Some people love birthdays, and Dave is one of them. I wanted to be certain we’d go somewhere great today for his birthday so we jumped on a train because I know there are amazing things to do in Florence and fantastic food.
I’ve been to Florence a few times and it’s never disappointing. While there are great museums and things to do indoors like the Duomo and Uffizi the city is an outdoor museum and we love just walking around so that’s what we did for 24 hours.
We only had one day and chose the most obvious and awesome things to do in Florence.
Best Things to Do in Florence in One Day
The local name for a bronze boar fountain on the south side of Mercato Nuovo. While the original sculpture is in a gallery, the replica still draws flocks of tourists who put a coin into the boar’s mouth so that it falls into the grate below for good luck and then rub his nose to ensure they return to Florence again.
Piazza della Repubblica
One of the things I love about Florence is its golden glow at night. You can walk through the streets and there are plenty of cafes and just people watch.
Visit the Market
There are many markets in Florence and what’s interesting about the central market is that it’s been renovated as a modern food gallery to shop and eat. It’s worth a look around.
During the day don’t miss the best lampredotto sandwich in the first floor of the market, just follow the crowds of locals and don’t be afraid to push your way in.
Cross The Ponte Vecchio
A medieval bridge over the Arno River with shops all along it. Once it was home to butchers but now it’s mostly high-end jewelers and souvenir shops. Legend has it that when the Germans were retreating from the war they did not destroy it because of strict orders from Hitler.
There are over 8 million love locks around Ponte Vecchio. You are supposed to lock a padlock on the bridge and throw your key into the water so your love will last forever.
We unfortunately arrived too late for the padlock seller at the end of the bridge but we also discovered if you are caught in the action there is a 160 Euro fine as it’s damaging the river along with the bridge.
See the Fake David at Palazzo Vecchio
You could go to book tickets at the Galleria dell’Accademia see the real David but we’re not art aficionados so why wait in line. Instead we went to Palazzo Vecchio to see the replica of David and was just as satisfying. In the square there are also a number of other sculptures that are fantastic like the fountain of Neptune.
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore or Il Duomo
Okay I said you don’t need to see it, but it’s impossible to miss it as it’s right in the centre of the city.
For us, seeing this massive structure from the outside was enough. Although there is some interesting artwork inside and you can climb to the top for 10 Euro, which would be a good way to work off some gelato.
Pay Attention to the Street Signs
Florence has beautiful, old pieces of artwork but the city is also home to great street artists. Clet Abraham is a French artist who have been living in Florence for over twenty years and is well known by locals as he has been adding stickers to traffic signs for over 15 years in the city.
There are some amazing florentine foods to discover like lampredotto, steak and of course gelato. The beauty of deciding to walk around all day was that we could also just eat all day – and so we did. Personally I think no outdoor art can be truly appreciated without some gelato.
Staying a bit longer? Check out Lina’s guide for what to do in Florence if you have three days.
Okay what did we miss, what are your picks for top things to do in Florence in one day? What else should a first timer see?
Pin it For Later: Florence in One Day
Images(c)Clayton Shonkwiler, Anthony Crider