24 Hours in Florence Italy: 16 Amazing Activities

Wondering about how to spend 24 hours in Florence Italy? I’m here to help!

As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is a city steeped in history and culture. With so much to see and do in this beautiful Italian city, it can be difficult to know where to begin. But fear not, because this jam-packed itinerary for your 24 hours in Florence Italy has you covered!

You’ll have the opportunity to experience the very best that Florence has to offer in just one day. From awe-inspiring cathedrals and world-renowned museums to charming piazzas and delicious local cuisine, get ready for an amazing day! But, also important to note, that this can be done all at your own pace.

I was fortunate to spend 4 nights in Florence, and able to see a whole lot more. But I’ve selected the best of the best for you and your one day in Florence Italy, and yes I’ve some free time for you to pick and choose how you want to spend your time.

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How to Spend 24 Hours in Florence Italy

This itinerary has been carefully designed to balance the must see in Florence in 1 day with what makes sense geographically.

My best travel advice is manage your expectations. It will be impossible to see it all, so know going in this will give you a good gauge whether you want to return.

1. Sunrise at Piazzale Michelangelo

bridge with river at sunset as one of the things to see in Florence in 1 day

Let’s start your whirlwind Florence Italy in one day itinerary with a breathtaking sunrise from the Piazzale Michelangelo.

As you stand atop this iconic terrace, the first rays of sunlight will shine oh so perfectly on the city’s best architecture, casting a warm glow over the Arno River and its ancient bridges.

On either side of Piazzale Michelangelo – there are two notable gardens. To the right is Giardino dell’Iris – a botanical garden that is especially pretty to see in the springtime. And, to the left is Giardino delle Rose – a rose garden that’s most beautiful during the summer months.

With panoramic views that extend as far as the eye can see, the Piazzale Michelangelo is the perfect place to begin your Florence in 1 day adventure.

Next stop: walk 1.6 km to Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens, stop at Ditta Artigianale cafe as I did for your morning coffee and Italian pastry.

2. Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens

founatin in middle of rectangular building in florence italy

Visiting Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens is like stepping back in time to the golden age of the Italian Renaissance. Once the private residence of the powerful Medici family, the palace is now a stunning museum filled with priceless works of art and historic treasures.

From masterpieces by Titian and Raphael to lavish furnishings and decor, every inch of the palace is steeped in history and beauty.

Just outside the palace lies my personal favourite, the Boboli Gardens. It’s a sprawling garden and green space perfect for a leisurely early morning stroll. With its stunning Renaissance fountains and sculptures coupled with its panoramic views of Florence, this is a must see when in Florence for a day.

  • Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 am to 6:30 pm
  • Cost: €16 (Pitti Palace) and 10€ (Boboli Gardens) OR combined ticket is €22 (*special early entrance discount applied for Pitti Palace, save €4 when arriving before 8:45 am) – check prices and availbility
  • Approx time allocated: 1 to 1.5 hours

Next stop: walk the 400 m to Pont Vecchio

3. Pont Vecchio

bridge with shops in orange and yellow with stutters while spending 24 hours in Florence italy

Ponte Vecchio is one of the most iconic and beloved landmarks in all of Florence.

This historic bridge spans the Arno River and is known for its distinctive architecture. Originally built in 1345, just imagine how Ponte Vecchio has survived wars, floods, and countless renovations, yet it remains as beautiful and captivating as ever!

The bridge is lined with shops selling jewelry, leather goods, and other souvenirs. It’s also lined with tourists! The energy is infectious! But does require a bit of patience as no matter what time of day you visit it will be full of people. It’s all part of the charm.

  • Opening hours: the shops on the bridge are generally open between 10 am and 7 pm (don’t be surprised to find them closed over lunchtime and on Sunday and Monday)
  • Cost: free
  • Approx time allocated: less than 30 minutes

Next stop: walk 170 m to Uffizi Gallery

Visiting the Uffizi Gallery is like taking a journey through the very soul of the Italian Renaissance.

This world-renowned museum is home to an unparalleled collection of art and artifacts, ranging from masterpieces by Michelangelo and Botticelli to ancient Greek and Roman sculptures. The two most famous paintings are Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1485) and Primavera (1478).

Don’t try and see it all, as every inch of the museum is filled with beautiful things to see from the stunning frescoes on the ceilings to the intricate details of the sculptures and paintings.

Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or a casual admirer as I am, a visit to the Uffizi Gallery won’t leave you disappointed.

  • Opening hours: open Tuesday through Sunday 8:15 am to 6:50 pm (first Sunday of the month entrance is free) – pre-book your timed ticket
  • Cost: €25
  • Approx time allocated: 1 hour

Next stop: walk 70 m to Piazza della Signoria

5. Piazza della Signoria

Visiting Piazza della Signoria is the heartbeat of Florence and most definitely one of the places to visit in Florence in 1 day.

This grand square is home to many of the city’s most famous and important landmarks, including the imposing 13-century Palazzo Vecchio, the awe-inspiring Fountain of Neptune, and the magnificent Loggia dei Lanzi, which houses an impressive collection of outdoor sculptures.

Walking through the Piazza, you’ll immediately feel the buzz. It’s full of people, and the downside of any great piazza, you’ll be tempted to grab a table and people watch over lunch. You’ll pay the price for this experience, and not nearly have the best meal in Florence, so let me take you to where you will.

  • Opening hours: 24/7
  • Cost: free
  • Approx time allocated: less than 30 minutes

Next stop: Lunch! Walk 1 km to Mercato Centrale

6. Lunch at Mercato Centrale

Lunchtime in Italy means the city shuts down, well almost. Let’s head to a cultural institution in Italy – the market!

Mercato Centrale is a bustling marketplace that’s a feast for the senses. Row upon row of vendors selling everything from fresh produce to artisanal cheeses, meats, and pastries.

At the heart of it all, is the bustling food court (on the upper level) where you’ll find a mouth-watering array of options for every taste and budget. It’s a food-lovers heaven that showcases the very best of Italian regional food.

With its lively atmosphere and friendly vibe, Mercato Centrale is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the local culture, and far better meal than on the Piazza della Signoria.

Sit at one of the long communal tables and enjoy a good-tasting meal and a glass of local wine for as little as €10-15.

If this is too casual for you and you are looking for someplace a little less crowded and a place to settle in for a long, leisurely meal here are a couple of nearby options for you:

  • Trattoria Sergio Gozzi – for Florentine home cooking and rustic wines this restaurant oozes charm (Piazza di San Lorenzo, 8)
  • La Ménagère – with a menu that takes you from brunch to afternoon drinks into the evening, this restaurant is sophisticated any time of the day (Via de’Ginori 8)

Next stop: walk 500 m to Accademia Gallery

archway with fountain in 24 hours in florence tour

The Accademia Gallery in Florence is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

The museum is home to an impressive collection of Italian Renaissance art, including the iconic statue of David by Michelangelo. As you step inside the museum, you will be struck by the sheer beauty and grandeur of the art on display.

Walking through the gallery’s halls, you will see the likes of Michelangelo, Botticelli, and other great masters and their iconic and enduring works of art.

  • Opening hours: open Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 am to 6:50 pm – pre-book your timed tickets
  • Cost: €20
  • Approx time allocated: 60 minutes

Next stop: walk 500 m to Piazza del Duomo with a Gelato stop along the way

8. Grab a Gelato

En route to Piazza del Duomo stop at Gelateria Carabè Firenze (Via Ricasoli, 60) stop for a gelato! You can’t go to Florence without at least having one or two gelatos in a day!

The best ice cream in Florence in my opinion is from Carabe and what luck that it’s halfway between Accademia and Duomo!

If you love nut flavour gelatos, you’ll have to try the almond, pistachio, or hazelnut flavours, as they are all made with nuts from Sicily. And in summer, you can enjoy fresh fruit granita.

9. Piazza del Duomo

cathedral in white, red, green marble as one of the things to do in Florence in 1 day

Be prepared to be awe-struck! At the center of this magnificent square stands the iconic Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, with its awe-inspiring dome and intricate Gothic facade.

The Cathedral is surrounded by a host of other historic buildings, including the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the Giotto Bell Tower, and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

Soak up the vibrant energy of the square before visiting the Duomo and the Giotto Bell Tower. Of all the things to see in Florence in one day, this is it!

10. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

cathedral in white, green and red marble in florence italy

Now let’s visit the top attraction in Florence – the 15th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

This is the third largest church in the world, right after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London. Locals call it simply the Duomo and we tourists refer to it as the Florence Cathedral.

From the moment you set foot in this magnificent church, you will be rendered speechless. The soaring nave, with its intricate arches and stained glass windows. The dome, with its breathtaking frescoes and intricate brickwork. Leave no detail unexplored – from the mosaics on the floor to gazing up at the towering vaults overhead – the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is a must-see.

  • Opening hours: open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Cost: Free (however, the lineup for the free entry will always be 1 to 2 hours) so be sure to pre-book your time slot to save you precious time
  • Approx time allocated: Less than 30 minutes

11. Giotto Bell Tower

After visiting the Cathedral, let’s climb the 14th-century Giotto’s Bell Tower! Standing tall at 84.7 metres in the same white, red and green marble as the cathedral, it’s impressive. It’s no wonder it’s considered to be the most beautiful bell tower in Italy.

400 steps, time to work off those calories you’ve eaten!

As you climb the narrow 400 stairs, each step brings you closer to the top of the tower, where you’re rewarded with amazing views of the city and beyond. From the terraces, you can see the iconic red-tiled rooftops of Florence, the winding river Arno, and the lush green hills that surround the city.

  • Opening hours: open daily from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm
  • Cost: €30 (includes the entrance to the Cathedral, the Dome, the Baptistery, Crypt, Campanile di Giotto and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo)
  • Approx time allocated: Less than 30 minutes

12. Traveller’s Choice

It’s likely late afternoon and what better way to spend it than choosing your own adventure!

Art, architecture and history lovers, you might want to visit these sites:

  • Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
  • Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence

Shopaholics, of course, will be in awe of all the famous Italian designers near the streets of Via de’ Tornabuoni, Via dei Calzaiuoli, and Via Santo Spirito. But here are some boutique shops you might want to see:

  • Il Bisonte – famous for its leather bags since 1970 (via del Parione 31/33)
  • Madova – famous for its leather gloves since 1929 (Via de’ Guicciardini, 1)
  • Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella – historic pharmacy selling perfumes, soaps, lotions and more (Via della Scala, 16)
  • Mercato del Porcellino – the famous 16th-century covered market where you can source leather jackets (made in Italy or made in Florence) and look out for the bronze statue of the boar and rub its nose for luck (Piazza del Mercato Nuovo)

Or, simply wander the streets. Florence is known as an open-air museum and has so many wonderfully mysterious streets. It’s no wonder the city centre made it on the UNESCO list for Italy. So, perhaps you want to discover the undiscovered on your own. Of all the things to do in Florence in 1 day, this would be top of my list!

13. Happy Hour with an Aperitif

We North Americans call it happy hour, but in Europe, it’s the time before sunset when everyone meets up for a Aperitif and most likely orders a Aperol Spritz.

Finish your day with a drink on the banks of the River Arno, opposite the Ponte Vecchio, at the Florence Rowing Club restaurant called Canottieri Firenze. There’s no better view than right here!

Next stop: walk 400 m to Santa Trinity

14. Sunset at Ponte Santa Trinity

pink sky over river when in 24 hours in florence guide

Watching the sunset at Ponte Santa Trinita Bridge is a magical and unforgettable experience. As the sun begins to sink behind the horizon, the sky is painted with a kaleidoscope of colours that seem to change with every passing moment.

As you stand on the bridge, taking in the beauty of the sunset, you’ll see why Florence has inspired poets, artists, and thinkers for centuries.

15. Late Night Dinner

Now that the city darkens, and there is a warm glow of the lanterns on the cobblestone streets, it’s time to enjoy a late meal. Florence’s best-known signature dish, is the bistecca alla Fiorentina, a vast T-bone priced by weight (and it’s big!).

Here are some suggested restaurants to try in Florence:

Next stop: walk to Piazza della Repubblica

16. Piazza della Repubblica

After your late-night delicious dinner, make your way Piazza della Repubblica. This is the perfect way to end your jam-packed Florence Italy in 1 day itinerary!

This historic square is best seen and experienced at night. The atmosphere is intoxicating.

As you stroll around the square, take in the stunning architecture. Listen to the sounds of street musicians and performers, grab a gelato from one of the local vendors, and snap your last photo of Florence in front of the beautiful carousel.

Tips for Florence 1 day Itinerary

building with gray shutters in 24 hours in florence

When it comes to spending 24 hours in Florence, you should keep a few things in mind to make the most of your time in this Tuscan city.

  • Pedestrian-friendly city. Florence is almost a no-car zone city, only those who are licensed (i.e. Taxis) can drive within the city limits. That means as tourists, it’s safe to walk around. Be sure to have comfortable walking shoes, even though the city is compact in size, the day will be spent on your feet.
  • Avoid visiting on Sunday or Monday. Most museums and things to do on this 1 day Florence itinerary will be impacted by the reduced hours and/or closures on Sundays and Mondays.
  • Pre-book everything. It’s essential to save time and avoid long lines to pre-book all your tickets for the places you want to visit on this itinerary. By booking Florence Skip the Line tickets you’ll avoid wasting time in queues.
  • Time of year. Try to avoid peak tourist season (late April to late September) to avoid crowds.
  • Choosing your accommodations. To make the most of your Florence 24 hours trip, choose accommodations near the city centre and close to the Arno River. To start your search, go to my travel planning resources page.

FAQ About 1 Day Itinerary Florence

Is 1 day in Florence enough?

No, 1 day in Florence is not enough to see everything, but it does give you a taste of the art, culture and cuisine that this Renaissance city is known for.

Is it worth going to Florence for the day?

Yes! It’s worth going to Florence for the day to see the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio and its lively piazzas.

How much time is needed in Florence?

Ideally, at least 3 days allow you to fully experience the art, history, and culture of this Renaissance city.

As a Holidaymaker

By planning ahead, prioritizing your best of Florence in one day attractions, and following some helpful tips, you can make the most out of your 24 hours Florence trip. Florence truly is a city that you will want to return to again and again.

Beyond your Florence, discover the most beautiful Tuscan towns to include in your travel plans!

Enjoy a day exploring the charming streets of Siena, and for some entertainment, learn about the friendly rivalry between Siena and Florence to decide which one you like more.

Don’t miss the picturesque Renaissance town of Pienza or the enchanting hilltop town of Cortona. If you’re looking for dreamy places to stay, consider accommodations in both Cortona and Montepulciano.

All of this and more can be found when you visit my Italy Travel Guide page. It’s here you’ll find a comprehensive list of articles and a wealth of resources to help you plan your perfect Italian adventure.