Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy
Italy,  travel

How to Spend 3 Days in Florence

3 days in Florence is just enough to fit in the major highlights, but expect to be on the go!

Firenze in Italian, this Tuscan city offers a romantic break full of good food and wine, a rich history, and nowhere else would you find so much Renaissance art history crammed into one place. We arrived in Florence from Pisa by train. When we arrived, we found the baking heat replaced by a cooling light rain and a city steeped in a romantic atmosphere.

How to spend 3 days in Florence

Day 1 in Florence

David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created in marble between 1501 and 1504 by the Italian artist Michelangelo. Located at Accademia Gallery in Florence Italy

Book ahead and start early to beat the queues and crowds. You’ve likely seen a thousand pictures of the statue of David. Unlike some other ubiquitous pieces of art, David did not fail to impress. Every detail of muscle and sinew, carved into what was considered a flawed piece of marble, needs to be taken in to appreciate how incredible Michelangelo’s piece really is. Apart from his rough and unfinished-looking Prisoners, there isn’t much else to see here, so take your time and take it all in.

See the Duomo

Duomo in Florence Italy

Aside from being our main point of reference while we navigate the streets of Florence, the Duomo is an impressive structure. Also known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, the 15th-century cathedral is visually stunning with its green, pink, and white marble façade. Book tickets to tour inside, or grab a coffee in the Piazza to marvel at it from afar.

Visit Mercato Centrale for Lunch

This covered market, next to the outdoor San Lorenzo market, is a little foodie paradise. Although most goods on offer downstairs will not interest you unless you are staying somewhere with a kitchen, you may want to check out the cured meats, olives, and cheeses to take back. We didn’t find out until after, but some places will vacuum seal your purchase if you tell them you are travelling back with it.

Upstairs is great for a light lunch, featuring street food-style stalls in a gourmet food court. It’s great for Caprese salads, pizzas, truffle-inspired dishes, and more. If you’re feeling brave, try the Lampredotto, a classic Florentine sandwich made from cow stomach. I tried a bit and thought it was surprisingly nice (a bit like pulled pork in flavour).

Spoil yourself with some shopping

Whether you are hunting for some bargain leather goods while at San Lorenzo market or decide to take advantage of Florence’s extensive designer boutiques, it’s likely you’ll return home with your suitcase a few kilos heavier.  At the market, you can bargain with the stall traders.  It was quite rainy and quiet when we were there, so we were able to negotiate down on a few presents to take home.  Meanwhile, you’ll find the likes of Prada, Gucci, and Versace on Via dei Tornabuoni, or for high street fashion, try Via dei Calzaiuoli.

Day 2 in Florence

Visit Uffizi Gallery

Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli at Uffizi Gallery in Florence Italy

Home to such pieces as Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait of a Young Man, and a large collection of Italian Renaissance art, Uffizi should not be passed up. But heed the same advice as with Galleria dell’Accademia: go early and book ahead!  Made up mainly of small rooms, you might suddenly find yourself squashed in the middle of a tour group while trying to get a peek at some of the more famous pieces.  But, yes, they are worth it.

Take a break from the large crowds out on the balcony near the cafe to take in some stunning views of the city over Piazza della Signoria.

Grab Lunch at SandwiChic

Of all the lists I expected Florence to top, “best sandwich” came as a surprise. But the small shop, serving a number of artisan sandwiches with fresh meats, cheeses and chutneys, was a lasting memory.

We loved it so much that we just had to go back for another sandwich when we arrived back from our wine tasting tour on the last day.

Take Some Pictures in Piazza della Signoria

Neptune's fountain Piazza della Signoria in Florence
Piazza della Signoria forms the heart of Florence. It’s hard to know where to look first when you arrive in this square. Take a tour of Palazzo Vecchio, which includes a copy of David near the entrance. Or examine the statues under the Loggia della Signoria, which looks something like a renaissance storage area with its rows of statues.  To your left, you’ll see Neptune’s fountain (pictured above), along with some more modern installations.

Stroll along Ponte Vecchio


Ponte Vecchio in Florence Italy

Expect to see some quirky shops mixed in with high-end jewelers and designer fare on/around the famed bridge over the Arno. For example, I was fascinated by an old fashion stationary shop selling old-fashioned stationary, quills, and ink. And the jewelry on the bridge itself is definitely worth a peek. Just avoid this area for food, as prices tend to be more expensive.

Day 3 in Florence

Go Wine Tasting

art installation of two men carrying a bunch of grapes outside vineyard in Tuscany

Perhaps you came for the art, but you’ll stay for the wine. After a few days in the city, we started to feel jaded with Renaissance art and sculpted masterpieces. There are worse problems to have, but by the end of your stay, you will inevitably need some R&R. Don’t worry, Florence has you covered for this too.

There are a few wine tours around the city itself. But this could be the perfect chance to journey out into the Tuscan countryside and sample some gorgeous Chianti wine from the vineyards themselves. Ours was through Viator, and included two vineyards and a stop at the town of Greve. We enjoyed it, although the portions were small and the stop-off was far too brief to enjoy.

bottles Chianti wine at a wine tasting in tuscany

The scenery and the wine itself were amazing. I enjoyed deep red wine, produced in the region between Florence and Sienna.  Keep an eye out for the Black Rooster seal, marking true quality.

Tuscan Vineyard

Florence travel tips

Getting to Florence

Florence is well served by trains from Venice, Rome, and Pisa, amongst other destinations.  If you are flying there, land in Pisa and Florence is approximately half an hour away.

Where to Stay in Florence

It’s quite easy to find something central and Florence is awash with B&Bs. We stayed at B&B Soggiorno Panerai, and it was ideal. Very centrally located, down the street from the Duomo, our host was so lovely, it was quite quiet, and had an old world charm which I loved. The best part was having breakfast brought to our rooms in the morning – it was quite a spread!

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How to spend 3 days in Florence


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