Florence in Tuscany, Italy, is one of those places we dream of when thinking about delicious wine, intricate cathedrals, masterpieces of art, and the perfect holiday destination! Florence is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, and is arguably one of the most famous and beautiful cities in Europe (if not the world)!
Florence is of paramount importance to the Renaissance period and to the architecture and artworks that were created during that time. It’s filled with iconic sites and monuments that make up this cradle of the Renaissance, and it’s well worth the visit for so many reasons.
If you’re planning a trip to Florence and are busy imagining yourself wandering through the alluring streets, discovering the famous museums, churches, and cathedrals, but aren’t sure exactly what to see in Florence, I’ve got your back!
I spent 2 days in Florence as part of a bigger Tuscany trip and found it to be a good amount of time to see the city. While Florence is one of those cities you could live in and never see it all, if you’re travelling with limited time two days are a good start to see all the highlights of Florence.
This Florence 2-day itinerary walks you through some of my favourite sights and experiences in this magical part of Tuscany for the most incredible 2 days in Florence! I’ve included information on the best things to do, where to stay, where to eat, excursions you have to book and more. I hope you find this guide useful in planning your 2 days in Florence!
Before you read on, have you got everything you need for Italy already? If not, check out my Italy essentials packing list!
Florence is such a charming and expansive city that it’s difficult to experience all its awe and wonder in just 48 hours, and it’s best to know where you want to go beforehand so you can plan your trip and savour each and every moment of your time in Florence.
On the first day of our Florence itinerary, we explored the streets around the centre of Florence and visited the most magical cathedrals and galleries.
We got to see famous architecture and artworks, and it blew our minds! Here’s how I propose you spend Day 1 of your Florence Itinerary:
Florence’s historical centre is small and perfect for discovering on foot. It also gives you time to discover the hidden treasures across the city, and then stop to taste some delicious gelato on a whim!
I’ve always loved discovering a city on foot, getting up close and personal with the sights and sounds of the streets and wandering down whichever lane appeals to me at a time.
First up on this Florence 2-day itinerary is to simply get your bearings. Wander around and admire the incredible architecture, while making detours in intriguing shops and streets that may catch your attention.
The heart of Florence is the historical centre of the city. Here you’ll find many important museums and churches, monuments and a general Renaissance-inspired ambience.
Spend your time admiring the stunning fresco’s, external niches and typical Florentina streets with narrow laneways lined with small businesses.
You can’t visit Florence without going to see one of the most iconic sights, the Duomo. The Duomo is a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome that was engineered by Brunelleschi, and its famous bell tower made by Giotto.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Piazza del Duomo are situated in the heart of Florence. We spent some time admiring the exquisite mosaic floors and the incredible and intricate frescoes on the walls above the main altar of the cathedral.
Sometimes said as built inside out, the monuments on the outside are pretty amazing too! The Duomo is not only Florence’s important religious centre but also the most recognisable attraction in the city.
It was constructed during the 14th-century and Brunelleschi’s red-tiled cupola is unmissable and attracts thousands of art-lovers to admire its beauty.
The outside of the cathedral is also a work of art. It has intricate designs and distinguishing features of Italian Renaissance architecture, like details rose windows and high arches.
We loved exploring the cathedral, and the views from the top of the dome are incredible. Climbing to the top of the Duomo is one of the absolute best things to do in Florence!
Just keep in mind that if you’d like to climb the cupola or the bell tower, it’s best to book tickets in advance, but the cathedral itself is free.
Ponte Vecchio is the old bridge that connects the city centre to the district on the south bank of the river Arno. It’s one of Florence’s most celebrated landmarks and dates back to the 12th century, making it the oldest bridge in Florence! (Hence the name)
Spanning the Arno River in the centre of Florence, this medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge has many important characteristics.
When looking at the bridge, it doesn’t look like a traditional bridge but retains the original form that many Italian bridges had in the past, lined with small shops on top of each other.
In the past, these shops housed butchers and fish sellers. Today, you’ll find jewellers, art shops and souvenir shops, which all make great stops to find some small memorabilia to take home with you.
The Palazzo Pitti, or the Pitti Palace, is a vast and mainly Renaissance-architectured palace on the south side of the River Arno. It’s the perfect place to head to after crossing the Ponte Vecchio.
These elegant and embellished buildings have a large square in front – which was an innovation in residential architecture at the time of construction in circa 1440.
At this time it was also the largest and most impressive private residence in the city of Florence!
The Palazzo Pitti is now a large complex of impressive galleries and museums that house very important collections of works of art. Spend some time exploring the beautiful Boboli Gardens and admiring the wonderful Italian style.
Next up on the Florence itinerary is a continuation of the walk via the street by the bell tower to reach the magnificent Piazza della Signoria. This was the centre of Florence’s political power for centuries!
We walked around admiring the prominent Palazzo Vecchio overlooking the square and admiring the famous sculptures with their hefty political connotations.
Make sure you don’t miss the replica David statue by Michelangelo and Bandinell’s Hercules and Cacus (1534) to the right of it.
These statues represent the Republic’s defiance of the tyrannical Medici and followed by the appropriation by the Medici family to represent their physical power after their return from exile. We found them fascinating and were allured by historical significance!
End off here with a walk around the Fountain of Neptune, which was sculpted around 1563 by Bartolomeo Ammannati and Giambologna in order to celebrate the opening of a new aqueduct.
We then strolled back along the Ponte Vecchio bridge to again admire the jewellery sparkling from the window shops and admire this monumental piece of history.
Discover the secret routes and chambers of this medieval fortress of Roman ruins. Palazzo Vecchio offers amazing Renaissance chambers and paintings in a microcosm where art and history have been bound for centuries, as the main symbol of civil power in Italy!
It’s a fascinating place to wander around finding the underground ancient theatre and visiting the museum and archaeological sites.
As well as marvelling at the fascinating labyrinth of interior design and rooms magnificently decorated by artists such as Michelangelo, Giorgio Vasari and Donatello!
To end off your first day of incredible sightseeing and walks through the convoluted history of power, architecture and art in Florence, I recommend stopping to enjoy the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo.
This square overlooks the city from the first hill in Oltrarno and offers a stupendous view of the city at sunset! Enjoy watching the sun slowly sink down in the sky over the incredible places that you’ve spent the day visiting all over Florence!
The Florence skyline also offers something unique in that buildings were historically not allowed to be built higher than the base of the cupola of the Duomo.
Making a somewhat uniform skyline with the cathedral’s dome aloft it all! I thought this was one of the most amazing things to see in Florence!
The second day of this Florence itinerary will be spent discovering more famous works of art and admiring the amazing architecture all around.
Before experiencing the city like a local while you check out the awesome and vibrant markets that can’t be missed while in Florence for 2 days!
It’s best to get tickets beforehand for this one. We actually missed out on the Uffizi Gallery when I visited with my mum as we didn’t buy tickets online beforehand and we didn’t want to queue for hours to get into this famous Gallery.
The famous Uffizi Gallery is one of Italy’s top museums and one of the most important in the world. This is where you’ll find Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and da Vinci’s Annunciation, as well as large collections of work by Michelangelo and Rafael, just to name a few!
It’s so vast and there’s SO much to see that you can easily spend two hours or more in the Uffizi. You can also choose to take a guided tour, but just make sure not to miss the top masterpieces! Uffizi Gallery has 101 rooms to explore, with iconic masterpieces throughout.
The gallery was Europe’s first modern museum that was created by the Medici family towards the end of the 16th century, located alongside the Arno river.
Occupying the first and second floors of the U-shaped Palazzo degli Uffizi, you’ll find prominent art masterpieces such as Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus,” Raphael’s “Madonna of the Goldfinch” and Titian’s “Venus of Urbino.” The whole gallery is an art lover’s dream.
Spend the second afternoon wandering through Florence’s famous markets. These are great for shopping. Find small souvenirs to take home with you or simply take photos of the colourful and bustling spaces while enjoying some people watching.
Florence, as the birthplace of the Renaissance and the focal point of medieval history, has many other little trinkets and treasures that can be found in the vintage markets. Making it an adventure of its own!
There’s just so much to see in Florence in two days! Spend your afternoon discovering the Tuscan produce and goods, whilst drunk on Tuscan sunshine and enjoying the remainder that Florence has to offer at these wonderful markets!
The San Lorenzo market is an outdoor leather market and is a fascinating place to see some interesting leatherwork and enjoy the atmosphere. Also known for its leather goods and scarves is the Nuovo Market, which is a newer version of San Lorenzo’s market.
Right next door to the leather market is the indoor Central market, which was definitely one of our favourite places in Florence! This bustling market is open 6 days a week (closed on Sundays) until about 14:30.
They also serve some delicious food and condiments to take home, with the ground floor selling everything from fruit to fresh fish to olive oil. There are a few stalls that sell yummy cooked meals like takeaway Italian pasta!
On the upper floor, you’ll find even more stalls selling prepared foods with a seating area to relax and enjoy your meal after all the walking you’ve been doing around Florence!
There are also many weekly and monthly markets that take place in Florence, so its also worth checking what’s on during your 2 days in Florence!
During our 2 days in Florence we stayed at Palazzo Riblet. There are loads of hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, guest houses and cool places to stay in Florence, but Palazzo Riblet is a particularly special accommodation.
It’s a family run hotel located in a historical building with affrescos on the ceilings, beautifully decorated and in a central position in Florence. It was the perfect place to stay during our 2 days in Florence.
Looking for more Italy inspiration? Check out these Italy guides:
- 10 things you have to know about Italy
- How to spend 1 day in Pisa
- Epic hikes in Cinque Terre
- Ultimate Milan 1-day itinerary
- How to spend an epic weekend in Rome
- An awesome Tuscany 4-day itinerary
- One perfect day in Venice
- When is the best time to visit Sardinia?
- 1 week in Sicily
- Why you should visit the Italian Alps in summer
Final thoughts on two days in Florence
This small scenic city that is tucked amidst the Tuscan hills casts a long shadow through history and is a fascinating place to explore for architecture and art-lovers, and even adventurous souls like myself!
2 days in Florence is not enough to see everything there is to see, but it’s enough to feel like you’ve travelled back through time into the Renaissance era, and to feel like a bit of an art boff!
Not only that, it’s well worth the visit for its gorgeous sunsets, Italian cooking and welcoming romantic charm. As one of the few cities in the world that is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are hundreds of sights to see and wine and food to savour.
This 2-day itinerary is a perfect introduction to this amazing city, that will surely bring you back for more! I hope you’ve enjoyed this 2-day Florence itinerary.
No matter how limited your time is, this guide will help you plan your best holiday and give you a good idea of what to see in Florence in 2 days. It only just scrapes the tip of the iceberg of all the awe and wonder that’s possible in this magical place.
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