Only got 2 days in Florence? That’s just enough time to check out 10 must-see attractions! Today, I’ll share with you some of the cheapest, most-beautiful (and budget friendly) overall best things to do in Florence, Italy!
How to Spend 2 Days in Florence
Introduction to Florence
Official Language(s): Italian
Emergency phone number: 112
When to Go to Florence
October – November
If you’re not too averse to humidity and crowds of people, springtime in Florence is pretty stunning. But I’m allergic to both (probably), so if you’re anything like me, October and November will be your sweet spot. Significantly less crowds and cooler weather. You’ll need a light jacket, but that’s about it.
Where to Stay in Florence
Opera Boutique B&B
The Opera Boutique B&B is located in a not-super-touristy neighborhood. Yet it still manages to be within spitting distances of some really gorgeous areas, like Piazza Della Libertà, and great restaurants.
It’s a 20 minute walk to the Uffizi, so a quieter area won’t lead to a sacrifice in time.
How to Get Around in Florence
I walked 14 miles in Florence and didn’t even notice. Florence and Brussels are tied for the most walkable cities in Europe, as far as I’m aware. For Italian cities, Florence is smaller than most, and everywhere you look is a beautiful sight. Pack some good walking shoes and go at it.
Where to Eat in Florence
All’Antico Vinaio is legendary for their sandwiches. It’s one of the most reviewed restaurants on Tripadvisor and there is always a line. The line moves at a spectacular pace though, and it’s entertaining to watch. The sandwiches are cheap, but the quality is there. I still can’t eat prosciutto, it just can’t compare to what I had at All’Antico Vinaio.
Ostaria dei Centopoveri
I cite Perché, no! as the gelato spot for two reasons;
1) gelato = delicious
2) they have gluten-free cones for those with Celiac. It’s so thoughtful.
Trattoria Ponte Vecchio
Trattoria Ponte Vecchio is a place I most definitely planned to eat at… had a train schedule not derailed (pun intended) those plans. I don’t care what their website says… they don’t open for dinner until 7. Lesson learned. I still hear such great things and it’s right on the Ponte Vecchio… I dunno, I gotta throw it in.
Day 1 of 2 Days in Florence
Let’s start with one of best things to do in Florence… the Uffizi Gallery, aka my mom’s version of Disney. For her, this museum is the Happiest Place on Earth. I see where she’s coming from. The building alone is a well-structured beauty.
It houses major Renaissance masterpieces (I saw two da Vinci paintings during my visit!) and with three floors, it looks intimidating. Where does one even begin?
I used Rick Steves’ audio guide and was happy as a clam. One caveat: he recommends at least two hours. I’d shoot for three to four.
Palazzo Vecchio is just outside the Uffizi, and it’s a great place to sit, eat lunch and take in the sights. Notice the mini version of David to your left. Good prep for what is to come.
I fully admit it, I went to Galleria dell’Accademia solely to see Michelangelo’s David. Me and millions of others, probably. The museum is smaller than Uffizi, but still contains a lot of little treasures. It’ll take you roughly an hour and change to work your way through. And yes, David will absolutely take your breath away.
Mercato del Porcellino
Florence has a few open-air markets that make for awesome post-museum shopping. Mercato del Porcellion is mostly luxury goods, but also has a few affordable trinkets. Oh and… a pig statue. It’s good luck if you rub it’s nose.
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella is basically a primer for the Duomo. Similar kind of style, and really, really beautiful. This is actually the first major sight that greeted me when I arrived in Florence! Pretty good indicator of all the spectacular stuff to come.
The Duomo (aka Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) is so mind-blowing and stunning I went through it twice. Once during the day, and once at sunset. You don’t need to do that (one day view will be fine) but it’s so easy to see why. Look at this beautiful architectural marvel.
No one to this day knows how Filippo Brunelleschi managed to create a dome so well-built and ahead of it’s time. I couldn’t fit it all in one picture, and tbh, no one can (probably).
(And yes, you can climb the dome.)
The Baptistery of St. John
The Florence Baptistry is right behind you, and also deserves a closer look. The doors are the most painstaking attention to detail I’ve seen in a piece. It’s incredible, especially when you consider that the dome of the Duomo took 16 years to build and the gates took 27.
Day 2 of 2 Days in Florence
Day 2 will be spent in the Oltrarno district, across the bridge. It’s mostly a day for wandering about and seeing what appeals to you, so let’s start with the Pitti Palace! Part royal palace and part art museum, this place is a feast for the eyes.
Once you’ve had your fill of royalty, meander through the Boboli Gardens. It’s a gorgeous green space that’s every bit as romantic and private as the Medici family wanted it to be. It’s surrounded by sculptures. Have fun!
Finally, Piazzale Michelangelo is a great spot to end your trip, because Florence deserves to be seen at this point from sunset. Tell me you don’t wanna bring a wine bottle and some glasses and just chill?
Know Before You Go
History here in Florence is so rich, I’d read up on it beforehand. You’ll appreciate everything you see so much more as a result.
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