3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

Well hello to you my reader chums! Italy will forever be my favourite country to visit and explore. The combination of authentic and delicious cuisine, friendly people and rich history will always leave me wanting more. It's my happy place and I always feel at home strolling around the cobbled streets. I've wanted to visit Florence for the longest time after my previous trips to both Rome and Venice as I've heard so many good things and it really did live up to expectation.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

As Florence is in the heart of Tuscany, I wanted to make a big trip of it and explore surrounding towns in the region (you can read all about my travel advice and what I got up to in upcoming posts.) I was in Florence for a total of 4 nights which gave my boyfriend and me three whole days to explore and the evening in which we arrived.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

Florence is a city with a heart of gold, has the quaintest streets and the most impressive buildings you'll ever see. It stole my heart and I can't wait to return one day. If you're planning a trip there, here is everything I got up to on my trip.

Day 1: Exploring the city and main sights 

Duomo, Baptistery, and Giotto's Campanile - Florence is renowned for the Duomo and the picture-perfect view of terracotta buildings. The main square where the Duomo stands should be your first port of call as its the face of the city. You can get a pass for all the sights in this area including the Duomo (to go up the dome as it's free to enter the cathedral), entrance to the Baptistery, up Giotto's tower, the crypt and the Duomo museum.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

As this part of the city is always the busiest, I would recommend heading over to the sights as soon as they open or in mid-afternoon. We found the line to get inside the Duomo was a lot shorter after lunchtime than in the early morning. The Duomo tends to open around 10am, the Baptistery and bell tower at 8.15 and the museum at 9am. Times can fluctuate depending on the days so make sure you check beforehand. The Duomo is huge inside and incredibly beautiful, and walking up the bell tower (414 steps to be precise) offers a stunning view of the city that I'll never forget. The pass is 18 Euro and completely worth it as you're able to get a full insight into Florence's history and take in the beauty of its buildings.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

Ponte Vecchio - I never realised how pretty bridges could be until I set foot onto this one. Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge that survived the Second World War and has shops all across it in Florence. It's probably about a 15-minute walk from the Duomo and offers the prettiest views. You could easily spend an hour or so watching the day pass as you enjoy a slice of pizza on the riverfront. The shops across the bridge are lovely and make for a nice mooch. The bridge takes you from the busier side of the city to the quieter side.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

Piazzas galore - Before I visited Florence, I researched the best places to see and lots of people recommended certain piazzas aka squares in the city to visit. I ended up coming across them without even realising as strolling around the city is honestly as lovely as seeing the sights. There is so much beauty wherever you look that we spend hours soaking it up and getting our bearings. The prettiest piazzas we visited were Piazza Della Republica, Piazza Della Signoria, Piazza Santa Croce and Piazza San Marco (as it made for the perfect lunch spot).

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do


Day 2: More sightseeing and mooching around the quaint streets 

Strozzi Palace - If art is your thing, then the Strozzi Palace is the place to go. You can enter the main courtyard for free and look around but have to pay an admission fee to see the gallery. It's located really close to the Piazza Della Republica.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do


Leonardo Da Vinchi museum - Leonardo Da Vinchi is renowned for his art but something I didn't realise is he invented a whole host of different items. I discovered this at his museum which offered an array of his inventions and things to play with. It's not your typical museum and quite small but it was a lot of fun and about 6 Euro each.

Basilica of Santa Croce - This had to be my favourite church in Florence that I visited. It's set in the Piazza di Santa Croce which in itself is the most gorgeous square. The church itself is astonishing to look at and even more beautiful inside. The tickets are 8 Euro each and that includes entrance to the church, the grounds, the chapels, and a museum. It'll honestly be one of the best 8 Euros you ever spent. I absolutely adored walking around this church and admiring its beauty.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do


3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

Galleries - Florence is renowned for its huge art scene and there are several different galleries that you can visit on your trip. I didn't go to any on my trip as we were saving our money for different things, however, I kind of wish I did. The two galleries which stand out are the Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell' Accademia. The two galleries are around a 15-minute walk for each other and will open your eyes to the city's art.

Day 3: Exploring the other side of the city 

Florence is split into two by the Arno river and the several bridges which run across it. You have the slightly busier and touristy side and then the quieter and I suppose 'residential area'. When you pass over the Ponte Vecchio, the initial area you enter is still quite touristy but then as you stroll further, you hit the quainter spots.

Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens - This had to be one of my highlights of the trip. I love visiting a palace and also love gardens so put them together and you have a match made in heaven. The Pitti Palace is stunning in every way possible. There's vintage art that covers most of the walls, traditional furniture, and the most extravagant chandeliers. And, the gardens simply blew me away! As you enter the gardens, you're faced with a massively steep hill and when you reach the top, there is the most beautiful view of both the gardens and the palace. We spent quite a while walking around the gardens as there is so much green to see. It's definitely a place where you can sit for hours and soak up the Italian sun. I really wish we bought a picnic to enjoy there! I can't remember the exact price of the gardens and palace but I think it was around 26 Euro each, however, as we were under 26, we got the ticket for only 8 Euro each.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

Piazzale Michelangelo - Florence is one of the prettiest cities I've ever seen and I was fully able to appreciate it from Piazzale Michelangelo. This area is located up a lot of steep steps but once you've arrived, the view is totally worth it. The best time to come here would be at sunset as you can watch the entire city turn from day until night.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

Exploring the back roads - Florence is one of the best cities to literally spend hours walking around and soaking it all up with your other half or best pals. I never got sick of the endless yellow washed buildings or gelato shops on every corner. As this side of the city wasn't as hectic, I was able to take in the rustic elements of the city walls and the Italian music which floated along the cobbled streets.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

Where to stay

When it comes to Florence, you can pretty much walk everywhere as long as you stay around the main hub. All the tourist sights are within a 20-minute walk (at most) with each other that you rarely need to get any public transport or taxis to go from place to place. We stayed in the Sani Tourist House which was located under a 5-minute walk from the Duomo and close by to everything else - it really was a prime location. Wherever you choose to stay, I would highly recommend getting the tram from the airport to the city centre as it'll save you a lot of money (only 1.5 Euro) and it is really easy to navigate around.

Where to eat 

Florence is the heart of Tuscany and offers the best selection of traditional Italians, wine bars and gelato shops you'll ever eat at. On my trip, I dined at some of the most delicious places which I'd love to revisit.

Gusto Leo Ristorante Pizzeria - Pizza is everywhere you look in Italy and some places do it better than others. I'm personally a huge fan of Italian pizza; I love the thin base and overuse of tomatoes - it thrills my taste buds. This restaurant was located super close to our hotel and pretty close to the Duomo square. The pizzas were delicious and incredibly reasonable in price.

Ruffino - I absolutely loved this restaurant. It had everything that I dream of in an Italian restaurant - super delicious food, good wine, and a rustic interior. We came across this is we were roaming the city and it was a very good find. I had the yummiest pesto with Gnocchi ( I wish I could eat that again) and Dan had handmade ravioli which was as tasty. It's located near Piazza Santa Maria Novella.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do


Osteria del Proconsolo - This was our final meal in Florence and the perfect way to say goodbye to the city. It has everything an Italian restaurant should have; that rustic, family vibe, chequered red table cloths, and traditional cuisine. I had the nicest lasagne there and the wine matched to the food perfection!

Shake Cafe - This little cafe was located a few minutes walks from our hotel and was a vegan paradise. There was everything from smoothies to pastries, and for a couple of mornings, we had pastries in there and their banana bread - it was insane.

Liberiacafe La Cite - Over the other side of the bridge, we came across the coolest cafe which I read about beforehand. It was like a library and cafe all in one. When we went in, quite a few people were in there studying.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do


Cucciolo Bar Pasticceria - Italy is known for its pastry shops and having a pastry and coffee for breakfast. This shop was right next to the Shake Cafe and it has the homemade, family vibe to it. The owner was so lovely and made us feel at home - and even gave us a free doughnut when we bought our morning pastries.

Festival del Gelato - This was definitely the nicest ice cream I had in Florence! My friend recommended it on Instagram and I can see why. They offered every single flavor under then sun and their Nutella gelato was to die for. The prices are reasonable and it was super close to our hotel.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do


Gelateria Della Passera - When you're over the other side of the bridge, this is the gelato place to go for. It's the smallest shop which serves the yummiest ice cream - and the scoops are only 1 Euro each. Their hazelnut ice cream was honestly so moreish!

Spending 4 nights in Florence was honestly so incredible, it's hard to even put it into words. The combination of brilliant architecture, delicious cuisine, the kindest people and quaintest streets made me fall in love with the city more than I ever would. I'd love to go back over and over again, and I know my boyfriend and I could have easily stayed there for much longer.

3 day guide to Florence: what to see and do

I hope you enjoyed this Florence guide. When are you visiting the city?

Thank you for reading <3

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