Ah, bella Firenze. The capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, this antique city of Renaissance art, hearty food and glorious architecture is definitely a must-see and a fantastic choice of holiday destination. Although 24 hours may not be as much time as you would like to spend here, this Florence one day itinerary guarantees you will fall in love with the city. Meanwhile, our fastidious Plum Guide home critics will be sure your accommodation is more than up to par.
But first, coffee
Start your day with a much needed coffee at Ditta Artigianale. This hipster spot is known to serve the best caffè in the city, guaranteed to wake even the sleepiest of baby boomers (that’s you in case we were unclear). With a two-storey vintage lounge and an outdoor patio, you’ll love people watching over a light breakfast and leave ready to start your whirlwind tour of the city.
Morning at the museum
Next up on your Florence one day itinerary is a trip to the Galleria dell’Accademia. Smaller than the famous Uffizi Gallery and thus a far better option for a one day trip, this is where you’ll find Michelangelo’s iconic David sculpture (which, as you’ll soon find out from the tourist paraphernalia sold all around the city, is probably Florence’s most famous attraction).
Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, Italy
Seeing it in person is an absolute must, but not the only draw of the museum. Other incredible artworks on view include paintings by Botticelli and Orcagna to name but a few. Make sure to book your ticket in advance so you can skip the queue and get straight to the art. You only have one day after all and if we’re being honest, your legs don’t work as fast as they used to.
Those who are bored by this type of excursion will be pleased to know the gallery is quite small, so make your way through with haste, pick up a few fun facts to share with the in-laws and then make the 10 minute walk to your next stop, the Mercato di San Lorenzo.
It’s market time
Never consider a Florence one day itinerary that doesn’t include the Mercato Centrale Florence. Remember when we told you to eat light earlier? That’s because the food here is epic and it’s our job to make sure you arrive here with plenty of space in your stomach. From scrumptious seasonal fruit that your teenager won’t stop photographing for her Instagram, to incredible cheese, pasta, desserts and olive oil to sample, this is the place to get a real taste of Florence. We’ll just go ahead and give you a spoiler – it’s going to be delicious.
Mercato Centrale, Florence, Italy | Image by Eduardo Melon is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
If you’re a foodie, why not purchase a bottle of Tuscan olive oil, balsamic vinegar or even truffle oil to ship home? The market can also prepare vacuum-packed Parmigano-Reggiano so you never have to eat supermarket parmesan again. This lovely flat is a short walk from the market, in case you want to attempt to make a meal out of all those bits and bobs you bought.
Just outside Centrale is one of Florence’s oldest markets, Mercato di San Lorenzo. It’s the perfect place to pick up souvenirs for your work colleagues – who, let’s be honest, you don’t really want to spend money on. Pro tip: Don’t buy the leather here as it’s not the best when it comes to quality (unless of course it’s a gift for someone you don’t like that much, in which case go with our blessing).
Climb the Duomo
Now that you probably feel like a stuffed pig, it’s time to take care of those aging arteries and burn off those calories on the steps of the Duomo. The Piazza del Duomo is just a few minutes walk from the market and home to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo. Once you’ve taken a thousand photos of the outside of the building, check out the cathedral and then tour the baptistery complete with carved doors by Sandro Botticelli.
View of the Duomo from a narrow nearby street, Florence, Italy
For some of the best views in the city and a well-needed bit of exercise, make sure to buy your tickets to climb the 463 stairs to the top of Brunelleschi’s dome in advance. This is the best way to let yourself be properly awestruck by this magnificent structure, which helped set the tone for the Italian Renaissance. If you don’t get the chance to book this experience, another great Duomo hike – 414 steps to be exact – is up Giotto’s bell tower. This doesn’t require a ticket but the queues can be long, and we both know you're too old to be waiting in a queue like you're still on your gap year.
Enjoy an outdoor museum
Surely you didn’t think you’d get away with coming to Florence and only seeing one museum? Who do you take us for? Lucky for you, you don’t even have to go inside a building for this one though.
In front of the Palazzo Vecchio in the Piazza della Signoria is an open-air museum showcasing some of the best sculptures in the city. Marvel at Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus, Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women, and even get another taste of David thanks to the lifesize replica of the statue that lives here. The 1565 Neptune’s Fountain is also by Bandinelli. Basically walking around here is a free art history lesson so you’re very welcome.
Rape of the Sabine Woman Statue, Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy
Piazza della Signoria is home to the Uffizi Gallery too, but we recommend you save this one for a week in Florence, as just the museum alone will take up pretty much all of your Florence one day itinerary.
Rub the pig’s nose
Speaking of your next trip, it’s now time for an important Florentine tradition. Make your way to the Fontana del Porcellino or fountain of the little pig. Rub his little bronze nose and superstition says you’ll visit Florence again someday. We hate to keep saying it, but you’re welcome.
Catch the sunset
Before your one day Florence itinerary comes to a close, enjoy a dazzling Florentine sunset from the Piazzale Michelangelo. Drink a Negroni for added enjoyment and then head to local haunt Il Latini for dinner. Dig into the most delicious Tuscan fare including the restaurant’s famous Florentine steak. Eating here is a truly authentic experience, even down to the fact there are no prices on the menus. Don’t worry, you can definitely afford it.
Now you've found your perfect Florence one day itinerary, it's time to think about where to stay in Florence. At Plum Guide, every home we list has been tried and tested by our fastidious home critics, so whether you're after a place on the river or this chic designer flat, you know you're in for a great night's sleep in a Plum Guide home.