Best Things to do in 2 Days in Florence, Tuscany

HOW TO PLAN YOUR 2-DAY FLORENCE ITINERARY

Are you planning your Florence itinerary and are wondering about the best things to do in 2 days in Florence? Then this post is perfect for you – here I share my tips on what to do in Florence for 2 days.

Florence had been on my Italy bucket list forever (mostly because of Michelangelo), and yet it took me more than a decade to finally visit. I fell so in love that I had to revisit just a few months later. 

First off: I am by no means an architecture or art enthusiast, but after reading a biography of Michelangelo as a teenager, I knew I had to visit Florence. And of course, there are Leonardo Da Vinci and the Medicis… And what can I say? Florence did not disappoint. 

You cannot visit Tuscany and skip Florence. After all, Florence is Tuscany’s capital and most famous city, with millions of people visiting it each year. It should be on any Italy itinerary.

In this 2-day Florence itinerary, I share with you:

  • How to Get to Florence
  • How to Get Around Florence for 2 Days
  • Best Time to Visit Florence
  • Where to Stay for 2 Days Florence
  • Places to Visit on Day 1 in Florence
  • Places to Visit on Day 2 in Florence

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means, I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR 2 DAYS IN FLORENCE

How long should you stay in Florence? Well, I suggest staying at least 2 days. You will not see all of its beauty, but with 2 days in the city, you can still visit most of the stunning sights. 

How to Get to Florence

You have two airport choices to get to Florence. The airport in Pisa is actually bigger than the one in Florence and you might fly into that.

  • From Pisa Airport: Take the Pisa Mover shuttle train to Pisa Central Station. There you can transit by train to Florence’s main train station (Firenze), Santa Maria Novella.
  • From Florence Airport: The Volainbus shuttle bus runs to the Florence bus station every 30 minutes during the day and hourly in the evening.

Florence is also quite easily accessible via train from many places in Italy. Even if you are coming from neighboring countries like Austria, Slovenia, or Switzerland, it might be worth checking the train connections to Florence.

How to Get Around Florence for 2 Days

WALKING

  • Many of the attractions listed here are in the city center and within walking distance of each other. Wear comfy shoes because of some (minor) uphill walking and the cobbled-stoned streets.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • If you need to take a bus or public transportation, don’t worry. It is easy, safe, cheap, and reliable.
  • If you stay outside the city center, you will arrive at one of the train stations – Santa Maria Novella or Campo di Marte in Florence. Then walk or take the bus to the attraction (or walk).
  • You can buy tickets for the buses at tobacco shops and newsagents, and they come as either a single trip or a multi-trip. Tickets are quite cheap and are only around 1,50€ one way. The last resort is to buy one from the driver, but it will cost you a bit more. Remember always to validate your ticket on the bus (or at the train station when taking the train). ALWAYS!

CAR

  • Getting around via car is impossible as a tourist because the center of Florence is a Limited Traffic Zone (ZTL), which means you need a permit to drive there.

Best Time to Visit Florence For a Weekend

Never visit Italian cities in the summer. At least, if you want to avoid the heat and crowds of tourists. Like hardly any other country, Italy is stuffed with people in the summer months, and Florence is no exception.

The shoulder season is certainly the best time to visit Florence. So, if you can, visit Florence in April or May (and early June probably) or from mid-September to October. 

Where to Stay For 2 Days in Florence

Florence skyline from Piazzele Michelangelo
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More Travel Tips For Your 2-Day in Florence Itinerary

  • Keep in mind that some of the biggest museums in Florence, including the Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia, and the Palazzo Pitti (which holds the Boboli Gardens), are closed on Mondays, so if one of your 2 days in Florence is a Monday, you might need to make some adjustments! One of the few exceptions is the Duomo and Duomo museum, which are open on Mondays.
  • Besides, all the museums close on certain holidays, like Christmas. Make sure to check the website before visiting.
  • If you are on a budget, check out my Florence budget guide for some tips on how to save money.

2-DAY FLORENCE ITINERARY

So, here we are: discussing places to visit in 2 days in Florence. Day 1 focuses on the city center and its attractions and day 2 focuses on the other side of the river with some lesser-known activities.

Day 1 of 2 Days in Florence Itinerary

Early in the morning, when it is still quiet at the city center, head to the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square). This will be the only time you can take pictures of the stunning buildings without millions of other people around! It is the perfect place to start your day in Florence.

Stop 1: Piazza del Duomo

Your first stop should be the Piazza del Duomo. It is home to several attractions and is located in the heart of Florence.

You will find the impressive Duomo (cathedral), which is also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

This stunning church was completed in the 15th century – being the fourth largest church in the world back then. Today, it is the 11th largest church building in the world.

Florence Duomo - visit this place in 2 days in Florence
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Florence Campanile with church
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There are several ways to enjoy the Duomo Complex:

You can marvel at it from the outside; see the Duomo from inside and enjoy the mosaic floors and frescoes; and visit the Baptistery with its bronze Gates of Paradise.  

You can also climb Giotto’s very tall bell tower for the views. It was named after the painter Giotto, who also was the architect of the project for the bell tower (though the bell tower was only completed after his death). 

I am all about views, so I highly suggest climbing to the top and soaking in the sights. Oh, and you should be aware that there are quite a few steps to climb. To be exact, there are 414 steps to reach the very top!

TIPS:

  • Visiting the Duomo is free, but you will need a ticket for the top and the Baptistery.
  • I recommend buying the ticket in advance and having the option to skip the lines. Believe me: I visited at the beginning of April before 9 am, and I saw them…the lines were long! Yes, they exist in the off-season before 9 am! Imagine this during peak season and after 9 or 10 am! It must be shocking! 
  • Come here early to avoid the crowds inside.
  • Total time: I would estimate, for seeing everything, anywhere from 1-5 hours (with skip-the-line tickets, much longer without them). Find out about prices for skipping the lines at the Duomo and a guided tour here.
  • Opening hours: The opening hours for the areas differ. Check out the opening times here.

Stop 2: Piazza Della Signoria

Close to the Duomo is the Piazza Della Signoria. Have I ever mentioned how much I love the piazzas (squares) in Italy? They tend to be colorful, fun, and lively – and Piazza Della Signoria is no exception.

Florence Piazza della Signoria in one of the best places to go
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Florence Michelangelo David Statue
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You will find statues like the equestrian statue of Cosimo I by Giambologna Fountain of Neptune by Ammannati. And of course, the replica of the famous statue of David by Michelangelo.

This piazza used to be the center of Florence’s political power for centuries. From here, you have quite a few impressive buildings to look at. There is the grand Palazzo Vecchio, headquarters of the city government, and a city museum.

After 10 am, this piazza fills with tons of tourists, but it is still so much fun and worth it.

You could visit the Palazzo Vecchio, but my guide actually recommends another place for admiring art – so feel free to skip it with only two days in Florence.

  • Total time: It depends on how closely you look at everything, but my guess is between 20 and 90 minutes (without the Palazzo Vecchio).

Stop 3: Lunch at Day 1 in Florence

Maybe it is already time for lunch? The best restaurants are said to be on the other side of the river. However, close to Piazza Della Signoria and the Uffizi Gallery is a street named Via Dei Neri, where you can also find good food. 

Actually, according to my local guide, you will get the best sandwiches in Florence there. All the restaurants there have good sandwiches – which is considered a typical meal in Florence.

Stop 4: The Uffizi Gallery

Close to the Piazza Della Signoria is the Uffizi Gallery. As mentioned, I am not an art fan. By no means do I understand much about it. But names like Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci make even my heart beat faster. 

Florence Uffizi Gallery which is one of the main points of interests in 2 days in Florence
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Commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany, the building was conceived to house the “Uffizi”, the administrative and legal offices of Florence in the 16th century. Now, the Uffizi Gallery entirely occupies the first two floors of the building. 

The Uffizi Gallery is one of Italy’s top museums and one of the most important in the world. Its large collection of Renaissance masterpieces displays Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and many more.

  • Florence is quite busy – at any time of the year. So make sure to buy skip-the-line tickets in advance to avoid wasting much time waiting.
  • Skip-the-lines tickets are a bit more expensive but will save you valuable time with just 2 days in Florence.
  • Total time: 1,5 to 4 hours
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8.15 am to 6.50 pm
  • On Saturdays and holidays, it will be necessary to make the reservation at least one day in advance
  • Closed on: Mondays, 1 January, 25 December

Stop 5: Ponte Vecchio

I admit I did not really understand the fascination for the most famous bridge – Ponte Vecchio – when I initially looked at its pictures.

I mostly saw pictures taken from people standing on the bridge…but after finally visiting, I got it. Now, I really got it!

Florence Ponte Vecchio which is one main tourist attraction to visit in 2 days in Florence
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The Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) connects the river banks (nothing unusual for a bridge, but wait) and probably dates back to the 10th century. It was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence until 1218. It was destroyed once by a flood but rebuilt in the 14th century.

Florence Vecchio Bridge close-up_
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The bridge looks like a little street with houses from a distance. On the bridge, you can buy souvenirs and jewelry from the little shops but be warned; this place is stuffed with people.

  • The opening hours are not the same for all shops. Some shops might be closed on Sundays or Monday mornings and some might close during lunchtime.
  • However, you can cross the bridge at any time.
  • After crossing the bridge, you are on the other side of Florence. It is less busy and less visited, but it also holds a few great places and attractions. However, we will focus on that side of Florence on day 2 of this itinerary.

Stop 6: Dinner in Florence

Cross the bridge to have dinner, if you are ready for it. My local guide told us that the best restaurants are on this south side of the river. Cheaper, more authentic, and they all serve good food! 

If you are not ready for an early dinner yet, you will find more options later. Then cross the bridge just for fun.

So, after dining it is time to end the evening at a beautiful spot.

Stop 7: Giardino Delle Rose

So, for the rest of the day, head to Piazzale Michelangelo, which offers gorgeous views of the skyline. But don’t head there straight away – before the Piazzale, you will find a gorgeous little garden that you should take your time in.

Florence Rose Garden with a view for your Florence itinerary
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Rose Garden in Florence- things you can do in Florence on a budget
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If you have crossed the Ponte Vecchio, it takes about 20 minutes and is an uphill walk, but not too difficult.

The Rose Garden in Florence is beautiful! You will find 1200 botanical vanities and 400 rose species… It also houses a Japanese garden, donated by the twin city of Kyōto and the Zen Kodai. That all come with great views and a lovely setting (and tons of options to sit and rest).

The garden was created in 1865 by Giuseppe Poggi, who also designed also the Piazzale, on behalf of the City of Florence. The Rose Garden is just below the Piazza Michelangelo, and thus, a great stop on your way up.

If you plan to visit, keep the opening hours in mind:

  • Free entrance
  • January, December 9 am – 4:30 pm
  • February, October, November 9 am – 5 pm
  • March 9 am – 6 pm
  • April, May, September 9 am – 7 pm
  • June, July, August 9 am – 8 pm

Stop 8: Piazzale Michelangelo

End your first day in Florence here: Piazzale Michelangelo. This piazza was created in 1869 by Florentine architect Giuseppe Poggi. From there, you can admire the gorgeous view of Florence and the skyline of the city. 

Florence view from Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the best things to see
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In the middle of the square, you will find another replica of the statue of David.

You can buy something to drink beforehand, so you can enjoy watching the sunset (there are also a few cafes and restaurants) on a warmish day.

Florence- from Piazzale Michelangelo, Italy
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@shutterstock

TIPS FOR VISITING THE PIAZZALE MICHELANGELO

  • It is free to visit
  • Open at any time of the day, all year round

If you head back down, you will find a larger selection of restaurants.

With this Florence itinerary, you have actually seen quite a lot on your first day, but day 2 is also full of amazing things to do. 

Day 2 of 2 Days in Florence

Knowing that more beautiful places in Florence are awaiting will make it easier to wake up early and start the day, right? So, here are my tips on how to spend the second day. Today, you will also spend some time on the south side of the River Arno.

Stop 1: Accademia Gallery

The Accademia Gallery is on the north side of the river. By now, you have come across the replica of David twice – and here is the original.  

David Statue in Florence in 2 days is a must
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@Pixabay

There are, of course, some other art pieces, but nothing can top this famous statue by Michelangelo. 

If you want to see the original, book in advance. Check out skip-the-lines tickets to see the art pieces by Michelangelo, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Gaddi, and more, and it is a must-see in 2 days in Florence.

  • Opening hours: Open every day except Monday
  • Closed: January 1, December 25, and every Monday
  • Total time: 30-90 minutes

Stop 2: Piazza San Lorenzo

About 500 meters from the Accademia Gallery, you will find the Piazza San Lorenzo

Florence Basilica di San Lorenzo is a place to go in Florence
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I have mentioned Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael. But the most famous and important families of their time, not only in Florence but all of Italy, were the Medicis. Without them, Florence would not be what it is today.

The Medicis were patrons of the arts, especially during the time of Michelangelo and da Vinci. So, they were politically active and supported the arts in a way that allows us, centuries later, to admire the works of the Renaissance.

If you still have energy and time on your hands, then visit the San Lorenzo Church with its unfinished facade, where the Medici family once worshipped. You can also visit the Medici Chapels, the final resting place for the Medici dynasty, where you’ll find marble statues by Michelangelo in the New Sacristy.

  • Total time:  30-90 minutes

TIP: If you have to skip out any of the activities on day 2 (for whatever reason), I would say, this skip one. 

Stop 3: Lunch on Day 2

Then it is time to visit the south side of the Arno River. As mentioned above, according to my guide, you will find the best restaurants on this side of the river. Great prices and even better food – afterward, you will stay on that side of the river.

Stop 4: Boboli Garden

The Boboli Garden comprises the largest monumental green area in Florence. The park hosts centuries-old oak trees, sculptures, fountains, an amphitheater, and more – this garden actually inspired Versailles.

TIPS

  • The single ticket is around 10€ and 26€ for a ticket to Pitti Palace and Boboli Garden.
  • Total time: 1 – 3 hours
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 8.15 am 
  • Closing: 4.30 pm in November, December, January, February, 5.30 pm in March and October (without Daylight Saving Time), 6.30 pm in April, May, September, March, and October (with Daylight Saving Time), 7.00 pm June, July, August
  • Closed: First and last Monday of each month, 1 January, 25 December

Stop 5: Pitti Palace

Most of the day, I suggest staying in the Oltrarno area and visiting the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. The Pitti Palace was home to the Medicis and houses not only a lot of impressive pieces of art but also furnishings and more. 

Florence Pitti Palace from outside should be on your Florence itinerary
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You need to stand in front of it to feel how big the palace really is. I mean, of course, the Medicis were not to be humble (they were one of the most influential families in the history of Italy), but that palace is enormous!

On the ground floor and mezzanine is the Grand Dukes’ Treasury, displaying a vast collection of Medici household treasures, from table silverware to precious stone vases, rock crystals, and precious jewelry.

On the first floor is the Palatine Gallery, which has 16th and 17th-century paintings (including works by Raphael), and the Royal Apartments.

The Gallery of Modern Art is on the top floor, holding mostly Tuscan, 19th, and 20th-century paintings.

In the separate Palazzina del Cavaliere, on the upper slopes of the Boboli Gardens, is the Porcelain Museum, while the Palazzina of the Meridiana contains the Museum of Costume and Fashion.

TIPS

  • You can either buy a single ticket for the Pitti Palace (16€) or a combined ticket for the Palace and the Boboli Garden (26€).
  • Total time: 1,5 to 5 hours
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 1.30 pm to 6.50 pm 
  • On Saturdays and holidays, it is necessary to make the reservation at least one day in advance
  • Closed: Mondays, 1 January, 25 December

Read more: Things to know before visiting Italy for the first time

Stop 6: Dinner at SE·STO on Arno

On my second visit, I had dinner at this stunning place: SE·STO on Arno at Westin Hotel. The views were amazing, the staff great. There is even a rooftop bar, and I could not imagine any better restaurant with a view of the Duomo.

Florence SE·STO on Arno
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However, it was also busy, so should reserve a table in advance. If you have a second evening in the city, it is a great place to end your trip here.

BEST DAY TRIPS FROM FLORENCE

Florence is amazing – but there are also many places close by that make for perfect day trips.

So, in case you plan some excursions, check out my post on the best places to visit near Florence for more information.

CONCLUSION: WHAT TO DO IN FLORENCE IN 2 DAYS

Florence has quickly become one of my favorite cities in Europe. I was smitten within seconds. Its people, the architecture, the lifestyle – everything about Florence made me love it (okay, the crowds not so much). And I was lucky to visit Florence twice within a few months. 

Two days in Florence is surely not enough to see all the highlights, let alone all the attractions and beautiful places. However, it gives you a good idea of what the city is about. It is enough time to fall in love with it.

Also, with 2 days in Florence, you will want to come back again – because it is so rich in attractions and landmarks, that you always have a reason to come back and enjoy more of this gorgeous city!

Hopefully, this 2-day Florence itinerary has given you a better idea of what to expect and what to do and see!

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Florence in 2 days, ARZO TRAVELS
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