Some years ago, with a close friend of mine, I organised a day in Florence, because I live 2h away from there. Day trips can be amazing! Florence is a UNESCO heritage site, so it actually needs more than one day to be fully discovered, however I’m gonna show you what you can do in less than 24h in this beautiful city.
My friend and I arrived in Florence by car, but the train is a great option too. We parked near the train station Santa Maria Novella (the one you have to look for if you catch the train). From there, in a few steps, you can easily reach the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria Novella with the homonymous square and the Museum of the Twentieth Century. Leaving the Basilica behind you, take one of the narrow streets on the left – reminiscent of medieval Florence – and you will find yourself in Via De’ Tornabuoni, which has become elegant and has brand-name stores.
If you enjoy a little dip through the street you will stumble upon Palazzo Strozzi that usually houses art exhibitions. Arriving at the end of the street, you will find yourself in Piazza della Trinità, with the famous Palazzo Ferragamo, known also as Spini Feroni, and the nearby Ponte della Trinità from which you can enjoy the magnificent view of the Ponte Vecchio and the Arno (the river).
Then, head towards the Duomo. On your way there, you will find Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria with the famous Uffizi Museum (with Botticelli’s Venus, the most beautiful thing you will ever see). The first time I saw it, I never thought it would be so beautiful. It leaves you speechless, not only for the size, but also for the colors, so close to reality.
In Piazza della Signoria, Gucci opened the Gucci Garden, a store with unique edition products and a restaurant, an osteria with chef Massimo Bottura, and the Gucci Garden Galleria, a three-story museum – free for students! – where the history of Gucci is exhibited, including current and vintage clothes, accessories, and sketches. A nice pit-stop for young students!
So, going back on your way to the Duomo you will pass by Piazza della Repubblica or Mercato Vecchio, a square that I’ve always liked from the first time I’ve been there. The Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, an immense wonder with Brunelleschi’s famous dome (if you love TV series watch “The Medici” a beautiful and fictional story about the dome and Florence), the Baptistery of San Giovanni with the east door called Paradise and Giotto’s Campanile.
For your lunch, look for the family Trattoria Sergio Gozzi, one of the best in Florence, where you can eat Florence specialties like pappa al pomodoro (tomato and bread first course) and fiorentina (meat). The staff is super busy with work, but kind! The trattoria doesn’t accept reservations, but if you are patient in less than half an hour you will be sitting at the table ready to eat. The quality-price ratio is more than fair.
When you exit, just in front of the trattoria you will find the Basilica of San Lorenzo, a church with an unfinished facade, poor but if visited inside is spectacular, revealing a great and amazing contrast. It all seems far away, but everything is closer than you think!
Enjoy your day in Florence!