Florence is an essential stop on that trip to Italy that you have been promising yourself for so long. Strolling through its Cathedral, its squares, its markets, and other charming corners that you won't find in Rome makes this excursion a great plan. If you feel like visiting it on an organized tour so you don't have to deal with the logistics and waiting for public transport, these are the best options:
Full day excursion to Florence and Pisa from Rome - From $ 127
1. Full Day Excursion to Florence and Pisa from Rome
This excursion to Florence and Pisa not only takes you to see the most unforgettable sites of Florence but also passes through Pisa to see the iconic leaning tower that has made the city so famous.
A local guide, an expert in the history of both cities, will take you to see everything you can't miss: the Duomo square in Florence, the Palazzo Strozzi, the Ponte Vecchio, which has survived natural disasters and wars and is one of the symbols of the city, the Galleria dell'Accademia, home of Michelangelo's famous David, and in the visit to Pisa, the famous tower.
To visit the Galleria dell'Accademia, you must select the option that includes entrance tickets. Otherwise, the tour includes the round trip in an air-conditioned bus, but not lunch.
The excursion has an approximate duration of 13 hours and a price of $ 127, quite reasonable for not having to organize this visit on your own.
2. One day excursion to Florence by train from Rome
Another option is to visit Florence by fast train, which will take you from Rome in about an hour and a half. If you don't feel like passing through Pisa and prefer to make the most of the excursion to the capital of Tuscany, I recommend choosing this experience.
Accompanied by a guide you will see the main points of interest also included in the other tour, although with some variations. You will see Florence's Duomo square, Piazza della Signoria, the Ponte and Palazzo Vecchio, and Santa Maria Novella, a church with a beautiful facade.
The excursion includes pick up and return to your hotel in Rome, a round trip train ticket, and an expert guide accompanying you at all times, so it doesn't get easier than this. Another advantage of this option is that it is a small group tour, with a maximum group size of 14 people.
3. How to book an excursion
When you make your reservation, you will receive a confirmation email at the address you have provided. You will not need to print anything, just show up at the meeting point, say hi to your guide, and show them the voucher included in the email from your cell phone.
The guides narrate the tour bilingually, that is, simultaneously in English and Spanish. The most important thing is that the guide will make sure that you do not miss any of the most important points of the city:
4. Marvel at the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo)
The grandiose cathedral of Florence is a proud symbol of the city and its dome a testimony to the artistic and technical greatness of Brunelleschi, who devised a new architectural structure to create a double vault, which can be visited on a tour of the Duomo.
The interior of the Cathedral is a place like no other, and conveys a sense of infinity as you gaze up at the impressive fresco on the dome.
The Duomo in its entirety is the most important visit to make in Florence, to admire the cathedral, baptistery, and bell tower.
5. Feel the weight of history at the Palazzo and Ponte Vecchio
Visiting the Palazzo Vecchio is a worthwhile activity only for the well-known Salone dei Cinquecento, a spectacular picture gallery where paintings by Vasari are preserved and you can admire the grandeur of Florence at the time of the Medici. This hall formerly hosted the court of Duke Cosimo I, his Council, consisting of five hundred members.
Not only in the Salone dei Cinquecento you will find jaw-dropping works of art, but the entire Palazzo also contains an overwhelming artistic collection and rooms of great interest such as the Hall of Geographical Maps. Here, you can find also unique artifacts in the world, such as the death mask of the poet Dante Alighieri.
Of course, the exterior of the Palazzo Vecchio and its surroundings offer an unforgettable walk, especially the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge that throughout its history has been an important commercial hub in the city of Florence, and that during the Second World War was left intact by the German artillery, according to legend, on the express orders of Adolf Hitler.
6. Visit the David at the Galleria dell'Accademia
I don't know anyone who has traveled to Florence without visiting Michelangelo's David. Not only is it one of the most important sculptural works of the Renaissance, but it is also a very good excuse to visit an impressive museum dedicated to this historical period.
In this gallery, you can see religious triptychs, an exuberant sculpture room full of busts, and admire original musical instruments of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
7. Stroll around Piazza della Signoria
This is the most important square in Florence, the center of the city's public life, where you will find a multitude of stores, bars and restaurants, and sculptures (including a copy of Michelangelo's David, right where the original sculpture was originally located).
The Fountain of Neptune is another architectural marvel located in the square, next to major buildings such as the Court of Goods, Palazzo Uguccioni, or the Loggia della Signoria, a Gothic portico that today serves as an open-air museum sheltering the sculptures in the square.
8. Be sure to visit Santa Maria Novella
This Latin cross church concentrates much of its beauty in its façade, one of the most important architectural works of the Florentine Renaissance. Inspired by one of the oldest basilicas in Tuscany, San Miniato al Monte, the church of Santa Maria Novella elevates the two-color marble motif to unparalleled beauty.
Inside the church, you can admire several Renaissance paintings and visit the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, the oldest in Europe, built in the early thirteenth century.
9. Tips for your excursion to Florence from Rome
Enjoy the views along the way
Whichever method of transportation you choose to travel to Florence from Rome, the views you will enjoy are unparalleled. You will be able to see Tuscany's mountains and pass through some of the region's major cities such as Assisi and Orvieto.
Climb the Dome of the Duomo if you have time
If you have the chance, I recommend you to climb the Dome of the Florence Cathedral. Not only the views are breathtaking from the top, also during the ascent you will find frescoes and paintings of great beauty resulting in a very complete experience.
Taste the local gastronomy
Florence also elevates gastronomy to the category of art, so keep your eyes peeled when you pass through the city's markets and restaurants. Florentine bread, and in particular the Schiacciata, a kind of focaccia, is amazing. And you've probably heard of Florentine steak, a dish you won't want to miss with a glass of good Tuscan wine.
Taste the best coffee in Florence
If you want to have a coffee after lunch or at sunset, visit the Caffetteria delle Oblate: it is a cafeteria on the rooftop of a public library from which you have a beautiful view of the Cathedral.
Move on foot
Don't even bother to use public transportation: Florence is a perfect city to walk around, especially if the walk ends at the Ponte Vecchio from where you can see a wonderful sunset over the Arno river. Since you're going to walk, remember to wear comfortable shoes: you'll thank me later.
Visit the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens
If you have time to spare in Florence, I recommend a visit to the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens behind the palace, where you will see an open-air theater, a fountain dedicated to Neptune, and numerous statues.
Wear warm clothing in winter
I recommend you bring warm layers especially if you visit Florence between November and April, and although in summer the weather is very warm it can get a bit chilly in the evenings. In general, the temperature in the city is not usually very changeable.
10. Other activities you may be interested in
To make the most of your stay in Rome, you can make several excursions to other cities and regions. Before deciding on one, I recommend you to read our traveler tips here: Best Day Trips from Rome.
But if you want my recommendation, don't even bother searching different options and take an excursion to Pompeii, where you can see the ravages of Mt Vesuvius and peek through a window into Ancient Rome. Read all about this experience here: Pompeii Day Trips from Rome.
Now, let's enjoy Florence! It is a city that has a lot to contribute to your trip to Italy and the perfect complement to Rome, and walking its charming streets will leave you with some memories you won't forget.