Spending 2 days in Florence, Italy is a great introduction to one of the most enchanting cities in the world. I spent my first ever 2 days in Florence while living in Italy and knew almost nothing about it at the time. Now, I’m a full-blown Florence addict with a Renaissance obsession and a Da Vinci addiction.
I’ve written surprisingly little about Florence though. Is it because it’s too perfect and I’ve been afraid to breach the subject? Like my words would only cheapen the city that should be discussed exclusively in the style of Renaissance masters? Or because Florence is one of those magical cities you have to experience for yourself to fall in love with?
Yes to all that.
Florence, Italy is by far the place I’m most hoping to dig out a little nest of my own. But until then, I shall continue the tradition of just 2 days in Florence at a time. And now, I’ll help you do the same!
2 days in Florence: Tips
The majority of your first of 2 days in Florence you’ll spend outside. Florence is such an incredibly accessible city there’ll be no need for anything but your own two feet to get around. And there’s a lot to see here.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed in a city with a Renaissance icon on every corner (in the best possible way). There’s the Duomo… and right down the street is Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio. After that it’s the Uffizi, then Ponte Vecchio… and then… get my drift?
You’ll want to take it all in immediately, the same way you’ll devour a Florentine steak the size of your torso in just a wee bit (and that’s only a slight exaggeration).
Take your time, savor the city, and remember these top tips for your 2 days in Florence.
As old as Florence is, it makes sense that it’s such a walkable city. You don’t need a cab or a car or a train to visit all the major sites. Walk around the city and absorb the whole of it. Almost nothing has changed here since the Renaissance. Stroll through the streets and imagine you’re back in the 1400s.
Pretend you’re a beautiful maiden sitting for Raphael or Botticelli… and that the church elders have just put the fear of God in you as retribution for how many ales you consume on a nightly basis. They warned you of contracting the Plague. No, syphilis. Or smallpox. You’ll bleed from your eyes just before you descend into a burning Hell to live out eternity!
The Renaissance was a, umm, complicated time. Maybe just concentrate on the pretty art and stuff.
Learn about Florence before you visit
Don’t be like me. Don’t visit Florence without having at least a rudimentary knowledge of what the Renaissance was all about. (Turns out, more than just syphilis, leggings, and creepy haircuts.)
Knowing the history of the city beforehand really helps you to appreciate the city while you’re there. Not one month after your first three or four visits. I make these mistakes so you don’t have to!
You can read books about Florence:
- Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King
- Inferno by Dan Brown, I highly recommend the special illustrated version to see all the art and architecture mentioned in the story. Game changer!
- The House of Medici: It’s Rise and Fall by Christopher Hibbert
- Pick up a Florence guidebook for great historical summaries and tons of destination information. I’m partial to Fodor’s and Rough Guides but Lonely Planet and Rick Steves have great options too.
You can watch TV shows and movies:
- Da Vinci’s Demons on Starz is like the Game of Thrones of Renaissance Florence and about 90% historically accurate. That’s my own math based on: most of the events are true, but there’s no way Da Vinci was that hot.
- Inferno, the Tom Hanks movie based on Dan Brown’s novel of the same name. Obviously read the book first, but watch the movie too to really see Florence
You can even play video games:
- Assassin’s Creed 2 takes place in Florence and it, too, is strikingly accurate. I had my husband take me on a very weird virtual walking tour. Watch the Assassin’s Creed 2 trailer.
Mind the dress code
The city itself doesn’t enforce a dress code, but many of the places you’ll visit during your 2 days in Florence will. To enter most of Florence’s cathedrals you’ll need to have:
- Your shoulders covered
- Your legs covered
- Nothing with inappropriate wordage
- Removed your hat and/or sunglasses
As often as I see churches trying to recruit people, I sure got turned away a lot. They most definitely enforce this and will check you before you enter.
Don’t be like me—don’t get turned away on multiple occasions because you’re trying to visit during the scorching hot Italian summer. Though the thought of covering any part of your body in Italy in the summer is about as blasphemous as a 2 PM cappuccino, rules are rules and the churches have plenty of them.
When visiting during the summer, a thin scarf or pashmina will do the trick in most cases.
Pick up the single ticket pass
Access to all six of the Duomo-related sites (all of which are covered in this itinerary) are covered under one cheap and easy ticket.
With this pass you can get access to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (the cathedral), the top of the dome, the top of the bell tower, down into the crypt, inside the Baptistery, and the cathedral’s museum for only 18 euros.
After visiting the first site you choose, you have 48 hours to visit the remaining sites. And since 48 hours = 2 days in Florence, perfecto! More on the single ticket pass here.
Start each day with espresso
If you thought church was the only “church” in Italy, you clearly haven’t gotten to know coffee culture in Italia. Look, it’s just the rule. I honestly don’t know what would happen if you didn’t? But I’m sure it ain’t pretty.
Have it one of a thousand ways. Many prefer it straight up and harsh as freshly poured road tar. I prefer it with some steamed milk (cappuccino). Just, whatever you do, don’t ask for it “iced.”
2 days in Florence: day 1 itinerary
The first of your 2 days in Florence will be like a grand walking tour of the city. You’ll visit the biggest sites (in every sense of the word) and end with one of the most amazing views you’ve ever seen.
Naturally, you should start your 2 days in Florence at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (henceforth known as Il Duomo). This cathedral is Florence’s crown jewel. It’s huge; it’s breathtaking, it’s unyielding in its dress code.
The Duomo is Florence. The size of this building will blow your mind. Knowing that it was built by the hands of drunken Italians in the 1200s? Brain. Explosion. Goo, everywhere.
This church took almost 200 years to complete and its dome remains the largest brick dome ever constructed. If you’ve spent any time in Italy then you already know why it took so long. The Duomo, its bell tower, and the nearby Baptistery collectively make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The story of the dome’s construction is actually super interesting, a little bit nerdy, and at times hilarious. Seriously, if you read one book before you visit Florence, read Brunelleschi’s Dome.
Take a walk around the cathedral and examine the size, listen to the bells on the hour, and marvel at the way Florentine life just goes on like normal in the piazza of one of the world’s most important and grand structures like it ain’t no thang.
Admire the exterior’s pink and green colors, sculptures, and windows. Then, you enter. Womp, womp…. Despite her majestic exterior, her insides are really nothing to look at, especially if you’ve been inside other European cathedrals. If this is, in fact, your first—holy cow, can you believe this place!? Wow.
Though not nearly as impressive as other Renaissance cathedrals out there, Santa Maria del Fiore definitely deserves its place on your itinerary.
Get the audio guide
My recommendation for your visit here is picking up the audio guide upon entering. It will cost a couple of euros and they’ll ask to hold your ID until you return. So don’t even think about jacking that mid-20th century used Walkman that plays only facts about this church, no matter how bad you want it.
The audio guide comes with a map of important spots and interesting talking points inside the church. My favorites are:
The 24-hour clock
Paolo Uccello designed this clock back in 1443. It’s a 24-hour clock with the day ending at sunset which doesn’t actually make a lick of sense but it still works! Hands up if you’ve purchased a kitchen appliance in the last 6 months that already doesn’t work anymore.
The marble floor
For whatever reason, the floors of these Italian cathedrals are always so fascinating. The one here was laid in the 1500s and I love its illusion of being three dimensional and like something out of Marble Madness. (So in case you were wondering how old I am, I’m that old.)
The portrait of Dante Alighieri
Domenico di Michelino painted Dante Before the City of Florence in 1465. It depicts scenes from Dante’s Divine Comedy including Hell on the left, Mount Purgatory in the middle and, proving just how highly Dante thought of Florence, Heaven on the right. I feel you Dante, I feel you.
Explore the crypt
Exploring the Duomo’s crypt won’t take you very long but it’s worth a visit if you’re not claustrophobic. And if you are, maybe Italy isn’t the best place for you? Those Italians of yore must’ve been just tiny, tiny people. Admission into the crypt is included in the ticket price so just, why not? Life is short—spend it underground looking at old rocks.
Underneath the Duomo are the remains of the original, 3rd-century church. You’ll see perfectly preserved mosaic floors, architectural remnants, and artwork. It’s pretty neat-o.
Also in the crypt lies the—really hard to find—tomb of Fillipo Brunelleschi, the dome’s architect. Oh, what was that? We had a map? Well lemme just say that map is less accurate than my Roberto DeNiro impression and it’s really disorienting down there. Regardless, a map in my hands is more pointless than a circle.
After searching for far too long and taking pictures of every tomb-shaped rock we came across just in case, we found him–in the place we least expected: the crypt gift shop. Hidden behind a cage, some walls, and a postcard rack.
Climb the bell tower
The bell tower adjacent to the Duomo is known as Giotto’s Campanile (campanile being a freestanding Italian bell tower, and Giotto being Giotto di Bondone, the guy who designed it). It was constructed between 1334 and 1359 with a short pause in construction because of a minor setback called the Black Plague.
Climbing the tower offers you some of the best views in Florence, second only to those from Piazzale Michelangelo (the last stop on day 1 of your 2 days in Florence). To get these views you must climb the 414 steps up a narrow staircase—a tight squeeze you’ll understand fully if you’ve ever had to jump up and down to get your jeans on.
Should I climb the bell tower or the dome?
I notice a lot of people choose to climb to the dome instead of the bell tower. And to them I ask, “Why!” When you climb the highlight of a skyline, you can’t see the highlight of the skyline. Like when people visit New York City and climb the Empire State Building instead of Rockefeller Center—rookie mistake.
Pro tip for dome photography
I took this photo around 10 AM on an obviously overcast day. My friend took the same photo later that afternoon after the clouds had disappeared. I thought her photo would kick my photo’s ass, then…
She did what you’re supposed to do–shoot with the sun at your back. But I’m going to tell you to ignore this, one of the most well known photography tips. But just this once… don’t make it a habit. Don’t be all, “Well Ashley said to…” No! Because as you’ll see, there’s even an exception to my exception of the rule.
Shooting with the sun behind you, in this situation, gets you an unavoidable and un-ignorable phallic shadow right on your centerpiece. However, shooting in the morning as I did is risky too. I was lucky in that it was overcast that morning otherwise the sun would’ve been blasting directly at me and the dome would’ve created a shadow of it’s own on the church roof.
So what’s the perfect time? Well, I don’t know. But if I were to do this again, I’d go in the morning, as close to noon as possible (and always take cloud conditions into consideration). Luckily you can always check out the shadow situation from the ground before you head up.
Baptistery & Gates of Paradise
Florence’s Baptistery, the octagonal building in front of the Duomo, is the city’s oldest religious monument (of which there are many). How old exactly? No one really knows but the earliest recorded account of it dates back to 897. Eight. Ninety. Seven. And just look at how good she looks for her age! But doesn’t she know about horizontal stripes?
Until the 19th century, all Catholic Florentines were baptized here including many famous ones like the Medicis and even Dante himself. And yes, you can still be baptized here. And you better be or you’ll be condemned to hell for all eternity!
Legend has it that immediately upon entering it’s physically impossible not to look up at the gold mosaic ceiling. This famous ceiling is covered in gold mosaics depicting scenes from the Bible, a huge Jesus, and a disgusting image of Hell–being eaten alive by a horned beast.
There isn’t a whole lot else to see inside the Baptistery but it’s definitely worth ten minutes of your 2 days in Florence. However, be sure to check the open times beforehand as they change almost daily. I swear to 20-foot golden Jesus there is no rhyme or reason to Italian business operation.
Gates of Paradise
Back outside the Baptistery you’ll find the Gates of Paradise, the bronze set of door on the side facing the Duomo. They depict scenes from the Old Testament and Michelangelo himself is quoted as saying they were so beautiful they could’ve been used as the Gates of Paradise.
Artist Lorenzo Ghiberti designed and created them after winning a competition for the commission. It probably didn’t hurt that “designer of all the other doors to the baptistery” was already on his resumé.
And guess who he beat? Filipo Brunelleschi! Nothing like getting whooped in one artistic endeavor to help you create the world’s largest dome and signature Renaissance masterpiece just a few years later. And guess who Brunelleschi beat for that job? Lorenzo Ghiberti! This has Daytime Emmy written all over it.
These are not the originals
Important note: the Gates of Paradise you see on the side of the Baptistery aren’t the originals. This was a surprise and a disappointment! I hate learning that awesome things I love are not the originals—it’s like finding out about Dumbledore all over again. (Bravo Warner Brothers, I didn’t even notice. Wizardus replaceum!)
I get it, they need to preserve the priceless original Gates of Paradise. But do they let anyone know this up front? No. Not even in back either. The originals are housed in the nearby Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and I only knew that because I was in the museum when my art teacher friend told me. She kept talking about some competition and some golden doors… I don’t know. She talks a lot about “competitions” when we’re in Italy.
Shop at a market
Next up is shopping! One of the greatest benefits to visiting Florence. There are many outdoor markets worth checking out while you’re here.
Get your handbags, your scarves, gloves, belts, and anything else you could ever need made of leather. And when I say “leather” I really mean, “uh-leth-err.”
My favorites are the San Lorenzo Market with its indoor counterpart, the Central Market. And Mercato Porcellino (which also goes by the names of Straw Market, New Market, Mercato Nuovo, and probably more I don’t know about).
At both you can find all the leather your heart desires, jewelry, clothing, and maybe some touristy souvenirs? But I don’t remember seeing any of that. At Mercato Porcellino you’ll find the bronze statue of the little pig (porcellino). Rub his snout and put a coin in his mouth. If the water washes the coin out of the mouth and into the grate below, you’ll have good luck. I guess luck comes cheap these days.
And don’t be afraid to haggle
That’s the first lesson in Outdoor Foreign Market Shopping 101. Damn, if only that were a real class. I may have to change my major…
I haven’t come across an Italian shop owner who wasn’t willing to haggle. Have fun with it. Wave your hands. Walk away in disgust. Make up elaborate stories. Whatever. I once told a man who was trying to sell me a ring for 20 Euros that he sold me the same ring last week for only 10. “Oh, yes OK, 10.”
Umm, why can’t life always be this easy? “But you told me last week you were going to give me a 50% raise, remember?” “But you said I didn’t have to pay rent this month.” “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” GASP! I’m a Jedi!
Around the area of the Mercato Porcellino and Ponte Vecchio you can peep parts of the Vasari Cooridor, the secret passageway used by the Medicis that connects Palazzo Vecchio with the Pitti Palace.
Yes! All my medieval dreams have come true! Well, almost. As soon as I get my dragons though, it’s on.
The Vasari Corridor, designed by famed artist Giorgio Vasari, was built to ensure the Medicis could get across town safely and secretly. If you didn’t know it existed, you’d never see it. I’ve only seen it in a few spots but this map helps to know where to look.
You can see, above the arches in the center of the west side of Ponte Vecchio, a set of large windows–those were added in 1939 prior to a visit from Adolf Hitler so he could have a more panoramic view.
Ponte Vecchio stands for “old bridge”–but don’t tell her that. It’s said to have been built in Roman times, washed away twice, then rebuilt again… and, at Hitler’s wishes, was the only bridge crossing the Arno River that was spared in WWII.
The bridge you’ll get shoved across today was built in 1345 and houses mostly jewelry stores. But what is today jewelry was at one time raw meat.
Why, Ponte Vecchio, what big butcher shops you had! All the better to wash away rotten carcasses down the river, my dear. …Until the Medicis could no longer stand the smell of rotting meat wafting into their secret passageway above the bridge and shut that operation down.
It’s not the loveliest of bridges but it’s rich in history, a must-see during your 2 days in Florence, and it gets you to the other side, the way bridges often do. Do some window shopping, enjoy the breeze on the river, take many photos, and thank all that is good and pure there aren’t skinless animals hanging in the shop windows anymore.
I know it sounds like a magical garden of fluffy pizza crusts, but it’s not (unfortunately).
The 16th-century Boboli Gardens is hidden behind the ginormous Pitti Palace (not a palace of fluffy pita pockets, unfortunately) and is a super huge garden park acting as another sort of open-air museum. I’m talking was the inspiration for the gardens at Versailles huge. However, from outside Pitti Palace you may never even know it existed. What is this illusion!
Boboli Gardens is full of 16th-18th century sculptures, fountains, shrub mazes, grottoes, flowers and trees, the mysterious Kaffeehaus, an indoor museum, and a massive stone bathtub for whatever reason. My favorite part of exploring Boboli Gardens (besides the fact that chasing rabbits through a maze made out of bush walls makes you feel like Alice in Wonderland) are the ridiculous views, something Florence specializes in.
Check out both sides
Apparently the Boboli Gardens are much bigger than I realized. After our visit to the gardens we kept hearing, “Oh, did you see the … ? And the … ?! And the awesome … ???”
We’d spent a good amount of time in the Gardens, thought we’d seen it all, and still missed out on all stuff worth not missing out on. How did this happen? Curse you infinite maze!
“Well when you entered, which way did you go?
“We went left…”
“Oh… yeah you should’ve gone right.”
So there you go, readers. As interesting as the left side of Boboli Gardens was, it’s apparently the right side that’s the bee’s knees. Do I know what’s over there to tell you to look out for? Nope. Report back!
Check out some street art
One of my favorite artists is a Florentine street artist known as Blub 💦 (emoji included). He paints celebrities, other famous works of art, pop culture icons, etc, all underwater wearing snorkel masks. And I dig it. You’ll see it plastered all over Florence and he told me he has a studio where you can purchase prints. (Which one of my readers did so I could decorate my own home!)
Also, and as I’ve only seen in Italy, you can find art in the most unusual and probably illegal places. My simple mind found it hilarious so I tried to snap them all but finally got sick of taking so many pictures because these are everywhere in Florence. Apparently there are a lot of places you can’t go in Italy.
Piazzale Michelangelo is a large plaza overlooking Florence and, without a doubt, my favorite spot in Florence.
That was the moment I fell in love with Florence. Those views! I’d never seen anything like it in my life. You can see the entire city and not too different than it was 600 years ago.
Florence, you killed it! At the end of a rushed day through Florence with another coming up, Piazzale Michelangelo is the perfect place to end your night. Grab a bottle of wine and sit on the steps to watch the sun go down. You’ll never forget it.
2 days in Florence: day 2 itinerary
The second of your 2 days in Florence will be all about some of the city’s best museums. And Florence has a lot of great museums!
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
Start at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, one of the six museums covered in the single ticket pass and the Duomo’s official museum.
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is just the Italian way of saying, “Here is where we keep all the sculptures and artwork that was once intended to adorn either the interior or the exterior of the Duomo.”
This museum opened in 1891 and houses over 720 years worth of priceless art. It offers the largest collection of Florentine sculptures in the world–and seeing as how it’s in Florence, I’m not sure that’s really a brag-worthy declaration on their part.
In this museum you’ll find the Gates of Paradise–the actual, real, original Gates of Paradise, not some phony brought on for season 3 after a series of contract disputes forced a replacement. There are some pretty famous works of art in this museum, including The Deposition by Michelangelo.
Michelangelo began to sculpt this pietà when he was 72 years old and intended it to cover his tomb. He also intended on being buried in Rome but that didn’t happen either. The man standing is said to be Nicodemus after taking Jesus’s body off the cross, but it’s also thought to be a self-portrait of Michelangelo, that sneaky little dude.
Michelangelo worked for eight years on this sculpture before trying to destroy it because he thought it sucked. Does that mean I shouldn’t be as proud as I am at how perfectly I folded my towels this morning?
Piazza Della Signoria
Just down the street from the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is Piazza della Signoria and the Palazzo Vecchio. Piazza della Signoria is and always has been the political center of Florence. The Palazzo Vecchio is Florence’s town hall and houses a pretty interesting museum inside.
The Piazza itself offers visitors a sort of open-air art museum experience with most sculptures from the 1500s (yay to free stuff!).
Directly outside the Palazzo is the most notable, Michelangelo’s statue of David. Again, this is not the original. The original, Michelangelo-sculpted David is housed inside the Accademia Gallery. (Side note: Did you know Ace of Base’s “Don’t Turn Around” was first sung by Tina Turner? Curses!).
However, outside the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio is where the original David stood from 1504-1873. So if you don’t choose to visit the Accademia, consider this the next best thing! I prefer my art in situ anyway–helps with that whole pretending-I’m-a-medieval-princess thing I’m prone to.
Loggia dei Lanzi
Across the piazza from Palazzo Vecchio is the Loggia dei Lanzi, the “open-air museum” of which I speak. Surrounded by columns and covered in arches, this loggia–that’s fancy speak for “porch”–houses massive sculptures seemingly all based on the subjects of murder or rape…? It’s fine art, I swear. I guess just don’t bring your kids here?
Notable works include the Medici lions on the staircase, the centerpiece Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini, Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna carved from the largest block of marble ever brought to Florence, and the statue of Menelaus Supporting the Body of Patroclus that was picked up in a vineyard somewhere in the early 16th century.
There’s the Hercules and Cacus by Baccio Bandinelli, The Rape of Polyxena by Pio Fedi, and on the ground near the fountain of Neptune is a round marble plaque marking the exact spot where Girolamo Savonarola was hanged and burned in 1498 for being a heretic. So yeah, it’s like they’re just trying to frighten children.
It wasn’t until my third or fourth visit to Florence that I even realized there was a museum inside the Palazzo Vecchio. Now, it’s a place I highly recommend. Especially if you’ve read or watched Dan Brown’s Inferno.
It’s inexpensive and won’t take up a lot of your time, but the collection isn’t massive or incredibly thrilling if you haven’t read the book (or watched the movie). But if you have, your trip through the maze of the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio is going to be amazing!
A good amount of the story takes place inside Palazzo Vecchio and everything is just as Dan Brown described them. You can see the Hall of the 500 and Vasari’s tapestries, Dante’s death mask, the map room (+ secret passageway), and me, freaking out over seeing the Dante death mask because you just don’t think those things are real.
Uffizi or Academia
You’ve got time for one more museum during your 2 days in Florence. What’ll it be? Are you Team Uffizi or Team Accademia? Do you prefer larger than life world-famous masterpieces or teeny weenies?
I thought that’s what you’d say. You have chosen… wisely. To the Uffizi! At least, that’s what I chose.
Why visit the Uffizi
The Uffizi Gallery along with the Vatican Museums make up the top two most visited museums in Italy. Uffizi is Italian for “offices” as this is the building where the Medici’s housed the administrative and judicial offices of Florence.
The Uffizi Gallery opened to the public in 1769 and houses masterpieces by almost every notable Renaissance artist: Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Cimabue, on and on. So in other words, a ton of ugly Renaissance babies.
The Uffizi just also happens to display my all-time favorite painting, the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, whose size will astound you. The majority of artwork inside the Uffizi Gallery is from between the 12th and 17th centuries.
Why visit the Accademia
The other museum, the Accademia Gallery, has the David.
To be honest, I’ve never been to the Accademia so my opinion is certainly biased. I’d love to see the original David and I will next time for sure. But we were in the same boat–we had to choose one and we went with the Uffizi.
I don’t know what else there is to see at the Accademia other than the David but I do know the Uffizi is bursting with masterpieces. I’m very happy with our decision despite the fact that I thought I was going to be arrested after setting off the museum’s alarms more than a couple of times.
Visiting the Uffizi could take you an entire day if you had it. Or you can do like us and book a guided tour of the Uffizi highlights for when you’ve got just 2 days in Florence and need to maximize your sightseeing. Absolutely worth it!
Dinner at Tavernetta della Signoria
Tavernetta della Signoria is, without a doubt, my favorite restaurant in Florence. The food is unheard-of delicious and the service and location are perfect. After my first time I kept their business card in my wallet for four years so I’d remember it when I went back.
After our time at the Uffizi, we were dumped out the back of the museum. One block over is Tavernetta della Signoria. It’s the perfect spot for lunch or dinner after exploring the Uffizi. Masterpieces for your eyes followed by masterpieces for your mouth. Bellissimo!
I haven’t eaten anything here that wasn’t the best I’ve ever had. Start with the classic bruschetta, just make sure you pronounce it “broo-skay-tuh.”
Where to stay in Florence
The problem with deciding where to stay in Florence is that there are so many incredible hotels. I’ll start by telling you about the place I always stay when I visit, then do my best to narrow it down a little more for you!
Our first time staying in Florence we arrived by train with plenty of wine goals but no plans for accommodation. We chose Hotel Aurora because it’s right across the street from Florence’s main train & bus station and was the first place we saw. Keep it simple, y’all. Read reviews on Tripadvisor then book your room here!
We requested two rooms which turned out to be two full-sized apartments. A huge kitchen, master bedroom, master bath, dining room, and just look at that patio.
You can’t beat the location, the service, and they even have a great breakfast in a cutesy little garden. We even had one of those old-timey elevators where you have to shut the door yourself.
I’ve also stayed there where we were given a room just off the lobby–the modern opposite of the old-timey space of yore. I don’t know what they’ve got going on at Hotel Aurora, but I like it. It’s a surprise every time you stay there. Read Hotel Aurora reviews on Tripadvisor then book your room here!
You can’t ask for a better location than Hotel Perseo–it’s basically in the Duomo’s front yard. The reviews rave about this property, its staff, its breakfast, and everything else.
Hotel Palazzo Guadagni
This hotel is the perfect place to stay if you still want to be at the center of it all, but in a location with a more local vibe.
Hotel Palazzo Guadagni is located inside a 16th-century building just a few minutes away from Pitti Palace. They offer beautiful rooms with fireplaces and real frescoes; and boast a rooftop bar with amazing views.
The rooms are quite spacious and some even come with views of the Duomo and Pitti Palace. Many of the guests are repeat visitors–such a great sign of quality. Read Hotel Palazzo Guadagni reviews on Tripadvisor then book your room here.
Even in Florence, Airbnb is always an option and you can find some amazingly beautiful places with the most incredible views. Check out Florence Airbnb listings here!
Optional Florence tours
If roaming about town on your own isn’t your speed, there are tons of great tours you can take in Florence. Taking tours ensures you’ll have a knowledgable local guide to teach you all the ins and outs (and most of the time to skip lines) as well as show you parts of the city you might never have seen. It’s always great when someone else takes the lead. Check out these Florence tours I’ve picked out for you to see if one (or more) is a fit!
Best of Florence Walking Tour with Skip-the-Line Access to David
This highly-rated, 2.5-hour walking tour of Florence also include skip-the-line access to see Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery.
On this tour you’ll see much of what I talked about in this post but with the added benefit of local insight from a professional tour guide. (But probably not as many jokes.) This tour would be a great introduction to the city. Click here for booking information.
Withlocals The 10 Tastings™: Florence Private Food Tour
This 3-hour culinary tour of Florence has nothing but 5-star ratings. I’ll tell you right now–Florence, Italy is hands-down the best food city I’ve ever visited. There’s not a chance this tour won’t live up to your wildest dreams.
This tour includes all food, snacks, alcohol, and a professional tour guide. You’ll learn all about food preparation, sample some of the city’s best offerings, and explore the history-laden city on foot. This popular tour is marked “likely to sell out” so book your spot ASAP. Click here for booking information.
If you like food tours, also check out:
- This pasta cooking course in Florence
- The original small-group cooking class and Florence market tour
- This gelato and pizza cooking class