Best Things to Do in Florence in 3-day Itinerary

In this post, I have prepared a Florence 3-day itinerary with everything you have to see and enjoy to the fullest.

Florence is one of my favorite Italian cities. I have been there twice, the first 4 days, which seemed very short, and the second one a month.

Views from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Views from Piazzale Michelangelo.

Best Things to do in Florence in 3 days

Do you have more days to visit Florence? If you have already traveled more times and want to see other things: do not miss this post with 75 ideas to see and get to know Florence.

I also recommend the Free Tour of Florence and the Florence Mysteries & Legends Free walking Tour.

Do you feel like visiting Florence? Do you want to know what you can do in Florence in 3 days? Here are my essential visits. Shall we start?

Day 1 in Florence

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Campanile, and the Battistero

When you think about what to see in Florence, the first thing that comes to mind is “Il Duomo”. The magnificent Florence Cathedral leaves no one indifferent. Do you already know her?

The Florence Cathedral, called Saint Mary of the Flowers, is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful and largest Catholic churches.

The façade is made of marble in white and green colors. The cathedral’s dome is 45 meters in diameter, making the building appear even more imposing.

The construction of Il Duomo, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, took more than 70 years, between 1296 and 1368. The size is 160 meters long, and 43 meters wide, and the dome is about 100 meters high.

It is impressive both inside and out, and these dimensions make it one of the largest Catholic buildings in the world.

A curious fact about Il Duomo is that not long ago, in the middle of the 20th century, a descent into the crypt where the tomb of Brunelleschi, the creator of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, was discovered near the entrance.

Florence, cathedral, duomo
Il Duomo de noche, Florencia.

It took him 14 years to build it, and it was finished it a century after the completion of the cathedral’s construction.

The Giotto’s Campanile is the bell tower located in the Florence Cathedral. It was built by Giotto and Pisano in the 14th century. Thanks to its proportions, design, and colors it is a unique work not only of Florence but of all of Italy. 

Upon entering the tower, you can appreciate the decoration of more than fifty bas-reliefs and on the top are images of saints.

After climbing the 414 steps of Giotto’s Campanile, which are about 84 meters high, you can enjoy the view of the city of Florence in all its splendor.

campanile de Giotto florencia

The construction of the tower began in 1334 according to the plans of the one who gave it its name, Giotto. He, unfortunately, passed away before the work was finished. After his death, it was Pisano completed the construction of the Campanile in 1359.

The Battistero di San Giovanni is the oldest building in Florence and another essential place to visit in this city.

It is in front of the Duomo, and its white and green marble cladding fits perfectly with other buildings in Piazza del Duomo.

As you enter the Baptistery of Saint John, note the Byzantine mosaic on the vault and the tomb of John XXIII. The access portal called The Gate of Paradise is the most important.

Puerta del Paraiso

It was designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti in the 15th century and had ten panels made of bronze with reliefs depicting scenes from the Old Testament. They are copies of the original panels by Ghiberti, which are in the Museum of the Cathedral.

Admission to the cathedral is free.

If you’re a woman, you have to go with your shoulders covered and long pants, but don’t worry, if you’re not wearing anything to cover yourself, they sell you a kind of shawl to cover yourself right there.

When I went, it was €1.50; I’ll have to come back to find out the current price or if you go before me, leave me your comment.

Florence, cathedral, duomo
Il Duomo, la catedral de Florencia.

You can buy different tickets to visit Florence’s Cathedral “Duomo” and the religious area.

For example, a ticket includes visiting the Campanile, where you can see the city from above. Either the Battistero inside or the Museo dell’Opera (Museum of the work of the cathedral), where most of the original works of art are.

Like, for example, the Gate of Paradise: the one outside is a replica, and the original is in the museum.

Opera del Duomo Museum

The Opera del Duomo Museum is located in the same square. It contains the artistic works that once adorned the neighboring buildings and were moved inside, so they do not deteriorate.

The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is located in the former Palace of Florence, serving as a workshop for the great Florentine artists. Here David by Michelangelo was created.

Among the most important works, we can see The Bandini Pieta by Michelangelo, Maria Magdalena by Donatello, and The Gate of Paradise, designed by Ghiberti, the original of the north portal of the Battistero of San Giovanni.

Piazza della Signoria

If you continue along Via del Calzaiuoli, you will reach Piazza Della Signoria, where the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery are located.

The Piazza della Signoria is an essential visit to Florence. It is located near the Arno River and Piazza del Duomo. 

This square’s history began in the Roman Empire’s time; it is where the thermal facilities were located. At the beginning of the Middle Ages, baths were eliminated.

Palazzo Vecchio en Florencia de noche.

Over time, it was the craftsmen who settled in Piazza della Signoria. The Plaza’s shape is from the 12th century, and the pavement was laid in the 14th century.

In Piazza della Signoria, you’ll find a wealth of masterpieces, many of which are original. You will be able to see the Fountain of Neptune (1563-1575), the equestrian monument of Cosimo I.

The figures on the steps of the Palazzo Vecchio are almost all replicas.

On the south side of the square is the Loggia della Signoria, where public assemblies and ceremonies were held. Over time it changed uses until today when we see an open-air museum.

We can see the statue of Perseus (1554) and the abduction of Polyxena (1866). In the center of the portico is Menelaus holding the body of Patroclus (a Roman copy of the Greek original from the 4th century).

In the arch on the right we can see the Rapture of the Sabine Women, considered the first statue that was created to be seen from all angles. Also, we can see Hercules and the centaur Neso, among others.

rapto sabinas florence
El Rapto de las Sabinas, Florencia.

Apart from the works of art and historical points of interest found there, the square is very alive, especially on summer nights.

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Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

Entering the Palazzo Vecchio and seeing the Salon Dei Cinquecento, climbing the tower, and taking a look at the city, is spectacular. It is a fairly short visit and totally recommended.

The Palazzo Vecchio is the most characteristic building in Piazza della Signoria. At the entrance are impressive sculptures: a copy of Michelangelo’s David, a representation of the first human couple, Adam and Eve, and another of Hercules and Caco by Bandinelli.

Arnolfo’s Tower, located on the main façade, has become one of the characteristic points of Florence and its emblem.

florence, cinquecento salon
El Salón del Cinquecento, Florencia.

The original name of Palazzo Vecchio was Palazzo dei Priori. In the 15th century, it was changed to Palazzo della Signoria, after the name of the main body of the Republic of Florence.

Later, in 1540 it was changed again to the Doge’s Palace when Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici made it his residence. Its current name, Palazzo Vecchio, was given when in 1565 the court of Duke Cosimo moved to the new Palazzo Pitti.

It was the seat of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Italy between 1865 and 1871 and today houses the City Hall of Florence and the municipal offices.

Inside you can visit a museum, where you can see the rooms in which Ghirlandaio, Agnolo Bronzino, and Giorgio Vasari, among others, worked and where works by Michelangelo Buonarroti, Verrocchio and Donatello are displayed.

Florence is art everywhere! You can do the guided tour; if you want more information, click here.

The Gallery degli Uffizi

In the Uffizi Gallery, you will find some 1600 masterpieces. With 45 rooms dedicated to the different artists, located in its 17 thousand m2. It is, without a doubt, one of the most famous art museums in the world.

The building where it is located was a palace built by Giorgio Vasari, under the orders of Cosimo I Médici, during the second half of the 16th century.

Its main function was to house the offices of the city of Florence since the Palazzo Vecchio, where they were located until then, became too small. Hence the name: Gallery of Offices.

Palacio Uffizi de noche

The works of art found there were owned by the Medici family. At first, to see the works you had to request permission, but from 1765 it was opened as a free access museum.

Over the years the collection grew, many of the works had to be transferred to other museums and finally, in 2006, an extension to the building was ordered.

Today, the Uffizi Gallery museum is home to so many works of art that it’s hard to decide what to see. Among the most famous are:

  • The Birth of Venus, by Botticelli
  • La Maestá di Ognissanti, by Giotto
  • La Primavera, by Botticelli
  • Bacco, by Caravaggio
  • The Portrait of the Dukes of Urbino, by Piero della Francesca
  • The Annunciation, by Leonardo da Vinci

It is best to tour it with a guide in Spanish, who will tell you all about the works of art you will see and will make your experience incredible.

For me it is a must visit. When I was there, you could have an aperitif (in the afternoon) on the terrace and visit some rooms; for €15 it included a drink, food and entrance to the rooms.

When you go, take a look at the website, and see if they do the appetizer. It is a different way of seeing a museum; they also did it in the Accademia Gallery.

The Uffizi Gallery can be toured with a guide in Spanish, who will tell you all about the works of art you will see and will make your experience incredible.

You can see the tours for your trip here and, by the way, skip the queue. (If you are going to visit the Uffizi and the Accademia, you better buy this ticket where you will save 13% than if you contract it separately and it also includes a visit to the center of Florence).

For me, it is a must-visit. When I was there, you could have an aperitif (in the afternoon) on the terrace and visit some rooms; for €15 it included a drink, food, and entrance to some rooms.

Leaving the Uffizi, we head towards the river, turn right onto the Lungarno and arrive at the Ponte Vecchio.

The Ponte Vecchio

It is the oldest bridge in the city, dating back to 1345. It is a typical medieval bridge on both sides has protruding shop windows, hanging houses, and wooden doors.

In the beginning, butchers and tanners settled there (1565). In 1588, the great Duke Ferdinand, annoyed by the odors, evicted them for the benefit of goldsmiths, jewelers, and silversmiths.

At the same time, a corridor was also built on the eastern side of the bridge to link the Vecchio and Pitti palaces, located on opposite sides of the Arno River, known as the Vasariano Corridor.

A curious fact is that the Old Bridge was the only one that withstood the German attacks during World War II.

Florence, ponte vecchio, vero

Today it is the most visited bridge in the city and a symbol of Florence. It is always full of people, lovers place locks there that symbolize their love and sometimes there are street artists singing or painting.

Day 2 in Florence

Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace)

The Pitti Palace was built during the Renaissance in 1458. It is located on the banks of the Arno River, near the Ponte Vecchio.

At first it was the residence of the Florentine banker Luca Pitti, from whom its name comes. At the beginning of the 20th century, Palazzo Pitti and its belongings were donated to the city of Florence.

The doors of the building were opened to the public, becoming one of the largest art galleries in the Tuscany region.

Today, the Pitti Palace remains the public art museum, both for the oldest and for modern and current works.

In its exhibitions, apart from paintings by famous artists, you can see the royal apartments, pieces of silver and porcelain, antique clothing and carriages.

palazzo pitti florencia

Los Jardines de Boboli

The Boboli Gardens are located behind Palazzo Pitti. They occupy a space of 45,000 m² where you can enjoy a walk in nature in the open air. It is the largest green space in the Tuscan capital that opened as early as 1766.

Within the gardens there is a lake, fountains, columns and grottoes, and, as in all of Florence, marble sculptures. It also houses an amphitheater with an Egyptian obelisk in the middle.

Academy Gallery

Another must-see is the Accademia Gallery, where Michelangelo’s David is located. This museum is quite a bit smaller than the Uffizi Gallery, but it is worth the visit for the David alone.

The academy was founded in the year 1563, but the collection of works of art was formed years later and opened as a museum in 1784. Until then it offered its material for study and observation to art lovers.

His main work of his is David by Miquel Ángel, which measures more than 5 meters and represents the biblical character who faced the giant Goliath. 

Initially, in 1504, the sculpture was located in Piazza della Signoria, but in 1873 it was moved to the Accademia Gallery, to protect it from the open air and thus increase museum visits.

Apart from David, there are more works by Michelangelo in the rooms dedicated solely to this artist.

david de miguel angel florencia

Other pieces can also be seen in the Accademia Gallery, mainly religious frescoes and a variety of ancient music instruments. Among the most prominent are Botticelli’s Madonna del Mare and Pontormo’s Venus and Cupid.

Here you can also do the guided tour buying the tickets online, or you can stand in line and buy the tickets at the museum itself, which I don’t recommend, because the queue is usually quite long and you would waste time. But it’s up to you!

Piazza della Repubblica

The Republic Square is considered the center of the Florentine city, and is one of the largest squares in Florence.

It is a square of 75 x 100 meters, porticoed, in the shape of a rectangle. In Roman times, a forum with porticos around it and a great Capitoline Temple stood in Piazza della Repubblica.

In the Middle Ages, it was a market full of street vendors. After the 16th century, this area was known as the Mercato Vecchio.

In 1571, at the north end of the square, the Jewish Ghetto was established. It was a small area surrounded by a wall that disappeared in 1848, when the Jewish restrictions were abolished.

Plaza de la República

When Florence was awarded the title of Italian capital in 1865, one of the biggest problems was the unhealthy old town on the sides of the Mercato Vecchio. For this reason, a new central market was built, which was inaugurated in 1874.

Furthermore, by the year 1870, the capital was transferred to Rome and the Plaza was somewhat neglected. The stalls in Piazza del Mercato were demolished, leaving an open space with nothing left.

As a result of this change, the old city center.

New Market

The New Market, also known as the Porcellino Market, is one of the typical markets of Florence. It is located near the Old Bridge and the Uffizi Gallery.

It is located in the Loggia del Porcellino, which was built in the 16th century about 150 meters from Piazza della Signoria.

In the beginning, the New Market was dedicated to trading silk and luxury items, straw hats – which is still one of the products that can be bought there today. Currently, the market sells leather products, embroidery and many souvenirs.

Porcellino, Vero, Mercado nuevo de noche

A curious visit is the Fontana del Porcellino. It is located in the same Piazza del Mercato Nuovo. Legend has it that if you touch the snout of the boar in the fountain it will bring you luck and you will return to Florence again 🙂 

Day 3 in Florence

Piazzale Michelangelo

If you like taking photos and want to take the best photos of Florence, you have to go to Piazzale Michelangelo.

The Michelangelo Square is the most famous viewpoint in Florence with impressive views of the Tuscan capital. It was built in 1869 according to the plans of the architect G. Poggi.

In those days Florence was the capital of Italy, and those who governed it decided to renovate and modify it, according to the latest in construction.

Views of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo
Views of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo

The plaza was dedicated to Michelangelo, and is named after the artist. For this reason, bronze copies of his great works are exhibited there, such as the famous David.

The architect Poggi designed a neoclassical loggia above the terrace. His goal was to accommodate Michelangelo’s work as in a museum, but in the end this project was not completed and a restaurant with a panoramic view is currently located in its place.

A good option is to take the bus and walk back, since if you walk you will have to climb stairs. I have gone both ways, and I recommend you go on foot

Basilica of San Lorenzo

The Basilica of San Lorenzo was commissioned in 1418 from the architect Filippo Brunelleschi by several families from Florence. This church is considered the most modern and innovative building of Renaissance architecture.

The facade has an unfinished appearance, but its cultural value is still appreciated. On one side you can see the old sacristy that was made by Brunelleschi and where there are relief sculptures that were made by Donatello.

The new sacristy, the Medici Chapel, was commissioned to Michelangelo at the request of Pope Leo X and completed in 1534. Members of the Medici family, a one of the most powerful families in Florence and who commissioned the construction of the Basilica of San Lorenzo.

The Medici Chapel is considered one of Michelangelo’s masterpieces, with sculptures of Day and Night, Twilight and Aurora.

Basilica di Santa Croce

The Basilica of Santa Croce is the largest Franciscan church in the world. It is located in the historic center of Florence and in 1982 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It was built with marble and brick, and together with the dome it is 114.5 meters high, while it is 153 meters long. Thanks to the mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Neo-Gothic styles, it is a truly Florentine work of art.

It is much more impressive on the outside than on the inside, but be sure to visit it, as it has paintings by famous artists such as Donatello, Giotto and Brunelleschi.

plaza de santa croce en florencia

Church of Santa Maria Novella

It is located in the square that bears the same name, Piazza di Santa Maria Novella and is part of the area declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 

Both its structure and design represent the Gothic-Renaissance style. One of the best examples of this period is the white and green marble façade, which matches other important buildings in Florence. 

In one of the 6 niches on the façade, Giovanni Boccaccio put his account of the Decameron.

The interior of Santa Maria Novella is very interesting and pays attention to detail. You will be able to appreciate frescoes that show the life of the citizens of the city during the Middle Ages and great works of art, such as The Trinity by Masaccio and the Crucifix by Brunelleschi.

Aperitif in Florence

In Florence they have the custom of having the aperitif. This aperitif starts in the afternoon.

In many of the bars or pubs, they offer an aperitif with the purchase of a drink, and this is like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Depending on the quality of the site, the variety will be greater.

What you can do is first take a look at the buffet and then decide whether or not to stay.

aperitif in Florence, Italy
Aperitivo en Florencia.

Where to Eat in Florence?

One of the specialties of Florence is the bistecca alla fiorentina, it’s a thick steak, which is usually sold to the weight.

If you want to eat a good bistecca alla fiorentina, you have to go to Piazza di Santo Spirito, which is located “oltrarno”, on the other side of the river. When you get to the square, turning left, the second restaurant “trattoria” is very good, obviously if you like meat!

You can go to a Tuscany cooking class, where they will teach you their specialties and you will eat what you prepare. But the coolest thing about the tour is that you start it by going shopping at the market with the chef.

It is a different way of being in contact with the local culture, having dinner and having a great time. If you want more information click on the link.

Have an Ice-cream in Florence

If you want to have a good ice cream, practically any Italian ice cream parlor has very good quality products.

Grom, I think it must be the best known, it’s very close to the Duomo, the ice creams are really delicious, but you’re in the center so be prepared for the price of the ice cream! !

There are also very good “oltrarno” ice creams, across one of the bridges there are some ice cream parlors with better prices than in the center and some ice creams that have nothing to envy to those of Grom.

If you are going to be there for several days and want to have the best ice cream in the world, you have to go to San Gimignano.

Apart from having excellent ice cream parlors, awarded as the best in the world, San Gimignano is known as “The City of a Thousand Towers” and in 1990 it was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

San Gimignano desde una torre, Toscana
San Gimignano desde una torre, Toscana.

With the 14 medieval towers preserved in perfect condition, it is an essential visit in the surroundings of Florence. The towers of San Gimignano are the symbol of the ancient power of its inhabitants.

In the old days, the richest families competed to have the highest tower in the city to confirm their wealth.

It is a town that is very close to Florence and has a couple of ice cream parlors that have been awarded as the best in the world, as well as being a very picturesque town with many towers.

Transfers in Florence

You can book your transfers to and from Florence airport, Pisa, the train station and from your hotel. The price varies depending on the type of vehicle you choose. It is a private door-to-door service.

In Florence there is a lot to see, it all depends on the time you have. The last time I was there, I was a month.

So if you are planning to go there you can count on me to help you or recommend other things to see or do.

When to Go to Florence?

The ideal time to visit the city is in spring or autumn, in summer it is very hot and there are many tourists. The ideal would be to go during the week, but that is often complicated.

But from my point of view, Florence is a city to visit all year round. When you have a few days, pay him a visit!

Where to stay in Florence?

Regarding accommodation in Florence, you have options for all budgets, this already depends on your budget.

The area of Santa Maria Novella, where the train station is located, is one of the cheapest areas.

If you want to stay in a nice hotel, which is also well located, I recommend the Atlantic Palace, it’s not the cheapest, but I’m sure you’ll like it.

I also leave you this link to Booking so you can take a look at all the hotels in Florence.

Another option is to rent an apartment. This option is super comfortable for longer stays, although it is also valid for 3 days. Enter Plum Guide and look for a flat to your liking.

The good thing about Florence is that you can walk everywhere, so the accommodation can get a little cheaper if you escape from the downtown area.

Have you been to Florence? Do you think I left some essentials?

More Ideas for Your Trip to Florence

Bike tour

Florence is a very easy city to get around by bike, you can rent one or you can take a tour with a guide in English, who will take you to see Florence from another point of view and also for only €25.

Vespa Tour of the Chianti

This is an excursion that I really wanted to do, but that I will definitely do at some point. Touring Chianti on a Vespa from Florence has to be amazing.

I visited Chianti and did some wine tours with a friend who is an expert in it, but if you don’t have a friend to tell you about it, you can do this tour, it looks fantastic.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, are five small towns on the Italian Ligurian coast and have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, as well as a National Park.

They are by far one of the most important and picturesque destinations to visit in the Liguria region and in northern Italy.

Le Cinque Terre are typically summer destinations, perfect for enjoying the sea, and long walks along the trails that connect one to the other. They can be visited without problems in a single day.

The towns (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mareque) are as if “suspended” between the cliffs that fall into the Ligurian Sea. They have colorful houses, full of vivacity that you will love for sure

Want more excursions?

Do you feel like going to Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, etc, etc. Here I leave this link with more excursions that you can do from Florence and that are quite well priced, you just need time!

Plan Your Trip to Florence, Italy

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Florence 3 day itinerary

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Last Updated on 10 January, 2023 by Veronica

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