48 Hours in Florence – What to See and Do

Florence is a city that is close to my heart as we enjoyed our first wedding anniversary there. It’s a beautiful place rich in architecture and culture, so it can be hard deciding which of its many attractions you wish to visit. I’m sharing my tips for what to see and do with 48 hours in Florence to help you to choose.

Day 1 – 48 Hours in Florence

No trip to Florence would be complete without seeing the Cathedral or Duomo. It looks almost surreal, such is its photogenic appeal by day…

and by night. Construction on The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, to give its full name, started in 1296 and it was completed in 1436. The exterior is covered in exquisite marble panels. It’s a good place to get your bearings of the city, being located right in the centre.

pizza_del_duomo_florenceClose by on Piazza della Signoria, there’s an impressive replica of the statue of David by Michelangelo. The original is inside the Ufizzi and breathtaking in its detail.

Also on Piazza della Signoria, you’ll find The Fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati. It was commissioned in 1559 and completed in 1574. The statue is being restored thanks to Salvatore Ferragmo, and soon water will be running through the fountain again.

Did you know that Florence had its very own version of the Last Supper? It’s by the Italian Renaissance artist Domenico Ghirlandaio rather than Leonardo da Vinci and dates from 1480. Located inside the Convent of the Ognissanti on Borgo Ognissanti, it’s well worth a look. Ghirlandaio later helped to complete the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

Of course, you’ll want to try some gelato whilst you are here. Two of our favourites are Grom on Via del Campanile and Vivoli on Via dell’Isola delle Stinche. If you like to mix a bit of shopping with your art, then you’ll love Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella – wow, that was a bit of a mouthful!

It’s one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, founded by Dominican friars in 1221 and opened to the general public in 1612. They have some lovely bath products that make great gifts.

Head back to your hotel to relax before dinner. We stayed close by at the Grand Hotel Minerva, conveniently located in the town centre. It has a charming rooftop pool, a great place to enjoy a swim or a refreshing Aperol Spritz.

grand_hotel_minerva_florence_poolDay 2 – 48 Hours in Florence

Take a walk along the Arno river, near the Santa Rosa Weir for a relaxing start to the day.

Cross over world-famous Ponte Vecchio. This medieval bridge houses a number of art dealers and jewelry shops.

For a panoramic view over the whole of Florence and the surrounding area, head up to Piazzale Michaelangelo. Before the climb, there’s an excellent family-run restaurant, Zeb Gastronomia. We loved their fresh pasta in particular. On the way, you’ll pass through a charming rose garden with several artworks by Jean-Michel Folon, a talented Belgian sculptor.

This suitcase sculpture, Partir, is my favourite.

folon_suitcase_florenceOnce at the top, admire another copy of the statue of David, as well as the far-reaching views.

Nearby, the Basilica San Miniato al Monte on via delle Porte Sante is a beautiful Romanesque building built between the 11th and 13th century.

basilica_san_miniato_al_monteMake your way back down the hill, to Piazza del Mercato Nuovo. There are quite a few stalls selling leather and silk goods and plenty of places to eat nearby. The main attraction, however, is the Fontana del Porcellino. Don’t leave Florence without giving the little bronze pig a rub on his snout and to place a coin in his mouth – it’s good luck!  Legend has it that if the coin then falls into the grate below, you’ll definitely return to Florence. If you have longer than 2 days, definitely consider a day trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Have you ever visited Florence? What were your favourite sights and places to eat?

48 hours in Florence

  • Your itinerary captures this beautiful city perfectly! It’s been a while since I have visited Florence but I have many happy memories! To me it is also the place with the most delicious ice cream 🙂


    • That’s so true, in fact I should update this to include a few of the gelato places that we tried

  • Florence is so close to my heart as we spent our mini moon there and my best friend’s wedding since.

  • Aftab – Fresh And Fearless

    Florence is on my list of places to visit for sure. Thanks for sharing this guide, will be really handy for when I decide to go!

  • The architecture looks amazing

    Beauty Candy Loves

  • Florence is a dream. I don’t think I saw this pig – a good reason to return one day!

  • Oooh, Florence is so gorgeous!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  • alice

    Oh wow, so cool!

    Alice Cerea

  • Gary J Berry

    It looks like such a beautiful city. I love travelling around Europe and Florence looks magical! Gary x

  • These photographs are stunning and look how happy Paul looks in the last photo! hehe 🙂

    I loved Florence, only visited once and really enjoyed it. A really beautiful city.

    Enjoyed your photographs, would like to visit more of Italy and Florence would be a place I would enjoy returning too.

    Laura xo

    • He always looks happy! I’m lucky to be going to Italy next week, though it’s Lombardy this time

  • Stunning photos, they brought me right back to Florence.

  • Hayley Rubery

    Love this post – I’ve always wanted to visit Florence, and even more so now I’ve seen this post! 🙂 Can’t wait to see your next adventure!

    Hayley xo

    • I hope that you get the chance, Hayley and looking forward to seeing you again soon

  • Florence is so beautiful! I have only been by there once and spent a couple hours..would love to return one day


    • You and me both! I’d also like to visit the rest of Tuscany, the countryside looks beautiful

  • Loving your photos Suze! I would so like to go to that pharmacy!

    Ash | Liakada

  • A stunning city! So many gorgeous views and sites! It’s on my list to see


  • I absolutely love Florence! One of my favourite cities in Italy and not just because of the amazing food 🙂

  • Florence is such a stunning city – the perfect place to spend a wedding anniversary! I’ve never heard of Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella before….what a great excuse for me to return 😉

    • There’s actually a Santa Maria Novella shop in London too in one of the arcades in St James

  • I only spent a few days in Florence when I went, but it was my favorite city in Italy (I liked it even more than Rome)! Your photos are making me want to go back and explore more, there was a lot that I didn’t see.

    • Same here, Eden – there are so many great museums and of course restaurants to discover!

  • Nomaqhawe

    OMG, your photos are stunning. It almost feels like I’m already there.

    XoXo Noma

  • Wonderful images, it feels as though I’m also wandering the streets of Florence! I can imagine how special it must have been to return there with your husband, considering your first wedding anniversary was spent in the magical city 🙂

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice

    • Well I’ve only been once, this was a Throwback Thursday post. I do hope to return at some point though as there’s so much more that we’d like to see

      • Absolutely, I can imagine that’d make for quite a romantic trip!

        Gabrielle x

  • There’s so much to see and do in Florence! But your words and pictures capture the essence of this lovely city – and how to spend one’s time in 48 hours. (And how special that you celebrated your first anniversary there!)

    • I’m glad to have captured the essence of it, there’s so much more that I’d like to explore there!

  • Florence is such a gorgeous city and you’ve captured this beautifully! Sadly I didn’t spend enough time there on our last visit, but this is always a good excuse to return! 🙂

  • I haven’t been to Florence in ages. I remember having the best prawn celery appetiser of my life in some little restaurant. No clue where, but I remember loving Florence. I would go back any day!


  • Wow, beautiful! I’ve never been to Florence but it sure does look like a photographer’s paradise!

  • Florence captured my heart – what a special city!

  • Frank Thomae

    Didn’t see the suitcase sculpture the last time in Florence, wonder if that’s new? Very nice. My favorite views were probably from the top of the Campanile and from piazza Michelangelo…Florence is a gorgeous city.

    Frank (bbqboy)

  • christine

    I live in Florence, would love to share some restaurants! Also for whoever visiting sometime soon, contact me! I am a handbag designer and my studio is a great spot to shop and kick back with a glass of wine. EMAIL: info@viabuia.com