Florence is full of history, breathtaking architecture, and unbelievable art. It has a small town feel yet it’s overwhelmingly beautiful. It’s so easy to explore and navigate the city by foot. You can do a little window shopping, stop for a gelato, or even just sit in a piazza to observe the city. You can see all of our favorite places in 48 hours. We dare you to try it! We have put together some fun facts about Florence and a rockstar two day itinerary.
Fun Facts about Florence:
- Over 10 million people visit Florence every year.
- Florence holds a third of the world’s art treasures.
- The Uffizi Gallery has the world’s largest collection of Renaissance art.
- Florence’s Duomo took over 140 years to build and has 463 steps. Construction was from 1296 to 1436.
- The Santa Maria del Fiore, the famous cathedral by the Duomo, took over 6 centuries to finish and is the third largest church in the world. . It was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio. The success of the wool trade in the 13th century with what funded the construction.
- The Basilica di San Lorenzo church is one of the oldest churches in the city (it’s on our list). Also, the Medici family is buried there.
- Florence was the first European city that had paved streets.
- Florence is made up of four sections. They are named after the most important churches – Santo Spirito , Santa Maria Novella, San Giovanni, and Santa Croce.
- The Germans tremendously damaged Florence during WWII. They blew up every bridge except the Ponte Vecchio. They thought it was too beautiful to destroy.
- Feel like the bread in Florence needs salt? Yup. It does. Tuscan bread is made without salt because in the 12th century the Pisans blocked shipments of salt hoping it would help them win the war with the Florentines. It didn’t. They made their bread without salt and it stuck.
Two Day Florence Itinerary:
You can do Florence in 48 hours, but you need to be ready to go first thing every morning.
#1. Baptistery of St. John – We recommend starting the day early, after grabbing a cappuccino of course, at the Baptistery of St. John. It opens at 8:15 am. Buy your tickets in advance online. If you get there at 8:30 am, you can walk through and then get in line at the Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore.
#2. Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore – It opens at 10 am, but the line starts early. The line will be long, but it goes very fast so no need to get overwhelmed. Make sure your shoulders and knees are covered or you will not be let in. This cathedral is truly breathtaking. You will want to spend time taking it all in. Make sure you look at all the stained glass inside. It is Italy’s largest work of stained glass.
#3. Piazza del Duomo – Then head to the Piazza del Duomo and walk up to the top. You need to pre-book tickets and make sure you are there 20 minutes early. They will not wait for you. You can walk around the museums in this area as well. There is a lot to do. However, remember we are doing a lot in 2 days 🙂
#4. Basilica di San Lorenzo (4 minute walk) – Next, head on over to this church. It opens at 10 am so by the time you are finished with the Duomo, you will be good to go.
#5. Lunch at Mercato Centrale (3 minute walk) – At this point, we are sure you are hungry. Walk straight over to the market. There is so much to see. Walk around, grab lunch, eat gelato, and do some shopping!
#6. Basilica of Santa Maria Novella (6 minute walk) – This church is the most important Gothic church in Florence. It is gorgeous inside. It won’t take you a very long time.
#7. Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy (3 minute walk) – This pharmacy is a must see. It is one of the world’s oldest pharmacies that was founded in the 1200s. Not only is the building absolutely beautiful, the products are to die for. The products consist of luxury perfumes, vitamins, soaps, candles, lotions, and so much more.
#8. Dinner at Ristorante Buca Mario (3 minute walk) – This restaurant has been around since 1886. You will not want to miss having dinner here. The food is unbelievable and the ambiance is old world Italian. You feel like you are going back in time. Tip: Definitely order the zucchini flowers. Florence is known for them.
#9. Drinks at Hotel Lungarno (10 minute walk) – It’s a nice walk from the restaurant to this hotel. The location is beautiful and right on the water. Enjoy an after dinner cocktail inside by the window or outside on their cute patio. If you are looking for a lively atmosphere after, head over to Locale Firenze. It’s a nice 15 minute walk from the hotel.
#1. Piazza della Signoria and Statues at the Loggia dei Lanzi – Again…get an early start 🙂 These are located next to each other. The Piazza is one of the famous squares of Florence. Walk around and enjoy. See the Statue of David in the square as well. Also, while you are there, check out the Gucci Garden. It’s worth checking out.
#2. Ponte Vecchio bridge (4 minute walk) – On your way to the famous bridge, walk through the Vasari Corridor. It’s beautiful. Make sure to take a picture on the famous bridge.
#3. Uffizi Gallery – Next head to this gallery. You are going to want to spend a few hours in here exploring. There really aren’t many words to describe the collection of art you will see in this gallery. You will love it. You’re welcome.
#6. Lunch at Gustapizza (9 minute walk) – After the gallery, walk this pizza place to enjoy a casual lunch. The pizza is soooo good. Food Network even did a special on their pizza. Friendly tip: They only take cash.
#7. Piazzale Michelangelo (24 minute walk) – You will be so full after lunch…trust us. It’s a perfect time to walk to see the city from above. The view from this location is stunning. It’s a bit of a hike so be prepared and wear comfortable shoes.
#8. La Loggia del Piazzale Michelangelo – If you want a little break before seeing the last church on our list, stop here for a cappuccino and tiramisu. The tiramisu is a perfect snack and they make a great one.
#9. Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte (6 minute walk) – This is our favorite church in Florence and it’s atop one of the highest points in Florence. It is so beautiful inside. It is known as one of the most scenic churches in Italy. It is a must see and you cannot skip it.
#10. Sunset dinner and drinks at Belmond Villa San Michele (20 minute cab) – Go back to your hotel, shower, change, and then head to La Loggia Restaurant. We think it’s one of the most romantic restaurants in the world. Make sure to reserve a table on the terrace so you can see Florence in the distance while you enjoy the refined Italian cuisine. Tip: Make sure to book reservations in advance 🙂