Two days and love strikes. With its beauty Florence goes straight to the heart. Then find out what you can do in two days in Florence.

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Discovering Florence in two days knowing that the city has almost three millennia of history behind it is certainly a difficult undertaking, but perhaps it is enough to light the spark towards one of the most enchanting cities in the world, a real manifesto of beauty. Just think about its two super ambassadors and what they represent: Michelangelo's David which can be admired at the Accademia Gallery (and a copy in Piazza della Signoria) and Botticelli's Venus at the famous Uffizi Gallery.

Two priceless masterpieces of art, in the global imagination they embody the idea of male and female beauty. Visit Italy invites you to discover what you can do in two days in Florence and thus begin your immersion in Italian art and culture, but also in the mood of elegance and lifestyle that the city "cradle" of the Renaissance can offer. Without forgetting that behind Florence there are the sweetest hills in the world.

Get excited with the David, guided tour and skip the line

What to do for two days in Florence, starting from Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella in Florence

Santa Maria Novella

You fall in love with Florence at first sight and then even two days are enough to discover a piece of the wonder it offers the visitor. Then you can always return there again and again, just in the heart of the world where Florence is, to discover new things and admire those already enjoyed. Arriving by train, leaving the city's main station, you are immediately struck by the strong impact of Santa Maria Novella, a thirteenth-century church but with a wonderful Renaissance portal by Leon Battista Alberti.

An ancient city - the first nucleus of the Etruscan era dates back to the 9th century BC - Florence was then the capital of modernity, because the Renaissance with its great artistic masterpieces marked the beginning of the modern age. But even before that, in the Middle Ages, Florentia was a free and rich city. In the 12th century, rulers were chosen by representatives of the 7 most influential arts and activities: there were doctors and merchants, bankers (the Medici dynasty belonged to this category) but also the guilds of wool and silk workers, a tradition in textiles that has been handed down to the present day.

Certainly there were tension between them and Florentine history is full of divisions and internal quarrels, so much so that even Dante, the city's most beloved son, grieved in the famous invective about Florence that opens canto XXVI of the Inferno. But it's time to find out what you can do around the city for two days, warning that for each church and museum it is preferable to book well in advance, because Florence is always very attractive in all seasons of the year.

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Day 1, in the morning in the cradle of the Renaissance

what to do in Florence in two days, Piazza del Duomo

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with bell tower and baptistery

The historic center of Florence deserves long but also short walks. Already close to the Santa Maria Novella station it is possible to proceed along via de' Cerretani, and further on via de' Tornabuoni and other streets that easily lead to Piazza del Duomo. However, we begin to see the basilica of Santa Maria Novella, which inside houses works by Giotto, Giambologna and Masaccio and on the main altar Giotto's Crucifix.

Continuing towards the center you arrive at the square which expresses the apotheosis of Renaissance architecture, a compendium of all the beauty and artistic richness of Florence. Here are the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto's bell tower and the Baptistery of San Giovanni. The cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore stands on the former cathedral of Santa Reparata and is one of the most beautiful churches in the world. The facade, the splendid doors (including the Mandorla door designed by Donatello) and the three apses are adorned by Brunelleschi's Dome, an architectural daring, 116 meters high and still today the largest masonry dome ever built in the world.

The Campanile also stands out in the square, which Giotto designed and began in 1334 but which was completed by Andrea Pisano. It is covered with the same white and green Carrara marble that embellishes the cathedral and the Baptistery of San Giovanni. The latter has an octagonal shape and three valuable bronze doors to access it.

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Day 1, Tuscan cuisine and the afternoon between Piazza della Signoria and Ponte Vecchio

Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio

Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio

One thing that is a must to do in Florence, especially after a long artistic tour, is to enjoy the best of Tuscan cuisine. From the cathedral, taking via dei Calzaiuoli and passing through the triumphal Piazza della Repubblica (the name is due to the large of the palace that overlooks via Strozzi), you reach Piazza della Signoria and on the way it is full of places where you can appreciate dishes such as the Florentine steak, lampredotto, maybe a ribollita soup if it's cold or a quick flatbread if we want to go in a hurry.

In Piazza della Repubblica there is the historic Caffè Gilli, recent winner of the 13th edition of the gastronomic contest "The best Fiorentina-style flatbread". Another must is the schiacciata at the Antico Vinaio, a successful social and gastronomic format in via dei Neri, right behind the Uffizi, but you need to arm yourself with patience for the long queues at the entrance. Much loved by university students is the Focacceria Pugi, open since 1925 and today present in the city with three outlets. In Piazza della Signoria, Gucci Osteria stands out, from the fashion house of the same name, which also offers itself in cafés and cocktail bars at Gucci Giardino 25.

We resume the afternoon from Piazza della Signoria, where Palazzo Vecchio is located, today the seat of the Municipality of Florence. Here the eye is captured by the statues of David by Michelangelo and the bronze Judith and Holofernes by Donatello (both copies), while the Neptune fountain is original. We bypass the Uffizi (we'll return tomorrow) and continue towards Ponte Vecchio, one of the most iconic places and the cream of Florentine goldsmith art. Here there are two options: either continue along Via Guicciardini and quickly arrive at Palazzo Pitti, perhaps to enter the Boboli Gardens, or continue along the Lungarno to the Basilica of Santa Croce. The choice is yours, but the exclusion will be a compulsory stop on the second day.

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Day 1, in the evening at Michelangelo Piazzale

What to do in Florence for two days, piazzale Michelangelo

View of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo

The evening in Florence is very sweet. The climate is never too cold even in winter, always ideal in the spring and autumn and only summer requires some attention due to excessive heat. To start the evening there is nothing better than a beautiful sunset and then it is a must to end the first day in Florence by going up to Piazzale Michelangelo. It is the most scenic place in Florence, the true balcony overlooking the city, and the view of its monuments as the sun sets is a spectacle that you cannot miss.

It is easy to get there, both by public transport (lines 12 and 13 from Santa Maria Novella station) and on foot, at least for the more sporty and if you are not very tired. From the San Niccolò ramps in Piazza Poggi or from Porta San Miniato it takes 15-20 minutes, but uphill. Alternatively, you can get on the bus and get off on foot, perhaps visiting the Rose Garden which is on the road (free entry, but check the timetable first). Even further up from Piazzale Michelangelo there is the basilica of San Miniato al Monte, which dates back to the 11th century and from whose churchyard you can admire another fantastic view of Florence.

We have reached dinner time. There is no shortage of restaurants near Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato, but perhaps returning to the heart of Florence for a romantic dinner, perhaps on the Arno River, has an irresistible charm. With Tuscan meat dishes and robust red wines from the region, Chianti but also Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano, Montescudaio and the prized Bolgheri Sassicaia, while Brunello di Montalcino always remains at the absolute top.

Experience a food and wine tour at sunset in Florence

Day 2, a good start in the morning at the Uffizi Gallery

what to do in Florence for two days, the Uffizi Gallery

Botticelli's Venus at the Uffizi Gallery

Before getting into in the magnificence of the Uffizi, let's start the second day with a good (and charming) tuscan breakfast. Yes, because the Salotto Portinari in the central Via del Corso is an elegant and fascinating place, a courtyard among whose placid atmospheres it seems that Beatrice, Dante's muse, walked. Let's now go and visit the Uffizi Gallery, already admiring the original design of the horseshoe courtyard designed by Vasari. Inside the masterpieces of the Italian figurative art, it is impossible not to be moved by Botticelli's Venus or Raphael's Madonna of the Goldfinch.

In Florence, art lovers will be able to not miss anything. In fact, they will find a museum offering unrivaled in the world, for example in the Galleria dell'Accademia there is the original statue of Michelangelo's David, while the Bargello houses the national sculpture museum. If instead we want to continue outdoors, from the Uffizi it is a moment to get to the Lungarno and back to the Ponte Vecchio.

Here we reach the fifteenth-century Palazzo Pitti, which was the palace of the Savoy when Florence became the capital of Italy for a short period (from 1865 to 1871), and from here we enter to visit the delightful Boboli Gardens. It's possible to buy a single pass to visit Uffizi, Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. The alternative after the visit to the Uffizi is the stupendous Franciscan basilica of Santa Croce, pantheon of famous Italians, with funerary monuments dedicated to Michelangelo and Galileo Galilei, Niccolò Machiavelli and Vittorio Alfieri. Also worth admiring are the cloister and the Cappella dei Pazzi by Brunelleschi.

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Day 2, the afternoon in the hills of Fiesole or Bagno a Ripoli

what to do in Florence for two days, Chianti hills

The pleasant landscape of the Chianti hills

An itinerary of what to do in two days in Florence does not exclude a trip out of town. The surroundings of the city are in fact very sweet, olive trees and vines dominate the landscape together with villages and farmhouses, with the Chianti hills not far away, as well as the wonderful San Gimignano (an hour's drive). Close to Florence are the cities of Fiesole and Bagno a Ripoli rich in history.

Fiesole, for example, is only 6 km from Florence and preserves remains of the Etruscan foundation and a splendid Roman Theater which still hosts shows and events today. There are wonderful residences, such as Villa San Michele, Villa Schifanoia where there is the European University Institute.

There are also beautiful Medici villas in Bagno a Ripoli, which is 13 km from Florence and among its monuments boasts the Quarate Castle of Lombard origin (9th century). Both locations are easily reachable by bus from the center and from Santa Maria Novella station.

Discover Chianti and San Gimignano starting from Florence with wine tasting

2 days in Florence: the last evening walking and shopping

what to do in Florence for two days, the Big Arch

Piazza della Repubblica and the famous Big Arch

At sunset it's time to return to the city and enjoy the evening of the second day among the unseen wonders of the immense Florentine cultural heritage. Many shops are still open and shopping in Florence is characterized by excellence: leather goods, for example, are one of the city's prides and it is a good idea to take advantage of it. Some of the most famous brands in Italian fashion are indeed Tuscan and in Palazzo Pitti there is the Museum of Fashion and Costume.

After dinner it is good to walk further, perhaps with a rough itinerary between Santo Spirito and San Lorenzo. The first is located in Oltrarno, not far from Palazzo Pitti; it is a basilica by Brunelleschi which houses, among other things, a wonderful wooden crucifix by Michelangelo. Walking along Via de' Tornabuoni and Piazza della Repubblica you come across Palazzo Strozzi, and continuing towards the Basilica of San Lorenzo - the oldest in Florence with 1600 years of history - you arrive at Palazzo Medici-Riccardi. Lorenzo dei Medici known as the Magnificent once lived there, today it is the seat of the Prefecture.

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