works by the artist. In addition, the building itself is worth a visit for its decoration and architecture. In this case I also recommend you to book tickets to the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in advance to avoid wasting time.

  • Hours: every day except Tuesdays from 8:15 am to 1:50 pm.

Book your tickets to the Museo Nazionale del Bargello

Learn about the life and work of the author of the Divine Comedy

The Museo Casa Di Dante houses a museum about the life and work of the author of the 'Divine Comedy'.

The entrance fee is about 8 € for adults and from 3 - 5 € for reduced admission. Children under six years of age do not pay admission.

  • Summer hours: daily from 10:00 to 18:00.
  • Winter hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:00 and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 18:00.

Make a short stop at the Orsanmichele Church

If you have time, be sure to visit the Church of Orsanmichele, which dates back to the fourteenth century and is located on Via Dell'arte della lana.

Its exterior arches and statues stand out, as well as its interior decoration. The entrance fee is €2.

  • Hours: Monday and Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00.

Close the day by visiting the Galileo Museum

Located in Piazza dei Giudici is the Galileo Museum, which is also known as the Museum of the History of Science.

By booking tickets to the Galileo Museum you will have the opportunity to see experimental objects, thermometers from the Accademia del Cimento, a library with 150,000 works, a multimedia laboratory and even Galileo's first telescope.

The price of the priority entrance is from 20 € per adult and from 12 € for reduced admission.

  • Hours: every day from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, except Tuesdays when it closes at 1:00 pm.

Book tickets to the Galileo Museum