24 Hours in Florence, Italy

Florence is one of those must see cities for travellers. If you are heading to Italy, this famous art city should be on your itinerary.

Capital of Tuscany and one of the most important art cities in the world, Florence is full of history from the middle ages and the Italian Renaissance, and there is a lot to see and do. When I went to Tuscany, I stayed in a villa in the countryside and explored different towns and cities on day trips from there. If you are like me and only have one full day to experience what Florence has to offer, here are some things to do to get a good taste of the city.

Florence Cathedral and Baptistery

The front facade of Florence Cathedral, Italy

The facade of Florence Cathedral

Like most Tuscan towns and cities, the heart of Florence is its beautiful cathedral. Its 14th century medieval architecture will blow you away, with its sheer size and neo-gothic facade. You may have to line up to get inside, but the line generally moves pretty quickly. Outside of the cathedral is the impressive campanile (clock tower) and the baptistery with its beautiful bronze doors known as “The Gates of Paradise”. This was so popular when I was there that I couldn’t even get close enough to get a photo!

Uffizi Gallery

A street performer outside the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy

A street performer outside the Uffizi Gallery

One of the most important art galleries in the world, the Uffizi Gallery is a must see for all art lovers and anyone visiting Florence. Art galleries are very popular in Florence, so it is important to book your tickets in advance to avoid the huge lines that can occur. You will waste most of the day waiting in lines at the different galleries if you don’t book in advance.

The Uffizi Gallery is actually in an old 16th century palace, so its architecture is incredible, plus it contains some amazing artwork and important pieces from famous artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo.

Galleria Accademia

A small gallery, the Galleria Accademia is home to one of the most famous art pieces in the world, Michelangelo’s David. You must book tickets in advance for this one as the line is so huge that it runs from the gallery, along the street and around the corner. You could wait all day!

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio

The River Arno runs through the heart of Florence and you should definitely take a walk along the riverfront if you get the chance. Near the Uffizi Gallery is the famous bridge, the Ponte Vecchio, which has houses lining each side of it as it spans the river. These houses are now mostly jewellery shops, but the bridge itself is really interesting to check out.

Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy

Palazzo Vecchio

Now the city hall, Palazzo Vecchio is a beautiful 14th century medieval palace. You will probably pass by it as you make your way to the Uffizi Gallery, and the surrounding piazza and shopping areas are really nice to check out.

Eat delicious Tuscan food

Well, what can I say? Italian food is absolutely delicious, and the local Tuscan cuisine is some of the best. Pick one of the many amazing restaurants on the streets of Florence and try some local pasta dishes or the famous Tuscan steak.

Stay overnight

If you are travelling to Florence, I highly recommend staying there for the night. This is what I will be doing the next time I visit as I really would love to see the city at night. There are plenty of cheap hotels to be found and you can find some great options on Hostelbookers.

As you can see, Florence as a lot to offer and there is so much to do in the city that you could stay there for weeks and not get bored. If you only have 24 hours to see the city, try to do all of the things in this list. You will fall in love with Florence!

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12 comments… add one
  • Nat May 6, 2013

    I didn’t realise that was a street performer at first. I thought it was an odd looking statue!
    Nat recently posted..Yalikavak : Drunk Boat Captains and WindmillsMy Profile

    • Dean Wickham May 7, 2013

      Hi Nat. I thought the same thing at first. I saw quite a few of these performers throughout Italy. They stay so still that they seem like a statue until someone puts a coin in their tin. Then they do something and make a new pose. Very talented.

  • Thomas Dembie May 7, 2013

    Great article! I’m going to be there in just under 2 months. How did you get the advance tickets for the Galleria? I’ve read there are a few different ways, but am not sure what the best option is. I remember standing in the line a few years ago and definitely don’t want to repeat the experience!
    Thomas Dembie recently posted..Costa Rica – Cahuita – Travel StoryMy Profile

    • Dean Wickham May 7, 2013

      Hi Thomas. I think the easiest way to buy tickets is online. You can buy them in advance at the actual galleries…but then you are kind of going there twice. The lines are certainly terrible there and not a good way to waste a day. I’m really jealous that you are going to Florence by the way 😉

  • Jennifer May 7, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. Italy is somewhere i’d love to hire a car, i think exploring the coastline and pretty villages would be amazing.
    Jennifer recently posted..Uyuni Salt Flats TourMy Profile

    • Dean Wickham May 13, 2013

      Hiring a car is great way to explore the country, Jennifer. I hired one while in Tuscany and it was a great decision.

  • Great suggestions! I can’t believe I’ve never actually been to Italy. But when I do make it, one of these days, Florence will definitely be on my list.
    The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) recently posted..8 months in China, so why am I in Bangkok?My Profile

    • Dean Wickham May 13, 2013

      Hi Ellen. Yes, Italy is one of those must visit countries. I think everyone should go at least once in their lifetime 🙂

  • It’s been so long since I went to Florence but still have fond memories of it! Great picture of the cathedral, it’s one of my favourite as I really like all the colours in it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Dean Wickham May 13, 2013

      Glad to bring back some memories, Emma. I loved the cathedral as well.

  • I have a few days in Florence, but I would definitely go back and see all of these things again.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Stubborn and crazyMy Profile

  • Natalie Aug 18, 2017

    We always travel with the kids and they love those performers. We’ve seen them all over and they always make us pause for a few minutes. We just love Italy and the kids haven’t been to Florence, yet. Before we go I teach them about the art and history of the area and we read about it (I have made destination specific reading lists for kids) and this helps them enjoy it even more. You’ve inspired me to take them sooner than later…thinking of destinations for next year!

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