Destinations

3-Day Itinerary in Florence

Florence is a city that is perfect to explore within three days. It was once one of the wealthiest cities in all of Europe considered the cradle of art and architecture, and noticeably the instigator of the Renaissance movement, which found its way into every Western civilization. With the work of masters such as Michelangelo, Donatello, Vasari and more populating its streets, cathedrals and numerous museums, it doesn’t take long to understand that in Florence, art and beauty is nothing less than a way of life. The city is also the capital of Tuscany, a gastronomic region that offers the best Italian wines, Florence offers a pleasure of the senses for all those who stay there.

From where to go, what to do, where to eat, and where to stay, discover the perfect 3-day travel guide of Florence with Lartisien.

Day 1 in Florence

Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross)

Also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories, the Basilica di Santa Croce is famous for being the final resting place of famous artists and personalities such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and more. The Basilica was consecrated in 1442 by Pope Eugene V and is also known for its artistic heritage.

The Tuscan Gothic building boasts the traditional Florentine marble façade of the time, the Basilica’s six chapels are home to frescoes by Giotto, work from Master Donatello, including a painted crucifix, and Monument to Giovan Battista Niccolini by Pio Fedi among others.

Address: Piazza di Santa Croce, 16, 50122 Florence

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday – 9h30 to 17h30

Sunday -12h30 to 17h45

Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria

Leaving the Basilica, the Palazzo Vecchio is only a short trip away. Overlooking the Piazza della Signoria (a popular square that is considered the political focus of the city of Florence and after which the palace was once named) the Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence. Made of solid rusticated stonework with minimal decorations, the building served a variety of purpose throughout the years, even acting as the seat for the Republic of Florence, and even Italy’s provisional government in the 19th century. Today, Palazzo Vecchio is a museum and is also the seat of the City Council. Inside, the Palazzo houses a number of important artworks, including the huge battle frescoes, and the ceiling panels by Renaissance master Giorgio Vasari, and his assistants.

Around the Piazza della Signoria, visitors can find other landmarks such as the Loggia dei Lanzi (wide arches open to the city, where antiques and Renaissance artworks can be seen, including the Medici lions), the Tribunale della Mercanzia, as well as a number of statues such as the Fountain of Neptune by Ammannati and Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Cellini, among others.

Address: P.za della Signoria, 50122 Florence

Opening hours: 9h to 22h

Ponte Vecchio

Right next to Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio is a medieval stone bridge that runs across the Arno River. It is the only bridge in Florence that survived World War II and is now a famous tourist spot for the numerous shops built along the bridge, many of which sell souvenirs, jewels, and arts and crafts.

Lunch Option 1 – The Mercato Centrale Firenze ( Florence Central Market)

A short 12-minute walk from the Piazza della Signoria, the Central Market is a location that harkens back to the time when Florence was the capital of Italy. The Central Market is one of the most effervescent spots in the city. Originally built in 1874 and designed by Giuseppe Mengoni, the marketplace is filled with vendors and stalls, selling local produce for Tuscan cuisine, truffles and oils, bakeries, fish shops, restaurants and cafés, and leather shops. The Central Market is a perfect opportunity to enjoy lunch prepared with local, authentic Tuscan products, such as fresh, handmade ravioli filled with cheese and seasoned with olive oil, cured meats, rustic pizzas and more.

Lunch Option 2 – Procacci

If one wants to avoid the crowd, however, then Procacci, located in the heart of Florence since 1885, has been a beloved establishment and an authority in wine and truffles since its inception. Though one could go there simply to purchase the truffle, there’s something authentically Dolce Vita about just taking a seat outside, under the parasol, to relish a glass of Antinori wine or prosecco alongside one of its signature Truffle Sandwich, with foie gras, butter, anchovies, cured ham, and so more.

Address: Via de’ Tornabuoni, 64/r 50123

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday – 10h to 21h

Sunday – 11h to 20h

Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square)

After lunch, let’s head for the Cathedral Square! It is home to the most emblematic monuments of Florence and one of the most visited places in all of Europe: the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral (Florence Cathedral), and its Giotto’s Campanile (Giotto’s Bell Tower) and the Baptistery of St. John. Together, they are genuine jewels with their stunning inlaid marble exteriors and are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A stunning Gothic cathedral designed by Arnolfo di Cambio and with a dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi (considered the father of the Renaissance movement), the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral) is one of the most important and popular cathedrals in all of Europe. The cathedral took over 140 years to be built, starting in 1296 and completing in 1436. While the ornate exteriors boast works from important artists throughout the centuries such as the three bronze doors by Niccolò Barabino, a half-relief section by Tito Sarrocchi, and a main portal by Augusto Passaglia among others, the interiors present a more austere appearance, in line with the religious beliefs of the time.

Giotto’s Campanile (Giotto’s Bell Tower) boasts a Gothic design by Giotto di Bondone and is known for its polychrome marble encrustrations and rich decorations. Both the exteriors and interiors feature a number of artwork, from paintings to sculptures depicting various scenes from the history of mankind. The bell tower is home to 7 bells, each with its own singular tone.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday – 10h15 to 1645

 

Giotto’s Bell Tower

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 08h15 to 18h50

 

Baptistery of St. John

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 08h15 to 10h15, 11h15 to 18h30

Cappelle Medicee (The Medici Chapels)

Located just 5 minutes north of the Cathedral square, the Medici Chapels are composed of two structures located within the historic Basilica of San Lorenzo. They were erected with the purpose of celebrating the Medici family, patron of the church, as well as the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. The first structure, Sagrestia Nuova (New Sacristy), was conceived by Michelangelo himself in 1520. The second building, Cappella dei Principi (Chapel of the Princes) was started in 1604 by architect Matteo Nigetti, following the preliminary designs of Don Giovanni de’ Medici.

Both structures present ambitious design and interiors though different from one another. Intended as a mausoleum for the Medici family, the New Sacristy features a much more solemn interior, of white marble and grey stone, and a number of sculptures, including the famous Madonna and Child. The Chapel of the Princes, on the other hand, features an octagonal structure, surmounted by a tall dome. The interiors contrast heavily with the New Sacristy, by boasting complex inlaid marble decorations and semi-precious stones. The dome itself is covered in frescoes that display scenes from the Old and New Testaments, and made by Pietro Benvenuti.

Address: Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini, 6, 50123 Florence

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 08h15 to 18h50

Dinner at Degusteria Italiana

To end this first day, dinner at Degusteria Italiana is a must. The restaurant has built its glowing reputation around 3 essential items: cheese, truffles, and wild game. Guests are invited to take a seat in the dining room, with its rustic décor of Tuscan furniture and crystal chandelier, with shelves displaying the restaurant’s expansive collection of top-quality wines, to enjoy a luscious dinner at candlelight. Ingredients are sourced from all over Italy, with a Mediterranean menu that boasts such produce as deer meat from Trentino-Alto Adige, black truffle from Norcia, and burrata from Apulia.

Address: Via Lambertesca, 7 Rosso, 50122 Florence FI

Opening hours:

Monday – 19h to 22h30

Tuesday to Sunday – 12h to 15h, 19h to 22h30

Day 2 in Florence

The Uffizi (Uffizi Galleries)

This second in Florence day should start with the visit of one of the most important museums in Italy. The Uffizi Galleries are spread across 3 buildings (including a building that was built between 1560 and 1580 and designed by Renaissance Master Giorgio Vasari). The Uffizi is known worldwide for its impressive collection of ancient sculptures and paintings.

The collection includes works that range from the Middle Ages (Duccio di Buoninsegna’s Rucellai Madonna, Cimabue’s Maestà di Santa Trinita) through the Early Renaissance masterpieces (Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus) to Neoclassicism (Cabinet for the Crown of the King of Italy by Brushi, Monteneri and Ciani, Solaria at Giubbe Rosse by Baccio Maria Bacci). The gallery also houses an important collection of sculptures and busts that once belonged to the Medici family.

Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Florence

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 08h15 to 18h50

Lunch at Cantinetta Antinori

After the impressive art of The Uffizi, this next address welcomes visitors to a different kind of art form, but one that is just as evocative of Florence’s history. Found on the ground floor of the Palazzo Antinori, in the heart of the city, Cantinetta Antinori pairs traditional Tuscan cuisine with the Antinori family’s wine, which it has been producing for 26 generations, since 1385.

Within a setting that was once the cellars of the Palazzo Antinori, boasting a décor that harkens back to Old Florence with honey-colored wood furniture, a warm, atmospheric lighting, and an inner garden created by Baccio D’Agnolo, guests can enjoy a convivial ambiance. Pairing each dish with one of the Antinori wine becomes an experience in and of itself, as these vintages are recognized as some of the best wines in Tuscany.

Address: Piazza degli Antinori, 3, 50123 Florence FI

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday– 12h30 to 14h30, 19h to 22h30

San Miniato al Monte

After lunch, visitors can head out of the city center, from the other side of the Arno river, to what is considered one of the finest Romanesque buildings in Tuscany and one of the most beautiful churches in Italy, the San Miniato al Monte. The church rests atop one of the highest points in the city of Florence. It was built in 1015, on the tomb of Saint Minias, a martyr of Christianity. The geometrically patterned façade of the church (in the traditional Romanesque green, black, and white marble ) can be seen from all around Florence, while inside, visitors are treated to a rich decor, with art pieces contributed by many artists such as Mechelozzo, Gaddi, and della Robbia. The experience culminates with stunning mosaic on one half of the domed ceiling, depicting Jesus and St. Miniato on his right, holding a crown.

Address: Via delle Porte Sante, 34, 50125 Florence

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 09h30 to 13h, 15h30 to 19h

Piazzale Michelangelo (Michelangelo Square)

Also on the left bank of the Arno river, coming down from the San Miniato basilica, visitors will come upon the Michelangelo Square. Designed by architect Giuseppe Poggi, the square is famous for offering one of the finest views of the historic city of Florence. The square is dedicated to the Renaissance master Michelangelo, with bronze copies of his famous sculptures scattered around the square.

Cocktails at Bar Rasputin

As the sun starts to set on Florence, nothing beats finding a nice spot for a delicious cocktail. On the left of the Michelangelo Square, close to the Palazzo Pitti, Bar Rasputin offers a dark, almost gothic setting, with red candles on every table, and an atmosphere that pays homage to the underground speak easy bars of the US, guests enjoy a variety of craft cocktails, with a twist. The bar boasts a large menu of whiskies, as well.

Address: Borgo Tegolaio, 21R, 50125 Florence FI

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 19h to 02h (next day)

Dinner at Saporium Firenze

A 20-minute walk or ride from Bar Rasputin is the newly opened Saporium Firenze. Launched in March 2023 by the Borgo Santo Pietro hotel, as an extension of their flagship restaurant the Saporium Borgo Santo Pietro, the Saporium Firenze follows the same philosophy of soil-to-plate cuisine, and sustainability. Within a beautiful rustic décor of exposed bricks and pastoral murals, guests can enjoy a menu that uses Tuscan products. Executive Chef Ariel Hagen has created modern dishes that were informed by the expertise of everyone involved in the sourcing of produce from the Borgo Santo Pietro’s own farms, whether it is the master gardener and the forager or the cheesemaker and butcher.

The restaurant offers a 3-course menu, 8-course menu (including a vegetarian option) and a 10-course menu. The wine list contains over 1 200 prestigious wine labels from Tuscany and around the world to be paired with the dishes.

Address: Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini, 69/R, 50125 Florence Fl

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday – 12h30 to 14h, 19h30 to 22h

Day 3 in Florence

Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace)

A Renaissance palace that dates to 1458 and was the residence of Luca Pitti, a successful banker during the reign of Cosimo de’ Medici, the palace was purchased in 1549 by the Medici family to become its ducal residence. Soon, the Pitti Palace would come to symbolize the Medici’s influence and power in the city. The Palace would eventually be home to 2 more dynasties, the Habsburg-Lorraine, and then the House of Savoy.

Address: Piazza de’ Pitti, 1, 50125 Florence

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 08h15 to 18h30

Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens)

Located directly behind the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens are a historic park that first opened in 1766. The park was originally designed for the Medici family, and is one of the first and finest examples of Italian gardens, which would later become a model for most European courts. The expansive garden is seen as an open-air museum, containing numerous statues from various artists, styles, and periods. One such statue is The Fountain of Neptune made by Stoldo Lorenzi, which is a large basin with the bronze statue of Neptune at its center. The Boboli Gardens is also home to large caves, the most famous of them being the Grotta del Buontalenti built by sculptor Bernado Buontalenti.

Address: Piazza de’ Pitti, 1, 50125 Florence

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 08h15 to 18h30

Lunch at Alla Vecchia Bettola

La Vecchia Bettola, with its large marble tables, wooden stools and traditional kitchen décor with bunches of herbs and braids of onions and garlic hanging from the ceiling, is the perfect place for a convivial Italian experience. The menu consists of good old-fashioned Italian food: steak Florentine, Penne with Vodka sauce, and good wine, with bottles of fiasco wine placed on the table itself, so you can help yourself.

Address: Viale Vasco Pratolini 3/5/7, 50124, Florence

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday – 12h to 14h30, 19h30 to 22h30

After lunch, there are two visits possible for visitors, depending on their tastes: the Galeria dell’ Accademia for the amateurs of sculptures, or the Palazzo Strozzi, for those who want to discover varied exhibitions from photography to contemporary art installations.

La Galeria dell’Accademia di Firenze (Gallery of the Academy of Florence)

In the city center, the Gallery of the Academy of Florence was founded in 1784 and is home of the largest collection of sculptures from the popular artist, Michelangelo. More specialized than the Uffizi, it boasts such pieces as the famous David. The Gallery has since expanded its collection, and has acquired a number of important artworks, especially 13th to 15th century gold ground paintings from artists such as Giotto, Bernardo Daddi, and Andrea Orcagna among others. The museum also features a collection of historic musical instruments that once belonged to the grand dukes of Tuscany.

Address: Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50129 Florence

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 08h15 to 18h50 (last admission at 18h20)

The Palazzo Strozzi

Also in the city center and by the way very close to the Gallery of the Academy of Florence, the Palazzo Strozzi is an iconic palace of the Tuscan capital. Built for Filippo Strozzi the Elder, an Italian banker and rival of the Medici family, who desired the most beautiful palace in the city, Palazzo Strozzi stands as a behemoth of civil architecture, featuring an intimidating rusticated stonework. The building features a number of classic Renaissance designs such as mullioned paired windows along the façade, wrought-iron candelabras, horse rings, torch holders, and arched portals on 3 sides.

Ironically, Filippo Strozzi died in 1491, and in 1538, upon the completion of the construction, the palace would be confiscated by Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, before being returned to the family 30 years later. Today, Palazzo Strozzi is home to the Institute of Humanist Studies and the Fondazione Palazzo. The palace holds several annual celebrations and exhibitions celebrating Italian and international art.

Address: Piazza degli Strozzi, 50123 Florence

Opening hours:

Monday to Wednesday, Friday to Sunday – 10h to 20h

Thursday – 10h to 23h

Dinner Option 1 – Regina Bistecca

Finally, to end the day, we recommend what is perhaps the best Bistecca alla Fiorentina (literally, beefsteak Florentine style) in the city for over 140 years, Regina Bistecca. Regina Bistecca welcomes visitors in a charming setting where old stone vaults supported by pillars stand alongside numerous photographs, paintings, prints and posters that decorate the wall. The Regina Bistecca also boasts a well-stocked wine cellar, with some of the best labels in Tuscany, and the Florentin-American Bar where one can enjoy its signature Negroni cocktail. The Regina Bistecca also boasts a well-stocked wine cellar, with some of the best labels in Tuscany, and the Florentin-American Bar where one can enjoy its signature Negroni cocktail.

Address: Via Ricasoli, 14r, 50122 Florence FI

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday – 19h to 23h30

Friday to Sunday – 12h to 15h, 19h to 23h30

Dinner Option 2 – Atelier de’ Nerli

An address where art of living and cuisine come together to offer a unique experience in the heart of Florence, Atelier Nerli welcomes its guests in a sublime Tuscan home décor. With high ceilings, terracotta walls, arched windows, glossy floor tiles, yellow-green and purple velvet furniture, Atelier Nerli offers refined Tuscan dishes in a glamorous setting, such as a succulent risotto with leeks, mussels, wild fennel and shrimp, or a delicious veal cutlet with avocado.

Address: Piazza Dei Nerli 8/9r, 50124 Florence

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 19h to 22h30

Where to Stay in Florence

Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

Housed in two buildings, one of which was once a residence for noble families and the other a convent, the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze proudly displays its Renaissance origins and heritage. The 116 rooms and suites are all richly decorated in a style reminiscent of Old Florentine life and the countryside. The Michelin-starred Il Palagio leads the hotel’s culinary offering, which also includes The Al Fresco and Pool Tree Bar, and The Atrium Bar. Aside from the spa, which is located in its own building, guests have access to the expansive gardens of the hotel, which is the largest private garden in all of Florence.

Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

Location: Borgo Pinti, 99, Florence

Transfer: 35 minutes from Florence Airport

Opening period: All year

The St Regis Florence

Occupying an 18th century palazzo along the banks of Arno River, The St Regis Florence offers a contemporary twist on the classical Renaissance experience. Crystal chandeliers, arched windows, and Renaissance frescoes cohabit with modern furniture across the hotel’s 99 rooms and suites. Meanwhile, the Winter Garden Restaurant and Bar lean completely into the Renaissance experience with a lavish décor of colonnades, gilded railings and arched doorways, where guests can relish authentic Tuscan dishes. The Balconata serves breakfast underneath a magnificent stained glass ceiling, while the St Regis Terrace, located on the adjacent square, combines Mediterranean dishes with views of the Arno River. The hotel features 3 Iridium Suites where guests can enjoy their Clarins spa experience in complete privacy.

The St Regis Florence

Location: Piazza Ognissanti 1, Florence

Transfer: 20 minutes from Florence Airport

Opening period: All year

Hotel Savoy Firenze

Surrounded by landmarks such as the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and Via de Tornabuoni, Hotel Savoy Firenze brings guests right at the heart of the historic center of Florence. Featuring a perfect blend of Renaissance and contemporary aesthetics, courtesy of Rocco Forte’s Olga Polizzi and Laudomia Pucci, the hotel embodies the modern Florentine lifestyle. Chef Fulvio Perangelini’s menu at Irene pays homage to the whole of Italy, while the Irene Bar, with its sleek, modern interiors delights with classic cocktails. The Spa Suite, in partnership with Officina Profumo-Farmeceutica di Santa Maria Novella, takes care of the wellness and relaxation needs of the guests.

Hotel Savoy Firenze

Location: Piazza della Repubblica 7, Florence

Transfer: 35 minutes from Florence Airport

Opening period: All year

Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, Florence

A quaint 14th-century monastery perched on Fiesole hills, surrounded by verdant woodlands and terraced gardens, Villa San Michele is an ode to Tuscany itself. Across its 45 rooms, guests will find period furniture, pastel linens and access to private gardens. The hotel’s restaurant offers a rich a la carte menu designed by Chef Saverio Guardato, offering both international and traditional Tuscan recipes. Meanwhile, the Bar & Lounge, with its frescoes and garden access, is the perfect place to sit back and relax.

Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, Florence

Location: Via Doccia 4, Florence

Transfer: 25 minutes from Florence Airport

Opening period: All year

Villa Cora

Built in the 19th-century residence of one Baron Oppenheim, nestled in the hills that surround the historic city center of Florence, Villa Cora is grandiose in the most personal way. The hotel offers a blend of architectural and design styles, with hints of Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, and contemporary across every room. Across its 5 restaurants and bars, Restaurant Le Bistrot welcomes guests in the decadent Moorish Room, where Italian interiors mesh with Oriental details. There, they can enjoy the modern Tuscan cuisine of Executive Chef Alessandro Liberatore. The Bellevue Roof Terrace and the Il Salotto del Santa are also two must-try, the former offering a breathtaking view of Florence, and the latter for its stunning décor. Spa Béné completes the hotel’s offering, with a list of Asian and European massages, a tepidarium, a sauna, a hammam, and skincare treatments by facialist Sarah Chapman.

Villa Cora

Location: Viale Machiavelli, 18, Florence

Transfer: 20 minutes from Florence Airport

Opening period: All year

Il Salviatino

A 15th-century hand-restored villa located in the Tuscan hills, Il Salviatino is far enough from the city center to offer a pleasantly private experience, while also delighting with splendid views of the city and its surrounding greenery. With just 40 rooms, the hotel never feels crowded and every guest gets to experience their own life in their own Italian mansion. Giacomo, a popular Milanese group of restaurants, caters to Il Salviatino’s culinary needs, with a menu that focuses on traditional Italian dishes, with herbs and produces sourced from the hotel’s own gardens. In the completely renovated spa, guests can enjoy a treatment menu that changes with the seasons.

Il Salviatino

Location: Via Del Salviatino, 21, Florence

Transfer: 30 minutes from Florence Airport

Opening period: All year

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