One Day in Florence Itinerary

Only have one day in Florence within your Italy itinerary?

View of Duomo from the streetFlorence's cathedral is a must-see spot on any visit, but how best to spend your day in the city? Keep reading to find out!


Maybe you've arrived in Florence on a day trip from Rome, or maybe you're on a shore excursion from a cruise, you could be passing through Florence on your way to another Italian city or region.

If you have just a day to visit Florence and are wondering how to maximize your time here, keep reading for our perfect one day itinerary!


One Day in Florence - How to see the main sites

We have helped thousands of travelers like you get the most out of their visits to Florence, and the main thing we've found is that there is no one solution that works for everyone.

As such, our first tip is to use this page as a guide, but be willing to be a little flexible to suit your needs and anything that might change on the day itself.


View of Palazzo Signoria from Loggia dei LanziPalazzo Vecchio is a great place to visit rain or shine


For example, if you're planning to hit the Boboli Gardens, but it rains, head to Palazzo Vecchio instead!

If you're unable to get tickets for the Uffizi Gallery, consider heading to the Opera del Duomo Museum.

Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage site and open air museum, meaning you could easily visit, wander the streets without committing to anything in specific and you'll still have an incredible time!

If you prefer a little more structure, on this page you'll find our guide to making the most out of your one day in Florence:


Start your Florence day trip with amazing views

For the purpose of this guide we will assume that you have arrived in Florence by train, or are staying overnight centrally, and are starting your day around 8am.

For me the perfect day in Florence starts by going up to Piazzale Michelangelo.


Outside front view of santa maria novella horizontalStart your day at the piazza with the Santa Maria Novella church and train station


Start at the Santa Maria Novella train station and head to Piazzale Michelanglo by either:

  • Taking a taxi - there is a rank outside the train station
  • Walking to Viale Fratelli Rosselli behind the train station to take bus number 13 (you will need a ticket which can be purchased from any tabaccheria)

The journey with either method should take approximately 30 minutes.

You can walk all the way but this will eat into your sightseeing time.

When you arrive at Piazzale Michelangelo you'll see why its worth making the trip up here...


florence views from piazzale michelangeloSeeing the city laid out in front of you is an incredible way to start your day


The above is the kind of view you can expect from Piazzale Michelangelo and is the perfect place to orientate yourself, especially if it's your first time in Florence.

Up here you can make out most of Florence's main sights meaning you have your day literally laid out in front of you!


Piazzale Michelangelo viewpoint

Designed by architect Giuseppe Poggi and finished in 1869, Piazzale Michelangelo is so-called as a tribute to Michelangelo.

You'll find here not just the best view of Florence, but a number of replicas of Michelangelo's statues, including a bronze one of the David.


piazzale michelangelo davidWhile the views are amazing, make sure to explore the rest of the piazza!


The next stop is the basilica of San Miniato al Monte, a 5 minute walk from Piazzale Michelangelo (if the weather is bad, head straight here once you get dropped off).


San Miniato al Monte

This basilica was constructed in the early 1000's, on the spot where a chapel had stood since the 8th century in honor of Saint Miniato.

According to legend, Saint Miniato was sentenced to death by the Romans for his Christian beliefs in the 3rd century.

When he was beheaded in front of the Emperor who was camped near Florence, he is said to have picked up his head and walked up to the top of this hill, known in ancient times as Mons Fiorentinus, proving he was in God's favor.


front view of the basilica san miniato al monteThe extra climb up the hill is so worth it to see San Miniato al Monte!


The church is lovely inside if it is open when you visit, but even if it isn't, the facade and views from the highest point on the hill make it worth taking the time to walk further up.



Take a look at these pages to find out how to make the most of your time in Florence:


Walk to the Arno river and see the Ponte Vecchio

ponte vecchio as seen from ponte trinitaThe Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence


Once you've had your fill of the Florence skyline, your next destination is Ponte Vecchio.

To reach the river, walk down the hill via one of the many routes available, or jump on one of the buses that pick up here.

Both options will take you about 30 minutes at a leisurely pace.

If you have time for a detour before crossing the river, stop by:


Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens

The Pitti Palace is Florence's largest museum, and was once the principal home of the Medici family when they ruled the city.

Prior to the Medici purchasing the property it belonged to a wealthy Florentine banker, Luca Pitti, who gave the sprawling complex its name.

Following the Medici's demise the property changed hands multiple times, most notably when Napoleon used it as a base of operations during his Italian campaign.

It was also the residence of the Italian royal family during the brief period in which Florence was the Italian capital between 1865-1870.

Directly behind the Pitti Palace you'll find the Boboli Gardens, one of the oldest surviving examples of a stately Italian garden.

The gardens feature a range of artistic and architectural styles, and countless artworks and incredible sculptures spanning Florentine and Italian history.

Prefer to walk up and down from Piazzale Michelangelo?

Take a look at our video where we show you everything you need to know:



Ponte Vecchio

Ponte vecchio view horizontalThe bridge is more impressive the closer you get


Once you reach the river, admire one of Florence's most iconic landmarks from the river banks before you get close up.

Ponte Vecchio (meaning 'Old Bridge') spans the Arno river and was constructed during the Middle Ages.

Lined with jewellery shops, crossing Ponte Vecchio slowly to look at vendors is a must if you are looking for something special to remember your day trip.


people on ponte vecchio marchThere are multiple stores to take a look at on the bridge


Once you've finished browsing and have crossed the Arno river, make your way to the Uffizi Gallery in the historic heart of the city.


Explore the heart of Florence

Once you've crossed over the Ponte Vecchio you'll be walking into the past.

Start by walking down the river banks for a few minutes to find the amazing Uffizi Gallery, home to incredible masterpieces:


The Uffizi Gallery

Details of the painting Birth of Venus by Botticelli in Uffizzi GalleryBotticelli's 'Birth of Venus' is just one of the masterpieces on display at the Uffizi


The Uffizi Gallery is Florence's most visited site, and one of the most visited in Italy.

You'll find near-endless art galleries, housing some of the most recognisable examples of Renaissance art.


outside uffizi galleries with crowdsThe Uffizi is always busy, so if you haven't secured your tickets in advance you'll find it tough to get in last minute


It is open every day except Monday, but if you would like to go inside when you see Florence in one day, you will need to book entrance tickets well in advance.

You should allow 2-3 hours to experience it properly, so take this into account when thinking about what entrance time slot to select when booking and what the rest of your day will look like.


We strongly recommend you book tickets for the Uffizi Gallery as far in advance as you can if you are planning to visit inside to avoid standing in a queue.

This is the most popular destination in Florence for visitors, and therefore sells out fast!


Once you've finished at the Uffizi, head to Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio at the heart of this historic city.


Palazzo Vecchio

This imposing structure is the town hall of Florence, and since its first version was commissioned in 1299, it has been the focal point of all political matters in the city.

The interior rooms and courtyards showcase Italian art, architecture and sculpture at its finest, and the views from the top of the tower offer fantastic views of Florence cathedral and the historic city center.


Outside view of Palazzo Vecchio from squarePalazzo Vecchio has loomed over Florence for centuries


You have to pay to go inside and explore the rooms as well as climbing the tower, but if you're short on time, you can see the ornate entrance courtyard for free.

Once you've looked inside Palazzo Vecchio, turn around and admire:


Piazza della Signoria

david in front of palazzo vecchioThe original statue of David stood here until it was moved to the Accademia and this replacement was installed


This famous square has always been at the center of Florence's history.

It has witnessed some of the city's most important historical events including the execution of Girolamo Savonarola.

Take some time to explore Piazza della Signoria properly, paying attention in particular to the Loggia dei Lanzi and its beautiful statues in the open air art gallery, the recently restored fountain of Neptune and the equestrian statue of Grand Duke Cosimo I.


Loggia dei LanziThe Loggia dei Lanzi is an open air sculpture gallery


Piazza della Signoria is the perfect place to stop for some refreshment during your one day in Florence.

Grab a seat at one of the bars on the piazza edge and order yourself a coffee, gelato or spritz, or all of these if you want!

These bars are a bit more expensive compared to the average spot in Florence but consider you are paying for the view of the Palazzo Vecchio so it's worth it in my opinion!

Once you've had your fill of Piazza della Signoria, head up towards the Bargello National Museum.


Bargello National Museum

This museum, housed in an imposing ex-fortress is a must for art lovers.

It is home to works from some of history's greatest artists including Michelangelo, Donatello and Bernini, but the building itself is worth the detour even if you don't have time to go inside.


bargello room with donatelloThe exhibits in the Bargello museum are fascinating for art lovers


Like most museums and galleries in Florence you should allow a good amount of time if you wish to visit them properly.

Unfortunately there are not enough hours available to go inside all of them in a single day trip!

After the Bargello Museum your next stop is:


Piazza della Repubblica

This piazza is where the ancient Roman forum of the city once stood.

It was given its name, meaning 'of the republic' following the Italian referendum on whether to abolish or keep the monarchy in 1946, when the country voted to abolish it.

Prior to this it was know as Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II in honor of the second King of Italy.

Like in Piazza della Signoria, you'll find a great selection of bars and restaurants here.

My favorite spot here is Paszkowski where you should try a classic Negroni, given that it was invented in Florence after all!


view of piazza della republicaThe carousel in Piazza della Repubblica is a permanent fixture


Note that the bars here are generally a bit pricier compared to other parts of the city as we are close to where you'll find all of the high end and designer stores.

And speaking of shopping, if you have time in your one day in Florence or are looking to treat yourself, head into the nearby Rinascente department store.

You'll also find a great rooftop bar and bistro here offering great views and a modern Italian menu.


ToscaNino-TerraceThe view of the Duomo from the Rinascente rooftop bar is exceptional


Once you're done at Piazza della Repubblica your next stop is the crown jewel of Florence; Piazza del Duomo and the Florence Duomo Complex.


See Florence's Duomo complex

A few minutes from Piazza della Repubblica you'll find one of Florence's most famous landmarks, the soaring red brick dome of Florence's cathedral.

This dome crowns the stunning cathedral and nearby buildings, all of which deserve time to admire.


Duomo from street full of peopleThe beauty of the Duomo complex buildings stop me in my tracks every time I see them up close!

The Duomo (Cattedrale Santa Maria del Fiore)

To visit Florence and not see Santa Maria del Fiore is nearly impossible; the Florence cathedral still dominates the city hundreds of years after its construction.

Walk around this impressive structure and its surroundings, taking in its striking design.


florence duomoNo photo can do the cathedral and its dome justice - you'll have to go see it for yourself!


Started in 1296, the construction was officially finished in 1436 with the completion of Brunelleschi's dome.

It wasn't until the 19th century however that the ornate Gothic-revival facade was added and Florence cathedral became what we know and love today.


duomo dome inside closeupThe interior decoration of the Duomo is just as impressive as the outside


The cathedral is free to enter but there are often long lines to get inside.

However if you book tickets to climb the dome, this allows you to enter separately and jump the queue so if time allows, think about booking these tickets in advance.

You'll get some amazing views, and also get to see the Last Judgement painting by Vasari and Zuccari which decorates the interior of Brunelleschi's dome.


You can use the Duomo as a waypoint when venturing around Florence.

From nearly anywhere in the historic city center you can see it, and if you get lost, just head towards the dome.

Trust me; I was once lost in Florence on my second-ever visit late at night and Brunelleschi's dome guided me back to my hotel!

Giotto's Bell Tower (Campanile)

This bell tower, like the Duomo, dominates the Florentine skyline and provides incredible views to anyone who ventures to the top of it at some 400ft up!


campanile of duomo vertical viewThe Campanile stands tall next to the cathedral


It was designed by the renowned artist and architect Giotto di Bondone in the 1330's but not completed until 1359, 22 years after Giotto had passed away.

Giotto and his successors ensured the bell tower design remained in harmony with the Duomo's features and style, using local materials that further emboldened the unique style of architecture that has come to define Florence.


View of the Duomo dome from the bell towerThe view from the top of the Giotto's bell tower is absolutely worth the climb!

The Baptistery of San Giovanni

The Florence baptistery was constructed between 1059 and 1128, making it one of the oldest still-surviving structures in the city.

While much smaller compared to the cathedral, it is technically a minor basilica, marking the importance of this structure within the wider Duomo complex and Piazza del Duomo area.


duomo baptistery view from outside


If Renaissance art is your thing, be sure to visit the interior to view a breathtaking array of masterpieces within a confined space, perfect when you only have a day in Florence!

You can book a combination ticket if you choose to buy tickets for climbing the Duomo to make it simple.


South doors of the BaptisteryThe doors of the Baptistery are a masterpiece, and you can see them without going inside


At a minimum, check out the ornate doors that sit on three sides of the octagonal building.


Florence in one day - Visiting the Duomo

If you plan to visit all of the these sites within the Duomo Complex thoroughly you should allocate at the minimum half a day, bypassing some of the other sites and recommendations in this guide, or by extending your time in Florence.

You can purchase different combination tickets to allow you to climb the dome or the tower (or both!), go inside the Baptistery and visit the excellent Opera del Duomo museum.


brunelleschi's dome model in museum of the duomoThe Opera del Duomo museum tells the story of the different buildings and how they got built


As we approach the end of our day there are still some significant sites to see that no day in Florence would be complete without...


The Accademia is not a large Florence museum when compared to the Uffizi, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in its contents!

The Accademia Gallery was opened in 1784 after Michelangelo's David was moved here from Piazza della Signoria the year prior.


accademia sculpture David by michelangelo full viewThe original David up close is simply breathtaking


Since that point it has gone on to become Italy's second-most visited museum (after the Uffizi Gallery), with the vast majority of visitors coming to see the colossal statue of David.

Of all the stops on this itinerary, this is the one I highly suggest making the time to go inside.

Book your tickets for the slots at the end of the day to avoid waiting in line, and enjoy the atmospheric light in the great hall housing Michelangelo's masterpiece.


Accademia hall full of peopleDon't rush through this gallery to get to the David, the sculptures on either side are also by Michelangelo


Seeing really is believing; somewhat ashamedly, I had not seen Michelangelo's David in the flesh (so to speak) until summer 2023.

On all of my previous visits to Florence I had been unable to get tickets to the Accademia Gallery.

However, when I was able to finally see the David, I was blown away by the scale and perfection of Michelangelo's artistry.

I challenge you to not be impressed when you visit!


Soak up the atmosphere

The final section of this itinerary will take us away from the crowds at the Accademia and towards quieter parts of the city for the perfect way to wind down after a busy day!


Santa Croce

This basilica, alongside with being a beautiful piece of ecclesiastical architecture, is worth visiting to see the final resting places of some of Italy's most famous sons.

Buried here are Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo and many more, too many to list here in fact!

You'll also find official commemorative plaques to other big names in Italian history such as Leonardo da Vinci and Dante.


michelangelo tomb in santa croceMichelangelo's tomb in Santa Croce is just one of the unmissable things to see here


If the basilica is closed by the time you get here, in front of the basilica you will find Piazza di Santa Croce which routinely hosts markets, including one of Florence's best Christmas markets during the holidays.

This is a fun place to wander round and enjoy.


view of santa croce facade at nightNo matter the time of day or night, Santa Croce is worth visiting


Depending how you are doing for time and energy, from Santa Croce you can opt to return to your hotel, your pick-up point or Santa Maria Novella train station by taxi or by bus, or walk.

Alternatively you can do as I do; head back to Piazzale Michelangelo to complete the circle and enjoy a sunset aperitivo at La Loggia del Piazzale Michelangelo!


Drink in FlorenceA refreshing aperitivo to finish the day is never a bad idea!


As you can see there is a lot to see and do in Florence, but it is possible to see all of the main attractions in a single day (with a bit of advance planning!) as they are all within walking distance of each other in the historic center.

Note that you do have to accept that you won't have time to go inside most of the various galleries, churches and museums if you want to see everything listed above in a one day Florence itinerary.


Other ways to see Florence in a day

If you'd rather let someone else handle a lot of the logistics of a day in Florence, why not consider one of the following options?

Hop on/hop off bus

Florence's hop on/hop off tourist bus is a great option for not only seeing some of the major sites, but also getting around the city.

The route starts at Santa Maria Novella train station and loops round the city.

It cannot go into the very center, but can still be useful.

Tours

The other option is to take a guided tour, either as part of a group or privately.

When visiting Florence with a tour guide you will learn about the city and its incredible sites directly from experts, often who are from Florence or the surrounding area itself.

A one day in Florence tour is perfect if your looking for a stress-free experience, where everything is taken care of for you.


florence duomo complexIf you'd rather leave the organizing to an expert, booking a tour is a great idea


Here are some of our recommended tour options:


No matter when you visit Florence, here are four things never to leave at home:

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Getting around during your one day in Florence

The steps in this Florence itinerary are designed to be followed on foot (with the exception of the initial route from the train station to Piazzale Michelangelo), but there's nothing stopping you using other transport methods to get around!

Florence has an effective public transport system consisting of buses and trams.

Tickets can be purchased at Santa Maria Novella station, ticket machines as well as at tobacco shops.


bus on the street of florenceFlorence's buses are a convenient way to get around the city


You'll also find scooters and bicycles available for hire via various app services.

Personally I do not like these as they can be dangerous unless you're extremely attentive and confident, but are an option nonetheless.

Of course you'll also find taxis in Florence, with ranks dotted around the city.

Taxis in Florence are a comfortable way to get around, but consider that as a small, very old city, journeys can sometimes take much longer than walking, particularly during rush hour.


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