Florence or Firenze is the capital of Tuscany and is one of the most famous cultural cities in Europe. Florence is a must-see city in Italy. The sights in Florence make the city very nice to visit for a few days. I only visited the city for a day because I was staying in Pisa. If you are staying in Florence, visit (part of) Pisa and all the great sights for a day. But also the Lucca and its sights are well worth a visit. This was one of my favorite cities for a citytrip.
Florence is big and quite touristy. Still, I think you should not miss a visit to this city! Florence is touristy for a reason of course.
Sightseeing in Florence
The many sights in Florence make the city incredibly fun for a few days. Actually, all sights are within walking distance of each other. Public transport is therefore not necessary. Since I only visited Florence 1 day, I tell you which sights in Florence you can visit in 1 day!
There are also plenty of nice free sights in Florence.
Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore
Perhaps one of the most visited sights in Florence is the cathedral. This gigantically impressive building is centrally located in the city. The exterior of the cathedral in particular is richly decorated. The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the signature symbol of Florence.
This is a free attraction, but there’s always a long que. Don’t be put off by this. Expect to wait about 30 – 45 minutes in this que before being able te enter. Fortunately, you’re constantly waiting in the shade, which makes it a bit easier.
The Baptistery is located opposite the cathedral. This is a baptistery made in the same style as the cathedral.
The Ponte Vecchio is the famous medieval bridge over the Arno River. The bridge is known for the shops that are located on the bridge. You also have a nice view over the Ponte Vecchio from the other bridges over the river.
This attraction is also completely free, unless you can’t resist the temptation to buy something in the shops!
Piazza della Signoria
This large square houses the Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi and the covered sculpture gallery Loggia dei Lanzi.
The Uffizi Museum contains a large collection of painting by painters from the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. I didn’t visit Uffizi because it’s one of the busiest museums. As a result, there’s often a big que for this. A visit may therefore not be feasible in a single day. Consider buying your ticket in advance.
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella
One of the first things to see in Florence when you walk out of the station is the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella. This is a basilica in the Piazza Santa Maria Novella. From the outside, this basilica looks very nicely decorated. To visit the basilica from the inside you pay € 5 entrance fee.
Basilica di San Lorenzo
On the outside this basilica may not look very special, but on the inside it is very beautiful. Here you can visit the basilica, the monastery and the library. In the library you may only walk on the carpet and not on the original wooden floor.
Pay close attention to which tickets you buy. You can buy different types of (combination) tickets at different prices.
I always find those famous market halls a bit alike. Similar to some of the market halls in for example Budapest, Madrid and Barcelona. Still it’s nice to walk through and eat something on the top floor. In the market hall you can find vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, sweets, wine and other food and drinks. Entrance is free.
On this square you have a fantastic view over all of Florence. From this point you can clearly see how big the city actually is. The climb consists of quite a few steps, but it’s easy to do. The statue in the square is a copy of David, the statue of Michelangelo. It serves as a memorial to the artist.
The real statue is in Galleria dell’Accademia. Because this museum is very busy, it is recommended to buy your tickets in advance so that you do not have to queue for hours. Unfortunately I did not visit this museum, because I could no longer buy a ticket a few days in advance and I did not have time to queue. So be on time to buy your ticket!
Is Florence worth a day? I definitely think so! There’s plenty to see and much is possible in a single day, but of course you can see much more in two or three days. But if you visit Tuscany, don’t miss the cultural city of Florence!
Accommodation in Florence
Florence is a very big city and there’s plenty of choice in terms of accommodation. Stay in the historic city center to be close to the sights, but expect to pay a bit more for this. Or, for example, stay in the quieter Oltrarno on the other side of the Arno river. There’s plenty of choice!
How to get to Florence?
Many trains leave to and from Florence (Firenze Santa Maria Novella) on a daily base. The train connection between Pisa and Florence is excellent. This train ride takes about an hour and costs € 8.40 for a one-way ticket. For current departure times and routes, visit ItaliaRail.com.
Tip: Do you have to buy train tickets to Florence online in advance? No that’s not necessary! Buy your train tickets a day in advance or on the day at the station. This is cheaper than online and the train tickets cannot sell out. No seats are reserved.