Ciao bella, Firenze! Florence is so magical and dreamy and we just loved it there! I spent six days in Florence and it was just enough time to see the top Florence sights, but it was also enough time to make me fall in love with the city and wish I didn’t have to leave so soon! There are so many amazing things to do in Florence and it ended up being my favorite city in Italy. You’ll find an in-depth travel guide below, and here’s my custom Google Map showing all the top Florence sights and best restaurants!
Where to stay in Florence: Hands-down the best hotel in Florence is the St. Regis. I’ll be writing up a full blog post all about our stay, but the hotel is simply stunning and the service is impeccable. If you’re a Marriott stayer, you can use points here for an incredible stay. For something more economically priced and still a nice experience, the Westin Florence is right across the street from the St. Regis. These hotels are in a fantastic location and you can easily walk to most of the top Florence sights.
Top Florence Sights: A Complete Six-Day Travel Guide
- Visit Piazza Duomo and everything there. Start your trip off with one of Florence’s main tourist attractions—the Cathedral, Duomo, bell tower, baptistery, crypts, and Opera del Duomo Museum. It is absolutely a good idea to purchase your ticket ahead of time and reserve a time to climb the Duomo (I recommend buying your tickets here). Buying tickets in person is fairly confusing, and there is usually not same-day availability to climb the Duomo.
- Lunch at La Menagere Bistro. All those stairs are bound to make you hungry. La Menagere is an upscale and pricey restaurant right by the Duomo, but they also have a casual and delicious bistro. Grab lunch here—it’s so close that you can take a break from exploring some of the sights around Piazza Duomo for lunch, and get back to the other sights after eating.
- Make your own Magnum. This is kinda silly, but I’d never seen it before and wanted to do it! Magnum (the ice cream, not the condoms 😂) has a store at Piazza Duomo and you can make your own magnums! You get to pick the ice cream, chocolate shell, and all the toppings. So. Good.
- Basilica Santa Maria Novella. As you wind down your day, stop by to visit this gothic church and the notable frescoes inside.
- Dinner at Ristorante Parione. This was my favorite restaurant in Florence. You absolutely must get the truffle gnocchi and the picchi pasta. If you’re looking for a place to try bistecca fiorentina, Parione is it. Just be prepared for a massive 1.5 kg t-bone that is very, very rare. But if you’re game, it’s a must-try while in Florence! If you have room for dessert, get their strawberry cheesecake—it was the lightest, fluffiest, yummiest cheesecake I’ve ever had! I loved this place so much I went back a second time.
- Drinks at La Terrazza Rooftop Bar. Love a good rooftop bar! End your first night in Florence with drinks and a view at La Terrazza, the rooftop bar at Hotel Continentale.
- Walking Tour + L’accademia. Start your day early with a morning walking tour that also includes tickets to the Accademia Gallery, where the famous Michelangelo statue The David is housed. The walking tour is the perfect way to get your bearings of the city a bit more, see more Florence sights, get recommendations for fun bars and delicious restaurants from your guide, and of course skip the line at L’accademia and have a guided tour for The David. I’m not an art buff by any stretch of the imagination, but I was absolutely fascinated with Michelangelo’s story and what we learned about The David (like him being 26 years old when he sculpted it, and how it was originally supposed to be in one of the arches of the Duomo).
- San Lorenzo Market. Kill to birds with one stone and do some souvenir shopping while also grabbing lunch at the Mercato San Lorenzo. You’ll find stall after stall of leather goods, and don’t be afraid to haggle and bring cash—they will often be much more open to a discounted price if you can pay with cash rather than credit card. I got a gorgeous leather tote bag that looks just like the ones Cuyana sells for $215 for $35! There are also plenty of food stalls, so you’ll be able to grab a delicious lunch there.
- Go on a Florence Vespa Tour. Explore the streets of Florence like a local! On this vespa tour, your guide will get you set up and comfortable on your vespa, and after going through the city you’ll make your way up into the hills, where you’ll enjoy stunning views of beautiful Florence. Once back in town, you’ll have an authentic Tuscan meal on a private terrace.
- Drinks at SESTO On Arno rooftop bar. SESTO On Arno is the rooftop bar at the Westin, and it has fabulous views and cocktails.
- Dinner at La Giostra. If you didn’t opt to do the Vespa tour that ends in a meal (or you’re still hungry and want a rec for a late dinner), head to La Giostra. We had a delicious dinner here and the ambiance is so cute and romantic.
- Uffizi Gallery. The Uffizi Gallery is Florence’s treasured museum, located next to Piazza della Signoria. The Uffizi houses some really important and notable works of Renaissance art. You’ll recognize paintings like The Venus (my favorite!) and see art by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo. The wealthy and powerful Medici family had this building built right next to Palazzo Vecchio, to be their government office building. This museum can get very crowded and there’s a lot to see here, so for these reasons I highly recommend visiting with a guide. They will take you to all of the highlights and share really interesting knowledge and history with you, making the visit much more enjoyable and interesting than trying to swim through the crowds on your own. We booked this Uffizi Gallery tour and our guide was awesome.
- All’Antico Vinaio. This panini shop i IN. SANE. So effing good you guys!! The line is lonnnng, but it is worth the 30 – 40 minute wait. The paninis are huge, sooo delicious, only cost 5 euros, and you could easily split one between two people. Definitely get something with salami, burrata, and/or stracchino in it.
- Ponte Vecchio. While you’re eating your wildly delicious panini, stroll over towards Ponte Vecchio, the most famous bridge in Florence. This medieval bridge used to have stalls with fisherman and butchers on it, but the Medici family decided this was far too stinky, so they made a rule that only jewelry and silver could be sold on the Ponte Vecchio. Today, you can walk along the bridge and it is lined with jewelry shops.
- Basilica of Santa Croce. Head to beautiful Santa Croce to see the world’s largest Franciscan church. Giotto and his students painted the frescoes inside.
- Galileo Museum. In case you haven’t had your fill of museums yet, head to the Galileo Museum, which is. housed in an old palace. It holds a collection of scientific instruments that date back to the 13th century.
- Winter Garden by Caino. If you’re looking for fine dining while you’re in Florence, I loved Winter Garden by Caino, the Michelin star restaurant at the St. Regis. The restaurant is situated in what used to be the hotel’s courtyard, and ambiance is beautiful. The pasta dishes were imaginative and flavorful, and we really enjoyed our meal here. If you’re not into the idea of a pricey meal, this would be a great place to come for cocktails one evening as they also have a lovely bar area.
- Day trip to the country: If you have time while visiting Florence, you must do a day trip outside of the city into the beautiful country to see some of the smaller towns and go wine tasting! Siena or San Miniato are two popular towns to explore outside of Florence (we went to Siena), and San Gimignano is a beautiful area for wine tasting. One thing to note is that Americans (myself included, before this trip!) tend to think of Tuscany as only the countryside. But Tuscany is actually a region that includes Florence. So if you’re doing a day trip outside of Florence to go wine tasting, it doesn’t really make sense to say you’re going to Tuscany—you’re already in Tuscany because you’re in Florence! You can do a day trip like this either by booking a sightseeing day trip tour, or booking a private driver and sharing the below destinations with them…
- Visit Siena: Stop in Siena to explore this charming town for a few hours. Visit the impressive Siena Cathedral, built in the 1200’s and one of Tuscany’s top attractions. The Cathedral often has very long lines to buy tickets, which you can avoid by purchasing tickets ahead of time. Don’t miss the Piccolómini Library Frescoes off of the left aisle (because I definitely did miss it when I. was there and now I’m looking at pictures of it online and it looks amazing and I’m sad I didn’t see it in person). You can also visit the baptistery and crypt, and your ticket includes access to the Museo del Duomo, where you’ll be able to get to the Panorama dal Facciatone for gorgeous views. After you’ve had your fill of the Cathedral and its surrounding attractions, head into town to stroll through the shops and check out the main square. I’d skip eating because you’ll want to save room for what’s next…
- Lunch and Wine Pairing at Tenuta Torciano. This was one of my favorite experiences in Italy! Our concierge at the St. Regis recommended this winery and set up this wine and food pairing lunch for us. When we arrived, we got a tour of the gorgeous winery and learned all about the history of this family-run place. We were then seated for our lunch and wine tasting and Leonardo (one of the original owner’s great great great grandsons) guided us through our wine tasting. We tasted 14 different wines, ending with some very special (and very expensive) Super Tuscans that were absolutely killer. Our lunch was also fantastic, and included the best salami I have ever had in my whole 30 years of life on this planet, along with a delicious white bean soup, and grandmama’s lasagna (with a healthy dousing of truffle olive oil on top). At one point, my dad and I whispered to each other, how much is this going to cost?? We were a little worried because the St. Regis hadn’t really given us a definitive price, and for such an amazing experience and incredible food and wine, we thought there was no way it would be under $150 per person. You guys. THEY CHARGE $30 FOR THIS EXPERIENCE. Thirty freaking dollars. In Napa this would easily be a $175 – $200 tasting. But Tenuta Torciano and the family that runs it really just wants to share their passion for wine and food with you, and the experience is so wonderful, you’re more than likely going to buy wine and have it shipped home to you. I am still dreaming about those Super Tuscan wines paired with grandmama’s lasagna. So good it nearly brought me to tears. You can book a lunch or dinner tasting experience here.
- Dinner at Trattoria 13 Gobbi. After your wine tasting extravaganza, it’s time to head back to Florence. You may need some time to recover from your decadent wine and lunch experience (I definitely needed a nap), but if you’re looking for dinner afterwards, head to Trattoria 13 Gobbi. This place is all about the pasta. For a couple, I’d recommend sharing an antipasta as a starter and then each ordering your own pasta dish (the cheesy rigatoni was out of this freaking world). Their main courses were a bit of a flop (we had overly-salty eggplant parm and just-ok osso buco), but the pasta was awesome.
- Gelato at La Carraia. For dessert, head just across the river to arguably Florence’s best gelato shop, La Carraia.
- Piazzale Michelangelo. Start your day by heading across to Piazzale Michelangelo. If you did the vespa tour, you’ve already seen these beautiful views, but the uphill stroll to the viewing point is pleasant, especially in the morning before the day heats up. It’ll take you about 30 minutes to walk here from the central part of Florence, or you can also take the 12 or 13 bus or a cab.
- Giardino Bardini. Head to the Bardini gardens for more gorgeous views of Florence and a quiet space. These gardens are less well-known than the nearby Boboli Gardens, making Giardino Bardini the perfect spot for a quiet stroll.
- Lunch at Gustapizza. At this point in your itinerary you haven’t had pizza yet in Florence, so let’s fix that! Grab lunch at Gustapizza in Santo Spirito, and get the calabrese or the spicy salami pizza. Take a quick stroll through Piazza Santo Spirito, and then head to your next destination.
- Palazzo Pitti. Explore the enormous Pitti Palace and the royal apartment as well as the Renaissance art inside.
- Boboli Gardens. Next to the Palazzo Pitti, you’ll find the Boboli Gardens, filled with sculptures, centuries-old trees, and beautiful fountains. Royal gardens like Versailles were modeled after the Boboli Gardens.
- Trattoria Zà Zà. For dinner, head to Trattoria Zà Zà. It’s a lively and popular spot, so definitely make reservations for dinner. Their homemade gnocchi with gorgonzola cheese and truffles is not to be missed!
- Palazzo Vecchio. Palazzo Vecchio is Florence’s town hall, next to Piazza della Signoria. Michelangelos’ The David sculpture originally stood in front of this building, and you can now see a replica there to imagine what it looked like positioned there in the early 1500’s. Inside you’ll find Roman ruins, a medieval fortress, and of course, Renaissance art.
- ‘Ino. Grab a delicious artisan panini (and maybe a glass of wine) at ‘Ino. The owner Alessandro Frassica is known for being a panini guru.
- Piazza della Signoria. ‘Ino is very cute, but if there aren’t any seats available you can take your panini over to Piazza della Signoria, the main square in Florence with an open air sculpture gallery, next to Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi.
- The Bargello. Located inside an old fortress, The Bargello museum has a lot of sculptures by Donatello as well as beautiful trinkets and treasures from Medieval times.
- Bar La Terrazza La Rinascente. Sip an afternoon espresso and take in one last view of beautiful Florence from Bar La Terrazza, the rooftop cafe and bar at the top of La Rinascente’s department stores.
- Go Enoteca (Wine Bar) Hopping. Finish off your trip with some enoteca hopping! Cantinetta dei Verrazzano is a bakery and wine bar and very popular among locals. You’ll also find delicious charcuterie and pizzas here. After Verrazzano, walk just a block away to another favorite spot with locals, Enoteca Alessi. It has a cozy environment, delicious antipasti, and a fabulous wine selection. If you’re looking for goodies to bring home with you, they also sell candies, truffles, and pastas in their store.
That’s it for my Florence itinerary, hitting up all of the top Florence sights! But honestly you could spend longer in Florence than six days, just exploring and enjoying. If I were to pick a city in Italy to live in, Florence would be it!