What to Do in Florence for a Day


There are few cities quite as special as Florence, Italy. Offering stunning architecture, an incredible food scene and an awe-inspiring artistic heritage, it does have it all. If you’re strapped for time and wondering if it is worth going to Florence for a day, I can tell you it absolutely is. 

The beautiful city is compact and walkable, meaning you can squeeze all of the top things to do into one action-packed day. For those of you planning an Italian getaway and wanting to know which places to visit in Florence in 1 day, we are going to share all of the city’s most unmissable attractions.

From the Accademia Gallery to the Uffizi Gallery, prepare to see it all. This one-day Florence itinerary will guide you through each stop on your adventure. 

Things to do in Florence for a Day

1. Visit the Accademia Gallery

If you were to do just one thing in a day in Florence, it would have to be paying a visit to the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s world-famous David. The renowned sculpture is said to embody the essence of the city, through its independence and strength. 

As such a legendary piece of art, it is a must-see when in Florence for a day. However, given it is such an iconic attraction, it is not unusual for a queue to gather outside the building. 

As you are trying to squeeze as much as possible into your day in Florence, you might want to purchase a Skip-the-Line Pass and Walking Tour to avoid wasting any time.

This way, you can not only avoid waiting hours in a queue and jump straight to seeing Michelangelo’s David but also make the experience much more enriching by having an expert guide explain the significance of the sculpture at the same time. 

It is worth noting that The Accademia Gallery is closed on Mondays. However, it is open at 9 am every other day of the week. It is also recommended that you purchase tickets in advance all times of the year, never mind when you only have one day in Florence. You certainly don’t want to miss out on the city’s top attraction!

2. Explore Il Duomo (Florence Cathedral Of Santa Maria Del Fiore)

Do not miss out on Il Duomo when in Florence for a day. The impressive cathedral is gorgeous inside and out. Tracing back to 1436, the outside of the building features breathtaking bronze doors and an unmissable cupola, or dome.

I would highly recommend the latter as you are not only treated to jaw-dropping views but also the artwork of Brunelleschi, who used his creative genius to design it back in 1436. It is considered the largest masonry dome built in history and the frescoes are absolutely incredible. 

Even if you’re not a history or art-lover, this is one of the top places to visit in Florence in one day. The cathedral has free entry but once inside its doors, you will need to start paying. For example, touring the baptistery and climbing to the top of Giotto’s Bell Tower or Brunelleschi’s Dome. 

To get the most out of your visit to Il Duomo, I’d recommend getting a guided tour. Having an expert explain the significance, history and heritage of the ornate decorations within the building significantly elevates the experience and allows you to truly understand how special each element is. 

3. See The Piazza Della Signoria 

The Piazza Della Signoria lies a short walk away from the Cathedral Of Santa Maria Del Fiore and is one of the most famous squares in Florence. The stunning setting is made all the more enchanting by an incredible copy of Michelangelo’s David at its entrance. 

The breathtaking sculpture lies just opposite the Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace), a castle-like construction that once functioned as Florence’s city hall, during the Mediaeval times. Ever since it has been the central hub of the city’s politics and history.

Taking a guided walking tour can be a great way to delve into the square’s fascinating history as you can hear all about how it was the centre of the Early Florentine Renaissance,  and stood in the midst as the likes of Michelangelo and Lorenzo Ghiberti elevated the city’s art scene to incredible new heights, outshining all of its urban rivals, including Rome. 

Some other highlights of The Piazza Della are the open-air sculpture of Renaissance art, otherwise known as Loggia dei Lanzi. The incredible site was built to house public ceremonies of the Florentine Republic and serve as a reminder of the power of the Medici family. They were an extremely wealthy and prestigious banking family who held great influence over the city between the 15th and 18th centuries.

The Neptune Fountain is another highlight of The Piazza Della Signoria. It was commissioned by the Medici family and features a great figure on a pedestal above sea monsters from Greek mythology. 

4. The Uffizi Gallery 

After the Piazza Della Signoria, head to the Uffizi Gallery which lies just next door and is one of the most famous museums in Italy and one of the oldest in the world. This ornate building is home to a magnificent collection of ancient sculptures and paintings from many of the most legendary artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Raffaello.

As with many of the others on the list, it’s no secret that this is one of the top things to see in Florence in one day. With such a reputation, tickets are often hot property and the queues can be long. I’d suggest purchasing a skip the line ticket to avoid wasting any time. 

It might actually be good to opt for one that includes a small group tour. After all, this is one of the most famous, oldest and largest museums in the world – it can get a little overwhelming at the best of times, never mind when you’re on a tight schedule.  

You’ll not only save time but also have a knowledgeable guide lead you through the establishment, explaining all of the most interesting and significant stories behind each piece. Home to many of the world’s greatest masterpieces, the Uffizi Gallery is a must-see when you visit Florence in one day.

5. Boboli Garden

At this stage in the day, you are likely feeling a little wiped. Head to Boboli Gardens to rest and recharge while strolling through breathtaking gardens complete with ornate fountains and baroque sculptures. Breathe in the fresh air and take a moment to relax after your non-stop start to the day. 

As you meander through the well-manicured vegetation, you’ll be treated to dreamy views over Florence’s skyline. The red-tiled roof of the cupola of the Cathedral Of Santa Maria Del Fiore is even visible in some areas.

The gardens were actually designed by the Medici family, who bought Pitti Palace in front of the gardens in 1549. Tickets are 10 Euros each from March to October, and 6 Euros for the rest of the year. However, you can get a combined ticket that includes entry to the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace. If you’re planning to tick off all three, I’d recommend going for this option. 

6. Ponte Vecchio

Translating to the “old bridge”, Ponte Vecchio is the famous monument arching over the Arno, the river that splits Florence in half. The mediaeval landmark has become something of a symbol for the city over the years and offers the perfect photo opportunity for you to snap a shot to remember your trip. 

There are dozens of boutique jewellery, scarf and souvenir shops lining the bridges where you can pop in for a stylish memento. Alternatively, just strolling through and soaking up the buzz of the bridge is a fun activity in itself. 

Ponte Vecchio is a living museum. During the Second World War, every other major bridge in Florence was destroyed bar this beauty. It has stood in the city since ancient Roman times and is thought to trace back to 966 A.D. In the mediaeval era, local butchers and tanneries stood where the fashionable shops now are.

Tips for Your 1 Day in Florence

Where to Eat in One Day

When seeing Florence in one day, you do not want to waste time deliberating where to eat each mealtime. Instead, it is a good idea to do your research and work out where you want to dine in advance of your visit. 

Osteria All’Antico Vinaio

If I were to recommend a spot for a quick bite, it would have to be Osteria All’Antico Vinaio. The bustling establishment serves up the most delicious sandwiches you will ever taste. It’s even gained worldwide recognition in recent years. 

What’s more, it lies a short walk from the Piazza della Signoria so it makes the perfect spot for a snack while ticking off the top sites in the city. 

Mercato Centrale

Naturally, I could not recommend places to eat in Florence and leave out Mercato Centrale. The bustling contemporary food hall provides a showcase of the very finest Italian regional cuisine. The bottom floor of the building is filled with traditional butchers, fishmongers and fresh produce vendors and is buzzing with locals purchasing their fresh ingredients. 

Ascend the staircase to reach the upper level where you will be greeted with incredible food stalls serving up exquisite food. Here you will find everything from Chinese dumplings and burgers, to traditional Italian cuisine and Cuban sandwiches. 

There is often live music in the evenings which further adds to the atmosphere. 

Where to Stay in Florence for a Day

As Florence is quite a compact and walkable city, as long as you are not on the outskirts, you will be in a fine location for seeing its top attractions. However, certain areas might be a better fit for you depending on your intentions.

If you’re looking to delve into the nightlife, you might want to base yourself near Via dei Benci or Piazza Santo Spirito where there are an abundance of buzzing pubs, clubs and restaurants. For those more interested in immersing themselves in the hubbub of the city, consider staying near Piazza San Lorenzo where you’ll wake up to the buzz of a daily market. 

The Best Time to Visit Florence

The whole of Italy makes a dreamy destination to explore, no matter the time of year. However, when you are only in Florence for a day, you likely want to see the city at its finest. March to May and September to November are the best times to come here for sightseeing. 

Falling under the shoulder season, you’ll have pleasant, warm weather for exploring all of the top attractions, while also having the advantage of investigating the city when it’s slightly quieter. You’ll also be able to attend charming local events like the Easter and Harvest festivals which take place over this period.

Peak season is a wonderful time to visit Florence as you will be treated to glorious weather, with average temperatures of 32°C. While the sun can be glorious when you’re relaxing with gelato in an airy piazza, it can also make walking through the city quite tiring. You will also be contending with larger crowds and higher prices during this time of year. 

The low season falls between December and February and is the best time to visit Florence for those who prefer quiet streets over warm weather. You’ll also be able to enjoy the unique experience of the local Christmas celebrations, something most tourists miss out on. 

No matter when you choose to explore Florence in a day, you can expect to fall head over heels with this magical city.


There is so much to see in Florence in a day, from the oldest museum in the world to a legendary sandwich shop. With everything lying within walking distance, it is the perfect European city to visit for a quick break away. Prepare to have the adventure of a lifetime during your day trip to Florence.

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Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means we can earn a small commission when our visitors click on them. This helps us to keep our content free and accessible for everyone, but you’ll never be charged for engaging with them.

About the Author

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Molly Corry

Molly is a PR and Content Executive at SEO Travel and contributor to Backpacker Boy. She loves dedicating her free time to discovering new destinations and experiences.