If you only had a day to spend in Florence what would you do?
The natives of Florence say that you can spend a lifetime in Florence and not see all that there is to see. I agree that spending only one day in this great city is not long enough to enjoy everything that Florence has to offer. But many of us are limited by time and money so if you only have a day you can still enjoy Florence.
I would get there early and walk over to the Ponte Vecchio, the medieval bridge that spans the Arno River.
The Ponte Vecchio is unique and though the butcher shops that once occupied the bridge have given way to high-end jewelry stores you will still get a feel for medieval Florence walking across the bridge. The stores will be closed on the bridge if you go early but you can window shop which is the only thing most of us can do anyway. If you go early enough there will not be any crowds offering you a great opportunity to take pictures. Walk along the river towards the Uffizi and you can take a picture looking back at the Ponte Vecchio.
After the Ponte Vecchio head over to the Accademia to visit Michelangelo’s statue of David.
As many times as I have seen the David I am always in awe. If the lines are too long and you will spend too much time waiting skip it and you can visit the statues in Piazza della Signoria later.
Next go to the Mercato Nuovo.
Yes, it is touristy but this large market where you can buy all types of leather goods and a mishmash of other things is still fun. If you are there close to lunch eat at I Fratellini. You have to eat standing up, but the food is delicious and the price is right.
After lunch go to Santa Croce stopping to sit for a while in Piazza della Signoria both to look at the architecture and statues but also to people watch!
Santa Croce is one of my favorite churches in Italy and it is definitely worth a visit. Santa Croce houses the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and other famous residents of Florence. While there be sure to visit the leather school and stop and enjoy the courtyard on your way out.
By now you have earned a gelato.
Florence is rumored to have the best gelato in the world and though I am still eating my way through Italy I would rate the gelato in Florence high on my list of things to enjoy in Italy.
Hopefully the crowds will have thinned around the Duomo and Baptistery by now so go visit this magnificent church.
If you can get inside both the Duomo and Baptistry be sure to do so, if time prevents you from getting in the church walk around the entire outside of the church stopping to look at the gold doors of the baptistery. Since you can’t stand in front of the church and take a picture of the entire building focus on different segments, statues and scenes and take pictures of those.
There are several places where you can stand and get a picture of the whole church, like the Boboli Gardens but that is a long walk and another ticket charge.
For dinner go to Ristorante Buca Mario – one of my favorites.
After dinner head back to Piazza della Signoria, sit on the steps and listen to the musicians that play in the courtyard of the Uffizi. It would be the perfect end to the perfect day.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes. You will spend your day in Florence doing a lot of walking.