What to see during a 3-day weekend in Florence?
In all honesty, Florence, the capital of Tuscany, was not on our “BUCKET LIST”! We can explain ourselves: until recently, Italy was not a favourite destination for us, probably because of an escapade to Venice that had not left us with an unforgettable memory of Italy… Florence titillated our curiosity thanks to the stories of many travellers who returned delighted with their stay! Weak as we are or rather curious about everything, we succumbed to the call of the Dolce Vita in Tuscany. And to make the most of it, we packed our bags in Florence for 4 days. A day was devoted to the discovery of Siena, a magnificent city that will be the subject of an article 🙂
First step on Florentine soil, we discover that Florence, a medieval city, is embellished by the greatest masters of the Renaissance, and concentrates a crazy quantity of wonders: art and architecture lovers will be spoiled, the city is indeed full of palaces, churches and museums. A few photos show that we have sometimes had to elbow our way through hordes of tourists to admire Florentine treasures, but a few tips can help you optimize your visits and fully enjoy Florentine life, by sitting on a terrace with a spritz in your hand and walking through the streets with your nose in the air 😉 We tell you everything in the article !
Undeniably, Florence, although very touristy, has charmed us. And to soak up the charms of this beautiful city rather than the mass of tourists, we recommend you:
- to devote three full days to it.
- Ideally off-season and for less crowding, go during the week. For our part, we left from Sunday to Wednesday.
- Book online slots to visit the main monuments: it requires you to get stuck upstream but once the queues are over with sesame, you say to yourself “We finally did well!
- To stay in the centre, which is small by the way, everything is done on foot!
Weekend in Florence: where to sleep?
We booked an Airbnb apartment, despite this central location a stone’s throw from Piazza della Signoria, the apartment was located in a busy street and the nights were unfortunately short.
1. Near the bus station, Santa Maria Novella Basilica
We leave the bus station to join our Airbnb in the centre of Florence, and on this way we discover a beautiful marble building: the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella on Plazzia Santa Maria Novella. The blue sky is there and allows us to discover even better all the nuances offered by the Florentine jewels. We quickly discover that many monuments are under construction, many cranes appear in the different points of view. It is said that this is nevertheless necessary to preserve the beauty of the capital of Tuscany.
2. Around Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral and its Duomo
Florence’s heart beats to the rhythm of the frantic influence of tourists around Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral and its Duomo, its particularity: it is imposing, fascinating, and has a dome that defies the laws of gravity. Its dome remains a mystery of architectural design and a reference for architects around the world. At the same place, we made several visits included in the combined ticket: the cathedral, its dome, the Campanile di Giotto, its crypt and the Baptistery of St John. Not to be missed!!!!!
A tip: Buy your combined ticket in advance. The combined ticket will give you access to the Duomo complex, the ascent of the cathedral dome, the Academy Gallery and the Uffizi Gallery. It also provides access to public transport for 48 hours.
Unlike its exterior, the interior of the cathedral is rather sober. Nevertheless, we admire the dome of golden mosaics.
A specific entrance is dedicated to climbing the 414 steps to reach the magnificent panorama offered by the Campanile di Giotto. We went there early to avoid the world and even at 9am, the line cutter allows us once again not to wait for 🙂 We leave you with these few photos….
The Baptistery of Saint John is also worth a visit!
3. The Museum dell’ Opera del Duomo
Located at the back of the Duomo, the dell’Opera del Duomo Museum houses a very important collection of Gothic and Renaissance statues and one of the largest collections of Donatello’s work in the world. The entrance is integrated into the combined pass, we appreciated its brightness, its scenography and the majestic works.
4. From Piazza della Signoria to Ponte Vecchio
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria was our first discovery, since we were staying a few steps away from it. It is full of beauties from all over. We discover the Palazzo Vecchio (Florence City Hall), the Neptune Fountain, the Loggia del Lanzi which houses outdoor sculptures (rather well molded) and the entrance to the Uffizi Gallery, as well as the Vasari Corridor. You will find some restaurants that we do not necessarily recommend… And once again, the place is very popular with tourists.
5. National Museum Del Bargello
Florence is full of museums, so we had to make choices: due to lack of time, we could not visit the Del Bargello National Museum or the Academy Museum.
6. The Office Gallery
If there is a museum not to be missed in Florence, it is the Uffizi Museum in the Uffizi Gallery. We find there the works of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, etc. It is one of the most beautiful museums in Italy and even in the world for these Renaissance collections. Also, buy your tickets in advance online so you can access the museum faster, even if we have waited about 30 minutes.
7. The Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio, the city’s attraction that keeps bringing travellers from all over the world, is to be discovered from the colourful banks. The craftsmen of yesteryear set up their shops in the small houses integrated on the bridge. Today, you will probably cross the point to reach other districts, there is no need to spend a long time there, unless you want to fall in love with the many jewellery stores on the bridge.
8. Night discovery of Santa Croce Basilica
A few minutes from Piazza Della Signoria, we discover in the early evening the pretty basilica of Santa Croce, the largest Franciscan church in the world.
9. A sunset from the Michelangelo esplanade
The Michelangelo esplanade is located on a hill overlooking the historic centre, which is absolutely worth a visit! The panorama is superb and offers you an incredible view of the heart of Florence, from Forte Belvedere to the church of Santa Croce at Point Vecchio. Your view will end up at the Duomo and the bell tower with the hills to the north of the city.
10. Strolling through the lively and popular Santo Spirito district
The Santo Spirito district is a popular district away from tourist circuits where it is good to stroll or have a drink in the afternoon or evening. We discover narrow cobbled streets that lead us to a pretty square where a local market is held.
11. Discovering the Boboli Garden (Palazzo Pitti)
The Pitti Palace, in Renaissance style, is the largest palace in the city, located in the southern part of Florence, the Oltrarno, a stone’s throw from Ponte Vecchio, and was the residence of a famous Florentine banker, Luca Pitti. Then it was bought by the great Medici family in 1550. Over the years, it has become a real Ali baba’s cave. You will find goldsmiths, paintings, jewellery… Its vast garden is also very popular.