Want to visit Florence for a day? You will be surprised at you how much you can do with good planning! Check out this itinerary to make the best of your one day in Florence.
Visiting Florence in a single day may sound intimidating, but it is actually surprisingly easy to get a basic introduction to the city in just a few hours. Maybe you want to go on an easy day trip to Florence from Rome, or maybe it’s part of a longer Tuscany road trip.
Obviously, it isn’t enough for an exhaustive exploration of every street and museum (the city is over 2000 years old after all), and I highly recommend adding more days to your stay if possible.
However, 1 day in Florence is more than enough to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and delicious aromas of local Florentine life while visiting the city’s most important attractions.
⚠️ Do you have more than one day? Then check out my 2 days in Florence itinerary post!
If you want to do a one-day trip in Florence, a tour can be a good idea, especially if you don’t want to go through the hassle of organizing, navigating, buying tickets, etc. This Florence in a Day Tour with David, Duomo, Uffizi & Walking Tour takes you to see the very best of Florence in just one day with an expert local guide.
I have personally taken this tour with my partner on his first visit to the city, and we both loved it! ➥ BOOK IT HERE
How to Get Around Florence
▶️ Personally, I avoid driving in Florence at all costs. It is unlikely that anyone other than a local could navigate the tangle of public streets, restricted zones, and pedestrian areas. Even other Italians have been known to accidentally take a wrong turn occasionally when visiting Florence and getting stuck with a heavy fine!
▶️ Luckily, Florence is perfect for walking. In fact, you can walk straight across the historic city center in about half an hour and most of it is reserved for pedestrians only.
▶️ If your feet need a break, you can buy an ATAF bus ticket for 1.50 euros at any Florence Tabbacchino (easily identified by big blue signs marked with a large white “T”).
Florence in a Day Itinerary
Kick off your Florence one-day itinerary by walking the mere 8 minutes that separate the Stazione Firenze Santa Maria Novella to the Mercato Centrale, a large indoor market bursting with delectable Italian specialties.
With numerous bars and artisanal bakeries, this is the perfect place for breakfast. You can also stock up on snacks, such as Florence’s famous Focaccia bread, which is easy to wrap up and stow in a purse or backpack for later.
The Market is open every day from 8 am to midnight.
Right outside you will also find the Mercato di San Lorenzo, which is mainly dedicated to leather goods. While fun to walk through, it has become a bit touristy and the vendors can be rather pushy. Be ready to haggle when making a purchase, and if you decide you don’t want to buy something, firmly say “no thank you” and walk away.
For a more relaxed leather purchasing experience, I prefer the Mercato del Porcellino (which we will discover later on in this itinerary).
Piazza del Duomo
6 minutes from Mercato Centrale, this is one of the most awe-inspiring squares in Italy. The Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, known as il Duomo to locals, can’t help but draw everyone’s gaze like a beacon with its enormous cupola.
Nothing says “Italy” quite like this testament to Renassaince’s optimism. Designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1436, it is the largest masonry dome ever constructed. The other two major attractions in this square are Giotto’s Bell Tower, and Botticelli’s incredible baptistery doors facing the cathedral.
I highly recommend you dedicate your precious time to the Cupola of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral and climb to the Brunelleschi’s Dome. An inside look at this miraculous feat of engineering is guaranteed to knock your socks off, and so are the sights from the viewing platform. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the rolling hills of the Tuscany countryside.
➤ Climbing the Duomo requires a ticket with a pre-booked time slot. This Entry Ticket to Brunelleschi’s Dome will grant you direct access to the top of the Cathedral, where incredible views await. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ If you’d like to learn more about this Cathedral, which used to be the largest structure in the world at its time, the Dome Climb, Museum and Baptistry Tour takes you on a small-tour exploration of the inside and outside of the Cathedral (including a climb to the duomo) to learn about its history and art. Complimentary gelato included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
However, if you plan to cover Florence in one day and choose to do a tour of the Cathedral, you will have to leave something else out of your itinerary, as it will take time. For example, you could choose between this and the Uffizi Gallery or a combination of other stops in the itinerary. Plan ahead!
For a fun little detour, walk towards the back of the cathedral until you find a large gold disk embedded into the pavement. Stand on the disk while looking up at the top of the dome. See that huge golden sphere way up there? In 1601 it was struck by lightning and came crashing down to land exactly where you’re standing now.
As long as you’re there, go ahead and grab a gelato from Gelateria Edoardo for a sweet pick-me-up (Piazza del Duomo, 45/R, open from 12:30 pm to 7:30 pm).
Fontana del Porcellino
Another 10 minutes of walking will bring you to Italy’s most famous leather market: Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, more commonly known as Mercato del Porcellino due to the famous fountain on the south end of the piazza.
The Porcellino (Italian for “piglet”) has become a rite of passage for anyone visiting Florence. Rub his well-shined nose to ensure you will return to Florence one day, then stick a coin in his mouth and make a wish. If it falls from his mouth and drops into the grate, your wish will come true. If it doesn’t, at least you got your money back!
Though it is certainly a big tourist spot, this is still my favorite place to browse for leather. Many of the vendors have been there for decades, and working side by side for so long seems to make them less aggressive than their counterparts over at Mercato di San Lorenzo.
If they don’t have what you’re looking for, some of them will happily escort you to their friend on the other side of the market who does.
In my experience, their prices are fair compared to other shops in Florence, and the product is more reliable than a street-side stall. Plus the concentrated perfume of leather under the covered square is amazing.
Open every day from 9 am to 6:30 pm.
Piazza della Signoria
This square is just a 2-minute walk from our piglet friend. The first thing you’ll probably notice is the weatherworn David guarding the entrance to Palazzo Vecchio. As you’ve probably guessed, this is not the original (which currently resides in Galleria dell’Accademia), but it still makes for a great selfie.
Palazzo Vecchio meanwhile has been Florence’s city hall since the Middle Ages and was the seat of Medici power before they moved into Palazzo Pitti. The Loggia dei Lanzi next door provides you with a free outdoor museum full of beautiful, though rather violent, statues.
Fun note: on the wall of Palazzo Vecchio to the right of the main entrance, you’ll find a man’s profile etched into the stone. There are several legends for this random bit of 15th-century graffiti, but the funniest says that Michelangelo carved it out of irritation when someone trapped him there with idle chit-chat.
With his back to the wall, he discreetly carved the face of the man annoying him to alleviate the boredom, and it became known as “l’Importuno di Michelangelo” (loosely translated, “The guy who annoyed Michelangelo” or “The Annoyer”).
➤ With this Palazzo Vecchio Entrance Ticket you can tour the Palace with an audioguide to learn about its history and masterpieces, with an optional ascent to Arnolfo’s Tower for a breathtaking panorama of the Tuscan hills. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Go for the Best Sandwich in Florence
Of course, a day trip in Florence (and Italy in general) can’t be complete without trying some delicious food!
Duck down the narrow street behind Palazzo Vecchio and walk 1 minute towards Via dei Neri to find my favorite lunch spot in Florence: All’antico Vinaio. Though their official address is listed as Via dei Neri 65R, they actually have multiple shop fronts on this street.
Why? Because they are freakishly popular among Italians and foreigners alike. For as little as 7 euro you can get a sandwich loaded with as many Florentine delicacies as the sturdy bread can possibly hold.
Having eyes bigger than your stomach might get you into trouble here, so don’t be surprised if you end up struggling to finish it. This is where having a travel buddy comes in handy, especially someone who never seems to get full and doesn’t mind eating your leftovers!
The shop has a recommended menu listed in both Italian and English, and they work incredibly fast so don’t be too intimidated if you see lines coming out of all the shops.
Open 10 am to 10:30 pm every day, and 24 hours on Saturday.
👉 Looking to savor more Italian delicacies? Check out the best food tours in Florence.
If you’re not too full to walk, double back to the corner of Palazzo Vecchio and turn into the Piazzale degli Uffizi, one of the highlights of any 1-day itinerary of Florence.
This temple to the Italian Renaissance is home to some of the world’s greatest masterpieces. With an extensive collection that includes, Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Botticelli, this is your chance for a close-up look of nearly every painting in your school History books.
The Uffizi is best appreciated when you have at least a couple of days in Florence, since it really is massive and you won’t want to feel rushed. But if you want to appreciate some of the finest art in the world, it’s really worth it even if you have only a few hours.
Even if you don’t have time to enter the Uffizi, it is still entertaining to admire the statues dedicated to Italian geniuses that line the courtyard and look for your favorite historical figures.
This is also a popular spot for portrait artists to set up their stands, giving you a taste of Italian art in real-time.
➤ Here you can get Tickets for the Uffizi Gallery with Priority Entrance, which I highly reccommend. The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most visited attractions in Florence. Lines can get long and tickets booked up. Talking from experience here. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ This Uffizi Gallery Tour will double the enjoyment and appreciation you will get of the Uffizi thanks to the guidance ofn an expert that will share the stories behind the main masterpieces in the gallery and teach you about the development of Italian art throughout the centuries. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Open Tuesday through Sunday from 8:15 am to 6:50 pm. Closed on Mondays.
On the other side of the Uffizi, you’ll reach a street that faces the Arno River. There you’ll find a convenient little wedge of sidewalk where you can pose for a selfie with Italy’s most beautiful bridge, the Ponte Vecchio.
From this vantage point, you may notice something odd: all the other bridges seem relatively modern. This is because the invading Nazis during World War II were ordered to destroy every bridge crossing the Arno.
However, one German consul named Gerhard Wolf couldn’t bear to destroy the Ponte Vecchio. Instead, he insisted that armed guards be placed at both ends to prevent anyone crossing and the bridge was reprieved.
In 2007, a plaque was placed on the bridge in honor of Wolf’s “decisive role in the salvation of the Ponte Vecchio from the barbarism of the Second World War,” in addition to his role in saving Jewish and political prisoners during Nazi occupation.
Don’t feel bad if you forget to look for the plaque while you’re there though. Ponte Vecchio is currently dominated by numerous jewelry shops, and it practically drips with glittering distractions. Many local Florentines don’t even know the plaque is there!
Treat Yourself at Gelateria Santa Trinita
After crossing Ponte Vecchio, you will have an important choice to make: head directly to Piazzale Michelangelo for the famous view of Florence, or take a quick detour to visit one of the best gelaterie in town.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll choose gelato every time. Yes, I know you’ve already had gelato, but in Italy you can totally have gelato twice in a day.
Take the first right after crossing the bridge and walk along Borgo S. Jacopo for 3 minutes to reach Gelateria Santa Trinita (Piazza de’ Frescobaldi 8). You’re going to have a bit of a hike to reach Piazzale Michelangelo, so feel free to splurge on one of the huge waffle cones and load it up with their excellent pistachio gelato.
Open every day from 11 am until midnight.
Check Out the Views from Piazzale Michelangelo
When someone says “Florence”, this is usually one of the iconic Florence views that pops into everyone’s mind. It’s about a half-hour walk from Gelateria Santa Trinita, and worth every step. One look at Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome rising from a red sea of terracotta roofs and you may never want to leave.
A selfie with this famous skyline is practically a requirement for anyone visiting Florence, so find a spot you like along the stone barrier overlooking the city and wait for an opening.
San Miniato al Monte
You have just enough time to do one one of the more unusual things to do in Florence.
Most tourists will just check out Piazzale Michelangelo, but just 7 minutes from the Piazzale stands one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in Florence. It is over 1000 years old and every surface is covered with incredibly artistic stonework.
If you time things right, dusk will be settling over the city just as you come out of the church and you will be rewarded with yet another stunning view of the city. Entrance is free.
Open 9:30 am-1 pm and 3 pm-7 pm Monday through Saturday, and 8:15 am-7 pm on Sundays
Have Dinner at Trattoria Sabatino
If you don’t have to rush off to the train station quite yet or you are spending the night in Florence, Trattoria Sabatino (Via Pisana, 2/R) is the perfect place for dinner.
True, you’ve already done plenty of walking today, and another 40 minutes just to get some dinner might sound like a lot of unnecessary effort. However, for anyone who wants to get off the beaten path and experience authentic local cuisine, this is the place for you.
There’s just one catch, they are only open on weekdays (noon to 2:30 pm and 7:15 pm to 10 pm). This is because it was opened in 1956 with the intention of feeding local workers who couldn’t make it home for meals during the week.
This is just one of many traditions that the owners have carefully preserved over the decades, as well as their use of Florence’s famous (or some might say “infamous”) salt-free bread.
Legend says this bread was invented during the middle ages, when a heavy tax was placed on salt. Bakers simply eliminated the expensive ingredient from their recipes, and apparently never got around to putting it back in over the following centuries.
How to Make the Most Out of One Day in Florence
By reading this article you’re already off to a great start. When you only have one day in a city, the last thing you want to do is waste time getting lost and trying to decide what to see.
This Florence itinerary for 1 day can be used as a generic base, but there’s plenty of room to personalize it. For example, you might want to go to a museum first thing in the morning before (or instead of) Mercato Centrale.
Just make sure you know what you want to do and how you’re going to get there. Google Maps is great for helping with this.
Wake Up Bright & Early
Most people hate getting up early, especially when they’re on vacation. The flipside of this is that those clever people who DO jump out of bed bright and early can enjoy Florence with fewer crowds and shorter lines.
Many of Florence’s attractions open as early as 8:30 am and being first in line when the doors open will make it much easier to maximize your time.
Buy Skip-the-Line Tickets in Advance or Join a Tour
Florence is home to some of the world’s most important museums, palaces, and galleries. Unfortunately, their popularity can result in absurdly long lines, which aren’t fun at the best of times let alone when you’re trying to fit everything into a single day.
Skip-the-line services and pre-scheduled tours can make your visit to Florence in 1 day a lot easier. Just make sure to purchase tickets and reservations online well in advance. Here are the best skip-the-line tickets for the main attractions in town.
• Florence in a Day With David, Duomo, Uffizi & Walking Tour
• Entry Ticket to Brunelleschi’s Dome
• Tickets for Accademia Gallery: Priority Entrance
• Tickets for Uffizi Gallery: Priority Entrance
What Else to See in Florence if You Have More Time
This is the home of Michelangelo’s David. It also includes a sample of Florentine art and Michelangelo’s Slaves: a series of statues that were left unfinished when the great artist was called away to work on the Sistine Chapel.
Often overlooked, they are a fascinating testament to Michelangelo’s method of uncovering the form he felt already existed within the block of stone. The entrance fee is 12 euros.
➤ Here you can get Tickets for Accademia Gallery with Priority Entrance. Please don’t wait until you’re there to get tickets as lines are long, sometimes tickets are sold out, and you don’t want to waste precious time waiting to get in. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ To learn more about Michelangelo’s groundbreaking work, let an expert art historian guide walk you through the Academia and its masterpieces in this Academia Gallery Tour. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 6:45 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Dedicated to Galileo Galilei, this is the place for anyone with a passion for astronomy and physics.
In addition to astonishingly intricate instruments and tools (including the world’s first calculator and a telescope made by Galileo himself!), there are also a few wooden models demonstrating some basic principles as identified by the “father of modern physics”.
The entrance fee is 10 euro.
This lavish Italian Garden has inspired copycats throughout Europe ever since the Medici commissioned it to complete their residence at Palazzo Pitti.
The stunning views, architectural-landscaping, botany, and sculpture collection all combine to make it one of Italy’s most popular outdoor museums. The entrance fee is 10 euro and includes a visit to the Bardini Gardens as well.
➤ This Skip-the-line Ticket for Boboli Gardens grants you direct entrance not only to the Boboli Gardens, but also to the Bardini Gardens and the Porcelain Museum. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Open every day from 8:15 am until dusk.
READ ALSO: 13 Best Cooking Classes in Florence
One Day in Florence FAQ
Well, it’s certainly better than nothing! Florence is a fantastic city with a lot to offer, and it takes more than a day to enjoy it fully, so I highly recommend you stay for at least 2 or 3 days. But if you only have a day in Florence, there’s a lot you can do, just remember to plan ahead.
Yes, going to Florence is worth it for any amount of time and there are many attractions you can visit in Florence in 1 day, but definitely stay longer if you can. You won’t regret it.
Yes, thanks to the high-speed train, Florence can be reached fast and enjoyed on day trips if you’re staying relatively close, like in Bologna or Rome, for example.