The Best 3 Days in Florence Itinerary for First-Timers

8 min read
The beautiful Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy

Welcome to the charming city of Florence, the capital city of Tuscany, home to some beautiful pieces of renaissance art and famous Italian landmarks. The town is surrounded by gorgeous Tuscan hillsides and many Chianti wineries. This 3 days in Florence itinerary includes some great wine places and ideas, suggestions for museums filled with renaissance art, and more!

Inside the city, there is no shortage of things to do. From sampling Tuscan foods, visiting major museums and buildings, walking along the stunning Arno river, and so much more! Spending only a few days here will not do this city justice, but first-timers in Florence can get a glimpse of what it has to offer with this Florence guide.

Florence is a relatively small city and is much less touristy than Rome, Milan or Venice. It is perfect for wine, food, and art lovers, but I believe everyone can find something charming about this place. Take a break from the hustle and bustle and spend a more relaxing weekend in Florence!

  • 3 day itinerary
  • Average of 4 stops per day

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Florence Map

Using the map of Florence, you can explore all the days and stops.

Wander Around the Piazza del Duomo

Visiting Piazza del Duomo is a must on your 3 days in Florence itinerary

Spend your very first day in Florence in the city center at the Piazza del Duomo. The Cathedral, otherwise known as the Duomo, is arguably the most famous building in Florence.

Today will consist of a lot of walking, but all of the pasta and wine waiting for you at the end of it will make it worth it.

There are so many amazing views to be seen in Florence, and today you will get a lot of them in. So wear your walking shoes and get ready for a day of sightseeing in the city center!

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The Duomo

The Cathedral (Duomo)

The first stop on day one in Florence is to go inside the Duomo!

The Duomo is stunning on the inside and is completely free to enter. However, if you are visiting Florence in the summer months, the lines to go inside can get crazy. There is no way to avoid this line, so I suggest going first thing in the morning when it opens at 10:00 AM.

Stop at a cafe of your choosing on your way to the Duomo to get a croissant and an espresso to fuel your day!

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Climb the Bell Tower

You can actually climb the Duomo that you just visited, which is a very popular thing to do in Florence! However, I suggest that you climb the bell tower adjacent to it instead!

The climb up the bell tower is no joke, so if you're not in good shape, I would reconsider, but once you get to the top, you are blessed with amazing views of the city and the Duomo. The Piazza del Duomo is by far one of the prettiest sights in Florence, and by climbing the bell tower instead of the Duomo, you can see it from above!

Purchase your ticket for the bell tower here. The ticket also includes access to the Baptistry, the Crypt and climbing the Duomo.

When you're back to the ground after your hike up the bell tower, grab a panino at Panini Toscani - one of the most famous panini shops in Florence! They let you customize your sandwich and sample all of the meats and cheeses before you choose. It is best paired with a glass of their house white wine!

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Michelangelo's David at Accademia Gallery

On your way to the Accademia, stop for some gelato (you've earned it after all of those steps). Festival del Gelato is an excellent option with a ton of different flavors.

The Accademia holds Michelangelo's renowned David sculpture, which has made the Gallery one of the most famous museums in Florence! It is definitely a sight that you don't want to miss out on during your first trip to Florence.

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Dinner at Trattoria ZaZa

Treat yourself after a successful day in Florence with dinner at Trattoria ZaZa. ZaZa's is a popular restaurant in the center of Florence with a very expansive truffle menu (Florence is known for truffles, if you don't know what they are, try them for yourself).

Order the house white wine for the table, an appetizer platter of Coccoli bread with meats and cheeses, and then one of the acclaimed truffle pastas for your meal!

You will not be disappointed with either the quality of the food or the prices here. This is the perfect place for your first dinner in Florence.

If you're looking for more fantastic food options in Florence, read my Food Guide to Florence here!

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The Uffizi Gallery, Markets and a Rooftop Bar

Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy

Starting off the day with Florence's most-loved museum, day two is another packed day of sightseeing and experiencing Florentine culture!

After the museum, you'll be wandering around Mercato Centrale for lunch, haggling your way to a new piece at the leather market and watching the sunset at one of my favorite rooftop bars.

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I had to put the Uffizi Gallery onto this itinerary as it is the most famous museum in Florence. It showcases art from many different periods, including renaissance art which is prominent all over the city, and it is consistently ranked as one of the top things to do when coming to Florence for the first time.

You can buy tickets to the Uffizi Gallery here.

However, if you only have three days in Florence and you're thinking that you spent enough time indoors yesterday, I understand! Art isn't for everyone, so feel free to skip over this one if you're not feeling it.

If you do decide to skip out on the museum, spend the morning outside wandering around the Piazza Santa Croce. Santa Croce is my absolute favorite neighborhood in Florence, and you will have a great morning here as well.

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Lunch at Mercato Centrale

I know this might just sound like another lunch spot, but I promise you can easily spend two hours here wandering around and sampling all of the food. Mercato Centrale is a huge indoor market in the city center. On the first floor, there are a ton of vendors selling everything from fresh seafood to souvenirs. I recommend picking up a bottle of truffle oil!

Go up to the second floor to experience a food-court type of experience. There are stalls for basically anything you could care to eat, including tasty Italian food, sushi, grilled food, salads and more! Walk around (a few times) to see what looks appetizing for you!

This market is an excellent place for large groups because everyone can choose a different place to get food and then you can all bring it back to the table to eat together. I recommend trying an Arancini ball, which is fried dough with rice, cheese and other toppings on the inside - they're fantastic!

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Shop at the San Lorenzo (Leather) Market

The San Lorenzo Market is also known as the Leather Market due to the abundance of (fake) leather items being sold. Once your stomach is full from eating at Mercato Centrale, walk right outside the market to land in the middle of San Lorenzo.

Here, you can haggle your prices pretty low and pick up a few new things in Florence! Some of my favorite items to shop for here are journals, wallets and belts! If you're looking for some genuine leather and have the money to buy it, there are a ton of actual stores around this area that make quality leather pieces.

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View on Art Rooftop Bar in Florence

Watch the Sunset at View on Art

View on Art is my favorite rooftop bar in Florence because of its incredible view of the city and the Duomo. Sunset is the perfect time to come here and presents a great photo opportunity!

The menu is a little pricey for their cocktails, but you are paying for the experience. So enjoy an Aperol spritz and a sunset to end your day in Florence!

If you don't want your night to end after this, here are the best nightlife spots in Florence!

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Ponte Vecchio, Boboli Gardens and Piazza Michelangelo

Ponte Vecchio in Florence

This 3 Day Florence Itinerary saves the best views for the last day! You will start your day off walking around and shopping in and around the Ponte Vecchio.

Once you cross the river into the Oltrarno (the other side), you will see the beautiful Boboli Gardens. Lastly, you will once again see a gorgeous sunset over the city of Florence at Piazza Michelangelo!

Again, wear your walking shoes because it will be a long day ahead of you!

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Walking along the Arno River

Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio is the famous bridge crossing the Arno River that you most likely saw in pictures of Florence. Once here, you can spend the morning going in and out of jewelry and higher-end souvenir shops while taking photos along the Arno!

For lunch, stop at the nearby Osteria de Peccatori for an Aperol spritz, Foccacia bread and delicious Italian food served by the nicest workers! They have an outdoor seating area in a cute piazza that usually has someone playing live music. This was definitely my favorite restaurant in Florence!

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Boboli Gardens

Once you cross the Ponte Vecchio into the Oltrarno (the other side of the river), visit the Boboli Gardens. This is an outdoor museum dating back to the 15th century. The gardens are inside of the Pitti Palace, which is another set of museums in the city of Florence.

You would need to spend at least an entire day here to see all that the Pitti Palace has to offer, so I suggest just sticking to the gardens for your short trip to Florence. There is so much to see, and it is easy to get lost inside! You can easily spend a few hours walking around outside when the weather is nice.

After the Boboli Gardens, stop at Gusta Pizza for a takeaway pizza. Get a bottle of wine wherever you can find one (don't forget the wine opener!) and move on to your next stop.

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Piazzale Michelangelo

Hike up the steps to Piazzale Michelangelo for the perfect ending to your 3 days in Florence. I promise you that these views will make you want to stick around!

When you get to the top, there is a huge Piazza with street vendors, live music playing and a big staircase that everyone gathers on to watch the sunset. Everyone brings food and wine to enjoy for an hour or so alongside the best view of Florence!

And with all that said, this last stop brings our short three days in Florence to an end.

Looking for another great destination to go to after Florence? Here are the best weekend trips to take from Florence!

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In Summary

72 hours is definitely not enough time to see everything that Florence has to offer. There is so much culture wrapped inside this small city, and I truly believe that there is something here for everyone.

This itinerary is packed with museums, shopping, food and wine. I hope it was helpful in planning your trip to Florence, and have a fun 3 days!

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Written by Erin

erinconf BLOGGER Erin spent the Spring of 2019 in Florence, Italy traveling around Europe. She is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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