How to See the Statue of David in Florence (Tips + Ticket Info)

View of the statue of David inside the gallery

Towering stature, symmetrical features, impeccably carved marble: these are the key features of the Statue of David that makes this work of art almost mythical when it comes to art history.

A key landmark of Florence, you can’t miss the chance to see Michelangelo’s David when you visit Florence.

 Planning your trip to Florence at the last minute?

Here are my quick picks on what to do & where to stay!

🍷 Top Florence Experiences:
1. Tuscany Wine & Food Tour with Guide (#1 day trip!)
2. Florence Duomo Visit & Bruneschelli Dome Climb (#1 attraction!)
3. Art Tour of the Uffizi & Accademia (see the Uffizi & Statue of David)

🏨 Best Florence Hotels:
1. Cicerone (charming central Florence guesthouse)
2. Piccolo Borgo Antico (quiet studios near Boboli Gardens)
3. Hotel Unicorno (beautifully revamped 17th century building)

✈️ Flying in? Book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups — they’ll greet you at the airport, help with bags, & bring you into the city, all pre-booked!

This guide details exactly how to see the Statue of David in Florence, with tips on the best-value tickets and tours to maximize your time in Florence.

While some say David is the most beautiful artwork in the world, art is subjective and we can’t quite proclaim that — but it’s undeniable that David is one of the most famous sculptures in the world!

Many visitors assume that the Statue of David is located in the Uffizi Gallery, since it’s the most famous museum in Florence.

But not so! Rather, the Statue of David is actually located in a much smaller museum called the Galleria dell’Accademia.

Duomo in Florence, with rounded building and marble artwork with stripes and symmetry

Despite its small size, the Accademia Gallery is still worth a visit, both for Michelangelo’s world-renowned artworks and works by other artists.

Be sure you include the Accademia Gallery in your Florence itinerary, whether you have one day or several days, not just for David but also for the rest of its rich art collection!

Don’t want to read the full article? You can just go ahead and book a time slot to see the Statue of David at the Accademia here.

Tip: If you still have time after visiting Florence, I suggest making time for this Tuscany itinerary or some of these Florence day trips

About Michelangelo’s David

The famous statue of david seen in a rotunda of a famous gallery in Florence
Photo Credit: Jörg Bittner Unna, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Since its creation, Michelangelo’s David has been considered the ideal of male beauty in art. 

But who is this mythical David being immortalized?

The statue represents King David of Israel, famous for slaying the giant Goliath. 

Unlike other sculptures of the same character, Michelangelo’s David does not feature the head of Goliath at David’s feet. 

In fact, in Michelangelo’s interpretation, David had not yet defeated the giant, but he was preparing for the fight, hence the warning glare! 

You can also see the sling across David’s back, signaling that he’s preparing to approach Goliath.

The backside of t he famous Statue of David artwork in the Accademia Gallery in Florence
Photo Credit: Xosema, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Michelangelo created the sculpture between 1501 and 1504, though not without its challenges. 

The block of marble destined for the sculpture presented several practical difficulties — particularly due to the crumbly consistency of the material and its tall and narrow shape that allowed little margin for error.

According to sources, Florentines called the block of marble that would later become David Il Gigante (“the Giant”). 

Other artists attempted to sculpt from this material but quickly gave up, discouraged by the challenging material. 

Despite the roadblocks, Michelangelo — then only 25 years old — accepted the commission and started working on the statue of David on September 13th, 1501.

Michelangelo was already known for his previous works in Rome, so the location (the current courtyard of the Opera del Duomo Museum) immediately drew many curious eyes. 

In fact, Michelangelo had a temporary wall built around his workspace so he wouldn’t be bothered by passers-by peeking at his work!

A few months before its completion in June 1503, he opened up the wall for everyone to admire the nearly complete artwork.

When the piece was finished, the statue measured 17 feet high (more than 5 meters), weighing roughly 6 tons. 

Close up photo of the statue of david
He may not look huge here, but David is a whopping 17 feet tall – not including any pedestal!

For a more visual idea, David is the size of an adult giraffe!

Although David was initially supposed to be one of many sculptures adorning the buttresses of the Duomo of Florence, it was immediately clear that Michelangelo’s masterpiece should have a more prominent location for everyone to admire.

In 1504, a commission of many prominent artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, decided on a new location for the statue. 

David quickly went from being a religious figure to a political one, embodying the ideal of righteousness due to his ability to defeat an unfairly strong rival, armed with just a sling and his faith. 

These characteristics soon became those of an ideal government that Florence aimed to establish, particularly following the exile of the Medici family in 1494.

After a long debate, the commission finally decided on the statue’s location. 

David was to be placed in Piazza della Signoria, in front of Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall of Florence. 

The original statue of David was supposed to outside the palazzo vecchio but now you can only find a replica there. There are still crowds in front of the palace because it is still a major Florence landmark hotspot.
Image Credit: sonofgroucho, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The transportation of the statue to its new spot took four days, given its size and weight! 

Once finally moved into its new home, David took the place of Donatello’s sculpture of Judith and Holofernes.

Over nearly four centuries, David kept its outdoor location, with the inevitable damages caused by both man and nature. 

In fact, during its transportation, a group of Medici supporters threw stones at the statue, portending the damage it’d see over the years. 

In the following years, it was struck by lightning and later damaged during protests due to yet another exile of the Medici. 

On this occasion, David’s left arm was broken into three pieces, requiring significant repair.

It was only in 1873 that the statue, which was showing significant damage, was removed from the square, waiting for its new spot inside the Accademia Gallery to be ready. 

A replica of the Statue of David seen in Piazza Signorina in the heart of Florence, but it's important to note this ia plaster cast and not the original
Image Credit: Markus Bernet, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Since 1882, David has kept his current place, safe in the Accademia Gallery. 

Meanwhile, a replica was placed in its original location in Piazza della Signoria in 1910 — so don’t be fooled, that’s not the original David!

However, being indoors didn’t entirely protect David from damage. In 1991, a man entered the Accademia Gallery with a hammer and damaged David’s toe. 

Luckily, it was not hard to rebuild the damaged parts using one of the many existing molds of the statue.

Damaged toe of the Statue of David, the result of vandalism with a hammer
Image Credit: Mjlachance1, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

David saw a significant restoration in 2004 to celebrate 500 years from its completion. Since then, it has been examined regularly to verify its integrity.

Many full-size replicas of Michelangelo’s David were created over the centuries and placed in locations worldwide.

You’ll find replicas all over, including London, Copenhagen, Buffalo, Buena Park in California, Montevideo, Jerusalem, and many others.

About the Accademia Gallery

Exterior of the Accademia Gallery in Florence
Gallery exterior. Photo Credit: By I, Sailko, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The founding of the Accademia Gallery dates back to 1784 when the Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopold II decided to move the Fine Arts Academy (founded in 1563) to a new location inside the San Matteo Hospital and the Convent of San Niccolò di Cafaggio

Back then, the gallery was a space for students to observe and study works of art as a source of inspiration.

The Accademia Gallery was soon filled with paintings and other works of art from convents, monasteries, and other religious institutions. 

At the time, many sacred sites were being suppressed by Leopold II, then subsequently by Napoleon. 

For this reason, there is a significant collection of religious art to admire in the gallery nowadays, as this is how it was protected.

The Accademia Gallery suffered from the Napoleonic looting of art until the Congress of Vienna proclaimed that all works of art had to be returned to their original owners. 

Even so, only some works of art made it back to Italy. In fact, a few of the stolen pieces are still on display in the Louvre.

The most crucial event in the history of the Accademia Gallery is the placement of the original David sculpture, determined in 1873. 

Nevertheless, the sculpture was kept in a wooden box for nine years before being placed in the newly built space especially designed by architect Emilio De Fabris.

The new Accademia gallery, as you see it today, was inaugurated in 1882… when Michelangelo’s most famous sculpture took its current spot, becoming the museum’s masterpiece.

Ticket Options for the Accademia Gallery

A side profile view of the famous sculpture of david, carved from marble and placed in an art gallery
Photo Credit: MarcusObal, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You have a few options to visit the Accademia Gallery. 

If you want to visit on your own, you can buy your tickets to the Accademia Gallery online or in person. 

Depending on the season you visit Florence, you may need to book several days in advance — especially in high season.

If you visit in summer, chances are that online tickets will get sold out a few days before. 

This also means you may need to stand in long lines to buy tickets at the on-site ticket office… and risk not being able to see the statue of David if there is no availability. 

To avoid this, buy your tickets online in advance. The sooner you book, the more time slots you will find available that are suitable for your schedule!

The 3 Best Tours to See the Statue of David

Skip the Line Tickets to David (Priority Entrance, No Tour)

People looking at the Statue of David while inside the Galleria
Image Credit: Korido – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One option to avoid lines is to get a Timed Entrance Ticket to Michelangelo’s David.

This entry ticket is not a tour but rather a pre-purchased admission ticket, which grants you priority entry.

Plus, it gives you a time slot that ensures you’ll get a chance to see the famous statue.

Book your skip the line tickets to the Statue of David here!

Statue of David Entry + Guided Tour of Accademia Gallery

Visit the statue of David in the Accademia Gallery on a tour and spend a few extra bucks for added historical context
Combine a visit to David with a guided tour for an extra $10 USD

If you prefer to take a guided tour instead, this Accademia Gallery Guided Tour includes skip-the-line tickets and a live tour guide for one to two hours.

 You can choose between several languages, including English, Italian, Spanish, and French. 

This is your best option if you want to learn more cool about the other famous artists featured in the gallery, as well as Michelangelo’s David, how it was constructed, and how it became so famous!

Book your skip-the-line tickets and guided tour here!

Money Saver: Accademia + Uffizi Gallery

The courtyard of the decorative Uffizi Gallery of Florence with detail and beautiful arched windows in the courtyard
Two iconic landmarks for one ticket price: The Uffizi Gallery as well as the Accademia with its Statue of David

Another option is to combine your visit to the Accademia Gallery with the Uffizi Gallery by getting an Accademia and Uffizi Tour.

This ticket includes priority entry to both museums and offers excellent value, with a discount off both attractions (which can save you a pretty penny… er, euro).

Save time and money by booking your combined tickets to Uffizi & Accademia here!

Free Option for Seeing the Statue of David

People looking at the Statue of David in the Academia Gallery
Image Credit: Michelangelo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Finally, if you’re traveling on a budget, you should take advantage of the free entry on the first Sunday of the month. 

However, this option has its pros and cons. While you get to enter for free, you must prepare for huge crowds of people who also want to take advantage of this opportunity.

That said, you can book your free entry online in advance (only on the official site, and only on the first Sunday of the month) to avoid long lines at the ticket office.

You may be able to avoid a line at the ticket office, but you won’t be able to avoid the crowds.

If you do this go, go as early as possible to reduce the crowds (though it will definitely still be quite busy).

What Else Can You See at the Accademia Gallery?

The Thebaid painting, with lots of figures, muted colors, and a religious theme
The Thebaid by Paolo Uccello is another famous piece in the Accademia

While Michelangelo’s David draws most visitors to the Accademia Gallery, that’s not the only reason to visit. 

The museum houses a vast collection of sculptures, paintings, and musical instruments from the 13th to the 18th centuries.

The gallery features a prestigious collection of gold-ground paintings from the 13th to the early 15th centuries, including works by Giotto, Maestro della Maddalena, and Taddeo Gaddi. 

You’ll see other stunning paintings in the gallery by Renaissance artists like Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Filippo Lippi.

Aside from Michelangelo’s David, sculptures you’ll see the renowned Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, along with unfinished sculptures by Michelangelo and casts by Lorenzo Bartolini and Luigi Pampaloni.

Finally, the newest area is the Musical Instruments Department, inaugurated in 2001. 

This intriguing gallery houses musical instruments that belonged to the Grand Dukes of Tuscany from the Medici and Lorraine families. 

The collection highlights are the viola and cello by Antonio Stradivari made for Ferdinando de Medici. 

In this area, you can also check out the interactive multimedia stations where you can listen to the sounds of the instruments on display!

Finally, the gallery has a space dedicated to temporary exhibitions. These change regularly, so check what’s on when you visit!

Tips for Seeing the Statue of David in Florence

Book your ticket in advance!   

Lights on with a view of the Statue of David in Florence, a beautiful marble statue with great lighting
Photo Credit: Marta De Bortoli1991 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Avoid spending time in line at the ticket office by booking your ticket online ahead of time. 

This will save precious time you can use otherwise, but you’ll also be sure tickets don’t sell out, leaving you without a chance to visit the museum.

This advice is valid year-round but even more critical during peak months, namely from June to September. 

Summer is the season with the highest influx of visitors, so make sure you book several days in advance to choose your desired time slot.

1. Priority Entrance, No TourBook HerePrices from $20 USD+
2. Priority Entrance with TourBook HerePrices from $30 USD+
3. Accademia Priority Entrance + Florence Duomo All-Access PassBook HerePrices from $56 USD+ (compare to $20 + $61 individually!)

Avoid peak days and times.

View of Michelangelo's David from the side, with soft light falling on the statue while inside a gallery
Photo Credit: By MarcusObal – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As you can imagine, visiting during the weekend, especially in the high season, means dealing with big crowds — and having poor views of the statue of David that you came all this way to see. 

To avoid the crowds, schedule your visit in the middle of the week, especially in the high season.

An even better option is to visit Florence in winter or during the shoulder seasons. 

Shoulder season (particularly April-May and September-October) offers both good weather and lower crowds.

Meanwhile, the low season in winter is almost guaranteed to reward you with fewer crowds so you can enjoy the sight of David without being overwhelmed by vast waves of visitors.

Finally, try to book the earliest entry possible or the latest! 

The museum tends to fill up mid-morning, so that’s a time better avoided. 

If you are among the first to enter, you’ll only share the gallery with a few other visitors. 

If you choose to visit right before closing time, be mindful of how you spend your time, so you can experience everything you want to.

Don’t bring big backpacks or suitcases.

Woman sitting down in Italy wearing a large orange backpack with backdrop of orange-toned houses
Backpacks this size will not be allowed in the Accademia!

The museum does not have a cloakroom, so there is no space for you to leave big luggage. 

If you have luggage, find storage before you visit the museum to avoid the inconvenience of being denied entry and having to find a last-minute solution…

Worst of all, you will likely lose your time-entry slot!

Don’t bring forbidden items.

Stainless steel reusable Water bottle in a backpack
Only smaller water bottles (less than 0.5 liters) are allowed

To enter the museum, you must go through airport-like security checks. 

Of course, that means no forbidden items like knives, sharp objects, or weapons. 

If you do have a forbidden item, you will be asked to leave it at the metal detectors and can retrieve them at the end of the visit.

You can enter the museum with a water bottle of a maximum of 0.5 liters (17 oz). Bigger bottles are not allowed! 

Furthermore, to protect the art, you should refrain from consuming any food inside the museum.

Be aware of the days that the museum is closed.

Winter in Florence photo
Note that the Gallery is closed on Christmas and other holidays!

Note that the Accademia Gallery is closed every Monday, as well as January 1st and December 25th. 

Make sure to keep this in mind when planning your visit, especially if you visit Florence in winter, around Christmas!

However, the museum may stay open on a Monday if it’s a public holiday, so check the schedules on the website in advance!

Get an audio guide.

Close up of the detailing of David's face, beautifully carved into marble with precise detail
Photo Credit: By Jörg Bittner Unna – Own work, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You may want to get an audio guide if you want to learn more about the artwork but don’t feel like taking a guided tour. 

This option allows you to listen to the story of the works you are more interested in, so you don’t just pass them by, while being able to skip what you are less intrigued by.

You can get an audio guide when booking your ticket online or when you arrive by stopping by the on-site bookshop.

Don’t forget to explore the rest of the gallery!

There's a lot more to the Academia Gallery than just David! Here, you see him in a room, with circular window skylight and arched room.
Yes, while David’s the star of the show, there’s more to see!

Though other museums in Florence are larger, be sure to dedicate the appropriate amount of time to seeing the Statue of David.

Yes, David is the highlight of this gallery — so definitely spend time admiring the stunning details of this masterpiece!

However, don’t rush through the rest just to see it!

The rest of the museum — paintings, sculptures, casts, and musical instruments — all truly deserve your attention. 

Here are a few other styles and periods of art in the Accademia you can choose between seeing:

  • More of Michelangelo’s work, including Prisoners, a statue of Saint Matthew, and Palestrina Pietà (though the latter may not belong to him)
  • Paintings from Florentine artists like Paolo Uccello, Sandro Boticelli, and Domenico Ghirlandaio
  • High Renaissance art like the full-size plaster for Giambologna’s R*pe of the Sabine Women
  • Russian iconography collected by former Grand Dukes
  • Florentine Gothic artwork pieces

Pick and choose which areas to spend the most time in, but be sure to include at least a few of the other sections of the museum.

All said, it shouldn’t take you more than two hours to visit the entire gallery… and that’s without leaving anything out. 

Depending on your pace and interest in various works, you can visit the gallery, including seeing the Statue of David, in around one hour. 

Guides to Other Popular Attractions in Italy

View of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, an ancient Roman amphitheater

If you’re hoping to tick off Italy’s most famous attractions and sights, here is what we think you can’t miss… with full guides to each of Italy’s most iconic attractions on the way!

17 Festive & Fun Things to Do in Florence in Winter

people in the plaza of the duomo in florence in winter

Christmas markets, festive holiday lighting, mild weather, and fewer crowds: there are many reasons to visit Florence in winter.

Winter is actually a great time to visit Florence, as it’s home to some of Italy’s most impressive museums and art galleries… perfect winter activities, as they’re all indoors!

 Planning your trip to Florence at the last minute?

Here are my quick picks on what to do & where to stay!

🍷 Top Florence Experiences:
1. Tuscany Wine & Food Tour with Guide (#1 day trip!)
2. Florence Duomo Visit & Bruneschelli Dome Climb (#1 attraction!)
3. Art Tour of the Uffizi & Accademia (see the Uffizi & Statue of David)

🏨 Best Florence Hotels:
1. Cicerone (charming central Florence guesthouse)
2. Piccolo Borgo Antico (quiet studios near Boboli Gardens)
3. Hotel Unicorno (beautifully revamped 17th century building)

✈️ Flying in? Book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups — they’ll greet you at the airport, help with bags, & bring you into the city, all pre-booked!

Although there is much more you can do in Florence, like eating delicious Tuscan food and drinking some of the best Italian wine, the main reason to visit Florence is to discover its beautiful landmarks, palaces, and museums.

If you visit Florence in winter, you can take advantage of the smaller crowds, especially in popular places like the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademmia, where you can find the Statue of David.

View of a clocktower in a piazza in Florence at sunset with beautiful sky and no people walking about in the middle of the square
Benefits of Florence in winter? Fewer crowds yet still epic sights!

Plus, you can experience some truly unique winter events in Florence, like the Firenze Light Festival.

Read on to find out how to escape the winter cold in Florence, including the best museums and landmarks you shouldn’t miss in winter in Florence when it’s low season.

Combine the tips here with the general outline of our Florence itinerary (or this abbreviated one-day version) to plan the perfect winter Florence trip!

Best Things to Do in Florence in Winter

Check out the Christmas Market in Piazza Santa Croce.

Christmas market with German style stalls in the Santa Croce plaza in florence in winter
Photo Credit: Kari via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Although Christmas markets are not as popular in Italy as in the rest of Europe, Piazza Santa Croce hosts a quaint German-style market called the Weihnachtsmarkt Santa Croce every year in November and December.

In 2023, the official dates are November 18th through December 17th — yup, it wraps up a week before Christmas, so keep that in mind when planning a winter trip to Florence!

In the wooden market stalls in front of Santa Croce Basilica, you can buy anything from Christmas decorations to handmade toys to food & drinks.

To add to the festive spirit, there’s also a decorated Christmas Tree and one of Italy’s famous nativity scenes located in the piazza.

To celebrate German-style, you can eat bratwurst and traditional gingerbread cookies and drink beer or mulled wine… it’s the ultimate way to feel the Christmas in Europe spirit.

This is the biggest Christmas market in the city of Florence, and visiting it is a must if you’re in Florence between late November and Christmas.

Take advantage of the smaller crowds and visit the Duomo.

christmas tree in front of the duomo in florence

Winter is a great time to visit all the monuments in the city center and Piazza del Duomo without the crowds!

You can choose between three ways to visit the Florence Duomo: a Cathedral & Brunelleschi Dome ticket, the same sights with a guided tour), or a Cathedral only tour (no dome).

The Brunelleschi Dome options is the most complete, allowing you access to the Baptistery of San Giovanni, Giotto’s Bell Tower, Brunelleschi’s Dome, the Opera del Duomo Museum, and the ancient Basilica of Santa Reparata.

The great thing about this pass is that it is valid for three days from the chosen date for all monuments except for the Dome, which requires you to respect the chosen time slot.

Book your Cathedral & Brunelleschi Dome ticket here

Go ice skating at Firenze Winter Park.

Red gloved hands tying an ice skate, white jacket and white skates

Firenze Winter Park is an event that brings winter activities to Florence from late October until the end of February, all throughout the winter months.

The event takes place in a wonderful location along the Arno River, in the gardens of the event venue Tuscany Hall.

At Firenze Winter Park, you can go ice skating on your own or even take ice hockey or artistic ice skating lessons!

After spending some time on the ice rink, fill up on some Italian or international cuisine at Il Rifugio del Firenze Winter Park.

The experience wouldn’t be complete without a mug of mulled wine or hot chocolate and some roasted chestnuts or sweet crêpes to finish your day!

Admire the frescoes at Cappella Brancacci.

chapel with murals and frescoes in florence Italy in winter

If you’re just passing by the Santa Maria del Carmine Church, it’s easy to think it is just a plain old church with nothing special.

However, the church houses a marvelous chapel covered in frescoes illustrating the life of St. Peter!

The church was partly destroyed in a fire in 1771, and many believe it is a miracle that the chapel remained intact.

Though small, this chapel houses an important example of Florentine Renaissance art.

Note that you can’t access the chapel from the church. You must book a ticket in advance to visit the small museum since entry is limited to small groups for a maximum of half an hour.

Note: the chapel is only open from Friday to Monday.

Escape the cold in the luxurious Pitti Palace.

overcast day at Pitti palace in florence Italy in winter with statues and flags and building

A symbol of the Medici family’s power over Tuscany, Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) once served as the Grand Ducal residence and the Court of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine and the House of Savoy.

At the time, it replaced the Palazzo Vecchio (which is now Florence’s City Hall) in Piazza della Signoria as the main ducal residence.

However, the palace is still named after its first owner, Luca Pitti, who started building it in the 15th century.

Nowadays, in the Pitti Palace, you can visit the Treasury of the Grand Dukes, the Palatine Gallery and the Imperial and Royal Apartments, the Gallery of Modern Art, and the Museum of Costume and Fashion.

Get your skip-the-line entry tickets to Pitti Palace here!

Pitti Palace is the perfect rainy day spot, as there is plenty to see if you want to escape the dreary weather on a Florence winter day.

Want another reason to visit the Pitti Palace in winter?

From the 1st of November to the end of February, you get a 50% discount on admission tickets after 3 PM. This means you can visit all the collections for just 5€!

While visiting Pitti Palace, don’t miss the chance to stroll through Boboli Gardens, which are decorated beautifully during the winter season.

Visit the Uffizi Gallery without the usual crowds.

the uffizi gallery in florence with statues, flags, windows, detailing on architecture

The Uffizi Gallery is by far the most important museum in Florence!

In 2021, this famous Florentine museum was the most visited museum in Italy, surpassing even the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums!

Owing to this, it’s safe to say you’ll find the place packed in high season… but not in the winter months!

One of the perks of visiting Florence in winter is that you’ll find fewer crowds in the museums, and the Uffizi is no exception.

However, you may still find a line also during the low season. Buy your ticket in advance to save time and skip the line.

The museum boasts an incredible collection of ancient sculptures and paintings, including masterpieces by Leonardo, Raffaello, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio, to name a few.

You can easily spend half a day exploring the Uffizi and still not see everything, so it can be beneficial to book a guided tour so that your tour guide can point out all the most important parts of the museum.

Book a tour of the Uffizi here! Or, if you just want to skip the lines, book your entry ticket here.

Have a typical Florentine dinner at a local restaurant.

florence steak cut showing rare slices

No trip to any Italian city would be complete without enjoying traditional Italian cuisine!

In Florence, by far the most famous dish is the Florentine steak, ideally served “al sangue” or rare.

Some of the most popular places that serve great Fiorentina are I’ Tuscani 2, Trattoria Mario, Trattoria Antico Fattore, Natalino, and Trattoria dall’Oste.

If you don’t eat meat, there are many other choices! Most restaurants serve some vegetarian pasta and other dishes like hearty stews and soups.

Some must-try winter dishes are the ribollita, a soup with bread and vegetables, or the carabaccia, the Tuscan onion soup. Try them at Trattoria Baldini or Acquacotta Trattoria.

Go see the famous David of Michelangelo at Accademia Gallery.

the statue of David in the academia gallery in florence in winter

The main reason to visit the Accademia Gallery is to see one of the most famous sculptures in the history of art, Michelangelo’s David.

The masterpiece, a symbol of the High Renaissance style, draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the museum each year.

Winter is the best time to admire the iconic statue, thanks to the smaller crowds. However, this is not all the museum has to offer!

Despite being quite a small museum, it houses many Renaissance paintings, several other Michelangelo sculptures, and an impressive collection of musical instruments collected between the 17th and the 19th centuries.

You can buy tickets for the Accademia Gallery online to skip the line or at the on-site ticket office.

Tip: If you visit on the first Sunday of the month, you can take advantage of free entry!

Book your skip-the-line tickets here!

Check out the Firenze Light Festival.

kaleidoscope-style lit up christmas tree in a piazza in florence in winter
Photo Credit: Darren and Brad via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

During the holiday season, from early December until the beginning of January, Florence becomes the scene of the F-Light or Firenze Light Festival.

During this time, the most important locations and landmarks in Florence are illuminated with light installations, illustrations, and shows.

Some of the must-see spots during the F-Light are Ponte Vecchio, Piazza San Lorenzo, Piazza Santissima Annunziata, and Museo Galilei.

Many other buildings all over the city are part of the festival, including old city gates and towers.

The lights turn on in the late afternoon and illuminate the city until midnight. Walking around Florence during this time is magical!

Every year there is a different theme for the festival, from important personalities to historical events.

Past editions celebrated Leonardo Da Vinci, Dante, and the 50 year anniversary of the moon landing.

Warm up with a hot chocolate at Venchi or Vestri.

chocolate shop in florence with writing on the wall
Photo Credit: Jaguar via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

On cold afternoons, a great way to warm up in Florence is by indulging in delicious hot chocolate!

Contrary to what you might expect, hot chocolate in Italy is not exactly a drink. Italian hot chocolate is so thick and creamy that you can eat it with a spoon!

There are many places to enjoy hot chocolate in Florence, like the several locations of Venchi, an old Italian gourmet chocolate manufacturer.

Another unique place in Florence is Vestri, a small artisan chocolate manufacturer that sells delicious gelato in summer and delightful hot chocolate in winter.

Discover the latest exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi.

inside palazzo strozzi in florence in winter

Palazzo Strozzi is a beautiful Renaissance palace in Florence that belonged to the Strozzi family, a rival of the Medici family.

In 1940, the palace became an exhibition venue and continues to be the most important one in Florence.

The palace has a lovely inner courtyard that often houses impressive art pieces, depending on the ongoing exhibitions.

At Palazzo Strozzi, you may find anything from Renaissance art to modern art and even digital art.

The space constantly houses at least one temporary exhibition, so you’ll find something new every three to four months.

The gallery is open daily, but the ticket office is usually only open during the week. You may also buy tickets online and show up at the chosen time.

Go shopping during the winter sales.

lit up street in Florence in winter with lights and signs on the stores

Every year, around the 6th of January (the Epiphany holiday), winter sales begin in Florence and last for roughly two months.

This is your best occasion to renew your wardrobe with some Italian fashion at excellent prices!

Florence is full of shopping streets and malls with anything from high-end fashion to small artisan shops selling leather goods, scarves, and other handmade items.

The most famous shopping street in Florence is Via de’ Tornabuoni, where you can find brand stores like Gucci, Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Emilio Pucci, and many others.

Via dei Calzaiuoli has a variety of stores, from luxury ones like Chanel to department stores like Coin.

If you want to find small artisan stores, head to Via del Corso or Via Santo Spirito.

Wonder over historical scientific artifacts at Museo Galileo.

Silver sign that reads Museo Galileo with writing below it that says palazzo castellans
Photo Credit: Oliver Quinlan via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

If you’re passionate about everything science, Museo Galileo is a great place to spend some time indoors in Florence in winter!

This collection of scientific artifacts started with the Medici family in the 16th century. However, the museum as you see it today was only opened in 1930 by the University of Florence.

The permanent exhibition includes a vast collection of artifacts and instruments used in astronomy, pharmacy, biology, physics, and chemistry.

You can see items like the telescope used by Galileo, a collection of world globes, ancient maps, and even Galileo’s finger and tooth!

The museum rarely is crowded, but it’s even less so during wintertime. You can take your time wandering around the rooms and admiring the many different items on display.

Shop for local products and have lunch at the Central Market.

market hall in San Lorenzo marketplace in florence Italy

The Central Market is a food market housed in the historical San Lorenzo market hall.

On the ground floor, you can shop for local products like cheese, cured meats, fruits and vegetables, and much more.

You can also find specialty stores selling artisan and homemade products that you can buy as gifts to bring home. You’ll find products like truffle oil, honey, extra-virgin olive oil, or balsamic vinegar.

In the recently renovated gourmet food area on the second floor, you can have a delicious lunch. The large market hall brings different Italian culinary traditions to one place!

Try Neapolitan pizza, sample different types of cheese, drink Chianti wine, try Sicilian cannoli, eat Materan specialties, and drink great coffee.

You can even take cooking lessons at the Lorenzo de’ Medici Cooking School!

Outside the market, you’ll find stalls selling all kinds of leather goods and souvenirs. This is the place to go to find good deals on unique leather items!

Visit Bargello, Italy’s first national museum.

florence museum in a castle-looking building

Cold winter days in Florence are perfect for visiting museums, and Bargello National Museum is one of the most underrated ones that is still definitely worth a visit!

Located in a historical Florentine palace, Palazzo del Podestà, this was Italy’s first national museum in 1865.

The 13th-century building is itself a must-see, with the impressive inner courtyard and beautifully decorated rooms.

The museum houses a permanent collection featuring masterpieces by Donatello, Michelangelo, and other Renaissance artists.

Aside from the impressive sculptures, you can see tapestries, ceramics, and textiles from the Medici collections.

If you plan on spending more than three days in Florence and enjoy visiting museums, you can get a reduced cumulative ticket for all the Bargello Museums over three days (Bargello, Medici Chapels, Davanzati, Orsanmichele, and Casa Martelli).

Drink a glass of Chianti in an enoteca.

hand swirling a glass of wine in an enoteca in Italy

If you like wine, a perfect way to warm up on a cold evening is to drink a glass of Chianti, the most famous Tuscan wine!

There is no shortage of wine bars (enoteche) in Florence. You’ll find them all over the historic center and on the opposite side of the river.

Some of the most popular places are Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina, Le Volpi e l’Uva, Il Santino, Note di Vino, and Casa Del Vino Firenze.

Savor a glass of wine on its own or pair it with a cheese or charcuterie board and make it an aperitivo or even a light dinner!

Take a day trip to try Tuscan wines.

winery in Tuscany italy with flowers and stone house

If you’re a real wine geek, you won’t just want to visit the enoteche of Florence… you’ll likely want to go on a true wine tour of Tuscany, one of the best day trips from Florence in the winter!

There are a number of wine tours of Tuscany you can take as a day trip from Florence, bringing you to quaint Tuscan towns and villages like San Gimignano, Siena, and more.

There are a number of Tuscan wine tours to choose from — we suggest this one that visits two small but esteemed wineries in Tuscany, including tastings of wine and olive oil.

You could also spend several days — from 5 days in Tuscany to a week or more — exploring this wine region!

Book your Tuscan wine tasting tour from Florence here!

Where to Stay in Florence

view of the duomo having a cup of coffee in italy

City Center

The historic part of town is often more crowded and touristic since it hosts some of the most visited landmarks in Florence.

That said, there are lots of great places to stay in the area for any budget, especially in the winter months when the prices are lower.

For instance, Cicerone is a comfortable guest house with great reviews, in the heart of the city center, perfect for solo travelers and small groups!

Check rates and availability here!


The Oltrarno district, instead, is quieter and has a more local vibe. It hosts a few hotels but also several rental homes and vacation apartments, perfect for a longer stay or simply a more relaxed kind of stay. 

Piccolo Borgo Antico is a small but cozy apartment in the Santo Spirito district of Oltrarno offering easy access on foot to the gorgeous Boboli Gardens.

Check rates and availability here! 

Santa Maria Novella

The area near the train station, known as Santa Maria Novella can also be a good place to stay. It is not as crowded as the train station in Rome or Milan nor as notorious for pickpockets.

Budget travelers can find plenty of accommodation choices in the area, for example, Hotel Unicorno, a 3-star hotel set in a building dating back to the seventeenth century, is only steps from many of Florence’s celebrated attractions.

Check rates and availability here!

Don’t Forget Travel insurance!

View of a clocktower in a piazza in Florence at sunset with beautiful sky and no people walking about in the middle of the square

When planning any trip, especially a winter trip, be sure not to forget about travel insurance!

I use SafetyWing and its Nomad Insurance to insure all of my international trips for its affordable rates and comprehensive coverage for all my travel needs.

It provides both travel insurance (coverage for trip delays, cancellations, interruptions — the likelihood of which increases in winter) and travel medical insurance (coverage for things like accidents, illnesses including Covid, etc. — also more likely in winter!).

Coverage is really affordable — for me, it costs roughly $12 USD for a week of coverage outside of the U.S., with a policy max of $250,000 after a deductible of $250. Not bad!

Check SafetyWing for a quote here!

How to Spend One Day in Florence: The Perfect Mini Itinerary

the facade of the florence duomo church with green marble and all sorts of detail work including mosaic

While Florence has a lot to offer and even a month wouldn’t be enough to see all the masterpieces that the local museums house, one day in Florence can easily offer you a well-rounded view of the most iconic places in town.

The historic center is small and compact, making it easy to walk from one attraction to another in no time, something that will work in your favor to make the most of your day in Florence.

 Planning your trip to Florence at the last minute?

Here are my quick picks on what to do & where to stay!

🍷 Top Florence Experiences:
1. Tuscany Wine & Food Tour with Guide (#1 day trip!)
2. Florence Duomo Visit & Bruneschelli Dome Climb (#1 attraction!)
3. Art Tour of the Uffizi & Accademia (see the Uffizi & Statue of David)

🏨 Best Florence Hotels:
1. Cicerone (charming central Florence guesthouse)
2. Piccolo Borgo Antico (quiet studios near Boboli Gardens)
3. Hotel Unicorno (beautifully revamped 17th century building)

✈️ Flying in? Book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups — they’ll greet you at the airport, help with bags, & bring you into the city, all pre-booked!
the octogon-shaped baptistery in front of the florence duomo

While living in Italy for nearly a decade, Milan was home, but I visited Florence frequently, and I know how to maximize a short stint in Florence like a pro.

Ready to go? Keep this one day itinerary handy to better plan your Florence adventure!

And if you find yourself wanting more time in Florence, read this guide to spending 3 days in the city.

How to Get to Florence

view of the duomo in florence from some windows

Often considered part of the northern region in Italy, Florence is easy to reach from the most important cities in the country.

It’s a comfortable 2-hour ride from Rome or Milan, and no more than 3 hours from Venice or Naples.

Although there are different flights arriving from other Italian cities, both to Florence’s airport, train travel is often cheaper and even faster, once you factor in the waiting time you need to spend at the airport.

Arriving from the rest of Europe is also easy. In addition to having its own airport, the Amerigo Vespucci Airport, there’s also the nearby Pisa Airport.

Only about an hour from Florence by train (and a common day trip from Florence), Pisa receives dozens of daily flights from most European capitals, typically from budget airlines.

If you come to Italy directly from another country in Europe, you’ll probably land in Rome or Milan. From there, you can get to Florence by train, bus, and plane too.

Moving Around in Florence

view of the florence duomo from far away showing the bell tower and other important buildings in the complex

The most enchanting quality of Florence is just how pedestrian-friendly the city is!

You’ll love discovering how easy is to get around without even needing to use public transport.

Everything is within a short walk, making it a great one-day destination or even a good a day trip from other Italian cities like Rome or Milan, which are each 2 hours away by train.

Arriving to Florence early in the morning and leaving from the main station by the evening is a totally realistic plan.

Even just that short amount of time will allow you to see and visit a lot of what the city has to offer, and you won’t leave disappointed!

Gateway to Tuscany

side mirror of a car looking out onto the tuscan countryside

As the capital of Tuscany, Florence is also a great gateway to exploring the charming towns and wineries of Tuscany, the most famous Italian wine-making region.

In Tuscany, there are several famous towns to visit, most of them located just a short train ride from Florence, including Pisa, San Gimignano, and Siena.

That said, Tuscany isn’t always the easiest region to get around by train, especially to smaller towns like Monteriggioni and Montepulciano.

Renting a car in Tuscany (that you pick up in Florence) will allow you to see the best of Italy’s rural side and its most charming hilltop Tuscan towns!

When to Visit Florence

sunset from the dome of the florence duomo with the belltower in view

Florence is one of those Italian cities that never gets a break from tourists. It’s a favorite destination, receiving millions of visitors all year round.

So whether it is winter, summer, or any season in between, finding accommodation isn’t easy and prices tend to be on the higher side.

If you’re planning to stay longer than just a day, and would like to book a hotel, try to do so in advance. Last minute accommodation is often impossible to find, even if you’re willing to pay a high fee.

The weather is also a factor to consider.

Summers are hot in this part of Italy, and obviously, the city will be more crowded with visitors on summer vacation.

Winters can be cold, but it doesn’t often snow, and since you’ll probably spend a lot of time inside museums or art galleries, it will be easier to put up with the low temperatures of winter.

As usual, shoulder seasons (fall and spring) offer much pleasant temperatures and better weather conditions in general to walk around town.

Know Before You Go

florence duomo from afar as seen from the other side of the arno river

The best way to make the most of a single day in such an incredible city that so much to see is a lot of planning — and planning in advance, no less.

As I’ve said above, the city is among Italy’s most visited, so you’re bound to find crowds pretty much everywhere you go.

Tickets can often sell out weeks in advance, and you can be disappointed if you turn up to any attraction without having booked your entrance ticket ahead of time.

This doesn’t apply just to museums and art galleries! The same rules apply if you want to visit Florence’s Duomo, see the Statue of David, or do a city walking tour, which also book up quickly.

Wherever possible, I’ve indicated how you can book something in advance, so you can be sure you don’t miss anything on your day in Florence.

Florence in a Day: What to See and Do

Start the day at Santa Maria del Fiore, aka the Florence Duomo.

The facade of the florence duomo at sunrise

The first place you should visit upon your arrival in town is the Florence Duomo (aka the Cathedral), and the earlier the better in order to avoid huge crowds.

This attraction is quite close to Santa Maria Novella train station, so you can easily walk from the station if you took the train in for a day trip.

It won’t take you more than 15 minutes to get to the heart of the historic center, the Duomo Square, where you can not only visit the Florence Cathedral (aka the Duomo), but also its Baptistery and the impressive Bell Tower.

Start by exploring the church, which is thought to be a fantastic example of Renaissance architecture in the country.

The most remarkable feature is its well-known red-tiled dome, conceived by the genius mind of Filippo Brunelleschi back in 1436!

It’s one of the largest domes in the world and you can even climb it in order to enjoy a breathtaking view of the rest of Florence.

the interior of the bruneschelli dome with the painting of the last judgment inside of it

This skip-the-line ticket bundle offers excellent value for money, offering access to the whole Duomo complex all in one bundle.

It includes access to the Dome, the Crypt of Santa Reparata, Saint John’s Baptistery, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Cathedral, all in one package.

If you’re not afraid of heights and are eager to see a different perspective of Florence, be sure to climb the 400 steps that lead you to the top of the tower.

It’s incredible to admire the intricate masonry work that was needed to create the cupola for which this church is so famous.

If you just want to tour the cathedral and learn about the complex area without seeing every bit of it, you can book this Express Cathedral Tour with Skip-the-Line Entry.

Book this Duomo Complex tour (including Dome) Book this Duomo tour (no Dome climb)

Visit the Uffizi or the Accademia… or maybe both?

The architecture of the courtyard in the Uffizi Gallery with arches, detailed windows, and open courtyard plan

If you have one day in Florence, that’s enough time to allow you to check out at least one of the many museums in the city.

Since visiting all of them could take considerable time, you’ll have to choose carefully.

If I had to pick, I’d say that it’s hard to go wrong with the impressive Galleria degli Uffizi, as it houses perhaps the most impressive collections of Renaissance paintings in all of Europe — it’s one of most iconic Florence landmarks for a reason.

The art gallery takes up the first and second floors of Palazzo Vasari, a fitting setting for its beautiful art, and features works by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Da Vinci, Raphael, and more.

If you prefer, you can choose to focus on the works of just one artist, Michelangelo and one of his best known masterpieces: the David.

the statue of david in the accademia gallery as part of a combo tour

This Accademia ticket includes a timed entry slot, so it’s a good way to plan a quick visit to this iconic work of art and then move on with your day in Florence.

There are a few combined tours that include a visit to both premises, and if you ask me, that’s the best option for those really wanting to squeeze these two visits in a day.

This 4-hour art walking tour focuses on the main pieces of art exhibited in the Uffizi as well as seeing the works like David in the Accademia.

Alternately, you can choose to visit just the Uffizi and enjoy a real-size copy of Michelangelo’s David when you visit the Signoria Square (our next stop).

In that case, I recommend booking this fast-track ticket, since it’s a priority entrance ticket with a reserved time slot, offering you the chance to spend as much time as you want inside the gallery

Book skip-the-line Uffizi tickets Book Accademia & Statue of David tickets Book a combined Uffizi + Accademia guided tour

Admire free art in the Piazza Della Signoria.

the palazzo vecchio brick building with a clock

No more than 5 minutes from the Duomo, right next to the Uffizi Gallery, lies the beating heart and political soul of Florence.

For those whose wallets are hurting from all these entry tickets, you can exhale: the best thing about this part of this piazza is that you can enjoy several unique art exhibitions without spending a dime!

Immediately, your eye will be drawn to the crowning feature of the square is the medieval Palazzo Vecchio (or Palazzo della Signoria).

This old brick structure houses a distinctive tower with a storied past, as it was once the seat of power and ruling body of the former Republic of Florence.

At the entrance, there is a magnificent copy of Michelangelo’s David (the copy dates back to 1873), but that’s not all.

Don’t miss the lesser-celebrated but equally beautiful Hercules and Cacus, which a Renaissance sculpture made in marble by the Florentine artist Bandinelli, completed in 1534.

statues in the open in florence

On one side of the square, don’t miss the Loggia dei Lanzi, an open-air gallery featuring antique and Renaissance statues, including the famous pair of Medici lions, also in marble (Florence loves its marble, what can I say?).

In the center of the square, you can admire the Fountain of Neptune (dating from 1575), made of bronze and marble as well as an equestrian bronze facing Palazzo Vecchio.

If you are also interested in the past of Florence, you’ll be happy to know that it’s also possible to tour the Palazzo Vecchio for a fee.

Here, you can learn all about the families that ruled and decided the destiny of the city, including the so-called Godfathers of the Renaissance, the House of Medici.

You can book your tickets here if you wish to explore the inside of the Palazzo Vecchio, but keep in mind that it will take up some time, so you may have to cut one of the art museums above if you choose to tour the Palazzo Vecchio.

Cross the famous Ponte Vecchio.

covered bridge in Florence Italy over the river with beautiful reflection in the water

Another place you can’t skip when exploring Florence is the outstanding ancient bridge that crosses the River Arno

Known as Ponte Vecchio (which literally means old bridge) this is Florence’s most iconic landmark, often full of tourists trying to cross to the other side of the river or visiting the many jewelry shops located on top of the bridge. 

The bridge was originally a medieval construction made of wood which was at a later point replaced by stone. 

Although in the past it used to be the place where butchers were concentrated, it’s been polished up quite a bit now (literally!).

You’ll now find tons of souvenir shops as well as several workshops where local goldsmiths create unique and refined gold and silver pieces.

Explore the other side of the river, Oltrarno.

View of the Duomo in Florence from the other side of the Arno River, with the Duomo visible and other towers, and hills in the background

After crossing the bridge, you’ll be stepping into a different neighborhood, the lovely Oltrarno, with a more relaxing vibe that is often less crowded than the historic center. 

The best thing to do on this side of the river is to walk through the streets and enjoy the food in one of the many small restaurants and trattorias that you’ll find in the district.

While in Oltrarno, don’t miss stopping off at the best viewpoint in the city, Piazzale Michelangelo, but that might be a better stop after the Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace, as this viewpoint is located a little further down the Arno River.

If you have time, it’s a great sunset spot

Wander through the majestic Boboli Gardens and/or Palazzo Pitti.

Fountain in front of Pitti Palace with view of Florence's cityscape in the background below it

Perhaps the most remarkable place you can visit when in the Oltrarno district is Pitti Palace.

The building was constructed for the important Pitti family but later became home of the powerful Medici family. 

It was designed by Brunelleschi (the same creator of the Duomo’s iconic dome) and completed around 1457.

Today, inside the palace, you can spend some time admiring two important art exhibitions, one that focuses on Renaissance artists and a modern art collection.

You can book your tickets to the interior of the Pitti Palace here.

Framing archway pillars in the Boboli Gardens area of Florence on a partly cloudy day, with trees and other greenery in the background

If, instead, you’ve had enough art galleries with the Uffizi or the Accademia galleries, then focus on the gorgeous gardens of the Palace that you can book with a different ticket.

Modeled after the symmetry of French gardens, this incredible green area can be a fantastic oasis to rest your tired feet after all that walking.

However, the beautiful surroundings will be begging to be explored, so you won’t be able to sit for long!

Inside Boboli, you can admire Baroque sculptures, delicate fountains, and marvel at one of the most amazing views of the city’s skyline, featuring the most important cupolas, towers, and buildings in the historic center.

Book your Pitti Palace tickets! Book your Boboli Gardens tickets!

Shop for memories at Florence’s San Lorenzo Market.

a view of the market in florence with a window

Since you probably don’t want to spend your day carrying souvenirs in your daypack, it’s a good idea to leave a visit to Florence’s most important market for the end of the day. 

Not only is it comfortably close to the main train station, but trust me, you’re going to want to buy everything!

The market is famous for selling bags, jackets, boots, and even luggage made from superior quality Tuscan leather.

You can also purchase more modest souvenirs, including old books, magnets for your fridge and postcards, and incredible Tuscan wines. 

The market is also an affordable place for a bite before boarding the train as most bars in the train station are quite ugly and most definitely overpriced. 

At San Lorenzo market, instead, you can even try some of Florence’s best street food, such as porchetta (a delicious local cold cut), cheeses, and fresh fruit cultivated in the region.

Even if one day in Florence isn’t enough to see all that the city has on offer, this 24-hour itinerary of Florence includes the most precious landmarks. 

Remember, if you organize your day well in advance, you’ll be able to find the right tickets to visit the different attractions and museums and visit it all in a day.

Be sure to leave some free time to walk the lesser-known alleys of the city, try a Fiorentina steak, or enjoy a huge gelato cone in this incredible Italian destination!

Visiting the Florence Duomo: 7 Crucial Tips + Recommended Ticket Options

The facade of the florence duomo at sunrise

When traveling to Florence, there’s one landmark that stands head and shoulders above the rest as an absolute must-see attraction: the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, simply known as the Florence Duomo

While the Duomo and its famous Brunelleschi Dome may be famous worldwide, not everyone knows that the cathedral is just one piece of the spectacular Duomo Complex.

Planning your trip to Florence at the last minute?

Here are my quick picks on what to do & where to stay!

 Top Florence Duomo Tours:
1. 2-Hour Guided Tour with Cathedral, Dome + 72 Hour Complex Pass (the full package!)
2. Skip-the-Line Cathedral + Dome + 72 Hour Pass (no tour guide)
3. Cathedral Only Guided Tour (no dome climb)

🍷 Other Florence Must-Dos:
1. Tuscany Food and Wine Tour (highly-rated small group tour)
2. Art Tour of the Uffizi & Accademia (see the Uffizi & Statue of David)
3. Boboli Gardens Entrance Ticket (best views of Florence)

🏨 Best Florence Hotels:
1. Cicerone (charming central Florence guesthouse)
2. Piccolo Borgo Antico (quiet studios near Boboli Gardens)
3. Hotel Unicorno (beautifully revamped 17th century building)

✈️ Flying in? Book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups — they’ll greet you at the airport, help with bags, & bring you into the city, all pre-booked!

You can visit the imposing cathedral free of charge, but you’ll find many other Florence landmarks in Piazza del Duomo that you can access for a fee.

There’s a lot to see in this complex of buildings, so you’ll want to decide what you want to prioritize, partly based on how much time you have in Florence.

You can choose between several ticket types that give you access to some or all the landmarks, some for 72 hours.

view of the duomo in florence from some windows

Before getting into the ticket types and other useful things to know before visiting the Duomo in Florence (and why it really ought to be on your Florence itinerary), let’s have a quick history lesson to catch you up on the fascinating history of what was once the largest cathedral in the world!

Whether you have but one day in Florence, a full week, or more: you can’t miss this!

A Brief History of the Florence Duomo

View of the Florence Duomo building with facade, dome, belltower all in view, one of the most famous landmarks in florence, before visiting the florence duomo interior

First of all, let’s get terms straight: Duomo means ‘Cathedral’ in Italian, so this building is not to be confused with the Milan Duomo or any other cathedral in Italy.

Good? Now let’s get started!

The lengthy construction of the Florence Duomo started in 1296, but would not be completed until almost a century and a half later, in 1436.

Since it spanned nearly 150 years, as you can imagine, several architects needed to be involved.

The result? A unique church combining a variety of popular architectural styles that reflect the architectural zeitgeist, including Renaissance and Gothic elements.

When completed, the Duomo was the largest church in the world; it has since been upstaged by St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

The construction of the cathedral began during a flourishing period in Florence’s history, and it was constantly interrupted due to external events.

The church was initially designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, but the design changed significantly as other architects took over the project.

The Duomo’s stunning dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the last parts of the church to be finished, not until 1436.

The imposing dome was an engineering feat at the time, but it remains one today: it’s still the largest masonry vault in the world even now!

Although it was not yet complete, the church was dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore in 1412, a clear tribute to the city’s symbol, the Florentine iris.

The cathedral’s façade, one of the most impressive features alongside the dome, also looked very different at the time of completion when compared to its current appearance.

the facade of the florence duomo church with green marble and all sorts of detail work including mosaic

In 1587, the Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici decided to replace it entirely. The decorative elements of the original façade are now on display inside the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

However, the changes weren’t over yet, and the façade as you see it today is just a century old.

The cathedral saw significant renovation work during the 19th century, the most impressive one being the decoration of the façade with white, green, and red marble done by Emilio De Fabris between 1871 and 1884 to match Giotto’s Bell Tower.

Towards the end of the 20th century, extensive archaeological excavations uncovered the ruins of an ancient church right below the Florence Duomo.

Archaeologists soon identified the Church of Santa Reparata, the ancient city cathedral which replaced the San Lorenzo Cathedral.

The Landmarks of the Florence Duomo Complex

In addition to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo Complex includes the Baptistery of St. John, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Opera del Duomo Museum, and the Church of Santa Reparata.

Depending on the ticket for the Duomo you purchase, you can visit all the landmarks or just a few highlights.

Before you make your choice, here’s a quick overview of what to expect from each landmark of the Duomo Complex.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

detail work on the facade of the duomo church

After admiring the beautiful marble façade of the cathedral with its decorative elements and colorful mosaics — including the famous one above — step inside to discover the inside.

Entry to the Duomo itself is free, and you can check out the beautiful artwork inside.

The inside has a very simple appearance compared to the ornate exterior, but you can admire an absolute treasure trove of art.

interior of the church

These works include Renaissance paintings and frescoes.

You can also find busts of key personalities from the city’s history like Giotto and Brunelleschi and other sculptures.

And of course, there’s the interior of the dome — but that warrants its own section, now.

Brunelleschi’s Dome

the interior of the bruneschelli dome with the painting of the last judgment inside of it

Warranting a separate section all of its own, while Brunelleschi’s Dome is part of the Florence Duomo, it requires a separate entry with a time slot reservation.

It’s worth the extra effort through to see this marvelous dome covered in a fresco by Vasari and Zuccari representing The Last Judgment.  

For a closer look at the wonderful fresco on the dome’s vault, you’ll have to buy a ticket that includes the climb to the Brunelleschi Dome.

It’s worth the extra price to see the stunning close-up of the fresco that will allow you to admire the impressive details!

view of the city of florence including the giotto belltower from the vantage point of the brunelleschi dome

However, if you do so, not only will you be able to see this fresco, you’ll also be able to admire the panoramic view of Florence from above.

I mean, just look at those epic views from the top!

I’d say it’s worth all those stairs you have to climb.

Church of Santa Reparata

the historical crypt of the florence duomo lit by warm light

The ancient paleo-Christian church of Santa Reparata now serves as the crypt of the Florence Duomo.

The church likely dates to the early 5th century and later replaced San Lorenzo as the city cathedral. 

The Church of Santa Reparata served as Florence’s main cathedral until 1379 when it was demolished to make space for the current cathedral.

glass paneling showing the church below

If you visit the underground, you can still see well-preserved, colorful mosaics on the floor, frescoes, and tombstones.

Glass floors show you the original stonework!

The access to the ancient church is inside the Duomo, but be warned, it’s only accessible for a fee, or as part of a pass.

Giotto’s Bell Tower

the super-tall giotto belltower done in the same marblework you see on the exterior of the florence duomo

Giotto’s Bell Tower is widely considered the most beautiful bell tower in Italy, completely covered in red, green, and white marble from the various regions of Tuscany. 

Giotto started working on the bell tower project in 1334 but tragically could only complete a small part before his death in 1337.

The work was continued by Andrea Pisano and Luca della Robbia over the following years and completed in 1359.

On top of the beautiful marble decoration, the tower includes many decorative elements, including bas-reliefs and statues of key personalities.

The statues you now see on the tower are copies, while the originals are kept in the Opera del Duomo Museum (also on this list!)

If you ask me, the absolute best part of the tower is the top terrace offering sweeping views of Florence.

view of the florence area from the top of the giotto bell tower

It’s a truly magnificent view!

However, climbing to the top of the tower may not be for everyone. There’s over 400 stairs leading to the top, and the narrow stairway can be challenging.

Access is not recommended for people suffering from cardiovascular conditions or claustrophobia.

Baptistery of St. John

the octogon-shaped baptistery in front of the florence duomo

Next to the Florence Duomo, the octagonal Baptistery of St. John is among the oldest churches in Florence.

Although the origins of the church are uncertain, several decorative elements on the outside, including part of the marble, were likely reclaimed from ancient pagan buildings.

The baptistery you can now admire is the result of a renovation of an older one, likely dating back to the 4th or possibly 5th century.

Duomo in Florence, with rounded building and marble artwork with stripes and symmetry

The inside of the baptistery was decorated with stunning mosaics by local artists in the 13th century.

The three main doors of the church were designed and decorated by significant artists, including Andrea Pisano and Ghiberti.

Note that many artworks that previously adorned the baptistery are now on display in the Opera del Duomo Museum.

Opera del Duomo Museum

view of a wooden prototype of the facade of the duomo found in the florence duomo museum

The final part of the Duomo Complex, the Opera del Duomo Museum, contains the original artworks that were inside the monuments and several decorative elements.

As we’ve mentioned throughout the piece so far, many works have been removed from their original location in the Duomo Complex and placed here.

The small but mighty museum houses works by some of the greatest Renaissance artists of this time period, including Michelangelo, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Giotto, and many others.

A few of the highlights in the museum are the original “Gates of Paradise” by Ghiberti from the Baptistery, the Pietà Bandini by Michelangelo, and several sculptures from Giotto’s Bell Tower.

Ticket Options and Guided Tours of the Florence Duomo

The beautiful city of Florence as seen from across the river at a popular viewpoint with the Duomo dominating the skyline

To get the best possible experience of the Florence Duomo and its rich historical context, I think it’s highly beneficial to join a guided tour.

Lucky for you, there’s a ton of different ways to do that, with different time commitments and buildings visited.

Here are our top 3 picks for Florence Duomo tours and/or entry tickets, and what is included on each.

1. Cathedral Only Skip-the-Line Entry & Tour

Inside The Cathedral of Florence, somewhat plain and dark

If you want to learn more about the cathedral, you can join this Florence Cathedral: Priority Entrance Tour with an expert guide that will tell you all about the history of the Duomo.

This ticket even allows you to enter through a separate entrance to skip the lines! You can do the tour in English, Spanish, or Italian.

Note that this tour does not include access to the Brunelleschi Dome.

To be honest, while this tour is one of the cheaper options, it would be my last choice because the interior of the cathedral isn’t nearly as interesting as the ability to see the dome.

However, if that’s all you can do because you’re booking at the last minute, it’s better than nothing.

2. Skip the Line Entry to Brunelleschi’s Dome and Cathedral Complex

The duomo of Florence, Italy and the wonderful masterpiece of The Judgment Day, inside the famous Dome

If you’re looking for a more complete experience, book this skip-the-line Cathedral + Brunelleschi’s dome entry ticket with time slot for the dome.

This is one of the more comprehensive options at a still affordable price! Keep in mind though that this ticket sells out quickly: it’s sold out entirely for a few days, and all but the best slots are taken for the upcoming few weeks.

Book about a month in advance if you want to have your choice of time slots for the Dome (there is the option of free cancellation if needed).

While the main draw of this ticket is the reserved entry for Brunelleschi’s Dome, you also get a 72-hour Duomo Complex pass that allows you to check out all the sites listed above.

That includes not only the church itself and the dome, but also the Bell Tower, the Duomo Museum, and Santa Reparata Crypt.

3. Skip the Line Brunelleschi Dome and Cathedral Complex Entrance and 2-Hour Guided Tour

beautiful view of the duomo as seen from the Santa Maria del Fiore

This Brunelleschi + Cathedral Complex small group tour is similar to the above, only it includes a 2-hour guided tour as opposed to only skip-the-line tickets.

Then, you can continue your experience visiting the Florence Duomo in a self-guided fashion with the 72 hour pass.

This is the creme-de-la-creme tour if you want to experience it all with a tour guide who can give you the historical context of what you’re seeing — all in a small group capped at 12 people.

Plus, you’ll still have the opportunity to tour certain parts of the complex independently, as you’ll get the 72-hour pass which allows you to see the sights this tour doesn’t cover, namely the bell tower and Cathedral crypt.

If you ask me, it’s the best of all worlds: a not-too-long tour, enough historical context to truly appreciate what you’re seeing, and then the opportunity to solo explore later!

Things to Know Before Visiting the Florence Duom

Now that you know how you can visit the various monuments of the Florence Duomo Complex, let’s chat about a few things you should keep in mind to make sure your trip is a great experience. 

Buy tickets in advance.

Florence Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore sunrise view, empty streets and square

In peak season, tickets are likely to sell out quite fast, especially those including the climb to the dome, which only is accessible via a pre-reserved time slot.

If you are not planning on getting a guided tour, book your tickets online a few weeks before to have the best shot at finding your perfect time slot.

You don’t need to book specific time slots for the other monuments, so if you don’t want to climb the dome, you’ll likely have no trouble finding tickets.

Finally, although you can buy tickets at the on-site ticket office, booking online removes the stress of waiting in line, so you can use that precious time to visit other beautiful areas of Florence.

To recap our ticket recommendations:

Don’t rush!

Duomo Santa Maria Del Fiore in Florence Italy closeup street view, with belltower rising above the skyline

There’s a lot to see around Piazza del Duomo, and it can be exhausting if you try to fit everything in one day.

The passes are valid for three days (on all but the first ticket option listed above), so you can divide the monuments and only do one or two per day.

This way, you’ll enjoy the visits a lot more and won’t end up drained.

For instance, if you want to climb both Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Brunelleschi Dome, try to do them on two separate days (your legs will thank you).

As an extra bonus, you can even schedule your visits for different times, one during the day and the other around sunset.

Check the weather and plan accordingly!

Florence's cathedral reflected in a puddle on a rainy day

Most monuments are indoors, so you can visit them at any time without having to worry about the weather.

However, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Brunelleschi Dome are open at the top, so you’ll want to avoid climbing on a rainy or cloudy day so you can actually enjoy the view once you get to the top!

At the same time, depending on what else you’d like to do in the city, if you see bad weather in the forecast (especially if visiting Florence in winter), you can choose to visit the museum, baptistery, and Santa Reparata during that time.

That way, you can enjoy exploring the city when the weather is better.

Dress appropriately.

florence duomo outfit with woman with outstretched arms enjoying the beautiful florence cityscape

As for any other church in Italy, you should dress appropriately to visit the Duomo and St. John’s Baptistery as a sign of respect for the local culture and holiness of the site.

This means no shorts or skirts above the knees and no bare shoulders (a shawl will be fine to cover them up).

In summer, you can wear a t-shirt, or bring a scarf to cover the shoulders and wear long pants, skirts, or dresses.

Wear the right shoes.

close up of lace up boots

While the dress code is a religious thing, wearing the right shoes is all about practicality.

You’ll end up walking a lot, so wear comfortable shoes.

That doesn’t mean they have to be sneakers though! You could wear walking sandals, a well-broken-in pair of boots, etc.

Especially when climbing Giotto’s Tower or the steps up to the Dome, having comfy shoes is crucial!

Don’t bring your luggage.

woman holding luggage on a street wearing a white shirt and jeans

If you’re visiting the Florence Duomo before your hotel check-in or after check-out, store your luggage somewhere before.

The last thing you want is to drag around your suitcase while visiting the cathedral or baptistery!

Especially if you plan to climb Giotto’s Bell Tower, you can’t enter with big luggage since the stairway is very narrow.  

The Duomo Museum has a cloakroom where you can leave your luggage if needed.

The other monuments don’t have such a service, so don’t forget to plan accordingly.

Pick the right time.

sunset from the dome of the florence duomo with the belltower in view

If possible, try to plan your visit to the Florence Duomo during the week rather than the weekend.

Although in the busiest season you’ll still find many people around, visiting during the week usually means you have a better chance of avoiding the worst of the crowds.

As for the time, try to visit at the earliest time possible, or right before closing time.

If you want to climb the dome around sunset, keep in mind that these time slots sell the fastest, so you’ll have to book ahead.

Finally, don’t forget to check the hours before you visit!

The museum, for example, is closed every first Tuesday of the month, unless it’s a holiday, in which case it may remain open.

Each monument also has different hours, so check the official website for the dates you are interested in.

Now that you have all the practical information you need, it’s time to start planning your visit to the Florence Duomo, this wonderful Renaissance monument!

13 Fun Things to Do in Florence at Night for Travelers

detail of the florence city skyline at night with purpleish dark sky

Planning your next (or first!) trip to Florence, but don’t know how to spend your evenings in the city?

Luckily, Florence at night is just as vibrant as it is during the day!

Planning your trip to Florence at the last minute?

Here are my quick picks on what to do & where to stay!

 Top Florence Night Activities:
1. Guided Food Walking Tour (taste all the best of Florence!)
2. Sunset Sightseeing and Wine Tasting Tour (try local wines with a sunset view!)
3. Arno River Cruise (epic sunset views of Florence!)

🏨 Best Florence Hotels:
1. Cicerone (charming central Florence guesthouse)
2. Piccolo Borgo Antico (quiet studios near Boboli Gardens)
3. Hotel Unicorno (beautifully revamped 17th century building)

✈️ Flying in? Book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups — they’ll greet you at the airport, help with bags, & bring you into the city, all pre-booked!

Florence may be known for its arts, but there’s so much more to it than meets the eye: it’s not just the Duomo, the Statue of David, and its museums!

While you’ll likely spend your days wandering around Florence’s landmarks like its museums, churches, and lively squares, the city shows its most romantic side at night.

sunset from the dome of the florence duomo with the belltower in view

But don’t worry, there’s plenty to do in Florence at night if you’re traveling solo or with friends as well!

During my 15 years living in Italy, I traveled to Florence several times. I’ve seen the city from every angle, day and night, so in this guide, I’ll share the best ways I’ve found to spend a night in Florence! 

From the best sunset views and the coolest activities to the liveliest bars and nightclubs, this guide has you covered for several nights out in Florence.

Best Things to Do in Florence at Night

Watch the city lights turn on from Piazzale Michelangelo.

view from piazzale michelangelo of the gorgeous city of florence at night with the city all lit up and the sky in a lightish dark blue

Piazzale Michelangelo is hands down one of the best spots to watch the sunset in Florence!

The square features a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David and sits on a hilltop on the southern bank of the Arno River overlooking the center of Florence on the opposite riverbank.

Be sure to get there at least 15 minutes before sunset to grab a prime spot!

Then, just wait for the sun to set over the city’s skyline, with the cathedral complex towering over the rest of the buildings. 

There will probably be someone playing live music, and a whole crowd of  people sharing in the magic of the moment.

After the sunset, stick around to watch the city lights start turning on as night falls.

Piazzale Michelangelo is just a 20-minute walk from Florence’s city center. If you don’t want to walk, there’s several buses serving the square as well.

Explore the city center without the crowds.

the uffizi gallery in florence at night time which is normally crowded during the day time

The biggest luxury of exploring Florence by night is that it’s crowd-free!

If you want to enjoy a peaceful stroll around the empty streets so you can admire the city’s architecture and landmarks without the constant flow of tour groups and tourists, go out after dark.

Aside from being nearly empty, the city has a romantic vibe at night!

The spectacular Florence Duomo stands in all its magnificence in a nearly deserted square, and the charming streets and squares of the historical center are positively enchanting in the dim lights.

Heads up: depending on the season, you may need to go out later to enjoy some peace and solitude. 

In summer, you can expect the city to be still buzzing with life until the late hours of the night.

But in winter in Florence, you can enjoy a peaceful stroll just after dinner, which ends around 10:30 PM in Italy.

Go on a food walking tour.

hand holding a gelato in a gelateria

Another great way to enjoy Florence at night is to join a food walking tour.

While these are available during the day too, joining an evening tour can often be a more relaxed experience, especially with the evening bringing a bit of relief from the hot Italian summers.

This Guided Food Walking Tour lasts three hours, during which you’ll explore the streets of Florence and taste traditional Florentine dishes paired with local wines.

You’ll stop by eateries and food shops, hear cool stories about local food and history from your guide, and sample some delicious gelato.

A great alternative, though a bit more expensive, is this 2-hour Sunset Sightseeing and Wine Tasting Tour.

The tour takes place in the Oltrarno district and includes both a guided walking tour and a wine tasting paired with local products like cheese, bruschetta, and cold cuts. 

Be sure to check the availability and book in advance for both options!

Book your food walking tour here or your sunset food and wine tasting here!

Join a tipsy walking tour.

hand holding a glass of wine in florence

If you want to spend a fun night out and meet other travelers, why not join a tour of the best bars in town?

This 3-hour Guided Walking Tour with Drinks is the perfect chance to learn about Florence’s most scandalous and intriguing stories, all while exploring some of the city’s famous nightlife neighborhoods.

The guided tour will take you through some of the liveliest bars in Florence to sample drinks like the popular Spritz, wines, and traditional liqueurs.

While sipping your drinks, your guide will tell you about their history and fun facts.

The tour kicks off in the Oltrarno district and passes through the charming Piazza della Passera, the lively Piazza Santo Spirito, and the popular Via Maggio before leading you to Via Benci, a famous nightlife street in the historical center of Florence. 

Fair warning: since the tour is all about sampling alcoholic drinks, you’ll want to be sure to eat something before you go!

Book your wine and walking tour here!

Have a traditional Florentine dinner.

florence steak cut showing rare slices

What better way to spend an evening in Florence than enjoying a delicious dinner in a traditional Florentine restaurant?

The sheer number of great restaurants in Florence can be overwhelming, but Osteria Vecchio Cancello is one of the best for traditional dishes. 

There’s a good reason why this traditional, cozy restaurant close to Florence’s train station is one of the best-rated in the city.

Featuring an old-style, charming interior and a lovely terrace, this restaurant serves exquisite Florentine food and great wines.

If you want to sample real Florentine cuisine, then you absolutely have to try their Florentine T-Bone steak. The massive steak is a two person dish, so don’t order it if you’re on your own. 

You’ll find several other meat-based dishes, as well as fish and vegetarian options, like the tasty ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta cheese.

Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of Tuscan wine, of course!

Have a tasty gelato while strolling along the Arno.

ponte vecchio at sunset with beautiful river view

After enjoying a delightful dinner, it’s time for dessert, so remember to leave some room! And what better dessert than a delicious gelato? 

Florence offers a wide choice of gelato shops, from renowned gelato chains like Amorino or Venchi to small local ones like Cantina del Gelato and La Strega Nocciola in the Oltrarno district.

A good rule of thumb for choosing a good gelato place is to go for the ones where the gelato is covered. This simple detail ensures its freshness. 

I recommend Cantina del Gelato and la Strega Nocciola for this very reason.

Not only do they have delicious gelato and unusual flavors, but they are in a perfect location in Oltrarno.

Grab your cone or cup with your favorite gelato flavors and enjoy a pleasant stroll along the Arno River.

Cross the Ponte alle Grazie to enjoy a lovely view of the Ponte Vecchio!

Join an evening river cruise.

arno river cruise at night in the sunset changing colors

Another perfect way to spend the evening in Florence is to hop on a boat and enjoy a cruise along the Arno River.

In my opinion, this is the ideal evening activity in summer, since the days can be extremely hot and sitting on a boat under the burning sun isn’t exactly my idea of a good time.

This Arno City River Cruise has several departures throughout the day and evening, with the last one departing at 9:30 PM.

You’ll get on an electric boat at Via Lungarno Diaz and travel along the Arno and under Ponte delle Grazie, Ponte Vecchio, Ponte Santa Trinità, and Ponte alla Carraia before making your way back.

The cruise lasts around an hour and includes a running commentary about the city and the main landmarks you pass by.

Book your river cruise here!

Have a cocktail in an artsy bar.

hand serving a cocktail

Since you’re in the Italian city of arts, there’s  no better place to enjoy a cocktail than a mix between a cocktail bar and an art gallery!

The Arts Inn is a clever concept that combines beautiful art with signature cocktails inspired by the greatest artists of all time.

The cocktail bar was created by a local artist inside what used to be his atelier, housing his permanent art exhibitions and art shows by other artists.

Enjoy this unique atmosphere while sipping on a cocktail inspired by Frida Kahlo, Gaugin, or Andy Warhol.

The bar is in a beautiful 15th-century building in Via del Porcellana near the Santa Maria Novella train station.

Be warned that the place is quite small, so you may need to reserve a table if you don’t want to risk waiting around.

Dance the night away in a nightclub.

night club vibe

If you want to spend the night out dancing, Florence has no shortage of options to offer. 

Tenax is by far one of the most famous nightclubs in Florence, known for hosting renowned national and international artists and DJs. Check the upcoming events to see what’s happening when you’re in town. 

However, note that the club is quite far from the center, so you’ll have to catch a taxi.

If you’re looking for more easy-going spots a bit closer to the historical center, try Flo Lounge Bar or Rex Cafè

Flo Lounge Bar is in the Oltrarno district, close to Piazzale Michelangelo. The club features a terrace overlooking the city and hosts many events, especially in summer.

Rex Cafè is the closest spot to the historical center. You’ll always find something going on at Rex, from acoustic live sessions to jazz concerts or DJ sets. 

And of course, if you’re looking for good drinks, Rex is known for making great cocktails.

Join a cooking class.

two hands holding fresh made egg pasta that is cut into tagliatelle on a work surface with flour

Instead of simply eating out, why not learn how to cook a proper Italian meal and then enjoy the fruits of your labor?

Join this Pizza and Gelato Cooking Class to learn how to make Italian pizza and gelato from a professional chef.

The workshop lasts around three hours, during which you can learn about the history of these tasty Italian treats while preparing them yourself.

You’ll then enjoy your pizza creation with a glass of Chianti wine and indulge in the tasty gelato.

If you want to learn how to make your own pasta instead, join this private Pasta and Tiramisu Class

Your local host will teach you how to prepare fresh pasta dough and shape it into traditional pasta shapes, all while sipping an Italian aperitivo.

You’ll then prepare a tasty tiramisu and enjoy dinner with a selection of local wines.

Learn to make pizza and gelato or pasta and tiramisu at these cooking classes!

Sample Tuscan wines.

sampling different florence tuscan wines

If you like wine, you won’t be disappointed by the vast choice of great wine bars where you can sample some of the best Tuscan wines!

From a glass of classic Chianti to the refined Barolo or Brunello di Montalcino and countless others, you could literally spend weeks sampling wines in Florence and still just scratch the surface.

Head to Antica Bottega Wine Tasting and try their wine-tasting experience to learn about different wine varieties and sample a tasty charcuterie board.

You can also pick your favorite wine and have it with a delicious sandwich or some Italian cheese.

Enoteca Alessi is another delightful place for wine tasting.

The family-owned wine shop has been around since 1952 and has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best places in town for wine tasting. 

Visit the underground wine cellar and join the tasting experience to learn about local wines and enjoy delicious cheese and cured meats.

You’ll probably want to buy a few bottles to take home too!

Attend an opera concert.

an opera singer with a microphone
Shadow of singer in light

If you’re passionate about opera, a great way to spend the night in Florence is to attend a show in a unique location in the Oltrarno district.

Santa Monaca Church is a lovely historic 15th-century church housing daily opera concerts.

Grab a ticket for this Italian Opera Concert and prepare to listen to some of the most renowned works of Italian opera, from Verdi and Rossini to Puccini, Bellini, and Mascagni.

The concerts are performed by professional singers accompanied by a grand piano in a stunning setting.

To make a night of it, you can also book this Pizza Dinner and Opera experience that includes dinner and a classic opera concert, also taking place in the Santa Monaca Church.

Book an Italian opera concert or a concert with a dinner experience!

Watch a movie under the stars.

If you visit Florence in summer, between July and August, you may get the chance to watch a movie under the stars!

Every summer, the gorgeous Villa Bardini houses the Cinema in Villa event on the panoramic terrace overlooking Florence.

Many movies are in their original language with Italian subtitles, unlike those you would see in theaters which are dubbed in Italian.

If you need any more reasons to try this experience, you can take advantage of free access every Thursday. 

However, on other nights, the ticket is only €5, which is worth the magical experience.

The exact dates of the film program vary each year, so check the calendar before your trip.

The calendar usually begins in early July and lasts until the end of August.

25 Essential Landmarks in Florence to Visit (+ Florence Attraction Map!)

Duomo in Florence, with rounded building and marble artwork with stripes and symmetry

The capital of the picturesque region of Tuscany, Florence is the cradle of Renaissance art and architecture and one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.

Boasting stunning historical landmarks, beautiful churches, medieval squares and buildings, and many remarkable museums, the landmarks of Florence have much to offer every kind of traveler.

 Planning your trip to Florence at the last minute?

Here are my quick picks on what to do & where to stay!

🍷 Top Florence Experiences:
1. Tuscany Wine & Food Tour with Guide (#1 day trip!)
2. Florence Duomo Visit & Bruneschelli Dome Climb (#1 attraction!)
3. Art Tour of the Uffizi & Accademia (see the Uffizi & Statue of David)

🏨 Best Florence Hotels:
1. Cicerone (charming central Florence guesthouse)
2. Piccolo Borgo Antico (quiet studios near Boboli Gardens)
3. Hotel Unicorno (beautifully revamped 17th century building)

✈️ Flying in? Book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups — they’ll greet you at the airport, help with bags, & bring you into the city, all pre-booked!

The architecture and art in Florence were greatly influenced by the House of Medici, a noble family and political dynasty that ruled Florence between the 13th and 18th centuries. 

Florence is best-known for the impressive Duomo complex, one of the most beautiful churches in Italy, and the famous Giotto Bell Tower which offers sweeping views of the city. 

View of the facade of a famous florence church landmark

Welcome to Florence: be sure to walk along the Arno River, explore the squares and alleys, and try delicious Tuscan food.

But most of all, make sure not to miss adding these stunning landmarks to your Florence itinerary, even if you just have one day in Florence!

Map of Florence Attractions

The Best Florence Landmarks

Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo di Firenze)

florence duomo with bell tower and face of the Florence duomo

By far, the most important landmark in Florence is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo of Florence (I’ve written a full guide to visiting here).

At the time of its completion in the 15th century, the cathedral was the largest in Europe, and it’s still the 11th largest in the world.

Together with the Baptistery of St. John and Giotto’s Bell Tower, the cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The most important feature of the cathedral is the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi, which towers over Florence’s rooftops and offers an epic view.

The dome’s ceiling is decorated with a fresco of The Last Judgment by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari.

Filippo Brunelleschi and Giotto di Bondone are buried in the cathedral’s crypt, along with other personalities.

The crypt stands in the place of a former 5th-century church, Santa Reparata, which was only discovered in the second half of the 20th century.

You can visit the cathedral free of charge, but there’s a fee to climb to the top of the dome and to visit Santa Reparata.

The most convenient way to visit all the monuments in Piazza del Duomo is via a guided tour that includes access to the Duomo, Brunelleschi’s Dome, the Crypt of Santa Reparata, the Baptistery, and Giotto’s Bell Tower.

Book your guided tour of the Duomo and Dome here!

If budget is a concern, you can skip going up the dome and just book skip-the-line tickets to the Duomo interior.

You won’t get to see the amazing frescoes in the Dome or the stunning views from up top, but it is a more affordable and less time-consuming way to appreciate this Florence landmark.

Book your skip-the-line Duomo tickets here!

Giotto’s Tower

View looking up at the ornate architecture and windows on the Giotto Tower in florence on a clear sunny day.

Next to the Duomo, Giotto’s Tower is an 85 meters tall (278 feet) bell tower offering gorgeous views of the city.

The tower is part of the Duomo complex, so the visit is included with a Brunelleschi tour like this.

To reach the top of the tower, you need to climb 414 steps, so you’ll get a small cardio workout in too!

For an easier climb, there are three intermediate floors where you can rest and enjoy the view.

The beautifully decorated tower is one of the symbols of Florentine Gothic architecture, designed by painter and architect Giotto di Bondone in 1334.

On the outside, the tower seems painted, but it’s actually covered in different colors of marble!

You’ll find white marble from Carrara, red marble from Siena, and green marble from Prato.  

The Baptistery of St. John

Semi-cylindrical building with stripes of reddish-brown and white marble in the center of a plaza with lots of people walking about in the piazza

Opposite Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, the Baptistery of St. John is another monument of the Duomo complex.

The octagonal building is covered in white Carrara marble and green marble from Prato and features three bronze doors decorated with relief sculptures.

The baptistery you can visit today is the result of a renovation of an earlier one dating to the 4th or 5th century CE.

The present baptistery was built between 1059 and 1128 in the Romanesque style.

On the inside, you’ll find several impressive features, such as the mosaic ceiling depicting The Last Judgment, choirs of angels, and other biblical stories.

Opera del Duomo di Firenze

Several sculpture busts inside of a museum in Florence
Image Credit: dvdbramhall via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Opera del Duomo Museum is a relatively recent addition to Piazza del Duomo, initially opened in 1891 and renovated in 2015.

The museum allows you to discover the history of the impressive Duomo complex, which is considered the cradle of Renaissance art.

Inside the museum, you can admire beautiful art pieces that once decorated the buildings in the square, including masterpieces by Michelangelo, Donatello, Brunelleschi, and Ghiberti.

The visit to the Opera del Duomo is not included on every tour, so be sure to find one that specifically includes it, such as this small group tour.

Book your tour of the Duomo complex and the opera del Duomo here!

Uffizi Gallery

The architecture of the courtyard in the Uffizi Gallery with arches, detailed windows, and open courtyard plan

The Uffizi Gallery is among Italy’s most important art galleries, housed in a 16th-century building designed by Giorgio Vasari.

The gallery houses some of the most important works created between the Middle Ages and the modern area, passing through the Renaissance.

In the Uffizi, you’ll admire works by Raphael, Giotto, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Leonardo Da Vinci, and others.

Some of the masterpieces inside this famous Florence landmark are the Birth of Venus by Botticelli, Medusa by Caravaggio, the Venus of Urbino by Titian, and La Primavera by Botticelli.

You can buy your tickets for the Uffizi Gallery online. You’ll usually have no problem booking for the next day during the low season.

If you visit in the summer, you will definitely want to book ahead of time to be able to choose your desired time slot.

Even if you’re visiting Florence in winter, this is a top attraction, so you’ll still want to book ahead so you won’t be disappointed.

Book your skip-the-line Uffizi Gallery tickets here!

Galleria dell’Accademia & the Statue of David

the statue of David in the academia gallery in florence in winter

Galleria dell’Accademia is well worth a visit for its many pieces of art, but it’s best-known for housing the famous David by Michelangelo.

I’ve written a full guide on how to see the Statue of David in Florence here.

The impressive collection also includes paintings from the 13th to the 15th centuries by renowned artists like Giotto, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, and Michelangelo.

Among the sculptures, the most valuable ones are by Giambologna, Lorenzo Bartolini, and Michelangelo.

The gallery also houses a collection of musical instruments and historical archives.

The gallery is open daily except for Mondays, and tickets are available online.

Being much smaller than the Uffizi, the tickets for the Galleria dell’Accademia tend to sell out faster.

Be sure to book them at least four or five days in advance, even in the low season!

Tip: We have a full guide to seeing the Statue of David here!

Book your time slot entry for Michelangelo’s David here!

Piazza della Signoria

Sunrise on an empty square with a large clocktower, building with arches, and small patio areas in front of restaurants

At the heart of Florence, Piazza della Signoria is one of the city’s largest and most important squares.

Archaeological findings indicate that the square existed already during prehistorical times, and it was an important area in the ancient Roman city that predated Florence.

The square as you see it today started taking shape in the second half of the 13th century.

All around the square you will see many important Florence landmarks, like Palazzo Vecchio, Loggia della Signoria, and Palazzo Uguccioni.

The square is also famous for the sculptures in front of Palazzo Vecchio, including works by Donatello and a copy of the David of Michelangelo.

You’ll inevitably walk around Piazza della Signoria many times during your stay in Florence!

Don’t forget to check out the beautiful buildings, sculptures, and the stunning Fountain of Neptune.

Palazzo Vecchio

Several crests in the archway windows of the Palazzo Vecchio, with other windows and a large clock face with Roman numeral numbers, building made of stucco-colored brick.

Palazzo Vecchio, formerly Palazzo della Signoria, is a 13th-century building and the town hall of Florence.

The iconic building is one of the most famous attractions in Florence and now houses a museum where you can learn more about the city’s long history.

On the first floor, the Salone dei Cinquecento is a vast Renaissance room covered in frescoes by Giorgio Vasari.

On the second floor, you can visit the Apartments of the Elements, the Apartments of Eleonora of Toledo, and the Apartments of the Priori.

Tip: For amazing views of Florence, climb to the top of the tower!

Ponte Vecchio

covered bridge in Florence Italy over the river with beautiful reflection in the water

Of the many bridges across the Arno River, Ponte Vecchio is by far the most picturesque!

As the name suggests, Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence. Because it was the only medieval bridge to survive the Second World War, there’s nothing else like it in the city.

The pedestrian bridge is lined with shops, in particular jewelry and souvenir stores.

Walk along the bridge to enjoy the view of the river and check out the shops, or go for a stroll along the Lungarno to admire the colorful Ponte Vecchio from afar!

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Dominican church in Florence Italy with several circular features, lots of ornamentation and craftwork

The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is a 13th-century church founded by the monks of the Dominican Order.

The beautiful church is famous for housing important artworks by some of the most important artists of the time, including Giotto, Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, and Vasari.

The marble façade of the basilica was only completed in 1920, so it’s more modern than the exterior.

On the inside, some of the most important sights are the Filippo Strozzi Chapel and the Tornabuoni Chapel, both covered in frescoes.

You can enter the church for free during mass, but there is a fee to visit it at other times, and to admire the artwork within it.

Book your entry tickets and audioguide for the church here!

Cappella Brancacci

Housed inside the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine, Cappella Brancacci is a salient example of Renaissance art.

The chapel was decorated between 1424 and 1428 by two of the most renowned artists of the time, Masaccio and Masolino da Panicale.

The chapel’s name comes from the noble family that owned it already in the 14th century.

The frescoes covering the walls depict biblical themes, from The Temptation of Adam and Eve and The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden to scenes from St. Peter and St. Paul’s lives.

To visit the chapel, book your ticket online a few days in advance. Tickets may sell out, especially during the high season.

Pitti Palace

Fountain in front of Pitti Palace with view of Florence's cityscape in the background below it

Pitti Palace used to be the symbol of the Medici’s power in the 16th century when the family bought it as the new Grand Ducal residence.

However, the palace is still named after its first owner, the successful banker Luca Pitti.

Nowadays, the palace houses several museums: the Treasury of the Grand Dukes, the Museum of Russian Icons, the Palatine Gallery, the Imperial and Royal Apartments, the Gallery of Modern Art, and the Museum of Costume and Fashion.

Pitti Palace is undoubtedly one of the must-see museums in Florence, so be sure to buy tickets in advance in the high season!

Book your Pitti Palace tickets here!

Palazzo Strozzi

People walking in front of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy on a sunny summer day

Palazzo Strozzi once belonged to a rich merchant rival of the Medici family.

Built in the late 15th century, the magnificent palace is an important example of Renaissance architecture.

Palazzo Strozzi features a beautiful inner courtyard surrounded by an arched portico that often houses art exhibits.

Aside from checking out the permanent collection and exploring the beautiful building, you can also see temporary exhibitions, like the Olafur Eliasson exhibition, available until the end of January 2023.

On Thursdays, you can visit the museum until 11 PM.

Museo Galileo

Exterior of the Museo Galileo in the city center of Florence, a popular science museum to visit.
Photo Credit: Museo Galileo, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Museo Galileo houses a vast collection of artifacts dating to the 15th and 16th centuries.

The collection includes relics collected by the Medici family in the late 16th century and the Grand Duke Peter Leopold Habsburg-Lorraine in the 18th century.

The permanent collection includes astrological instruments, celestial and terrestrial globes, microscopes, surgical instruments, Galileo’s telescope, and many other scientific artifacts.

If you’re curious about science and its evolution over the centuries, this is a must-see attraction in Florence!

Bargello National Museum

Exterior of the Bargello Museum, one of the first national museums in italy, in a palace-looking building with pinkish-tan stone brickwork

Bargello National Museum opened in 1864 as Italy’s first national museum after Italy was unified in 1861.

Housing a significant collection of Renaissance sculptures, paintings, bronzes, ceramics, tapestries, and other items, the Bargello is one of the best museums in Florence dedicated to medieval and Renaissance art.

Among the sculptures, you’ll see works by Michelangelo, Giambologna, and Donatello.

The museum also houses the oldest known portrait of poet Dane Alighieri, an excellent collection of Islamic art, and bronze tiles created by Ghiberti and Brunelleschi in their competition to design the doors of St. John’s Baptistery.

Piazzale Michelangelo

View of the cityscape of Florence, including the Duomo, the Giotto Tower, and the Old Palace from the other side of the Arno river, in Oltrarno

For one of the best panoramic views of Florence, you must visit Piazzale Michelangelo.

In the Oltrarno district on a hill on the opposite side of the Arno from Florence’s historical center, this lovely square will reward you with a view well worth the climb!

The best time to visit Piazzale Michelangelo is at sunset, to watch the sun go down behind the rooftops of Florence.

You can expect to find many people around and street artists playing live music.

Many Florence attractions have a significant entry cost, which can definitely add up if you are trying to visit a bunch of Florence landmarks.

But walking to Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the best free things you can do in Florence!

Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens)

Framing archway pillars in the Boboli Gardens area of Florence on a partly cloudy day, with trees and other greenery in the background

Near Pitti Palace, the wonderful Boboli Gardens boast impressive fountains and gorgeous Renaissance sculptures, with the historical center of Florence providing a perfect backdrop!

The gardens were created by the Medici family and soon became a model for other European gardens all around the continent.

Some of the spots you should not miss in the vast gardens are the Artichoke Fountain, the Fountain of Neptune, the Fountain of the Ocean, and the Kaffeehaus.

There’s also the Grotto of Adam and Eve, the Madama Grotto, the Buontalenti Grotto, the Knight’s Building and Rampart, and the Upper Botanical Garden.

You’ll need a ticket to visit the Boboli Gardens, which you can book in advance here.

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo

The exterior of the Salvatore Ferragamo museum, in a beautiful building in Florence

If you’re passionate about fashion, you must pay a visit to Museo Salvatore Ferragamo!

The Ferragamo family opened the museum in 1995 to show the world the genius of Salvatore Ferragamo, one of the most outstanding fashion designers of the 20th century.

He is best-known for his shoe designs, who provided gorgeous footwear for countless celebrities over his career, including Marilyn Monroe.

You can see his shoe designs on display in the museum.

Along with the permanent collection, you can also see temporary exhibitions dedicated to movements in the fashion world.

Basilica di San Lorenzo

Old basilica building with textured walls in Florence Italy

Basilica di San Lorenzo is the oldest cathedral in Florence, dating back to the late 4th century and dedicated to the martyr San Lorenzo (St. Lawrence).

However, the ancient basilica was destroyed and renovated entirely in 1418 by Giovanni di Bicci, founder of the Medici family.

The façade of the church was supposed to be covered in marble, but the project, assigned to Michelangelo, was never completed — hence the unfinished look of the church.

The entry ticket includers the basilica, the old sacristy, the cloisters, the crypt, and the Museum of the Treasury of the Basilica.  

Le Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapels)

Colorful marble and other stonework interior of the Medici Chapel in Florence Italy

The Medici Chapels belong to the Basilica di San Lorenzo, but the access is separate from the church, so you’ll need to book a ticket separately.

The two buildings were built in the 16th and 17th centuries as an extension of the church in honor of the Medici family.

The museum complex opened in 1869 and includes the New Sacristy designed by Michelangelo and the impressive Chapel of the Princes decorated with polychrome marble and semi-precious stones.

And of course, you’ll also find the crypts housing the tombs of many Medici family members and the remains of the Lorena family.

This is one of the top-visited landmarks in Florence, so book your tickets in advance to ensure you won’t miss out!

Book your tickets to the Medici Chapels here!

Riccardi Medici Palace

Archways and statue in the middle of an archway in a beautiful palatial building courtyard, lots of ornate detail work on the panels above the arches.

Another building that belonged to the powerful Medici family, the Riccardi Medici Palace was built in the 15th century based on a design by Renaissance architect Michelozzo.

The palace was the first one where the Medici family lived, and it served as a workplace for Renaissance artists such as Donatello, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and others.

The palace features a lovely Renaissance courtyard, a garden decorated with sculptures, the Magi Chapel decorated with colorful frescoes of the Medici family and other personalities of the time.

It also hosts the stunning Gallery Luca Giordano with golden decorations on the walls and a frescoed ceiling.

Museo Leonardo da Vinci

Works and artifacts of Da Vinci in the museum dedicated to him in Florence
Image Credit: Sailko, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most prominent figures of the Renaissance was born in the former Republic of Florence — of course, we’re talking about da Vinci!

As everyone knows, Leonardo da Vinci was both an artist and scientist who created a vast collection of artistic masterpieces and scientific devices.

When in Florence, a great way to learn more about the genius of Leonardo da Vinci is to visit a museum entirely dedicated to him!

The highly interactive Museo Leonardo da Vinci houses a vast collection of machines created based on Leonardo’s original sketches.

You can book tickets online in advance here.

Villa Bardini

A church and a bell tower view of Florence from the Villa Bardini

Many of the best viewpoints of Florence are in the Oltrarno district, as it faces the historical center of Florence.

The 17th-century Villa Bardini, located in the Oltrarno district, features a stunning garden offering a panoramic view of Florence!

The gardens and villa passed through several noble families of Florence before being bought by art dealer Stefano Bardini in the 1900s.

The villa now houses the Museo Annigoni, dedicated to the works of painter Pietro Annigoni, and temporary exhibitions.

You can visit the gardens with the ticket for the Boboli Gardens, but you need a separate one for the villa and its exhibitions.

If you already have a ticket for Boboli Gardens, you can visit the villa at a discounted price.

Forte di Belvedere

The fortress of Belvedere Forte in Florence, with grass, a fortress fortification, and a view of the Florence skyline behind it.

The 16th-century fortress near Boboli Gardens is another great spot to enjoy sweeping views of Florence’s skyline.

Like many important buildings in Florence, the fortress was built by the Medici family to protect the government seat at Palazzo Pitti — while also demonstrating their influence and power.

Aside from being an impressive historical landmark and offering stunning views of the city, the fortress regularly houses art exhibitions.

You can explore the outside area of Forte Belvedere for free, but you must pay a fee to see the inside and exhibitions.  

Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte

Featuring beautiful marble work and detailing that is very artistic, the abbey has a Romanesque facade and is located on a hill with stone stairs

Not far from Piazzale Michelangelo, Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte is a beautiful 11th-century abbey on a hilltop offering astounding views of Florence!

The Romanesque façade of the abbey, which is covered in marble, is one of the most prominent features of this stunning landmark in Florence.

The abbey is among the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Tuscany, so you really shouldn’t miss it!

Inside the church, you can admire a 13th-century mosaic of the Christ between the Virgin and St. Minias and the Cardinal of Portugal Chapel dedicated to a Portuguese ambassador who died in Florence.

If you need more reasons to visit the gorgeous abbey, entry is free, and there is no need for reservations!

If you want to keep exploring, check out some of these day trips from Florence, which include a lot of important Tuscany landmarks!

3 Day Florence Itinerary: How to Visit Florence & Tuscany in 3 Days

florence duomo with bell tower and face of the Florence duomo

Remarkable capital of the arts, Florence is among the most important cultural centers in Italy.

It’s also the capital of the Italian region of Tuscany, one of the most important centers in the country when it comes to phenomenal gastronomy and stunning wines!

 Planning your trip to Florence at the last minute?

Here are my quick picks on what to do & where to stay!

🍷 Top Florence Experiences:
1. Tuscany Wine & Food Tour with Guide (#1 day trip!)
2. Florence Duomo Visit & Bruneschelli Dome Climb (#1 attraction!)
3. Art Tour of the Uffizi & Accademia (see the Uffizi & Statue of David)

🏨 Best Florence Hotels:
1. Cicerone (charming central Florence guesthouse)
2. Piccolo Borgo Antico (quiet studios near Boboli Gardens)
3. Hotel Unicorno (beautifully revamped 17th century building)

✈️ Flying in? Book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups — they’ll greet you at the airport, help with bags, & bring you into the city, all pre-booked!

Florence can be a great day trip from nearby cities, such as Rome and Milan, but it is even better as destination on its own with plenty of places to visit.

When planning your Italy itinerary, you really ought to devote at least two days to Florence and its many landmarks and attractions and one extra day to the gorgeous, verdant landscapes of Tuscany and some of its medieval towns!

A road in tuscany going through the landscape

With this Florence itinerary, you will be able to combine seeing some of the richest artistic heritage in the country with tasting the incredible wine and culinary scene Tuscany has to offer.

In this Florence travel guide, I’ve written out all the unmissable things you can do in Florence and Tuscany in 3 days… let’s go!

What to Know Before You Visit Florence

view of the duomo of florence as well as the rest of the historic town from a viewpoint on the other side of the river

Florence, known as Firenze in Italian, is one of the most spectacular cities in all of Italy, especially when it comes to culture!

Florence has been home to several of the most important figures of Italian art and culture, including Dante, Donatello, Michelangelo, and many other famous Renaissance-era artists.

This gorgeous Renaissance Italian city is situated in the central part of Italy, about two hours from Rome by train, and at about the same distance from Venice and Milan, making it easy to reach from virtually anywhere in the country. 

Florence is compact, small, and quite pedestrian-friendly for those who enjoy discovering new places on foot.

However, that doesn’t mean you will be short of things to do. On the contrary! There never seems to be enough time to get bored in Florence.

The city is populated with stunning buildings, some of them really impressive, such as the Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo, or the many medieval stone bridges that cross the Arno River

Florence proudly houses some of the most perfect examples of Renaissance art in Europe, including Michelangelo’s David, the numerous paintings inside the Uffizi Gallery, as well as many picturesque churches, gardens, and piazzi

sampling different florence tuscan wines

The city is also the capital of the Tuscany region, a worldwide known wine-making area in the country (and you should definitely do a Tuscany wine tour from Florence during your visit!)

Tuscany also hosts other famous and beautiful small towns within a short train ride from Florence, which you can easily visit in a day, as well as larger cities nearby such as Pisa, Bologna, and Siena.

If you have more time in the region, follow this 5 to 6 day Tuscany road trip itinerary.

You could even stay at one of these gorgeous villas in Tuscany with a private pool!

Getting to Florence, Italy

the train station in florence with signs that say firenze s.m.n.

It is quite easy to reach Florence by train from any other city in the country. Rome is a 2-hour train ride away, while the train journey from either Milan or Venice lasts about two hours and a half.

Florence International Airport is well-connected to several European capitals through many low-cost companies.

However, if coming from overseas, note that Florence does not receive flights from non-European countries.

In that case, flying to Rome or Milan and then connecting to Florence by train or by bus are the best solutions.

Best Time to Visit Florence

a small cappuccino enjoyed outdoors on a rooftop terrace with a view of the duomo in the distance

Florence welcomes tens of thousands, if not more, visitors every month of the year!

As is usual in most Mediterranean countries, visiting is most pleasant in spring, when you won’t have to battle high temperatures and attractions are not overcrowded. 

Late April and May offer plenty of sunny days, almost no rain, and mild temperatures.

If you have to come in summer, June is best, followed by July. I suggest avoiding August, as summers are very hot in Italy.

Also, most Europeans choose to tour Italy during their August summer vacation…. and many Italians choose to go on vacation in August as well, leading to lots of shut restaurants and more!

Autumn is also a good alternative, especially from mid-September and all throughout October.

Winters can be quite cold and drizzly, but there is rarely snow in this area of Italy, so it can be a good time to take advantage of reduced fees for accommodation and many attractions, especially if you don’t mind some cold weather!

Where to Stay in Florence: Best Areas and Suggested Hotels

a street in downtown florence with the sign piazza del pesce and historic buildings

It won’t be difficult to find a good accommodation to stay in Florence, as there are many hotels, guest houses, and rental homes available in town!

However, booking in advance is always a wise thing to do. Florence is one of the most visited cities in the country all year round, so booking well in advance will guarantee you the possibility to choose better rooms at more affordable rates.

For a city with such a large international reputation, Florence is small and easy to navigate — you’ll get the lay of the land of Florence in 2 days quite easily.

It’s divided in two by the River Arno which creates two main areas where to stay: the old historic district and Oltrarno (which, in Italian, means “on the other side of the Arno River”). 

The first area, the historic part of town, is often more crowded and touristic since it hosts some of the most visited landmarks in Florence.

Despite being a busy spot in town, it is in a great central location allowing you to comfortably access every corner of the city. The area also has many hotels for every budget. 

For instance, Cicerone is a comfortable guest house with great reviews, in the heart of the city center, perfect for solo travelers and small groups!

Check rates and availability here!

The Oltrarno district, instead, is quieter and has a more local vibe. It hosts a few hotels but also several rental homes and vacation apartments, perfect for a longer stay or simply a more relaxed kind of stay. 

Piccolo Borgo Antico is a small but cozy apartment in the Santo Spirito district of Oltrarno offering easy access on foot to the gorgeous Boboli Gardens.

Check rates and availability here! 

The area near the train station, known as Santa Maria Novella can also be a good place to stay. It is not as crowded as the train station in Rome or Milan, and certainly, it is not as a dangerous place. 

Budget travelers can find plenty of accommodation choices in the area, for example, Hotel Unicorno, a 3-star hotel set in a building dating back to the seventeenth century, is only steps from many of Florence’s celebrated attractions.

Check rates and availability here!

Day Trips Worth Taking from Florence

the cinque terre area of italy not too far from milan - a good addition to a milan itinerary. colorful houses perched on a seaside cliff with flowers and harbor.

Being in such a central position in the Italian peninsula, Florence offers plenty of opportunities for day trips not just to the Tuscany region but also to other neighboring areas of the country, making it easy to escape to Rome, the Cinque Terre, or even Venice for the day.

Popular places to visit around Florence include Pisa, with its magnificent leaning tower and basilica, as well as the medieval cities of Siena and San Gimignano.

Additionally, in nearby Liguria, Genoa and the glorious Cinque Terre can also be reached by train in a little more than an hour.

In this 3-day Florence itinerary, I’ve included a day trip on the last day to the winemaking region of Tuscany with stops in some of the above-mentioned medieval towns.

There are plenty of organized trips to discover the Tuscan wine country, visit farms and wineries, and taste some authentic food from the region — this is the best way to do it, unless you prefer to rent a car and explore Italy independently.

Driving in Italy can be… well, chaotic, especially with via controllati (I once had to pay 150 euros in fines and another 150 euro in “administrative fees” for driving on the wrong road in Bologna).

If you’re just needing a car for one day, I’d suggest taking a guided tour. If you plan to drive around more of the region on a longer trip, I recommend renting a car in Tuscany.

🚗 Best Tuscany Rental Car Prices: Discover Cars

This search engine not only looks at the typical rental car agencies (which can be $$$), it also looks at local, small Italian agencies that may offer better deals. Their pricing is straightforward (no bait-and-switches) and they offer free cancellation if you need it.

➜ Check rental prices in Tuscany with Discover Cars here!

Things You Shouldnt Miss in Florence

statues in the front of the uffizi gallery

Florence attracts tons of tourists every year that flock to this beautiful city, thanks to its impressive cultural heritage that offers so many wonderful sightseeing opportunities.

Among the things you should visit in the heart of Florence are the imposing cathedral (the Duomo) with one of the most stunning cupolas in the world, but also smaller churches, like San Lorenzo and Sant Croce, two churches located just a few steps from the center of town. 

Likewise, do not miss the public market, the art galleries, such as the Uffizi and the Accademia, the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, and the gorgeous Piazza Della Signoria, one of the most charming squares in the country.

This 3 day Florence itinerary features some of the highlights you really cannot miss in town, so let’s get started!

If you only have one day in Florence and need an abbreviated itinerary, you can find that here.

3 Day Florence Itinerary: Day One

Start the day at the Duomo, the Santa Maria del Fiore.

the famous belltower and facade of the duomo of florence, also known as the santa maria del fiore cathedral, on a sunny day

If you’ve just arrived in town, no matter what time it is, head directly to the heart of the historic center, Piazza del Duomo, to start your first day exploring Florence.

Your first stop is the fantastic Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (also known as the Duomo), probably the most-visited place in the city, easy to recognize due to its pristine white marble facade.

Santa Maria del Fiore is considered a perfect example of Renaissance art, as well as one of the most remarkable religious buildings in Italy. The construction of the church took about four hundred years to complete — so no wonder it’s so impressive!

Among the most notable features is its famous red-tiled cupola, an architectonic masterpiece created by world-famous Renaissance architect and painter, Filippo Brunelleschi.

On the inner side of the cupola, you can admire a unique series of frescoes of the Last Judgement. 

Check out the other important buildings in the area.

the st john baptistery part of the duomo complex in the heart of florence, a cant miss florence itinerary item

When visiting the cathedral, don’t miss the other two important buildings that stand just meters away, Saint John’s Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile, all a part of the same religious complex.

Saint John’s Baptistery is, in fact, a minor basilica that features an original octagonal plant and impressive iron gates.

The gates facing the East side were conceived by Michelangelo; they are known as the Gates of Paradise and are well-known for their intricate decorations and unique attention to detail.

Not everybody is aware that the baptistery is one of the oldest constructions in all of Florence, dating back to 1128!

Steps from the cathedral and the baptistery, don’t miss the campanile, locally known as Giotto’s Campanile.

Depicting a completely different style from the cathedral and the baptistery, the campanile was built in perfect Gothic style and it can be easily seen from any point in town!

If you’re not afraid of the heights and are eager to see a different perspective of Florence, then you can climb more than 400 steps that lead you to the top of the tower. These are some of the best views over all of Florence!

Have an espresso in Florences most traditional cafeteria.

espresso and cornetto in a traditional espresso bar

Since visiting Santa Maria del Fiore can take up to about two hours, after the visit is a good time for a short break and a cup of authentic Italian espresso, perhaps with a cornetto if you’re hungry for breakfast! 

If you’re eager to discover Florence’s pace of life, stop for a cup of coffee at Café Scudieri, an elegant cafeteria that first opened its doors back in 1939.

This is the perfect place for coffee and traditional pastries that boasts a spectacular terrace with unique views of the Duomo.

Check out the Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio.

the facade and clocktower of the palazzo vecchio in florence italy

Just a short distance from the cathedral, another important Florence landmark is the huge square known as Piazza Della Signoria, a place that hosts several important buildings.

One of them, Palazzo Vecchio, was once the main administrative center in Florence, home to the ruling power of Florence for centuries.

Although everyone knows the place simply as Palazzo Vecchio, its formal name is Palace of the Signoria of the Republic of Florence.

The structure dates back to 1299 and it is constructed like a small castle.

The building is better-known for its important access gate where there is a fantastic replica of Michelangelo’s David (the original masterpiece is in another point in town, Galleria dell’Accademia) as well as a statue of Hercules.

Located on one side of the palace, you can spot a wonderful fountain known as the Fountain of Neptune.

Check out the statues in the Loggia dei Lanzi.

marble statue in the loggia dei lanzi archway in central florence (firenze)

Also in Piazza Della Signoria on the opposite side of the Neptune Fountain, a curious selection of Renaissance sculptures give life to the Loggia Dei Lanzi, also known as the Loggia Della Signoria.

This open-air gallery located adjacent to the piazza features impressive arches and Corinthian columns, and is conveniently located right next to our next stop, the Uffizi Gallery. 

On the steps of the Loggia there are the marble statues of the Medici Lions which were historically the heraldic symbols of the city.

Meanwhile inside the Loggia, other statues include the bronze of Perseus and the head of Medusa and the Rape of the Sabine Women made from a block of white marble — the largest block ever transported to Florence!

Since our next stop, the Uffizi Gallery can take quite a few long hours to explore, pick a bar around Piazza Della Signoria for a quick lunch and move on to the Uffizi.

Spend some time in the Uffizi Gallery.

the famous courtyard that is part of the uffizi gallery a famous gallery in florence italy

The most important art gallery in the city is the worldwide famous Uffizi Gallery which you should book tickets for way in advance to visit if you want to avoid the crowds and even bypass the long lines with a skip-the-line ticket.

This notable art gallery is located a few steps from the Arno River, as soon as you leave the Piazza Della Signoria behind you.

The gallery entirely occupies the first and second floors of the Vasari building, which was built between 1560 and 1580. 

The Uffizi hosts one of the most magnificent art collections in Europe, and certainly the most remarkable Renaissance art exhibition in the world, with masterpieces by artists such as Botticelli, Tiziano, Da Vinci, Raphael, and Caravaggio.

There are also paintings from the 14th century by artists such as Giotto, Piero Della Francesca, Botticelli, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo, and Raffaello, in addition to many precious works by German, Dutch and Flemish painters.

Such a massive art exhibition could take days to explore, but if you only want to have a glimpse at the most important works of art, then a guided tour with a licensed guide is the best way to visit.

Book your timed entry ticket or a guided tour online here!

Cross the Ponte Vecchio and spend the rest of the day in Oltrarno.

the covered bridge of the ponte vecchio with several stone arches going over the arno river in florence italy

Our first day in Florence has been packed with visits to interesting sites such as the Duomo and the impressive Uffizi Gallery.

It is a good idea to leave other historic buildings for the following day while devoting the rest of the first afternoon to a relaxing walk in a more tranquil part of town, Oltrarno.

Walk along the river until you reach the spectacular Ponte Vecchio.

Although it is a very crowded place, it’s also an ideal stop for an iconic photo of Florence. Crossing this old stone bridge is certainly part of any Florence itinerary.

The Arno River divides the city in half. It is crossed by numerous medieval bridges, but none of them are as remarkable and famous as Ponte Vecchio (which translates as Old Bridge).

This stone arch bridge hosts dozens of shops built along its whole length!

In the past, butchers, tanners, and farmers occupied the shops, but it currently houses some of the finest art and jewelry shops in town and it is exclusively pedestrian.

Ponte Vecchio leads you to this other side of Florence, where life can take a more relaxed pace and where you won’t find as many tourists.

Depending on how much time available you still have after the Uffizi, you can choose to visit all the premises of Pitti Palace, or devote some time only to its green area, the incredibly beautiful Boboli Gardens.

Check out the Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens.

a gated area in the boboli gardens with greenery and sculptures

Oltrarno is a beautiful area where you can enjoy small eateries, artisan shops with unique souvenirs, and a wonderfully romantic atmosphere.

One of the places that you should check out in the area is Palazzo Pitti and its incredible Boboli Gardens.

Depending on your interests, you can visit both the palace and the gardens, although most tourists just opt for a relaxing walk and skip the palace.

Palazzo Pitti is extremely important to the history of the city. The huge building used to be the home of the important Medici Family, the most important and powerful political dynasty in Florence.

This palace now hosts an important museum complex, with exhibitions and art galleries and endless impressive examples of Renaissance art. If you’re not filled up on art after checking out the Uffizi Gallery, head into the palace museum for even more art!

At the back of the palace, the Boboli Gardens are one of the most interesting places to visit in Florence and make a great change of pace after seeing so much architecture and artwork.

The 16th century Baroque-style gardens are massive, occupying over 45,000 square meters!

The green landscapes are decorated extravagantly, featuring bizarre sculptures, incredible fountains and ponds, and hundreds of plants and trees from all over the world. 

Have dinner by the bridge.

pasta with basil on top and a carafe of red wine with a blurred background of a european city

Finally, head back to the bridge area for dinner.

I have several recommended restaurants in Oltrarno: Cavalieri Ponte Vecchio Ristò, Osteria Ponte Vecchio, and Amici di Ponte Vecchio.

All of them are traditional trattorias offering delicious and time-tested Florentine menus.

Admire the spectacular view from Piazzale Michelangelo.

view over the city of florence at sunset from piazzale michelangelo, a must-stop on this florence itinerary

Finally, walk over to the Piazzale Michelangelo for the most incredible view of the historic district of Florence as seen from a hilltop vista on the other side of the Arno River.

This place is a really popular sunset spot, but it’s also lovely after the sun has set, when all the lights come on in Florence.

There’s also a bronze replica of David here, but you really come for the best views over Florence.

3 Day Florence Itinerary: Day Two

Start the morning at the Galleria dellAccademia to see the Statue of David.

By Commonists – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Start your second day with a visit to the Galleria dellAccademia. This is another popular place that often gets packed with tourists, so it is always better to visit early in the day.

The main reason to visit is that the gallery is the place where you can admire the original David sculpture, Michelangelo’s masterpiece.

You’ll need a timed entry ticket to see the Statue of David without the hectic lines, otherwise visiting this attraction can be quite a headache.

In the venue, there are displays of other pieces of Michelangelo’s art, such as test sculptures and even drawings.

The Accademia is also home to a tiny museum of musical instruments and music-related inventions.

Book your timed entry ticket to see the Statue of David and Galleria dell’Accademia here!

Grab something to eat at the Mercato Centrale.

the central market in florence italy

Located near the Galleria dell’Accademia, the Mercato Centrale is one of the most beloved marketplaces in Florence.

You’ll find pastries, sandwiches, and all sorts of other quick bites that will help fuel you up for the rest of this day’s walking tour of Florence.

Check out the charming San Lorenzo and Santa Croce churches.

the cupola in san lorenzo church with fresco painted beautifully

There are many fantastic churches to visit in this beauty other than the Duomo!

San Lorenzo Basilica is one of them. Although it features a structure and architectural style much simpler than the spectacular marble Duomo, this big structure impresses with its imposing dome and terra cotta roof. 

The church was built by the powerful Medici family during the Renaissance, and it is the final resting place of some of the most prominent Medici figures inside the Medici Chapels (Cappelle Medicee).

The church is a great place to admire unique works of art including exquisite examples of funerary art and tombs as well as frescoes and other paintings from the same period.

Another interesting church also in the area of the Duomo is Basilica Santa Croce, which was built around the same time as the Duomo and which shares a few characteristics with Florence’s main church.

Just like Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Church of Santa Croce features a dazzling white marble facade with details in green and pink marble and white stone.

Inside the religious building, you can visit the tombs of some of the most important figures of the Renaissance, such as Michelangelo and Galileo.

Taste the local cuisine.

florentine steak cut to show beautiful rare cooking style

It is not possible to visit Florence and skip the most famous dish in town, the world-famous Fiorentina steak!

Although it can be a fairly expensive experience, the Fiorentina is adelicious meat cut served by the kilo and is worth every single cent you’ll pay for it.

It is often served with some of the local red wines that have made the whole region famous — Supertuscans and Chiantis, both of which are absolutely delicious!

If you’re on a budget and a Fiorentina is out of your league, don’t be discouraged!

The city has other staple dishes that will be equally rewarding: lampredotto is one of them, and can be a good thing to taste if you’re an adventurous eater.

This typical dish of the region is traditionally made from the fourth and final stomach of a cow.

This is then slow-cooked with plenty of herbs in a thick vegetable broth, seasoned with spices, chopped, and served in a hot bun with a variety of sauces or a small portion of fried onions.

Sample a cone of Florentine gelato.

hand holding a chocolate and vanilla two scoop gelato cone

After lunch, take an afternoon break with a delicious taste of gelato!

They say that the modern version of gelato, as we know it today, was created in Florence, so what better place in Italy to sample the country’s favorite afternoon treat?

The story goes that this creamy treat was first produced by the local alchemist Cosimo Ruggieri to please the Medici court back in the 16th century. It seems to have worked — gelato is now everywhere in Italy!

This unique form of ice cream is made using a higher percentage of milk than cream. It is also whipped only for a short amount of time, thus avoiding an excess of air in the gelato.

This, combined with the warmer serving temperature than ice cream, makes its flavor more pronounced and rich!

As expected, there are several gelaterias in town.

They not only serve typical gelati, but also fruit sorbets without any milk, which are both vegan and gluten-free.

Some of the best gelaterie in town are My Sugar close to theAccademia Gallery, Dei Neri, near the Uffizi Gallery, and Vivoli, the oldest gelateria in Florence, dating back from 1929, near Santa Croce church. 

Shop for fine leather products.

various colors of leather bound diaries and journals in a florence street stall

Florence is a perfect Italian destination to purchase refined leather bags, jackets, and shoes!

The region of Tuscany and Florence in particular, are known all over the world for their millennial leather tradition and craftsmanship.

In the area of Santa Croce Church, you will find several artisan leather shops and workshops where you can purchase fine quality leather products at affordable prices, especially considering the level of workmanship.

You can also find them at the outside stalls of the San Lorenzo Market.

These products are some of the best souvenirs from Florence that you can take home with you!

3 Day Florence Itinerary: Day 3 (Tuscany Day Trip)

view of a beautiful tuscan villa with tree lining road in the autumn

As we have mentioned before, you should devote the third day of your Florence itinerary to taking a Tuscany day trip.

Spend the day visiting the amazing vineyards in Tuscany, enjoying the local landscape, tasting delicious wines and learning about the local winemaking tradition.

You can also sample other Florentine delicacies as you move around the magnificent verdant fields of the region — eating well is never a challenge in Italy, after all, and this goes even more so for Florence!

I will suggest a Tuscany itinerary that you can either self-drive or take a guided tour of. If it’s your first time driving in Italy or you plan to drink, a guided tour is the better option.

When planning your day trip to Tuscany, bear in mind that driving in the Tuscan countryside surrounding Florence is not as stressful as it can be to drive in Milan or Rome.

side mirror of a car looking out onto the tuscan countryside

However, since the most important thing you will be doing today is sampling Florentine wines, joining an organized tour is a smart move to avoid the dangers of driving under the influence — as well as expensive fines on the road. 

Remember that drinking and driving are heavily fined in Italy, so having someone else do the driving while you enjoy the delicious Tuscan wines is nothing but the right thing to do.

If you agree with me, I highly recommend checking out this tour,which offers an excellent opportunity to visit some of the highlights in the region and to taste some of the most delicious Tuscan wines!

Book a guided tour bringing you on a day trip to Tuscany here!

First Stop: Siena

the beautiful hillside city of siena in the tuscany region

The best way to start the day is to head directly to Siena, an important medieval city in Italy where you can spend some time walking in the old district where a myriad of ancient terracotta roofs adds a pop of color to the whole landscape.

In Siena, take some time to discover the Cathedral of Siena (Duomo di Siena). The medieval church was built between 1215 and 1263 featuring an imposing dome and a bell tower. 

The dome, completed in 1264, has a famous lantern made by the artist Bernini. Inside the bell tower, there are some iron bells, the oldest of which dates back to 1149.

Some of the finest Italian artists of those times completed works in the black and white cathedral, which proudly features the colors of the city!

Second Stop: San Gimignano

the beautiful low hill town of san gimignano with the towers that it is famous for in tuscany

Located atop a low hill, San Gimignano is one of the most representative Tuscan towns dating back to the Middle Ages.

It’s home to some unique tower houses from that same period which have earned this town the status of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In San Gimignano, you can take some time to visit its traditional squares and ancient palaces, as well as the famous medieval skyscrapers.

The town hosts about a dozen of these tower houses as well as protective encircling walls, that shelter incredible churches and public buildings constructed both in Romanesque and Gothic styles.

When in San Gimignano, it is a good idea to taste its distinctive white wine, the Vernaccia di San Gimignano, which is produced from the Vernaccia grape variety, an ancient grape that is grown on the sandstone hillsides of the town!

Before heading to the last stop of this day trip, you can make a stop to explore a local wine state in the world-famous Chianti wine region.

Most wineries in the area offer wine tasting sessions paired with an informal lunch. This gives you the chance to sample some authentic farmhouse dishes that are so beloved in Tuscan cuisine.

Last Stop: Pisa

leaning tower of pisa and the church of pisa

Fairly close to Florence, it is only fair to end this day trip to the Tuscany region by visiting Pisa and, of course, the fantastic Leaning Tower of Pisa located in the heart of Piazza dei Miracoli. 

Here, it is also a good idea to spend some time exploring the Cathedral of Pisa, devoted to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, not far from the Pisa Baptistry and Leaning Tower, which is — in fact — the campanile of this basilica.

The cathedral was built in the so-called Pisan Romanesque Architecture and it was completed in 1092, making it one of the older cathedrals in Italy.

Where to Go After Florence & Tuscany

If you have time to extend your trip, it’s quite easy, as Florence enjoys such a central location in Italy.

You can add on a few days in Rome before heading down to Naples and the Amalfi Coast, or you can go a bit off the beaten path to explore some of the charming towns of Umbria that are less-visited.

Alternately, you can head north to Milan, the Cinque Terre, and the Liguria region of Italy.

7 Best Tuscany Wine Tours from Florence: A Curated List

view of wine regions of florence's surrounding area of tuscany

If you’ve been planning your Italy trip for a while now or if you’re really into Italian food and wine, you’ve almost certainly heard about Tuscany and the impressive varieties of wines produced in the area.

Considered among the best wines in the world, Tuscany is a heavy-hitter in the world of Italian wines.

When spending time in Florence, do not miss the chance to try a sip (or thirty!) of the local vintages.

But planning a Tuscany wine tour on your own can be confusing.

For one, their websites aren’t exactly the most user-friendly, and language barriers when making calls to reserve tastings can be an issue.

For another, there are so many wineries spread out across such a wide region that it can be impossible to do without a car (which then begs the question — who has to drive?)

View of a road in Tuscany overlooking a vineyard

While you can certainly dedicate several days to exploring Tuscany (like I’ve outlined in this 5 day Tuscany itinerary), not everyone has that time in their schedule.

If time is short, going on a wine tour from Florence can be one of the better ways to explore the wine scene of Tuscany — and leave that car rental behind, so you can have a designated driver along the way, of course!

Here are some of the best Tuscan wine tours from Florence that are worth your time.

So be sure to save a day of your Florence itinerary pulling yourself away from its many museums, churches, and landmarks as you get to know its wine and gastronomy!

This is one of the best Florence day trips you can do, so make sure you save time for it.

If you want to experience both Florence and Tuscany, I suggest doing a day trip of the wineries from Florence, then chilling out in the Tuscan countryside and visiting some of its towns — perhaps staying in a pool villa like one of these ones!

This post was written by Gabi Ancarola, a travel blogger who lived in Italy for 10 years before moving to the island of Crete. In addition to blogging, Gabi is a licensed tour guide who organizes food and wine tours as well as sightseeing excursions. Enjoy her knowledge of Tuscany as well as her wine expertise here! This post was updated on September 15, 2023 to ensure all the tours are active.

Our Top 3 Picks for Tuscany Wine Tours from Florence


Two glasses of wine overlooking fields and vineyards in Tuscany

Tuscany Wine & Food Tour with Guide
✔️ Three traditional Tuscan wineries
✔️ Authentic Tuscan lunch plus olive oil and balsamic tastings

↳ Book it


backroads of tuscany in a small cute car

Vintage Fiat Tuscan Winery Tour
✔️ Get driven through Tuscan backroads in a vintage Fiat 500
✔️ One winery visit with tasting, Tuscan lunch, and olive oil tastings

↳ Book it


vineyards in tuscany with a winery house on the hill

Chianti Wineries Tour
✔️ Two wineries in Chianti
✔️ Snacks of cheese, bread, salumi, and olive oil

↳ Book it

 Wines of Tuscany

Two wine barrels on the hill in Tuscany, a popular place to go on a wine tour from Florence

 Before we get into all the best wine tours from Florence, let’s brush up a bit on the wines you can expect to see on a trip through Tuscany.

Here’s a quick glimpse into some of local varietals and historical background that define Florence’s refined wine panorama.

 As you may have already read about in my article about Florence, the city has a long, remarkable history spanning from the Roman Empire well into modern times.

Vineyards were planted in the region as far back as Ancient Roman times.

However, it was during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, in the surrounding fields of Florence (what today is the region of Tuscan wine country), that winemaking became a solid and storied tradition.

As years went by, it eventually evolved into a prestigious industry and a trademark of the region.

Florence was not only the cradle of the Renaissance with its plethora of churches, palaces, and culturally significant paintings and sculptures.

It was also the birthplace of the noble Sangiovese grape, one of the most famous varietals in Italy.

Blueish purple Sangiovese grapes seen on a pallet in Italy

The Sangiovese grape has grown for centuries on the lush rolling hills of the region, populated by hundreds of vineyards and olive groves.

There are several wine areas in Tuscany. The most famous of all is Chianti, also classified as the oldest wine region in the world.

Some other important wines you will be able to try in the area are the magnificent Chianti Classico, the Nobile di Montepulciano, and the Brunello di Montalcino.

You can also learn all about the Super-Tuscan wines while sipping your way through the scenic local vineyards.

It’s a bit of a crash course in wine education, with thankfully no test at the end.. though you will likely crash after your wine tasting tour!

Chianti Region

Rows of vineyards and fields in the Chianti region of Italy with a winery situated in the middle of it on a summery day

 Arguably the most important, famous, and remarkable wine region in the country, the boundaries of Chianti were defined back in the 16th century by the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

 Amongst its beautiful green hills, dozens of vineyards give life to Sangiovese, a grape variety that offers all the favorite characteristics of a red wine: boldness, fruitiness, and structured tannins.

Head here to visit several important wineries, taste a glass or two of the spectacular Chianti Classico, and be amazed at the gorgeous views and soft magical light of this quaint area.

You simply can’t miss doing a Chianti wine tour while you’re in the region. 


Rows upon rows of vineyards, trees, and wineries in the hills of Montepulciano region of Tuscany

 Known for its Nobile di Montepulciano (which should not be confused with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a well-known wine from another Italian region), Montepulciano is a red DOC wine.

It is not a single varietal but rather a blend. It is primarily made from Sangiovese grapes blended with Canaiolo Nero and other grape varieties.

This full potential of this wine benefits from at least one year in a barrel and a total of two aging years (three aging years make it a Riserva wine). 


Rows of grapes in a vineyard with a stone wine house nearby in the area of Montalcino, Italy in Tuscan wine region.

Moving along towards the province of Siena, Montalcino is a beautiful medieval hill town as well as another impressive wine region of Italy. 

Montalcino is the place where one of Tuscany’s best aging wines, Brunello di Montalcino, is made. It typically requires a minimum of two years in a barrel. 

The Super Tuscans

A Super Tuscan wine being poured into a clear wine glass

Although Chianti is usually the first wine that comes to mind when thinking about Tuscany, the area has been growing a name and reputation for a different type of wine… one that wasn’t always so respected, known as the Super Tuscans. 

But what even is a Super Tuscan?

A Super Tuscan is a style of wine more fruity and powerful than Chianti.

It blends popular international grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, with local varietals like Sangiovese.

The result is a wine with lower acidity while maintaining French oak flavors (vs. Chianti, which requires aging in Slovenian oak casks) and robust tannins. 

These slightly rebellious wines (considered DOC rule-breakers), are now known as part of the category IGT (which can be roughly translated as Typical Geographic Indication).

They have become a prestigious category of their own, often competing with renowned Italian varietals and even wines from prestigious French vineyards!

Independent Wine Tasting or Wine Tours from Florence?

View of vineyards and a winery as seen from a vantage point further away with Tuscan hills in the background

 It’s hard to go wrong renting a car in Tuscany and driving your way through the inspiring Tuscany hills — you’ll undoubtedly get lost once or twice, not that you’ll mind with the views.

However, you won’t always have enough time to visit many places on your own, and – more importantly – drinking and driving are heavily fined in Italy, for good reason.

 The best piece of advice that I can give you is to join one of the many wine tours, which allows you to visit multiple wineries and old towns in a single day on one of these easy Tuscany wine tours from Florence.

A guided tour may not sound as romantic as zipping from winery to winery on the back of a Vespa or in your own little Fiat… but it’s easier, more convenient, and a lot safer.

This way, you’ll be able to taste as many wines as you want without being unsafe when it comes to driving back to your hotel when the day is over… or making an unlucky person in your travel party the designated driver! 

Pro Tip: If you do decide to rent a car in Tuscany and have a designated driver plan in place, I suggest booking your rental car through Discover Cars — they search over 500 car rental companies, including smaller local ones, to find the best price for your rental!

Best Wine Tours from Florence

Two empty wine glasses overlooking rows of grapes on a vineyard in Tuscany

According to your taste, your budget, and the available time you have, you can choose whatever tour from Florence best suits your style.

You’ll find everything from full-day tours with a visit to a medieval town, brief sampling tours, vineyard tours, and even tours with visits to two or three wineries in a day with a three-course meal included! 

All these Tuscan wine tours include pick up, drop-off, a tour guide to teach you all about the wines of Tuscany, and of course… samples of several different wines included!

  • Best Budget Wine Tour: Chianti Wineries Tour with Food & Wine Tasting from Florence is a half-day experience that takes you to two wineries in the Chianti Hills. 

    During the trip, you will meet local winemakers, walk through stunning vineyards, and sample local wines and other gastronomic goodies such as cheese, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Book your Chianti wine tour here!

A bottle of Chianti on a barrel with an empty wine glass overlooking the rest of Tuscan countryside
  • Best Small Group Tour: Tuscany Wine & Food Tour with Guide from Florence is an intimate experience that takes you to visit three wine estates and their wine cellars and taste several wines as well as local olive oil and high quality balsamic vinegar. 

    After, you will enjoy a fresh lunch of authentic Tuscan specialties and visit not only the idyllic Tuscan hills and vineyards, but also lesser-known Tuscan villages.

Book your small group tour here!

small taste of red wine standing on the table, blurry vineyard behind it
  • Best Wine Tour for Younger Travelers: Tuscany Wine Tasting Full-Day Trip from Florence is a full-day wine tour to the Tuscan countryside, open to all ages but particularly geared toward independent travelers aged 18-35. 

    During the day you can socialize with other travelers while exploring the beautiful Chianti landscape and sampling delicious traditional wines.

     This is a fun experience, with stops at the medieval walled hill town of San Gimignano as well as a wine tasting school to learn how to recognize different flavors and develop your palate so you can be the wine snob you’ve always wanted to be!

Book your guided tour of Tuscany’s wines here! 

scenery of a Tuscan hill town outside of san Gimignano as well as wineries and vineyards
  • Most Scenic Tour of Tuscany: Wine Tasting and Tuscan Lunch in a Vintage Fiat 500 is a perfect experience for Instagram fans eager to surprise their followers with amazing vintage photos, but it’s also perfect if you just love old-school cars and wine! 

    On this half-day tour you’ll join a colorful convoy of vintage cars winding through Florence and rural Tuscany, and head to a fifteenth-century villa and vineyard for fine wine and an olive oil tasting paired with a lunch of Italian delicacies. It’s a unique experience you won’t forget!

Book your Fiat tour of Tuscan wineries here!

red vintage fiat next to a door in Tuscany italy
  • Best Evening Tour with Dinner: Wine Tasting and Dinner in the Vineyards of Chianti is a trip that lets you get lost in a romantic setting right during sunset, soaking in some of the most unforgettable scenes of your Italian experience.

    The excursion includes a wine tasting in a winery, a visit to the farm’s historic chapel, and ends with a memorable Tuscan dinner in the vineyards.

Book your evening wine tour with dinner here!

sunset over a vineyard in Tuscany italy for a romantic tasting and dinner experience
  • Best Tour Combining History and Sights: Chianti and Castles Tour with Wine Tastings does not depart from Florence, but rather from Siena, a city that you can easily reach from Florence by train or bus.

    I’ve decided to include this tour even with its different departure point as it is a real value-for-money experience. 

    The tour starts with the opportunity to explore the gardens of the Brolio Castle and visit the Castellina in Chianti.

    Next up, you will go for a wine tasting experience at a wine estate that includes Chianti and Super Tuscan wines, all paired with a delicious meal of typical Tuscan food. You will also visit ancient churches and small villages where the rhythm of life has remained unchanged over time.

    Finally, you will visit another winery in the middle of the Chianti Classico area, where you’ll have a second optional wine tasting as well as an extra virgin olive oil tasting.

Book your castles and winery tour here!

the remnants of brolio castle in Tuscany and the vineyards surrounding it which you can visit on a wine tour in Tuscany
  • Best Wine Tasting Safari: Chianti Wine & Food Safari is a 10-hour Tuscany wine tour that combines adventure and delicious Tuscan wines. Buckle up for this unique comprehensive introduction to the region and its wines while touring two of its best wine estates.

    Sample the winery’s signature wines and receive tips about the art of wine tasting and pairing wine with food. Tastings also include the sampling of cheese and olive oil. 

    Here’s the safari part: you’ll actually go off-roading through ancient woodland and rolling hills dotted with rustic farms and churches as you make your way to a typical Tuscan restaurant with stunning views. 

    To visit the final wine estate, you go even deeper into the Chianti hills while enjoying the incredible countryside on your way to a Chianti Classico vineyard.

    The final stop is in the village of Greve, where you will have free time to wind down, have an espresso or simply wander the traditional alleyways.

Book your wine tasting safari here!

Wine Tasting in Florence

hands holding wine glasses with a plate of cheese and dried fruit behind the people

 If you have limited time in Florence and are not able to visit the rural Tuscany region, it does not mean you cannot taste the local wines.

The city is full of gorgeous bars, wine shops, and enoteche (wine bars) where tasting Tuscan wines is super easy.

Head to one of the many wine bars in the center of Florence to sample some good Tuscan varieties.

Here are some of the best-known wine bars where you can enjoy wine tasting without leaving the city:

Le Volpi e LUva: This is a very famous wine bar in Florence, also serving stunning local dishes. They have a good choice of Tuscan wines on their wine list, available by the glass or by the bottle. If you have no idea what to taste, ask the sommelier for a suggestion! The staff is approachable and knowledgeable and will offer sensible advice.

Enoteca Marconcini: If you’re visiting the Marketplace area, then head to this enoteca for an impeccable local wine experience. Do not be deceived by its tiny size – this place features an extensive wine list. You can also indulge in local charcuterie and cheese during your tasting.

Pitti Gola e Cantina: Another picturesque wine shop right opposite Pitti Palace, in the Oltrarno district. Here you can taste wine by the glass and purchase a bottle to take back home with you. If you’re looking for a complete experience, check out their wine tasting combined with a lunch menu.

While you’re exploring, don’t forget to sample some of the other delicious products that Tuscany is known for, including extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

You’ll find the local varieties on display throughout most of Florence’s shops and restaurants!

Italian Wine Words to Remember

glass of wine with tuscan countryside in the background

 There are a few Italian wine-related words that you’ll often hear during the tours even when they are conducted in English.

These words help to define the wines you will taste and the land you will visit.

So keep them at the ready in your mind and impress yourself, if no one else!

Vino bianco: white wine

Vino rosso: red wine

Vino rosato: rose wine

Dolce: sweet

Secco: dry

Vino amabile: semisweet

Vino frizzante: slightly sparkling wine, fizzy

Spumante: sparkling wine

Riserva: a wine aged longer than usual 

Bollicine: bubbles

Cantina: both the cellar and the winery

Azienda vinicola: wine estate

Vigna: vineyard

Annata: vintage year

Calice: wine glass (also known as bicchiere, a plain glass)

Cavatappi: corkscrew or bottle opener

Bottiglia: bottle

Etichetta: label

Tappo: cork, closure, cork cap

Sughero: cork, the material

Degustazione: tasting

Salute/chin chin: cheers! 

Are you ready for a tasty wine tour in Florence? You won’t regret a drop of it!

The 22 Best Day Trips from Florence (+ How to Get There!)

Florence is a beautiful city known as the “Cradle of the Renaissance,” and it features not only stunning landmarks, but some of the best museums in Italy.

This rich cultural heritage is an absolute must-see for anyone, but especially for aficionados of art history!

 Planning your trip to Florence at the last minute?

Here are my quick picks on what to do & where to stay!

🍷 Top Florence Experiences:
1. Tuscany Wine & Food Tour with Guide (#1 day trip!)
2. Florence Duomo Visit & Bruneschelli Dome Climb (#1 attraction!)
3. Art Tour of the Uffizi & Accademia (see the Uffizi & Statue of David)

🏨 Best Florence Hotels:
1. Cicerone (charming central Florence guesthouse)
2. Piccolo Borgo Antico (quiet studios near Boboli Gardens)
3. Hotel Unicorno (beautifully revamped 17th century building)

✈️ Flying in? Book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups — they’ll greet you at the airport, help with bags, & bring you into the city, all pre-booked!

However, if you plan on spending a considerable length of time in the city, or if you’ve already visited before and you’re just visiting Florence for a day or two on a return trip, you may find yourself getting curious about exploring more of its surroundings.

Great news: once you leave the city limits, you’ll find that there’s so much to discover!

Tuscany is one of Italy’s most beautiful and rich regions, and you’ll have your choice between exploring arts, architecture, and natural landscapes. 

view of wine regions of florence's surrounding area of tuscany

From big cities to charming little villages, you can plan day trips from Florence to suit any taste!

Depending on how much time you’re willing to spend on a Florence day trip — something nearby or if you’re willing to travel a few hours — the possibilities are wide-ranging, from Tuscan hill towns and beyond!

The Best Day Trips from Florence


The Siena cathedral as seen from above on one of the towers, great view of the belltower on a sunny day

90 minutes south, Siena‘s beauty is said to rival even the famous Tuscan capital.

Best known for its medieval center and its central square, Piazza del Campo, Siena is gorgeous larger city in Tuscany that still retains a bit of a small-town feel.

While you could do Siena as a day trip from Florence, it’s even better on its own as a multi-day trip (see this two-day itinerary, for example).

Every summer, it gets crowded as people from all over Italy and abroad descend on the city for the Palio di Siena, the world-famous horse race.

But beyond that, Siena has many gorgeous landmarks worth working into your day trip itinerary.

Don’t miss the Duomo di Siena, the town’s cathedral famous for its signature black and white marble stripes.

You should also reserve time to see the Palazzo Pubblico with the iconic Torre del Mangia. Climb to the top of the tower for the most impressive views of the city!

While you’re in town, Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico is another important landmark worth checking out.

How to Get to Siena from Florence

There are direct trains about once an hour via the Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station, which take about an hour and a half. There are also trains with a transfer that add on a little more time.

The 131/131R Autolinee Toscane bus goes from Florence to Siena about once an hour, taking about an hour and 15 minutes. There’s also a once-daily Flixbus that makes the trip in about an hour.

If you go by rental car, it’s about a one-hour drive, depending on if there’s traffic.

San Gimignano

view of the city of san Gimignano with its medieval stone towers protruding from the rest of the skyline of the hillside town

An easy day trip just two hours away by bus, San Gimignano is one of most beautiful hilltop towns in Tuscany (and indeed, all of Italy).

Collect UNESCO sites? You can add one to your list by visiting San Gimignano, as the medieval town center became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

The best thing to do in San Gimignano is to simply wander around the lovely medieval town and discover beautiful views of its beautiful architecture and rich history.

Stop by the triangular-shaped Piazza della Cisterna, surrounded by towers and medieval buildings, and pay a visit to Duomo Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta.

If you’re up for a uniquely dark attraction, consider stopping in for a visit to the Museum of Torture. The subject matter might be a bit grim, but the museum is a fascinating look into the dark side of history!

For beautiful views of the town, climb one of the many towers. Torre Grossa may be the largest, but Torre Rognosa and Torre Chigi also offer amazing views.

San Gimignano is even nicknamed the “Medieval Manhattan” due to its many towers, so this skyline is absolutely not to be missed!

How to Get from Florence to San Gimignano

You can take the hourly 131 bus, getting off in Poggibonsi — this takes about 50 minutes. Then, transfer to the 130 bus, which takes another 25 minutes or so to reach San Gimignano. With wait time, it’s about 2 hours by bus.

You can do a similar route partly by train, taking the train to Poggibonsi and then taking the 130 bus to San Gimignano. This takes a little longer since the train is not as direct.

If you have a rental car, it’s only about an hour’s drive from Florence.

Suggested Tour: Full-Day Pisa, Siena & San Gimignano Day Trip

Want to tick off three Florence day trip destinations in one easy tour? This day trip does it all for you.

This tour handles all the logistics and transfers, giving you 1.5 hours of free time each in Pisa and San Gimignano.

On your way to Siena, you’ll have lunch (included) in a traditional Tuscan winery, including a wine tasting.

Then, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of Siena (and the Siena Cathedral) before being given some free time, totaling 2.5 hours in Siena. 

Check prices and tour availability here!


A church in the heart of Prato with striped brick detail, cutouts, clock, etc.

Just outside Florence, the city of Prato is a quick 20-minute train ride from Santa Maria Novella station.

If you’re short on time but want to see something other than Florence, you can visit Prato in just a half-day.

Prato is renowned for its textile district, where brands from all over the world have their factories.

You can learn all about the history of textiles in the city at the Prato Textile Museum, one of the prime attractions the city has to offer.

Be sure to visit the Romanesque St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the medieval castle Castello dell’Imperatore, and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo with its gorgeous cloisters. 

Another beautiful sight is the Villa Medici at Poggio a Caiano, located just outside Prato, featuring wonderful gardens. It’s the perfect little oasis in the middle of your trip!

How to Get from Florence to Prato

There are trains from Firenze S.M.N. station to Prato 2-3 times per hour, taking anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes depending on the train.

There are also buses every 30 minutes to an hour, but those take about 40 minute so they don’t save you any time.

If you have a rental car, you could drive it in 20 minutes, but honestly, the train is faster and less stress. It’s likely cheaper, too, once you factor in parking.


The many-arched ornate leaning tower of pisa, towering over the cathedral and offering an optical illusion, on a sunny day in the summer with lots of tourists out and about enjoying the unesco site of pisa.

I probably don’t even have to say it, do I?

The number one reason you’d visit Pisa is to see — what else? — the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

However, what you may not know is that the iconic tower is actually part of a complex of landmarks!

The complex encompasses the buildings of Piazza dei Miracoli (Plaza of Miracles) includes the Pisa Cathedral, the Pisa Baptistery of St. John, and the Monumental Cemetery.

You can easily spend a whole afternoon sightseeing around Piazza dei Miracoli and visiting all the landmarks.

Be sure to save some time though, because you’ll also want to explore the lovely Borgo Stretto neighborhood with its gorgeous medieval houses and beautiful arcades.

While you can do Pisa as a day trip easily, it benefits from more time, like this 2 days in Pisa itinerary lays out.

How to Get from Florence to Pisa

Trains depart regularly from Santa Maria Novella train station, and the trip from Florence can take as little as 50 minutes for the most direct route!

Buses are less convenient here, so the train is the best option.

If you want to see Pisa as well as other sights, you can also book the Pisa, Siena, and San Gimignano tour mentioned above.


the beautiful town of volterra in italy

If you’ve ever seen the Twilight Saga, you might be familiar with the medieval town of Volterra.

If you didn’t, go ahead and skip the movie and just take a day trip to Volterra from Florence.

This beautiful little Tuscan town is just over two hours from Florence by public transit

Volterra is a delightful small town to walk around: poke around down narrow alleys, meander through lively squares, and delight in the views of the historic.

Spend some time in Piazza dei Priori, then see it from above! The views from the tower of Palazzo dei Priori offer one of the best views of Volterra.

You should also dedicate some time to pay a visit to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.

If you’re a fan of museums, stop in at the Etruscan Museum Mario Guarnacci to learn about the town’s long history.

Volterra has a rich Etruscan heritage (and Roman and Medieval as well), with its earliest settlement nearly three millennia back, all the way back in 8th century BCE!

How to Get from Florence to Volterra

There are no direct buses or trains between Florence and Volterra, so the easiest thing to do is take the train to Pontedera and then the 500 Autolinee Toscane bus to Volterra.

This can be a bit hectic, so a guided tour may be the better bet, like this one that combines Volterra, San Gimignano, and some Chianti wine tasting to sweeten the deal.

Suggested Tour: Full-Day Volterra & San Gimignano with Lunch and Wine Tasting

This tour eliminates the need to fuss over public transit and combines two typically hard-to-reach cities into one guided tour.

Your day starts in San Gimignano, where you’ll have a guided tour of the city as well as a wine tasting, and a free taste of gelato from a world champion winner! Then you’ll have free time in the city.

Next, you’ll head onto Volterra, where you’ll have another guided tour followed by a lunch (included) in a local traditional Tuscan restaurant.

On the way back, you’ll stop by a winery for a sunset wine tasting including the world-famous Super Tuscan wines — not a bad way to cap off a day trip from Florence!

Check tour availability and prices here!


small street alleyway in certaldo, a tuscan town with brick buildings and green plant with pink flowers

If you enjoy exploring small Tuscan towns, then Certaldo absolutely has to be on your list of day trip destinations from your stay in Florence.

The picturesque town is less than an hour from Florence and features a lovely hilltop medieval town reachable via cable car.

The top landmark in Certaldo is Palazzo Pretorio, a 12th-century palace that houses beautiful frescoes and historical artifacts, and features a tower with spectacular panoramic views.

Another must-see is Boccaccio’s House, which belonged to the famous Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio, who was born and died in Certaldo.

As a bonus, the house also offers gorgeous views of the surrounding town!

How to Get from Florence to Certaldo

There are direct trains about once an hour from Florence, taking a little under an hour, and there are even more options if you take the train with a transfer in Empoli (taking about 1 hour, 20 minutes).

There are no direct buses, so taking the train or driving in a rental car is your best bet.

By car, it’s about 50 minutes, so there’s no benefit to driving over taking the train if Certaldo is the only place you’re visiting.

Cinque Terre

the beautiful cinque terre town on the hillside with colorful houses perched on a cliff

One of Italy’s most beloved sights, the Cinque Terre, is truly worthy of at least one or two full days.

However, if your trip to Italy has very limited time, it may be worth visiting Cinque Terre from Florence on a day trip.

However, you’ll want to take a tour to make every moment count and not get tripped up on the details and working out all the train connections.

This Florence Cinque Terre Day Trip is a full-day tour that handles all the logistics getting you between Florence and Cinque Terre National Park.

This tour includes time in all five colorful seaside villages (Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, and Monterosso).

If selected, you can also include a hike from Corniglia to Vernazza. Don’t worry if you prefer a lower-impact outing, you can also get to Vernazza by train!

In the peak season, you’ll also be able to take a boat cruise along the Cinque Terre coastline — as long as the weather behaves.

The tour also includes an optional seafood lunch at a local restaurant, where you can try traditional Ligurian dishes.

How to Get from Florence to Cinque Terre

While it’s possible to get from Florence to Cinque Terre via public transportation, I don’t recommend it for a day trip.

There are simply too many transfers involved when it comes to visiting Cinque Terre, and it’s a lot to work out on your own.

A guided tour is the best and easiest way to do Cinque Terre as a day trip.

Suggested Tour: Full-Day Cinque Terre Tour with Hike, Lunch, and Boat Cruise

This easy tour includes visits to all five of the villages of the Cinque Terre on a day trip from Florence through expert planning and smooth transfers.

It’ll be a jam-packed day but it’ll be worth it, especially if you add on the option to take a hike through the vineyards to lovely Vernazza.

You can also add on a seafood lunch or figure out lunch on your own time.

Finally, on tours between April and October, you’ll be able to take a boat cruise along the coast as long as the weather permits.

Check tour availability and prices here!


The little venice 'canal' of bologna with red, yellow, and orange buildings and a canal running between them

Bologna is very close to Florence, which means it’s perfect for a day trip!

Bologna is primarily a student city, as it is the home of the world’s oldest university, in continuous operation since 1088.

Additionally, Bologna is a great place to eat delicious food. A must-try is the classic green lasagna, but the tagliatelle al ragù is also delicious.

If you’re just in the mood for a quick snack, try a sandwich with mortadella, the favorite local cold cut!

In the city center, wander around Piazza Maggiore and Piazza del Nettuno, climb one of the towers to enjoy great views, and visit the Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro.

One particularly cool spot that recently became popular is La Piccola Venezia (Little Venice), a small canal you can view from a window on Via Piella.

How to Get from Florence to Bologna

For the fastest train ride, you can spend a bit more for the Frecciarossa high speed train, which takes only 40 minutes.

Alternately, you can save some money and opt for the cheaper regional train that takes a little under two hours.

Chianti Region

The chianti countryside with village below it

For an authentic experience in the Tuscan countryside, wine lovers should head to the Chianti Region.

Chianti, alongside Prosecco and Barolo, is one of the biggest names in Italian wine!

While you can opt to rent a car and explore Tuscany on your own, I don’t recommend it if you plan on wine tasting.

So you don’t have to worry about designated drivers, you can book a guided tour like this Chianti Wineries Tour with Food and Wine Tasting.

A Tuscany wine tour offers a bit of everything in a single jam-packed day trip: not only will you be exploring the gorgeous Tuscan countryside, but you’ll also be visiting local wineries, and of course, sampling local wines like Chianti Classico!

Organized tours usually run between 5 and 8 hours exploring the Chianti wine region, and typically include everything from transportation to Chianti wine tasting and expert guides.

How to Get from Florence to Chianti

Since wineries are dispersed from the main cities in Tuscany, it’s typically best to get around Chianti by car.

However, with alcohol involved, driving in a rental car is out unless you have a designated driver.

Instead, I suggest taking a guided tour so that everyone can enjoy.


Large belltower or clocktower in Lucca, looming above the city's houses and skyline, with hills behind it showing the Tuscan countryside

Lucca is one of the most spectacular cities in Tuscany and is easy to get to from Florence for a great day trip.

Check out the beautiful Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, climb to the top of Torre delle Ore for stunning views, and visit the beautiful St. Martin Cathedral.

If panoramic views are your thing, you can check out another gorgeous view from Guinigi Tower, which features a wonderful rooftop garden where the only thing more beautiful than the plants is the stunning setting.

Lucca also has many museums, like the Puccini Museum housed in the birthplace of the Italian composer, the stunning Museum of Villa Mansi, and the gorgeous Palazzo Pfanner with its wonderful gardens.

How to Get from Florence to Lucca

To reach Lucca from Florence, you can enjoy another train ride through the beautiful Italian countryside and its rolling hills – this one takes just a little over an hour.

There are direct trains roughly twice an hour so you’ll be sure to catch a train fairly quickly when you arrive at the train station.

Since trains are so easy, it’s not worth bothering with buses or rental cars.


spanish steps in rome without any crowds

Many would argue that Rome should not be a day trip but rather an itinerary of its own… and I would agree, in an ideal world!

But I would also say that if a day trip is your only chance to see Rome, you absolutely should do it, and it’s very easily achieved from Florence.

Just an hour and a half away by high-speed train, Rome and its many millennia of history beckon.

Do I even need to go into all the reasons you should visit Rome? Of course, there’s the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums (and Vatican City, technically its own country!), and the Pantheon.

But there’s also the beautiful squares like Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori, the charming little neighborhoods like Trastevere where you’ll find delicious Roman trattorias serving up some of the best pastas of your life, and scenic parks like Villa Borghese.

You could honestly just walk around Rome without an agenda and call it a successful day trip, that’s how spectacular this city is.

But if you want a little guidance, here’s a plan for seeing Rome in a day.

How to Get from Florence to Rome

The Frecciarossa fast train covers the distance between Rome and Florence in an impressive hour and a half.

This same route takes over 3 hours by car, so that’s quite impressive — so there’s no reason why you’d do anything but take the fast train if you only have a day.


the medieval striped facade of the church in pistoia next to a plain brick building in the center of this charming town that was a capital of culture.

A hidden gem that many visitors skip when traveling to Tuscany, Pistoia was Italy’s Capital of Culture in 2017, and for good reason.

Less than an hour from Florence, you can explore this historic city’s charm easily in a single day.

Admire the medieval Cathedral of San Zeno, explore the town center, and take a mid-day break Italian-style for a delicious coffee or aperitivo in the lovely Piazza della Sala.

If you’re up for visiting a museum, check out the fascinating Museo dello Spedale del Ceppo, dedicated to the history of the medical profession.

While in Pistoia, don’t miss out on delicious local food!

The traditional dish of the city is the “carcerato”, a soup with bread, beef entrails, and cheese.

The name translates to “prisoner” because the dish was cooked for the prisoners… but we swear, it’s better than it sounds!

For a delicious vegetarian alternative, try the “farinata con le leghe” with black cabbage.

How to Get from Florence to Pistoia

Luckily, this is an easy one, with direct trains several times an hour.

The train ride is comfortable and takes only about 40 minutes from Firenze S.M.N., the main train station in town.


the palazzo communale of cortona, with medieval clock tower with rectangular pillar, benches for pedestrians on a cloudy day.

For another charming hilltop town in Tuscany, visit the lovely Cortona.

Not only is the medieval architecture of town itself picturesque, but the views over the countryside are spectacular.

Wander down cobblestone streets as you take in its key landmarks, like the Etruscan Academy Museum and the lovely Church of San Francesco.

Cortona also has many small art galleries where you can take home a piece of local artwork.

How to Get from Florence to Cortona

You can take a train to Camucia-Cortona which takes about an hour and a half. It’ll bring you about 3 kilometers outside of Cortona.

From there, you can take a bus (though the schedule is a bit sporadic, so check the timing) or a taxi (which wouldn’t be too expensive as it’s rather close).

You can also drive to Cortona, which takes about an hour and 20 minutes.


the city of arezzo with golden colored buildings on a sunny day with no one out in the piazza which is empty and clear

Southeast of Florence, the stunning hilly city of Arezzo is easily reached by train — and in less than an hour, too.

The hilltop Arezzo Cathedral is the main reason to visit, known for its beautiful frescoes and stained-glass windows.

Close to the cathedral, you can stroll around Arezzo Park to enjoy lovely views and visit the Medici Fortress.

Aside from the cathedral and fortress, there is much to discover in the historic center of Arezzo.

Visit the Basilica of San Francesco, have a coffee break at one of the cafés in Piazza Grande, and admire amazing works of art at Casa Vasari and the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art.

Make sure to spend some time walking around the historic center.

You’ll come across many picturesque alleys, beautiful churches, art galleries, and historical landmarks!

How to Get from Florence to Arezzo

There are many trains to Arezzo each day departing from Firenze S.M.N.

The fastest trains can get there in around 30-40 minutes. There are also other direct trains that take about an hour and 20 minutes, but they’re not much cheaper, so I’d just opt for the faster train.


waters in livorno harbor with boats, buildings on the seafront

If you want to escape to the coast for a day, one of the easiest cities to reach from Florence is Livorno, under two hours away by train. 

This Tuscan port city is the place to go for delicious seafood, medieval landmarks, and an impressive modern seaport.

Near the seaport, visit the 11th-century medieval fort known as Fortezza Vecchia (Old Fort), check out the Monument of the Four Moors, enjoy the views from Terrazza Mascagni, and maybe visit the Livorno Aquarium if you’re a marine life geek.

Fortezza Nuova (New Fort) is located in an area of the city called Venezia Nuova (New Venice) because of its little islands and canals. 

Via Grande is the main commercial area lined with stores, cafés, and ice cream shops. And trust me, you’re going to want to make a trip to these ice cream shops.

How to Get from Florence to Livorno

There are several direct trains from Florence to Livorno each day, typically about one per hour.

It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes by train to Livorno Centrale.


Tuscan hilltop town of Montepulciano with brick architecture and towers and trees on a cloudy day

Wine geeks’ ears will perk up when they hear that Montepulciano can be visited on a day trip from Florence!

Home to the world-famous Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, you’ll find several wineries worth visiting in and around Montepulciano. There’s even a winery located at a 14th century palace, Palazzo Contucci!

Besides its wine, though, there are several other reasons to visit Montepulciano.

The main square, Piazza Grande, is a great place for a mid-day gelato. People-watch while surrounded by beautiful Renaissance-era buildings like the Palazzo Comunale and the Palazzo Contucci.

The 16th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is worth visiting for its beautiful Baroque features as well as its frescoes inside.

Don’t miss the Church of San Biagio just outside of Montepulciano, widely considered one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in the entire country, particularly for its white marble facade.

There’s also the 14th century Fortress of Montepulciano – while there’s not too much left of the fortress itself these days, it does offer stunning views over the rolling hills of Tuscany!

How to Get from Florence to Montepulciano

Getting from Florence to Montepulciano with public transit is quite a lot of trouble for a day trip, requiring a transfer and taking over three hours.

Instead, I recommend going by car if you have a rental car (about an hour and a half) or going as part of a guided tour.

This day tour includes visits to both Pienza and Montepulciano (with a wine tasting to boot!)

Both these places are difficult to get to by public transportation, so a day trip that knocks out both in one go is a great option.

Suggested Tour: Pienza, Val d’Orcia and Montepulciano Wine Tour

This budget-friendly day tour includes visits to Pienza and Montepulciano, with stops in both towns where you’ll have free time to explore.

All transportation is included, as is a wine tasting of Brunello di Montalcino, another famous wine from the region! However, lunch is at your own expense.

Check tour availability and prices here!


the beach front in viareggio, with sand, liberty-style architecture buildings, and mountains as the background

The best time to visit Viareggio is during the Carnival, between the end of January and the beginning of March.

The Carnival of Viareggio is probably second only to the one in Venice, famous for the impressively large floats parading on Viale Giosuè Carducci, also known as La Passeggiata.

If you don’t happen to be in Viareggio during the Carnival, you should still go for a walk along La Passeggiata, lined with Liberty-style buildings, hotels, and restaurants.

In summer, walk along the long sandy beach and enjoy a meal at one of the great fish restaurants with striking sea views. Make sure to also stop by Villa Puccini and Villa Paolina.

How to Get from Florence to Viareggio

You can get to Viareggio by train from Florence in under two hours. Some trains are direct, but others require a transfer in Pisa.

Exact journey time varies on the train, but it can be as quick as an hour and 20 minutes or as long as two hours.

Forte dei Marmi

beach at forte dei marmi with italian flags on the beach, mountains in the background, and lido (beach club) umbrella and chairs

While Florence is a spectacular city, there’s one thing it doesn’t have: the sea!

It can get roasting-hot in Florence in summer, so if you want to cool off for a day, head to Forte dei Marmi.

The popular resort town is roughly two hours away from Florence and is among the top beach destinations in the area.

Boasting an uninterrupted long sandy beach, great restaurants, beach clubs, and boutique shops, Forte dei Marmi is the place to go if you want to relax, enjoy good food, and maybe even do a little retail therapy (or window shopping).

Since it’s a beach town, the best time to visit Forte dei Marmi is summer, but you keep in mind the peak months are July and August and there will be crowds!

How to Get from Florence to Forte dei Marmi

It’s a bit tricky by public transportation but it’s still doable. You’ll have to take the train to Viareggio and then take the E1 bus, which takes another 30 minutes.

All in all, you’re looking at a journey of about two hours by train/bus, or if you’re renting a car and driving, it’s about an hour and a half.


The charming hillside town of Pienza with stone walls, stone architecture, church steeples, cypress trees

Another day trip option from Florence is Pienza, a hilltop town with intriguing Renaissance history and gorgeous architecture.

The views as you look out from Pienza are incredible since they overlook the Val d’Orcia, one of the most scenic parts of Tuscany.

In addition to being just plain scenic everywhere you look, the town also has several landmarks worth visiting.

In particular, the Palazzo Piccolomini with its Renaissance architecture and beautiful courtyards, as well as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta are both worth your time.

Take a brief pause in Piazza Pio II for some people-watching and an espresso to keep you on your feet for more sightseeing.

Another sight worth adding to the list is Pieve di Corsignano, a Romanesque church just outside of Pienza, with frescoes dating back to the 14th century.

How to Get from Florence to Pienza

The most direct way to get to Pienza is by rental car or by guided tour, since buses and trains both require several connections.

As mentioned above, I recommend this tour of both Montepulciano and Pienza, which includes a wine tasting as well as time in both cities.


The hilly town of Perugia in Umbria with lots of buildings, several churches with steeples and towers visible, and outer hills

Perugia, Umbria’s scenic capital city, is only a couple of hours by train from Florence, so it’s a doable day trip.

Perugia is best known for its enclosed historic center surrounded by medieval walls, but it also has several intriguing historical landmarks and museums.

One of the highlights of Perugia’s historic center is Palazzo dei Priori, which houses the National Gallery, a museum featuring both important medieval and Renaissance art.

The palace is in the central square, Piazza IV Novembre, just opposite another must-see landmark, the Gothic Perugia Cathedral.

Around the square, you can explore the narrow alleys to discover more impressive historical buildings – this part of the city is full of hidden gems!

Perugia is also famous for chocolate making, as it is the birthplace of the Baci Perugina chocolates.

Every October, the city hosts a chocolate festival, Eurochocolate — if you have a sweet tooth, this is one event worth planning around!

Even if you can’t make it to the festival, you can still take a tour of the Casa del Cioccolato Perugina, just outside the city center.

How to Get from Florence to Perugia

There is a small handful of direct trains to Perugia each day, taking about 2 hours and 15 minutes to arrive.

There are more options if you also allow for a transfer.


City walls of Monteriggioni, a historic enclosed city in Tuscany, with medieval details

About an hour by car from Florence, Monteriggioni is a small town near Siena worthy of a day trip!

It’s best known for its historic city walls, originally built by the then-Republic of Siena to defend in wars against its neighboring state of Florence. You can walk along the walls to take in the stunning views!

Another key thing not to miss is the Monteriggioni Castle, once a defensive structure (also against Florence), now a museum.

Speaking of museums, the Museum of Monteriggioni in the main square is worth visiting, as it lays out the history of the wars between the Florentine Republic and the Republic of Siena and what role Monteriggioni played in that. It also has a number of interesting medieval artifacts!

At any point during your day trip, you can rest your feet at Piazza Roma, a great place for a gelato and some people-watching.

Another sight worth seeing is the Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta, notable for its wooden statue of the Madonna that dates all the way back to the 14th century.

How to Get from Florence to Monteriggioni

The easiest way to get here is by driving, but if you prefer public transport, you can also take the 131 bus, which has three daily departures and takes about an hour and 15 minutes.

Do check the timing for the way back, though, so you don’t get stuck!

By car, it’s less than an hour, so it may be a convenient choice if you’re renting a car in Tuscany.


the hilltop town of montalcino in tuscany with scenic foothills and vineyards off in the distance in tuscany wine country

Another cute Tuscan hilltop town, Montalcino is best known for its Brunello di Montalcino wine… but the town itself is also worth a visit!

A few things worth seeing include the Fortezza di Montalcino, a historic fortress with great views over the surrounding Tuscan countryside and its wineries and olive groves.

There’s also the Piazza del Popolo, where you’ll find landmarks like the Palazzo dei Priori and the Church of Sant’Agostino in a cluster around the main square.

Another sight worth seeing is the 12th-century Abbey of Sant’Antimo just outside of town — it’s worth the detour!

How to Get from Florence to Montalcino

It’s a bit of a hassle to get between these two places in Tuscany for a day trip via public transit, but it can be done in about three hours.

To get to Montalcino, you’ll need to first take a bus or train to Buonconvento, and then take the 114 bus about 30 minutes further.

It’s easier to get here by rental car, which takes an hour and 45 minutes.

Alternately, you can take a wine tour that also includes the town of Montalcino.

Suggested Tour: Brunello di Montalcino Wine Tour

This tour includes a visit to the town of Montalcino but also so much more!

You’ll get to visit two wineries in the Montalcino area that produce the world-famous Brunello di Montalcino wine — served alongside a three-course gourmet Tuscan lunch.

Check tour availability and prices here!


Marvelous basilica of Assisi dedicated to the patron saint, with views of the hills and countryside in the background, and a giant church

The last place on our list, Assisi, is a bit far from Florence, but it’s one of the most iconic places in Italy, so if you want to check it out, you could do so on a day trip from Florence.

The train ride takes roughly two and a half hours from Firenze Campo Marte to Assisi station.

Don’t miss the spectacular Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, which is also a UNESCO site.

While the church’s facade is stunning to behold, its interior is where it really shines: it’s home to important frescoes by Giotto and Lorenzetti.

Assisi is home to many other beautiful churches, all of which are well worth visiting.

The Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Assisi is built inside a 1st-century temple, as you can see from its entrance.

The Chiesa Nuova di San Francesco Convertito is built on what is thought to be the site of St. Francis’s birthplace, while the Cathedral of San Rufino is where St. Francis was baptized.

How to Get from Florence to Assisi

There is a handful of direct trains (and more options for trains with transfers) every day from Florence to Assisi, taking about two hours and 40 minutes.

You can also drive, but it won’t save too much time: it’ll take about two hours and 10 minutes in that instance.