Three Days in Florence
The first time we traveled to Florence was 12 years ago, it was one of the points of a bus tour of Italy. The transfers were quite tedious, the temperature reached 40 degrees and against this background, the impressions of the city blurred. From that trip in the memory was the phrase accompanying a guide that particularly impressionable tourists in this city fainting because of the fact that it is so many masterpieces of art and this fact even has a scientific basis.
We got to Florence via Rome. Then from the airport of Rome by Leonardo express train to the railway station of Rome and the high-speed train Frecciabianca to the railway station of Florence Santa Maria. We bought tickets for the Frecciabianca train on the website www.trenitalia.com, but there is no problem to buy them at the station in Rome, there were many empty seats on the train. If you also have an opportunity to get to Florence from Bologna, but there was only one Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Bologna, while to Rome Aeroflot flies much more often and it is possible to choose a comfortable variant.
The train station in Florence is situated in the historical part of the city, which is very convenient. The hotel, where we booked a room for three nights, was called Rivoli and was located in a restored fourteenth-century Franciscan monastery, just 300 meters from the train station of Santa Maria, to get there in less than 10 minutes on foot.
Florence is a city that cannot be visited by passing through or even for a day. To feel the city, it should be seen early in the morning when there are no crowds of tourists and vice versa at night when there are a lot of tourists. And the Uffizi Gallery should be visited from the opening, when the rooms are still cool and there are few visitors. Three days is also not enough, we didn’t have time to do everything we had planned, but at least enough to be convinced that this is the best art city in the world.
No one can prove to us that the Uffizi Gallery must be visited without a professional guide. Of course you can see all the masterpieces on your own, but it’s more like an “I’ve been here” visit. A lot of things will go past your mind, because to understand the essence of works of art and their relationship over time you need to have professional knowledge in this field, and most tourists are amateurs by definition. It is doubtful that during the preparation for a trip to Florence you can study art history or at least briefly get acquainted with it.
We were incredibly lucky and on our second trip we met an amazing guide, Caterina Barcucci. She was born in Italy, now lives in Florence, and is a professional art historian. As she herself says, it was not accidental circumstances but a conscious choice that brought her to Florence, a city where literature, history and art are so closely intertwined. In addition, we must also pay tribute to her knowledge of the Russian language. We had a sightseeing tour, a visit to the Pitti Palace and the Uffizi Gallery. We can say that after meeting Catherine, we rediscovered Florence. For us, this city has become and always will be a consummate example of a city of art. With great respect we have for Italy just for the fact that she has carefully preserved and preserved the masterpieces of art for posterity and in 100 years people will come to Florence and admire the city and museums. We did not do all the excursions that Catherine offers, but we will definitely return to Florence, it is just a must in our travel plans.
And a few words about Michelangelo’s masterpiece statue of David. It’s hard to convey the feelings of a person when he sees an authentic sculpture of David, which came to us from the depths of time and to which the hands of Michelangelo himself touched. Katerina told us a lot about it, that it was an unsurpassed masterpiece, and we asked at the end of the story if it was possible that any master now or in the future could create something comparable to David. The answer was that it was impossible, not because of the lack of talented artists, but because times and attitudes to art had changed, new artistic techniques and forms had appeared and it was impossible to compare them with David. And the statue of David for all time will remain the pinnacle of creativity, the limit of perfection for the realistic manner in which Michelangelo worked. And it is all the more valuable that his works have been preserved and are available today to tourists from all over the world.
What you can see in Florence on your own
The incomparable Florence… A city that can be one of the most vivid memories when visiting Italy. A city that is beautiful at any time of the year. The city that fascinates and almost falls in love.
Founded in the first century BC, Florence can be called a museum in the open air, and probably for this reason, it is one of the popular tourist destinations. Stately cathedrals, grand villas and palazzos, green gardens, viewing platforms – it’s as if you are transported back in time, and you walk through the streets of the city, feeling like a hero of old historical novels.
So what are the places to see in Florence? Where to plan a travel itinerary for true enjoyment?
Ten places to see in Florence
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore tops the list of “Major Sights of Florence” in any tourist guide. The unique architecture of the cathedral with its octagonal dome, which seems to float above the historic center. The temple is located in the heart of the old city on the Cathedral Square. It can accommodate nearly 30,000 parishioners. The creation of this masterpiece was made by renowned architects Filippo Brunelleschi, Arnolfo di Cambio, Giotto. The height of the cathedral is 116.5 meters. It is built in accordance with Gothic canons. It includes naves with lancet arches, galleries, and walls decorated with pilasters. From the outside it has a façade of marble from white to a shade of green, and inside it is majestic and, at first glance, restrained. But in fact it is sacred grandeur and solemnity. Stained-glass windows, marble floors and frescoes – all this one wants to contemplate silently, without uttering unnecessary words. The dome of the building is decorated with a monumental fresco “The Last Judgment”. Santa Maria del Fiore is a true treasure and the main answer to the question of what to see in Florence in 1 day.
La Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
The Cathedral of Florence – the centerpiece of the tour “Santa Maria del Fiore – a “symphony in marble”. A professional guide will introduce you to the main treasures of the city’s shrine, tell you about the religious past of the Cradle of the Renaissance and take you to the cathedral observation deck.
Giotto’s Bell Tower
The Giotto Bell Tower is a grandiose structure in the Florentine Duomo complex. Its height is more than 90 meters, allowing tourists to enjoy a splendid panorama of the city and its surroundings. The bell tower is an example of Gothic culture. It ornately shimmers in the sun with different colors of marble, bas-reliefs on the walls attract attention with the stories that were embodied in the stone. There are biblical scenes, and the genesis of man through the knowledge of crafts, culture and science. The bell tower serves as a splendid vantage point from which you can enjoy a splendid view of the rooftops and the mesmerizing line of hills on the horizon.
Italian Campanile di Giotto
“Life, manners and passions of medieval Florence” is a fascinating tour that reveals to tourists the rich history of the “flowering city”. You will see the most famous sights, among which is the majestic Giotto’s bell tower. During the walk, tourists will learn about famous figures of the Enlightenment and be able to experience the authentic atmosphere of Florence.
Ponte Vecchio (translated from Italian as “old bridge”). This famous bridge in the narrowest part of the Arno River is one of the most unusual sights. It is not often seen even in the most ancient cities. The bridge was designed in 1345 by the architect Neri di Fioravanti, and is a 30-meter ensemble of stone arches. It should be noted that the first bridge on this site was built in ancient Roman times. A distinctive feature of Ponte Vecchio are the houses located on both sides of it. It is unusual and truly masterpiece. And in the middle of the bridge there is an open area to admire the scenery on the river. On the Ponte Vecchio there is also a bust of Benvenuto Cellini, the creator of the Italian Renaissance, an artist whose talent Italians compare to Michelangelo, to this bust all lovers traditionally attach “love locks”.
Italian Ponte Vecchio
A walk across the ancient bridge is included in most sightseeing programs, such as the “Dizzying Florence” tour. You’ll see the city in all its glory, understand the locals better, and learn all about the best places to taste the local cuisine!
Uffizi Gallery. There’s probably not a tourist who hasn’t dreamed of visiting this medieval palace filled with paintings by European artists. Today the exposition of the gallery occupies six thousand square meters, which make up 50 halls. The founders of the gallery’s history were the Medici dynasty, who, thanks to their wealth and extensive connections, concentrated real masterpieces in the collection: “Giotto’s Our Lady, Michelangelo’s The Holy Family, Raphael’s Madonna and the Cheek, Sandro Botticelli’s Spring and The Birth of Venus, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Annunciation and Adoration of the Magi, Titian’s Venus of Urbino, and Caravaggio’s Bacchus. The Uffizi Gallery is a true delight not only for connoisseurs of masterpieces, but also for those who will touch the amazing Florentine exhibition for the first time. You have to see it once to remember it forever.
Galleria degli Uffizi
Visiting the Galleria on your own will not be a tenth of the experience compared to this exciting guided tour with an art historian! After meeting your guide you will be able to orient yourself in the famous creations of Italian painters and the genres in which they worked.
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Palazzo Pitti is another Florence landmark that deserves the prefix “one of the most.” It is the most magnificent of all the palaces in the city. Could the Medici family in the 15th century imagine that the residence of the dukes of Italy from a symbol of the power of the aristocrats would become a national treasure and home to an art gallery, a gallery of contemporary art, an exhibition of silverware and porcelain, galleries about the history of fashion and costume. Outwardly austere, the palace is distinguished inside by its Baroque interiors, original frescos, painted walls, stucco, silk wallpaper and priceless Italian Renaissance exhibits. The magnificent museum complex gives you the opportunity to enjoy the most valuable collections of paintings.
Italian Palazzo Pitti
A visit to the site is possible as part of a private tour of the “Luxury and Art of the Pitti Palace”. Together with a licensed guide, you will visit the luxurious Medici chambers, see the immortal works of artists and hear many interesting facts from their biographies.
The Boboli Gardens are one of the most beautiful and oldest examples of garden art in Italy. Created in the 16th century in an area of untouched land, the gardens have evolved into a chic “gem” that hides behind the monolithic walls of the Palazzo Pitti. So if you’re wondering what to see in Florence in 2 days, devote time to these places where you rest from the hustle and bustle of the city, the “runs” on sights and shopping. You will admire fountains, grottoes, pavilions, flowerbeds, rose gardens and hedges of boxwoods and plane trees. The imitation of an ancient amphitheater is beautifully combined with fragrant plantings. A huge number of statues, from ancient images of the Emperor and famous Romans, to works by famous Italian masters of the XVI-XVII centuries, emphasizes the majesty and versatility of the park’s architecture. Walking through the Boboli Gardens is pure pleasure and relaxation.
Giardino di Boboli
Stroll through the emerald expanse on this captivating tour. A private guide will introduce you to the history of the famous park and teach you about the concepts of gardens in different countries of the world. You will also learn about Tuscan fashion, whose influence can be seen in Boboli’s architectural compositions.
Church of San Lorenzo
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The Church of San Lorenzo is Florence’s most venerable basilica, centrally located. The Christian church from the fourth century A.D. was reconstructed in the eleventh century in the Romanesque style. Outwardly austere, the building impresses with its interior. That and the white and gold coffered ceiling, painted dome and masterpieces of Renaissance architects. But still the popularity of this temple brought the status of the burial place of the princes of the Medici family. The last of them is buried in a sarcophagus in the New Sacristy (sacristy) of the temple. Many tourists want to see the interior of the New Sacristy by great Michelangelo, on which the master worked for 15 years. The uniqueness of the basilica is also the fact that it is one of the first churches belonging to the Renaissance.
Basilica di San Lorenzo
The Basilica di San Lorenzo is on the list of sights to visit on a group tour of Florence’s evening. Under the keen guidance of your guide, you’ll get to know the iconic sites of the Blossom, hear the rich history of the city and, of course, begin to better understand the local mentality.
San Marco is the composite name of the complex that includes St. Mark’s Church and the convent, which is now a museum. They are located in St. Mark’s Square in Florence. The complex was turned into a national museum in the 19th century. San Marco is a real repository of medieval Italian culture of the Renaissance, which from the first to the last exhibit is imbued with spirituality and the Catholic faith. There are works by Fra Bartolomeo, who depicted St. Dominic at the foot of the cross, icons and frescoes by Fra Angelico and Ghirlandaio’s iconic work The Last Supper, housed in a room that formerly served as the refectory for the monks of San Marco. And there’s also a personal fresco by Fra Angelico in each cell, bright and unique. San Marco is a beautiful monument of architecture, where you can spend hours admiring and enjoying the spirit of the Middle Ages, even without being tied to a tour. It is exactly what is desirable to see in Florence on your own.
San Marco Firenze
If tourists wish, the San Marco Museum is included in the fascinating itinerary of the “Medici and Renaissance” tour. An amazing walk through the city’s key landmarks and the pages of history of the famous Florentine family awaits you. After meeting with the guide, travelers fall in love with Florence all over again, which is nothing short of thrilling!
Piazza della Signoria
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The Piazza della Signoria was a symbol of the power of the Florentine state. It is still impressive today, being the site of various sculptures – from Michelangelo’s “David” Michelangelo’s “David” and Donatello’s “Judith and Holofernes” to Cellini’s “Perseus with the Head of Medusa”. Among the main monuments there is the “Fountain of Neptune” by Baccio Bandinelli. The square also remembers the fires of the Inquisition of the 15th century, and so it is attributed a special magic. Here you can enjoy the majesty of the monuments, listen to the history and the voice of eternity.
Piazza della Signoria
Explore every square meter of the square on this delightful tour! With an attentive guide, you will make logical connections between the major sculptures of the Signoria, learn the history of the influential Medici family, and stroll through the majestic halls of the Palazzo Vecchio. A worthy conclusion to the tour is the opportunity to admire the city directly from the palace tower!
A view from Piazza Michelangelo
Piazza Michelangelo. If you are faced with the question of what you can see interesting in Florence in 3 days, you are the lucky one who has time not only to see the main historical treasures, but also another day for places like Piazza Michelangelo. Not all guidebooks consider this place significant, but believe me, this open space at the top of the hill, which so beckons all tourists with a magnificent view of Florence, is definitely worth a visit. It is here that it spreads so freely under the Tuscan sky. And especially noticeable is the beauty of this landscape at sunset. From here you have an incredible view of the most historic heart of the city. In the center of the square is a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David the Great, and at the foot are twins of several other famous sculptures of the master. If you want to see Florence’s most beautiful panorama, you have to make sure you get to the wonderful square on the high hill, Piazza Michelangelo.
You can stroll through Florence’s Piazzale Michelangelo as part of this curious tour. You will not only get an overview of the main sights of the city, but also visit areas that are rarely visited by tourists. This contrast is what forms the unique charm of Flowers, the place where the Italian Renaissance was born!
“If you’ve never been to Florence, then you haven’t understood Italy,” is what the Italians say. “Firenza” is the Italian word for Florence. A city drenched to the brim with sunshine and filled with an ancient era. The city, which is worth a visit in order to feel the fullness of emotions of the trip. If you are a worldly-wise traveler and nothing will surprise you, Florence will smooth it out. And if you are a beginner and choose your destination, put in your notebook a short but sunny word – “Firenze”…
What to see in Florence in 1 day
- The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (#1).
- San Giovanni Baptistery (#2).
- Museum of Opera del Duomo (#3).
- Giotto’s bell tower (#4).
- House of Dante Alighieri (#5).
- Loggia Lanzi (#6).
- “Museum for Boys” (Mus.e) (#7).
- The Ponte Vecchio bridge (#8).
- Palazzo Strozzi (#9).
- Santa Maria Novella (#10).
The sights in Florence on the map are located as follows:
What to visit in Florence on your own in 3 days
- The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (#1).
- San Giovanni Baptistery (#2).
- Museum of Opera del Duomo (#3).
- Giotto’s bell tower (#4).
- House of Dante Alighieri (#5).
- Palazzo Strozzi (#6).
- Santa Maria Novella (#7).
- Church of San Lorenzo (#8).
- Academy of Fine Arts (#9).
- The House of Giorgio Vasari (#10).
- Loggia Lanzi (#11).
- “Museum for Boys” (Mus.e) (#12).
- Uffizi Gallery (#13).
- Galileo Museum (#14).
- Ponte Vecchio Bridge (#15).
- Hall of Fame of Italian soccer (#16).
- Piazza Michelangelo (#17).
- Palazzo Pitti (#18).
- Boboli Gardens (#19).
On the map these sites are located as follows:
You can learn more about the sights of Florence in this article.
Working hours and prices
|№||Location||Working time||Ticket price|
|1||Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore||Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10:00-17:00; Saturday: 10:00-16:45; Sunday: 13:30-16:45||Free|
|Cathedral Dome||Sunday-Friday: 8:30-19:00 a.m.; Saturday: 8:30-16:40 a.m.||6 €|
|Cathedral Museum||Monday-Saturday: 9:00-19:30; Sunday: 9:00-13:45||6 €|
|2||Giotto’s Bell Tower||Daily: 8:30-19:30||6 €|
|3||Ponte Vecchio||Any time||Free|
|4||Uffizi Gallery||Вторник-воскресенье: 8:15-18:50||6,5 €|
|5||Palazzo Pitti||Tuesday-Sunday: 8:15-18:50 pm (admission until 5:30 pm)||12,5 €|
|6||Boboli Gardens||June-August: 8:15-19:30; April-May and September-October: 8:15-18:30; other months: variable hours||7 €|
|7||Church of San Lorenzo||Monday-Saturday: 10:00-17:00; Sunday: 13:30-17:30||6 €|
|8||San Marco||Monday-Friday 8:30-13:50 pm; Saturday 8:30-18:50 pm; Sunday 8:30-19:00 pm||4 €|
|9||Piazza della Signoria||Any time||Free|
|10||Piazza Michelangelo||Any time||Free|
Where to Find More Private Tours: Top 2 Tourist Services
If the above suggested itineraries are not enough for you, use Tripster and Sputnik sites, where all offers from licensed guides in Florence are available. Here you can find a variety of tours: sightseeing, cultural-historical, gastronomic, interactive, guided tours, and so on. Each option is accompanied by a detailed description from which you can draw basic information:
- indicative route;
- a meeting place with a guide;
- allowed number of people;
- walking tour duration;
- price of the tour;
- availability of additional expenses, etc.
In addition, you will read the reviews left by other tourists after the meeting with the chosen guide. These comments will help you understand what to expect from the tour and whether it is worth looking for an alternative.
These suggestions are no less popular:
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