There are few cities as enchanting as Florence, Italy. Florence is consistently ranked among the top destinations in Europe (and the world), and once you visit, you’ll see why. As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is full of art and culture, including some of the world’s best-known works of art, like Michelangelo’s sculpture, David. Florence is the capital of the beautiful region of Tuscany, characterized by its rolling hills and rustic Italian architecture. You could spend a month exploring this city, but if you only have 3 days in Florence, these are the experiences (and foods) you can’t miss.
3 Days in Florence, Italy
Morning: Enjoy a traditional Italian breakfast, complete with an espresso or cappuccino. Italy is famous for its coffee, so find a local cafe and get caffeinated for a day of touring Florence! Coffee is a major part of Italian food culture, and you’ll notice that locals will take their espresso standing at the counter of the bar instead of sitting down! Italy’s first Starbucks opened in 2018 in Milan (much to the dismay of Italian coffee purists), but the local cafes are still everyone’s favorite place for their daily fix.
Lunch: Explore the Mercato Centrale and grab lunch at one of its upstairs stands. At the Mercato Centrale, you can find a wide range of Italian meats, produce, cheese, and of course, pasta. Wander through the stalls downstairs before heading upstairs for lunch! I had a beautiful plate of fresh tortellini and a delicious prosciutto and mozzarella salad.
Afternoon: Check out the Uffizi Gallery, one of Florence’s most famous art museums. I highly recommend taking a tour of the museum or at least buying your ticket ahead of time to avoid long lines to get in. The building itself is stunning, and it served as the offices for the famous Medici family, who once ruled Florence. Inside the Uffizi, you can find famous works of art from Renaissance artists like Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo Da Vinci.
Evening: To end your first day in Florence, head to the Florence Cathedral, colloquially referred to as the Duomo. The Duomo is Florence’s most famous landmark, known for its large dome. The cathedral is absolutely beautiful, with its patterned marble facade. Climb to the top of the Duomo just before dusk and enjoy watching the sun set over Florence and the rolling Tuscan hills that surround the city. After climbing up all those steps, you’ll be ready to try another traditional food, bistecca alla fiorentina, or Florentine steak. You can find this dish on several traditional Tuscan menus throughout the city.
Morning: Start your second day in Florence with a visit to another famous museum, the Academy of Florence, also known as the Academia. This museum is famous for being the home of Michelangelo’s David, among other impressive sculptures by Renaissance artists. Like the Uffizi, this museum can get very crowded, so be sure to get your tickets ahead of time!
Lunch: For a quick and cheap bite, try a classic Italian panini. There’s something so delicious about a simple Italian sandwich filled with prosciutto!
Afternoon: On the afternoon of your second day, I recommending taking a tour of the city! Whether you’re just following a walking tour past the famous sites like the Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Vecchio or taking a guided tour with a local, there are so many things to you need to see during your 3 days in Florence! Last time I was in Florence, I took a Segway tour, which gave a great overview of the city, but I did take a tumble onto the sidewalk, so I’d only recommend a Segway tour to the very well coordinated and balanced travelers. Not in the mood for a tour? Try your hand at making a classic Italian dish in a cooking class!
Evening: If the weather is nice, head up to the Piazzale Michelangelo for beautiful views of Florence. Bring some wine and snacks for an Italian picnic like the locals! This is another great place to watch the sunset over the city.
Morning: Start the last of your 3 days in Florence with a trip to Santa Maria Novella. The Santa Maria Novella church is beautiful, but the real attraction here is the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, a 600-year-old store selling soaps, perfumes, and more. Even though the store looks like a museum, it still sells products using the recipes created hundreds of years ago! Last time I was there, I bought some rosewater and soap. I think this pharmacy is really interesting and definitely worth a visit if you’re a beauty-product lover.
Lunch: For lunch, head across the river to the Oltrarno, a quieter and less touristy part of Florence. The Oltrarno (which literally translates to “beyond the Arno”) has lots of great little cafes that you can stop into for a bite to eat.
Afternoon: While you’re on the other side of the Arno, head to the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. The Pitti Palace is a huge Renaissance residence that many ruling families inhabited, including the Medicis. The palace has many famous works of art from this time period by artists like Raphael and Caravaggio. If the weather is nice, take some time to wander through the adjacent Boboli Gardens.
Evening: Relax after a day of touring with an apertivo. An apertivo is similar to an American happy hour, except most of the time, snacks are included in the price of a drink. I loved having an apertivo at the rooftop bar of the Westin in Florence. From here, you can look out over the city and get a great view of the Duomo. For dinner, make sure to enjoy some fresh pasta, and try a dish with truffles if you haven’t already!
3 Days in Florence, Italy: A Food and Art Lover’s Dream
From the Uffizi to the Academia, Florence is the perfect place for art and history lovers. And with amazing foods like gelato, truffles, and pasta, it’s easy to find tasty food throughout the city. Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and I can’t wait for you to experience it. What will you do during your 3 days in Florence?
Want more tips for a great holiday? Check out my other travel guides!