2 Days in Florence Itinerary

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There’s a huge drawback to the two-hour journey from Rome to Florence: The views from the train window are so breathtaking that it’s tempting to forget about the city and visit some of those quaint Tuscan hills and towns instead.

Alas, we only had two days in Florence, so the rest of Tuscany had to wait for another time.

I’ll be honest: It’s impossible to squeeze all of Florence’s attractions into a 2-day itinerary. That said, we were able to explore the highlights of Florence while still having time to take in the culture and local flavor of the city.

In this article, we’ll explain what to do in Florence in 2 days and share our itinerary. We’ll also give you ideas for how to spend 3 days in Florence (or more) so you can make the most of your visit.

ⓘ CRUISER TIP: If your ship stops in Livorno, you can see Florence in one day! This shore excursion takes you to Florence for the day, while this day trip includes both Florence and Pisa.

Sunset on the Arno River, essential for 2 days in Florence

Practical tips for visiting Florence

Before we delve into the details of our Florence tour, we need to share a few practical details, like how to get around and where to stay. Once you’ve got that figured out, you can relax. Spend your energy enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of this fascinating city.

Biggest tip: Buy skip-the-line tickets

Obviousy, two days in Florence could never be enough to explore every single masterpiece of Renaissance art and architecture, or taste every magical flavor of gelato on offer. But you can see all the highlights, as long as you plan your visit before you arrive.

If you don’t want to miss out on Florence’s top sights — like Michelangelo’s statue of David — you MUST book your tours and skip-the-line tickets ahead of time. Otherwise, you’ll waste a ton of valuable sightseeing time standing in ticket lines, and nobody wants that.

How to get from Rome to Florence by train

When traveling around Europe, you quickly get used to traveling by trains and buses. That is, unless you’re renting a car and driving to Florence yourself. We really enjoy traveling by train though, especially those high speed ones. All you have to do is make sure you climb into the right car (which can sometimes be a scary thing), sit back, and wait as you get taken from A to B.

The fastest way to travel from Rome to Florence is by taking the Le Frecce high-speed train. This fast and luxurious train takes only 1 hour and 30 minutes to get you from Rome to Florence.

Purchasing tickets online is quick and easy. It also lets you skip ticket lines and ensure you’ll get a seat. Here’s how:

  1. Select your departure (Rome Termini) and arrival (Florence SMN) destinations,
  2. Select the day and time of travel, and the number of passengers.
  3. Book and pay!
  4. Price includes ticket and seat reservation, and you’ll get e-tickets in PDF format via email. Tickets are only valid on the specific date and train you’ve booked, so double check before booking.

Rome’s main train station, Roma Termini, is conveniently and centrally located. It’s also not far from most major attractions. Keep in mind that the traffic in Rome is often intense, so if taking a taxi or the bus, give yourself plenty of time to get there.

How to get around Florence

If it’s your first time in Florence you’ll be staying in the historical center, which is so small that you can walk pretty much everywhere. That said, if you want to explore Tuscany, you should rent a car or take a tour.

Other options for getting around Florence include:

  • Uber. Unlike taxis, Uber tells you what you’ll pay for the ride before you get in the car, which is nice.
  • Public transportation. This website will help you plan a route by plane, train, bus, ferry and car.
  • Florence hop-on-hop-off bus tour. These buses stop at the city’s best spots and offer a guided commentary along the way. Buy a ticket, get off, look around, then hop back onto the next bus that comes along. We love ’em.

Where to stay in Florence

Do your best to stay somewhere central and close to everything you’ll want to see during your two-day trip. You don’t want to be wasting valuable time traveling there and back again. Besides, if you stay nearby, it’s easy to pop back to your hotel if you need something (like an extra camera battery!).

The location of our hotel was ideal; Dan had booked a room at the 4-star Hotel Berchielli, which has a view of the Arno River. It had the most lovely backdrop, in my opinion, being in the heart of the old city. Best of all, the walk to the Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria took only a few minutes.

If Berchielli doesn’t suit your travel style, no worries. Florence offers everything from apartments to hostels to high-end boutique hotels and more, all in a wide range of prices. Find your perfect accommodation here.

Hotel Berchielli from across the Arno.

2-day Florence itinerary

Florence is one of those cities that just begs for more time. There are just too many things to taste, see, photograph and do here.

We designed this 2-Day Florence itinerary for our own use, so we promise it’s doable. So sit back, scroll through, and enjoy. You’ll love how we squeezed the best things to see in Florence, Italy into 2 days.

Day 1 in Florence

Morning: Arrival

Florence’s main station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella, is a great example of Italian modernist architecture from the 1930s. The station is right in the city center, so if you can’t walk to your hotel, a quick bus, Uber, or taxi ride will have you there in no time at all.

This is one reason it’s a good idea to stay in the medieval heart of the city. You want to start sightseeing as soon as you can! In our case, we were right next to the Arno River and between the Uffizi Museum and the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge, so we saw some attractions even before we checked in!

Because we only had two days in Florence, we had already mapped out a list of all the must-see sights. Our goal was to visit most of the city’s major sights by the end of our two days. We figured we could always return to see the rest at another time, and by the end of our first hour in Florence – we couldn’t wait to come back!

ⓘ TIP: Avoid visiting on Sundays and Mondays if you can. Many places are either closed or have shorter hours. Sights may also have shorter hours during off-season.

Walk through Signoria Square

Walking the city of Florence is easy and exciting as you get to see the squares like this one.

Let’s start off by saying that no trip to Florence would be complete without a visit to the Duomo, Florence’s iconic cathedral. So that’s the first place we headed.

Our route from the hotel took us through Signoria Square, where Michelangelo’s David stands in all his naked glory.

Actually, it’s a copy. The original sculpture stood here for centuries, until curators moved it indoors to protect it from the elements. If you want to see Michelangelo’s original masterpiece, then you’ll have to visit the Ufizzi Museum (Day 2).

You must take a walk through the beautiful Signoria Square, but do it slowly. With limited time in Florence, the sites, sculptures and atmosphere that Signoria Square has to offer is not to be missed! This famous L-shaped square home to the Fountain of Neptune, the Loggia della Signoria, as well as the centuries-old Palace. You’ll see it all standing in the middle of this amazing square.

Our favorite thing on the square was the large loggia – an open, covered porch that adjoins the Uffizi Gallery. This stone building was built in the late 14th century to host public meetings and ceremonies. These days, the Loggia dei Lanzi has been transformed into an open-air sculpture gallery, – with a lot of impressive, larger-than-life statues. Take your time; there’s a lot to see.

ⓘ TIP: In Florence, fine art can be seen everywhere you turn – keep your eyes peeled!

Visit Florence’s Duomo

View heading up to the Duomo of Florence through Signoria Square.

The red-roofed dome of Florence’s cathedral is one of the most photographed sights in Italy. We took our turn as well, but what surprised us was the building itself. Not only is it colorful and beautiful all the way around, but fabulous statues adorn its front facade.

Of course.

The “of course” is because Florence is the one place Renaissance art fans shouldn’t miss.

Back in the 15th and 16th centuries. the city’s richest and most powerful family, the Medicis, spent vast sums to collect art. They were patrons of Bargello, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and other talented artists of the day. All of these famous artists lived in Florence.

The Medici family’s art collection is now on streets and in museums around the city – actually, some of the family’s Florence homes are museums in themselves!

But I digress. Back to the Duomo.

Close up of the Duomo showing all the details of its facade.

As we said, its unique dome dominates Florence’s skyline. Did you know that it is still the largest masonry dome in the world?

Go ahead and enter; it’s free. Just be aware that you will need to purchase a ticket to climb the bell tower or visit surrounding sites and museums such as the baptistery and the underground ruins.

Combination tickets for all of these museums are available at several tourism offices around Florence, as well as the office directly behind the Duomo. You can also purchase your tickets online in advance to avoid the line and maximize your sightseeing time.

ⓘ TIP: The Museum is closed on the first Tuesday of each month.

Visit the Baptistery

Bronze doors of St. John's Baptistery depicting Biblical scenes.

Introducing one of the most amazing things to see in Florence Italy: the Baptistery. It’s just a few steps away from the Duomo.

Also known as the Baptistery of Saint John, this is the oldest religious site in all of Florence, constructed between 1059 and 1128 in the Florentine Romanesque style. If you’re a fan of Romanesque architecture, then you will love the geometrically patterned white Carrara and green Prato marble seen in the building’s architecture.

As you can tell by the building’s name, its sole purpose for existence was for performing baptisms. Not anymore, though. It’s now most famous for its detailed bronze front doors that depict stories from the Bible.

Right up until the end of the 19th century, every Catholic in Florence was baptized behind these famous doors. Today, they still baptize young local children here on the first Sunday of every month. However, with limited space and time, they can only accommodate four children, so parents make the request well in advance.

Lunch at an Italian pizzeria

After all that walking around, your stomach will be demanding some attention. Not wanting to lose valuable sightseeing time with a sit-down lunch, we stopped at a pizzeria for a couple of slices to go. You know… pizza in Italy, right?

Here’s a case where reality doesn’t match the expectation. I got an absolute kick out of being able to use the little Italian I knew, but the food itself was unremarkable. Sigh.

We had much better luck with the Crayola-green, mint-flavored slushies we purchased from a street vendor in the mid-afternoon. Hurray for trying street food!

Roaming the streets of Florence

Rather than rushing around to tick every box on a random “Things to Do in Florence” list, we opted to spend the rest of our first afternoon truly absorbing the city’s ambiance. If you don’t do that, you can’t really say you’ve seen Florence.

Florentine life unfolded all around us as we meandered through the labyrinth of medieval streets around the Basilica di San Lorenzo. Florence is by far one of the most walkable of the main cities in Italy – if there is one place where you can really make two days count, it’s here.

ⓘ TIP: If you don’t enjoy walking through a new city unguided, you can take a private and customized walking tour of Florence with a local guide. It’s a great way to squeeze that little bit extra out of the experience!

walking the streets and we came across this tent full of Italian foods.

San Lorenzo market: leather and more

This is where you’ll find the lively San Lorenzo street market, a warren of stalls selling just about everything you might imagine, at insanely good prices. This outdoor market is one of the top areas for shopping in Florence.

In the market for a new leather handbag? Bingo! You’ll find stalls selling various leather goods including bags, belts, wallets and jackets at the San Lorenzo outdoor market.

You’ll be seriously spoiled for choice here – so put your bargaining shoes on!

ⓘ TIP: Try to hold out on the spending until you’ve made it past the first row of vendors. The last thing you want to do is realize you could have got something way cheaper further on. And remember to bargain!

Florence is known for their Italian Leather goods like these ladies purses in every color.

Sunset on the Ponte Vecchio

As the sun set on our first day in Florence, we took our cameras to the Arno River so we could photograph the old bridge, locally known as Ponte Vecchio.

Built in the early 1300s, it’s said to be the only medieval bridge still standing in Europe. The rest were obliterated when Hitler ordered all bridges destroyed as the Germans retreated in 1944. We have seen two explanations as to why Ponte Vecchio was spared. One is that Hitler was enchanted by the bridge when he visited Florence in 1938 and he issued an order that the bridge be spared. The other possibility is that the German soldiers chose to disobey orders and spare the beautiful Renaissance bridge on their own.

In either case, shops line the length of the ancient bridge’s span, just as most medieval bridges once commonly had. Although butchers initially occupied the shops on Ponte Vecchio, its present tenants are jewelers, art dealers and souvenir vendors.

ⓘ TIP: If you’re looking for another beautiful spot to enjoy the sun setting over this beautiful city, then visit Piazzale Michelangelo. This is one of the best lookouts for a stunning view of Florence, day or night. Best of all? It’s completely free!

The Ponte Vecchio reflected in the still waters of the nght Arno River.

Day 2 in Florence

With only two days in Florence, time is precious. And while museums can fill up a day, two of Florence’s best attractions are the most famous sites in the city: Accademia and the Ufizzi gallery.

The problem is, ticket lines for the Uffizi and Accademia tickets can be incredibly long. This was one of those times when time was more valuable than money, so we splurged on a guided tour of both museums. Money well spent, if you ask me.

A guided tour of the Accademia

The Gallery of the Academy of Florence, locally known as Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, is pretty much known world wide as the Accademia. We started our second day with a trip to the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s statue of David.

As far as we knew, that was the one thing that people go there to see. As it turns out, we were wrong.

We had booked this skip-the-line tour, which included both of Florence’s two most iconic museums: the Accademia and the Uffizi. This was the first time we had ever booked a guided tour and believe me,, it was money well spent.

Of course, we got in without waiting. But we were seriously and very pleasantly surprised at how much our guides knew about art history and history in general. They also guided us directly to where all the most famous works were. (After wandering back and forth at the Vatican Museums, my feet were especially grateful!)

Looking into the square at Uffizi Gallery

As we headed to the iconic statue, we were told to look carefully at the paintings along the way. Most of these paintings were done by the very same people who had tutored Michelangelo.

The salon where David stands also has other pieces he created. To me, not all appeared to be finished. Michelangelo believed that every piece of stone had a figure entrapped within it. His goal was to help who- or whatever was trapped in the stone to become exposed.

Aside from the statue of David, we thought the most interesting thing in the museum was a separate room housing plaster sculptures from students. They were incredible!

Afterward, we wandered back through the San Lorenzo street market. It was just as visually overwhelming as it had been the day before.

Mercato Centrale (and lunch)

Food is a huge part of a culture, and we enjoy visiting markets to see what different people like to eat. A bit further on, we came to the bustling Mercato Centrale (Central Market). Here’s how it works. Time to explore.

Open 364 days a year from 8am to midnight, every sort of food imaginable is available, and the ground floor is an expansive food market with many artisan stands. Every store sells its own products, which you can eat immediately or take away with you, paying at each store’s own cash register.

The entire upstairs was remodeled in 2014 to cater for the recent gourmet food market trend. It’s filled with even more stalls where you can take your pick of hundreds of delicious lunch options, from pizzas and meat to fish and pasta. Perfect for people who need to be careful with what they eat (like me).

The norm is to just pick your meal and carry your food to the large common tables – so that’s exactly what we did. It was really delicious, and very good value for money. Don’t expect a relaxing sit down meal, but they do have table service for drinks and such. It was fun to enjoy it amid the hustle and bustle. Kind of similar to eating in a mall’s food court … but kind of not.

Our Uffizi tour wasn’t scheduled for another 45 minutes, so we took our time looking through the downstairs shops. Among our favorites were one that sold dozens and dozens of pastas in unusual shapes, another that offered an amazing selection of olives, and a third which had countless olive oils to choose from. But we have a rule: If you buy it, you carry it. We didn’t want to schlep it to Venice and through Spain, so we left empty-handed.

Fruit and vegetable stand in the market.

A guided tour of the Uffizi Galleries

Anyway, our afternoon tour of the Uffizi Galleries was outstanding. The collection of artworks started in the 16th century as that of the Medici family, and has grown to become one of the greatest in the world, comparable to the Louvre, the Prado and the Hermitage.

This one building houses countless paintings by such greats as DaVinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Rafael, Titian, and Caravaggio. And that’s just to name a few.

Our tour guide gave us just enough background detail to make it really interesting, but not so much as to make it boring. After she had shown us the highlights, we bid our guide goodbye and spent more time wandering through the museum and enjoying the paintings on our own.

Experiencing Italian wine tasting

No wine lover’s visit to Tuscany would be complete without a visit to an enoteca, a special type of regional wine shop. A genuine enoteca is primarily focused on giving visitors the opportunity to taste the local wines at a reasonable fee and possibly to buy them.

So, Dan and I made our way to one we’d seen and sat down with the sommelier (wine expert), who shared some delicious Tuscan wine samples with us. We can’t remember the name, but we can recommend a nearby restaurant called Mangiafoco.

After our Italian wine tasting, we walked through the narrow streets and soaked up the last little bits of Florentine ambiance that we could. Because bright and early tomorrow morning, we’d be back at the train station and heading to Venice.

ⓘ TIP: With a little extra time, you you can take a half-day Chianti wine tasting tour. You’ll visit 2 authentic wineries in the beautiful Chianti Hills, meet local winemakers, walk through stunning vineyards, and sample local wines and products.

Things to do with 3 days in Florence (or more)

a hidden lush garden as your wander Florence.

We’re fond of the get-in-and-get-out philosophy: See the highlights of a city in a couple of days, and spend the rest of your time exploring the region. However, Florence is a rare exception because there’s so much to see and do, especially if you’re an art lover.

You need to know that Florence offers a tourist card called the Firenzecard. It gives you 72 hours of free, priority entry to museums and landmarks around the city, and there’s even a version that includes unlimited travel on public transportation.

We didn’t buy it because we had booked that skip-the-line Accademia/Ufizzi guided tour combo. With more time in Florence, we’d have scheduled the tours for Day 1, and then used the Firenzecard to visit other attractions over the following 3 days.

Hop-on-hop-off bus tour

There’s a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Florence, too. For people on a budget, it’s a cheaper way to get around Florence than the Firenzecard, but it doesn’t include any museum admissions. If you’re not a museum aficionado, it’s a good option. Plus, the bus has an onboard guide who provides a narrated tour of the city.

Market to table cooking lesson

Who wouldn’t enjoy learning how to cook like an Italian, in Italy? Meet the farmers, bakers and butchers of the central market in Florence, and then on to preparing homemade pasta and sauces.

With one of these cooking lessons, you will learn all kinds of tips and techniques of meat and fish courses, while savoring the fruits of your labor with Italian wines. Can you say “yum?”

Florence from the water

An extra day in Florence would have given us time for a romantic and unique cruise on the Arno river. We found this boat tour, which includes a bilingual commentary. It’s a lovely and sustainable way to see some of Florence. You get a different view from the river.

We’ve done it in London, Singapore and Amsterdam. There’s something unique about seeing cities from a completely different point of view – the water. Well worth it!

A Tuscany wine tour from Florence

The enoteca was fun, but that train ride had made us crave more of Tuscany. Naturally, an extra day in Florence would have been a perfect opportunity to take this fun wine tour from Florence.

Just imagine soaking in the Tuscan countryside, sipping and sampling delicious traditional wines … It sounds like time well spent to us.

ⓘ TIP: Even though we don’t travel with them (heavy and bulky), guidebooks can be a great investment. They are super useful while you’re planning your itinerary and a great way to bone up on what you’re going to see. Plus, they offer lots of in-depth information and tips in a concise format. Some people tear out the relevant pages and bring them along for easy reference on-the-fly. Find a good Florence travel guide here.

Final thoughts about our 2 days in Florence

We hope that you have a better idea of what to see in Florence, Italy in 2 days. We wanted our Florence itinerary to give you a few things to think about, as well as show you the importance of planning your trip well in advance.

We’ve fallen in love with understated, artistic Florence and want to return. Florence has become our favorite for so many reasons, from its old streets to its delicious foods and the amazing Renaissance art everywhere you turn.

It has whet our appetites for wanting to spend much more time in Tuscany, a part of Italy like no other. Someday, we’ll return and share the beautiful countryside vistas with you.

Arrivederci, Florence!

Florence itinerary links

Here are a few more helpful links and resources to make your trip planning easier. Just prepare yourself for two lists: One will be your “must-see-list” and the other will go on the list of “we’ll do that one next time!”

Tourism authority: Florence’s tourism website has many useful trip planning resources.
Travel guide: This book is a favorite on Amazon.
Flights: Florence airport is FLR. Check availability
Accommodation: Browse hotels on Agoda ● Vrbo
Airport to hotel. Taxis are available, as is Uber. Another option is to book a private transfer service. They will greet you as you exit the airport, help with your luggage, and escort you to your hotel.
Travel visas: Check visa requirements
Travel Insurance: World Nomads is available while you’re traveling!
Getting around: The best way to get around Florence is by foot. Outside of the city, take the train, Flixbus, or rent a car.
Tickets & tours: Find dozens of fun ideas on GetYourGuide and Take Walks
Organized trips: G Adventures has insanely affordable small-group tours + guaranteed departures.

Want a guided tour?

Guided tours can be a great option, whether you want a local to show you around, or you’d
prefer to have someone else manage all the arrangements.

Organized tours

You can take insanely affordable small group tours on all 7 continents, with 100% guaranteed departures, even if you’re the only traveler. Expect local accommodation, cuisine, and transport to connect you with the planet’s people, cultures, landscapes and wildlife. Click here to check out their itineraries.

Day trips and excursions

When we travel, we use Get Your Guide a lot. It’s our go-to for food tours, attractions and activities. Click here to see what’s available in Florence.

Details of Florence's duomo. Adjacent banner says Florence: Best advice for spending 2 days

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Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages inspired her to create As We Saw It, where she documents her trips, shares practical itineraries, and offers insider tips. She’s passionate about helping fellow travelers save time, money, and hassle, and loves to discover new places to explore.

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3 thoughts on “2 Days in Florence Itinerary”

  1. That would be wonderful. Most of our articles are written from personal experience and Albania has long been on my list of destinations I want to visit.

  2. Incredibly Linda. So cool too how you can Uber around town. Uber is our fave way to travel in areas where it’s available. Here in Thailand, we have Grab. As good as Uber. Florence is just magical. My wife loved her time there.

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