What to Do in Florence for 3 Days 

Written by Rem Malloy, since 1995 Rem has been guiding and designing trips to Italy and all of Western Europe and is considered an expert in his field for over 30 years.

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As the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence is a perfect spot for your next vacation. Around each corner of the city, Renaissance wonders can be found alongside authentic eateries and elegant architecture. But how many days should you spend in Florence?

In this guide, we present a packed itinerary that will provide you with a perfect 3 days in Florence. For each day, we offer suggestions for the best things to do in Florence as well as some recommendations for where you can eat. We then discuss some helpful tips for visiting Florence in 3 days to ensure that you have the most wonderful experience. 

So if you’ve been wondering what to do in Florence in 3 days, this is the guide for you.

Day 1: Visit The Top Sights in Florence

For your first day in Florence, we recommend visiting some of the top attractions in the city. Some of the best things to do in Florence include the astonishing Duomo and the radiant works of the Uffizi Gallery. By covering these Florence must-do’s on your first day, you can get a real taste of the city’s historic atmosphere.

The Duomo

Start your Florence vacation with a visit to the Duomo, one of the most iconic buildings in Florence. This cathedral is a prime example of Gothic architecture which dominates the Piazza del Duomo and draws visitors in with its massive dome. The exterior of the building is adorned with intricate sculptures and elegant facades which give the building an inviting sense of grandeur. 

If you want to explore the cathedral, be sure to visit it early in the day. It gets very busy later on and you will want as much time as possible with only 3 days in Florence. After exploring the Duomo, you can climb Giotto’s Campanile for breathtaking views of Florence and the surrounding countryside.

After marveling at the Baptistery in the Duomo, head south towards the Arno River where you will find the Uffizi Gallery. As one of the most famous art museums in the world, it is one of the best things to do in Florence and will be the perfect addition to your itinerary. It houses an extensive collection of works by famous artists and is one of the best places in Florence to see Renaissance masterpieces. 

Some highlights of the Uffizi Gallery include The Birth of Venus and Primavera by Botticelli, which are masterful works of Renaissance art. You will also find pieces by renowned artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. We suggest that you book tickets in advance to avoid waiting in long lines, as you’ll want to make the most of your time in Florence.

Ponte Vecchio

After taking in the fabulous artworks and immaculate architecture of the Uffizi Gallery, wander along the river and you will find one of the most iconic landmarks in Florence. Ponte Vecchio is a medieval bridge that spans the Arno River and is famous for its jewelry shops and art dealers. You can enjoy magnificent views from the bridge and take incredible pictures of the Florence skyline. 

While exploring Ponte Vecchio, be sure to pop into the many boutiques and art studios to experience the creative atmosphere. If you visit later in the afternoon, you can avoid the crowds and will also be treated to an elegant sunset as it dips below the Arno River. Crossing the bridge will take you into the Oltrarno District, allowing you to experience more of Florence in 3 days.

Dinner in Santo Spirito

To round out your first day, head to the Santo Spirito neighborhood in Oltrarno where you will find some of the best restaurants in Florence. While here, you can visit some of the artisanal workshops in the area and peruse a variety of unique handmade goods. This part of Florence is celebrated for its authenticity and inviting charm, which makes it the best place to grab dinner after a full day of sightseeing. 

You will find a variety of trattorias in this Florence neighborhood, which gives you the perfect opportunity to sample some of the finest local cuisine. The benefit of visiting Santo Spirito is that it has a more relaxed ambience away from the tourist hubs, allowing you to peacefully unwind for the evening.

Day 2: Experience the Most Beautiful Places in Florence

After getting acquainted with the stunning streets of Florence on your first day, you should spend some time taking in the beauty of the city. For your second day, we will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of Florence that will make you fall in love with this marvelous city. From the Accademia Gallery to the Boboli Gardens, your second day in Florence will be a journey of charming delights. 

There are some incredible museums in Florence, but the Accademia Gallery truly stands above the rest. With this in mind, it’s the best place to visit in Florence for your second day. The gallery houses an impressive collection of sculptures and paintings and houses Michelangelo’s masterwork, the statue of David. 

Give yourself plenty of time to explore the different exhibits and book your tickets in advance to make the most of your time. Aside from the statue of David, you can also admire other works from Michaelangelo like his unfinished Prisoners series. Other artists featured in the museum include Botticelli and Giambologna, allowing you to embark on an artistic journey through history.

San Lorenzo Basilica

After exploring the Accademia Gallery, we suggest you take a trip to the San Lorenzo Basilica. It is one of the oldest churches in Florence and has a fascinating history connected to the powerful Medici family. When you arrive you might think the unfinished exterior is a bit underwhelming, but within the hallowed building, you will find stunning artwork and the Medici Chapels. 

The Basilica features classical elements and balanced proportions, which are prime aspects of Renaissance architecture. You will enter into the chiostro, which is an enchanting green space in the center of the building. Then you can wander through the Old Sacristy and New Sacristy, noting the intriguing artistic elements. 

The San Lorenzo Basilica is one of the best things to do in the city and is the perfect addition to your 3 day Florence Itinerary. After your visit, you can grab a bite to eat in the outdoor San Lorenzo Market nearby and get a glimpse into local life.

Boboli Gardens

Our next stop for your second day is one of the most beautiful places in Florence. The Boboli Gardens are a stunning example of Renaissance design, featuring sculptures, fountains and expertly landscaped foliage. They are situated behind the Pitti Palace and are a great way to spend some time outdoors, especially in Spring when you can take in the gorgeous colors and scents of blooming flowers. 

While walking through the gardens make sure that you visit the ancient amphitheater which has exceptional views of Florence. Another highlight is the Grotto Grande, a cave-like structure decorated with frescoes and statues. We suggest that you wear comfortable shoes for the Boboli Gardens as the terrain can be quite uneven and you will be doing a lot of walking. 

Pitti Palace

After a delightful stroll through the gardens, you can head into the resplendent halls of the Pitti Palace. This Renaissance palace was once the residence of the Medici family who held significant power in Florence during the 15th century. Today, it has been converted into a museum which includes the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments and the Costume Gallery.

In the Pitti Palace, you can admire an extensive collection of paintings by famous artists like Raphael, Titian and Rubens. The majestic interior combined with the artistic offering makes it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Florence. You should plan to spend a few hours in the Pitti Palace and check the website before your visit to see if there are any temporary exhibitions taking place that might appeal to you.

Day 3: Finish Up With More Florence Must-Do’s

For your last day in Florence, we recommend visiting some of the incredible sights that you won’t have had the chance to see yet. You could also use this time to go on a day trip from Florence to experience the verdant villages of Tuscany. However, if you want to stay in the city then we’ve got the perfect Florence itinerary for your final day.

Santa Maria Novella

Wake up early for your last day in Florence and head to Santa Maria Novella, one of the finest churches in Florence. It is located near the train station and is one of the most significant Gothic churches in Florence. It is renowned for its stunning decor and architectural beauty, so it’s the perfect pick-me-up for your last morning in Florence.  

The facade was designed by Leon Battista Alberti and is a prime example of early Renaissance architecture. The interior is even more breathtaking, with works by artists such as Masaccio, Giotto, and Filippino Lippi. If you’re a fan of religious art, be sure to stop into the Green Cloister and admire the frescoes which depict scenes from the Old Testament.

Mercato Centrale

After a delightful stroll through the church, head to Mercato Centrale where you will find some of the most decadent dishes in Italy. This bustling indoor market is a paradise for people looking for a Florence food tour, with an extensive selection of meats, cheeses and local delicacies. The ground floor is dedicated to fresh produce which can be interesting to peruse, but the first floor is where you’ll find a good meal. 

The first floor of the market is arranged like a food court, with numerous stalls offering a variety of Italian dishes. You will find classics like pizza and pasta as well as regional specialities like Tuscan and Sicilian stalls. The ambience of the market is very lively, allowing you to immerse yourself in the city’s culinary heart.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Once you’ve had your fill of the market, head to the south bank of the Arno River where you will find Piazzale Michelangelo. This square is situated on a hilltop that overlooks the city of Florence and is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike who come to enjoy sunset views. It’s one of the best places to visit in Florence for a relaxed afternoon in a serene setting. 

The square features a bronze replica of the statue of David which was designed as a monument to Michaelangelo. From this vantage point, you can take in panoramic views of the city and see some of the top attractions in Florence from a different perspective. It’s the perfect place to grab a memorable photo with a stunning backdrop that includes the Florence Cathedral, Ponte Vecchio and the Palazzo Vecchio.

San Niccolò

For your final night in Florence, we recommend visiting the charming San Niccolò neighborhood which is just below Piazzale Michelangelo. It is known for being less touristy than other areas of Florence which gives it an inviting and authentic ambiance. You can wander the narrow streets and take note of the historic architecture. 

One of the more unique things to do in Florence can be found at the San Niccolò Tower. From the top of the spire, you can admire views of the city as it is illuminated in the evening. You can then stop into one of the many cozy cafes and restaurants for a laid-back dinner, with a toast of local wine to celebrate your sensational 3 days in Florence.

Tips for Visiting Florence in 3 Days

Now that you have a better idea of what 3 days in Florence can look like, we want to share some helpful advice with you to make your visit as amazing as possible. From the best time to visit Florence to suggestions for where to stay, this section will provide you with tips for an unforgettable Florence vacation. 

When to Visit Florence

Florence can be visited any time of year, making it one of Italy’s most desirable destinations. That said, the best time to visit Florence is during the spring months of May and June. The weather in Florence is much milder, with temperatures ranging from 67°F to 83°F, so it’s perfect for sightseeing. 

Plus, there are fewer tourists which means you can visit the top attractions in Florence without having to worry about heaving crowds. Another benefit to visiting Florence in spring is that the gardens and parks burst into bloom, covering the city in a gorgeous blanket of natural colors.

Where to Stay in Florence

There are some great neighborhoods in Florence that will be the perfect place to stay during your Italian vacation. If you’re wondering what part of Florence to stay in for your first time, we suggest the enchanting streets of Santa Croce. This charming neighborhood in Florence is situated just outside the city center and offers a more relaxed atmosphere. 

By staying in Santa Croce you are in close proximity to some of the top attractions in Florence like the Basilica di Santa Croce. You are also within walking distance of the city center which makes other landmarks and sights very accessible. The local vibe and authentic feel makes it the perfect place to stay in Florence for anyone headed to the city for the first time.

Traveling To and Around Florence

Florence is easily accessible as you can fly directly to the airport or even catch a train from other cities like Rome. After arriving in Florence you can enjoy the efficient bus and tram systems that are inexpensive and cover the entire city. You can purchase tickets for Florence buses and trams in tobacco shops and newsstands as well as onboard but this might be slightly more expensive.

If you’d prefer not to use public transport in Florence you can easily walk around. The city is very pedestrian-friendly and many of the best things to do in Florence are within walking distance of one another, so a walking tour is a great way to see the sights. Similarly, you can rent a bike and take a charming ride along the Arno River and through the historic streets of Florence.

Summary

It seems 3 days is the perfect amount of time to experience the wonders of Florence. From the iconic landmarks of the Duomo and Uffizi Gallery to the charming streets of Santa Croce, each day promises a new adventure of art and architecture. Not only will you be treated to some of the best Renaissance artworks, but you can also savor the delicious flavors of Florence’s cuisine in vibrant markets and authentic trattorias. 

After 3 days in Florence you will feel intimately connected to this marvelous city. Though it may seem short, you will take home memories of timeless masterpieces, delectable dishes and the warm embrace of Florence’s unique charm. 

Have you been thinking about a fabulous Florence vacation? Contact Italy4Real now to start planning your amazing escape with our team of experts who will craft a bespoke tour just for you.

About the Author

Rem Malloy started Italy4real back in 1995 with his mother, Deborah de Maio.

He specialises in Italian tours as well as customised tours to France, England, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Greece and Spain. He was also featured in the Travel Channel show Mysteries at The Museum in 2016.

Rem has family in Italy and his mothers home town is Cava di Terrani, near the Amalfi Coast. The family has a street named after them in Sorrento, Via Luigi de Maio; a relative who was mayor of Sorrento.

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