Last Updated on: 16th May 2024, 08:58 am

When you only have four days in Florence, you’ll need to make some tough choices in regard to what to visit and what to set aside for another time.

Not only is Florence an open-air museum itself, but it also counts dozens of interesting museums, galleries and gardens.

If you search online for a 4 days Florence itinerary, you’ll find that most people advise you to visit Piazzale Michelangelo, Uffizi Gallery, Michelangelo’s David, The Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and Piazza della Signoria among many other landmarks.

florence piazzale michelangelo couple

Piazzale Michelangelo is the place to be if you want to enjoy a scenic panorama of Florence

Following such advice I decided to buy some tickets in advance. That was a wise decision, as we managed to skip the line for buying tickets.

We still had to do the line to enter the museum, but tickets are timed, so it goes fast.

Here’s my 4-day Florence itinerary suggestion.

Day 1: Walk Your Way through Florence’s Old Center

The first day in a new city is the day that calls for flexibility and a rather loose schedule. This is the best time to practise saying thank you in Italian.

florence centro storico

The Historical Center of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Since many museums sell timed tickets, you need to ensure you’re going to make it to your chosen venue on time. What if your flight is late? What if you have to put up with a bad jet lag?

Let’s assume you’ve arrived in Florence the night before, so you have a full day ahead.

Start your day in the city center. Choose one of the many cafes in the area to have a coffee and a breakfast.

I liked a lot Gucci Giardino 25, in Piazza della Signoria.

Click here to see its location on the map.

Gucci Giardino 25 isn’t the cheapest cafe in Florence but it surely is good.

The lovely rattan furniture, the setting, the view and the service are all excellent.

You’ll be close to many landmarks you’ll want to visit. Here’s an itinerary for you to consider, starting from this place:

Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria is the square in front of Palazzo Vecchio.

 

Here you’ll find the following landmarks:

– a replica of Michelangelo’s David statue

– the Neptune fountain

– the equestrian statue of Cosimo I de Medici

– Loggia dei Lanzi, an open-air gallery showcasing several Renaissance sculptures

– Fontana del Porcellino, a bronze fountain showcasing a boar; according to some urban legends, rubbing the snout of the boar guarantees your return to Florence. Other legends say that if you put a coin into its mouth and the coin falls into the grate, you’ll get rich.

Fontana del Porcellino is a short walk away from Piazza della Signoria. Located on one of the sides of Mercato del Porcellino, this fountain sits near Venchi Cioccolato & Gelato. Take advantage of this opportunity and try one of their ice cream flavors.

Piazza della Repubblica

From Fontana del Porcellino turn right on Via Porta Rossa, then turn left on Via dei Calzaiuoli.

On your left side you’ll soon see the Orsanmichele Church and Museum.

The entrance ticket costs 8 Euro. Discounted tickets cost 2 Euro, but they are only available to people aged 18 – 25. Booking your tickets online will cost you another 3 Euro on top of the entrance fee.

As there aren’t such big waiting lines, I recommend buying tickets directly at the church, should you want to visit it. I haven’t.

Once done with the church, take Via Orsanmichele, then turn right on Via Calimala to get to Piazza della Repubblica.

florence piazza della repubblica

You can’t miss the merry-go-round on the square. It is one of the most instagrammable spots in Florence.

Piazza di Santa Maria Novella & The Oldest Pharmacy in the World

Piazza di Santa Maria Novella is home to the homonym church and train station.

 

The entrance ticket to Basilica Santa Maria Novella costs 7.5 Euro. There are some discounts for young people, disabled visitors, and for Florence residents and members of religious congregations. There are no discounts for seniors, though. I found this to be the rule in Florence. Seniors have to pay the full price everywhere.

Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, the oldest pharmacy in the world, isn’t a pharmacy but a perfumery and herbalist shop.

florence santa maria novella pharmacy

It is the perfect place to buy souvenirs from Florence. It is also the perfect spot for Instagram-worthy photos and reels. Just take a look at my photos of this beautiful store. Expect to spend 30 minutes to one hour smelling perfumes, soaps and creams, taking photos and marveling at the beautiful building that hosts the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella.

Click here to visit the website and the online store of the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy.

Piazza di Santa Maria Novella is also home to Museo Novecento, a modern art museum showcasing works of some of the top 20th century Italian artists.

Museo Novecento is open everyday from 11:00AM to 8:00PM, except for Thursdays when it is closed.

From Museo Novecento, take Via dei Fossi to Piazza Carlo Goldoni and Ponte alla Carraia.

Cross the Carraia bridge to take some photos of Arno River and of the two nearby bridges, Ponte Santa Trinita and Ponte Vecchio.

Keep walking alongside the river banks to Ponte Santa Trinita. You’ll probably be there just in time for some beautiful photos of Ponte Vecchio by the golden hour.

Ponte Vecchio

Next, take Ponte Vecchio. Enjoy the luxury shops and the views. Take photos.

florence arno sunset canoe ponte vecchio

Cross the river again and head over to Porta San Nicolo.

Keep walking uphill to the panorama point at Piazzale Michelangelo.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Your last stop for the day is Piazzale Michelangelo. Roam around, take photos of Michelangelo’s David (copy of the original in Accademia Gallery), admire the scenic panorama of Florence and wait for the sunset.

florence duomo framed

Frame the Duomo from Piazzale Michelangelo!

If time allows, you may want to visit the nearby cemetery, Cimitero delle Porte Sante.

Make sure you return to Piazzale Michelangelo in time for the sunset, though.

Day 2: Uffizi Gallery, Boboli Gardens, Pitti Palace & More

When buying your tickets for Uffizi, consider taking advantage of the combo ticket that allows you to visit Boboli Gardens, Pitti Palace, and Opficio delle Pietre Dure within five days from your Uffizi visiting date. This ticket also includes free entry to the National Archeological Museum.

If you only have four days in Florence, you’ll want to start with visiting Uffizi as early in the day as possible, in order to allow for other museum visits.

Galleria degli Uffizi

The Uffizi Galleries visit requires 2 – 4 hours, depending on the crowds and on your specific interests.

florence uffizi painting

One of the paintings in the Uffizi Galleria

Consider setting about 15-30 minutes aside for a stop at the cafeteria, as its outdoor terrace offers a very good photo opportunity.

Some of the rooms in the museum can become busy at times. You may need to do the line to visit everything.

I had to go back to see some of the rooms I had accidentally skipped.

Also, don’t forget to visit all of the floors.

Basilica di Santa Croce di Firenze

As you walk from Uffizi to Boboli Gardens, take a small detour to have a break and maybe to visit Basilica of Santa Croce, a neo-gothic style cathedral featuring several of Giotto’s frescoes and the tombs of Galileo and Michelangelo Buonarotti.

Even if you decide not to enter the church, you’ll have the opportunity to take some beautiful photos of the facade and of the square in front.

Piazza di Santa Croce is home to an artisan fair where you can find handmade stuff such as leather goods, soaps, scented candles, clothes, paintings, and various souvenirs.

Porta Romana, Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens

After lunch, head over to Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace. Take your time, enjoy the city, do some window shopping, and have another coffee or a gelato.

florence boboli gardens fountain

The Neptune fountain in Boboli Gardens

Porta Romana is the giant brick gateway belonging to Florence’s 13’th century fortified walls. This monumental gate is the entrance to Boboli Gardens.

If you haven’t spent a lot of time inside Uffizi Galleries, you may want to visit Bardini Gardens before, to take advantage of the spectacular panorama of Florence they offer.

The Boboli Gardens are also very beautiful and quite big. Expect to spend about two hours inside.

On a beautiful day Boboli is a lovely place to sit and soak up the sun.

As you exit Boboli Gardens, try to enter Palazzo Pitti during the last 1-2 hours of opening. This is the best way to avoid the crowds.

florence palazzo pitti

Palazzo Pitti, one of the best museums in Florence

That’s exactly what we did and we managed to be almost the only visitors inside the palace.

If I were to make a top of Florence’s landmarks, I’d put Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens on the second spot, after Accademia Galleries, where Michelangelo’s Davis is. That’s how much I liked them.

Day 3: Galleria dell’ Accademia, Opficio delle Pietre Dure, Museo degli Innocenti & More

Start your day with one of the best museums in Florence, Galleria dell’ Accademia.

Next, visit the Opficio delle Pietre Dure, and Museo degli Innocenti.

Depending on your starting time, have a brunch or an early lunch after visiting the Accademia.

There are several restaurants just by the exit, on Ricasoli Street.

Accademia Gallery

While the statue of David is majestic, there are many other notable works of art in this museum.

Expect to spend about 1.5 – 2 hours inside.

Expect also a lot of people inside the museum, even though all tickets have time slots allotted.

Speaking of the tickets, it’s best to buy yours online in advance. That will allow you to skip one of the lines. You’ll still need to do the second line to enter, but that goes fast. The museum staff will make loud calls for the time slots and will let you skip the line, if needed.

Opficio delle Pietre Dure

This is a small but interesting museum I would have loved to visit.

I had my 5-days combo ticket that included the Opficio delle Pietre Dure, but I showed up the last day at 3pm.

Much to my surprise, this museum closes by 2:30 pm, with the last admission being at 1:30 pm.

As that was my last day in Florence, I had to say goodbye to my already-paid entrance to the Opficio delle Pietre Dure.

Arno River Sunset Cruise

A sunset cruise is one of the best things to do in a city that has a river. Florence makes no exception.

Here are a few options of Florence sunset cruises:

Florence Arno River Cruise with a Live Concert

This cruise allows you to navigate under the most beautiful bridges, to admire the city as the sun sets behind Ponte Vecchio, and to listen to Italian music played by a talented violinist.

Click here to see more details or check out the availability of this cruise here, below.

 

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This cruise has a duration of 50 minutes and it starts at Lungarno Generale Diaz & Piazza Mentana.

It is available in two options, from 6:30pm and from 7:30pm. For the sunset, make sure you pick the one that starts at 7:30pm.

Arno River Sunset with Canoe

Florence Sunset Boat Cruise with Prosecco on Board

Click here to see more details about this beautiful cruise. While not the cheapest ever, this Arno cruise is the perfect opportunity for having a great time, taking amazing photos of Florence, and enjoying some romantic moments.

You might even want to propose, in order to maximize your chances to get a positive answer.

Day 4: Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Ospedale degli Innocenti, Shopping & More

The 4-th day in Florence is the day when you can shop for leather bags, clothes, and handmade souvenirs.

By now you should already know where to go to find artisan markets and shops.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore & the Dome

If you’re keen on visiting the Dome, keep in mind that you must climb 463 steps to the top of the Duomo.

Click here to see the available time slots and to book your date.

There’s no elevator.

Entries to the Dome are timed, but you need to take into account the 10-15 minutes to spend in line for ticket and security check. There’s no way you can skip this line.

Also, admission through the Crypt entrance could take up to 30 minutes. This is better, though, than the 1-2 hours of waiting in regular lines.

Ospedale degli Innocenti

The Hospital of the Innocents is one of the historic monuments in Florence that showcase Brunelleschi’s architecture.

Click here to see more details and to join a guided tour of the Hospital of the Innocents. You’ll learn a lot about the history of Europe’s first orphanage.

Your Afternoon of Shopping

It’s always best to leave your shopping sessions for the second part of the day, in order to avoid carrying heavy bags with you all day long.

Get the things you want, take them to your hotel, and then go out to have your last dinner in Florence.

 

 

 

Violeta Matei