Florence is one of the jewels in the crown of Italy. The city is full of beauty and splendour, and this is where the Renaissance started, which gives Florence its name, the cradle of the Renaissance. When visiting Florence, one day can never be enough. However, it is better to visit for a day than to skip the city altogether.
The city of Florence is no less than an open-air museum with ancient architecture, Renaissance art collections and beautiful structures scattered all around the city. This amazing city has some of the best food in the world for you to savour. Florence is the city of da Vinci and has also maintained a reputation for housing artistic masterpieces throughout the ages. So, here is a list of the top 10 places to visit in the city for you to get the most out of a day trip to Florence.
The Accademia Gallery was specially built to house Michelangelo’s world-famous masterpiece, the David. There is an array of unfinished statues by Michaelangelo which will let you into the mind of the tortured genius. This gallery houses a lesser number of works in comparison to the Uffizi Gallery and is recommended for art lovers. This gallery is much more manageable and is less overwhelming with its collection and display of art.
This gallery is certainly a must-see place in Florence, and hence it might get crowded from time to time. So it’s recommended for you to arrive early in the morning, preferably before 9:30, for a more relaxed experience at the gallery. Along with pre-booking, your tickets get a skip the line ticket as well, so that you can enjoy the art scene without wasting time in lines. Visiting the gallery is definitely one of the must-do things on your next day trip to Florence.
Piazza del Duomo is quite literally the most splendid spot in all of Florence. You will be mesmerized by the grandeur of the piazza and the monuments around it. The piazza is the central hub for tourists to visit a lot of other landmarks, including the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the seat of religious power in Florence.
The other interesting things to do in Florence in one day include climbing up Giotto’s Bell Tower in the piazza for a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. You can also visit the Baptistry of St. John, which is dedicated to the patron saint of Florence, St. John. The gates of the Baptistry are called the gates of paradise, and the doors were replaced with replicas in 2016. The mosaics on the gates of paradise depict scenes from Christ’s judgement day and the life of St. John. The original gates are now displayed in Museo dell Opera del Duomo, which is yet another gem to visit on your day trip to Florence. The piazza del duomo is so action-packed that it can’t be missed even if you are visiting Florence for a day.
While in Piazza del Duomo, you can’t miss the most grandiose structure in all of Florence, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. This church is so massive that its construction lasted for a century. The church is religiously, historically and artistically significant, with the exterior of the church coated with dazzling colours, towering bronze doors, and its vividly recognizable cupola.
The octagonal cupola is one of the most notable features of the church and certainly, a must-see place on your upcoming day trip to Florence. Just like Giotto’s bell tower, you will get one of the best views overlooking the city of Florence from the cupola. The climb to the top of the dome/cupola is quite popular among tourists.
If you are visiting Florence just for a day, you can skip climbing the tower and instead you can walk around the cathedral and the piazza. Entry to the cathedral is free. However, you can get the 18 euro ticket that gives you access to everything around the piazza. This historic landmark deserves to be on your list of top 10 places to visit in Florence.
Piazza Della Repubblica was once the centre of the city during the reign of the Roman empire. This piazza also is a former site of the Roman Forum of Florence. The piazza is brought to life by buskers, painters and makeshift stores, which you can enjoy throughout the day.
Another chirpy thing about the piazza is a carousel in the centre, where you can click pictures, don’t hold yourself back from hopping on the back of horses. Make sure this piazza is a part of your Florence one day itinerary.
The museum of Orsanmichele is both a museum and a church. It has plenty to see both inside and outside for you on your visit to Florence. If you want to have a quick look at what the museum houses, you can take a glance at the statues displayed outside as they are replicas of the one’s inside. The facade of the church is something to look at as well; it is laced with the niches of different patron saints adorned on it.
Basilica of Santa Croce is one of the most beautiful churches in Florence, which is also the resting place of many bright Italian stars such as Michelangelo and Galileo. This Basilica also houses a memorial for Dante. The flood of 1966 damaged the church, and there are still markers that show how far up the water reached. There are two crucifixes on display by Donatello and Cimabue. Look out for these artefacts on your next visit to Florence.
The piazza can be a great place to unwind, take pictures and watch people. You can take in the culture and history of Florence at the piazza while admiring the exterior facade of the Basilica. If you are taking a day trip to Florence, make sure to book your tickets in advance, which is 8 Euros for adults and 4 Euros for children belonging to the age group 11-17 years.
While going through the Piazza del Mercato Nuovo, a leather market, you will come across a bronze pig fountain called Fontana del Porcellino. There are a couple of legends associated with the statue. If you rub the pig’s nose, it ensures a safe return to your destination, along with an assurance that you will return to Florence. Also, try to put a coin in the mouth of Porcellino, and if the coin falls into the grate below its mouth, your wishes will come true. These coins are later donated to a local orphanage, and indirectly you are contributing to a good cause.
You might not have time to explore the market, but be sure to visit this attraction in Florence on your day trip.
Piazza Della Signoria adds to the ambience around the Uffizi Gallery and is unlike any other piazza in Florence. Its open-air gallery that houses fountains, monuments and statues is something that will leave you mesmerized. One of the fountains that stand out is the beautiful Neptune fountain. This piazza is one of the most historically important piazzas in Florence.
The piazza is also known to be the political centre of power in Florence as it also houses the town hall of Florence, Palazzo Vecchio. You can also find the replica of the world-famous David among the statues on display in the piazza as the original David was put on display here in its initial days. However, the main theme of the collection is the depiction of violence which is masterfully represented through the statues Rape of the Sabine Women. This piazza certainly qualifies as one of the coolest places to visit in Florence.
The Uffizi Gallery is a paradise for any art admirer. This is one of the most prominent galleries that house Renaissance art in all of Europe. You can find paintings by Raphael, da Vinci, Botticelli and many others in this enormous gallery.
This gallery has 101 rooms, all full of art, and for you to get the best experience out of it, you need a plan. The ideal thing to do is to decide on a few rooms and visit those because the huge collection of art in this gallery can overwhelm you. Uffizi Gallery is a must-see place in Florence and is also free to visit on the first Sunday of every month.
Ponte Vecchio is one of the oldest landmarks in Florence, overlooking the Arno river. During World War II, this was the only bridge on the Arno river that wasn’t destroyed by the Germans. However, they did destroy the buildings on both the banks of the river so that the bridge could not be accessed. The bridge has shops built into its structure which mostly sells gold and jewellery. To enjoy a better view of the bridge, you can go to any docks on the sides of the river and appreciate this majestic bridge.
Visiting the iconic Ponte Vecchio is definitely one of the top 10 things to do in Florence. To get a panoramic view of the bridge, you can head to Piazza Degli Uffizi. You can enjoy the best Florentine sunset in all its glory standing over the Arno river.
Getting Around in Florence
Florence is one of the smaller cities in Italy, and so the best way to explore is to walk around the streets of Florence. You might even come across a few places that weren’t even on your list but will definitely amaze you and add to the experience.
Things to eat in Florence
Here’s a list of a few places and things to eat in Florence
- Mercato Centrale is a two-floor market containing a variety of fresh Italian food. The market is on the first floor, and the food court is on the second floor. Get yourself a picnic-style lunch there.
- Gelato gelateria Eduardo – the shop offers organic gelatos with recipes that are over 100 years old.
- All’Antico Vinaio– Panino with local cold cuts and salami from the region
- Trattoria Marione, Casa del Vin Santo– Freshly made pasta
- Tuscan Wine – enjoy this delicacy with your meals in Florence.
- Gusta Pizza- true Napoli style pizza which is quite rare in Tuscany
- Get to Florence as soon as possible because it makes your day ahead convenient.
- The best way to start your day is by having a quick Italian breakfast, coffee and a pastry.
- Make sure you have bookings made in advance, including the skip the line tickets. This will save you time.
- Keep in mind your travelling day to Florence as most of the museums here are closed on Mondays
- It’s a better idea to research your food options well in advance so that you don’t waste your time on deciding where to eat and what to eat.
- You can also choose a guided day tour; it will make your experience hassle-free and help you explore Florence better.
- On your trip to Florence, make sure to visit some of the other hidden gems in Tuscany
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