Julie Italy 2 Comments

Planning a trip to Italy and only have enough time for one day in Florence?

With a well-planned day, you can visit Florence’s top sights, including the Duomo, Michelangelo’s David, the amazing Uffizi Gallery, and Ponte Vecchio. Watch the sunset, stroll through Florence’s scenic streets, and enjoy views of the Florence Cathedral from a rooftop bar.

This itinerary is a wonderful mix of must-visit places plus a few gorgeous viewpoints of the city.

In this guide, we provide a detailed itinerary, complete with walking directions, where to eat along the way, and how to book your tickets in advance. In order to spend one perfect day in Florence, you will need to do some advance planning, but it will pay off once you are here.

Let’s get started on planning your one day Florence itinerary.

Overview of Florence

Florence is a relatively small, compact city. In the historic city center, which is a maze of narrow streets and piazzas, you will find the majority of Florence’s top sights.

The historic center of Florence is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not only will you see buildings that date back to the Renaissance, but also the 14th century medieval walls that once protected the city.

The Arno River runs through Florence. Ponte Vecchio is the most famous bridge crossing this river. On the north side of the river you will find many of important cathedrals and museums in Florence. The south side of the Arno River is where you will see villas, gardens, and viewpoints for sweeping vistas of Florence.

Below is a map of Florence, with the main sights you will visit on this itinerary, plus a walking route through the city.

One Day in Florence: On a Map

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (places to go and the walking route). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Best Things to Do with One Day in Florence

Below is a list of the top places to visit if you have one day in Florence.

  • The Florence Cathedral, aka the Duomo. This complex also includes the dome, the Baptistery, Giotto’s Bell Tower, Santa Reparata, and the Opera del Duomo Museum
  • Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s David
  • The Uffizi Gallery
  • Piazza della Signoria
  • Palazzo Vecchio
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Optional sights include Mercato Centrale and a rooftop bar (or two)

Florence Cathedral Dome | One Day in Florence

The dome of the Florence Cathedral (photo taken from Giotto’s Bell Tower)

Best Time to Visit Florence

In general, spring and fall are the best times of the year to visit Florence. During this time, the weather is great for sightseeing and crowds tend to be lower than the busy summer months. But here is a breakdown by season of what you can expect in Florence:

WINTER: It’s chilly in Florence during the winter months. Daytime high’s average around 10 – 11°C (in the low-50’s) and it can get down close to freezing at night. Rainfall is about average for the year (averaging about 6 days of rain per month in December, January, and February), but the skies tend to be cloudier in the winter months.

SPRING: As the weather warms up in the spring, rain chances also go up. Spring is one of the wettest seasons to visit Florence, but not quite as rainy as the fall months. In early spring, the high temperature is 16°C (60°F) and it continues to get warmer week by week, reaching an average high of 27°C (80°F) by June.

SUMMER: Expect the biggest crowds of the year and hot weather during the summer months. Daily high temperatures average 32°C (90°F) but they can easily get up to 35°C (95°F). Rainfall is low. If you plan to visit in the summer months, make your hotel reservations far in advance as well as your entrance tickets into the museums.

FALL: In early fall, crowds can still be high, not really quieting down until the end of October. Daytime high’s range from 26°C (79°F) in early fall and cooling off to 16°C (60°F) by late fall. Autumn is the wettest time to visit Florence (mid-September through late November), so bring an umbrella if you plan to be here at this time.

VERDICT: The best time to visit Florence is May through mid-June. The weather is nice and crowds are manageable. If you don’t mind the chance of rain, the end of September into October is also a nice time to visit, since crowds are lower.

Closures By the Day of the Week

Before we get started on the itinerary, it is very important to know that some museums are not open every day of the week. If you are in Florence on a day when some museums are closed, you will have to modify this itinerary.

Closed on Sunday

  • The Florence Cathedral. On Sundays, you cannot enter the main floor of the Florence Cathedral, since it is closed for worship.
  • Santa Reparata does not open until 1:30 pm on Sunday.
  • The dome of the Florence Cathedral does not open until 12:45 pm on Sundays.

Closed on Monday

On Mondays, these are the sites in Florence that are closed. If possible, while planning your Italy itinerary, try to avoid putting Florence on a Monday, or you will miss two very important sites (the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery).

  • The Uffizi Gallery
  • Accademia Gallery
  • Pitti Palace
  • Boboli Gardens
  • Bardini Gardens
  • San Lorenzo Market & Mercato Centrale

Closed on Tuesday

The Opera del Duomo Museum is closed the first Tuesday of each month.

Closed on Thursday

Palazzo Vecchio closes early on Thursday. Closing time is at 2 pm rather than 7 pm.

Piazzale Michelangelo Daytime View | One Day in Florence

The view from Piazzale Michelangelo

One Day in Florence Itinerary

Overview of this itinerary:

8:15 am: Accademia Gallery
9:00 am: The Florence Duomo Complex
12:00 pm: Lunch
1:30 pm: Palazzo Vecchio & Piazza della Signoria
3:00 pm: The Uffizi Gallery
5:00 pm: Ponte Vecchio
6:00 pm: Sunset views of Florence

On this itinerary, you will walk 3.2 km (2 miles) from Accademia Gallery to Piazzale Michelangelo. This distance is only for the walking route; it does not include any additional steps inside of the museums and cathedrals.

8:15 am: Accademia Gallery

The Accademia Gallery is one of the first museums to open in Florence. By starting here, you can maximize how much you can see today, which is very important if you only have one day in Florence.

The Accademia Gallery is best known for Michelangelo’s statue of David.

The statue of David is a masterpiece and it is one of the most famous works of art in the world. Seeing the sculpture in person is an unforgettable experience and the amount of detail is astounding!

This small museum also contains other works of art by Michelangelo and paintings from other Florentine artists.

A visit here can be rather quick, taking 30 to 45 minutes.

Michelangelos David | One Day in Florence

The statue of David

How to Visit the Accademia Gallery

Make your reservation online in advance to avoid waiting in long ticket line. I recommend booking the first time slot of the day.

Cost: €16; included on the Firenze Card (advance reservation required)
Hours: 8:15 am – 6:50 pm; closed Mondays
Website: Get more information and the link to purchase your tickets in advance on the official website.
More Ticket Sellers: You can also purchase an entry ticket through GetYourGuide or take a guided tour of the gallery. The last we checked, tickets purchased on the GetYourGuide website can be canceled up to 24 hours in advance with a full refund.

9 am: The Florence Cathedral, aka the Duomo

From the Accademia Gallery, walk to the Florence Cathedral. It is a 6-minute walk on Via Ricasoli to get the the Duomo complex.

The Florence Cathedral is part of the monumental complex of Santa Maria del Fiore. This “complex” includes not only the cathedral, but also a museum, the bell tower, the dome, the baptistery, and Santa Reparata.

Florence Cathedral | One Day in Florence

Plan on spending between 2 and 3 hours at the Duomo complex. This is not enough time to visit everything here, but you can still see the highlights.

We have a Guide to the Florence Cathedral, which includes photos and more information about each of these sites. It’s very useful for deciding what you want to visit with your time at this complex.

With one day in Florence, I recommend starting with the dome climb and then using the remainder of the morning to visit the other sites (particularly the baptistery and the museum). Giotto’s Bell Tower is a great view, but I think it is a better use of your time to climb the tower of Palazzo Vecchio, for an incredible view of the Duomo. Santa Reparata, which is the crypt below the cathedral, is also interesting, but with limited time, it is something I recommend skipping, unless you are doing fantastic on time.

The Dome Climb

One of the best things to do in Florence is to climb the steps to the top of the dome (the cupola). Not only do you get to see the inside of the cathedral, you also get awesome views of the frescoes on the inside of the dome, plus 360 degree views over Florence.

In order to climb the dome, you MUST make a reservation in advance (ideally several weeks in advance). You cannot just show up and get in line.

On this itinerary, I recommend making your reservation around 9:15 am. With a 9:15 am entry, you will be finished around 10 am, which still gives you plenty of time to see the other sites in the Duomo complex. Note: On Sundays, you cannot climb the dome until 12:45 pm.

If tickets are sold out for the dome climb, you can join a guided tour of the Duomo.

Last Judgement Florence Dome | One Day in Florence

The Last Judgement frescoes


Florence Dome View

The view from the dome

The Main Floor of the Cathedral

This is optional. You will get a glimpse of the interior of the cathedral as you pass through security to do the Dome climb. The inside of the cathedral looks rather barren, at least compared to places like St. Peter’s Basilica, so you don’t miss much by skipping this.

The Cathedral does not open until 10:15 am. Lines to enter tend to be long but moves quickly.

Florence Duomo Interior | One Day in Florence

Inside the Florence Cathedral

Baptistery of San Giovanni

Built between 1059 and 1128, the baptistery is older than the cathedral. Dante Alighieri and members of the Medici family were all baptized here. Within the Baptistery is the tomb of Antipope John XXIII, by Donatello.

The Baptistery is famous for its sets of bronze doors. However, several of the original bronze doors are located inside of the Opera del Duomo Museum, making this museum worth the visit.

A visit to the Baptistery takes 10 to 15 minutes.

Florence Baptistery Door | One Day in Florence

Baptistery doors

Opera del Duomo Museum

Inside of this museum you will see some of the original Renaissance masterpieces that once adorned the Baptistery, the Bell Tower, and the cathedral.

On display are Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise doors created for the Baptistery, an exhibit on the construction of the dome, and a replica of cathedral façade.

A visit here takes 30 minutes to an hour. Make sure you visit the upper terrace for a unique view of the Florence Cathedral.

How to Visit the Duomo Complex

Brunelleschi Pass: If you plan to climb the dome, purchase the Brunelleschi Pass (€30) online in advance and schedule your time slot for the climb. The Brunelleschi Pass covers all of the sites of the Duomo complex, so you will just need this one ticket to also visit the baptistery, museum, bell tower, and Santa Reparata. The dome climb is the only site that needs a time slot reservation in advance.

For updated hours and pricing, read our Guide to the Florence Cathedral or visit the official website.

If tickets are sold out, you can also purchase them on GetYourGuide. This guided tour of the cathedral also includes the dome climb.

This highly rated tour includes the Baptistery, the museum, and the dome climb.

12:00 pm: Lunch

For lunch, you have several options.

Restaurants near the Duomo

Near the duomo, Ristorante Boutique Vetreria La Vetreria and Osteria Nuvoli get good reviews.

Rooftop Restaurant

For a view of the Duomo, visit Tosca & Nino, a rooftop restaurant that sits on top of the Rinascente department store on Piazza della Repubblica. They open mid-morning and serve lunch. This restaurant does not take reservations, it is first-come first-served. It gets busy at 1 pm, so by getting here a bit earlier than this, you have a better chance of getting a table. You can see the menu and check hours here.

To get to Tosca & Nino, it is a 3-minute walk to Piazza della Repubblica. This also works perfectly as Piazza della Repubblica is the next place on our list to visit in Florence.

Tosca and Nino Rooftop Bar Florence | One Day in Florence

The view from Tosca & Nino

Mercato Centrale

This indoor market has numerous small shops selling everything from fruits and vegetables, to meat and cheese, to wine, coffee, and cocktails. For foodies, this is not to be missed.

However, it is out of the way.

From the Duomo complex, it is a 7-minute walk to get here. After your visit, you will have to backtrack to the Duomo and then continue on to Piazza della Repubblica, which is another 10-minute walk.

1:30 pm: Piazzas and Palazzo Vecchio

From the Duomo complex, it is a short, scenic walk to Piazza della Signoria.

Walk through Piazza della Repubblica and continue along Via Calimala towards Mercato del Porcellino (a 5-minute walk).

At this small, outdoor market, keep a lookout for Fontana del Porcellino. Give the boar a rub on its nose and legend has it that you will be ensured a return visit to Florence. If you put a coin into the mouth of the boar and it falls into the grate, you will have good luck.

From Fontana del Porcellino, it is 2-minute walk to Piazza della Signoria.

Piazza della Signoria is the large, open square sits in front of Palazzo Vecchio. On the square there are a few important things to see.

  • Loggia dei Lanzi. This is an open-air sculpture gallery of Renaissance art.
  • The Statue of David. Sitting on the square, near Palazzo Vecchio, is a replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David.
  • The Neptune Fountain. This fountain was commissioned by the Medici family and was completed in 1574.

Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria

Palazzo Vecchio

The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence. While here, you can tour the museum and climb the Arnolfo Tower for one of the best views of Florence. From this tower, you get a spectacular view of the Duomo.

Florence Italy | One Day in Florence

The view from Arnolfo Tower

To do this, book your timed ticket in advance. I recommend booking a time slot between 1:30 pm and 2:00 pm. You can book a time slot on the official website or through GetYourGuide.

How to Visit Palazzo Vecchio:

Cost: Museum €12.50, Tower €12.50; included on the Firenze Card
Hours for the Tower: April 1 to September 30: 9 am – 7 pm; October 1 to March 31: 9 am – 7 pm; on Thursdays closing time is 2 pm; last admission is one hour before closing
More Information: Visit the official website for full details on hours, tours, and to purchase your tickets

Italy Travel Guide

3:00 pm: The Uffizi Gallery

From Palazzo Vecchio, it is a 2-minute walk to the Uffizi Gallery.

The Uffizi Gallery is not only one of the most important art museums in Italy, it’s also one of the largest art museums in the world.

This museum contains thousands of Renaissance works of art, donated to Florence by the Medici family. The Uffizi is also one of the oldest museums in the world, opening in 1865.

On display are works of art by Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Cimabue, Michelangelo, Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio, and many more.

A visit to the Uffizi Gallery typically lasts 2 hours. To get the most out of your visit, consider taking a guided tour.

Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery

How to Visit the Uffizi Gallery:

Make your reservation in advance.

Cost: €25 March 1 to October 31; €12 November 1 to February 28; included on the Firenze Card (advance reservation required)
Hours: 8:15 am – 6:30 pm Wednesday through Sunday; 8:15 am – 9:30 pm Tuesday; closed Monday
Website: Make your reservation online in advance on the official website or through GetYourGuide.

5:00 pm: Ponte Vecchio

From the Uffizi Gallery, stroll along the Arno River to Ponte Vecchio. This is another short 2-minute walk.

Ponte Vecchio, which means “old bridge,” is a medieval stone bridge that spans the Arno River. For centuries, shops have lined the sides of the bridge. Now, most of these shops sell jewelry.

Ponte Vecchio Hotel Lungarno

Ponte Vecchio Shops | One Day in Florence

Ponte Vecchio | One Day in Florence

6:00 pm: Sunset Views of Florence

There are a lot of variations to this part of the itinerary, depending on the time of year of your visit and your interests.

Sunset in Florence can range anywhere from 6:30 pm (spring and fall) to 9 pm (early summer).

One of the best things to do in Florence is to watch the sunset from one of several viewpoints in the city. Your options include Piazzale Michelangelo (great for photographers, families, and those looking for a free thing to do in Florence) or a rooftop bar.

Piazzale Michelangelo

From Ponte Vecchio, it is a 20-minute walk along the Arno River to Piazzale Michelangelo. It’s also possible to take a taxi here.

Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the best viewpoints of Florence. It’s a beautiful spot all day and one of the best places in Florence to watch the sunset. Here is the view at sunset:

Florence Italy

The view from Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset

If you are visiting Florence between early May and late July, sunset time will be between 8 and 9 pm. Since this is rather late in the day, you can get an early dinner first, then walk to Piazzale Michelangelo, ideally getting here about an hour before sunset. You also have the option to visit a rooftop bar or have dinner first, and then take a taxi to Piazzale Michelangelo.

For dinner with a view of Ponte Vecchio, put Signorvino Firenze on your list. This restaurant sits right on the Arno River and it is located on the walking route between Ponte Vecchio and Piazzale Michelangelo.

Ponte Vecchio View

The view of Ponte Vecchio from Signorvino Firenze

To time your visit to Piazzale Michelangelo, you can get sunset times here. This can be a busy place to visit, and if your goal is to take sunset photos, plan on getting here at least an hour before sunset, to get a good spot.

Once you are finished at Piazzale Michelangelo, you can either walk back to the city center or hire a taxi. If sunset is at 9 pm, you will get back to the city center between 9:30 and 10:00 pm.

Rooftop Bars in Florence

Another option is to skip Piazzale Michelangelo and visit a rooftop bar. There are many to choose from, our favorites being Divina Terrazza Rooftop Bar, View on Art, Tosca & Nino (mentioned earlier as a lunch spot), and SE·STO on Arno.

Some rooftop bars serve dinner and some only serve snacks. To pick out which one(s) to visit, check out our guide to the best rooftop bars in Florence.

For dinner with a view of the Florence Cathedral, make a reservation for B Roof Restaurant.

View on Art Rooftop Bar

View on Art


Divina Terrace Florence Rooftop Bar

The view from Divina Terrazza Rooftop Bar | One Day in Florence

Make Your Reservations in Advance

Below we list the places in Florence we recommend having advance reservations and provide the links to make your planning a little bit easier.

If you plan to visit a rooftop bar for an aperitif or dinner, you should make a reservation in advance. Get links to the websites of the rooftop bars in our Florence Rooftop Bar Guide.

How to Get to Florence

If you are traveling by train through Italy, the Florence train station is called the Florence Santa Maria Novella station. It is located northwest of the historic city center. From this station, it is a 10-minute walk to the Duomo. Many hotels in Florence are also within walking distance of the train station. If you don’t want to walk, it is possible to hire a taxi to take you to your hotel.

If you have a car, it’s best to park outside of the city center, unless you are staying at a hotel that offers parking. But beware, driving in Florence is a nightmare.

The city center of Florence is a ZTL area (limited traffic zone). You can only drive in the city center if you have a permit or if you are staying at a hotel that is located within the ZTL.

We stayed at a hotel within the ZTL. Driving there was very challenging. The roads in the city center are one-way. Along one road the direction may change several times. According to the doorman at our hotel, the direction of the roads can change day by day.

Plan on parking in a lot outside of the ZTL and then walking into the city center or taking a taxi. Convenient paid lots include the lot next to the train station, at Central Parking Firenze (on the north side of Florence), and Parcheggio Sant’Ambrogio (on the east side of town).

If you are flying into the Florence Airport, you can take a bus or taxi to the city center and your hotel.

How to Get around Florence

Florence is a very compact city and everything we have listed on this one day in Florence itinerary are all within walking distance. The biggest outlier is Piazzale Michelangelo but it is possible to take a taxi here or to get back to the city center.

Arno River Florence

Arno River, view from SE·STO on Arno rooftop bar

Where to Stay in Florence

For hotel recommendations in Florence, including hotels with a view of the Florence Cathedral or Ponte Vecchio, take a look at our Florence Hotel Guide.

Tours of Florence

Joining a tour can help save you time waiting in line, allow you to learn more about Florence from a knowledgeable guide, and introduce you to sights that you may not be able to do on your own. Here are some of the best tours in Florence.

This small group tour is the perfect way to get the most out of your visit to the Uffizi Gallery.

Climb the dome, visit the Baptistery, and tour the Opera del Duomo Museum with an experienced guide on this small group tour.

Drink your way through Florence on this guided tour that takes you to some of Florence’s popular bars and past famous historic landmarks.

Take a guided tour of the Uffizi and Accademia.

Go shopping in the central market in Florence and then learn how to cook a Tuscan meal. This tour gets nothing but rave reviews.

Take a food tour of Florence or a 2-hour guided sightseeing bike tour.



Frequently Asked Questions

Is one day enough for Florence?

With proper planning, you can visit the highlights of Florence in one day. Florence is a small city and most of the top sites are located within the historic city center, which makes it quick and easy to get from place to place. You will have to book some tickets in advance but with one day, you will be able to visit the Duomo, climb the dome of the Duomo, tour the Uffizi Gallery, see Michelangelo’s statue of David, and watch the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo.

How many days do you need in Florence?

Ideally, plan on spending two or more days in Florence. This gives you enough time to visit the top sites without feeling like you are in a race. More than two days allows you to visit some off the beaten path places and to day trip into Tuscany.

When is the best time to visit Florence?

The best time to visit Florence is late spring and early fall, when the weather is pleasant but crowds aren’t at peak levels. Summer is the busiest time to visit Florence, so expect huge crowds, long lines, and more expensive prices for hotels. 

View from Florence Dome

The view from the dome of the Duomo

Where are You Going Next?

If you are just beginning to plan your Italy itinerary, take a look at our 10 Days in Italy Itinerary for five different ways to spend 10 days in Italy. We also have a detailed 10 day itinerary that includes Rome, Florence, the Cinque Terre, and Venice and a 10 day northern Italy itinerary that includes the Dolomites and Venice.

For those with more time, check out our 14 day Italy itinerary, which covers the highlights of Italy.

FLORENCE: If you are planning your first visit to Florence, don’t miss our guide to the 10 Best Things to Do in Florence and how to spend two days in Florence. We also have guides about the best rooftop bars in Florence, the best viewpoints in Florence, and how to visit the Florence Cathedral.

DAY TRIPS FROM FLORENCE: Here are 15 day trips to take from Florence, with practical information on how to plan your day.

TUSCANY: Get started with our guide to the Best Things to Do in Tuscany. Learn how to plan your visit with our Tuscany Itinerary, which has sample itineraries, whether you have 3 days, 5 days, or an entire week in Tuscany.

TUSCAN HILL TOWNS: Check out our detailed guides to Siena, Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, San Quirico d’Orcia, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Lucca, Volterra, Arezzo, and Cortona.

UMBRIA: In our article Best Things to Do in Assisi, we cover the top experiences to have, plus where to eat and where to stay. In our One Day in Assisi Itinerary, we have a detailed walking tour of the historic city center. And don’t miss our guide to the Best Things to Do in Orvieto.

We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, Basilicata, and Puglia.

If you have any questions about this one day Florence itinerary, let us know in the comment section below.


One Day Florence Itinerary Italy


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Comments 2

  1. Avatar for Tracy

    Hello! I am really enjoying your very thorough guide to everything Italy. It is our first time and your information is extremely helpful. My question is – we are doing a guided tour of many of the highlights in Florence from 9am-1pm. It does not include the Cathedral/Duomo. My husband is afraid of heights and is opting out of the climb. Since we only have the afternoon available, wondering if we should still go through the Duomo or see the Medici sights?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Tracy. I’m glad you like our site! Both are great options and it really depends on your preferences. The Medici attractions are a long list, including Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens, the Medici Chapels, and even the Uffizi Gallery (since this is where they worked) so it also depends upon which of these you are thinking of visiting. If your husband is afraid of heights, he probably won’t also climb Giotto’s Bell Tower, so that limits you to the museum, baptistery, main floor of the cathedral, and Santa Reparata. In my opinion, the dome is the best part, since you get to see the artwork inside the dome and the view of Florence from the dome, but that’s just me. You won’t go wrong either way, but it depends if you prefer to see those other sites of the duomo or like the idea of touring Pitti Palace and the gardens (if you do this, it is also worth visiting the Bardini Gardens, which you can learn more about in our Florence Bucket List). Cheers, Julie

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