2 Days in Florence for Every Kind of Traveler

Only have 2 days in Florence and want to make the most of every second? We’ve got you covered! Read on to discover how to make the most of your time in the cradle of the Renaissance, including itineraries for all types of travelers. 

Bridges over the river in Florence, Italy at sunset
There are so many ways to make the most of all Florence has to offer. Photo credit: Josh Hild

If you’ve always thought that you need at least a full week to visit a beautiful city, read on.  

Because you’re right: a great city deserves a lot of time to be thoroughly visited and understood. However, it’s also true that you can still savor a place’s atmosphere and most evocative locations in a two-day trip! 

Florence is seemingly a small city—”seemingly” being they key word here. It actually holds a whole world of artistic and cultural heritage within its medium-sized city limits. This guide will show you how to make the absolute most out of 2 days in Florence, no matter what you’re looking for. 

How to Get to Florence 

When it comes to arriving in Florence, you have a couple of options.

If you decide to fly into Florence, your most convenient option will be to take a taxi from Aeroporto Amerigo Vespucci to the city center, so you can start exploring right away. On the other hand, if you reach Florence by train, you won’t need any transport. Santa Maria Novella station lies in the very heart of the city, so if you’re ready to walk, your tour may begin! 

Depending on what you want to discover and savor in Florence on your two-day trip, you can either decide to focus on the many museums this city offers or just wander about its narrow alleys… or both! 

2 Days in Florence: Art & Culture Tour

Can’t imagine visiting Florence without exploring the Uffizi? Does the idea of not visiting the Museo del Bargello make you shudder? If this is the case, organizing a self-guided cultural tour of Florence—including the city’s best museums—is your best bet. 

To save precious time, we suggest booking your tickets for museums and attractions in advance. You can easily do so online on each place’s website. Once you arrive, you’ll have more time to wander and explore instead of waiting in the ticket line. 

Day 1: Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio, Loggia dei Lanzi, Church of Orsanmichele, & Museo Casa di Dante 

If you arrive in the morning, consider visiting Florence’s most famous museum right away. The rooms will be less crowded, and you’ll be able to enjoy the atmosphere at its best. The Uffizi deserves to be savored—you’ll want to take your time, and nobody wants to admire da Vinci and Michelangelo’s masterpieces in a hurry.  

After your visit—and having enjoyed some food for thought—it will probably be high time to get some food for your stomach. Take an appetizing break in one of the restaurants or sandwich bars that surround the Uffizi, and you’ll shortly be ready to start exploring again! 

Arched entranceway and large square in front of the Uffizi Museum in Florence
Florence’s iconic Uffizi is a must for art lovers. Photo credit: Matteo Lezzi

After lunch, it’s probably not the best idea to visit another museum. You’ll probably start getting a little tired, and Florence’s museums deserve the whole of your attention and concentration. Instead, dedicate your afternoon to a nice walk in Florence’s city center and you’ll discover some of the most precious gems in this city’s crown. 

If you head north from the Uffizi, in just a few minutes you’ll reach Piazza della Signoria. Towering over it is the imposing Palazzo Vecchio, with its wonderful “David” statue (a replica of the original) out front. Adjacent to the palazzo, you’ll find the open-air Loggia dei Lanzi, where you’ll see famous sculptures such as Benvenuto Cellini’s “Perseus with the Head of Medusa” and Giambologna’s “The Rape of the Sabine Women.”  

If you’re a seasoned cultural traveler, consider visiting the museum at Palazzo Vecchio, but beware! Just as you did for the Uffizi, remember to book your tickets in advance to avoid the lines and save precious time to linger on the Palazzo’s beautiful terrace around aperitivo time. 

Large brown brick building with a clock tower at sunset
Palazzo Vecchio towers over Piazza della Signoria. Photo credit: Marco Carlotti

Moving on, you’ll find the Church of Orsanmichele, consecrated to St. Michael and emblazoned by sculptures by Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi and many others. And if you’re not tired yet, pay a visit to the Museo Casa di Dante, located in the very house where the world-famous poet lived. 

Day 2: Museo del Bargello & Church of Santa Maria Novella 

On day two, be sure to start with a visit to the Museo del Bargello. Smaller than the Uffizi, this museum is a bona-fide gem, encompassing an incredible richness despite its small location. Just right for Florence itself, isn’t it? 

Enlightened by some of the Renaissance’s masterworks, such as Donatello’s renowned “David” and his bas-relief “St. George Freeing the Princess,” your morning at the Bargello will pass in awe. 

And after lunch, if you still have some time before your train leaves (or before your taxi leaves for the airport), consider visiting the Church of Santa Maria Novella and the beautiful wooden “Crucifix” by Giotto. It’s not a coincidence that this is considered the archetypal, harmonious Renaissance church par excellence! 

Façade of the Santa Maria Novella church in Florence, Italy
The Santa Maria Novella church is conveniently located right near the train station. Photo credit: Eleonora Altomare

2 Days in Florence: Self-Guided Walking Tour 

If your ideal visit of a city involves wandering around its streets, parks and alleys, rather than just focusing on museums, this might be the right tour for you. 

Day 1: Church of Santa Maria Novella, Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica, Cathedral, Duomo Museum, Piazza della Signoria, Mercato del Porcellino 

Moving from Santa Maria Novella station, start your tour with a walk in the surrounding area. Eventually you’ll reach the Church of Santa Maria Novella to get your first taste of what Florence has to offer.  

Consider the idea of recovering from your morning of travel in the evocative Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica Santa Maria Novella. This beautiful historic pharmacy still operates—both as an elegant pharmacy and a tea room! Here, you can sip every kind of aromatic tea imaginable and buy handmade herbal teas, sweets and chocolates, and perfumes. 

After your tea (or shopping) break, have a nice walk along Via Panzani. In no time you’ll reach Piazza del Duomo, with its cathedral, baptistery and Giotto’s campanile.  

Cathedral in Florence, Italy with a large red dome in the background
Florence’s legendary cathedral needs to be seen to be believed. Photo credit: Alex Azabache

If a simple visit inside the cathedral isn’t enough for you, remember that all three of the aforementioned sights are part of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore complex. This means that, with only one ticket, you’ll be able to visit all three of the aforementioned monuments, as well as the Crypt of Santa Reparata and the Opera del Duomo Museum 

Going down Via dello Studio, you’ll easily reach the Museo Casa di Dante and in five minutes you’ll be in Piazza della Signoria. After admiring the medieval skyline of this ancient square, keep walking down Via Vacchereccia and you’ll reach the Mercato del Porcellino, one of the most famous leather markets in Florence. Don’t forget to find the bronze boar statue (“il porcellino”) that gives the market its name and rub its nose—it’s said to bring good luck! 

Woman rubbing the nose of a boar statue
Don’t leave the Mercato del Porcellino without rubbing the boar’s nose! Photo credit: UI International Programs

The Mercato del Porcellino is surrounded by mouthwatering restaurants and sandwich bars, making it the perfect lunch spot. Devote your afternoon to a relaxing walk in Florence’s alleys, entering the various churches you’ll find along the way and savoring the best of the city’s atmosphere. 

Insider’s Tip: Make time to swing by one of the best restaurants with a view in Florence before you leave!

Day 2: Palazzo Pitti & the Boboli Gardens, Ponte Vecchio, Basilica di San Lorenzo, Laurentian Library, Medici Chapels 

Not sure what to do the next day? This can vary, depending on how much time you have at your disposal before leaving and, maybe surprisingly, on the season you’re traveling.  

If you’re visiting Florence in spring or summer, don’t miss the Boboli Gardens. As part of the Uffizi museum along with Palazzo Pitti and the Corridoio Vasariano, this beautiful city garden is located “oltrarno”—on the opposite bank of the River Arno from the main part of the city center.  

Gardens at an Italian villa with a small brown building in the background
The tranquil Boboli Gardens are a peaceful respite from the busy city. Photo credit: Ed Webster

Even if you’re traveling in fall or winter and the weather is just too wet to visit the Boboli Gardens, this part of Florence is still worth your time. Spend your morning wandering through the museums of Palazzo Pitti instead. 

Head across Ponte Vecchio back towards the city center and admire its world-renowned jewelers’ shops. Let the lights and sounds of this fascinating bridge guide you towards the golden world of the jewelers’ age-old craft. It’s not mandatory to purchase anything here, but it is a great way to support local artisans and pick up a cool souvenir while you’re at it. 

View of a city along the riverbank taken through an archway with a bridge visible in the background
The view from Ponte Vecchio. Photo credit: David Tip

On your way back to the train station (or to the taxi stand), pay a visit to the Basilica di San Lorenzo. If you have some free time before leaving, don’t miss the Laurentian Library, planned and built by Michelangelo, as well as the Medici Chapels. This will be the best final taste of Florence you could dream of!  

2 Days in Florence: Mixed Tour 

Naturally, you can decide to mix the various options we’ve proposed to organize your own tailored tour. However, we still stand by our advice to visit Florence’s museums in the morning so that you have more time there and fully enjoy your visit.    

There’s so much more to be said about what to see in Florence, but as we said, we’ve focused on the city’s most important monuments and attractions for a two-day trip. So don’t worry if this time you won’t be able to see everything you wanted to see. It’ll be the perfect excuse to come back and further explore this wonderful city! 

Want to eat like a local during your 2 days in Florence? Join our Florence food tour to discover the secrets of Florentine cuisine and meet the passionate locals who proudly carry on these delicious traditions.