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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50 responses to “One Day in Fabulous Florence”

  1. Art for Housewives Avatar

    Florence is a magical city…lovely fotos!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Cynthia!
      Totally agree, Florence is magical and one day isn’t nearly enough…will have to return.

      1. Art for Housewives Avatar

        Another magical place is where I live part-time…the lovely island of Paros in the Cyclades. If you haven’t been, you may want to consider it in the future–very photogenic!

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        I haven’t visited Paros and just looked the island up – it looks stunning!
        Would love to travel through Paros one day…

  2. nitinsingh Avatar

    What a beauty, lovely pictures, n nice information yours post are net guide book🙂🙃🙂

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for the wonderful feedback and I’m happy that you enjoyed this post!
      Florence is a beautiful city and hope you get the chance to visit one day.

  3. equinoxio21 Avatar

    Belísima Firenze! 🙂 And your shots avoid the obvious. Well done, my friend.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ha, ha thanks Brian!
      Have guests over for a week at the moment so not on here much but do have my posts scheduled for the next five weeks. 😉

      1. equinoxio21 Avatar

        You are an example to us all. 🙂
        I have actually started to follow your lead. I have 2 posts in advance… 😉
        (Getting there)
        Hope all is well with you.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Excellent work!
        It’s the only way I get anything done each month. Going to Australia for a couple of months from February so need to get ahead as won’t be able to write up anything during that time, or very little.
        All OK here and have guests from the UK with us for the week – too much wine and food so will need a detox next week! 😉
        Is everything cool with you?

      3. equinoxio21 Avatar

        So glad. 2 months should give you time to see friends and family at leisuer.
        Detox is fine after a visit.
        Things are OK. Just too many toxic neighbours…
        Be good

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Will be doing loads of renovating so only a quick catch-up with family and friends.
        Definitely need a detox…eating way too much! 😉
        That’s not great and one thing I loved about living on a boat…could always move if we didn’t get on with the neighbours.
        Ha, ha, be good…

      5. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Whatever you do, it’s always good to touch homebase.
        You’re right about the boat. I’ll sell the house and buy a boat. 🙂 I wouldn’t mind. Only problem, I’m not a good enough sailor, I’ve only done “Dériveur” when I was young and with age, I now have a bad back. Not too compatible.

      6. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        You’re definitely right about that, I’ve been away too long.
        Sounds like a plan. 😉 Ahhh, but you could always learn as you have the basics already from your sailing dinghy days. The bad back is a problem and sorry to hear that…mine’s not great but found that yoga helps.
        A dopo

      7. equinoxio21 Avatar

        I know I could. Not (inflatable) dinghy. Lemme see what the English word is… Talking about a 470, monohull, centreboard, spinnaker (eventually) and trapeze. A small sailboat really.
        I need to see about yoga. Learned it College in high school during lunch hour, but I would fall asleep in the afternoon classes… 😉

      8. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        That sounds like a swish boat indeed. When is this happening? 😉
        Ha, ha, funny as…I’ve never had lessons but trial and error. Started on an 18′ Hobie Cat across Sydney Harbour, dodging ferries and large ships.

      9. equinoxio21 Avatar

        You are brave… Looked up the Hobie cat. Looks nice. Catamaran. Makes for good fun. How come you’ve settled on (Italian) land after so much time on a boat?

      10. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        That was a long time ago, in the early ’80s when we were building our boat.
        Ahhh, now that is a long story best shared over a vino or two, although I haven’t “settled”, just marooned for a while… 😉

      11. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Marooned is what I thought. I seem to remember a post of yours some time ago telling about it? 🙂
        A bottle or two of course? 😉
        One day our paths may cross in the same Time plane. Salute.

      12. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Yes, you have a good memory!
        Of course. 😉
        You just never know, paths have a strange way of crossing when you least expect them to…

      13. equinoxio21 Avatar

        True. I met a fellow blogger from Penang once. She was in London, I was in Paris.I had stuff to do in London. We agreed on lunch. Then we went the whole family to Penang and met her there. Who knows.

      14. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        What a lovely encounter and one of the things I love about travellers – we’re never afraid to get out there and just go…

  4. Gillian Morris Avatar
    Gillian Morris

    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.. really is stunning. Love your photos Nilla..they really capture life as it is x

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      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

  5. Dave Ply Avatar

    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…

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      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…

  6. Megala Avatar

    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.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Megala for your wonderful feedback!
      “Spellbound” is a great word to describe Florence as it is a stunning city.

  7. Francis.R. Avatar

    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)

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      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.

  8. Christie Avatar

    Hi Nilla, have you had the chance to read “The agony and the ecstasy” by Irving Stone? That’s the book that made me fell in love a second time with Florence🙂
    Great post, as always!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Christie, no I haven’t but thanks for the tip and your great feedback! 🙂

  9. Mohamad Toutounji Avatar

    Lovely post
    I hope you check out my new post
    It’s a new tutorial with a video
    And you’re absolutely right
    Florence is actually great

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for leaving me this great comment and yes, Florence is gorgeous!
      Will pop over to check your new post.

      1. Mohamad Toutounji Avatar

        Thank you very much for all the support you have showed me since I made this blog ☺️

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        You’re very welcome Mohamad and thank you also for your support. 🙂

  10. aliterarybent Avatar

    Lovely photos as usual. I was impressed by Florence’s architecture, squares and sculptures but the River Arno was less than pristine for such a popular tourist spot when I visited 3 years ago.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      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.

  11. Suellen Tomkins - Wild Heart Gypsy Spirit Avatar

    Oh my goodness, such a beautiful city. One of my favourites. I loved the video of the palazzo with the Christmas tree.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      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…

  12. David & Laura Speer Avatar

    Oh so beautiful, I have been in Florence since I was 21, so long ago. David has never been, but working on another Italy trip, maybe next year.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      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.

      1. David & Laura Speer Avatar

        Hmmm, that is weird. I have heard a lot of talk of weird comments occurring in trash and deleted follows lately.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Yes it is and not sure what’s happening but that’s why I go through both folders: Trash and Spam. Takes a while as I get several hundreds each day – quite annoying.

      3. David & Laura Speer Avatar

        Wow, that is a lot!

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Sure is and very time-consuming.
        I’m on a Premium WP plan so can’t install a spam plug-in to reduce the number, so I’m stuck.

  13. sloppy buddhist Avatar

    the details in the architecture is so fine…beautiful Nilla…haven’t been to Florence yet…it looks amazing ~ enjoy ~ smiles hedy 😄

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Hedy and yes, the architecture in Florence is amazingly beautiful! Hope that see Florence one day… 🙂

  14. Margaret and Neal Avatar

    Great review and pictures!! Thanks! This is a great guide!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving me your feedback. Happy that you enjoyed my post!

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