One Day in Fabulous Florence

“A city that defines beauty”, one day in Tuscany’s fabulous Florence is only a taste and just not enough…

Using Pisa as a base for twelve days to explore other areas in Tuscany over Christmas and New Year’s day, it’s an easy train trip to travel to Florence.

Fascinating Florence

Founded during Roman times and as a centre of commerce, Florence is renown as a Renaissance town and it’s not long before you – together with the 10-million tourists visiting each year – understand why.

This Tuscan city of beauty gave birth to famous painters, artists, astronomers, and sculptures.

Battistero di San Giovanni, Florence, Italy, Europe

Almost 500 traditional art and workshops adorn the cobbled alleyways and streets of Florence – passion is what Florence’s artisans possess.

Florence allures and overwhelms with elegance and finesse whilst promising the fussiest traveller a deluge of centuries-old history, art, culture, refinement, and down-to-earth locals.

What to see

It’s impossible to appreciate what Florence has to offer in just one day, so if you’re strapped for time, here are a few must-see sights.

Home to the Uffizi Gallery, which houses priceless masterpieces from Botticelli, Raphael, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, and of course Michelangelo’s 5-metre sculpture of King David – if you have a spare day then definitely go. Visiting in 1985, there isn’t time today.

Founded by Dominican monks in the 1200s, the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy is thought to be the oldest pharmacy in the world and still produces perfumes.

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, Battistero di San Giovanni, Giotto’s Campanile

This imposing and iconic complex of exquisite ancient craftsmanship comprising the cathedral, baptistery, and bell tower, which exudes charm and grace is what first draws visitors to Florence.

Battistero di San Giovanni, Florence, Italy, Europe

With construction commencing in 1296 the cathedral was completed in 1436 and is ‘one of Italy’s largest churches’.

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy, Europe

Started in 1059 and completed in 1128, the hexagonal baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in Florence.

Battistero di San Giovanni, Florence, Italy, Europe

Standing at 14.45-metres, why not climb the bell tower’s (Giotto’s Campanile) 414 steep steps if you’re feeling energetic. An unforgettable panorama of Florence awaits…

Giotto's Campanile, Florence, Italy, Europe

Cupola del Brunelleschi

Be enchanted by the famous red dome of Cupola del Brunelleschi, which dates back to 1418 and if you have time, you can climb its steps to the top for an exceptional vista.

Cupola del Brunelleschi, Florence, Italy, Europe

Leonardo Da Vinci Museum

Whilst you’re at the Duomo, make your way to the captivating Leonardo Da Vinci Museum (€7 entry) to learn about Da Vinci’s incredible inventions. This interactive museum is sure to blow your mind.

Leonardo di Vinci museum, Florence, Italy, Europe

Spending a few hours lost in Da Vinci’s marvellous inventions is easy to do in this museum.

Palazzo Medici Riccardi

The Renaissance palace built between 1444 and 1484 is free entry, so sees many visiting the superb inner courtyard…

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence, Italy, Europe
…and hope to give you a little taste in this very short video.

The opulent courtyard opens on to meticulous walled gardens, which provide a brief sanctuary away from the maddening crowd.

gardens, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence, Italy, Europe

You may come across this unique marble sculpture if you look hard enough.

gardens, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence, Italy, Europe

A museum also awaits but this isn’t free entry.

Heavy ancient doors close the gardens in and local street life out…

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence, Italy, Europe

Piazza della Santissima Annunziata

Florence abounds in wonderful piazzas to stop, rest, and absorb amazing art and sculptures just as in the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata.

The fountain’s bizarre bronze sculpture, demonic in appearance was completed by the Renaissance sculptor Pietro Tacca.

Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, Florence, Italy, Europe

Purposely built in the Renaissance style, the square’s symmetry provides harmony whilst its stunning art depicts religious and bygone battle scenes.

Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, Florence, Italy, Europe

Another angle of the impressive fountain’s figurines…

Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, Florence, Italy, Europe

A commanding bronze equestrian sculpture of Tuscany’s Grand Duke – Ferdinando I de’ Medici graces the square’s centre.

River Arno

Steeped in tumultuous history especially during WWII, when the Nazis bombed every bridge across the River Arno in Florence except the Ponte Vecchio, the Arno divides Florence in two as it does in Pisa.

River Arno, Florence, Italy, Europe

Enjoy a 50-minute guided boat trip along the peaceful Arno or just amble its historical scenic banks, free of charge.

River Arno, Florence, Italy, Europe

The many reconstructed bridges provide varying vantage points of Florence.

Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze

Founded in 1714 and opened to the public in 1747, you’ll find the National Central Library of Florence in the Piazza dei Cavalleggeri and is the largest library in Italy.

Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, Florence, Italy, Europe

Street scenes

Wander with me through local alleyways and street scenes in Florence…

Florence, Italy, Europe

Working in marine grade polished stainless steel, contemporary sculpture Clessidra by Helidon Xhixha is a strong contrast reflecting Renaissance art in Florence.

Clessidra, Florence, Italy, Europe

Soaring medieval arches provide gorgeous backdrops on a passeggiata (stroll).


Pisa, Florence, Italy, Europe

Getting there

The Trenitalia travel (€8.60 one-way) from Pisa heads east across Tuscany and takes around an hour through picturesque villages.

Once at the train station in Florence, walk across the road and mingle with the crowd heading to the city centre and sights.


Where to eat

Delicious food abounds in Florence with too many choices, so your best bet is to pick something and just go for it…

Salumificio Anzuini – La Macelleria

Probably unchanged since 1929, the aromas permeating out of this vintage shop curls around your nose and beckons you in for a taste.

Salumificio Anzuini - La Macelleria, Florence, Italy, Europe

For the price-conscious, stay off the main squares when buying food as you’ll pay exorbitant prices for average-quality food.

Teatro Niccolini Caffè

On via Ricasoli 3/5, this gorgeous cafe serves wonderful coffee and snacks. Meals are also served.

Fabbricato Viaggiatori

If you’re waiting on a train to anywhere, then this very groovy swish bar on Piazza della Stazione 50, with excellent and friendly staff, offers wonderful ambience to rest for a cocktail (€7+) and savoury, after walking your feet off in Florence.

Meals are also offered, but we’re too early in the evening. Opening hours are from 07:00 am – 12:00 am.

Fabbricato Viaggiatori, Florence, Italy, Europe

I’m sure the meals are excellent. From your seat across the restaurant, you can watch the chef creating his magic in the kitchen – very cool.

Bottega Renzini

On via de’Neri 48/R, this restaurant is a little pricier but serves great coffee (€1.20+) and excellent panini (€5.50).

Light lunches, Aperitivi, and dinner are also served in the lovely modern surrounds with friendly staff.

Leaving Florence

With barely a full day in Florence and still so much to see, it’s time to catch the train back to Pisa and rest the weary feet in the comfortable apartment.

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more global images. More posts on Italy.

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28 thoughts on “One Day in Fabulous Florence

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  1. I loved Florence. I was there last year but just for 1 day and 1 night..saw much of what you did. and I’ll always remember turning a corner and seeing the Duomo for the first time.. wow..it really is stunning. Love your photos Nilla..they really capture life as it is x

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    1. Thanks Gill for your kind feedback and yes, Florence is an amazing gorgeous city!
      I felt that way about the Duomo each time I saw it throughout the day and could have spent more time in Florence. x

      Like

  2. We were in Florence about 18 years ago – it was part of our first big trip together. I remember stumbling onto the Uffizi Gallery. It wasn’t really on our radar, but we ran into some co-travelers coming out and they said it was worth it. That turned out to be a major understatement. There were several other great memories there, and on that trip in general. We really ought to go back…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderful city for your first trip together!
      Florence is still as gorgeous as ever and think you should go back Dave. 😉
      Think you need a in Florence to really take in everything and shame I didn’t get to the Uffizi Gallery this time…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post with useful information that every traveller would like to know beforehand.
    I’m completely spellbound by the beauty of the architectural structures here, thanks for sharing those stunning captures.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Many treasures in just one city. I recall you mentioned Quito was the Florence of South America but I don’t think any city could compare to what Florence has. (Not belittling Quito, of course, it’s its own city in its own special way)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Florence is a remarkably beautiful city and one full of treasures as you say, sometimes I wish there wasn’t so many tourists in the city but lucky I didn’t visit in the summer months.
      Each city has its own treasures and the little I saw of Quito was beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your lovely feedback and glad you liked my post.
      You mean less than pristine because of its brown colour or other? Guess this depends on what gets pumped into the river from industries, etc.

      Like

    1. Thank you Suellen for your comment and yes, Florence is such a beautiful city.
      Imagine living there and being continuously surrounded with stunning architecture, art, and culture…wonder if locals become blasé about their city…

      Like

    1. Hi Laura, thank you for your feedback. I hadn’t been since 1985 so happy to return.

      You have to return and show David around – think he’d love Florence and sure you would also – it’s such an easy city to travelling around in without being on a tour. 😉
      For some strange reason I had to salvage your comment from my Trash folder – not sure what WP is doing.

      Liked by 1 person

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