Visiting Florence but overwhelmed by the number of things to do?? I know the feeling! On my first two trips to Florence, I neither enjoyed the city nor had plans to return. But life always surprises you. I went a third time in January 2018 and completely fell in love with the city. Here is a guide on spending 72 hours in Florence! Yes, how to spend 3 days in Florence includes things to do, see and eat in the Renaissance city!
HOW TO SPEND 3 DAYS IN FLORENCE:
Florence is hard to leave your mind especially after seeing over a million pictures of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore a.k.a The Duomo.
Every time you look at it, you are blown away! My first trip to Florence was quite a hotchpotch and I ended up doing many things I didn’t want to!! I also did not find as much space to walk around as I would have liked. (I was on holiday!)
But I gave the city a second and a third chance and now recommend spending AT LEAST 3 days in Florence.
Why 3 days?? I think it is a good time to know a place from the outside, especially if you’re on a budget or on a short trip.
Although there is a LOT to see and do in Florence, if it is the ONLY trip to Florence you have to make, keep these points below in mind!
WHERE TO STAY IN FLORENCE:
BUDGET: The most important of all questions! If you are staying in Florence for 3 days and looking for a budget place to stay in the city, book Ostello Archi Rossi (Via Faenza, 94R). It is 2 steps away from the train station and 12 minutes walk from the Duomo.
Everything you possibly want i.e. bars, restaurants, fast food, shopping street are around Archi Rossi. Plus private rooms and a very good WiFi helps! I have stayed here twice.
MEDIUM/SPLURGE: A super awesome stay in the centre of Florence is Asso’s Place (Via del Corso, 2) with a dreamy views of the DUOMO, free Wifi+ breakfast goodies.
The price depends on the season but in the spring/summer it should be around EUR 220 a night. It is best to book Asso’s Place with a big group where you can easily split the cost.
More places include Palazzo Belfiore, Palazzo San Niccolò and Canto Degli Scali. I also recommend a local boutique hotel somewhere in the centre if it fits your budget.
WHAT TO DO IN FLORENCE:
The Must Dos in Florence:
- Il Duomo: The stunning Dome that you see in all the pictures of Florence has to be seen from both inside and outside. It took 200 years to build this awe inspiring work of art. Climb to the top of the tower and also visit the Gates of Paradise right in front of it afterwards.
- Galleria degli Uffizi: Everything related to Italian art is right here! Uffizi contains the most priceless works of art from the time of Italian Renaissance and houses works of artists such as Giotto, Vinci, Michelangelo, Piero della Francesco, Caravaggio etc. Uffizi is known to be the most visited museums of the world and it best seen on a guided tour or with an audio guide.
- Piazza della Signoria: An open air museum outside the Uffizi, this will probably leave you mind blown! Piazza della Signoria is the heart and soul of Florence and has been the political centre of the city since centuries. Take time to admire the tons of sculptors here.
- Palazzo Vecchio: A beautiful old palace in the heart of the city, Palazzo Vecchio is next to Uffizi Gallery so plan your day accordingly.
- Ponte Vecchio: The picturesque medieval bridge where it is almost a crime not to take a picture, Ponte Vecchio is filled with expensive jewelry stores and selfie stick sellers. I always go past them and suggest you to cross the Ponte (bridge) and see it from the other side. This also also happens to be the only bridge that was not destroyed in WWII.
- Galleria dell’ Accademia: The museum that houses the most famous statue by Michelangelo! DAVID! Book an early morning visit and avoid the crowds but please don’t take a selfie with David!
Spend 3 days in Florence with the above architectural and cultural marvels as per your pace. Lots of wine and gelato should follow on the side;)
Did you know the centre of Florence has almost been the same since the times of the Renaissance! Amazing, isn’t it??
If You Still Have Time:
- Piazzale Michelangelo: For spectacular views of Florence, walk towards Piazzela Michelangelo to see a fabulous view of the whole city. It is magical at night!
- Oltrarno: Visit the other side of the bridge (Ponte Vecchio) and see the quirky neighborhood of Oltrarno with it’s classy studios and art galleries.
- Palazzo Pitti: A Renaissance palace built in the 15th century, Palazzo Pitti also includes the stunning Baboli garden and is a fascinating palace from the times of the Medici.
- Basilica Santa Croce: Sixteen chapels together constitute the Basilica of Santa Croce, which was badly destroyed during the 1966 flood in Florence. This happens too be Michelangelo’s burial place.
- Fiesole: Take ATAF Bus 7 and visit the town of Fiesole. The journey is only 20 minutes and you can admire the a spectacular view!
Check out these Travel Guides on Florence
DAY TRIPS FROM FLORENCE:
Although there are a TON of options for day trips from Florence, here are the top 3:
Pisa: If you want to cross off another UNESCO Heritage Site of Italy (there are 53!), definitely go see the tower that defies gravity a.k.a the Leaning Tower. Book your train tickets online on Trenitalia or buy at the station.
Siena: Head to the medieval town of Siena that is famous for Palio- a bi annual horse race. Journey time from Florence is about an hour and 15 minutes. Read more here.
San Gimignano: Another beautiful (but very touristy) town near Florence is San Gimignano. It is adorned with 14 towers that makes a beautiful skyline and also houses one of most popular gelateria of the world!
More options for day trips include Lucca, Monteriggioni and parts of Val d’Orcia.
I do not recommend taking a day trip to Rome because nothing about Rome can be seen in a day.
WHERE TO EAT IN FLORENCE:
In order to spend 3 days in Florence, you might want to try the best pizza or pasta in the city.
10 best places to eat in Florence
1. Caffè Cibrèo:
Dine with the locals in Cibreo which is famous for sourcing local products and making elegant dishes of them. The have a trendy vibe mixed with a little of old world. The owner is so fun to talk to and will enhance your dining experience up a notch. Cibreo’s aperitivo (evening snacks with a drink of your choice) is fantastic! They also have a formal restaurant and a smaller Trattoria (Closed Monday)
Via Andrea del Verrocchio, 5R
2. La Ménagére:
A pretty place for coffee that is also a flower shop + restaurant + bistrot. La Ménagére has a relaxed vibe and super friendly service. They also have free WiFi without password….! (makes life easier, no??)
Via Dè Ginori, 8/R
3. Trattoria Anita:
Trattoria Anita is where the locals frequent. Here you will find some of the best hand made pasta you’ve ever eaten! Their selection of wine is also amazing as is the old world and no frills service. Easy on the pocket. (Closed Sunday)
Via del Parlascio, 2
A fantastic pizza place in Florence is SimBIOsi. They have pizzas that are organic, glutton free and vegan! It has a cozy vibe and is only 5 minutes walk from the Duomo. Very good choice!
Via de’ Ginori, 58/red
5. Mercato Centrale:
This is the central market with a ton of food stands from international cuisines to fregional Italian cuisines. I love the counter with fresh pasta (Pasta Fresca) and the corner Il Tartufo (The Truffles) that gives dishes topped with fresh truffles on salads and sandwiches!
Bored of eating Italian food?? (is it possible though?) Anyhow, if you need a change from Italian, try organic food, fresh juices, cakes, salads and smoothies at Carduccio. Thanks to Georgette from GirlinFlorence for recommending on her blog.
Sdrucciolo de’ Pitti, 10/R
7. Gelateria dei Neri:
What else but gelato?? Make that extra effort to find this place and go for any flavor here! You’ll probably burn those calories anyway with all that walking.
Via dei Neri 20/22R
8. All’Antico Vinaio:
Be prepared to stand in longest queue to get the best panino ever! Antico Vinaio lives up to their fame.
Via dei Neri 65
9. Harry’s Bar:
Super chic place for a quick negroni or spritz!
Via Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci, 22/R
10. News Cafe:
If you want a little shot of Duomo in your cup (YES!) go to News Cafe, just 5 minutes away from the main Duomo. They do the best coffee art! You will thank me later 😉
Via del Giglio, 59
So what do you think about Florence??
Jaw dropping architecture, delectable Tuscan food and close proximity to the countryside makes Florence an ideal Italian city. There is something for everyone here! Honestly, I never had a soft spot for Florence until my recent trip. I fell in love with the city again because I gave it a second chance!
Leaning Tower of Pisa and Views from Above – ItalophiliaJune 29, 2020 at 12:53 pm
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valeriavescinaApril 13, 2018 at 8:36 pm
Your love of Italy really shines through this post, Ishita!
IshitaApril 13, 2018 at 8:51 pm
Thanks so much Valeria. xx
Most Instagram-able Spots in Florence | ItalophiliaApril 13, 2018 at 8:26 pm
[…] How to Spend 3 Days in Florence […]
travelpolicyApril 10, 2018 at 8:13 pm
Great post! Will be travelling to Florence this summer, this made me even more excited for the trip!!
IshitaApril 10, 2018 at 10:46 pm
How awesome!! You will love Florence so much. X
travelpolicyApril 12, 2018 at 3:08 pm
I am sure it will be great, can’t wait!
aesha thakurApril 3, 2018 at 3:45 am
IshitaApril 3, 2018 at 11:11 am
LuLu B - Calabrisella MiaMarch 29, 2018 at 1:33 pm
Amazing tips! I’m saving this because I want to do a long weekend in Florence as soon as I can and I think this will be very helpful! 🙂
IshitaMarch 29, 2018 at 1:34 pm
Yay!! Thanks Lulu. Also, I can’t follow you on wordpress. Any idea why??
sooffwegoMarch 28, 2018 at 9:40 pm
Great post. I love Florence so much. I used to live in Lucca for a bit. I think you should add that to your suggestions for day trips. It is amazing. Can’t wait to be back there this summer!
IshitaMarch 28, 2018 at 10:40 pm
It’s already there 🙂 Must be great to stay in such a lovely town. x
Stacy di Anna PollardMarch 28, 2018 at 8:13 pm
Nicely done! I’m so glad you gave Florence another chance! 🙂 Saving this post in my trip notes so I can investigate your restaurant suggestions! Un abbraccio…
IshitaMarch 28, 2018 at 8:36 pm
Grazie Stacy! I know how much you love it. Stay tuned for another post but sans the food 😉
FrancisMarch 27, 2018 at 4:08 pm
These are excellent tips and I would not disagree with any one of them. The important thing is to book on line before hand avoid wasting precious time in queues. Also bring an umbrella. Storms can be sudden in Florence.
IshitaMarch 27, 2018 at 5:38 pm
🙂 Absolutely yes for umbrellas. Thanks so much!
a mindful travelerMarch 27, 2018 at 11:46 am
I agree Ishita, there is so much to see and do in Florence, that three days is not enough. You have covered quite a lot in your helpful guide, thanks for your suggestions. Xx
IshitaMarch 27, 2018 at 12:26 pm
I am happy to help. Are you visiting Florence this summer? xx
a mindful travelerMarch 27, 2018 at 12:27 pm
No lovely. We are actually off to Zhong Kong and Vietnam soon. A short trip but very excited to go as it’s my first time there!! 😃
IshitaMarch 27, 2018 at 12:28 pm
How lovely!! Excited for you 🙂 Sicily??
a mindful travelerMarch 27, 2018 at 12:39 pm
Thanks love. It’s to celebrate our 20year wedding anniversary, so no kids allowed 😆
Sicily….. hmmmm…. always in my heart, not sure when we will return! What about you?
IshitaMarch 27, 2018 at 12:42 pm
I confused with someone else visiting Sicily. Sorry!! No idea cara. Maybe next year?? And many many congratulations! What a feat! 🙂 Have a great time xx
a mindful travelerMarch 27, 2018 at 12:43 pm
Haha… all good love. Thank you, you’ll hear all about it when we return ❤️
Image Earth TravelMarch 27, 2018 at 1:01 am
Wow, I haven’t been to Florence since 1985, which was for a fleeting moment only. I must return.
Lovely photos and great post!
IshitaMarch 27, 2018 at 9:53 am
Been a long time for you then 🙂 You must! Thank you as always.
Image Earth TravelMarch 27, 2018 at 4:19 pm
Yes and I really don’t have any excuse as I live in Italy. Life has a habit of getting in the way. 😉
IshitaMarch 27, 2018 at 4:52 pm
haha I can imagine. How lucky in a way 😉
koolkosherkitchenMarch 26, 2018 at 10:55 pm
You can spend your life in Florence (and I wish I could!), and it won’t be enough, but for a short-time trip your guide is excellent. Thank you for several photos of the Duomo – it is truly breathtaking no matter which direction you approach it from.
IshitaMarch 26, 2018 at 10:58 pm
Totally get you but for a first timer or even a second timer to Florence, this should be fine! Thank you, I can’t get enough of it. EVER.
koolkosherkitchenMarch 26, 2018 at 11:08 pm
Of course, and your guide is concise and specific. You might want to add, perhaps, that if you get to Fiesole, a few minutes spent among the ruins of the Roman theater are worth your while, and, of course, the Medici Villa and the Convent of San Domenico ( on the days when they allow visitors) to see Fra Beato Angelico works.
IshitaMarch 26, 2018 at 11:10 pm
I actually never have got to see the ruins myself and I always recommend things that I do. But I hope people do get there 😉 Yes the Convent is on my list for next time xx.
koolkosherkitchenMarch 26, 2018 at 11:14 pm
The ruins are a nice place to have a little picnic and feel Ancient Roman for a few minutes. I did not get the feeling walking the Roman Baths, for instance. The Convent is open to visitors on uncertain days and hours, so you have to find out in advance.
firstname.lastname@example.orgMarch 26, 2018 at 10:47 pm
Well done! I used to go every year for a few days over the holidays but have not been there for years. Still, I’ve seen 90% of what you have on your list, so there’s more to go! Thanks, Dee
IshitaMarch 26, 2018 at 10:58 pm
Thanks and happy you did 90% of it. Hoping the first time travelers, find it useful.
PeKiMarch 26, 2018 at 10:43 pm
Lovely post! All the food photos are making me hungry!! So glad you had such an amazing trip ❤️
IshitaMarch 26, 2018 at 10:45 pm
Thank you so much. Haha I know right?? I tried to post a minimum of them 😉
Bake-cookMarch 26, 2018 at 10:17 pm
Reblogged this on Cooking and Baking.
IshitaMarch 26, 2018 at 10:21 pm
marilynebMarch 26, 2018 at 10:07 pm
We did this the other way round, as a day trip from Milan, and it was a lovely day even with summer rain. It only took about 1hr 40 minutes by train. So want to go back and explore more, but we managed to fit in Palazzo Pitti and the Uffizi. Your pics as ever are wonderful!
IshitaMarch 26, 2018 at 10:21 pm
So kind dear! Thank you. Do you know I have yet to explore Milan 🙁 Must amend it soon. x
marilynebMarch 26, 2018 at 10:29 pm
Am sure it’s another place you’ll fall in love with! Hope you can get there soon!
IshitaMarch 26, 2018 at 10:35 pm
I was there for a few hours in 2013. Next year hopefully 🙂 Grazie.