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1-day Itinerary in Florence

Explore the best things to do in Florence in 1 day based on recommendations from local experts.

Day 1

  • 1
    #3
    Piazzale Michelangelo
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    #3 in Florence
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Overlooking the city from its perch in the Oltrarno district, the Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the most popular viewpoints in the city, and it's definitely worthwhile if you're a first-time visitor. This ornate square is known for its spectacular views and its towering replica of Michelangelo's David. Getting to the piazza can be quite the trek on foot (there is an intimidating flight of stairs leading from the Piazza Poggi), but recent visitors said the panoramic city views are well worth the workout and shouldn't be missed. Plus, there are vendors at the top selling drinks and souvenirs should you need a refreshment.

    You can also watch the sunset from one of the outdoor cafes lining the square. Also, there are two flower gardens that come to life with thousands of varieties of roses and irises in the spring months. If you want to avoid the crowds, plan to come early in the morning or at night. Piazzale Michelangelo is free to access 24/7.

    15 minutes by car; 20 minute walk
  • 2
    #5
    Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi)
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    #5 in Florence
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Occupying the first and second floors of the U-shaped Palazzo degli Uffizi along the banks of the Arno River, the Uffizi Gallery was Europe's first modern museum, created by the Medici family at the end of the 16th century. Today, the museum is any art lover's dream: it still displays the family's prominent art collection, which includes such masterpieces as Botticelli's "Birth of Venus," Raphael's "Madonna of the Goldfinch" and Titian's "Venus of Urbino."

    Because of the many works of art housed here, you're going to need to take your time. One of the best ways to see the highlights and learn about the lesser-known pieces is to take a guided tour from a third-party operator, which many recent visitors highly recommend, or rent an audio guide. Some tour operators also offer "skip-the-line" tours, which reviewers also spoke highly of. Many recent visitors also said that the main problem with this museum isn't art overload, it's the crowds. Before you visit, check out the museum's official website, where you can purchase tickets in advance and acquire additional information about the gallery's extensive art collection, showcased in more than 45 halls.

    5 minute walk
  • 3
    #1
    Piazza della Signoria
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    #1 in Florence
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Loggia dei Lanzi, in the Piazza della Signoria, is an open-air (and free) museum that was designed in the 14th century by Orcagna, an influential architect and artist. Below the building's curved arches are dozens of sculptures (notable ones include Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines and Cellini's Perseus), which draw crowds of tourists and locals alike. Behind it sits the Galleria degli Uffizi. The Piazza della Signoria is also filled with its (more than) fair share of sculptures, including a towering replica of Michaelangelo's David.

    Take your time wandering around, and if you get tired, grab a seat along the Loggia dei Lanzi, or make your way to a cafe near the Fountain of Neptune. Recent visitors said this is a must-see spot and a great area to people-watch, view magnificent sculptures and rest travel-weary feet (though past travelers recommended avoiding the restaurants in this area, calling them "outrageously overpriced." To avoid the height of the crowds, visit in the evening. Access to the area is free 24/7.

    5 minute walk
  • 4
    #2
    Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore)
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    #2 in Florence
    Churches/Religious Sites
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (known simply as the Duomo) is not only Florence's religious center, it's also the city's most recognizable attraction. Occupying the Piazza del Duomo in the heart of the city, this massive Gothic cathedral was erected during the 14th century on the former site of the Roman church, Santa Reparata. You'll know you're in the right place when you find yourself straining your neck to see the church's massive, iconic dome. The red-tiled cupola was designed by Brunelleschi and is described as a must-see by experts and travelers alike.

    Visitors like to joke that the cathedral was designed inside-out: its exterior boasts intricate designs and breathtaking features while the interior is surprisingly plain. For many, the main reason to visit is to climb to the top of the dome (the cupola) where you'll find spectacular views of the city. (Be aware that there is no elevator and some of the narrow walkways require you to stand to the side while people pass in the opposite direction. Some visitors report this is not for the claustrophobic.) However, if you are interested in looking around inside, guided tours are available.

  • 5
    #12
    Giotto's Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto)
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    #12 in Florence
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Designed by Giotto in the early 14th century, this ornate 277-foot high bell tower is part of the renowned Duomo in central Florence's Piazza del Duomo. Although it is known as Giotto's Bell Tower, it actually required three architects to finish. The changes in style and design are apparent. Today, you can admire the tower's external design from the square below – make sure to spend plenty of time admiring the statues and reliefs by such famed artists as Donatello and Andrea Pisano. Or you can climb the more than 400 steps to the top for spectacular views of central Florence, a hike that recent visitors said leads to a better panorama than you get at the top of the Duomo because you get to view the Duomo from this vantage point. 

    However, the climb can be a real workout, so make sure to pace yourself. Travelers appreciated that there were several places where they could stop to catch their breath and admire the views on the way up to the top, which they said were well worth the steep climb. However, if you're visiting during the summer months, reviewers say you'll want to time your visit for the morning (or right before closing), as the climb only gets hotter as the day progresses.

  • 6
    #7
    Baptistry (Battistero)
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    #7 in Florence
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Battistero is the oldest building in the city, and although the current façade dates from the 11th century, historians have dated the Baptistery back to the fifth century. It hasn't been proven, but many say that this octagonal building was once a temple dedicated to Mars, the Roman god of war.

    Today, this ancient building is a must-do for any art lover. Wake up early to beat the crowds, who flock to the Battistero in search of the Gates of Paradise. Designer Lorenzo Ghiberti's delicate depictions of Christ and other religious symbols on these massive doors inspired awe in even the most renowned artists, including Michelangelo, whose praise of the doors earned them their name. Note: the doors at the Baptistery are replicas of the originals. If you would like to see the originals, you'll have to pay a visit to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, which can be found just a short walk behind the Baptistery.

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