The perfect itinerary to maximize 24 hours in Florence
Florence is the birthplace of Renaissance art, but more importantly this cozy, walkable city with rich history offers a cultural experience unlike no other. The city’s vibrant and joyful ambiance, and the Florentine cuisine and wine will have you coming back for more. Florence deserves much more than 24 hours, but if you find yourself with only one day to indulge, we’ve got you covered.
You can’t start any day without a warm cup of coffee and luckily there are coffee shops on almost every other corner in Florence. A cup of joe and a cornetto (croissant) is all you’ll need to fuel your body to embark on a day full of adventures. Ditta Artigianale and Caffé Gilli are two great options. Ditta Artigianale is one of our favorites with a variety of savory breakfast options, but if you prefer a warm sweet pastry head to Caffé Gilli, you will not be disappointed.
After breakfast head over to The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Piazza Duomo. The Dome is the largest masonry vault in the world and dates back to 1436, built by Filippo Brunelleschi. It’s one of Florence’s most spectacular sights and the coolest part is you can climb all the way to the top of the dome and look out onto all of Florence. We recommend purchasing tickets in advance.
After 463 steps, your stomach may be rumbling. Head over to the Mercato Centrale, also known as the Central Market, for a marketplace full of taste for anything your heart desires. The ground floor is a traditional food market with fresh meats, cheese, and vegetables. The upstairs resembles a food court, with various cuisines, pastries, beer, and cocktails cultivated by artisans.
Steps outside of the Mercato Centrale, you’ll notice the sweet scent of real leather leading to the tents with all the best goods. This is the famous Leather Market in San Lorenzo. The leather market offers endless options from belts to bags and everything in between. If you’re looking for a gift for a friend or for yourself, this is the place to go.
Piazza della Signoria
After some shopping head over to Piazza Della Signoria. This city square is a huge tourist attraction and here you’ll find the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery. As you walk around you’ll notice the Fountain of Neptune, a replica of the iconic David, and many more popular attractions. It’s a great place to sit and soak in Florence’s beauty.
The Uffizi Gallery is a must as it hosts the largest collection of Renaissance art in the world. Some timeless paintings preserved here include pieces such as Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus (1485), and Michelangelo’s painting of The Holy Family (1504-06). The Uffizi gallery is packed with history and incredible art, but to maximize the quality of your visit check out the 10 must see’s or book a tour.
After an hour or two of admiring artworks, it’s time to grab a quick lunch. When in Florence, everyone must try one of the best sandwich shops, All’Antico Vinaio. The first ever location is only a few steps away from the Uffizi and now the company has expanded to multiple parts of Italy and even in the United States. Don’t be discouraged by the long lines, the taste and variety of options will definitely be worth the wait!
Unfortunately, All’Antico Vinaio doesn’t have seating, but what a great opportunity to grab your sandwich and hangout at the oldest bridge in Florence: The Ponte Vecchio. The Ponte Vecchio overlooks the Arno River and in the center of the bridge sits a statue of the bust of the most famous Florentine goldsmith, Benvenuto Cellini. The Ponte Vecchio also has a variety of jewelry and souvenir shops, as well as some good gelaterias, for a refreshing dessert.
Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset is an absolute must when visiting Florence because it offers an incredible view of the entire city. Depending on what season you choose to visit will vary with the hours of sunset, but regardless grab a few snacks, maybe a bottle of wine and watch the sun go down in one of the most beautiful cities.
Santo Spirito is one of the most beloved neighborhoods with a lively bar and restaurant scene. Here you can interact with the locals and explore craftsman shops and boutiques. Some of the best spots for dinner can be found in this area too, including 4 Leoni, Osteria Santo Spirito, and Borgo Antico, just make sure to book a reservation.
The only way to end a perfect 24 hours in Florence is with some delicious dolci (sweets) and gelato. Luckily Santo Spirito is filled with some of the best places to enjoy gelato including the Gelateria Santa Trinita or Gelateria Della Passera.
So, whether you find yourself in Florence for one day or one week don’t miss out on the cultural experience of a lifetime from incredible architecture, museums, and cuisine.