There is so much that you can do and see in Florence, much more than one days worth, however, it is possible to experience Florence in all it’s glory within 24 hours, but you need to be organised and prepared!
ALSO, I highly recommend a good map and travel guide. We bought the Lonely Planet Pocket Florence and Tuscany guide book with pull out map. It was a great little guide and the map was super clear and easy to use. We used the guide alongside our phones and Google maps!
We stayed in a beautiful four star hotel to the north of the city, Hotel Rapallo a bit of affordable luxury! (See the photos). I thought this hotel was fantastic, the staff, the food, the facilities and I couldn’t of asked for more, I would definitely stay there again. The location was fantastic too, it is just outside the centre which is what makes it affordable without compromising on the luxury.
I will start my ‘things to see’ list in relation to our hotel so that you can see the path we took. With only one day, you won’t want to be back and forwards too much, not only because of time but because of your poor feet! We love a good walk, but core blimey!
So here is our hotel…
- If you want to see the Michelangelo’s original David then you need to head to the Galleria dell’ Accademia, remember to pre-book. It is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel and opens at 8.15am. We didn’t go in but wandered past.
- From here you can head to the Medici Palace (Palazzo Medici-Riccardi). To find out more about the Medici’s before you go, I definitely recommend watching Italy’s Invisible Cities on Florence. It also helps you to visualise the city and plan your trip so that you don’t miss anything. There are lots of hidden secrets in Florence!
- Continue walking to the San Lorenzo area which is full of market stalls and my favourite the food market! This is a good place to stop for a coffee and a bite to eat, it would be rude not too right! Head upstairs for all the cafes and bars.
- Next head to the Duomo. This is one of the most incredible and stunning cathedral’s I have ever seen. It is free to go inside but you will need to buy tickets to climb to the dome and bell tower. Again, like everywhere, you have to queue, however the line does move quite quickly. Make sure your shoulders and knees are covered as a sign of respect or you will be turned away. We came back to the Duomo in the evening for a meal too, the Duomo is even more impressive in the evening.
- After the Duomo there are a number of squares and streets to wander through or even stop for a cheeky Chianti especially when the sun is out.
- For lunch, we headed to the Santa Croce area which is towards the river, near the Uffizi. There are loads of little cafes and bars that you can stop in. Also, check out the Basilica di Santa Croce while you are there.
- Head back to the river Arno and the Ponte Vecchio bridge. This is a definite must see in Florence. This beautiful bridge dates back to 1345 and is like no other. Lined with expensive jewellery shops, a great place to cross the river and get some beautiful views of the Arno or splash out! Also the perfect spot to enjoy a tiramisu gelato or any gelato come to think of it! There is a lovely little window in between the Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio!
- The other side of the river is a more traditional area of Florence and is equally as beautiful. You will find the Pitti Palace here and the Boboli Gardens.
- My absolute favourite, and a sight not to be missed during your day in Florence, is the Pizzale Michelangelo. A spectacular viewpoint of the whole city. It is about a 20 minute walk from the bridge and up a very steep incline. You can get buses too I believe. The views from the top are incredible. Many people visit at sunset (very romantic) however we went in the late afternoon.
Whatever you choose to do in Florence will be memorable and an absolute pleasure. If you are staying for longer, why not check out my Pisa blog.
Have a fantastic trip!