Day 1 in Florence
Welcome to Florence! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do.
Begin your afternoon with a pleasant lunch in any of the charming streetside cafes to be found throughout Florence. Afterward, we recommend that you get acquainted with the city by choosing an optional tour such as Hop-on Hop-off Tour, showcasing the city`s top attractions. This is a great way to get your bearings of the city while deciding on which sights you will want to explore further.
As evening approaches, enjoy dinner and Florence by night! We recommend roaming the Piazza della Signoria and Piazza del Duomo where all the monuments are lit up, a great place to take in the atmosphere after sunset.
Day 2 in Florence
After a good night`s sleep and some breakfast, head out to explore the city. Start off with a visit to the main cathedral, Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore), which is not only Florence`s religious center, it`s also the city`s most recognizable attraction. Occupying the Piazza del Duomo in the heart of the city, this massive Gothic cathedral was built during the 14th century. The church`s exterior boasts intricate designs and breathtaking features while the interior is surprisingly plain. Inside you will find dozens of paintings and sculptures of tremendous historical and cultural significance, so give yourself some time to take it all in. The main attraction of this massive structure is Brunelleschi`s Dome, a masterpiece of architecture and construction. You`ll definitely want to climb the 463 steps to the top and witness the fantastic views over Florence.
Just across from the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral is the Baptistry, the oldest building in the city, and a must-do for any art lover. It`s very impressive octagonal building that most people only see from the outside, largely because they want a photo opp with the famous bronze Porta del Pardiso (Gates to Paradise). What they don`t realize is that the real gates are kept inside at the Opera Museum (replicas are currently in their place). Regardless, the baptistry is included in your cathedral ticket price so it`s worth a quick look inside.
Make your way over to the famous square, Piazza della Signoria, the heart of the historic center and an open-air (and free) sculpture exhibit. Grab some lunch here and admire the important statues (notable ones include Giambologna`s Rape of the Sabines and Cellini`s Perseus), which draw crowds of tourists and locals alike. The piazza has been Florence`s political center since the middle ages and is the site of both Florence`s town hall and medieval Palazzo Vecchio.
Next, walk across Ponte Vecchio (old bridge), built in 1345, this was the first bridge across the Arno River and is the only surviving bridge from Florence`s medieval days (others were destroyed in WWII). The Ponte Vecchio is lined with shops selling gold and silver jewelry. From the bridge, you`ll have a great view of the Arno River and beyond.
Spend your evening relaxing over a hearty dinner. If time and energy allow, wander around the city`s main squares where you`ll find plenty of bars and cafes. For something a little livelier, check out Borgo San Frediano, Piazza Santo Spirito, or the northern end of Via de`Macci.
Day 3 in Florence
Start your morning in Mercato Centrale, the largest food market in Florence, which is still the go-to for many of the city`s restaurants to buy fresh produce. Take a stroll on the lower level, which offers fresh vegetables, meats and cheese stalls plus shops sampling balsamic vinegars and olive oils. For the strong willed, join the locals ordering lamprodotto at Da Narbone, a tripe sandwich traditionally washed down with a glass of Chianti - even at 9am! Later in the day, the newly renovated upstairs food court opens at 10am with a large variety of food stalls offering fresh food (and fast) until midnight.
For a more refined, typical Italian breakfast, stroll to the pretty piazza della Repubblica where you`ll find Gilli, a historic and elegant café in the center of Florence. Since 1733, Gilli has been serving Florentines and is a great example of their morning breakfast ritual. Take time to look up at the ceiling which has frescoes and wood panels that make you feel, in an instant, you are in an 18th-century Florentine coffee house.
After fueling up from breakfast, head over to the Galleria dell`Accademia. This art museum holds important paintings and sculptures from the 13th to 16th centuries. Along with works by important Renaissance artists like Uccello, Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, and del Sarto, you`ll also find one of the most famous sculptures in the world, Michelangelo`s David. You may want to consider booking a tour, which is a great way to discover this museum while avoiding lines and learning more about the art.
Make a mid-day visit through Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Garden), a huge park on a hillside in the middle of Florence. Located behind the Pitti Palace, whose beautiful gardens and fountains offer spectacular views of Florence from the Forte Belvedere, this famous park is great for a picnic lunch before stopping into the palace for a tour of its many galleries.
The Palazzo Pitti, Florence`s largest palace, was once the seat of the Medici family. Originally the home of a banker named Luca Pitti, these massive buildings house the living quarters of its past inhabitants as well as eight different galleries that are full of art, period costumes, and jewelry.
Spend the rest of your afternoon enjoying some shopping around the city. Florence has some of the finest shopping in Europe, offering everything from leather goods to fine food to jewelry, souvenirs, and fine art. Wheather you want to visit a luxury retailer or high fashion boutique or you want to explore some of the open-air markets selling local goods and antiques, there`s plenty of ways to shop in Florence no matter what time of year you are visiting.
Aperitivo time! After a day packed with adventures, it`s time for cocktail hour and the tradition of aperitivo is a Florentine must-do. This pre-dinner drink, be it wine, beer or the popular Sritz (Aperol, prescoo, soda water) is an ideal way to wind down after a day exploring the city. The piazza Santo Spirito, is a great place to enjoy one, lined with bars and al-fresco tables, offering a great view to watch the Italian world go by.
Spend your last evening in Florence relaxing over a nice meal while reflecting on your time in this great city.
Additional Days in Florence
Should you be able to spend additional days in Florence we recommend you head out of the city to visit the areas just outside of Florence for a convenient day trip. In the heart of Tuscany, Florence is surrounded by some of the best places to visit in Italy with charming small towns, impressive wineries, and a great scenery. Some of these, such as Prato and Pistoia, are easy day trips from Florence, and not far beyond them is the beautiful town of Lucca. Pisa`s famous tower, is one of the top tourist attractions in Italy. South of Pisa is the old port city of Livorno, and to the north are some of Italy's best beaches around Viareggio. Continue along the coast to hike the Cinque Terre, among the top things to do in Italy. North of Florence, Italy`s food capital of Bologna is just over half an hour by train.
Your Last Day in Florence
Depart your hotel for the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer, if so a representative will meet you at the hotel, in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.