Day 1 - It all starts from Piazza del Duomo
10:00 – In the heart of the Tuscan capital is Piazza del Duomo, where you'll find the Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore), Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni) and Giotto’s Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto). For an iconic look at Florentine architecture and art, this trio of cultural delights is a wonderful way to spend your first day in Florence. Entry into the cathedral is free, but the real delight is Brunelleschi’s cupola, housed inside, which enables you to climb to see its breathtaking ceiling fresco. Although it’s a 400-step route, the view is simply stunning.
12:00 – Just opposite is the Baptistery, known for its octagonal shape and renowned bronze Porta del Paradiso (Gates to Paradise). The baptistery, which was where the famous Italian poet Dante was baptised, contains an incredible ceiling mosaic dating back to the 12th century.
14:30 – After lunch stop off for a traditional Italian gelato at the renowned ice cream parlour Grom, located along Via del Campanile. Try its more traditional cioccolato (Peruvian chocolate), its range of seasonal fruit sorbets or a little something different with its caramel and Himalayan pink salt variety.
15:30 – Make your way to Giotto’s Bell Tower situated in Piazza del Duomo, which offers stunning views of the building’s architecture and close-up views of Santa Maria del Fiore and the wider Florentine landscapes from the top. To scale to the top again involves a 400-step climb, so pace yourself and take breaks along the way up on one of the tower’s platforms.
17:00 – Finish off your day in style at the Opera Museum (Museo dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore), which provides a glimpse of the original Gates of Paradise that are replicated by the gates adorning the baptistery.
Day 2 - Tour of the best art museums
09:00 – For a taste of art, head to two of the great art museums, the Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) and the Academy Gallery (Galleria dell’Accademia). We recommend you book in advance to avoid queuing. It’s also a good idea to head to both of these as they open to avoid the large crowds.
A wonder of Renaissance and European art, the Uffizi Gallery can be explored as part of a guided tour, or on your own with or without an audio guide.
With 101 rooms to explore, it’s necessary for art lovers to spend at least half a day visiting their many exquisite works. The Birth of Venus by Botticelli and pieces by Raphael are favourites among visitors.
14:30 – After stopping for a quick bite, it's back to the cultural exploration with the splendour of Piazza della Signoria - Florence’s main square. Its significance relates to the 15th-century Bonfire of the Vanities, where a marble plaque on the floor indicates where the priest Savonarola lost his life.
15:30 – It’s then time to head to the Palazzo Vecchio museum, Florence’s town hall. Step inside to see where historical and political movements were discussed. Visit the Hall of the Five Hundred (Salone dei Cinquecento) and tour the secret passages, which unveil the building’s hidden rooms, staircases and roof areas.
17:00 – Take some time to explore Ponte Vecchio (the Old Bridge) and head over the other side of the Arno River to visit the old centre. Designed in 1345, the bridge was lined with butchers. While shops still adorn the famous thoroughfare, these are now for jewellers. As you cross Ponte Vecchio, be sure to look above to see the Vasari corridor that connects Piazza della Signoria to Pitti Palace.
20:00 – To end your day, discover wonderful views over Florence, especially at sunset up the Arnolfo Tower of Palazzo Vecchio (Torre di Arnolfo), and see Santa Maria del Fiore and Giotto’s Bell Tower both high up and close-up.
Day 3 - From Pitti Palace to the Academy Gallery
10:00 – Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) is the first stop of the day, and its grand artwork, wonderful interiors and sumptuous size will keep you busy for hours and show off Florence in all its glory.
As you saunter from one decadent colourful room into another, make sure you spend time in both the opulent Appartamenti Reali and Costume Gallery, which depicts the history of Italian fashion and international household design names, including Prada and Gucci.
12:30 – Then it’s time to grab lunch at the peaceful and serene Boboli Gardens (Giardino di Boboli). Although part of Pitti Palace, there are additional entry fees that are well worth it. With beautifully crafted gardens and well looked after paths, the gardens are a calm and tranquil hideaway for those looking for a little rest from the busy pace of gallery and museum visiting. So why not enjoy a picnic and a delightful Aperol Spritz?
Here, you'll see the Fountain of Neptune, a magnificent work of sculptural mastery by Bartolomeo Ammannati that dominates the visual extravagance of the square.
15:30 – It’s time to see the famed Academy Gallery for Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David. The overpowering and exquisite sculpture demonstrates the intricate and limitless skill of its crafter.
16:30 – Next, go towards Piazza San Lorenzo for a visit of the city’s Church of San Lorenzo and the Medici Chapels before heading to the nearby San Lorenzo outdoor market.
19:00 – In the evening, locals and tourists alike flock to Michelangelo Square (Piazzale Michelangelo) for unforgettable views over Florence and a truly spectacular way to end three days in Florence.
Catch the sunset while you take in the captivating views and reminisce over all the wonderful experiences created in the charming Italian paradise that is Florence.