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  • Writer's pictureNick Burgess

The Ultimate Itinerary for 3 Days In Florence, Italy

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is a city rich in history, art, and culture. The day I walked into Florence, I was floored by its beauty, history and myriad of things to do. Whether you're a first-time visitor like me, or a seasoned traveler, planning the perfect 3-day itinerary in Florence can be overwhelming given the sheer number of must-see attractions. This guide will help you navigate the city and ensure you make the most of your time, hitting all the highlights and uncovering some hidden gems along the way.

a skyline image of Florence, Italy

Day 1: Exploring the Historic Center


Morning: Piazza del Duomo and the Duomo di Firenze

Start your journey in the heart of Florence at the Piazza del Duomo, home to the iconic Florence Cathedral (Duomo di Firenze). This area is a must-see attraction for any first-time visitor. The cathedral's stunning façade, Giotto’s Campanile (bell tower), and the Baptistery of St. John are just a short walk from each other. Climb to the top of the dome for one of the best views of the city. The Duomo Museum nearby houses many original works of art from the cathedral complex.


Late Morning: Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio

Next, head to the Piazza della Signoria, a perfect place to soak in the historical ambiance. Here, you’ll find the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's old palace, which now serves as a museum and the city hall. Don’t miss the Loggia dei Lanzi, an open-air gallery of Renaissance sculptures, including the famous Fountain of Neptune and a replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David.

Afternoon: Uffizi Gallery

After a leisurely lunch, perhaps enjoying some local markets, head to the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most visited museums in Florence. This gallery is home to an extensive collection of Renaissance art, including masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and Michelangelo. To avoid long lines, consider booking a guided tour or purchasing a Firenze Card, which offers skip-the-line access to many attractions.


Evening: Ponte Vecchio and Arno River

As the sun sets, stroll along the Ponte Vecchio, the old bridge that spans the Arno River. This medieval bridge is lined with shops selling jewelry, leather goods, and souvenirs. Enjoy a quiet moment by the river or a romantic dinner in the Oltrarno district, known for its vibrant nightlife and excellent dining options. This was my personal favorite part of Florence, and our late afternoon cup of coffee from Caffe Mingo was the perfect way to end the day.


Day 2: Art and Gardens


Morning: Accademia Gallery and Michelangelo’s David

Start your second day at the Accademia Gallery, home to Michelangelo’s statue of David. This museum also houses other important works of art and sculptures. Booking an early morning visit can help you avoid the crowds.


Late Morning: San Lorenzo Market and Medici Chapels

After your museum visit, explore the San Lorenzo Market, a bustling outdoor market where you can shop for leather goods, souvenirs, and local produce. Nearby, the Medici Chapels offer a fascinating glimpse into the opulent world of the Medici family, one of Florence's most powerful and influential dynasties.


Afternoon: Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens

Cross the river again to the Palazzo Pitti, the grand palace once home to the Medici family. The palace's royal apartments and numerous art galleries are worth exploring. Afterward, relax in the Boboli Gardens, an expansive and beautifully landscaped park behind the palace. These gardens provide a peaceful escape from the bustling city center and offer spectacular views over Florence.

Evening: Piazzale Michelangelo

End your day with a trip to Piazzale Michelangelo, a popular spot for panoramic views of Florence. The square features a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David and is the perfect place to watch the sunset over the city. Enjoy a picnic here or dine at one of the nearby restaurants.


Day 3: Local Culture and Hidden Gems


Morning: Mercato Centrale and Cooking Class

Begin your final day at the Mercato Centrale (Central Market), a foodie paradise where you can sample a variety of local delicacies. This is also a good place to pick up some ingredients if you're interested in taking a cooking class. Many classes are available in the market area, offering you a hands-on experience with traditional Tuscan cuisine.


Late Morning: Santa Croce Basilica

Next, visit the Santa Croce Basilica, one of the most important churches in Florence. The Santa Croce area is steeped in history and is the final resting place of famous Italians such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. The basilica itself is an architectural marvel, adorned with beautiful frescoes and sculptures, and is one hell of a way to be introduced to Florence when you get off the train from Rome.

Afternoon: Day Trip to the Tuscan Countryside

No trip to Florence is complete without a day trip to the Tuscan countryside. Use public transport or hire a car to explore the nearby vineyards and picturesque villages. Visit a winery to taste some of the best wines of the region or enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the heart of Tuscany.


Evening: Santo Spirito and Oltrarno District

Return to Florence and spend your evening in the Santo Spirito area of the Oltrarno district. This neighborhood is known for its lively atmosphere, artisan workshops, and vibrant nightlife. Enjoy a Florentine steak or other local dishes at one of the many excellent restaurants.


Final Thoughts

Florence is a small city with a lot of art and history packed into its medieval walls. With this 3-day itinerary, you'll have enough time to see the most visited places, enjoy the best views, and experience the heart of the Renaissance. Whether you're exploring the historic center, visiting the most visited museums, or taking in the beautiful city from Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence is sure to leave a lasting impression. Remember to plan ahead, especially for the most visited places to avoid long lines, and consider a Firenze Card for convenience. Enjoy your upcoming trip to this cradle of the Renaissance!


By following this itinerary, you'll experience the best that Florence has to offer, making your trip both memorable and enjoyable.

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