You’ve just arrived in the Cradle of the Renaissance, the capital of the art world. You only have a couple of days to stay in Florence Tuscany, so where should you go and what highlights can you see in such a short time? This is a guide for you to get the most out of your 2 days in Florence.
After spending so much time at home and dreaming of exploring Florence, I stand by this travel guide to seeing Florence in 2 days as the best way to discover the best attractions in the Cradle of the Renaissance with very little time at your disposal. I’m proud to present to you my 2 day Florence itinerary, perfect for a trip with family or friends.
This detailed itinerary to spend 48 hours in Florence is perfect to cover:
- 2 days in Florence fully spent on visiting (arrival the evening before them, departure the morning after)
- An afternoon spent on the day of your arrival in Florence, a full day in the city, and a morning spent visiting before your departure.
It’s up to you how you organize your 2 days in Florence between the two options above. But, because the second schedule seems a bit more complicated to plan, that’s the one I will cover below. (With this amount of flexibility for your 48 hour itinerary, this might well be the perfect Florence itinerary for a city break!)
From world-class art to beautiful hidden gems, here’s how to spend a couple of days in Florence!
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Day 1 in Florence
14.00 – Piazza Santa Maria Novella
After arriving in Florence and checking in at your accommodation it’s a good idea to get acquainted with the central area of this beautiful town. The center of Florence is easy to walk through: the streets are narrow and most of them are closed to traffic.
Starting your 2 days in Florence itinerary around the railway station, you’ll see Piazza Santa Maria Novella with the church that gives its name to the train station, too. Across the street from the church is the Piazza Nazionale and a road that leads down to Mercato Centrale. In the piazza just in front of Mercato Centrale, you’ll find a few market stalls selling leather goods, souvenirs, and other products. The two prominent buildings you should take time to notice here are Cappelle Medici and San Lorenzo e Biblioteca Laurenziana.
The Mercato Centrale is a great place to add to your itinerary for a quick lunch when you have two days to spend in Florence.
15.00 – Piazza del Duomo
You’ll see the Florence Duomo before you enter the famous Piazza del Duomo, as you walk down Via Borgo San Lorenzo.
The structure in front of the cathedral is the Baptistery, built on the foundation of a Roman temple. The golden doors facing the Florence cathedral are replicas of the original pair made by Lorenzo Ghiberti and adored so much by Michelangelo that he said they were the gates to heaven.
But the sight most travelers fall in love with is Brunelleschi’s dome, the cap on the already spectacular Chiesa Santa Maria del Fiori. Standing watch beside it is Giotto’s bell tower or Campanile.
The view from the top of the Duomo is amazing on a clear day, and it’s well worth climbing all the way to the top. The entry to the church itself is free, but there is a fee to go up in the cupola. You can also climb up the bell tower, but you run the risk for the bells to go off at any point and there will be no elevator should you need assistance to get back down.
Just 2 days in Florence is cutting it pretty short. If you want to see the city from above, I recommend choosing to climb to the top of the Duomo of Chiesa Santa Maria del Fiori. This visit also includes a short walk through the cathedral, and unless you want to spend some time to admire the details of its interior, it should be enough. Otherwise, you have to stay in quite a big line to explore Chiesa Santa Maria del Fiori inside and that’s time you don’t really have when you’re in Florence for 2 days only.
Book in advance a
Self-Guided Audio Tour of Il Duomofor your Florence 2 day itinerary. It costs only $8.56 and it’s the only guided tour you can do in such a short time. (Other guided tours of the Duomo take 2-3 hours.) Plus, it’s one of the best things to do in Florence, so you should make the best of your visit!
16.00 – Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
Many of the original works of art that used to decorate the exteriors and interiors of the Baptistery, Chiesa Santa Maria del Fiori, and the Campanile are located now in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. This museum is located behind the cathedral, and its rooms catalog the history of these three landmarks. There are several pieces by Michelangelo, including his Pieta that he partly destroyed, and was later completed by one of his pupils. You’ll also find the original Baptistery doors here, along with the Duomo plans of Brunelleschi, the sculptures and bas-reliefs of Donatello, and much more.
17.00 – Piazza della Repubblica & Il Porcolino
Walking down Via Roma, you can hit Piazza della Repubblica, with its edges occupied by luxury hotels and expensive cafés. There are several stalls selling different objects that catch the eyes of tourists, including more belts, wallets, and handbags.
Keep walking down Via Calimara until you reach the loggia that is home to even more market stalls. Here, you can test your ability to identify a fake leather good, but don’t make it too obvious that you’re playing this game. Better yet, you can drop a coin from the mouth of Il Porcolino, a bronze statue of a boar, and make a wish. By now, you’re probably in love with the city.
(Maybe wish for more than 2 days in Florence next time you visit, so you can also go on day trips from Florence to nearby medieval towns. My personal day trip from Florence was to San Gimignano.)
17.30 – Ponte Vecchio
Looking straight ahead, you’ll see what seems like a busy street rising at the end of Via Porta Santa Maria. In reality, this is the bridge, the famous Ponte Vecchio or the Old Bridge, which was the only bridge saved by the Nazis in World War II.
The initial shops were butcher shops, and back then they were tossing their leftovers into the river Arno below. The stench bothered the Medici family’s noses so much in the 16th century that the Grand Duke Ferdinando I requested the butchers to move out and allow the more appealing goldsmiths to move in.
Ponte Vecchio is one of the world’s four remaining inhabited bridges. So it’s a must-see when you visit Florence. From it, you can enjoy a beautiful view. And, next to it, you can enjoy a delicious gelato.
18.00 – Piazzale degli Uffizi & Piazza della Signoria
Return to the north end of Ponte Vechhio, where you’ll find a paved colonnade following the left side of the river. It was designed as a hidden passage for the Medici family as they walked above the village between the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. At the other end of this walkway, you can glance out to see the back of the stores overhanging the Arno river below.
Behind you is also the gateway to Piazzale degli Uffizi, a three-sided square full of sculptures and busts of prominent artists from the ages and, of course, home to the world-famous Uffizi Galleries. The collection inside is second only to that kept in the Vatican Museums in terms of artistic importance. Visit the museum and you’ll have the amazing chance to admire the works of Giotto, Fra Angelico, Lippi, Botticelli, Da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, and the list can go on.
The Uffizi Galleries are closed on Mondays and it will take you at least half a day to visit everything. This is why we’re leaving this visit to one of the best museums in the city for the second part of your 2 days in Florence itinerary. 🙂
Piazzale degli Uffizi is commonly filled during the summer with outdoor exhibitions, street artists, and performers. They’re there to entertain the long line of tourists queuing to visit the Uffizi Gallery.
Continue walking through this narrow square, away from the water, until you enter Piazza della Signoria, one of the best piazzas in Florence. This large open space is most recognizable by the statue of David. It’s actually a replica placed here in 1873 when the original had to be moved inside the Accademia to shield it from the weather elements.
Below the loggia you’ll see a series of other prominent sculptures, including the Raping of the Sabines, Hercules and the Centaur Nessus by Giambologna and Cellini’s bronze statues of Perseus.
The main space is overshadowed by the very imposing statue of Il Nettuno, the watery figure of Neptune standing at the opposite end of Palazzo Vecchio. Not far, you’ll notice the mounted figure of Cosimo I Medici and the bronze plaque which marks the spot where the priest Savonarola was hanged and burned for heresy in 1498.
For the super sleuths there is yet another sculpture to search for: a sculpted outline of a man’s profile on the wall of the Palazzo Vecchio. Legend has it that Michelangelo, in fit of pique, wanted to show Donatello that he was able to sculpt fantastic works of art, even with his hands behind his back.
18.30 – Palazzo Vecchio
As you enter the Palazzo Vecchio, you’ll notice by the ornate ceilings and wall decorations of this building that it was once the seat of the Florentine government. More precisely, between the 13th and 14th centuries. For a fee, you can see the opulent upstairs apartments inhabited by Medici family plus other notables, as well as reach the battlements for another view over the city.
Get a Skip the Line Priority Ticket to Palazzo Vecchio to visit this important landmark in Florence. It’s $30.41, but it will save you a lot of time that you can spend better when you have only 2 days in Florence.
What remains of your first evening of your 2 days in Florence will better be spent roaming along the narrow streets and having dinner in one of the many restaurants and trattorias. Later, you can discover the night life of Florence as many bars and clubs open after 10 pm and continue until very early in the morning.
Day 2 in Florence
08.00 – The Uffizi Galleries (Gallerie degli Uffizi)
Florence is a tourist magnet all year long, so an early start is necessary if you don’t want to waste endless hours of queuing (hours you don’t have when you’re only for 2 days in Florence!). A sure-fire way to avoid this is to spend a little extra cash in the busy summer months and pre-book a skip-the-line ticket to the Uffizi Galleries.
Book your skip-the line Uffizi Gallery ticket for only $29.20 and make the most of your 2 days in Florence.
The Uffizi Gallery opens at 8.15 am and closes at 18.30 pm, and its artworks are split in many rooms, all of which have a similar architectural style or period. This art museum is not limited to the masters of the Italian Renaissance, but also features paintings by German and Flemish artists. To appreciate most of the works in the Uffizi Galleries, you’d have to spend a few hours to get around.
After your visit at the Uffizi Galleries sit down for a delicious lunch at the nearby Trattoria Antico Fattore or grab your lunch to go from La Prosciutteria Firenze, next to Chiesa Santa Maria del Fiori.
15.00 – Accademia Gallery (Galleria Dell’Accademia)
Either as an afternoon break or as a morning substitute during your 2 days in Florence, there is also the Galleria Dell’Accademia, most notable for its prize ownership, Michelangelo’s David, the original sculpture in Piazza della Signoria. The 5m-tall statue was made out of a single marble slab, which some of the legends point to as having a fault line passing along it. Michelangelo was said to have discovered it discarded at the back of the artisan school and wanted to use it to construct a representation of the Florentine spirit.
The Accademia Gallery also exhibits other well-known statues, drawings, and sculptures by several artists, well worth an hour or two of your 2 days in Florence.
Skip the line with an Accademia Gallery tour by a very knowledgeable guide for $34.06 to spend the perfect 2 days in Florence Italy.
To top off the day, take a stroll to Piazzale Michelangelo from the southern bank of the river Arno. There, you’ll find another replica of Michelangelo’s David, this time a bronze version overlooking the city. It’s the perfect spot to watch the Florence skyline changing color at sunset.
Occasionally, outdoor performances take place in Piazzale Michelangelo during the summer. Not a bad way to relax after 2 days in Florence.
17.00 – Chiesa di San Miniato al Monte
If you’re motivated enough to see another church, adding Chiesa di San Miniato al Monte to your 2 days in Florence itinerary is worth that extra effort. Located in the park area behind Piazzale Michelangelo, its exterior is one of the finest examples of Tuscan Romanesque architecture. And, inside the Chiesa di San Miniato al Monte, you’ll discover some extraordinary 13th-15th-century frescoes.
Day 3 in Florence
08.00 – Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti)
Depending on your schedule, you may have time for another set of museum visits or for a gentle walk through the park before your 48h or 2 days in Florence are over. Head up to the Pitti Palace. The palace is another creation by Brunelleschi, this time for a wealthy banker, but was ultimately taken over by the Medici family. Inside, there are several museum rooms, devoted to different artifacts, such as jewelry, porcelain, and Renaissance clothes, as well as more recent works of art from the 18th and 20th centuries.
Book a guided visit to the Pitti Palace for only $24.33 and visit the palace with its gardens during your 2 days in Florence.
11.00 – The Boboli Gardens
When the art consumption has inevitably reached its limit after spending 2 days in Florence visiting, there is a respite in the form of the Boboli Gardens, located just behind Palazzo Pitti. Designed in the middle of the 16th century, they include the characteristic grottoes and garden follies of the Renaissance aristocracy. A perfect opportunity to move away from the crowded streets and the hordes of tourist for a moment!
Your 2 days in Florence (or more precisely, your 48 hours in Florence) have come to an end. But you may still have the chance to do some last minute shopping before you say farewell to the city!
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