Top Sights for 3 days in the Cradle of the Renaissance
Have 72 hours in Florence and wondering what to see? Did you just buy the Firenze Card (which is valid for 72 hours) and want to get the most out it and see as much as possible?
If you're wondering how to organize your 3 days in Florence, we have a proposed itinerary of what you can try to see in those short days. Obviously, if you have more time, you can see everything at a slower pace or even add stops to your itinerary. Our suggestions combine both the top museums in the city with time spent outdoors enjoying the monuments and sights that are spread across all of Florence. You can, of course, also mix up the order of the days we suggest ;)
- remain flexible, don't use the suggestions as a checklist but rather as a way to move around each area of the city to see the top sights in each
- stop for gelato, whenever it strikes your mood! It's part of enjoying Italy.
- if you fall in love with a museum, slow down and take your time. You will enjoy and remember it as an important part of your travels.
- I've noted museums below that are included in the Firenze Card with an asterisk * to make it easier for you to plan what to see if you have the card. ALL of the sights and museums can be visited without the card, but if you want to actually follow all the suggestions, the card will be worth getting.
Day 1 - Piazza della Signoria & Piazza del Duomo
Start your day in Piazza della Signoria. In the morning, you can visit:
- the church of Orsanmichele * (free)
Continue along Via Calzaiuoli and arrive in Piazza del Duomo. Grab a gelato to enjoy along the way. I recommend one from Grom or Festival del Gelato or Perche no?. See a list of other great gelato places in Florence.
In Piazza del Duomo, you can visit the cathedral (also called Duomo) * and the baptistery * (it is gorgeous inside!). The cathedral is free, while the baptistery is 15 euro (you can buy a single pass for all of the monuments in Piazza del Duomo valid 48 hours on its own, you don't need the Firenze Card) and really worth it! If you have the energy, climb up the bell tower or all of the way up the dome* ... or both! ;-) If you want to climb the dome or bell tower, than do that before lunch, visit the cathedral and baptistery after lunch... no climbing on a full belly!
Grab LUNCH in the area since you want to stay nearby to head back toward Piazza della Signoria in the afternoon.
In the afternoon, dedicate 2-3 hours to
After you're done, head toward the Arno river and enjoy a view of
- Ponte Vecchio then head over and cross it!
You're done for the day, enjoy DINNER and Florence by night! All of the monuments are lit up so you could head back to Piazza della Signoria and Piazza del Duomo and just roam about.
Day 2 - Accademia, San Marco and San Lorenzo
Start your day at Piazza San Marco and visit first
- the Accademia Gallery * to admire Michelangelo's David and more
Head out and just around the corner to visit the
- Opificio delle Pietre Dure museum * (don't know what it is? then you'll be very pleasantly surprised at this little treasure, not visited by many!)
Head back to Piazza San Marco and visit
- the San Marco museum * right next to the church - the frescoes by Beato Angelico are worth it!
Take your LUNCH break.
In the afternoon, head toward San Lorenzo and visit:
- the Palazzo Medici Riccardi * to see both the palace but especially the small chapel decorated by Benozzo Gozzoli*
Right after, head around the corner to Piazza San Lorenzo, go around the church first and visit
- the Medici Chapels * (see the work done by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in action)
- head back to the front and visit the San Lorenzo Church *, particularly its Medicean library (where you can admire more of Michelangelo's work on the staircase and inside).
After the church, take a break from museums: enjoy a walk in the area, and in particular, explore the San Lorenzo outdoor market behind Piazza San Lorenzo.
Once you're done with your shopping, one more "museum" for the day: enjoy the beautiful treasures within Santa Maria Novella church *, have DINNER and enjoy the evening out.
Day 3 - Oltrarno
Today you enjoy the Oltrarno area of Florence, on the left bank of the Arno. It is the neighborhood considered by many as the most authentic Florentine as many locals still live in the area, bringing the small shops and workshops to life.
Start by visiting the
- Brancacci Chapel * inside Santa Maria del Carmine and enjoy the frescoes by Masaccio: simply beautiful, and changed the course of art!
Afterward, head to the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens * and decide how to spend the rest of the morning and afternoon as you have options!
The Pitti Palace has 5 museums within, plus the Boboli gardens behind it: accept it, you CANNOT visit them all (unless you have more days in Florence - if you do, consider getting a multiple day ticket if you do not have the Firenze Card so you can come back). Decide what you'd like to visit... it is totally acceptable to just spend time in the wonderful gardens after having been indoors and seen so much art the last 2 days! Just remember they are on hills and there is some walking to do.
If you'd like to visit the museums within the Pitti Palace, you can actually spend the rest of the day here. In that case, I recommend visiting the Palatine Gallery * or the Modern Art Gallery * in the morning, take a break for LUNCH, then return to visit the Boboli Gardens * and any of the other museums (Porcelain, Treasure of the Grand Dukes or Fashion and Costume Museum) in the afternoon.
After you're done (phew!), head back toward Ponte Vecchio but before crossing it, turn right and follow Via dei Bardi to the San Niccolò area. You'll arrive at the San Miniato gate along the old section of the walls (one of the last remaining stretches of the old city medieval walls remaining in Florence), cross under and climb the street/steps to
- Piazzale Michelangelo for the best view of Florence ever!! It is particularly beautiful at sunset when you can enjoy the view seen below.
Head back down to the San Niccolò area for dinner, there are several trattorie and restaurants here right after the San Miniato gate that deserve a stop!
I do realize I've completely left out Santa Croce and its beautiful basilica... but these 3 days have been packed. So it means you can change up something above... or plan for another day in Florence to also explore the Santa Croce area!
If you don't intend to buy the Firenze Card and have a limited budget for museums, how about taking our suggestions on what to see and do in Florence for free?
Hope you'll enjoy your 3 days in Florence and, remember, remain flexible, take your time, see less if you need to, and enjoy what you do see rather than just check things off a list. If you fall in love with Italy, I am sure you will make it back ;-).