Day 1 - Full Day Tour (The Best of Florence)
For your first day in Florence we thoroughly recommend our 5 star rated full-day tour of the city. This includes all of Florence's top tourist attractions in one day with the advantage of skipping the line into all of the most popular venues! This includes a tour of the Accademia Gallery, the Uffizi Gallery, the Florence Cathedral and all of the most noteworthy destinations around the city.
Skip the Line into the Accademia Gallery
Be first in the door of the Accademia Gallery. Dating back to 1784 and originally used as a teaching facility for the fine arts, this gallery has gradually built up an impressive collection of sculptures and paintings from all over Italy and beyond. Michelangelo’s David was moved from Piazza della Signoria to the Accademia in 1873 to preserve the statue. Within this gallery are a great many different rooms, each telling their own stories. Among our favourites are; “The Hall of Colossus”, “The Hall of Prisoners” and “The Florentine Gothic Rooms”.
Learn the Rich History of the Florence Cathedral
Shortly after visiting the Accademia Gallery, you will be brought to see the Duomo, which the city of Florence is essentially built around. Building this dome as a free-standing structure was considered an impossible fest before the renaissance era and is still considered a huge accomplishment to this day. What is even more impressive is that the dome can hold numerous people perched on top of it at any one time. Large bronze doors can be found at the front entrance to the building and were built by the winner of a citywide competition in 1401. The panels on these doors are intricately detailed and heaps of beautiful imagery.
Browse the City's Top Attractions
After bearing witness to the Florence Cathedral, you will be brought on a walking tour of the city center to cover all the must-see outdoor sights. You can admire the Ponte Vecchio bridge from afar, with housing jutting out from either side of the bridge and a full-length roof, this really is a unique design of the ages. Many of these buildings are now being used as jewelery stores, showing off the local offerings. You will be brought to the most famous leather market in Florence, where you can rub the nose of the famous Boar “Il Porcellino” for good luck. Your expert guide will lead you through Piazza della Signoria where you’ll hear the stories behind the beautiful sculptures and see the perch where Michelangelo’s David once stood. You will then be brought to the church of Orsanmichele, this beautiful museum like building is home to some of the most important sculptures of the Renaissance.
Skip the Line into the Uffizi Gallery
After walking around the city and seeing all the most important sites, you will then be left to enjoy a lunch on your own until you reconvene with your tour guide at the world-famous Uffizi Gallery. This section of the tour is limited to 14 people or under, making it great if you want to interact with the guide. Here you will be introduced to works by artists such as; Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Perugino, Michelangelo, Titian and Vasari, among others.
Day 2 - Off the Beat and Track
Meander through the San Lorenzo Market
Open on Fridays at (7am-2pm) and Saturdays at (7am-5pm), this is the most well-known market in Florence. If you are looking for an activity to interest the whole family, an authentic Tuscan lunch or a souvenir to bring home, you can find it all here! This gigantic market is comprised of two different sections, an indoor market for food and outdoor market for clothing and souvenirs. The usual journey starts from the outside, meandering vendors of pottery, bags, belts and wallets before journeying inside to the food. Feel free to bargain, the locals are accustomed to haggling and you could end up with an unprecedented bargain buy. In the food section of the market you can find butchers, fishmongers and produce vendors as well as specialty shops selling local delicacies like olives, cured meats and cheeses. If you missed your chance during the weekends, the second level of the indoor food market is open seven days a week from 10am till midnight. This part of the market is a more refined regional showcase of sorts. You can buy specialty wines and goods, as well as seeing the production of the baked goods take place.
Marvel at the Basilica di Santa Croce
After having your fill of local delicacies and seen the souvenirs on offer, we recommend taking a visit to the Basilica of Santa Croce. This beautiful church was rebuilt for the Franciscans in 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio and is the burial place of numerous iconic Italian figures, such as; Michelangelo, Rossini, Galileo and Galilei. This is one of the most heavily decorated churches in all of Italy and houses 16 chapels along its sides. There are frescoes by Gaddi and Giotto, gilded limestone by Donatello, stained glass and a marble façade.
Get Inspired by the Oltrano Neighborhood
The Oltrano neighborhood in Florence is known for many impressive features, our four favorites are; the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens, the Brancacci Chapel and the Piazzale Michelangelo. The Pitti Palace was originally built in 1458 for the influential banker “Luca Pitti” and designed by Brunelleschi, the same engineer who designed the Florence Duomo. Roughly a century later, Cosimo I of the Medici family bought the palace. Since then, the palace has continually been enlarged to hold many royal courts. The product is a building that now houses a total of eight museums. The Boboli Gardens are situated just behind the palace and built by Cosimo’s wife Eleonora in 1549. Eleonora had the garden filled with narrow paths, hedges leading to grottoes, fountains and ponds. More recent additions are late renaissance sculptures, making this garden feel as though it’s a continuation of the museum beside it. The Branacci Chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence is frequently referred to as the Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance. The painting of this chapel was commissioned by Felice Brancacci, who served as the Florentine ambassador to Cairo until 1423. Masolino da Panciale, his student Massacio and Filippino Lippi all took part in creating this awe inspiring masterpiece, taking many years of work to complete. Finish your day off with a climb of Piazzale Michelangelo and take in some of the most stunning views overlooking Florence.