Planning a city break in Florence, Italy? These suggestions of the best things to do in 2 days in Florence will help you make the most of your time there.
The Historic City of Florence
The city of Florence is centrally located in Italy, and is the capital of the Tuscany region. Whilst its history dates back to the Roman era, it's the Renaissance period for which the city is well known.
Nobody knows exactly when the Renaissance began, but everyone agrees it was in Florence. Sometimes referred to as the Athens of the Middle Ages, the arts and sciences flourished here under the patronage of rich businessmen and merchants. This in turn encouraged new thinking and progress, perhaps even leading to a change of consciousness.Today, visitors to Florence are greeted by its charm and beautiful architecture. It's like walking around an open air museum, where the cultural legacy lives on.
Florence makes an ideal city break destination, with a notably slower pace of life than the more chaotic Rome. Looking for things to do in Florence over 2 days? I've got you covered…
What to see in 2 days in Florence
Warning: You might not be able to visit everything, so choose what appeals to you the most. And remember, you don't need to (or in some cases can't) go inside every place to get a feel for what Florence is about.
Piazza della Signoria
You don't really need to make a special journey here, because sooner or later you'll wander through during your time in Florence. Probably more than once.
When you do pass through though, be sure to spend a little time on the square. It's the most famous square in Florence, positioned halfway between Duomo and the River Arno. Here, you'll see the Fountain of Neptune, a copy of David, and be surrounded by fantastic architecture, including the Uffizi.
Uffizi Palace and Gallery
If you want a crash course on Renaissance paintings and sculptures, spend some time at the Uffizi. Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo and Caravaggio are some of the more pronounceable artists among the hundreds of others displayed here.
Even if you aren't an art lover, it's an essential place to visit. Allow 3-4 hours though in order to give yourself enough time and not rush through.
Pro Tip: Book tickets online to prevent queuing. For more information on the Uffizi gallery, take a look at their website.
Most people choose to visit the Uffizi in the morning, and then the Galleria dell’Accademia in the afternoon. This museum in where the famous statue of David can be seen, but of course, there is far more on display than just that.
This is another museum where you might want to book your tickets well in advance online in order to avoid wasting time in queues. Additionally, although you could arguably skip through the museum, you might want to take your time due to the high ticket cost. Allow a couple of hours.
Sunset at Piazzale Michelangel
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Ok, so the views from the Duomo are not quite unparalleled if you visit the Piazzale Michelangelo, especially for sunset!
If you fancy a stroll in nature first, spend some time in the nearby Rose Garden (open 08.00 – 20.00) or Iris Garden (only open certain weeks in April and May). Entrance to both is currently free.
Once you've finished here, go have a nice Italian meal, and that will make a nice first day in Florence.
Duomo – Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
If something takes nearly 140 years to build, you expect the finished result to be pretty good. And it is.
The Cathedral of Florence (or simply Duomo), is a symbol of the city, and an outstanding example of Gothic architecture. It's also a good way to start day 2 in Florence.
No matter what you choose to do in Florence, you'll at least end up with half a dozen photos featuring it from up close or far away, but it's also worth visiting inside.
Sure, you might spend some time standing in the queue to get to the top, but once there, those views are unparalleled.
San Lorenzo Market
In an effort to keep up with the Dave connection (Dave's Travel Pages, the statue of David), I've included a quick video below of the San Lorenzo market by a random David I found on YouTube.
Comprising of both an outdoor and indoor section, taking a walk around San Lorenzo market is a great way to keep an eye out for souvenirs. Perhaps you'd like to take some ingredients home to create your own Italian dishes, or buy a bag. Maybe you're in the market for a leather jacket or a pair of shoes?
There's plenty to see at the market, and even if you don't want to buy anything, you'll come away with great photos! It's also a good place to stop for lunch.
Many bridges in Florence were destroyed in World War 2, but thankfully this one was saved. This makes Ponte Vecchio the oldest bridge in Florence, and as you can see, an excellent example of medieval arch bridge workmanship.
Take photos from opposite certainly, but be sure to take a wander across as well. If you happen to tag along with the frequent tours that also visit, you'll find out some of its more important historic aspects.
Florence has a lot of green areas, but few as lovely as Boboli. If you need to get some fresh air and escape the crowds, this is the place to come. Featuring mazes, grottos and shaded areas, it's a great place for a picnic. You could even spend the entire day here if you wanted!
Santo Spirito square
For a less touristy, more local vibe, head to Santo Spirito square. Here you'll find good coffee shops, some cheaper eats, and a few wine bars to relax and unwind at the end of a long day's sightseeing in Florence!
Did I miss anything out? Probably! As you've most likely come to understand, Florence has a LOT to offer!
Staying extra days in Florence?
I don't blame you! Like most European cities, there's no possible way to see everything in Florence or indeed the surrounding areas in 2 days. Even if you haven't anything specific in mind, there's great enjoyment to be taken from simply hanging around and soaking up the vibe.
By staying longer, you also have the option to take day trips from Florence. The most popular choice for first time visitors is to take the trip to Pisa, but there are plenty of others to choose from, such as day trips to Siena, Chianti, and Cinque Terre.
Best time to visit Florence
Like most of Europe, August is best avoided if you have any choice in the matter. This is the busiest (and most expensive) time of year all over Europe for travel. Instead, consider late spring and early autumn as good times.
Additionally, whilst of course Florence makes a nice weekend break destination, having a mid-week break will also work in your favour when it comes to hotel prices.
Where to stay in Florence
I strongly believe that AirBnB is having an adverse affect on European cities, especially in destinations like Florence. As such, I would suggest looking for somewhere to stay on Booking instead. Here's a map of where to stay below:
More European City Break Ideas
Interested in visiting other European cities and destinations for short breaks? Here's some destinations that might appeal:
- Vatican and Colosseum tours in Rome
- Rome in a day itinerary
- A perfect Malta 3 day itinerary
- See Athens in 2 days
- Plan your Thessaloniki city break here
- Visit Bratislava on a weekend break
Note: All images sourced from Pixabay unless otherwise stated