Venice vs Florence: Which City Should You Visit?

Planning a trip to Italy will have you making some tough choices – which is better Florence or Venice?

As a holidaymaker, Italy has many beautiful cities. The list is endless. So it’s understandable that you want to see as many as you can OR to know which ones to prioritize.

Will it be Venice or Florence? Venice with its picture-perfect canal views. Or, Florence, where everywhere you look there’s art and beauty.

Both Venice and Florence are worth visiting, but is Florence better than Venice? Or is Venice better than Florence?

As part of my trip to Italy, I spent time in Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Cinque Terre and Venice! Seeing I spent time in both Florence and Venice – equally the same number of nights, I will share my personal experience with you!

I will do a side-by-side comparison to help you answer the popular question “should I visit Florence or Venice” allowing you to make the decision that is best for you.

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Venice and Florence: Which City Is Worth Visiting?

Venice canal with boats and lanterns with dome building in background when asking is venice worth visiting

Is Venice Worth Visiting?

Visiting Venice feels like a dream, and it looks like one too! Known as the “city of canals” this floating city is so picturesque with its beautiful canals and bridges and winding alleyways perfect for getting lost in.

Venice was styled in la serenissima, which means the most serene. And serene is right. Especially at night, as the city grows quiet you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. I much prefer Venice at night for that very reason.

This is one European destination that deserves to be seen at least once in your lifetime.

bridge over water with yellow buildings on either side looking at is florence worth visiting

Is Florence Worth Visiting?

Visiting Florence is simply captivating. Known for its Renaissance art and architecture, this culturally rich city in the heart of Tuscany is a work of art in itself.

Gardens, statues, and scenic bridges over the Arno River are all pristine. Walking through the winding streets of this historic city is like strolling through an open-air museum, one monument after another.

This is one European destination that is worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime.

Venice or Florence: Which City is Better?

It appears that both of these Italian cities are worth visiting. So, now the tough question is, Florence or Venice which city is better? That all depends on what type of traveller you are.

chart comparison of venice vs florence

Florence beats out Venice on almost every factor, but it doesn’t make it any less desirable to visit. It only means that if you were to choose only one, it would be Florence. Or, if you are planning on visiting both, spend more time in Florence. Think about what type of traveller you are and see if it aligns.

Let’s get to know more about Venice and Florence helping you decide which is the better city worth visiting.

The Vibe: Venice vs Florence

venice gondola on canal when comparing venice vs florence

Venice is undeniably beautiful, magical in fact. But, it is overrun with tourists. So much so that it may negatively impact your experience (at least it did for me).

Visit any must-see city in Europe like London, Paris, or Rome, and you expect to find tourists. But, it doesn’t detract from enjoying the city. You still can find those hidden gems and the city feels liveable.

river with rowers and bridge in florence when comparing florence vs venice and which city is better

Yes, Florence also receives lots and lots of tourists, especially near the top attractions. But, locals still own Florence. It’s their city. You see everyday Italian life here.

When I think about a city’s vibe, I always ask myself…would I live here or would I want to revisit here? My answer to that question is Florence.


Sightseeing: Will it be Florence or Venice?

Top Things to Do in Venice

  • Visit top landmarks in Venice like Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square
  • Palazzo Ducale or Doge’s Palace – is an impressive pink and white palace and former seat of government sitting on Piazza San Marco. Tour this Gothic building for the impressive Venetian Renaissance frescoes and the famous Bridge of Signs to the prison
  • St Mark’s Basilica – is located on the lively St Mark’s Square attached to Doge’s Palace and is known as the ‘golden church’ due to its gold mosaics. Tour the church and the terrace overlooking views of St Mark’s Square
  • Peggy Guggenheim – art lovers will want to tour the former home and art collection full of famous 20th-century artists
  • A memorable experience that I enjoyed was attending a Four Seasons Vivaldi concert at Santa Maria Della Visitazione church
florence dome church with details of red roof and marble in white and green when considering florence vs venice

Top Things to Do in Florence

  • Visit the top landmarks in Florence like Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Michelango and Della Signoria and bridges (or Ponte) Vecchico, alle Grazie, Santa Trinita
  • Tour the complex of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral – which includes a dome, museum, baptistery and bell tower
  • Uffizi Gallery – is Italy’s (and the world’s) greatest art museum where you can admire masterpieces by Michelangelo and Da Vinci, and Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus.”
  • Accademia Gallery – take a self-guided tour and see the world-famous paintings and sculptures, like the iconic pieces by Michelangelo of ‘The Prisoners’, ‘St. Matthew’ and the Statue of David
  • Boboli and Bardini Gardens – a historic park since the 18th century which has inspired other parks and gardens in Europe. I recommend booking a ticket for early morning to admire the garden and views of the city


The Food: Florence vs Venice

The food experience in Venice was a letdown. Mostly because it caters to tourists and not locals. You will be hard-pressed to find any authentically chef-run restaurants. Expect much higher prices and an emphasis on seafood.

A local tradition is to graze at bacari (or traditional bars) that serve cicheti that look like tapas over a glass of wine. This is a popular meal with locals throughout the day.

Here are a few recommended restaurants in Venice that won’t break the bank, and offer a delicious meal:

  • All’Arco (Campo San Polo, 436)
  • the vegetarian LaZucca (San Croce, 1762)
  • Al Covo (Castello, 3968)

Like any major city, restaurants closest to the sightseeing landmarks will cater only to touristico. Florence too. But, it won’t take you long to find some exceptional meals in Florence, including six Michelin-starred restaurants. Local specialties are ribollita (bread-based soup with black cabbage and beans) and bistecca alla fiorentina (a very large steak).

Here are a few recommended restaurants in Florence to try:

  • Vini E Vecchi Sapori (Via dei Magazzini 3)
  • Osteria dell’Enoteca (Via Romana, 70)
  • Trattoria Cibreo (Via dei Macci, 122)
  • the lively food hall of Mercato Centrale (Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Via dell’Ariento).

Foodies, whether it be Florence or Venice be sure to seek out those places not near the top attractions for a more authentic meal.


Getting Around: Is Venice or Florence Better?

Which is better Venice or Florence for getting around the city?

Both Venice and Florence are small, compact, walkable cities making it easy to get around.

Both have lots of winding historic streets to simply “get lost” in without really getting lost.

Yet, it’s Venice with its far more scenic mode of transportation of water taxis and gondola rides that won me over. Taking a gondola ride is quintessentially a Venice thing to do, and shouldn’t be missed.


The Weather: Venice vs Florence

gondola driver getting boat ready on river is venice better than florence

Venice is considered subtropical temperatures. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Spring (months of March to May) receives average temperatures of 14-22°C/57-71°F
  • Summer (months of June to August) receives average temperatures are 28°C/82°F
  • Autumn (months of September to November) receives average temperatures of 14-22°C/57-71°F
  • Winter (months of December to February) dips to an average of 8°C/46°F

During the months of October to January, Venice’s water levels rise and parts of the city may flood.

When high water or acqua alta occurs, St Mark’s Square, the lowest point in the city, can flood and for a few days be part of the lagoon. The city and locals are of course used to it and prepared. But as travellers, we may not.

river with bridge in florence is it better than venice

Florence is inland Tuscany and experiences slightly warmer temperatures year round. Here’s what you can expect from Florence:

  • Spring (months of April to June) receives pleasant temperatures of 19-24°C/66-75°F
  • Summer (months of July and August) receive the hottest temperatures of 32°C/90°F
  • Autumn (months of September to October) receives average temperatures of 19-24°C/66-75°F
  • Winter (months of December to February) dips to an average of 11°C/52°F

Want to avoid a rainy season, don’t visit in November when it receives the highest amount of rain, followed by December, March and April.


Value for Money: Is Florence or Venice Better?

Florence or Venice which is better value for your travel budget? Well, I hate to break it to you, but both cities are expensive to visit.

Due to the mass tourism in Venice, the value of money is not the best. Restaurants and hotels are overpriced compared to other cities, like Florence.

Venice is set to implement a long-anticipated day visitor fee starting April 2024, a €5 fee targets travellers who visit the city for just the day between 8:30 am and 4 pm. This makes Venice the first city to be “bookable”.

Although many of the top sightseeing sites are free in Venice, expect very long lines, of upwards to an hour. So, to maximize your time, you are forced to pre-book priority access entrance tickets at a cost.

Almost all the sights in Florence require an entrance fee, and seeing that Florence has much more things to see and do that can add up.

For me, it boils down to accommodations and food often the biggest portion of your travel budget. And, value for money was hands down Florence. My accommodations and meals far exceeded Venice.


From Florence Italy, there are endless options for day trips! Visit hilltop Tuscan Towns, take a boat to Cinque Terre for the day, wine tasting, tour the countryside on a Vespa. The list of options is endless.

I recommend you considering any of these fun excursions:


How long to spend in Venice and Florence

Spend at least one night in Venice. If you do, you will see the city at its quietest. Most travellers come for the day, either as a day trip from a nearby city or as part of a cruise excursion.

Hopefully, you will have more than 24 hours in Florence, as it’s the perfect getaway for 2 to 3 nights. As well, Florence makes for a great home base for even longer. Then you can add popular day trips to see more of Tuscany.

Accommodations in Venice and Florence

The accommodations in Venice are a bit of a letdown. They are traditional or authentic, without much updating over the decades. UNLESS you are at the very high end of your budget, only then you will find something very stylish.

Whereas, Florence has endless stylish options at all budget levels.


Hotel Recommendations in Venice

  • Hotel Flora – located in a 17th-century building on a quiet alleyway near Piazza San Marco this boutique hotel is full of fine antiques and includes a breakfast served on a pretty little courtyard
  • Avogaria – this 5-room boutique B&B is a fun, vibrant and highly stylized property in the quiet Dorsoduro neighbourhood. Upgrade to a suite and you will get your own private walled garden
  • Centurion Palace – a 5* ultra-modern hotel overlooking the Grand Canal is perfect for any luxury traveller who appreciates the finer details in a hotel stay
  • Palazzo Stern – this pretty hotel is one of the most photographed on the Grand Canal. A rooftop terrace and hot tub sit above the traditional rooms you’ll find in this 15th-century building
  • Ca’ di Dio – a small luxury hotel that is a rare new build in the historic city featuring a modern interior, private courtyards, rooftop terrace and lagoon views
  • Or, do your own search here

Hotel Recommendations in Florence

This is where I stayed, The Mostarda, which I highly recommend.

  • The Place Firenze – a 5-star hotel with amazing panoramic views from its rooftop terrace (including the Duomo)
  • Velona’s Jungle – a stylish B&B with 10 rooms featuring fine antiques and Christian Lacroix wallpaper that is a 10-15 minute walk to the historic centre
  • Palazzo di Camugliano – a 16th-century palace in the heart of the historic city offers a refined stay with a full breakfast
  • Granduomo – an 18th-century palace with 6 elegant serviced apartments with views of the Duomo
  • Il Tornabuoni – a 5-star hotel by the chain Hyatt Hotels offers a refined stay with a rooftop terrace this is a great choice for families
  • Or, do your own search here

FAQs About Florence or Venice

How far is Venice from Florence?

Venice is almost 270 km from Florence. The driving time from Florence to Venice would be almost 3 hours. The best way to get to Venice from Florence is by high-speed train which takes 2 hours and 27 minutes.

Is a day trip from Florence to Venice worth it?

A day trip to Venice from Florence is worth it. Plan for a long, busy day with 5 hours of travel time by high-speed train. Pre-book your skip-the-line tickets to optimize your time visiting some of the top sites in Venice.

Should I spend more time in Venice or Florence?

Florence because it has more top sites to visit and options for day trips than Venice does. That’s what makes Florence the better city to make your home base to explore nearby Tuscan towns and beautiful countryside.

Why is Florence referred to as Firenze?

Florence is called Firenze in Italian. In Italian, you would pronounce Firenze as fee-rent-say. Firenze comes from the Latin Florentia, which is what this city was called during the Roman age.

As a Holidaymaker

Venice vs Florence comparison of which is the better city has Florence being the clear winner. So, if you have been asking yourself “Should I visit Venice or Florence” – the answer is both are worth visiting. There’s no denying that both are beautiful Italian cities. I do hope you get the chance to experience both one day.

If you enjoyed reading about this debate, check out my other city comparison articles:

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