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Travel Guide: What to Do in Florence for One Perfect Day

If you’ve got 24 hours in Florence, you’ve got enough time to have the perfect day. This 24 hour Florence itinerary takes you to all the top attractions. Even if you have just one day, you can visit the best things to do in Florence!

You’ll spend your morning in Duomo Square, climb the Duomo and visit Michelangelo’s David for the Perfect Day in Florence. 

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Florence, Italy statue of David

During the afternoon, you’ll make a wish at Piglet Fountain, shop for souvenirs and check out an open-air sculpture museum. Finally, you’ll stroll through rose gardens and watch the sunset at Michelangelo Square. This Florence itinerary shares what to do in 24 hours, complete with restaurant recommendations, hotel recommendations and more.

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Check out the Top Tours & Day Trips from Florence

Read Reviews of the Best Hotels in FLorence on TripAdvisor 

Top Things to do in Florence (In One Day) 

girl and boy stand on bridge in Florence after sunset

Download this Tourist Map of Florence for on-the-go navigation during your travels (even when offline) for your perfect day in Florence, Italy.

Morning in Florence

Duomo Square

You’ll want to start your morning in Florence at Duomo Square. I love to get there before the crowds fill in. Come at 8 or 8:30 (or even earlier) and appreciate the majestic Brunelleschi’s Dome, Florence Cathedral, Baptistery of St. John and Giotto’s Bell Tower.

Duomo Florence Tickets 

The only way to see the inside of the dome up close and enjoy the extraordinary view of Florence is to climb its 463 steps (there is no elevator): the route takes you by the interior of the dome where you can see Giorgio Vasari’s frescoes of the Last Judgment. Get a ticket in advance, in fact you can even get a skip the line reservation

Duomo Square in Florence

Breakfast at La Terrazza

You’ll have breakfast at La Terrazza which opens at 9 AM. This restaurant has wonderful views of the Dome. Enjoy an espresso, as coffee is the specialty. Pair it with a fresh pastry and fruit for a true Italian breakfast.

Florence Cathedral

After breakfast, or before breakfast depending on your tour time, tour the Florence Cathedral, climb it’s famous dome and/or visit Michelangelo’s David at the Gallery of the Academy.

top of the Duomo of the Florence Cathedral

There are a few places you can book this tour and subtle variations to the content. Walks of Italy offers an 8 AM (3h) version that includes before hours access to the Gallery of the Academy as well as the Duomo climb. You can also find tours that focus primarily on the Duomo or either the Gallery of the Academy.

You do need to book a tour in advance (especially during busy months) for the Florence Cathedral (Duomo Climb) or Gallery of the Academy tours. There are many different tours offered for both activities. The tours can range between 30 min to 4 hours depending on which one you choose. The Walks of Italy “VIP David & Duomo Tour: Early Accademia Tour & Skip the Line Dome Climb with Exclusive Terrace Access” is 3 hours long.

Afternoon in Florence

After a busy morning tour in Florence, you’ll have certainly worked up an appetite. I recommend Pizza Napoli 1955 for a casual, budget, lunch that won’t disappoint. Alternatively, you can dine at Buca dell’Orafo if you’re looking for a more refined dining experience. Either way, you must head to Gelateria Edoardo for dessert. After all, Florence is the birthplace of gelato!

Next, you’ll head to Piglet Fountain. It’s inside the New Market which offers a perfect opportunity to shop for gifts and souvenirs. There are a few legends associated with the famous fountain of a boar. If you rub its snout, you should expect to return to Florence. Otherwise, you can place a coin in its jaws —hopefully, it will fall into the pig’s mouth and grant you good fortune.

New Market in Florence

Souvenirs to buy

Florence, especially the New Market and San Lorenzo Market, are the perfect places to shop for authentic Florentine gifts and souvenirs especially leather goods, olive oils, and vinegar. Italian leather is world-famous. You can get high-quality gloves, bags, and other accessories.

Cooking essentials like olive oil, truffle oil, and balsamic vinegar also make wonderful gifts. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also probably need to fit a few bottles of wine in your suitcase!

After you’ve had your fill of shopping, you can wander over to the nearby Loggia dei Lanzi. It’s an open-air sculpture museum. Marvel at the incredible works of art. Some of the most famous pieces include The Rape of the Sabine Women and Menelaus supporting the body of Patroclus.

Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence

Nearby, you’ll find the Vecchio Palace and the Uffizi Gallery. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Uffizi Gallery! It’s one of Italy’s most important museums and holds countless masterpieces from the Italian Renaissance.


On your evening in Florence, make your way across the Old Bridge or Ponte Vecchio. It’s a lively place with many jewelers, goldsmiths and, often, street musicians. Relax and enjoy the ambiance.

Finally, make your way up to the top of Michelangelo Square. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful places in all of Florence boasting sweeping panoramic views of the whole city.

Girl looks out on to Michelangelo Square in Florence

Finish your perfect day in Florence with dinner at La Bottega Del Buon Caffè. It’s a Michelin Star rated restaurant that offers all you would expect from Florentine cooking as well as all the best elegant touches.

Can’t Miss Attractions in Florence, Italy

The most obvious can’t-miss tourist attractions in Florence are Duomo Square, Michelangelo Square and Ponte Vecchio. Follow this itinerary, and you’ll cover them all!

panoramic views from Michelangelo Square in Florence

If you have a chance to walk off the beaten path in Florence, make your way to the Museum of Semi-Precious Stones. It’s our favorite hidden gem in Florence (no pun intended). Visit this museum, and you’ll learn more about the history, science, and art of marble inlays and mosaics.

Food to Try in Florence

Florence is the heart of Tuscany, and Tuscan cuisine is king. Tuscan cooking is focused on simple recipes made with fresh ingredients. Olive oil is a key ingredient that’s poured over… well, almost everything! Herbs like sage, rosemary, and basil take center stage. Meats are often grilled or broiled.

The most iconic dish is Florentine steak —which is traditionally a high cut of veal (bone-in) that is grilled to perfection. You absolutely must try the pecorino, a famous sheep’s milk cheese. Of course, you’ll want to sample the local wines as well. Tuscany is the home of Chianti and Brunello wines.

5 Fun Facts about Florence

Florence, Italy

1. The most famous tourist attraction in Florence, and probably all of Tuscany, is the Florence Cathedral and it’s incredible and utterly massive Dome. At the time that work began on this impressive structure (the late 13th Century), the plans were so ambitious that the architects didn’t even know how they were going to build such a dome! It would take them over a hundred years to figure it out. Meanwhile, they continued on building the rest of the cathedral… business as usual. Filippo Brunelleschi solved the mystery of how to build the Dome, so it was honorably named after him.

2. According to UNESCO, almost 1/3 of the world’s artistic masterpieces can be found in Florence!

3. During WWII, the Nazis invaded and caused heavy damage to the city of Florence. Although, Hitler spared the Ponte Vecchio, or “Old Bridge.” He thought it was too beautiful to destroy (and you’ll visit it if you follow this itinerary :)!

4. Florence is the birthplace of the European Renaissance movement.

5. Gelato was first created in Florence! Bernardo Buontalenti, a Florentine native, first crafted the frozen delicacy for none other than Catherina dei Medici.

Where to Stay in Florence

Budget Hotel Recommendations

Stay near the city center for ease of access to all of the top tourist attractions. The best budget accommodation is PLUS Florence. For close to $60-100 a night, it’s got a lively rooftop pool deck, dorm-style accommodations (including kitchen!!) and daily breakfast.

Affordable Luxury Hotel Recommendations

Looking for a little more? Our top affordable luxury pick is Hotel Home Florence. For $100-200 a night, this place has modern finishes and a casual rooftop terrace. Also, check out hotel La Scaletta Florence.

Luxury Hotel Recommendations

If you’re seeking ultimate luxury, the Hotel Lungarno is for you. This $500 + per night, 5-star hotel, has everything you could ever dream of. It’s right downtown. Otherwise, consider Belmond Villa San Michele if you’re dreaming of a countryside escape.


A few Top Tours in Florence, Italy


Recommended Travel Resources

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