Make sure you save this post and you wont have to stress about a trip to Italy. A Complete Itinerary to Florence, Italy with food, tips and activities.
Cade here, and I told Carrian that we should just post our Itinerary for Florence, Italy so that someone else could just sit back and relax. Obviously you should include lots of gelato but there’s more to do than just that.
Oh boy, remember that post where we discussed the 3 Secrets to Planning a European Vacation and we said that it was super overwhelming for us? I wasn’t kidding. Maybe not for everyone, but we didn’t know what to do, see, and eat in Italy so it wasn’t as fun at first to plan. With time we figured it out and next time will be so much easier.
A Complete Itinerary to Florence, Italy
Remember, while this is what works for us, you may want to add a few things you want to do that didn’t make it onto our list. And ask questions! We don’t want to bore you so we leave some things off the post, but if you have a question just let us know. A the bottom of the post we added all of the questions and answers we had when first making our itinerary.
Skip the Line Tour Accademia Gallery
You must book this with enough time to make it because they will assign you a time. So, if your flight doesn’t get in until later in the day you will want to book this for the second day so that you can be flexible with the time assigned to you.
(ps, it’s a little weird to post a picture of a naked man, but it really was incredible, AND how odd to think that all of those people don’t know that they are in our vacation pictures. bahahaha)
Give yourself time to take in the beauty and talent needed to make these statues. Don’t rush.
Skip-the-Line Florence Accademia Gallery and Michelangelo’s David Ticket
Now, you may want to change around what you do on your first day depending on arrival time. We arrived in the middle of the afternoon so we needed to keep ourselves awake in order to get ourselves adjusted to a new schedule. However, there wasn’t enough time to do much, so we voted for the skip the line Florence Accademia Gallery and Michelangelo’s David. It was stunning and absolutely the best way to start our trip.
The line was atrocious and it was hot so we were glad to have a skip the line ticket, BUT you still have to wait in a line, it’s just not as bad as those who were buying there at the museum.
Here’s the address to the Accademia Gallery, Via Ricasoli, 58 Firenze 50122, so make sure you jot this down. We printed a google maps with directions to our main attractions and attached it all to our itinerary each day so we were never frustrated. Other times we just wandered the beautiful streets.
We printed a version and took a picture with our phone just in case, but we stuck to paper only because your phone dies so much faster with all of the picture taking.
You’re going to see the Gates of Paradise doors on the outside of the Baptistry, and for sure do not miss that, but the real doors are now at the Opera Del Duomo Museum along with a whole lot more you’ll want to check out. Hit two museums to keep you awake, both aren’t ginormous and are easy to skip things you aren’t interested in.
Carrian here, I personally had a terrifying experience at this museum. I was merely walking around and taking it all in when out of the corner of my eye I could see the hole I was about to plunge to my death in. My breath caught in my throat and a tiny squeal let out, my heart fell to my stomach and I jumped out of the way.
I almost fell down a hole and died! I mean, come on, that’s significant!
Oh, no that’s a glass floor over an archeological find. LOL! I still could not make it across the whole floor. What is wrong with me?! It sure made for a good laugh and I made Cade take a picture over it.
Duomo and Baptistry
If you have time hit the Duomo and Baptistry. We chose to skip hiking the duomo because we would be traveling to the hills for a better view and they cost money, though we did tour the Baptistry.
Oh I just hope you get Lisa. She was so wonderful and helpful. This tour is a MUST. We became oriented in the city and fell in love with its people and past.
Who would have known that this beautiful facade on palazzo di Bianca Capello isn’t just beautiful, it is in fact the home for one of the Medici’s mistress’s. Oh how that would have ticked me off as a wife. Although, I have heard the wife didn’t care for him so maybe she was glad. 😉
It was amazing to hear what we were walking past without even realizing its significance. The history of Florence is heartbreaking. The Germans were so destructive to their little city and bombed bridges so the Americans could not come to the rescue. Floods hit a short time after so more destruction.
And yet, it’s beautiful, clean and the people were kind.
Check out this little wooden door we started noticing all over Italy. What are the little wooden doors all over Florence? They were places the locals could knock and be sold wine directly from the maker. No longer in function, but still beautiful to find.
Wander for the rest of your day, do a little shopping and hit up any museums you missed on day 1.
For sure stop at Pitti gelato and snag yourself some well deserved ice cream. 🙂
Make sure you see the Ponte Vecchio first from another bridge and then cross it.
Wander the back streets and through the market centrale which is great for an easy lunch or dinner.
Head to Palazzo Pitti where one of the powerful Medici’s wife wanted to move so that she could have a garden. Oh, and get tickets for the Boboli Gardens.
Make sure you see all the china in the house at the top and take a picture of the view at the top. You can even relax in the grass together and take in where you are.
Fiesole for the BEST View in Florence
Snag the number 7 bus to Fiesole. See our notes below on how to ride the bus in Florence.
Fiesole is a small town nestled in the hillside and has our favorite view of Florence other than the Boboli Gardens. Grab tickets to the archeological site, but skip the museum. It has crazy old artifacts but wasn’t worth the money. Wander through the Roman baths and imagine that real people lived there!
Ask the tourist center next to the dig site for a map and head up the little road behind the main square which will wind you up to the best restaurant, perfect breeze and breathtaking views all situated below a monastery which is probably the only free thing in Italy so make sure you wander through.
The stained glass windows, wood and feeling was lovely. What a quite life they must have lived.
Eat dinner at La Reggia which you should make reservations for and remember it doesn’t open until later. It will be the place you’ve been looking for to have that romantic Italian view and atmosphere.
Today should be another activity that’s planned since you just wandered yesterday. We did a cooking class and though it was ok, one of these two look even better.
Tuscan Cooking Class and Dinner- This is a small dinner group and your class will be 4.5 hours long, but you’ll get to make 4 courses allowing you to learn a variety of dishes.
Gelato and Pizza Italians make pizza different than Americans and you know you’ll be living off of pizza and gelato so learn how to make it straight from the source!
Cooking Class and Lunch at a Tuscan Farmhouse– The only reason we didn’t do this one was we weren’t staying in Florence very long, but looking back we should have done it anyway. With over 1000 5 star reviews you can count on it being wonderful.
Leave your last day completely open. Go back to any places you found and loved. I hate that we found the best gelato ever at, My Sugar on our very last night. We ate it up, but would have loved to visit a few more times. However, we did revisit many other places which was perfection.
The above photo is of the Baptistry and we got tickets to that just to the right of the building at the door with the Eagles above it.
How to Ride the Bus in Florence, Italy
You wont need the bus system unless you’re going outside of Florence, but we insist that you do just that. The bus pickup is at Piazza Stazione right in front of the train station or we used Piazza San Marco.
The bus ticket is €1.20 and lasts for 90 minutes. Just stamp it when you get on your first bus because the bus people will get on and check your tickets. If you forgot just tell them and you should be fine. So stamp it when you first get on and then you get as many transfers as you’d like, but be sure to stamp again on your final bus.
A bus ticket bought on the bus will cost more than the little machine or news stands.
Just check which location you are headed to on their map, the times (written in military times) and what bus number you’re watching for.
Places to Eat in Florence, Italy
Le Vespe Cafe’, Via Ghibellina 76R
Via dell’Orto 49
S.Forno Panificio- bakery
Via S. Monaca 3r, 50i24 Florence, Italy
Teatro del Sale (brunch and dinner too)
Via dè Macci, 118
Pizzeria O Scugnizzo (Napoli style pizza) on Via Dell’orto, 25/R, Firenze
Corso dei Tintori, 47-r, 50122 Firenze
Santa Rosa Bistrot
(Note, this area has a lovely, quiet outdoors market that the locals use. There were no tourists, ten times better prices and lovely fruits for snacks and breakfast.)
Lungarno di Santa Rosa, 50142 Firenze FI, Italy
The Best Gelato in Florence, Italy
Gelateria My Sugar, Via de’ Ginori 49r- THE BEST GELATO!! Make sure you try the strawberry and vanilla, my goodness it’s fresh!
Geleteria dei Medici, via dello Statuto, 3
Carabe (Sicilian), Via Ricasoli 60/r
Snacking and gelato
Ara: E Sicilia
via degli Alfani, 127R.
Train Station in Florence
The train station in Florence is the Santa Maria Novella and it’s so close to the Duomo it makes it easy to navigate.
Arrive at the train station and head straight to your hotel to drop off your stuff.
Where to Stay in Florence, Italy
We headed straight to our Air bnb and it was definitely the right place for us. This is the one we booked, Duomo View with Prime Location and it was charming, comfortable and convenient.
And I mean convenient, it was just steps away from the Duomo, perfectly situated to get absolutely anywhere in Florence. There’s also a laundry right there and our favorite Gelato, see below.
We chose an air bnb because it was a great price for having such an amazing location and a full kitchen. It was incredibly safe, and the host was all kinds of amazing. He was kind, on time, helpful (we even texted him twice for some help with leaving town) and the apartment was super clean.
Tip for Navigating Florence
I said it was easy to navigate, but you’ll need one quick tip, the streets are listed on the buildings high above your heads and not often on both sides of the street so look up at every corner of a building and often turn around to look behind you to see where you are.
How to Book Train Tickets in Italy
No matter where you fly into, start by booking your train tickets on TrenItalia. Remember, if you don’t book, pay and reserve your seats ahead of time you’ll have to bump around in seats which will be frustrating. Just go to the website, google the nearest train station and the nearest to your destination.
Are Trenitalia Tickets Cheaper Online
Booking online with Trenitalia ahead of time was far less expensive than what we saw others buying for at the station. Not to mention, it’s harder to get seats together if you weren’t prepared.
What is Trenitalia Cartafreccia
We saw cartafreccia online and all over the station and weren’t sure what it was, but it was a better price so we kept trying to book it. it is the loyalty program and you must be Italian with a card to book it.
What is Trenitalia Super Economy
We booked super economy 1st class which was the same price as second class. Again, we weren’t sure what in the world was going on when it’s two different classes, but basically super economy is just their fare system. The earlier you book the better deal you get.
Remember, you can’t change or cancel Trenitalia tickets unless you booked refundable fares which we never did as we preferred a good deal. 😉