One Day in Florence, Italy: 3 Excellent Itinerary Options

Are you planning to spend only one day in Florence? Is it enough? What are the places to visit in Florence in 1 day?

Florence deserves more than a day, but sometimes all we have is one day.

Whether you’re taking a day trip to Florence from another Italian city or a cruise passenger coming in on a cruise from Livorno cruise port, one day in Florence is enough to get a small taste of this incredible city.

With one day in Florence, Italy, the hope is to introduce you to one of the most beautiful cities in the world and leave you wanting more.

Firenze is the capital of Tuscany—the center of early Italian Renaissance art and architecture. The city center is a Unesco World Heritage Site, one of eight in Tuscany.

This magnificent city will win your hearts repeatedly as it has ours… as well as Italy as a whole.

One of our favorite things about Florence is that it’s walkable and safe to explore, which makes it easy to get lost in the city intentionally. You’ll want to walk away from the crowds and discover the hidden gems that make this city magical.

With one day in Florence, without a doubt, you’ll be able to see the highlights of Florence just by walking: the Duomo, the copy of David in Piazza Signoria, Piazza della Republica, San Lorenzo Market, the Ponte Vecchio, outside the Uffizi Gallery, the River Arno, and much more.

And add this to your list. You can eat gelato in the city where it was invented.

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In this article, we’ve put together three one-day Florence itineraries. Each one is designed to give you the best possible experience of Florence in one day. You can also mix and match to create your own ideal one-day Florence itinerary.

We’ve provided ideas for things to do in Florence in one day, including must-see sights and some fun activities you can book to add to your Italy experiences.

You will also find transportation options for your day trip to Florence.

One Day in Florence

carousel at piazza della repubblica in florence italyPin
Piazza della Republicca

Is one day in Florence enough?

It’s not ideal, but it can still be one of the best days of your trip and leave you wanting to spend a longer amount of time. Spend more time walking and experiencing the top 1-3 things you have your heart on rather than trying to do it all in a day.

Is it possible to visit Florence for a day?

Yes. With one day in Florence, it is possible to see and experience many of the city’s highlights. You may miss entering some sites and attractions, but one day in Florence is enough to get a sense of the city and its culture.

Day Trip to Florence

A day trip to Florence is a popular choice for travelers wanting to get a taste of the city with the limited time they have in their itinerary.

inside train station in florence santa maria novella

How to get to Florence, Italy?

Option 1: Rent a Car

You do not need a rental car in Florence. However, sometimes we like to control our schedule, so renting may be an option. Or you may already be exploring Tuscany, have rented a car, and want to make a quick day trip to Florence.

You can’t drive into the ZTL zones within the city center of Florence. You can park outside the city center and leave your car there for the day while you explore one day in Florence.

Find a car on rentalcars.com.

Where to park in Florence?

You'll want to do a paid parking garage (free parking is non-existent) and there are many located around the restricted ZTL zones. The largest parking garage is located beaneath Santa Marina Novella Train Station. 

Location: Parcheggio Firenze Santa Maria Novella, Piazza della Stazione, 58, 50123 Firenze (Google Map It)

Option 2: Take the Train or Bus

Santa Maria Novella train station is the main hub in Florence. It is one of the easiest cities to reach from other Italian cities and Livorno cruise port.

  • Day trip from Rome to Florence on a high-speed train is only a 1 hr 12min ride one-way.
  • Day trip from Lucca to Florence is a 1 hr 21 min train ride one-way.
  • Day trip from Livorno to Florence is a 1 hr 12 min train ride one-way.
  • Day trip from Siena to Florence is a 1 hr 19min train ride one-way.
  • Day trip from Pisa to Florence is a 48 min train ride one-way.
  • Day trip from Bologna to Florence is a 35 min train ride one-way.

Book your tickets in advance. Click here for train schedules and info; it will come up if a bus transfer option is available.

Alternatively, if you’re staying in Florence for longer, you can plan day trips from Florence to all the cities mentioned beloved and more.

Option 3: Book a guided day trip to Florence or hire a private driver.

Cruisers from the Port of Livorno to Florence

Not a cruiser? Click the link and skip to the One Day in Florence Itineraries.

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Early in the morning, we docked at Livorno Cruise Port.

What to see in Florence in a day?

The best advice we can give cruisers during your day in Florence is to wander around the city to take it all in, stop for espresso now and then, have a nice lunch, and don’t forget the gelato. Book it in advance or take a tour to maximize your time if something is on your must-do list. But don’t cram too much in a short amount of time.

How far is Florence from Livorno cruise port?

The Port of Livorno is the closest cruise port to Florence. It’s a 1 hr 20 min drive to Florence or a 1 hr 12 min direct train ride to Florence.

How to get from Livorno cruise port to Florence?

Option 1: Book a cruise ship shore excursion with transport only to Florence. In my opinion, this is the best option. The tour will take you directly from the cruise terminal to a meeting point in Florence. Then pick you up at the end of the day there.

Cruise-sponsored shore excursions guarantee to bring you back on the ship on time. If they are delayed, the cruise ship cannot leave you.

We usually book independent shore excursions or go exploring on our own, but we think this is the easiest route for transportation into the city of Florence.

Alternatively, you can book your own bus transfer to Florence that is not sponsored by the cruise ship.

Option 2: For adventure lovers and those who love to be in charge of their schedule, you can take a train from Livorno to Florence:

  • You must first trek from the Livorno cruise port to the Livorno Centrale train station. Note: Shuttle buses are provided from the Livorno cruise port to Piazza Grande outside of the port.
  • From Piazza Grande in Livorno, you will take a taxi or bus No. 1 to the Livorno Centrale train station. Walking from Piazza Grande to the train station is a 30 min walk vs. a 10 min drive. Make the best of your time.
  • At the Livorno Centrale train station, you want to try to purchase tickets that have a direct route to Florence Santa Marsanta Novella train station.
  • While you’re making the purchase, book your return ticket. Give yourself enough time for delays that may arise. You also need to consider the time it takes to get back to the so you the cruise port from Livorno Centrale.

Book your tickets in advance. Click here for train times and info.

Option 3: Book a private car transfer for you and your group.

  • Livorno Port-Florence Round Trip [book here]

What alternative trips can you take from Livorno cruise port? When we were last in Livorno cruise port, we rented a car and spent the day in Lucca, Italy. Another option is visiting Pisa, it is closer and a great way to spend half a day seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Things to Do in Florence in One Day

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The magical part about Florence is that while walking from A to B, you’ll see the top highlights and check off all the top places to visit in Florence in 1 Day.

The truth is, walking around and seeing the sites in Florence is one of the easiest parts. It’s how you experience the city and what memories you leave with that matter.

Just remember, as you’re planning your 1 day in Florence itinerary, consider your arrival and departure times for the train or transfer.

If you arrive from Livorno on a cruise, don’t forget all aboard time, so give yourself a buffer.

And if there is one foodie tip that you can fit into any of these itineraries is to make reservations to eat Bistecca all Fiorentina. Our favorite Tuscan restaurant in Florence for Bistecca alla Fiorentina is Fagiole.

Here is a map of Florence Highlights and some of our favorite eating spots: Google Map Link.

One Day in Florence Itinerary Option 1:

Start the Day with a Walking Food Tour

A food tour is always top of our list at Tasty Itinerary. That’s because the first food tour we took many years ago was in Florence, which remains one of the best experiences.

On a walking food tour, you’ll have the chance to explore the city with a local guide and indulge in the one-of-a-kind foods that Florence is famous for. The combination provides an insider look into the city you wouldn’t have even with a book.

The food you get on a food tour is usually enough to cover breakfast and lunch. You won’t have to worry about finding a place to eat later. Although, we can’t fault you for returning to one of the local foodie spots for seconds.

Since Florence is compact, you will likely hit all the highlights that make this city incredible. By the time you’re done with the tour, you’ll have the lay of the land, and it won’t be as intimidating as you continue your explorations.

Tour Ideas:
Small-Group Florence Food Walking Tour [book here]
Florence Walking Tasting Tour with Secret Food Tours [book here]

Florence Food Tours With Devour [book here]

Cross the Ponte Vecchio Bridge

ponte vecchio reflecting against the arno riverPin

If you’ve seen the Duomo and other highlights during your walking tour, walk along the River Arno and cross the Ponte Vecchio.

This bridge is one of the oldest in Florence and spans the Arno River. The original structure was constructed in the 11th century, and it was one of the few bridges left intact after the World War II bombings.

It’s one of the most picturesque sights, so it does get crowded. But it is one of the places to visit in Florence in 1 day that should not be missed. You’ll find many jewelry shops lining the bridge.

Fun Fact: Did you know Ponte Vecchio means “old bridge” in Italian?

Visit Boboli Gardens

boboli garden in florence italyPin

Boboli Gardens is one of the most exquisite gardens in Florence, Italy. Located on the other side of the Ponte Vecchio Bridge behind Pitti Palace, this is one of the best things to do in Florence, especially if you’re visiting in the Spring or Summer months.

The gardens are filled with landscaped greenery, fountains, and ancient statues. You can spend some time strolling the grounds and admiring all the beauty it has to offer.

There is an entrance fee to enter the gardens. You’ll spend a couple of hours wandering around the garden.

If you think you have time, you can also visit Pitti Palace.

One Day in Florence Itinerary Option 2:

Visit the Duomo di Firenze

duomo di firenze at golden hour

During your time in Florence, you will see the spectacular Duomo di Firenze at some point. The Florence Cathedral is so epic and grand that it is hard to miss.

The grandiose structure of Florence’s cathedral stands magnanimously with Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giotto Bell Tower. Your eyes will immediately gravitate towards this magnificent building as you enjoy a tour through the city streets on foot.

You can admire it from afar, walk around it and take pictures. That could be the extent of your time at the Duomo.

Or you can go inside and see what makes the Duomo so special. You can easily spend an entire morning or afternoon visiting the Florence Cathedral and climbing to the top of the structures without rushing.

Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giottos Bell Tower will give you a 360-degree view of Florence and its surrounding hills. You can do both or one of the other. Remember that entering these two sites is an extra cost and are two separate lines.

Reservations should be made in advance.

Get Gelato at Perche No! or Gelateria dei Neri

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Gelato from Gelateria dei Neri

You can’t leave Florence without having some gelato. It is one of the foods of Florence that originated here.

Perche No! or Gelateria dei Neri are two gelato places in Florence that are not far from El Duomo and serve artisanal gelato.

Explore Santa Croce

piazza santa croce facing the basilica

After spending time around the crowds around the Duomo, head to the Santa Croce area, where it will be quieter and the crowds will be thinner.

Santa Croce is one of Florence, Italy’s most beautiful and historic districts. It’s home to one of the most famous churches in Florence, the Basilica of Santa Croce, where the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli are located.

Take a moment to sit in Piazza Santa Croce and admire the view of one of Florence’s most beautiful squares.

This is a great district to explore on foot and wander around the narrow alleyways, admiring the beautiful architecture of one of Florence’s oldest neighborhoods. There are many leather and boutique shops in the area, including The Leather School of Florence, where you can shop for leather goods.

Shopping Tip: If you want to buy leather, visit Florence's leather school, a leather boutique in the area, or Piazza del Mercato Nuovo in front of Il Porcellino (the famous bronze wild boar). Be selective about where you make you purchase your leather goods. Avoid shopping in San Lorenzo Market, it is swarming with tourists buying items that are not even made in Italy. 

Optional: Stop by Salumeria Verdi for a panino.

3 Days in Tuscany Itinerary

How to spend three days in Tuscany? If you’re looking to plan an unforgettable Italian vacation, Tuscany should be at the top of your list. This stunning region is home to rolling hills, picturesque and charming villages, and delicious Tuscan food.

A Day In Florence Itinerary Option 3:

uffizi courtyard
Artists line up in the Uffiz’s courtyard to showcase their artwork as they work throughout the day.

Do you enjoy great works of art? Then, the Uffizi Gallery is a not-miss. 

The Uffizi Gallery houses a vast collection of art from the 13th century to the present day, including works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and Caravaggio.

You could spend the entire day here going from one exhibit to another.

On our first visit to the Uffizi, we enjoyed the art collections but were slightly lost. There is a ton of art and exhibits to cover.

During our second visit, we hired a guide, and it was a wonderful experience to understand the history and connection behind the art with Medici. We spent about 4 hours here and didn’t even see everything.

Tour Ideas:
Uffizi & David at the Accademia Tour Exclusive [book here]

Highlights of Florence and the Uffizi Gallery [book here]

Explore Piazza della Signoria

crowded piazza della signoriaPin

Right by the Uffizi is Piazza della Signoria, where Palazzao Vecchio is located, the reproduction of David and Neptune’s fountain. In recent years, new modern statues have been added to the piazza.

The Piazza della Signoria is one of Florence’s most beloved squares, rich in history as it was once one of the main political centers for the Florentine republic.

Today, Palazzo Vecchio serves as the city hall of Florence. You can purchase tickets in advance to enter and tour the home of one of Florence’s most famous families, the Medici. Other tours they offer, like the Secret Passage Tour, are fascinating and one we highly recommend.

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Once upon a time, you could get near the statues and walk up to them. Now they are roped off.

In the square, you’ll also find Loggia dei Lanzi, with its many statues, including one of Perseus with the head of Medusa.

If you’d like to sit and admire the view and people-watch, one of the best spots is Cafe Riviore which has a full view of Palazzo Vecchio from its outdoor patio. They have some of the best hot chocolate.

End Your Day at Piazzale Michelangelo

view of the city of florence and arno river from Piazzale Michelangelo

At sunset, end your day at Piazzale Michelangelo. However, if you’re limited on time because of your cruise schedule or can’t miss your return train, trekking to Piazzale Michelangelo anytime is worth it.

Some of Florence’s best views are from Piazza Michelangelo’s terrace. You will also feature a giant bronze replica of one of Michelangelo’s works, the David.

Getting here is a walk uphill, so keep that in mind. You may want to take a short ride in a taxi or uber.

On the way there, we recommend stopping at a wine shop or market and purchasing a bottle of wine. Don’t forget to ask for throw-away cups.

You will thank me once you get there and join the other locals and tourists. They’ll be sitting on the steps, celebrating and watching the sunset over the fabulous panoramic view of Florence.

Other Fun Tour Options in Florence

When you only have a day to explore a destination, sometimes the best thing to do is book a tour with a local guide. You’ll see the highlights or enjoy a local activity you will always remember.

You can also squeeze one of these into the Florence itineraries above.

1. Electric Golf Cart Tour of Florence

We always recommend walking as much as you can. However, sometimes time is limited, or someone in your party cannot get around easily; the electric golf car tour is one way to get around and see all the highlights of Florence.

Dates for these tours book fast.

[book here]

2. Take a Cooking Class

This is a fun way to immerse yourself in Tuscan cuisine by learning how to make pasta or other local dishes.

We recently took a cooking class in Florence with the most amazing view of the city. It was a great combination of delicious food, great company, and a different perspective of this incredible city.

[book here]

3. Vintage Sidecar Motorcycle Tour of Florence 

A professional driver will zip you around town in a vintage sidecar and show you the city’s highlights. This is a great tour for those that love a little adventure.

[book here]

Inspiring Quotes About Italy: Your Next Foodie Destination

This beautiful country is home to stunning scenery, delicious food, and fascinating history. To help get you excited about planning your trip, here are 45 Italy quotes that will make you want to pack your bags and go!

After one day in Florence, we guarantee you will plan a longer return visit.

Here are other related articles to help you plan your Florence and-or Tuscany itinerary:

The Essential 2 Days in Florence

Brilliant Things to Do in Florence, Italy

11 Tantalizing Florence Foods to Eat

Delicious Places to Eat in Florence, Italy

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Kathy Ava

Meet Kathy Ava, a food, travel, and cruise writer based in Los Angeles/Pasadena, and the owner and main writer of Tasty Itinerary. With over 20 years of experience planning trips and logistics at her full-time job and for herself, she's become a pro at crafting unforgettable tasty itineraries. She's always on the hunt for delicious, fun travel destinations and cruise itineraries. She firmly believes that life is short and we must make the most of it, so always say yes to dessert.

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15 Comments

  1. I love your blog layout! I just need to say that. Your landing page and then each blog post is just so clean, simple and nice looking.

    Duomo di Firenze is stunning! I would so love to take a Vespa tour and feel really cool and Italian. I would need to wear a scarf.. did you wear a scarf?! I didn’t think I would be interested in the cooking class, but then I read what you made/learn to make and I am ALL about that! Sounds delicious. Italian food truly is the best in the world!

    1. Crystal, you have completely made my day! Thank you so much for your kinds words. So appreciate it.

      I love Florence so much and I want everyone to experience this wonderful city even if it’s just for a day. I’ve done a food tour, a wine tasting, Uffizi tour, and some other walking tours. Sadly, I have not done a cooking class during any of my travels and would love to change that the next time I’m in Italy. This is why I suggest these fun, unique tours at the end of the posts to inspire others to look at doing something outside of the norm and what I’d be like to do myself.

      I wish I could say I’ve been on a Vespa, but not yet. I have taken a picture next to a Vespa, does that count? I’m not much for props, but I totally think we need to wear a scarf. Of course, a helmet would be safer.

      1. That counts! Yes – when you do finally ride a Vespa you must wear a scarf! A cooking class in Italy should be on everyone’s list of foods like that! I will do the same when I am next visiting Italy, too!

  2. Love love love every post! Esp this one. We were supposed to go to Florence a couple of months back but went to Portugal:(. Definitely cannot wait to go back to Italy, especially after reading this!

    1. I remember you had plans for Italy. Portugal seems like just as a nice of a trip. I haven’t been to Portugal yet. How did you like it? I’ll have to check your blog and see if I missed anything.

    1. I adore Florence. Wouldn’t mind retiring in the city or in the Tuscan countryside. You will love it when you go. Hope you get to make plans soon!

  3. I’d definitely want to spend my day strolling around the Uffizi–option 3 sounds right up my alley! I feel like I’ve seen a few more photos of Florence & Italy floating around my Pinterest feed, and I’m totally not complaining about that :’)

  4. Oh this is timed to perfection. It’s my first visit to Florence in May so I’m currently planing it all. And this is just what I need. Thank you. Now to make the most of the time there.

    1. Hey – I’m so jealous of your upcoming trip. I miss Florence so much!

      Do you like Opera? Hubby and I always go to this intimate Opera show that takes place inside of St. Mark’s Church. Quaint setting with amazing talent. Fantastic experience. Here is the info: https://stmarksitaly.com/music-arts/opera-at-st-marks/. We always email and add our names to a list in advance.

      Have a great time!

  5. Another Italy post I’m bookmarking for our cruise! Which stops in Florence for a day, as you know. It’s hard to choose which option of the three because I’d like them all. I love all of these suggestions, and all of your day itineraries for the other ports, too. Your blog has legitimately helped me not feel stressed about this trip.

    1. Aww, Tori, that means so much!

      Now you’re gonna have to decide between going to Florence or Lucca from Livorno Port. As you know we went to Lucca because I refused to just give the city that has one my heart just a day when we went. Lucca was fabulous too. You can’t go wrong either way. I can’t wait to hear about your trip.