There are so many things to do and see in florence, it can be overwhelming. Last summer some friends were coming into town and they had some children to contend with. I developed this proposal for them, and thought maybe it could help some others. I hope it helps you! The itinerary below is for 5 days. Definitely not enough time to do the city justice, but it should wet your appetite to come back.
These days can be used in whatever order you see fit. I included in each day some of the museums and sites, and an outdoor activity or something physical. Each day is focused in one particular geographic part of the city. I think I have included all of the “must see” things in the daily itinerary and then there is a list of miscellaneous if you find you have extra time.Take time to sit in some of the piazzas. There is usually music or some activities going on. Eating or drinking in the restaurants in the piazzas is expensive, and not your best choices, but sometimes tempting.
Visit the inside of the Duomo and the Baptistery and then climb to the top of the Duomo-You might want to do the climb first thing in the morning as it will be pretty hot, and then the inside of the church and baptistery before lunch. There are 463 stairs to the top of the duomo.
Have lunch at Lo Scudo which is near the Duomo at via del’Oriuolo, 53. They have great pizzas and pasta.
After lunch visit Santa Maria Novella. There is also a beautiful cloister here. On one of the roads to the left as you are facing the church from the piazza, on via della scala is the 400 year old Farmacia of Santa Maria Novella which sells perfumes, liquors and soaps made by the monks. It is beautiful, historic, and cool in the summer.
Walk across the Ponte Vecchio and admire the shops. Notice the Vasari Corridor that starts at Palazzo Vecchio and extends to the Pitti Palace across the Ponte Vecchio.Visit the museums of interest at Palazzo Pitti-(Pitti Palace)There are the Appartimenti Reali, Galleriia d’Arte Moderna, Galleria del Costume, Galleria Palatina, Museo degli Argenti, and the Boboli Gardens. (Save the gardens for after lunch).Walk over to Piazza Santo Spirito for lunch-Borgo Antico is on the right hand side of the piazza when you are facing the church. Great pizza and pasta.Return to Palazzo Pitti in the afternoon for the gardens. There are many shops and artisans in the Oltrarno area (the other side of the river, where Pitti Palace is located) explore some of these small streets and shops.
Visit the Galleria del Accademia to see the original David. There is another exhibit inside of musical instruments which is also interesting and only takes a few minutes. Be sure to buy your tickets before you get to Florence for this event. They will be dated and timed. When you get to the museum on your date and time, go to the line for presold tickets. The other one will be around the building. They usually run a little behind the time noted on the ticket letting people in.Walk over to San Lorenzo area and visit the Mercato Centrale (food market) as well as the market with all the merchants in the stalls on the street. If you want to buy something, negotiate the price that they tell you!Have lunch in the Mercato Centrale or at Sergio Gozzi located at Piazza di San Lorenzo, 8. This is on the street next to the church behind some of the stalls (look for the shoes stall) It is difficult to find, but ask one of the vendors.After lunch, visit the San Lorenzo church and the Medici Chapel.
Spend the morning at The Uffizi. (Buy your tickets before you come to Florence. You will get a date and time)Spend time before or after in Piazza Signoria. There is a lot to see here, and there is always some type of music or entertainment going on. You can go into the ground floor of the Palazzo Vecchio and look around there. This Piazza, is the coolest and breeziest in the summer months! There is good gelato in the bar on the far corner called Perseus.Have lunch at Bistro del Mare Via Lungarno Corsini 4 Very nice, but a 10 euro lunch menu.After lunch walk or take the bus to Piazzale Michelangelo. Bus tickets cost 1.20 euro at the Tabbachi shops (stamp the ticket when you get on the bus! They are good for 90 minutes) Bus number 12 or 13 will take you to the top. It’s not a bad walk. Cross the Ponte Vecchio and turn left on the road that runs by the river. At the tower, there is a road behind it that weaves up to the top. Great overlook!
Restaurant recommendations for dinners-must make a reservation because of the size of your party
Birreria Centrale-Piazza Cimitori
Il Santo Bevitore-via Santo Spirito
Il Gatto e La Volpe, via Ghibellina, 15
Acqua il 2
La Carraia gelato is the best in the city (Oltrarno at Ponte Carraia)
If you like the bike riding idea, you might be interested in taking the train to Lucca where you can rent bikes and ride around the top of the medieval city wall.
There is a bus (no.7) to a small village called Fiesole where there is an archeological site from 5 B.C. This might be old news after Rome.
Giubbe Rosso in Piazza Republicca is a place where you can order a drink at the bar and sit at the tables inside without paying a higher price. They also have good bathrooms.
There are good public bathrooms that are clean and nice (cost .60) around town. Some other “free” bathrooms are located in the museums of course, and in the department stores.