3 Days in Florence

How to Spend 3 Days in Florence: Epic Itinerary

Welcome to Florence, the heart of Tuscany, Italy.! From the iconic Duomo to the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio, this 3-day itinerary is tailored for those seeking an unforgettable Tuscan escape. Whether you’re a history buff eager to explore the birthplace of the Renaissance or a foodie looking to enjoy authentic Italian cuisine, Florence has something for everyone!

 

Florence is home to many attractions and historic landmarks. This city blends traditional and modern and is the ideal place for a deep insight into Italian culture.

 

Here, you can explore Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery, wander through the unique Oltrarno district, and marvel at the breathtaking views from Piazzale Michelangelo. With its rich cultural heritage and vibrant atmosphere, Florence is limitless in what you can do and see!

 

Are you ready to learn more? Keep reading this city guide to help you curate your 3 day Florence itinerary and let your travel planning begin!

Table of Contents

Getting to Florence, Italy

Being Goofy in Florence
Being Goofy in Gavinana District | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

Making your way to Florence is easy, with its international airport and high-speed train connecting it to major cities in Italy. The international airport here is the Amerigo Vespucci Airport, also known as Peretola Airport. From there, you can take a taxi or shuttle bus to reach the city center.

 

If you prefer to travel by train, Florence’s main train station is Santa Maria Novella Station, which is well-connected to other Italian cities such as Rome and Venice. From our experience, we can say that trains in Italy are so convenient, fast, and comfortable!

How to Get Around Florence

Walking around Florence
Piazza Santa Croce | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

The best way to get around Florence is on foot. The city is quite compact and most of the main attractions are within walking distance from each other. We recommend you bring comfortable shoes because you’ll be walking a lot!

 

If you need to travel a longer distance, there are also buses available. You can purchase tickets at any tobacco shop or news stand, or directly on board the bus with cash. However, keep in mind that traffic in Florence can be heavy, so it may take longer than expected to reach your destination by bus.

Detailed Itinerary: 3 Days in Florence

Day 1: Explore Florence’s Iconic Landmarks

Piazza del Duomo | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

For day one in Florence, we highly recommend visiting the main attractions! Every time we’re in a new city, we can’t wait to visit the iconic landmarks. 

 

To start your morning, head to Piazza del Duomo to see the iconic Duomo, also known as the “Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore” or “Florence Cathedral”. This stunning cathedral is a must-see and is known for its iconic red dome. 

 

The Duomo is not just a beautiful landmark, but it’s also an important piece of Italian history. Construction on the Florence Cathedral began in 1296 and it took nearly 140 years to complete! The dome itself was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and is considered an integral masterpiece of the Renaissance. The Duomo may be our favorite landmark we’ve ever seen plus it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

 

Something cool you can do at the Duomo is climb it! For a small charge, you can climb the 463 steps to the top of the dome and get an incredible view of Florence. Keep in mind that there may be long lines, so we recommend going early in the morning. 

 

One other thing you can’t miss while at the Florence Cathedral is to see Giotto’s Bell Tower.  This stunning structure is located right next to the Duomo and is known for its intricate design and is considered the most beautiful bell tower in Italy.

Giotto's Campanile
Giotto's Bell Tower | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

Also, in the Piazza del Duomo is the Baptistery of Saint John. This octagonal building is famous for being the oldest religious site in all of Florence. It’s also known for its bronze doors, with the most famous being the “Gates of Paradise” by Lorenzo Ghiberti! 

 

If you’d like to spend a little more time in Piazza del Duomo, the Opera del Duomo Museum is a good choice. This museum contains many important works of art from the cathedral, including the Pietà by Michelangelo.

 

After a long morning, we went to lunch at Rivoire Firenze. This historic café and restaurant has been open since 1872 and is known for its delicious chocolate and pastries. They also have really good entrees, as we had lasagna and Florentine steak, also known as Bistecca alla Fiorentina

 

After lunch, now head to the Ponte Vecchio Bridge – one of Florence’s most iconic landmarks. This bridge is lined with jewelry shops and offers stunning views of the Arno River. It’s so interesting how the Ponte Vecchio has been used as a bridge and also a location for shops since the 14th century. It has survived numerous floods, as well as World War II. 

 

Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

As we continued our first day in Florence, we made our way to the Basilica of Santa Croce. This basilica was only a 10-minute walk from Ponte Vecchio, so it’s the perfect quick stop! Known for being the burial place of many famous Italians such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli, we had to stop by. Inside was breathtaking with the detailed art and tombs.

 

We then made our way to the Piazza della Signoria, which is a beautiful square surrounded by stunning buildings and statues. One of the most prominent statues in the square is a replica of Michelangelo’s David. We sat at one of the outdoor cafes and enjoyed some gelato while admiring the beauty of this historic square.

 

While in the area of Pizza della Signoria, you must visit Il Porcellino, which is a bronze fountain of a wild boar. Legend has it that if you put a coin into the boar’s mouth, with the intent to let it fall through the underlying grating for good luck, you will then rub the boar’s snout to ensure a return to Florence! It was a fun little tradition to participate in and it’s such an easy stop!

 

Fontana del Porcellino
Fontana del Porcellino | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

As the sun begins to set, next head to dinner. A few good options are Trattoria Gargani, known for its delicious Tuscan cuisine, or Il Santo Bevitore, a cozy restaurant with a great wine selection. Both offer a traditional Italian dining experience and are highly recommended by locals!

 

After dinner, take a stroll along the Arno River and enjoy the romantic ambiance of Florence at night. The Ponte Vecchio bridge is especially stunning when lit up in the evening. As you can see, most of the iconic landmarks are within walking distance. Florence is very compact and public transportation is not needed a whole lot. 

Arno River at Night
Arno River | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

Day 2: Art & History

Fountain of Neptune
Fountain of Neptune | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

Day two in Florence will be about exploring Florence’s art and history! Finding art and history in Florence could simply be walking around, but we will go through all the top spots. 

 

Start your day by visiting the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery, home to some of the most famous works of art from the Italian Renaissance and one of the best things to do in Florence. While here, you’ll also find some of the most famous paintings in the world. 

 

The most famous paintings here are Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and Leonardo da Vinci’s “Annunciation.” Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” is considered a top 10 most famous painting in the world, so you will not want to miss it during your time in Florence! Like most things in Florence, it is recommended to purchase tickets in advance as the lines can get quite long.

Birth of Venus
Birth of Venus | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

Next, head over to the Accademia Gallery where you can see Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the statue of David! You can also find other works by Michelangelo and other Florentine artists here, but the Statue of David is easily the most famous. Overall, the Accademia Gallery is a MUST stop during your 3 Days in Florence.

 

After a busy morning at the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery, you can have a nice lunch at Ristorante Accademia, which is right next to the Gallery.  They offer delicious traditional Tuscan cuisine and have a large assortment of local wines. 

Michelangelo's David
Michelangelo's David | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

From lunch, we took a short walk to Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall of Florence. Within Palazzo Vecchio, you can find the impressive Salone dei Cinquecento, or Hall of the Five Hundred, which is a grand room featuring stunning paintings and decorated ceilings. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to climb the Tower of Arnolfo for breathtaking views of the Duomo! 

 

After Palazzo Vecchio, cross the Ponte Vecchio for a visit to the Palazzo Pitti, also known as the Pitti Palace! This former residence of the Medici family is now a magnificent art museum, housing works by Raphael, Correggio, and Titian. Some of our favorite rooms include the Palatine Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art! Also, don’t forget to stroll through the Boboli Gardens behind the palace for some peaceful relaxation.

Pitti Palace
Pitti Palace | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

Once your Pitti Palace tour is complete, it’ll be around dinner time. A few good restaurants in the area are Pitti Express, Trattoria de’ Pitti, and Carduccio – Il Salotto Bio. If you are looking for an expensive and more upscale experience, head to Borgo San Jacopo for some delicious Tuscan cuisine.

 

As the day draws to a close, a visit to Piazzale Michelangelo is a MUST. In our opinion, Piazzale Michelangelo is the best view in all of Florence. You can see the entire city, including the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio. The best time to visit is at sunset when the sky turns various shades of pink and orange. It was such a beautiful view and we sat there for a while to admire it. Here, you will get the best pictures of Florence to take home to show your loved ones. 

Piazzale Michelangelo
Piazzale Michelangelo | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

Day 3: Day Trip to Pisa from Florence!

Leaning Tower of Pisa
Leaning Tower of Pisa | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

After two busy days in Florence, we decided to take a day trip to Pisa to visit the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa! We took a train from Florence to Pisa, which only takes about an hour.

 

Once we arrived in Pisa, we made our way to the iconic Piazza dei Miracoli. This square is home to not only the Leaning Tower but also the Cathedral and Baptistery.  We were in awe of the architecture and took plenty of pictures!

 

Of course, we we tried the “holding up the tower” photo, but it didn’t work out as we hoped lol. Hopefully, you’ll do better than us on your visit! You can also climb the 296 steps to the top of the Leaning Tower, which gives amazing views of Pisa and its surrounding areas.

Baptistry San Giovanni | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

Even though the Leaning Tower of Pisa gets most of the love, don’t sleep on Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery San Giovanni), which is a baptistery with stunning marble columns and artwork on the ceiling. Baptistery San Giovanni is in the same plaza as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, so make sure to take time to appreciate this place as well. 

 

Within the square, you’ll also see the Cattedrale di Pisa (Pisa Cathedral). All of the architecture and buildings in this square are absolutely stunning, Throughout this square, there are nice grassy areas and chairs throughout to just soak in the sun and enjoy the view. 

 

After exploring the Piazza dei Miracoli, we wandered through the streets of Pisa and stumbled upon some charming cafes and gelaterias. We also stopped for lunch at Ristorante Pizzeria Duomo, which is a very short walk away from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was delicious and you can’t ever deny Italian pizza. It’s so tasty and inexpensive!!

 

In Pisa, you can feel plenty accomplished by being there for 4-6 hours, so you can head back to Florence and enjoy your last night there. 

Pisa Cathedral | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

For your last night, we suggest you head back to Piazza del Duomo to enjoy the iconic Duomo one last time. We also highly suggest a visit to Mercato Centrale, a large food market where you can sample all sorts of Italian delicacies and pick up some souvenirs to bring home. 

 

After that, take a stroll along the Arno River to see the beautiful sunset over Florence. Anyone who has ever visited Florence will understand how beautiful the city is, especially during sunset. It almost doesn’t feel real. 

City of Florence | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

Best Time to Visit Florence

Ponte Vecchio | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

Florence is a city that can be visited year-round, but the best time to experience its beauty is during the months of April-June and September-October. During these times, the weather is not nearly as hot (Florence Summers are HOT), with fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months. 

 

Plus, you’ll get to witness some of Florence’s most famous events such as the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Calcio Storico, and Festa di San Giovanni.

 

However, if you don’t mind braving the heat and crowds, then July and August are also great months to visit Florence. Just make sure to stay hydrated and take breaks in between your sightseeing adventures. One huge plus of the summer is that it is sunny and not raining almost every day! We know rain and poor weather conditions can really put a damper on a trip, so summer is the safe choice.

 

On the other hand, visiting Florence during the colder months of November-February can be a unique experience as well. Florence is filled with beautiful holiday decorations and there are fewer tourists, allowing for a more exclusive visit to Florence’s historic streets and landmarks (Fewer lines to wait in).

Where to Stay in Florence

Sunset in Florence | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

When planning a trip to Florence, one of the most important things to consider is where to stay. There are many options for accommodations in this beautiful city, from luxurious hotels to budget-friendly hostels and Airbnb.

 

A few good hotel choices are:

 

1. Grand Hotel Cavour Florence

Located in the heart of Florence, this 4-star hotel offers elegant rooms with modern amenities and a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the Duomo!!

 

2. Hotel Brunelleschi

This luxurious 4-star hotel is situated in a restored circular Byzantine tower and boasts rooms with private jacuzzis and views of the Duomo from your terrace. 

 

3. Plus Florence Hostel & Hotel

For budget-conscious travelers and backpackers, this hostel/hotel hybrid offers affordable private rooms and dorms, as well as a variety of amenities such as a pool and gym! You can stay here for as little as 17 euros per night.

 

As for Airbnb options, there are many charming apartments available in central locations that offer an authentic Florentine experience. We’re huge fans of Airbnb because of the privacy and unique accommodations it offers. You can also set many budget parameters to help with your choice. 

If You Have More Than 3 Days in Florence

Cinque Terre | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

If you have more than 3 days in Florence, there are so many options for exploring beyond the main tourist spots. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

 

1. Take a day trip to the idyllic Tuscan countryside and explore charming towns like Siena, San Gimignano, or Montepulciano. These towns offer stunning views of the rolling hills and vineyards, as well as delicious local food and wine.

 

2. Attend a cooking class or wine tasting tour to truly immerse yourself in Italian culture. You can learn how to make traditional dishes like pasta, pizza, or gelato, and even bring home some new recipes to impress your friends and family.

 

3. Explore the Oltrarno district on the other side of Arno River for a more local and authentic experience. This neighborhood is filled with charming cafes, artisan shops, and beautiful hidden gardens.

 

4. Take a day trip to Cinque Terre, a picturesque coastal region dotted with colorful villages and hiking trails. Cinque Terre is very popular and so beautiful.

FAQs

Arno River
Arno River Walk | 3 Days in Florence Itinerary

1. What are some must-see places in Florence? 

The best places that can’t be missed include the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery, and Ponte Vecchio. 

 

2. Is it worth taking a day trip from Florence?

Absolutely! Cinque Terre is a great option for a day trip from Florence, as well as Siena and Pisa. You can also take a wine tour in the nearby Chianti region.

 

3. What is the best way to get around Florence?

The best way to get around Florence is by walking or taking public transportation. Most of the city’s attractions are within walking distance, and the public transportation system is efficient and affordable. You can also rent a bike to explore the city if you’d like!

 

4. Are there any must-try dishes in Florence?

Yes, some of the must-try dishes in Florence include ribollita (Tuscan Bread Soup), bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine Steak), and gelato from one of the many famous gelaterias in the city. 

 

5. Should I explore other parts of Italy after Florence? 

Yes! Oftentimes, travelers will make Florence a 3-Day stop as a part of a 10-day Italy itinerary! A few other Italian stops that are our favorites are Venice, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast!

Final Thoughts on 3 Days in Florence

If you are planning a 3 day trip to Florence, be sure to prioritize the must-see attractions such as the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery, Pitti Palace, and Ponte Vecchio. Don’t forget to take breaks in between and enjoy local food and treats. And most importantly, DON’T rush through the city. Take your time to soak in its beauty and charm because it truly is remarkable. 

 

We loved Florence and really hope to come back one day and for those who haven’t been, we hope you get the chance to experience this beautiful city for yourself. Safe travels!

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