We love every corner of Italy, but if we had to make a top 3, Florence would be 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 can enjoy the beautiful landscapes that Tuscany offers if you travel to Florence by car.
Florence, or Firenze as the Italians call it, is 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 an excellent 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 the most beautiful building I have ever seen! With its gorgeous bronze doors and reliefs, the Gothic frontage 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 Franciscan church has much in common with the Duomo and is only a 10min walk away. Many famous Italians, such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo, have been buried here.
Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is really the heart of Florence. It’s close to the famous Uffizi gallery and right 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. Two lions guard the entrance. 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. 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 famous 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; 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 upfront. For me, Botticelli’s La Primavera and The Birth Of Venus were on the tippy-top of that list. The collection primarily consists of artwork 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 various jewellery shops. Only a 2min. walk away from the Uffizi, and it’s a lovely place to have a little stroll, especially by sunset.
Palazzo Pitti & Giardini
Palazzo Pitti is a palace and museum belonging to Luca Pitti, a banker, before being bought by the Medici family. It’s a lovely 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 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 in the city centre, in a cosy little street where 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 exceptionally beautiful city!
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, my bf 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.