Florence 2 Day Itinerary: find out everything you need to know in this detailed article written by a Boundless Roads Contributor, Amber.
How to spend two perfect days in Florence, Italy, the birthplace of the Renaissance?
Consider this your ultimate guide for everything you’ll want to see, do, and try during your visit.
Some of the top reasons to visit Italy are its beautiful architecture, fabulous cuisine, and massive collections of artwork – all of which you’ll find in spades in Florence.
You could easily spend several days to a week exploring the city, where there are quirky shops and perfumeries, and speakeasies, some of which have a fabulous steampunk aesthetic.
Between the museums, landmarks, gardens, and shops, you’ll have plenty to do to fill two days in Florence.
Florence at a glance
Florence is a beautiful city set in central Italy, home to incredible history, architecture, and, of course, fabulous food.
As the capital city of the Tuscany region, known more generally for its wine, cultural contributions, and being the birthplace of the Renaissance.
Some of the best-known artists in the Western canon have called Florence home, including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Sandro Botticelli.
The city center of Florence was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
It is considered a unique social and urban achievement, the result of generations of creativity and artwork – much of which was commissioned by the Medici family.
The city’s dedication to creativity over a sustained period of time helped to develop the fields of architecture and the fine arts, first in Italy, then in the rest of Europe.
Florence is a busy, bustling city, so you’ll want to try to avoid the crowds by seeing the major sites as early or late in the day as possible.
Alternatively, pre-purchase timed entry tickets that allow you to skip the line.
Wear your most comfortable shoes, drink plenty of water, and don’t forget the sunscreen – Florence can feel rather warm even late into the fall.
Multigenerational travel groups, especially those who are planning a trip with their parents, are likely to love Florence, with its wide array of activities for all types of travelers.
2 days in Florence itinerary – Day 1
Your first day in Florence is focused on seeing a few of the highlights and getting a feel for the city.
You’ll start with a quick, traditional breakfast and then head straight to the Uffizi Gallery, which will give you the best shot at missing the crowds.
Then, you’ll try a famous sandwich nearby for lunch before heading towards the center to see the Duomo.
👉🏻 Traditional Italian breakfast
Start your day in Florence with a traditional Italian breakfast of a pastry and a cappuccino, either from your hotel or a bakery in town.
For a fabulous cappuccino, try Coffee Mantra, a small but popular cafe with fabulous coffee and a friendly owner who likes to chat with visitors to his city.
You can pair your cappuccino with a croissant, both plain and flavored options are available.
Start your first day in Florence with a visit to the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most famous museums in the world.
Here, you’ll find artifacts from throughout the Italian Renaissance, including Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo, Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation.
Don’t bother looking for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa; to see that famous painting, you’ll need to visit Paris, France.
Get there early to try to beat the lines, or pre-purchase a skip-the-line entry ticket.
👉🏻 Try a sandwich from All’Antico Vinaio
There is a famous sandwich shop in the center of Florence called All’Antico Vinaio, where they serve a limited menu of tasty Italian sandwiches, prepared using local ingredients like prosciutto and carpaccio di manzo.
Most of the menu features meaty sandwiches, but they have vegetarian options as well.
The line is wildly long most of the time, but it moves quickly.
If you hate long lines, you may want to switch up this itinerary here and try to go right around when they open and the line is still forming.
If you don’t have the patience for a line and one has already formed when you arrive, there are plenty of other sandwich spots in the area.
👉🏻 Visit the Piazza del Duomo
Probably the most recognizable and memorable site in Florence is the Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as Il Duomo, located in the Piazza del Duomo.
Il Duomo is the third largest church in the world and has been a central feature in Florence since the 15th century.
It’s an architectural marvel, with intricate statutes lining the exterior of the building. The cathedral is free to enter, though there is a charge to climb to the top of the dome.
Prepare for rather long queues and note that there is a dress code to enter Il Duomo.
Visitors are required to cover their legs and shoulders, and bulky bags are not allowed. You’ll need to remove sun hats and sunglasses before entering the cathedral.
👉🏻 Stroll through the Piazza della Signoria
Only a few blocks from Il Duomo is the Piazza della Signoria (sometimes referred to as Palazzo Vecchio), a large public square that contains a selection of sculptures and fountains. Piazza della Signoria was once Florence’s town hall and a center of civic life.
Michelangelo’s David was originally housed in the Piazza della Signoria, where it sat from 1504 until it was moved in 1873.
When you visit Florence, you’ll find a replica of David in the square, and the original can also be seen in Florence at the Galleria dell’Accademia.
You’ll also want to see the Fountain of Neptune, a statue in the piazza that was commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, in 1559.
The fountain had been damaged by vandalism over the years, but it was fully restored in 2019 and can be enjoyed by visitors today.
2 days in Florence Itinerary – Day 2
Having seen some of the classic buildings in the center of Florence, day two takes you a little further out to see beautiful and tranquil gardens.
This itinerary is more food-forward, starting with a healthy breakfast from an Australian restaurant and ending with a traditional Italian dinner near the Arno River.
Along the way, you’ll have a chance to see the Ponte Vecchio, also known as the jewelry bridge, and the fabulous Boboli Gardens.
✔️ Eat a healthy breakfast
If you’ve been traveling for a while in Italy before you get to Florence, you might find that you’ve eaten what feels like a lifetime’s worth of pastries, pasta, and pizzas.
For those trying to stay healthy while traveling, and maybe craving some vegetables and healthier fare, plan a stop at the delicious and veggie-packed Melaleuca bakery + bistrot.
The coffee and green juice are wonderful here, and you can order a variety of filling meals that meet most dietary restrictions.
If you find yourself waiting for a table, you’ll get to stand and look out over the beautiful Arno river.
✔️ Cross the Ponte Vecchio
One of the most famous landmarks in Florence is Ponte Vecchio, the only bridge in Florence to survive World War II.
The origins of this bridge date back to Roman times, though it has been rebuilt in subsequent years.
It was originally used by butchers to sell meat, but the Medici family limited commerce on the bridge to jewelers starting in 1594.
It doesn’t take long to cross Ponte Vecchio, but it’s worth a quick pass over just to get a taste of the beautiful watches and other jewelry for sale in the shops you’ll pass.
If you’d like to see the bridge from a distance, the best spot is from Ponte alle Grazie, a nearby bridge.
✔️ Walk the Boboli Gardens
After eating a healthy breakfast, it’s time to set off to explore the Boboli Gardens.
These traditional Italian gardens are expansive, covering an area of 45,000 meters² (111 acres).
The Boboli Gardens were originally designed for the Medici family and later opened to the public in 1766.
As you might expect, the gardens include expansive green spaces, tranquil ponds, and fountains.
However, the Boboli has also become a sort of outdoor sculpture garden, full of Roman antiquities and works from the 16th and 17th centuries.
In the back area of the Boboli is the Fontana del Nettuno, a beautiful fountain surrounded by benches and grassy areas.
This portion of the garden is especially peaceful, the kind of place where you could sit and meditate or read for a while to escape the bustle of the city.
You might even choose to bring a journal and do a little processing to ward off the post-vacation blues.
✔️ Walk to Forte San Miniato to see the sunset
For a fabulous view of the sunset, albeit alongside some pretty hefty crowds, make your way up the large hill to Forte San Miniato.
From this spot, you can see out over all of Florence, perfect for couples looking to add a little romance to their trip to Italy or for solo travelers who like to soak it all while enjoying their own company.
If you’re not sure exactly where to stand to catch the sunset, you can simply follow the crowds as they gather towards the edge of the park in front of the Abbey.
Just behind the Forte San Miniato is the Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte, an 11th-century church.
The interior of the church is small, especially when compared to Il Duomo, but it’s ornate, well-preserved, and very inviting.
Entry is free, and the church can serve as a nice respite from the hot summer sun in Italy.
✔️ Have dinner along Via di S. Niccolò
Just across the river from the Basilica of Santa Croce is an area full of great restaurants, perfect for dinner on your way back into the city center.
One of the most famous restaurants in the area is Zeb, a small eatery with great food but a reputation for terrible service.
If you’d like to try the pasta at Zeb, make a reservation if you can.
Alternatively, there’s a great restaurant across the street called Osteria Antica Mescita San Niccolò.
Here, you’ll find traditional Italian cuisine at reasonable prices. The rabbit pasta is especially popular, along with other traditionally Tuscan dishes.
While you’re in Florence, try stracciatella cheese, a local specialty.
It is technically made with the mozzarella used to fill burrata cheese, but it tastes like a combination of mozzarella and cream cheese.
Most often, you’ll find it served with fresh bread and prosciutto, making a perfect appetizer.
You can find stracciatella cheese throughout the city, including at Osteria Antica Mescita San Niccoló.
To finish your meal the Florentine way, order a digestive of Vecchio Amaro del Cappo.
This sweet liqueur is the perfect end to a filling dinner, and if you enjoy it you can pick up a bottle to take home at one of the city’s liquor stores.
Things you should know about visiting Florence
Florence is a fabulous place to visit, packed with art, great food, stunning architecture, and, of course, lots of history.
👉🏻 Are 2 Days In Florence Enough?
Yes, two days in Florence is enough time to see several of the major highlights, try local restaurants, and walk through the city center.
However, you could easily spend a week exploring the city if you choose to travel more slowly and see more of the smaller attractions.
With two days in Florence, you’ll feel like you got a taste of the city and have a deeper understanding of the Renaissance and Italian history.
👉🏻 Is Florence walkable?
Florence is absolutely a walkable city. There’s really no need to rely on taxis or public transit for most visitors, as you can easily walk from landmark to landmark.
That said, you’re likely to spend a full day walking; save your steps and choose a hotel in the center to avoid unnecessary walking commutes at the beginning and end of every day.
👉🏻 Should I spend more time in Rome or Florence?
If you’re choosing between Rome and Florence, I would recommend spending more time in Rome unless you struggle with larger cities.
Florence is a relatively compact and small city of about 400,000 people, while Rome is a booming metropolis of nearly 3 million.
Of course, there’s something to be said for smaller cities; you’re unlikely to feel like you really “know” Rome in a few days, but you may be able to form a connection with Florence in that time.
Both cities are solidly on the beaten track, meaning that they’ll have healthy crowds of tourists and hidden gems will be hard to find or nonexistent.
That said, they’re both well-traveled for a reason: they’re wonderful cities full of beautiful architecture, wonderful museums, and great food.
👉🏻 How To Get To Florence
You can reach Florence by plane, train, and car, as it has a major airport and train station.
When booking your trip, check for flights in the two major airports of Florence and Pisa.
Travelers who fly into Pisa can easily catch an hour-long train to Florence, so it may be a bit more budget-friendly.
For those visiting Florence from elsewhere in Italy, the city is located between Milan, Rome, and Venice, so it is easily accessible by both high-speed and local trains.
If you’ll be making your way through Italy by train, consider getting a rail pass to save money on the fares.
Travelers arriving by car can easily reach the city but know that parking is rather limited and expensive.
For the best prices and most secure options, contact your hotel or Airbnb host for suggestions near your accommodation.
👉🏻 How To Get Around Florence
Central Florence is very walkable, so most of the time you’ll be able to travel between attractions on foot.
Pack on your comfiest shoes, however, because there are some big hills and several miles to cover.
While it will definitely be easiest to navigate Florence by foot, taxis and public transport are available if you need them. There are also available taxi apps you may check to have easier access to transportation during your stay.
Google Maps is reliable and easy to use in Florence.
Pro tip: download a personal Google Map of central Florence ahead of time so that you can navigate in areas without service or data.
👉🏻 What Days To Visit Florence
The best time to visit Florence is during the shoulder season, either in the spring or fall.
The summer can be very hot, and the long lines and big crowds can make for a lot of time standing out in the sun. Air conditioning is available in some accommodations, but it is not a given.
The winter would also be a nice time to visit Florence, and you’ll have more of the city to yourself.
Keep in mind that winter rain showers are common, so be sure to bring rain gear and water-resistant shoes.
If you only have two days in Florence, avoid traveling on a Monday.
This is the day when the city closes its doors and takes a rest, so you’ll find fewer shops, restaurants, and attractions.
👉🏻 Where To Stay In Florence
You’ll want to stay in or near the city center in Florence since the city is largely walkable and it would be difficult to take a taxi or Uber through the narrow pedestrian streets.
Try to stay within a kilometer or two from the city center unless you’re comfortable walking further each day.
An accommodation like HomEdo B&B would be a great choice, as it’s located close to the city center.
If you decide to extend your trip and transform it into a European workcation, you’ll want to be sure to choose a spot with a decent workspace.
Be sure to choose a hotel or rental with air conditioning, as it can get quite warm in Florence even into the fall.
👉🏻 Day Trips From Florence
One of the most popular day trips from Florence is to head to Cinque Terre, a three-hour train ride away.
Cinque Terre is a beautiful part of the Italian coastline that contains 5 idyllic fishing villages connected by a hiking trail and train line.
You’ll sometimes hear people refer to Cinque Terre as the backpacker’s Amalfi Coast.
Alternatively, travelers can take a day trip to Pisa, home to the infamous Leaning Tower of Pisa that you might remember learning about as a child.
In addition to the Tower, you’ll find plenty of little gems throughout Pisa, a city that is definitely worth a visit.
👍🏼 Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is Italian for “Five Towns” and refers to the towns set into the Ligurian coastline: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
These charming towns are brightly colored and connected by a walking trail and a train line, allowing visitors to visit all five towns in one day.
If you choose to visit Cinque Terre, be sure to stick around to watch the sunset over the ocean from the terrace of a nearby restaurant.
The greater area around Cinque Terre is filled with hiking trails, making it the perfect day trip to squeeze in some hiking.
Ambitious travelers can hike from Portovenere, a port town south of Cinque Terre, to Riomaggiore.
The trail mostly offers views of the coastline, with several spots to stop for a coffee or a snack along the way.
Be sure you’re able to hike quickly and for a sizable distance, as you’ll have some serious ground to cover to make it back to Riomaggiore before the last train.
Famous for its legendary leaning tower, Pisa would make a great destination for a day trip.
The Tower of Pisa is located in a plaza alongside the Pisa Cathedral, Pisa Baptistry, and the Piazza dei Miracoli.
If you can spare the time, try to explore the entire plaza and enter a few of the buildings.
The walk up the Leaning Tower of Pisa is especially worthy of a trip because you can feel the building’s famous incline.
It takes a little less than an hour by train to reach Pisa from Florence, and it’s possible to see the main attraction–the Tower of Pisa–in about an hour if you don’t want to go inside it or any of the nearby buildings.
For a more leisurely trip that includes enough time to explore the buildings of the piazza, allow at least 3 hours.
Conclusion: Florence Two-Day Itinerary
Visitors to Florence are regularly wowed by the stunning architecture in the city center, the vibrant museums, and the fabulous restaurants.
Over the course of two days in Florence, visitors can see many of the city’s most prominent sites, including Il Duomo, the Boboli Gardens, and Ponte Vecchio.
You’ll also have a chance to sample authentic Italian cuisine, as well as a healthier breakfast option that features plenty of vegetables.
About the author
Amber Haggerty runs Amber Everywhere, a site dedicated to encouraging others to travel. The mission of Amber Everywhere is to help people feel the sort of belonging, purpose, empathy, and expansiveness that travel can offer, especially if approached with the right mindset. Amber is originally from Colorado, but now she now lives in Europe and writes about her experiences traveling and living abroad.