Things to do in Florence

Itineraries for Your Trip to Florence

Florence locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in Florence for First Timers

Curated by Rebecca Winkea travel writer who’s lived in and written about Italy for more than two decades.

Cradle of the Renaissance and home to countless treasures of art and architecture, Florence packs in a lot of culture. My first visit was years ago on a school trip—and it was a relentless and rather dry march through palaces and museums. It wasn’t until I visited later that I realized how much more there is to this vibrant city.

Over the years, I’ve explored Florence’s food scene, browsed its boutiques and markets, and strolled through its squares and gardens. When I visit today, I still pop into the landmark galleries to marvel at works by Michelangelo, but I also put aside time to savor the city’s many other delights. Here’s how you can strike the perfect balance in just three days.

Ringed by hills, Florence is muggy in the summer and damp in the winter. Pack your coolest or warmest clothes, depending on when you visit.

If you only have time for one thing, make it sunset views from Piazzale Michelangelo. It’s worth the uphill climb.

Day 1

You can’t visit Florence without standing in wonder beneath Michelangelo’s David. Check this off your list first thing in the morning—book skip-the-line tickets or a tour with fast-track entry to avoid spending most of your morning waiting.

Just a short walk away stands Florence’s other famous marble masterpiece: the Duomo. Make a quick stop or dedicate a few hours to touring the larger cathedral complex, visiting the baptistery, bell tower, dome, and museum.

Spend the rest of the day in Florence’s compact historic center. You can cover the greatest hits from Ponte Vecchio to Piazza della Signoria in just a few hours (with plenty of gelato stops along the way).

Day 2

Dedicate a few hours this morning to the city’s gastronomic delights. Join a tour to sample local food and wine at outdoor markets, stands, restaurants, and wine bars—or learn how to prepare classic Florentine dishes from a local before sitting down to enjoy them over lunch.

Walk off your indulgent morning in one of Florence’s fabulous gardens or parks. The Boboli Garden behind Pitti Palace is the most famous, but there are several others that are worth a visit, including the Bardini Garden, Rose Garden, and Iris Garden.

Day 3

Spend the morning at the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most popular museums in Italy, admiring masterpieces from Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo. A skip-the-line ticket or tour is a must. After you’ve had your fill of art, head directly across the Arno River to the historic Oltrarno district, famous for its traditional artisan workshops.

When daylight begins fading, climb the hill behind Oltrarno up to the Piazzale Michelangelo. Enjoy the sun setting behind Brunelleschi’s iconic dome—a perfectly picturesque way to end your time in Florence.

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