Visiting Florence is the dream of every history lover, architecture and art enthusiasts as well as foodies. With an amalgam of things to see and do the beautiful Italian city is waiting for travelers from all over the world who want to have an unforgettable vacation. Though not enough to get to know the city and understand its spirit, spending three days in Florence can become the best vacation of your life, especially if you plan it properly.
What to Expect from Your 3-Day Trip in Florence?
When going to a new place, everybody wants to do and see as much as possible. However, in order to really enjoy a trip, travelers should try to have a proper, relaxed experience. As mentioned above, three days are not enough for you to see everything hidden behind the borders of Florence, but you can unwind, get close to its past, understand its present and have a taste of its delicious cuisine.
What You Can’t Do in 3 Days
In three days you cannot get in touch with the city from a local point of you. You will not have enough time to see all its beauty or experience the hidden gems, go to concerts or attend the impressive number of classes available in the city. So, relax and enjoy your short trip in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
How to Spend 3 Days in Florence
First of all, don’t let your anxiety take over and plan your trip properly. You might want to see everything but since this is not possible, how about making a list of the most important touristic attractions you want to visit? This will help you avoid running around and wasting precious time and give you the chance to have an unforgettable experience.
Learn about the Renaissance art, get in touch with history, enjoy a shopping session and have a culinary experience. That’s all you can do in three days!
What to Do on Day 1
Florence is a great treasure trove of Renaissance art so why not begin your holiday with soaking up some Renaissance beauty? Admire Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery, meet David at the Galleria dell Accademia and get closer to all the other impressive works of art. End your day with a tasty wine experience and indulge in a famous Florentine steak.
Last but not least, let Florence’s architecture impress you while enjoying a remarkable evening walk under the stars on the beautifully lit streets.
What to Do on Day 2
On the second day to you can rent a bike and check out some of the most famous spots in the city. Visit the Duomo, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Loggia dei Lanzi and Piazza Della Signoria and make sure you don't miss Piazzale Michelangelo and the Rose Garden.
Grab a delicious gelato and enjoy it while catching a glimpse at the wonderfully arranged alleys and the amalgam of travelers and locals who are wandering around, just like you are.
What to Do on Day 3
Since this is your last day, why not explore one of the city’s markets and have an amazing shopping session. Go to the famous Mercado Centrale, where you can also have a delicious culinary experience in the upstairs food court. This is a great place where you can have a really affordable lunch! And since Renaissance Florence was famous for its leatherwork, why not check out the leather shops and buy yourself a gift?
Useful Tips and Suggestions
Florence is full of lovely areas where you can find spectacular accommodation. But since your trip is extremely short, you should find an apartment or a hotel room in the central area, where the main touristic attractions are gathered. Walking instead of using the public transportation will save you both time and money. Whether you choose to book a hotel room, or you prefer using Airbnb accommodation, the historic center has great offers.
2. Consider Florence Card
It might be worthwhile to buy Firenze card - the Florence city pass that combines entry to attractions and transportation
3. Go for food tour
Florence is a great destination for foodies from all over the world who are not afraid to gain some weight when traveling. You can choose to explore the delicious local dishes by yourself or you can join one of the many food tours offered by the friendly local guides. The second option is the best since it also gives you the chance to see some of Florence’s hidden gems as well as learn a lot about the city and its cuisine.
4. Consider a daytrip on your 2nd day
If you are planning on doing a day trip from Florence, it might be a good idea to do this on your second day in case you have transport to catch at the end of your third day. This means you could see the surrounding area, then spend your last day wandering and exploring the rest of the city that you missed on the first day.
5. Book ahead yet be flexible
You should book main attractions like the Dome, the Uffizi, and the Accademia in advance. That said, the main city centre is very walkable and it is easy for you to just let things happen. The most important advice for planning your trip to Florence is to be flexible, and let the city show you all that it has to offer as you go.
6. With kids, plan to visit the interactive museums
Florence is a historical city, filled with art and great architecture, so it might not be the perfect destination for families with children. However, if you really want to take your kids make sure you visit the interactive museums, like the one dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci, as well as spend time in the city’s beautiful parks, rent bikes and have a lot of delicious gelato.
7. Florence is great as a couple getaway too
Just like many other Italian cities, Florence is covered in romance. From the beautiful bridges over Arno River where couples can enjoy romantic picnics and the incredible spots like the top of the Duomo or Giotto’s Campanile where beautiful views can be admired to cozy cafes and welcoming restaurants where romantic culinary experience can be enjoyed, Florence offers everything to people who want to spend their vacation with the loved ones.
On a Longer Trip
Three days in Florence give you the chance to catch a glimpse of the city and understand how beautiful it is. If you want to really get to know the Italian pearl, you need much more. So, on your next trip make sure you have enough time to understand its culture and experience the locals’ lifestyle.
Day 1 - See the main Attractions
Morning - Dedicate yourself to the Duomo Complex
Almost every trip to Florence will start by exploring the attractions in the Piazza del Duomo.
- Climb the Dome of the Florence cathedral and see the exquisite masonry work up close (Prior reservation a must)
- See the enormous interior of the Cathedral
- Climbing up the Giotto Campanile bell tower (if you have the energy) and see the Dome from the outside
- Check out the Duomo Museum to get a better understanding of the cathedral complex
- Marvel at the mosaics in the ancient Baptistery
- Explore the crypt beneath the cathedral complex and see what is left of the small church that the cathedral was built on
After a full morning of exploring and discovering the Piazza del Duomo, grab a quick bite to eat at a restaurant near the Duomo.
Afternoon - Walk through main squares and landmarks
Your afternoon will be dedicated to exploring a handful of the many churches and museums that are everywhere in the historic centre.
- See the unique exterior and interior of the Santa Maria Novella church, oldest of all churches. Admire Giotto's Crucifix at the church.
- Admire the David replica statue in the Piazza della Signoria
- See the exterior of the Palazzo Vecchio
- Explore the exquisite Renaissance art of the Palazzo Vecchio museum. The museum is next to the Piazza della Signoria
- Climb the Arnolfo tower for a unique view of the Florence Cathedral
Evening - Relaxed wandering
For your first evening in Florence you will probably want to rest up for the next few days.
- Walk over the Ponte Vecchio and admire the Arno River while window
shopping for Florentine jewellery
- Wander down the main shopping street of Via dei Calzaiuoli and watching street performers
- Linger and admire the exterior of the Florence Cathedral at night
Day 2 - Offbeat attractions, and David
Your second day in Florence will be spent exploring the Accademia, and checking out other interesting churches and museums, some of which are slightly off-beat.
Morning - In and around the Accademia
- Be amazed at Michelangelo's David statue and then explore the rest of the Accademia (Prior booking recommended)
- Visit the museum dedicated to semi-precious stones and marble artworks
- See bizarre wax anatomical collections at the Natural History Museum, the oldest public museum in Europe
- Eat local cuisine at the San Lorenzo Market
- Shop for Florentine souvenirs
After you have had enough of museums for the morning, make your way over to the San Lorenzo market. Here you can pick up some Florentine souvenirs and try local cuisine in the food market Mercato Centrale. If you are tired of crowds, maybe make this a quick stop as it can be very busy.
Afternoon - A prison, a museum, and a church
After stopping for lunch in the market, your afternoon will continue on to more points of interest.
- Seeing some of the finest sculptures at Museo Bargello, a museum that was a prison
- Explore and interact with the ancient scientific instruments at the Museo Galileo. Make sure you go and see Galileo's finger that has been preserved as a kind of ironic relic.
- Go to the final resting place for the greats such as Galileo and Michelangelo at the Basilica di Santa Croce
Evening - Open air, wine bars, and gelato
The square around the Basilica di Santa Croce is as good a place as any to relax for the evening.
- Try award winning gelato at il Procopio
- Find a cosy restaurant or wine bar to relax for the evening
- Eat out in the open air in the Santa Croce square
Day 3 - Uffizi and Oltrarno
Your third and final day in Florence will begin by exploring the most famous gallery in the city, and end by looking out over it as the sun starts to go down.
Morning - Spend slow hours at the Uffizi (advance reservation a must)
No trip to Florence is complete without exploring the magnificent Uffizi gallery, so this is where you will start your morning.
- Visit the most impressive and beautiful gallery in Florence, and one of the best in all of Italy.
- See Botticelli's famous Birth of Venus painting, and visit the Tribune room.
- See where the Vasari corridor, also an art lined gallery, starts from Uffizi and leads to Palazzo Pitti.
Like the Accademia, the best way to save time when going to the Uffizi is to book your time in advance or use a Firenze Card to skip the line. This is home to an absolutely enormous and breath-taking display of Renaissance art and boasts some of the most famous artists in history. Cosimo de’ Medici commissioned Giorgio Vasari to create this building as offices for the bureaucracy before it became a gallery.
Dedicate time to wander through the various rooms including the famous octagonal shaped Tribune Room. One of the most famous works is Botticelli's Birth of Venus painting, but you should also look for Titian's Venus of Urbino, and others by Giotto, Caravaggio, da Vinci, and Michelangelo.
Afternoon - Oltrarno, with the locals across the river
After you have spent most of the morning walking through Uffizi, you will be crossing the river into the Oltrarno district.
- See the artisanal leather workshops of the Oltrarno district
- Explore the magnificent interior of the Pitti Palace
- Laze in the Boboli gardens with a picnic in the sun
- Find the intricately carved Buontalenti Grotto
- Get spectacular views of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo
Evening - Wind down with wine
Finish off your evening with a view of the sunset, and a well-deserved glass of Tuscan wine.
- Visit an ancient monastery even higher up than Piazzale Michelangelo
- Hear traditional Gregorian chants and watching the sun go down over the city
- Drink wine in the San Niccolò area. This is the perfect place to relax and raise a glass of wine to the beautiful city of Florence.