We love every corner of Italy, but if we’d have to make a top 3, Florence would definitely be in there. It’s one of Tuscany’s biggest cities and the prettiest one in my opinion. One of the many things I love about it, is that you get to enjoy the beautiful landscapes that Tuscany has to offer if you travel to Florence by car.
Florence, or Firenze as the Italians call it, is most known for its art, beauty and rich history. Around every corner you’ll find a gallery, statue or historic building.
But what if you only have one day to visit this beautiful city? We’ve made a list of things you can’t miss out on!
This is a good place to start your day. The Basilica di San Lorenzo is one of the largest and oldest churches of Firenze. Most Medici family members have been buried here.
Piazza Del Duomo
Florence is filled with Renaissance masterpieces, but the absolute number one is its Duomo. The Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral is by far the most beautiful building I have ever seen in my life! The Gothic frontage with its gorgeous bronze doors and reliefs just takes your breath away. Access is free!
Right next to the Duomo you’ll find the bell tower: Giotto’s Campanile. Take a deep breath and go all the way up for some pretty panoramic views! 🤩
Right across from the Duomo you’ll see the Battistero, the baptistery which is the oldest building of Florence. These bronze doors are Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise.
This beautiful Fransiscan church has a lot in common with the Duomo and is only a 10min walk away. Lots of famous Italians have been buried here, such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo.
Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is really the heart of Florence. It’s close to the famous Uffizi gallery, but also right in between the shopping street, local markets, espresso bars and cosy restaurants. There’s an open air museum with free access at the bottom floor of Palazzo Vecchio, that isn’t just a museum but also serves as city hall.
Right next to the Palazzo, you’ll see the Neptunus fountain. In front of it is a copy of the David of Michelangelo – you can find the real one at the Galleria dell’Accademia, along with other famous statues.
Across the Palazzo you’ll see the Loggia dei Lanzi, displaying a wide range of marble and bronze statues. The entrance is guarded by two lions. A lion is the symbol of Florence. If you pay close attention, you’ll see them everywhere! 🦁
If you go through the little leather markets, you might stumble upon Il Porcellino, a bronze fountain of a boar that is believed to bring good fortune. Simply put a coin in his jaws, pray it lands in the underlying grating and rub his snout to ensure a return to Florence.
You’ve probably heard of the Uffizi. It’s the most popular museum in Italy and I can see why! Having studied some art history, I was dying to see some of my favourite paintings with my own eyes. It’s a large gallery and you could easily get lost for several hours. If you’re short on time, I recommend you do your research so you know which artwork you want to spend some time looking at up front. For me, Botticelli’s La Primavera and The Birth Of Venus were on the tippy-top of that list. The collection mostly consists of artwork that was once owned by the house of the Medici, who used to rule over Firenze. From the gallery you also have a beautiful view over the city .*
This famous, medieval stone bridge over the Arno river is home to a wide variety of jewelry shops. Only a 2min. walk away from the Uffizi, it’s a lovely place to have a little stroll, especially by sunset.
Palazzo Pitti & Giardini
Palazzo Pitti is a palace and museum that used to belong to Luca Pitti, a banker, before being bought by the Medici family. It’s a nice spot where lots of young people hang out.
Behind the Palazzo you’ll find the Giardino Di Boboli and a bit further Giardino Bardini, both beautiful botanical gardens that are worth a visit.
Have an amazing dinner at Coquinarius
Italy stands for good food and great wine. You can find nice bars and authentic restaurants around every corner, but if you’re a natural wine lover like us, go to Coquinarius! If you’ve never heard of natural wine, the more reason to go give it a try!! Chef Nico knows his stuff and serves the most delicious dishes. On top of that, he’s fluent in multiple languages including English and French. It’s situated right in the city centre, in a cosy little street and the dogs were more than welcome. Tip: the orange wine is to die for!
You can easily do all of these things by foot, in the order of this article. Enjoy your stay in this insanely beautiful place!
Have you been to Firenze? What were your highlights? Please share them with us in the comments!
* If you’re traveling with your pooch, keep in mind they aren’t allowed to enter most indoor art galleries. While I visited Uffizi, Philou would have an espresso and marvel at the beautiful statues that are spread throughout the city as open air galleries. The dogs were welcomed at every restaurant and shop.