Ok, so you only have 48 hours in Florence?
A city that boasts art, culture, history, fashion, amazing food, trendy bars, wine shops at every single street corner?
Ok. Don’t panic! We get you covered with this essential guide to making the most of your 2 days in Florence.
Time is the essence here and we encourage a well-balanced mix of the things we just mentioned above. Luckily, Florence is not as dispersive as other cities and nearly all of Florence best attractions are in the city center and within walking distance.
This 48 hours in Florence itinerary can be done on your own or in a group in a guided tour. Your choice. Feel free to visit at your own pace or do it in a group, meet people and hear from local expert guides.
Day 1 in Florence
Start with a MUST: Uffizi Gallery. Go here first and dedicate to it all the time it deserves. Of all, this is the one you shouldn’t rush.
You wouldn’t cut short a visit to the Louvre or the MoMa, would you?
TIP: early birds should get in front of doors at 08:00 am ready for the opening as you would get an advantage over cruisers (they are on their way from the port and should reach there before 10:00 am) or fellow tourists from other cities.Not a fan of early starts? Then make sure you get a skip the line ticket to Uffizi and save at least 1 hour. Time is the essence, remember?
The Uffizi, its 45 halls and the countless, inestimable art masterpieces from the likes of Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Giotto and many others will probably keep you busy until lunchtime. So, our recommendation for your break is a visit to Mercato Centrale.
No further than 10 minutes walking away, Mercato Centrale is an excellent hub for a variety of local genuine products and exquisite dishes. It caters to everyone’s taste, it covers every corner of the Italian cuisine and you can get some great and very local products too, like Lampredotto. You can either buy and take away or you can choose from the many different restaurants and eateries. And there are even cooking classes if you fancy!
TIP: pick a bottle of top Tuscan red wine. We have a suggestion on where to drink that on Day 2
After lunch, walk the short distance to Santa Maria Novella to visit the stunning Basilica. Its mix of Gothic and Renaissance style, together with its inestimable art pieces (the Crucifix of Giotto just to name one), make a stop here compulsory.
Then, few more steps and you are in front of an icon of Florence, the Duomo. Budget some time to visit the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore with its beautiful dome by Brunelleschi, as well as the Baptistry and Giotto’s Bell Tower nearby.
If you don’t want to pay the ticket to climb the dome, but you are still keen on breathtaking views of the city, we have an excellent alternative on Day 2 (see below).
End the first of the two days with some quality shopping and be sure that there’s something for everyone. If you are after the high end of the market and you want to discover where it all started for super brands like Gucci and Fendi, then head to via de’ Tornabuoni or via dei Calzaiuoli. If you are after bargains and souvenirs, then the San Lorenzo market is your best bet. You can find some great leather products at very reasonable prices. Be aware that the market is closed on Sundays, so don’t miss out.
Our recommendations for dinner: meat lovers head here >> Ristorante Perseus (San Marco area). For genuine down to earth Tuscan food try Trattoria Zà Zà (San Lorenzo area)
Day 2 in Florence
Start Day 2 in Piazza della Signoria (breakfast there, perhaps?). It will get crowded soon, so the earlier the better. But crowded or not, it is a must. Dedicate at least one hour to admire its jewels: Palazzo Vecchio, the Fountain of Neptune, The Loggia dei Lanzi and the Perseus With the Head of Medusa statue.
In the same square there is a copy of super-famous Michelangelo’s statue David, but unless you want to settle for a reproduction we recommend you to walk to the Galleria dell’Accademia where you can admire the original. The incredible collections of paintings from the 14th to the 17th centuries more than justifies a visit here.
Next on our list is another of Florence icons: Ponte Vecchio. This is home to Florence’s traditional craftsmen like jewelers and goldsmiths and a great place for pics.
Cross the bridge to the other side of Florence and have lunch in the Oltrarno (literally the other side of the Arno river). It’s an area filled with local artisans, great restaurants, and lively bars.
Our recommendation for lunch: Trattoria 4 Leoni – Food here is simply superb.
After lunch, what’s better than a long walk in the green in what is undoubtedly Florence’s nicest park? Giardino Boboli is such an enchanting place and ‘park’ doesn’t really pay justice to its complex architecture of statues, fountains and immaculate gardens. An open-air museum is probably a better definition.
Next door, Palazzo Pitti offers another great opportunity of soaking the priceless beauty of Florentine arts. Palazzo Pitti, the former residence of the city’s powerful rulers (Napoleon, amongst others) is the largest museum in Florence with an impressive complex of galleries.
From there you can walk for about a mile among the many artisan shops to reach Piazzale Michelangelo. Remember that bottle of wine we mentioned before? What better place than here to enjoy a full view of the city and enjoy one of its best product? So, relax, enjoy the sunset and sip a glass of Chianti while you relive the best moments of your 2 days in Florence.
Our recommendation for best Florence walking tour for young travelers: FLORENCE WALKING TOUR WITH APERITIVO At €22 and with great reviews is our pick for a great sightseeing tour of the city and its best attractions and a great occasion to mix with locals and fellow tourists. It’s an excellent deal with the drink and food buffet in one of Florence liveliest neighborhood.
Our recommendation for a day tour visiting not only Florence but Siena and the Chianti region: FLORENCE, SIENA AND CHIANTI IN ONE DAY TOUR A full day where you can achieve the most comprehensive Tuscany experience: visit Florence best attractions, together with wine tasting in the Chianti region and trip to beautiful Siena.