As the birthplace of Renaissance artistry, Florence is one of the best Italian cities for sculpture and paintings, and 2 days in Florence, Italy, is the perfect amount of time to explore the beautiful city.
Florence is packed with history, architecture, amazing food, and plenty of shopping to sink your Euros into.
It’s a wonderful place to wander and get lost amid the narrow cobbled streets and suddenly come out into an unknown plaza, in awe or simply in search of a coffee or gelato break (both are very easy to find in Florence!).
Meanwhile, the legacy of the Medici family lives on through the city’s grand palaces and garden estates. Read on for the only 2 days in Florence itinerary you’ll need to plan an art-filled city break.
How to Get to Florence
Galileo Galilei International Airport (PSA) in Pisa is the closest international airport and connects to Florence by bus in 1 hour. Otherwise, you can check regional connections with Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR) which is actually located in Florence. Check flight prices on Kiwi here.
Not forgetting, Florence links with all other major Italian cities by train. You can book bus and train tickets for travel in Italy on Omio. Note, the station you need is the Firenze Santa Maria Novella Train Station.
The city is only about two hours from Rome, Milan, and Venice by fast train. You can easily fly into one of those larger international airports and then get yourself to Florence. Trains runs throughout the day. Check times and book ahead to save some money on Omio here.
Getting Around Florence
Florence is relatively compact and for the purpose of this 2 days in Florence itinerary, you will be able to walk most places.
If your accommodation is further afield or some of the distances are too great, Autolinee Toscane operates a local bus service. You can purchase tickets where the Autolinee Toscane is displayed or by downloading the Tabnet app. Buying tickets onboard is currently being phased out.
Florence is one of the best Italian cities for architecture. So, you’ll want to don your best sneakers and keep your eyes peeled while hopping around the sights listed below.
Where to Stay for 2 Days in Florence
There are so many wonderful places to stay in Florence. Since you only have two days in Florence, you’ll want to be as central as possible. It’s a very walkable city so anyhwere near Santa Croce, the Duomo or the main train station are perfect for exploring and being close to top restaurants in the city.
These are just a few of our favorite boutique spots in Florence.
- Gallery Hotel Art: This hotel is absolutely stunning (and the pricetag may also stun). If you love art and want to enjoy plenty of it while you are visting Florence, then this is the hotel for you. Opt for the room with the bed on the balcony if you want some romance under the Italian stars. Rooms start at $225 per night. Book here.
- Hotel Alessandra: This hotel really makes you feel like you are in Italy, especially in Tuscany. The views over the river are stunning and your stay includes a really great breakfast each morning. Rooms start at $180 per night. Book here.
- Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio: There is so much to love about this hotel with one of the best being its price. The balcony views are perhaps my second favorite and the room and service are also impeccable. Rooms start at $90 per night. Book here.
Where to Eat for 2 Days in Florence
Hot on the heels behind Bologna as the food capital of Italy, eating in Florence is worthy of its own chapter. During your two days in Florence, make sure you sample such delicacies as Florentine steak as well regional dishes from the Tuscan region – anything with tomatoes will impress!
This guide to where to eat in Florence is packed with the best restaurants as well as tips to help you navigate the food scene. You can slip these recommendations into your 2 days in Florence itinerary as and where suits.
2 Days in Florence Itinerary
This Florence 2 day itinerary is devised to maximize your time as much as possible. But, you can always flip sights around if that works better for you and the weather conditions.
Bear in mind that certain attractions and museums will be extremely busy over the peak travel months of July and August and it might take longer to get around.
If you are fortunate to have three days in Florence, then our other guide has a further 24 hours’ worth of things to do in the Tuscan city. You may rather swap out some of the museums and take a trip to Fiesole as detailed in this itinerary.
Day One of your Two Days in Florence
Now, over to how to spend 2 days in Florence, Italy. The first day is concentrated on the north bank of the River Arno.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo)
Standing in the Piazza del Duomo, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is the emblem of Florence. This is where you’ll see the colossal red cupola of Brunelleschi’s Duomo with its glorious white marble laced with red and green polychrome designs.
Foundations on the structure of this massive church are traced back to 1296 and it was consecrated in 1436.
However, the stunning facade wasn’t finalized until the 19th century. Marveling the dome from the ground and various viewpoints around the city is essential but you can also tackle the 463 steps to the top of the Duomo. It sounds like a lot but you can take your time on the way up.
You can purchase tickets to climb the Duomo online. The official website lists options subject to which parts of the complex you want to have access to; it’s actually free to visit the cathedral nave. Note that opening hours vary subject to which parts you visit.
On the other hand, this cathedral skip-the-line entry ticket streamlines the booking process as it covers the entire complex. Which, includes the following highlights.
Campanile di Giotto
The Campanile di Giotto (Giotto’s Bell Tower) is right in front of the cathedral. It’s distinguished by the same marblework and color scheme but it’s actually a separate building so take care not to miss it.
If you purchase that cathedral skip-the-line entry ticket, it covers your admission to the campanile as well. That means you can climb up 414 steps to the top of the tower and ogle the cathedral from a new perspective. Plus, this is a quieter lookout for your 2 days in Florence itinerary!
Battistero di San Giovanni
Another spot in this area not to neglect, the Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistry of St. John) features a striking monochrome facade that resembles both the Duomo and Campanile di Giotto.
Originally a pagan temple, the baptistry is one of the oldest churches in the city. However, the octagonal structure relates to work completed in the 4th and 5th centuries while the exteriors were later redesigned to echo its neighbors.
Basilica di San Lorenzo
The Basilica di San Lorenzo is a short walk around the corner from the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. This church is the burial ground of the Medici family. Owing to its humble exterior, it’s often overlooked which means you can grab a brief respite from the crowds of Florence!
But, once inside, you’re rewarded with an astounding nave ornamented with slender colonnades, priceless works of art, and a library designed by Michelangelo. You can visit the basilica in tandem with the Palazzo Medici Riccardi if you want to learn more about the dynasty.
The basilica is closed on Sundays. Although less busy, you can still guarantee admission by reserving a timed slot to visit.
Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell’Accademia) is the location of Michelangelo’s David. Although the Renaissance sculpture is the highlight (you’ll not miss the click of cameras at the base!), the wider collections are well worth a wander. There are further statues from Michelangelo as well as works by his peers Bartolini, di Buonaguida, and Monaco.
The museum is closed on Mondays so you’ll need to factor this into your 2 days in Florence.
Tickets are available to buy online via the museum website. You can choose a time slot, but even when you arrive at that time, you will still have to wait 10-15 minutes in line.
Alternatively, you can purchase a skip-the-line ticket for peace of mind. As you can imagine, just about every visitor is eager to catch sight of David “in the flesh” and pre-booking is pretty vital here.
While you’re in this neighborhood, be sure to head over to Robiglio, which is just around the block, for a coffee and some of their extraordinary pastries. They have a few tables outside, so head in and choose your pastry and they will bring it to your table with your coffee order.
Piazza della Signoria
Digest the art with a scoop of gelato and a stroll around the Piazza della Signoria. This square contains the Palazzo Vecchio; the town hall of Florence with its imposing clock tower. You can book skip-the-line tickets and tour the interiors and climb to the top for incredible views.
There is also a replica of Michelangelo’s David amongst several other famous Florence sculptures, so if you skipped the museum this afternoon here’s your chance to see the next best thing! Do take a moment to check out the Fountain of Neptune and other statues.
If you already think you’ll want to return to Florence for seconds, swing around the corner to the Fontana del Porcellino. Rumor has it, if you rub the snout of the bronze boar, you’re guaranteed to come back to the city again in the future.
After the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio is Florence’s most famous site. Although touristy, it’s utterly gorgeous and visiting in the early evening will round off the first half of your 2 days in Florence itinerary.
This Roman-originated bridge used to bustle with fresh produce stalls and butchers. Nowadays, the stores cater more to contemporary tastes and it’s a hub for souvenir shops and jewelry vendors.
In 1595, a decree was made that all of the butchers had to leave the bridge. Only the jewelers and goldsmiths could remain. And it has stayed like that ever since. Now the bridge is packed to the brim with tiny but beautiful jewelry stores, the perfect souvenir from your trip to Italy.
Try and arrive just ahead of sunset to catch the romantic light but note that the stores typically close around 7 pm.
Day Two of Two Days in Florence
A head’s up: today’s itinerary requires a fair amount of walking and time in open green spaces. In that case, make sure you leave your hotel in your comfiest footwear and weather-appropriate clothing and apparel.
If you fit one more art venue into your Florence 2 day itinerary, the Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) is where you’ll find some of the most highly commended paintings and sculptures from the world of art.
Botticelli’s Birth of Venus is the star of the collection and the reason why the gallery ranks top of the agenda for most tourists. But this two-story gallery is overflowing with works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, as well as countless other masters.
If you’re an art history enthusiast, you can spend literally hours here so it’s recommended to get a headstart on the long lines that form. Book a timed skip-the-line ticket and aim to arrive when the facility opens. The lines here can get out of control, so give yourself plenty of time. Anticipate spending around 2 hours at the minimum once you get inside.
If you want to learn more about the art inside the museum as well as about the history of this museum and what it means to the city of Florence, I highly recommend taking a guided tour of the Uffizi. It will allow you to take in the museum in bite-sized parts and you will learn a ton about the different art and artists on show here. Book a tour of the Uffizi here.
As with the Accademia Gallery, the museum is closed on Mondays.
One of Florence’s kookier attractions, the Museo Galileo, is located right next door. Potentially, you could squeeze in a visit here. Or, go against the grain and visit this one in place of the Uffizi if you rather.
Giardino di Boboli
When you are ready, you can cross the River Arno via Ponte Vecchio. It’s generally quieter early in the day and you might want to have a look at the souvenirs.
The Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens) is a huge patch of formal gardens – the largest within city limits – stretched across the hills on the other side of the river.
This 16th-century complex was the residence of the Medici family and is considered the source of the original Italianate gardens. You can devour yet more Renaissance masterpieces at the Forte di Belvedere, an elevated citadel with great views.
Plus, the stately Palazzo Pitti houses works by Italian and European artists. It’s also unique in that you can explore the different apartments inside which were once home to one of the city’s richest families.
But, if you’re feeling a bit fatigued with galleries, you can simply make the most of the gardens.
There are flower plots, trees, and beautiful water features where you can unwind and make the most of the Tuscan sunshine. Even in the autumn and spring, it’s worth coming to see the leaves changing or the flowers in bloom.
If your 2 days in Florence itinerary is planned for the summer months, the Boboli Gardens will heat up so do pack sunscreen, a hat, and other summertime essentials.
Depending on how you’re doing for time – and how much you want to spend today – you can also explore the nearby Giardino Bardini (Bardini Gardens).
These gardens roll out around a 17th-century villa and were originally used for agricultural purposes. Among the exhibition, there is still a plot that commemorates its original heritage – you’ll also find an Italian and English garden.
It’s a smaller complex and you’ll pass by on the way to the next item on your itinerary. Tickets are available to purchase online but it’s not essential.
Right before you reach the park, you’ll pass by the Casa di Galileo Galilei on Costa S. Giorgio. It’s not a museum, you can only visit the exterior.
Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte
The Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte stands on a hill overlooking the heart of Florence.
Being one of the highest points in the city, it’s quite a steep walk but it’s worth it. While the views from the terrace are outstanding, the architecture is yet another example of how Florence is one of the prettiest cities in Italy. Owing to its elevated and sacred setting, the abbey is considered the “Gate of Heaven”.
The abbey is open every day of the week and it’s free to visit with no need to reserve a slot in advance.
Conclude your two days in Florence with one of the city’s most handsome viewpoints. The Piazzale Michelangelo is located on the south bank of the River Arno and grants yet another wonderful vista over the city’s rooftops and cathedral with the Tuscan valleys in the background.
If you arrive in time for sunset, you’ll need to share the space with half of Florence. But, it’s spacious enough and golden hour is spectacular. On the other hand, you could flip this itinerary and catch the sunrise here instead when it’s far quieter!
When you are ready to return to the center of town, follow the riverside path and cross the River Arno via Ponte alle Grazie. This much younger bridge provides a photogenic perspective of Ponte Vecchio. Depending on the time of the day, you might catch the tail end of the sunset or see it twinkling under the night sky.