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Florence Blog

24 Hours In Florence

Liz Lee
by Liz Lee

August 03, 2022

4 minute read

If you’re thinking of taking a trip to Florence, Italy, congratulations for having great taste in European cities. There is truly no other place in the world with the same depth of historic character and Renaissance charm. It doesn’t lack in metropolitan chicness, yet unlike Rome or Milan, it somehow manages to retain a slowed-down, small town feel that is perfect for leisurely strolls down cobblestone streets, afternoons spent wandering the halls of museums, and unhurried meals at cozy sidewalk cafés.

 

On that note…how should you spend a day in Florence? Read on for some ideas. 

 

Start your morning with a cappuccino and some pastry at La Cité libreria cafè in the San Frediano neighborhood. This eclectic coffee shop by day and jazz lounge by night is lined with shelves of books and art to contemplate as you sip your drink of choice and set some intentions for your perfect Florentine day. 

 

Now that you’re energized, head out for a morning walk along the Arno River to Parco delle Cascine. This city park dating back to the 16th century has plenty of green space as well as some notable relics of the past like two large ornamental peacock cages, a pyramid-shaped stone icehouse, and the Fountain of Narcisus, which was supposedly the inspiration for Shelley’s 1820 poem, Ode to the West Wind.

 

Next, head east along the Arno to Uffizi Gallery. Housed in an imposing 16th century building overlooking the river, this is one of Italy’s (and the world’s) most famous galleries, and rightfully so. Prepare to be awestruck as you gaze at legendary works like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi, and other treasures from the Italian Renaissance period. 

 

I don’t know about you, but museums always make me hungry. Head north to Mercato Centrale, a two-story artisanal food market where you can shop for cheeses, olive oils, and other specialty treats before sitting down to enjoy a locally sourced, lovingly prepared meal at the food court. Afterwards, peruse the outdoor market, where you can find clothing, ceramics, leather goods, books, and souvenirs to bring home to your friends.

 

Newly fortified by the farm fresh pizza and perfect chianti you consumed for lunch, you’re ready to cross that big item off your bucket list: it’s time to go see Michelangelo’s David at Galleria dell'Accademia, just a short (10 minute) walk east through the city. Make sure to book your ticket in advance so you don’t have to waste too much time waiting in line to see this 17-foot-tall masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture. 

 

Well. That was amazing. Time to head south across the river to Giardino di Boboli, the perfect spot to reflect on the art, culture, and cityscapes you’ve just experienced. Boboli is the consummate Italian Garden, with over 100 acres of lush green space enveloping an outdoor museum featuring 16th and17th century sculptures, grottos, a large amphitheater, and sweeping views of the city. After a stroll through the gardens, grab a seat next to the Fountain of Neptune and write in your journal or pen a postcard back home to a loved one.

 

And that brings us to...aperitivo hour. Ahhh, is anything better than sitting at a café in Florence, sipping a negroni and eating bruschetta with a friend, partner, stranger, or simply in the company of your own beautiful self? Probably not. It’s also a great excuse to make your way over to the Piazzale Michelangelo, an historic plaza with the best views of the city. Here you can watch the sun set behind the life-sized bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David as you relax at La Loggia, a restaurant with a panoramic terrace, housed in a neoclassical building that was originally intended to be a museum for Michelangelo’s work. 

 

After a leisurely dinner, make your way over to Le Murate, a café and performance venue inside what used to be Florence’s prison complex. Grab a drink, pull up a seat, and enjoy the live music, poetry, performance art, or whatever’s on the bill that evening before returning to your hotel and falling asleep with a smile on your face.

 

Ready to spend a day in Florence? Check out Spotlight on Tuscany, Collette’s 9-day tour featuring the rolling hills, historic cities, and unparalleled museums of this amazing region. Not only will you get to spend a day in Florence (and cut to the front of the line to see Michelangelo’s famous statue of David), but you’ll get to explore the resort town of Montecatini Terme, visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa, discover the Renaissance-era city walls and piazzas of Lucca, and more. Happy travels!

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