Is it possible to visit Florence in one day? Of course, thanks to our guide to discover the unmissable beauties in the city center.
Florence is one of Italy's favorite destinations for tourists worldwide, a place to enjoy artistic and cultural beauty, beautiful sights, exciting experiences and great food.
The ideal way to visit this enchanting city would be to plan a vacation that lasts as long as necessary to explore all the museums, churches, historical points of interest, and natural areas, and that eventually makes possible to travel to neighboring locations, off the usual tourist trail, to experience the authentic Tuscany atmosphere. Keep in mind, for example, that only for the Uffizi Gallery you will need at least a half day, which is necessary to be inebriated by the splendor of all the works of art housed there!
Things to do in Florence in one day
However, if you are in the surrounding area of the city and only have 24 hours to spare, you should know that the center is relatively small and has a number of attractions all very close together. So if you feel like walking, you can visit it whole easily walking.
This mini-guide of ours will give you some useful tips to find out what to do for a one day trip in Florence and get back on the train equally loaded with wonders.
So: backpack on shoulders, map in hand and let's go!
Breakfast at Santa Maria Novella
Facade of Santa Maria Novella, Florence
The central train station is only 200 meters away from the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, from which it takes its name, so you should definitely include it among the things to do in your one day trip from Florence.
Santa Maria Novella is a wonderful example of Gothic architecture and was completed in the 15th century, almost two hundred years after its construction began, when in 1279 the Dominican friars decided to establish their own seat there.
With its richly decorated facade, it dominates the square of the same name and is a unique sight to admire while you enjoy the sunshine and a rich cornetto and cappuccino breakfast.
Of course, the basilica should also be visited inside: for a few euros you can enjoy inestimable works, including Masaccio's Trinity, Giotto's Crucifix in the center of the nave, and Brunelleschi's wooden Crucifix – but if you simply keep your nose in the air you can be amazed as well.
Things to do in Florence in one day: a walk on Ponte Vecchio
Continuing to walk around the city, you will arrive at the banks of the Arno River and can cross it by walking along the legendary Ponte Vecchio, the Old Bridge.
A symbol of Florence, the bridge dates back to Roman times but took its present form only in the 14th century. At that time it was home to butchers' stores, but in order to bring it more aligned with the royalty of the Medici family, who used to walk across it, they were replaced by goldsmith workshops, which still make up most of the activities there.
It is covered on either side by the famous Vasari Corridor, designed precisely by Giorgio Vasari, a gallery overlooking the stores that allowed the Medici family to safely move from Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti.
Ponte Vecchio is the perfect place to buy a precious gift, made by Florentine gold craftsmen, but also where to take fantastic selfies!
Admiring the camellias at the Boboli Gardens
Another project commissioned by the Medici family is the fairy-tale Boboli Garden, a green space and a truly open-air museum just a short walk from the Pitti Palace.
An unmissable experience among the things to do in your one day trip from Florence is therefore a relaxing walk through the garden, admiring splendid sculptures, fountains, historic buildings and an endless variety of plants.
Indeed, here you can appreciate a rich botanical collection, several varieties of citrus trees, roses, orchids and palm trees of various sizes. In addition, in the spring months, the camellias garden, an area specially dedicated to these beautiful flowers, can also be visited - so we recommend choosing a visit between April and May.
Tasting a Florentine steak
You can't plan a one day trip from Florence without including a lunch with the famous Florentine steak. This is a special tall and thick cut of veal, that is cooked on the grill.
A typical dish of local cuisine, the steak was born in the Medici era as well, when it became a specialty linked to the feast of San Lorenzo, August 10, to the bonfires that were organized and on which the meat was cooked.
Today it can be enjoyed in every tavern and restaurant in the city exclusively rare, with vegetables on the side and with the accompaniment of a good glass of Chianti wine.
( Meanwhile, if you want to try cooking a Florentine steak at home here is the recipe. )
Taking plenty of photos at the Selfie Museum
Let's leave the Renaissance for a few hours and jump forward to the present day. In the San Lorenzo neighborhood, you'll find the Selfie Museum, an interactive space where you can take fun and original photos and videos.
It is a more than 1,000 square meters area featured with colorful and distinctive settings created by contemporary artists from around the world, who were inspired by different artistic periods from all centuries.
This museum is an amazing experience for all ages, a funny idea among the things to do in a one day trip from Florence to look at art from a more engaging and more “practical” point of view.
Admiring the David statue at the Accademia Gallery
Before completing our tour of Florence, our last stop is at the nearby Accademia Gallery, where you can admire the authentic symbol of the Italian Renaissance: Michelangelo's David in its impressiveness and majesty.
After recovering from the wonder, we proceed to appreciate many other works by the artist – such as the unfinished giants sculptures preserved in the Prigioni Gallery – and Giambologna's Il ratto delle Sabine, paintings by Perugino, Filippino Lippi, Pontormo, Ghirlandaio and Botticelli.
You can also visit the Museum of Musical Instruments, which boasts a beautiful collection of ancient instruments dating back to the Medici era, such as the rudimentary piano, whose invention dates back to that time, and several examples of arches made by Antonio Stradivari.