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3 Days in Florence

3 days in Florence is just enough time to explore this fascinating Italian city.

The Tuscan capital is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and is home to some of the most famous sights in the country such as Florence Cathedral, Basilica di Santa Croce and the Accademia Gallery.

Despite being ill for the entire trip, I enjoyed my time in Florence. It’s a stunning city and there’s no chance of you getting bored as there are so many things to do in Florence, such as visiting museums, galleries and sampling the incredible food!

This Florence itinerary will tell you all you need to know about visiting this beautiful city. From where to stay, rough estimates on costs, the best time to visit and how to get around the city.

Keep scrolling to discover what to do in Florence for 3 days!

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3 Days in Florence Itinerary

Quick 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

Day 1 – Walking Tour, Uffizi Gallery, Leonardo Interactive Museum
Day 2 – Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Medici Chapels, Oltrano
Day 3 – Academia Gallery, Piazza della Signoria, Piazzale Michelangelo, Optional Day Trip

Top Tip – Skip the lines at over 20+ activities with the Florence City Pass
Check out some of the best places to eat in Florence with this food tour
Get transport to/from Florence Airport to Florence City Centre

My Experience in Florence

Tom in Florence
Me in Florence

After spending 3 days in Nice and then one day in Pisa, I travelled to Florence during my big European trip.

Florence is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a while and I was very excited to finally see it. However, my experience wasn’t the best it could have been.

This was because I was ill for the first two days so I didn’t have much energy to get around and see the city. Especially, as it was baking hot.

I tried walking around on the first day before I could check into my hostel and I was dying on my feet. as beautiful as the city was, I ended up in bed for the majority of the day!

This meant I didn’t get to see as much of Florence as I would have liked, which is a shame because I was impressed by what I saw and thought it rivalled visiting Rome in 3 days for fascinating places to visit.

It’s a fascinating city, and as a history lover, there are lots of great museums. One that I did get to visit, the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum, was a lot of fun.

I plan to go back to Florence at some point again in the future, as I didn’t get to see everything I wanted. However, I still had a good time despite having a terrible cold!

Here are a few things I liked about Florence and a few things I didn’t:

Good

  • As long as you don’t get ill, you won’t have trouble finding stuff to do in Florence! The city is full of fascinating places and is a culture vulture’s dream. Michelangelo’s David is one place I didn’t get to see, as I couldn’t last in the hour-long queue while feeling dreadful. But there’s also the Uffizi and many other museums that are home to beautiful works of art.
  • Florence is beautiful. Even when I first got there and had to walk around ill in the stifling heat, I couldn’t help but appreciate the city’s beauty. The Duomo is one of the most impressive buildings I’ve seen and Ponte Vecchio is a stunning bridge that you have to get a picture of.

Bad

  • As is the case with most cities in Italy, Florence is very busy. It wasn’t on the scale of Venice, but I was shocked by how many were in the city during October. I was there during the weekend but even then, I was still shocked at how busy it was. I can only imagine the crowds during the summer!
  • It can be hard to find your way around the city if you’ve never visited before. I regularly got lost and had to consult Google Maps to find my way again. Florence is deceptively big so if you need to go from one end of the city to another, use public transport!

What to do in Florence in 3 Days

Piazza Santa Maria Novella at night

There are so many things to do in Florence, you won’t have difficulty finding stuff while you’re in the city. The problem will be trying to fit it all in!

There are several world-class museums, stunning buildings and lots of great architectural sites to check out. That’s as well as many of the great day trips you can do to other places in Tuscany too.

One of them is Pisa, which isn’t too far from Florence and is ideal to visit for half a day towards the end of this itinerary or if you have an extra day.

If you’ve never visited Florence before, I’ve listed some places you should check out below. I’ve also a recommendation of some of the best tours you can do in Florence:

If you’ve spent 3 days in Milan, you’ll know there can be long queues at many of the most popular attractions. That’s why I recommend getting the Florence City Pass before you go.

With the pass, you get free entry to over 20+ attractions including the Uffizi and Academia Gallery, as well as the use of the hop-on and off bus and 20% off certain activities such as a day trip to Cinque Terre.

Unfortunately, you don’t get free access to public transport, but Florence is walkable regardless. As the museums can get busy and you’ll have to queue for some of them, this card is worth getting to avoid that and get straight in!

Here are a few places you should check out during your 3 days in Florence:

Duomo – Located in Piazza del Duomo, Florence Cathedral, known as Santa Maria del Fiore, is one of the most impressive sights in the city. It’s part of the Unesco World Heritage Site of historic Florence and a must-visit while you’re in the city.

Ponte Vecchio – Ponte Vecchio is one of the city’s highlights. A beautiful bridge that spans the Arno River, and is home to numerous fascinating shops as well as providing some spectacular views.

Palazzo Vecchio – Palazzo Vecchio is Florence’s town hall and one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. You can find it in Piazza della Signoria which is home to numerous beautiful sculptures and works of art.

Uffizi Gallery – One of the main cultural sights in Florence is the Uffizi Gallery, which is home to some of the most famous works of Renaissance art. You can also visit the Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace, which are within the same complex.

Accademia Gallery – The Accademia Gallery is home to one of the most famous Renaissance sculptures, Michelangelo’s David. Art lovers will also like the plethora of other famous Italian artists that are housed in the gallery such as Cellini and Vasari.

Florence Itinerary – Day 1

Your first day in Florence takes you on a walking tour to get acclimatised to the city, then the Uffizi Gallery and a museum dedicated to Da Vinci’s many inventions.

Walking Tour

walking around Florence with the Doumo in the background

Whenever I get to a new city, one of the first things I do after I’ve checked in is to go and walk around the city to get my bearings.

There’s never any rhyme or reason to my walk, I just see where I end up. I realise this isn’t to everyone’s tastes, so a better idea is to go on a walking tour.

Sometimes, these are organised for free by hostels, but there are plenty you can pay for too. The great thing about these tours is that they take you around the city and give you an idea of where everything is.

You also get to learn about Florence’s history, which is rich and fascinating, instead of just walking and not understanding the significance of what you’re seeing!

Exterior of the Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the main attractions in Florence and is the perfect place to go after you’ve finished your walking tour.

The gallery is located next to Piazza della Signoria in the historic centre of Florence and is home to some of the most important works of Renaissance art.

These include The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, Sacrificio di Isacco by Caravaggio and Annunciation by Leonardo Da Vinci as well as many other impressive works of art.

The Uffizi is one of the most popular places in Florence, so it’s best to book your ticket in advance to avoid queueing for ages or missing out altogether!

You can get a ticket to see the artworks or a combined ticket that allows you to visit the National Archaeological Museum, Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens.

Leonardo Interactive Museum

Entrance to the Leonardo DaVinci Museum in Florence

The Leonardo Interactive Museum was one of my favourite museums that I visited during my 3 days in Florence.

As the name suggests, it’s an interactive museum, where you can learn about DaVinci and his various inventions.

You’ll find many different inventions based on DaVinci’s notes, such as a helicopter and a 360-degree gun turret.

Constructing a wooden bridge in the DaVinci Museum in Florence
A 360 degree wooden gun turret in the DaVinci Museum in Florence

One thing I enjoyed was the section where you get to build a bridge using wooden blocks based on a DaVinci drawing.

The museum is a lot of fun and a perfect place to visit if you’re travelling with children!

Florence Itinerary – Day 2

Your second day in Florence starts with a visit to the Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo, a short walk to Ponte Vecchio. Then, to the Medici Chapels and the cool neighbourhood of Oltrarno.

Duomo (Florence Cathedral)

The Duomo and Brunelleschi's Dome

The Duomo is the most iconic building in Florence and the first stop on the second day of this 3-day Florence itinerary.

The cathedral is imposing and dominates Florence’s historic center in Piazza del Duomo. You also don’t realise how big it is until you see it. It’s huge and has multiple parts to it.

You’ll need a ticket to get inside, and I recommend booking your ticket before you go. I didn’t and ended up queueing for an hour in searing heat while unwell, to get in.

However annoying the queue was, it was worth the wait. The Duomo is spectacular inside and one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever been in.

The Duomo has five parts to it, so even if you go inside the cathedral, there are still other bits to see such as Brunelleschi’s Dome. It’s hard to see it all in one day, so I’d prioritise what you want to see and book your tickets accordingly.

Ponte Vecchio

looking across the River Arno to Ponte Vecchio

Just a short walk from the Duomo is Ponte Vecchio, the most famous of the bridges that span the Arno River in Florence.

The name translates to ‘Old Bridge’ and reflects the age of the bridge, which was opened in 1345 during the medieval period. The bridge survived World War II, despite numerous Nazi bombing efforts in Florence.

One of the best things about Ponte Vecchio is the various shops you’ll find on the bridge. There are plenty to check out and perhaps buy a few things from.

I enjoyed strolling across the bridge and looking at it from afar. It’s a beautiful bridge and one of the landmarks of Florence you can’t miss while you’re in the city.

Medici Chapels

ceiling fresco in the Medici Chapels

The Medici Chapels are one of the most interesting places to visit in Florence.

The chapels are two structures at the Basilica of San Lorenzo as an extension to the church built by Brunelleschi, that are home to the tombs of the famous Medici family.

The inside of the chapels are elaborate and contain a fresco on the ceiling of the Sagrestia Nuova that was designed by Michelangelo in one of the chambers.

I recommend going into the chapels just to see the ceiling designed by Michelangelo, as it’s impressive. I was blown away by it, especially as I didn’t realise it there was before I visited.

It doesn’t take long to walk through the chapels and learning more about the Medici family, who were influential in Renaissance Florence, will help you better understand the city.

Oltrarno

Piazza santo spirito in Oltrarno
Photo credit: Lorenzo Testa, CC BY-SA 4.0

Oltrarno is a quarter in Florence that’s located to the south of the River Arno containing part of historic Florence.

This neighbourhood is one of the best to check out during your Florence itinerary as there are lots of cool artisanal cafes and restaurants. As well as plenty of fascinating art galleries and piazzas.

Pitti Palace is one place you have to check out while you’re in Oltrarno. It’s a legacy of the Medici family and is home to several impressive early Renaissance masterpieces by the likes of Raphael and Perugino.

You can also find some of the best contemporary art exhibitions in Florence at Foret di Belvedere, which is home to sculptural installations and intriguing photography exhibits.

Florence Itinerary – Day 3

The final part of your trip takes you to the Accademia Gallery, Piazza della Signoria and Piazzale Michelangelo. You can also choose to go on a day trip for the whole day or half of it if you wish.

queue outside the academia gallery in Florence

The first place you should visit on the final day of your Florence itinerary is the Accademia Gallery, which is home to one of the most famous Renaissance sculptures, Michelangelo’s David.

The statue is one of the most famous in the world and you can’t travel to Florence without seeing it. As you can imagine, it gets busy so it’s best to book your tickets in advance.

Otherwise, you will be queueing outside for ages just to reach the ticket office, before potentially queueing again to get in!

Once you’re inside, you’ll find plenty of Michelangelo sculptures as well as David and a huge collection of paintings by artists from Florence.

Piazza della Signoria

piazza della signoria

Piazza della Signoria is a kind of open air museum in Florence, such is the level of beauty in this fabulous square.

The square was created by the Medici family as a symbol of their power and is home to many ancient sculptures and renaissance ones too.

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s town hall is also in the square and a beautiful building that’s worth checking out.

You’ll also find a statue of Cosimo I on horseback in the square as well as the Fountain of Neptune, which was built to celebrate the Grand Dukes, and their achievement of maritime goals.

Piazza di Santa Croce is just a short walk away and is worth checking as well. It’s home to Basilica di Santa Croce church, which is one of the most beautiful of Florence’s churches.

Piazzale Michelangelo

View from Piazzale Michelangelo with the Duomo visible

Piazzale Michelangelo is located in the Oltrarno neighbourhood and is the perfect place to end your 3 days in Florence.

This is because it overlooks the city and provides a fantastic view of the Florence skyline. You can see the Duomo and the Medici chapels from up here.

It’s also the perfect place to go at the end of the day to catch the sunset. You can do this on your second day if you wish, but I feel it’s better to end your trip in Florence by watching the sunset from up here.

You can also make your way up to San Miniato al Monte, which is higher up than Piazzale Michelangelo. It’s a Romanesque church, and the view from up here is arguably better than the one in the square!

Optional Day Trip

me admiring the view of bologna

If you don’t want to do any of the above, or you already have, another option is to spend the day visiting somewhere nearby.

The instinctive place to check out is Cinque Terre, but that’s better visited over a couple of days and would require you to get up extra early to make it worthwhile.

Instead, I’ve listed three options below you can visit on a day trip from Florence:

  • Bologna – Bologna is just over half an hour away by train and is one of the most fascinating cities near Florence. You can check out the two towers in the centre, eat some brilliant food and head to the monastery above the city for fantastic views!
  • Lucca – Lucca is a small city that’s famous for the preserved Renaissance Walls that encircle its historic city center. You’ll also find the beautiful Guingi Tower and Cathedral there too!
    • Siena – Siena isn’t too far from Florence and is another beautiful Tuscan city that’s worth checking out. Piazza del Campo and the Duomo are some of the beautiful sights you can see. Make sure you leave early, as there’s a lot to see in Siena!

Other Places to Visit in Florence

If you want some more places to check out while you’re visiting Florence, check out the suggestions below:

  • San Lorenzo Market – San Lorenzo Market, also known as Mercato Centrale (Central Market), is a great place to visit if you want to get some food and sample some traditional Tuscan cuisine. It’s open every day apart from Sundays and is a brilliant place to explore in between visiting sights. Click here to book your tour!
  • Campanile di Giotto (Giotto’s Bell Tower) – This is a bell tower that’s part of the Duomo complex and is worth going up if you get the chance. You’ll get some fantastic views of Florence from up here and get to appreciate one of the most impressive pieces of architecture in the city. Click here to book your ticket!
  • San Marco Museum – This museum is home to a large collection of sacred art. A fascinating place to visit if you’re an art lover. It’s housed in a former convent not far from the Duomo. Click here to book your ticket!
  • Bargello Museum – The Bargello Museum is housed in a former prison barracks and is now home to some fantastic pieces of art, including Italy’s largest collection of Gothic and Renaissance sculptures. Click here to book your ticket!

If you want even more places to see and activities to do in Florence and Tuscany, click the link below:

Florence Travel Tips

This section includes practical advice for your 3 days in Florence. You’ll find tips on where to stay, the best time to visit, rough estimates of prices and much more!

Where to stay in Florence

white building in Florence

As one of the most visited cities in Italy, there is no shortage of places to stay in Florence.

Whether you want to stay in a nice hotel, a hostel or a rental apartment, there are plenty of places to choose from. It can be overwhelming at times as there are so many!

One thing that surprised me was how expensive a room in a dorm was in Florence. I ended up paying €70 a night, which is way above what you’d normally pay.

I don’t if this is due to the time of year I visited or if it’s the normal price, but it’s something to bear in mind. Most of the other hostels were in this price range too!

Another thing to consider is what part of the city to stay in. You can stay slightly out of the centre and have a short walk into it, or stay right in the middle.

I don’t think the price difference will be too much, but if you want somewhere quieter it might be a good idea to stay out of the centre a bit.

I’ve listed some places I recommend staying at below:

AccommodationDescriptionLink
Yellowsquare FlorenceA modern hostel just outside of the centre that has activities every night and a rooftop pool.Book Now
Ostello Bello FirenzeA great hostel not far from Santa Mari Novella train station that has lots of events and a bar on site.Book Now
My FriendsA nice and clean hostel in the centre of Florence with friendly staff, a kitchen and comfortable rooms.Book Now

Cost of Travel in Florence

river in florence at night

One of the things that surprised me about Florence was how expensive the city was. I knew it would be pricey but I thought it would be a bit cheaper.

During my three months travelling on the continent, I didn’t pay more for a hostel than I did in Florence. I don’t why a dorm room was so expensive, but I wasn’t expecting to pay €70 a night!

This is unlikely to be a problem if you’re on a short trip, but if you’re doing a long trip, then it becomes an issue, as this is a lot of money to pay every night. Especially, as hostels are supposed to be the cheap option!

The good thing about hostels is that you can cook food there, which is a necessity, as eating out isn’t cheap. I’d advise cooking as much as you can to save money or not dining at fancy places to save money.

Splashing out for one or two meals good meals is fine, you’re in Italy after all! But if you make it a regular occurrence, you’ll soon find your money running out.

You can walk around Florence with ease, so you won’t spend too much on public transport, apart from getting to and from the airport. Or if you go on day trips, but the trains are reasonably priced in Italy.

I’d advise getting a Florence City Pass, as not only will it save you money but time as well, which is just as valuable.

Booking tours is the only other expense that could make a dent in your pocket and if you buy travel gifts for your friends and family, which can be expensive if you splash out.

I’ve included a rough guide to prices for accommodation, eating out and transport in Florence below.

Prices for other expenses such as nights out at a bar/pub, club entry fees, souvenirs/clothing purchases, tours. etc. aren’t included.

You’ll need to budget extra for these purchases as they are ‘non-essential!’ 

Bed icon

Accommodation

Hostel: Dorm – €25-70; Private – €100-150
Hotels: €100-160
Rental Apartment: €80-185

Restaurant Icon

Food and Drink

Breakfast: €3-€6
Dinner: €7-20
Takeaway meal: €4-8+
Pint of beer: €4-5.50

 

Transport icon

Transport

Tram single ticket: €1.50
4-journey card: €4.70
Bike rental: €15 for the day

 

Best Time to Visit Florence

bridge in Florence spanning the river

I visited Florence in October and was surprised at how busy the city was. I was expecting it to be much quieter than it was, but the city was full of tourists.

I can only imagine how busy it would be during the summer months if it’s busy in October. This is the downside of visiting Florence.

Its popularity means that even outside of peak months it can still be busy. While shoulder season in Spring and Autumn is probably a better time to go, you’ll still have to contend with crowds.

The weather was also hotter than I thought for October. This is another factor to consider and why I wouldn’t advise visiting during the summer.

Florence can get into the 30s during the summer months, so some days can be unbearably hot, which makes walking around not very enjoyable.

The benefit of visiting outside of the summer is that it should be cooler and the temperature more conducive to sightseeing.

That’s not always the case but you will almost certainly get hot weather if you go from June to August. Be sure to check out my Italy packing list before you go so you know what to take with you whatever the weather.

I’ve put together a quick season-by-season guide on what to expect from Florence when you visit:

Florence in Spring

Spring is a good time to visit if you want to go when it’s a bit cooler and there aren’t the crazy crowds you’ll find in summer. It will still be busy but the earlier you go, the quieter it will be.

Average temperatures from low to high: 5.4°C – 24.5°C / 41.7°F – 76.1°F

Florence in Summer

Summer is the busiest and hottest time of the year to travel to Florence, so it’s not ideal if you don’t like crowds or the heat. On the flipside, you’re almost guaranteed sunny weather, so if you don’t mind the heat it’s a good time to visit.

Average temperatures from low to high: 16.2°C – 32.1°C / 61.2°F – 89.8°F

Florence in Autumn

I visited during autumn in early October and I was surprised by the crowds and the heat. It’s still a good time to visit to avoid the stifling heat and bigger crowds, but be aware that both will still be a factor until at least late October.

Average temperatures from low to high: 6.8°C – 27°C / 44.2°F – 80.6°F

Florence in Winter

If you don’t mind the colder weather, winter is a good time to visit. You’ll be able to avoid the crowds and queues that occur the rest of the year. Plus, you might also get cheaper prices. Florence is also beautiful at night, so seeing it during this time of the year is worth it!

Average temperatures from low to high: 2.2°C – 12.7°C / 36°F – 54.9°F

How to Get Around Florence

tram in florence

Florence is a big city, but I never felt like it was hard to get around while I was there. It’s a walkable city and most of the main attractions are within walking distance of one another.

Once you’re in the centre, everything is within 20 minutes’ walking distance. Due to the narrow streets, there isn’t much public transport in this area, so walking is the best idea.

Florence does have a good public transportation system, with a useful bus and tram network. If you’re looking to go further afield, I recommend using either.

The main train station in Florence, Santa Maria Novella Station is also in the heart of the city and isn’t too far from the Duomo. If you’re arriving by train, it’s the most convenient way of getting into the centre and most accommodation isn’t too far of a walk.

Florence Airport, which has been known as Amerigo Vespucci Airport, is 8 km outside of the centre in the suburb of Peretola.

The airport is directly connected to the centre of the city via tram, so you can easily get to and from the airport without any trouble.

An alternative is to get a taxi, which I’d only recommend if you’re in a rush or late. The tram is cheaper and quick enough, with the journey taking around 20 minutes from Santa Maria Novella Station.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 3 Days Enough in Florence?

3 days in Florence is the minimum number of days you’ll need to explore the city. There are a lot of sights in Florence such as Michelangelo’s David and the Leonardo Da Vinci museum, that you can see during this time.

You should be able to see most of the city in 3 days, but it depends on what you do and how many museums or galleries you want to visit for example.

How Many Days Should a Tourist Spend in Florence?

The minimum number of days a tourist should spend in Florence is three. This will allow you to see all the sights such as the Academia and the Uffizi Gallery as well as spend half a day somewhere nearby such as Pisa or Siena.

Looking For More Travel Guides?

3 Days in Bologna – Bologna isn’t too far from Florence and is an ideal place to visit after you’ve finished this itinerary.

3 Days in Palermo – If you want to see a different side of Italy, the capital of Sicily is the place to go!

3 Days in Turin – Turin is about two hours away by high-speed train from Florence and is another fascinating city with plenty of cultural sights.

3 Days in Naples – Naples is in Southern Italy but not too hard to reach on the high-speed network. Check out the chaotic and beautiful city after your Florence trip!

Venice in 3 Days – Venice is another beautiful Italian city you can include as part of a wider trip in the country!

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