Florence is filled to the brim with culture, art, architecture, and history. It can be a lot to pack into a short trip, so use this handy 24-hour itinerary to spend the perfect day in Florence!
When using this itinerary, make sure to buy your tickets for the Galleria Accademia, Galleria Uffizi, and Florence Cathedral complex in advance. Also note that the Galleria Accademia and Galleria Uffizi, like most museums in Florence, are closed on Mondays, as is San Lorenzo Market. Please plan accordingly.
Wake up and head to Piazza del Duomo before the crowds descend
For those perfect, tourist-free shots of the Cathedral and surrounding square, make your way to the Piazza del Duomo in the early morning. Take advantage of the fairly empty square and grab photos of the Cathedral, Baptistery, Duomo, and Campanile. Circle the massive complex to capture this feat of architecture from all angles, and then see if you can find a passerby to highlight the scale of the building itself.
Have breakfast at Caffè Rosanò (10 min. walk)
Walk north on Via de’ Martelli, the street in between the Baptistery and Cathedral. Take the second left on Via Guelfa, then the first right onto Via de’ Ginori. The café is about a third of the way down the street, on your left.
Grab a cappuccino and enjoy breakfast on the patio outside. Order something that will tide you over until lunch — a panini or bagel, or maybe a few pastries. And be sure to chat with the owner, Mauro, and staff before you leave.
Check out Michelangelo’s “David” at the Accademia (5 min. walk)
Head down on Via de’ Ginori (back the way you came) and make a left at Via Guelfa. Then take the second right onto Via Ricasoli. The museum will be on your right.
While there are numerous exhibits and works of art at the Accademia, let’s be honest — you came here to see one man in particular. Michelangelo’s “David” is undoubtedly the most well-known sculpture in Florence, and the crowds that marvel at his marble perfection are always huge. Make your way to the front and observe David from all angles. After about an hour in the museum, head out to your next stop.
Explore San Lorenzo Market (10 min. walk)
Head down Via Ricasoli and take the second right onto Via de’ Gori. Walk along Via de’ Gori until you reach the Basilica di San Lorenzo. The outdoor street market should be right in front of you.
Spend a bit of time perusing the stalls of San Lorenzo, Florence’s outdoor shopping market. You’ll find leather goods, scarves, jewelry, stationery, journals, souvenirs, and so much more. If you’re prepared to haggle a bit, try to talk one of the stall owners down in price, but make sure to have cash on hand (the vendors aren’t likely to accept credit cards).
After getting lost in the outdoor market, find your way indoors and grab a quick snack or piece of fresh fruit from the food vendors on either of the two floors.
Grab some gelato and see Piazza della Signoria (15 min. walk)
Make your way back to the Piazza di San Lorenzo and head toward the Duomo on Via de’ Gori. Take a right at Via de’ Martelli, walk through Piazza del Duomo, and continue until you reach Piazza della Signoria. Turn left and you’ll walk right into the square.
On your way to Piazza della Signoria, grab a small cup or cone at one of the nearby gelaterias to satisfy your sweet tooth. Once you’ve made it to the piazza, take a few minutes to admire the open-air museum on your right. It’s called Loggia dei Lanzi and features 10 sculptural masterpieces. Nearby, you’ll find a replica of “David” guarding the entrance to Florence’s City Hall, as well as “the Palazzo Vecchio” and Neptune reigning from a fountain in the center of the square. Don’t linger too long, or you’ll miss the entrance time at your next stop!
Explore the Uffizi Gallery (2 min. walk)
Go through the alleyway on the right side of Loggia dei Lanzi, where you’ll find the courtyard outside the Uffizi. Get your ticket ready and head inside.
Plan to spend the hottest part of the day exploring the Uffizi Gallery, Florence’s famous art museum. Featuring works mainly from the Italian Renaissance period, the Uffizi is a massive museum: one that can overwhelm even seasoned art enthusiasts. Do a bit of research before you visit, grab a map on your way in, or consider booking a tour to see the best of the best. Explore its gorgeous halls and rooms for about two hours.
Do a bit of shopping and see the Ponte Vecchio (2 min. walk)
Walk through the Uffizi courtyard toward the Arno River. There, you’ll find a covered walkway that leads to the Ponte Vecchio.
After making your way through the maze that is the Uffizi, stop by Signum Firenze, a shop near the Ponte Vecchio that only has a single room. It may be cramped, but inside you’ll find a trove of goodies — journals and notecards, antique compasses, globes, decorative trinkets, and even miniature Renaissance-man bookshelves. You may be just as enchanted by the store’s contents as you were by the art at the Uffizi.
Next, stroll under the covered walkway until you reach the Ponte Vecchio. This “Old Bridge” is lined with jewelry shops, so you’ll likely only be doing window shopping here, but the experience alone is worth it! Pause at the center of the bridge to snap pictures of Florence’s picturesque, yellow buildings lining the side of the Arno River.
Eat lunch at Mama’s Bakery (15 min. walk)
Cross the Ponte Vecchio, then make an immediate right on Borgo S. Jacopo. Walk along the river until you reach Via del Presto di S. Martino. Then keep walking until you come to the second intersecting street, and make a right. Cross the Piazza Santo Spirito and continue onto Via delle Caldaie. Take the first right onto Via della Chiesa, and you’ll find the cafe on your right.
Relax for lunch at Mama’s Bakery, a small business run by an American/Italian couple who met in London. They opened the eatery after Matt (the American) missed some of the American foods from his home in California. Dine on a panini, a delicious cupcake, and a glass of something cold to drink before you continue on to your next sightseeing venture.
Visit the Florence Cathedral and climb Giotto’s Campanile or the Duomo (20 min. walk)
Leave the bakery and turn right. Walk down Via della Chiesa until you come to Via dei Serragli, where you’ll make another right. Follow Via dei Serragli until you hit the Ponte alla Carraia, cross the bridge, and continue walking north onto Via del Moro. Make a left onto Via del Trebbio, followed by a slight left onto Via degli Agli (which turns into Via dei Pecori). Keep walking until you reach Piazza del Duomo.
After looking at the monuments of Piazza del Duomo, it’s finally time to go inside. Wait in line, then enter the Florence Cathedral — you’ll have to rely on your memory, as cameras aren’t allowed inside. After you’ve seen it all, get ready to do some climbing. Choose either the Duomo or Giotto’s Campanile and make the 400-step journey to the top (you likely won’t have time, or energy, for both!). The benefit of choosing the Campanile is being able to take photos of Brunelleschi’s dome, though the view from the top of both is incomparable.
Stop at MOVE ON for a drink (1 min. walk)
MOVE ON is located on the southwestern side of Piazza del Duomo, in the back of the Baptistery.
For a bit of a break and some people-watching, head across Piazza del Duomo to MOVE ON, an Irish pub and store that features both beer and records. Order a refreshing beer or mojito as you watch your fellow travelers in the square, and don’t forget to flick through the selection of vinyl records in the shop upstairs — where you’ll find both Italian and American favorites.
Wander over to Santa Croce (10 min. walk)
Head through Piazza del Duomo and continue past the Cathedral until you come to Via del Proconsolo. Turn right. Follow that street until you come to Via dell’ Anguillara (the fourth on your left), then turn left. Via dell’ Anguillara will take you right into Piazza di Sante Croce.
Explore the piazza, photograph the basilica, and watch the street artists in action.
Stop at Vivoli’s for gelato (2 min. walk)
Walk through the piazza and head back the way you came on Via dell’ Anguillara. Turn right onto Via Isola delle Stinche, and you’ll find Vivoli’s on your left.
If you can’t get enough gelato, find Vivoli’s and treat yourself to another cup. Their inventive flavors and traditional classics are perfect for any ice cream lover’s palate — plus it’s said that Vivioli’s is the oldest gelato shop in Florence!
Watch the sunset over the city from Piazzale Michelangelo (20 min. walk)
Leave Vivoli’s and head right down Via Isola delle Stinche, then make an immediate left onto Via Torta. Take the second right onto Via dei Benci and follow that street until you reach the bridge. Cross the Ponte alle Grazie, then continue straight onto Piazza de Mozzi. Turn left onto Via di S. Niccolo and, when you come to the fork, take the street to the right (Via S. Miniato). That street will turn into Via del Monte alle Croci, which you’ll follow up and past Giardino delle Rose until you reach Piazzale Michelangelo.
With your gelato in hand, get ready to hike to Piazzale Michelangelo. It may be a bit of a trek to reach the hilltop square, but the view is worth it — we promise. There, you’ll find yet another replica of “David,” and an overlook that displays the skyline of Florence in all its glory. Stake out a good spot and watch the sun paint the sky over the terracotta roofs of the city.
Grab dinner near Santo Spirito (20 min. walk)
Follow Viale Galileo out of Piazzale Michelangelo. Stay on the winding street until you come to a fork, where you’ll want to go right on Viale Machiavelli. Continue through Viale Machiavelli’s twists and turns until you reach the roundabout intersection, where you should take Via Romana. Via Romana eventually forks into two streets as well, and you’ll want to follow Via Maggio. Then, take the first left and walk right into the square (you’ll know you’re there when you see the Basilica di Santo Spirito looming on the corner).
In the dim evening light, head for dinner at one of the establishments lining the Piazza Santo Spirito. Find a table at Osteria Santo Spirito for a more traditional Italian meal, sample the pasta varieties at Tamerò, or listen to the live music at Gustaosteria. Grab a drink from the bar and relax after a long day.
Indulge in one last gelato at Grom (20 min. walk)
Head out of Piazza Santo Spirito and turn left on Via Maggio. Continue over the Arno on Ponte Santa Trinita, then take a left on Via Porta Rossa. Make the fifth left onto Via dei Calzaiuoli. Walk north, then make the fourth right onto Via delle Oche. Grom is on the corner on your left.
Take your time as you walk through Florence. Admire the way the lights shimmer in the Arno, how the statues in Piazza della Signoria loom in the darkness, and the way the Duomo dominates the landscape at every turn.
Pick up a final cup or cone from Grom (we recommend lemon or Crema di Grom!), then head back to the Piazza del Duomo, where you can sit and admire the Cathedral and Duomo against the night sky. The massive monuments are somehow just as impressive in the dark, if not more so.
Head back to your hotel
Finally, make your way back to your hotel room or AirBnB and fall into bed, satisfied from a day well spent in Firenze.
If you have a limited time in Florence but plan on traipsing around the rest of the country, check out our comprehensive guide to Italy.
Header image by Camilla Ignacchiti.