Top 10 Sights to See in Florence in Just 2 days
Florence is, unarguably, Tuscany's most famous city. Every year, millions of people visit the cradle of the Renaissance, visiting its main museums and strolling through its streets to gaze and admire its monuments, churches, palazzos and more. The city has so much to offer, it is really difficult to select and offer an opinion on what you should absolutely see in JUST 2 DAYS!
We'll give it a try by offering the top AREAS of the city to visit.... you can't see the inside of all of these places in just two days, just visit from the outside. If you have time or really like what you see, go inside and just know you need more days in Florence to see all that it offers!
1. Piazza del Duomo
Start your visit in Piazza del Duomo in the heart of Florence. Here, the majestic Duomo, or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, presides with its famous cupola or dome by Brunelleschi, the Baptistery with its bronze Gates of Paradise and Giotto's bell tower from which you can admire an incredible view of the city. If you have time, visit all of them but if time is limited, definitely just go into the cathedral to see the inside of the dome and admire the remaining monuments from the outside.
2. Piazza della Signoria
Continue by taking via dei Calzaiuoli to reach the magnificent Piazza della Signoria, center of Florence's political power for centuries. Here is the grand Palazzo Vecchio, headquarters of the city government as well as museum. To the right of Palazzo Vecchio, you can admire the beautiful Loggia dei Lanzi where wonderful statues such as the Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini are on display, and in the piazza itself admire Neptune's Fountain by Ammannati and the equestrian statue of Cosimo I by Giambologna. On your way along Via Calzaiuoli, you can admire the square architectural structure of the church of Orsanmichele and the many statues that adorn its sides by great artists such as Donatello, Ghiberti and Verrocchio.
3. The Uffizi Gallery
Right next to Palazzo Vecchio is the Uffizi Gallery, one of Italy's top museums and one of the most important in the world with its large collection of Renaissance masterpieces such as the Allegory of Spring and the Birth of Venus by Botticelli, just to name two of its incredible collection. If you want to go into the Uffizi Gallery, we highly recommend you buy Uffizi tickets online ahead of time as there is most often a long line outside. Plan to spend at least 2 hours inside the museum: here is an itinerary to guide you in the museum.
4. Ponte Vecchio
Connected to the Uffizi Gallery by the famous Vasari Corridor, which links Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti, is Florence's most celebrated landmark, the Ponte Vecchio or literally, the "old bridge". The bridge has connected the river banks exactly at this point since the 12th century!
5. Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens
Crossing Ponte Vecchio while admiring the spectacular goldsmith shops, you reach the Oltrarno area where the Pitti Palace stands magnificently, home today to several splendid museums such as the Palatine Gallery and the Modern Art Gallery, with the impressive Boboli Gardens as its backyard. While the museums take time to visit, if your time is limited and the day is shining, we recommend you visit the gardens.
6. Santo Spirito
If after the Boboli gardens you're not too tired, head to the nearby Piazza Santo Spirito with its Church of Santo Spirito. Built by Brunelleschi, the church stands tall over the square with its simple and yellow facade but hides many artistic treasures inside. There are several restaurants and cafes around the square and in the streets nearby that offer excellent Tuscan dishes and wines for you to enjoy the end of your long first day in Florence!
7. Santa Maria Novella
Starting back on the Arno's northern riverbank, start your second day in Piazza Santa Maria Novella where you can admire the recently renovated square with its beautiful Santa Maria Novella Church. The church's facade in white and green marble was designed by Leon Battista Alberti while the stunning Tornabuoni Chapel inside has frescoes by Ghirlandaio - a must see!
8. San Lorenzo
In Piazza San Lorenzo, you can either do a quick visit into the San Lorenzo Church, the church with its unfinished facade where the Medici family worshipped, or into the quite majestic Medici Chapels, final resting place for the Medici dynasty where you'll find beautiful marble statues by Michelangelo in the New Sacristy.
8. Santa Croce
Pass by the Duomo as you head to Piazza Santa Croce where you should visit the impressive Santa Croce Church where many great Florentines and Tuscans have their final resting place, including Michelangelo and Galileo.
9. Accademia Gallery
Often also on everyone's list, the Accademia Gallery houses Michelangelo's original marble statue called David, standing tall at its center. You'll have seen a copy of it in front of Palazzo Vecchio by now.
10. Best view of all of Florence
If you want to enjoy a marvelous view over the city at sunset, we recommend heading to Piazzale Michelangelo, a square overlooking the city from the first hill in the Oltrarno. You'll enjoy viewing and identifying all of the places you've visited all over Florence in just 2 days!!
All of the above can be visited in 2 days if you generally visit the city from the outside. If you have an extra day or two, you can always take more time to visit the above areas, churches and monuments!!
There is so much to see in Florence but no matter how limited your time is, we hope this itinerary helps guide you in organizing your visit!
About Lourdes Flores
An American living in Florence for over 12 years, Lourdes loves to explore and discover new places in Tuscany - trying to maintain the eyes of a "tourist" despite the experience of living in Italy for so many years ;-). She loves to share her experiences through this website, offering help in travel planning on the Forum - if you have questions for Lourdes, post them there!
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