Florence on your own in 1 day: itinerary with descriptions
Florence in 1 day: an independent walking itinerary, what to see in one day, sights on the map. Operating hours, online tickets, addresses, useful tips The itinerary of Florence in 1 day, presented on unitalia.ru, is very rich, so independent travelers who stay in the city for several days may well break it down and add to it as they see fit.
The walk includes the main points of interest and allows you to see Florence’s most important historical sites. It is important to keep in mind that visiting galleries, museums and basilicas takes time, so we recommend buying tickets with priority access rather than wasting precious minutes waiting in lines.
Florence in a Day: A Walking Itinerary
Undoubtedly, the city deserves a full acquaintance, and 1 day is too short to immerse yourself in its history, culture and a whole ocean of art masterpieces. However, not everyone has the opportunity to stay in Florence for long. Walking itinerary unitalia.ru will be useful, first of all, for those who want to see as many sights as possible in a short time and keep in memory an unforgettable experience. Of course, going on a walk, do not forget to charge your camera, phone or other modern device, and free their memory, because you have to take pictures almost at every step. And don’t forget comfortable shoes!
What to see in Florence in 1 day: sights in an itinerary
Route description for 1 day in Florence
You are free to choose the starting and ending point, as well as visits to museums, according to your priorities and allocated time. Galleries and palazzos are full of masterpieces, so unitalia.ru recommends choosing the most important ones (you can’t visit everything even if you want to). The main thing is not to reduce the rhythm of the movement.
So, let’s go for a day in Florence! Italy for Italomancers wishes you to get the maximum pleasure from the walk!
Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
The complex of cult constructions, the bell tower and the cloister, was built by the Dominican monks from Bologna for almost a century, beginning in 1279. The magnificent marble façade was realized during the fifteenth-century reconstruction. The project was realized by Leon Battista Alberti and financed by Giovanni di Paolo Ruscellai, the patron of the arts and the man of the wool merchants’ family.
In the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella we can see Giotto’s Crucifixion and Guidi’s Trinity fresco, several stunning chapels, murals by Ghirlandaio and Spinello Arentino, Brunelleschi’s Crucifixion and bas-reliefs by Bandini, Bronzino’s Jesus Raising Daughter of Jaro and Vasari’s Madonna and Roses, a series of frescos by Lippi, majestic tombstones and much more. The works of art date back to the XIII-XVI centuries. In the complex there is a sacristy, museum, cloister and cemetery.
|Working mode||From 09:00 to 19:00, on Fri. – from 11:00, on Saturday until 17:30, on Sunday. – from 12:00 to 17:30|
|Address||Piazza di Santa Maria Novella|
|Ticket price||7,50 euros for adults, 5 euros for ages 11-18, free for children under 11 and disabled|
For those who are familiar with one of the languages offered in the audio guide, it is recommended to use the audio and video materials of the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella.
Santa Maria del Fiore
The majestic Duomo, an outstanding architectural masterpiece, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is sought by everyone who comes to Florence for 1 day. It makes you tremble and admire, causes a storm of emotions and stays in your memory for the rest of your life.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore was built for almost 6 centuries, and on it worked the greatest masters of his time. It stood without a dome for 40 years and more than once witnessed tragic events. Its unique dome was created by the ingenious Filippo Brunelleschi, who found the right technical solution to implement the idea of the cathedral’s first architect, Arnolfo di Cambio. The foundation stone was laid in 1296, the temple was consecrated in 1436, and the marble facade in the colors of the Italian tricolor was added at the end of the XIX century.
The interior decoration of the Duomo is full of stained-glass windows, mosaics and works of art. The painting of the dome, made by Vasari and F. Zuccari, is a real eye-catcher. There are burials of Brunelleschi and Giotto. If you want to climb the dome and the 87-meter Giotto’s Bell Tower, but need to understand that in this case the entire route of Florence in 1 day to go will not work.
The Duomo complex also includes a Museum, a Crypt, and a unique Baptistery, where all the notable Florentines of the Middle Ages were baptized. The latter was built in 1129, and the best masters of Italy worked on its interior. The floor of the Baptistery is paved with polychrome marble, the vault of the dome is decorated with gold mosaic (XIII-XIV centuries), and the entrance portals of the XIV-XV centuries. – with detailed bas-reliefs.
|Working mode||From the Duomo and Cripta from 10:00 to 16:30, the Baptistery and Bell Tower from 08:15 to 19:20, the Museum from 09:00 to 19:00.|
|Address||Piazza del Duomo|
|Ticket price||Single ticket: 18€. Entrance to the Cathedral is free.|
Online purchase of the ticket will cost a bit more expensive, but it will give the opportunity to avoid the kilometer-long queue at the ticket office. Climbing the dome is mandatory, and strictly for a certain time.
Piazza della Signoria
Another jewel of Florence, you can not pass by under any circumstances. For centuries Piazza della Signoria has been the center of civic life in the city and the place of public executions and proclamation of acts of civil authority. The most important object of the square, formed in the middle of the 13th century, is the monumental Palazzo Vecchio, where the museum is located. The halls are filled with stunning frescoes and collections of paintings and sculptures. The building itself resembles a medieval fortress, above which rises a huge clock tower, which you can climb if you want.
|Operating hours of Palazzo Vecchio||From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (October to March) and to 11 p.m. (April to September, December 26-30, January 2-6, March 25), Thursday until 2 p.m.|
|Address||Piazza della Signoria|
|Ticket price||From 4 euro, depending on the area visited.|
Tickets to the Palazzo Vecchio
On the Piazza della Signoria is the famous Loggia Lanzi, originally intended for ceremonies and social gatherings. It got its name from the mercenary infantrymen “lanzi” who served Cosimo I de’ Medici. Under the vaulted arcade are several sculptural groups from the collection of the Uffizi Gallery.
In the square you can see Florentine masterpieces such as the Neptune Fountain, the equestrian statue of Cosimo I de’ Medici, the compositions Judith and Holofernes and Hercules defeating Cacus, as well as a copy of Michelangelo’s David.
Nearby, in Piazza del Mercato Nuovo, is the Porcellino fountain, popular with tourists, with a bronze figure of a boar. It is said that you should make a wish and rub its nose. Then it will surely come true. And if a coin you put on his tongue will fall under the bars, then the dream will certainly come true (within reasonable limits, of course, without fanaticism). Why not try it, walking around Florence for 1 day and dreaming of coming back here for at least a week.
The museum contains masterpieces of art by the great masters of the 13th through 20th centuries. Among them are works by Michelangelo and Raphael, Botticelli and Titian, Caravaggio and Giotto, Correggio and many others. The interiors of the Uffizi Gallery, its monumental staircases, mosaics, ceilings, and corridors with stunning views from the windows are interesting. True admiration is the “jewel box” – La Tribuna Hall (1581-83), specially designed by theatrical architect Bernardo Buonalenti to hold the most exquisite masterpieces.
The building was designed by Vasari to house the offices for the Florentine magistrates, hence the name. Construction began in 1560 and was completed 20 years later, after the death of the famous architect. A year later Francesco I de’ Medici, a passionate collector, ordered his collection to be moved into the covered loggia and to be accessible only to a select few by prior arrangement.
The family collection was bequeathed to Florence by Anna Maria Luisa, the last member of the direct line of the Medici family. It was officially opened to the public in 1769.
|Working mode||from 08:15 to 18:50|
|Weekends and Holidays||Monday, 01/01 and 25/12|
|Address||Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6|
|Ticket price||Tickets are €12 at the box office, €2 for EU citizens aged 18-25, free for under-18s and handicapped persons.|
One of Florence’s symbols and one of its main attractions. The old bridge was built in 1345 and was designed by Neri di Fiorovanti. A century later there was a butcher’s market which was annulled by Ferdinando I de’ Medici at the end of the 16th century, 30 years after the appearance of the Vasari Corridor. The Grand Duke of Tuscany decided that jewelry shops would look much nobler on the Ponte Vecchio. The tradition is still followed to this day.
The uniqueness of the ponte lies in its design features. It is literally clad on both sides with overhanging houses. In the middle there is an open platform, from which one can see the Arno River and the embankments. On one side is a bust of the Italian Renaissance master Benvenuto Cellini. This bridge has been preserved in its original form, it was the only one that was not destroyed during World War II.
Luca Pitti intended to build a palazzo that would have dwarfed in scale the family residence of the Medici that he hated. The banker hired prominent architects but miscalculated his finances. Work was suspended, and soon Luca died. Almost a century later, the bankrupt heirs ceded ownership of the palace to Eleonora Toledo, first wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici, who almost doubled the size of the building and ordered an elevated passage between the two Palazzos Vecchio and Pitti, called the “Vasari Corridor”.
In the 18th century, the palace passed into the possession of the successors of the Dukes of Tuscany, members of the Lorraine House of the Habsburgs, whose rule was briefly interrupted by Napoleon. After Florence was declared capital of the united Italy in 1864, the palazzo was the royal residence until 1870.
Today the Palazzo Pitti houses the Palatine and Modern Art Galleries, the Treasure Collection of the Grand Dukes, the Museum of Fashion and Costume, the Imperial and Royal apartments.
|Working mode||from 08:15 to 18:50|
|Weekends and Holidays||Monday, 01/01 and 25/12|
|Ticket price||Single ticket at the ticket office – 10 euro, reduced price 2 euro.|
Behind the palazzo are the amazing Boboli Gardens with grottoes, sculptures and fountains. It is recommended to visit them if you have free time in Florence in 1 day. The cost of a full ticket is 6 euros.
Basilica of Santo Spirito
One of the main Florentine churches was begun in 1444 by Brunelleschi but two years later construction had to be halted because the master died without leaving any calculations or detailed drawings. As a result, the work dragged on for almost four decades, and the facade was never decorated. The 70-meter-high bell tower was added in 1503-70.
Inside the basilica of Santo Spirito, medieval altarpieces, paintings and canvases have been preserved. There are copies of Michelangelo’s famous works of the mid-16th century – the Pietà in the right aisle and the Christ with the Cross in one of the chapels of the left aisle. In the sacristy you can also see a wooden crucifix made by Michelangelo at the age of 17 and many other works.
|Working mode||10:00-13:00 and 15:00-18:00, the morning block is moved to 11:30-13:30 on Fri.|
|Address||Piazza Santo Spirito|
Basically, you can end your walk here. The square is full of cozy cafes with inexpensive, by the standards of Florence, prices and colorful stores. It’s an authentic ambience all around. The piazza is particularly appealing in the evening, as there is no trace of the hustle and bustle of the market.
For those who feel empowered, have time to spare and don’t want to stop, we take a further 1 day trip around Florence on our own.
Santa Trinita Bridge
Bears the name of the nearby basilica through which our route will pass. The Bridge of the Holy Trinity, which connects the banks of the Arno, was built in stone in the mid-16th century by the architect Bartolomeo Ammanti, presumably according to sketches by Michelangelo Buonarotti. For the wedding of Cosimo II of the House of Medici and Maria Magdalena, Archduchess of Austria, the bridge was decorated in 1608 with allegorical statues of the four seasons.
During the Second World War, Santa Trinita Bridge was destroyed, but it was rebuilt in its original form, and even the figures raised from the river bed were reinstalled in their original places.
The bridge offers a great view of the Arno embankments and the famous Ponte Vecchio, which we met in the first part of our 1-day itinerary of Florence.
Basilica of Santa Trinita
The church of the Holy Trinity in Gothic style was erected on the site of a Vallombrosian monastery in the 13th century. Some 300 years later the Mannerist style was added to the façade, on the project of Buonalenti. At the end of the nineteenth century, the basilica was reconstructed, in the process of which many decorative fragments of the exterior were irretrievably lost and the baroque altar of Buontalenti was removed.
Inside the church are numerous chapels with paintings by renowned XV century masters. The most important of these are the cycles of frescoes in the Bartolini Salimbeni Chapel (right nave), in the Gothic style by Lorenzo Monaco, and in the Sassetti Chapel (right transept) by Ghirlandaio, with views of medieval Florence and images of several important Florentine persons added to sacred scenes.
|Working mode||07:00-12:00 и 16:00-19:00|
|Address||Piazza di Santa Trinita|
If you wish, you can combine the walking tour with a hop-on hop-off tour bus or an hour-long eco-tour by electric car. Audioguides in Russian are provided in both cases.
One of the few Renaissance palaces in Florence that has retained its original appearance. To build the palazzo the ambitious Filippo Strozzi, trying to outdo his rivals in “volume”, for several years after his return from exile bought up land near the residence and demolished the houses standing on it.
In 1489 the first stone was laid for the foundation of the Palazzo Strozzi. It was destined to be the largest palace Florence had ever seen. But Filippo died two years later without ever seeing his dream realized. The enormous financial burden of erecting the building fell on the shoulders of the heirs, who, with interruptions in their work, nevertheless completed the palace in 1538. Until 1937 it remained in the family ownership, and in 1999 it was transferred to the state. Today the palace houses municipal institutions and exhibitions.
|Working mode||10 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Thursdays until 11 p.m.|
|Address||Piazza degli Strozzi|
|Ticket price||Full ticket €13, reduced price €10 for under 26 and over 65 years old.|
Piazza della Repubblica
At the end of a long walk you can visit Piazza della Repubblica, where in Roman times there was a forum, in the Middle Ages a ghetto, and during the Risorgimento period the area was cleared and houses and churches were demolished on a large scale. Today, Piazza della Repubblica is full of cafes, street artists and musicians. A stylized Tuscan carousel has been installed in the square.
Map of sights along the route for 1 day in Florence
For the convenience of making an independent walk, unitalia.ru suggests using a map.
We hope that our 1-day itinerary for Florence will be useful for you and that your trip to Italy will be unforgettable!
Russian-speaking guides lead interesting tours through the museums, galleries and basilicas of Florence. They offer walking tours and car rides outside the city.
Hop-on hop-off buses for 24, 48 or 72 hours in Florence are one of the most popular attractions in the city. 2 fascinating itineraries, an audio guide in Russian and free Wi-Fi on board!
How to save on hotels
You can and should look for hotels not only on bookings! Italy for Italian lovers recommends Hotellook, which will help you find and compare many hotel rentals on several booking sites at once!
What to see in Florence in 1 day: itinerary for a walk
Florence is a city of the arts, the cradle of the Renaissance. The city is very conveniently located almost in the middle of the road between the north of Italy and its capital. Florence is easily accessible from any major city, be it Venice, Milan or Rome. Therefore, many travelers in Italy try to include Florence in their itinerary, preferring to spend only 1 day here.
Useful tip: If you only have 1 day in Florence, install an audio tour of the city for your iPhone or for Android [link]. This is a ready-to-use audio guide to the city that contains short, informative audio stories about 60 of Florence’s main attractions.
All points of the tour are made within a single itinerary and plotted on a handy map that works even without the Internet. At the same time, the built-in GPS will allow you to easily determine your location and find your way to the nearest objects of the audio tour.
When you download the app, you will immediately have access to a free trial version with 5 tour points. Access to the full version will only cost a few Euros and is many times cheaper than even the most budget guided tours. You can download the trial version of the audio guide for iPhone on this page, and for Android here [link].
So what can be seen in Florence in 1 day? Despite the fact that the city is very compact and all the central attractions are located within walking distance of each other, you can hardly see them all in 1 day.
Art is everywhere, but to visit Florence and not see at least 1 art museum is a crime. Not for nothing the art collection of this city is considered one of the best in Europe. But even a quick look at one of the museums will steal at least two hours of your precious time.
Today Blogoitaliano will tell you which sights on the map of Florence are worthy of special attention, and where to spend the most time, you decide for yourself, based on your own preferences.
Morning in Florence
Most travelers arrive in the “city of arts” by train at the central train station of Santa Maria Novella. From here we will begin our walk. If you haven’t already read our articles on how to get to Florence from the main Italian cities, we highly recommend doing so:
You can encounter art as soon as you cross the threshold of the station building. Just opposite is the church of Santa Maria Novella, considered to be the oldest in the city.
It was built in the XIV-XV centuries. The era of the Middle Ages can be seen on the outside as well as on the inside of the church. There are a lot of works of art, among which the most interesting is the cycle of frescoes from the life of the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist.
In the Galleria dell’Accademia one can find an authentic sculpture by Michelangelo David
From the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella it makes sense to head to the Galleria dell’Accademia, to see the original sculpture of Michelangelo’s David.
It’s easy to get there: take Via Sant’Antonino and go along Via Guelfa, where you turn right and go on to the intersection with Via Ricasoli. On your left you will no doubt see a long line that will tell you that the destination has been found.
To bypass the line and save a few hours of precious time, it makes sense to buy tickets to the Gallery online. BlogoItaliano has written about the Gallery and its collection in detail in a separate article.
Uffizi Gallery – the most visited museum in Italy
An alternative to the Galleria Accademia for those who are thinking about what to see in Florence in 1 day, can be the Uffizi Gallery, one of the largest museums of painting in Western Europe.
It preserves the original works of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and many other great geniuses from the 13th century to the early 20th.
The Uffizi Gallery is considered the most visited museum in Italy, so it is best to buy tickets online to save time. Read more about how to get to the Gallery and what to see here.
A day in Florence
If you look at a map of Florence sights, not far from the Galleria dell’Accademia we find the Palazzo Medici . It is located on Via Camillo Cavour. The Medici family has owned different palaces at different times, including the famous Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Pitti on the south bank of the Arno.
The Medici family had a very high regard for art. In their palaces they managed to collect a rich collection of paintings. For example, the Medici palace kept intact the Chapel of the Magi, frescoed in 1461 by Benozzo Gozzoli, and the Palazzo Vecchio has a sumptuous collection of frescoes by Vasari and his students.
In the Chapel of the Magi of the Medici palace are frescoes of the 15th century.
To commemorate the great Dukes of Tuscany is quite nearby. The Medici family chose the Chapel of the Basilica of San Lorenzo as their necropolis, and the great Michelangelo himself had a hand in its decoration.
By the way, the complex of San Lorenzo, in addition to the Medici Chapel and the basilica itself, includes Laurentian Library, where you can see a huge collection of historical literature, including the Bible of the VIII century and the first encyclopedia of Rome.
Santa Maria del Fiore – a major treasure on the map of Florence’s attractions
A short walk from Piazza di San Lorenzo to Piazza del Duomo, named for the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
The Duomo is the most important landmark on Florence’s map. The 42-meter high dome of Brunelleschi has long been a major symbol in numerous photographs and postcards.
The Duomo was built over six centuries, starting from the end of the XIII century. Its architecture was a kind of boundary between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
It took more than half a century for construction of the openwork 85-meter bell tower (kampanile), which became a bright example of Florentine Gothic. Nowadays the campanile of the cathedral, together with the dome of Brunelleschi, serve as excellent observation decks.
The Baptistery of St. John the Baptist was erected in the 5th century.
In addition to the cathedral, the Baptistery of San Giovanni can also be seen in Piazza del Duomo. The baptistery is the oldest structure in the piazza. It was built in the fifth century, and the outer shell, that can still be seen today, was put on in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The vault of the dome of the baptistery is decorated with exquisite mosaics of the XIII century.
After a bird’s-eye view of Florence, we can go further. From Piazza della Signoria, the Via dei Calzaiuoli leads to another famous piazza in the city.
The Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria impresses with its monumentality
The architectural dominant feature of the square is the Palazzo Vecchio, which we mentioned briefly above. This was originally the seat of the government of the Florentine Republic (Signoria) and it was therefore also the square around the palazzo that became known as Piazza della Signoria.
Piazza della Signoria is called the open-air museum: you can admire a collection of Renaissance sculptures. Unfortunately, most of the sculptures have now been replaced by copies. The originals are kept in the nearby Galleria Accademia and the Uffizi Gallery.
The Basilica of Santa Croce became the necropolis of many prominent Florentine natives
From Piazza della Signoria, past the Uffizi Gallery, you can walk out onto the banks of the Arno, or you can take a short walk along Via dei Gondi and Borgo dei Greci to the Basilica of Santa Croce.
The Basilica is considered the largest Franciscan church in the world and serves as a necropolis for illustrious Florentine personalities. Galileo, Rossini, Machiavelli and even the great Michelangelo himself rested here.
After worshipping the ashes of the great Florentines, return to Piazza della Signoria, the easiest place to walk down to the Arno. The river divides Florence into northern and southern parts.
An evening in Florence
After spending 1 day in the bustling center of Florence, it is better to spend the evening in peace and quiet, namely on the south bank of the Arno River.
Connect the banks of the river 10 bridges. The most famous is the Ponte Vecchio, built in the XIV century near the Piazza della Signoria. Since then its appearance has not changed much.
At all times, the bridge served as a center for commerce. At first it was occupied by butchers, but nowadays it contains expensive jewelry stores.
Ponte Vecchio’s bridge has always been a center of commerce.
In contrast to the enlightened center, the south bank of the Arno has long been occupied by poor quarters.
In the XV century the big banker Luca Pitti bought a large plot of land on the right bank and started building a new palazzo, which a century later Pitti’s descendants sold to Duchess Eleonora Toledo – wife of Tuscan Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici.
Under the Medici the palace was noticeably enlarged, surrounded by the elegant Boboli Gardens, which were the prototype of many European parks.
A leisurely stroll through the Boboli Gardens allows you to relax from the bustle of the city and admire Florence from the hill of the same name.
Boboli Gardens – a comfortable place to relax after a busy day in Florence
The best place to watch the sunset is Piazzale Michelangelo, with its unrivaled views as spectacular as Boboli Hill. You can reach the square after walking about a kilometer along the south bank of the River Arno.
From Piazzale Michelangelo you can see the whole city.
Itinerary of Florence by BlogoItaliano
Of course, it is almost impossible to cover Florence in 1 day. The Tuscan capital is still said to have the highest concentration of attractions per capita in the world. There are so many things to see here for sure. The city has more than 70 museums alone.
On it you need to allocate 4 or 5 days, or better yet, a week. But few travelers can afford a week on Florence alone. It is customary to take the city “by storm”, allocating a day, maximum – 2.
This is why BlogoItaliano has tried to create the perfect solution – a ready-made itinerary of Florence for 1 day.
Just a few hours of viewing the selected and structured information in PDF-book format, and you become a real expert on Florence – what to see and how to take the most of the city.
Florence holds first place in the world for the number of sights per capita
- A 1-day ready-made walking itinerary covering 25 of Florence’s top sights
- A detailed map of the route on Google Maps, as well as markers for the maps.me app so you can transfer the map to your phone and use it without the internet
- A PDF version of the itinerary that you can simply print out and take with you on your trip
- Recommendations for an app with free and high-quality audio tours, which will allow you to do without a guide
- Little-known places and “chips” that most tourists pass by
- Six viewpoints in the city, so you’ll have great photos.
- Working hours of the main attractions of the route, so you won’t miss anything and have time for everything.
- What to try in Florence from the food and where to do it [tips from local guides]
- How to get on free and budget tours of Florence
- And much more…
In addition to Florence, BlogoItaliano has detailed itineraries for other of Italy’s most interesting cities. You can see their detailed descriptions and make a reservation for any of them on this page.
To have even more time in Italy, subscribe to our free email course for country travelers. There you will find many useful tips to help you better prepare for your trip.
If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends, keep it on your social network and subscribe to our Youtube channel, if you haven’t done that already. You will need it many times during your journey.
Photos by: ctj71081, Petar Milošević, Roberto Taddeo, Sailko, Markus Bernet, Stefan Bauer, Benson Kua