Florence is rightfully one of the loveliest places to visit on earth no matter what the season. Considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany’s buzzing and breathtaking capital is filled with tourists all year round.
Florence is awash with historical landmarks, and galleries and museums featuring the most spectacular collection from the most brilliant and creative minds. It is also loved for its fabulous local cuisine and great-tasting wines.
It is truly one of the world’s most cultured and finest cities. And if you’re planning to spend a weekend in Florence, here’s how you can make it the most amazing 48 hours of your life:
1. Enjoy the Magnificent Views.
The best place to get spectacular views of Florence is Piazzale Michelangelo. Designed by Giuseppe Poggi, this hilltop attraction is a big favourite among tourists. Aside from being the best vantage point for experiencing the Florentine sunrise or sunset, it also features a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David.
2. Go on a walking tour.
After taking in the view from Piazzale Michelangelo, follow the walking trail that will take you to Porta San Niccolo watchtower that stands on the banks of the Arno River. You can then walk towards Lungorno Serristori and then proceed to Ponte Alle Grazie, one of the bridges over the Arno. Originally built in 1227, the bridge was considered the longest bridge in Florence until its destruction by the Germans in 1944. Ponte Alle Grazie also offers great views of Ponte Vecchio, one of the most beautiful bridges in Tuscany, and the only one that remained intact during WWII.
From Ponte Alle Grazie, turn left to Jungarno del Grazie until you reach Piazza di Giudici where the 11th century Palazzo Castellani stands. The building is where the Museo Galileo is, the museum that houses the biggest collection of scientific instruments in the world.
After Piazza di Giudici, you can proceed to nearby Uffizi Gallery. Open from Tuesdays to Sundays, the gallery is the finest and one of the oldest art museums in the world and features artworks by the masters such as Botticelli, Filippo Lippi, Cimabue, Giotto, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Leonardo da Vinci.
3. Have a delicious Tuscan lunch.
No weekend trip to Florence will be complete without a vsit to Mercato Central, a haven for food-lovers, and a goldmine of the best food stalls in the city. Make the rounds of the food stands and have the best selection of pizzas, pasta, salads, and the traditional lampredotto (beef tripe sandwich) made from the freshest ingredients. Don’t miss the opportunity to wash down your authentic Tuscan meal with an affordable glass of light & crisp Tuscan wine.
4. Get some retail therapy.
Florence is a great place to shop for affordable leatherwear as well as high-end designer label items. For leather goods that won’t break your wallet, check out the shops at San Lorenzo Market, Via Santo Spirito in Oltrarno, and those that line the Arno River. If you are looking to buy items from high-end fashion labels, the go-to shopping streets are Via de’ Tournabuoni and Via dei Calzaiuoli.
5. Explore Il Duomo di Firenze.
Florence’s Duomo is one of the most popular cathedrals in the world. Featuring Gothic architectural style and frescoes by Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno as well as the sculptures of Lucca della Robbia, the Duomo is easily recognizable by its octagonal dome.
If you plan on hearing mass at the Duomo, you are welcome to do so. Mass is offered several times per day during weekdays and Sundays.
6. Spend a few hours at the Boboli Gardens.
Part of the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, a masterpiece that inspired many royal gardens. Resulting from work spanning more than 400 years, the garden features the very best of green architecture – landscaped lawns, sculptures, fountains, and an open-air museum.
Ready to explore Florence and Tuscany? Here are the best tours and activities for a 2-day itinerary.
By: Brendelyn Balaga