Special shout-out to my husband and favourite travel partner who has taken most of our travel photos.

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Florence itinerary in 4 days

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Hotels

Florence:

Hotel Davanzati

♥♥♥♥♥

Family-run and perfectly located in the heart of Florence, this warm and lovely boutique hotel provides a delicious breakfast and generous happy hour every evening with wines and small appetizers. The owners provide excellent service and will help with any query including booking tours and making restaurant reservations. Highly recommended.

Guides and Tours

Florence:

We booked our private guides through the Hotel Davanzati. The staff at the hotel provide excellent customer service and will book tours as well as museum entrances.​

Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is home to some of the worlds greatest Renaissance art and architecture. We spent four days exploring this ancient city.

Day 1

 

Afternoon

We arrived in Florence and checked into the family-run Hotel Davanzati, perfectly located in the heart of Florence. This warm and lovely boutique hotel has a delicious breakfast and generous happy hour every evening with wines and small appetizers. The owners provide excellent service and will help with any query including booking tours and making restaurant reservations. 

After settling into the hotel we went for a walk in the city, walking through the small streets and alleys and reaching the famous Duomo, whose dome is visible from all over the city. This colourful cathedral is located in a traffic-free square, allowing pedestrians to easily walk around it.

The Duomo is an architectural feat of its time. Construction on it began in 1296. At that time they did not have a plan for the roof but they were confident that over time a design would be developed. The Duomo was completed in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunellesch. 

 

The Duomo is clad in pink, green and white marble, in a Gothic Revival style. The famous bronze doors that are currently on the cathedral are a replica of the original. The original doors are located inside the Duomo Museum.

 

The Duomo Museum in the same Piazza was recently renovated and holds a collection of fine Florentine sculpture as well as artifacts from the Duomo. We spent about an hour inside the museum.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped in a small church that was having a choir practice and open to the public.

 

Evening

We had a drink at the hotel happy hour and then headed out for dinner. This evening we went to a lovely restaurant located outside of Florence on a hill with beautiful views of Tuscany. 

Day 2

 

Morning

This morning we had booked a private walking tour of Florence. The guide was extremely informative. We booked him through the hotel. 

Florence is a wonderfully rich city of beautiful architecture and history but it's not very big, so we were able to cover most of the city in this three-hour tour. We learnt about the Renaissance, which began in Florence, and the artists as well as the wealthy families who ruled and lived in this city.

The tour covered the 2,000 years of Florentine history, city of Dante (birthplace of the great Italian poet), Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and other important figures. We met our guide in the Piazza della Republica where we discussed the city's Roman origins.

 

We walked around the area of the Duomo Cathedral and the Baptistery of St. John.

From there we walked through some of the less crowded streets towards Ponte Vecchio and finally learnt about Piazza Signoria, Florence's main piazza and civic centre. This square, outside the Uffizi Gallery, has beautiful sculptures.

 

We headed to the river and crossed the famous Ponte Vecchia bridge. Our tour ended on the south side of the Arno River. Our guide dropped us at a small, local restaurant called Trattoria Cammillo. It serves delicious, rustic cuisine and is frequented by locals.

Afternoon

After lunch we stayed on the south side of the river and went to Pitti Palace. This Renaissance Palace and formal gardens houses several museums including the Palatine Gallery, the Silver Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Museum of Carriages. The main exhibit is in the Palatine Gallery.

On our way back to the hotel we decided to pop into the Palazzo Davanzati, next to our hotel. This palace-museum was built by the wealthy Davizzi family, and later bought by the Davanzati family. 

Evening

After happy hour we went to a quiet restaurant for dinner and then for gelato at Vivoli, which has been making gelato the old-fashioned, artisanal way, with the freshest ingredients since 1930.

 

Day 3

Morning

This morning we went to the area around Piazza de San Lorenzo, which is home to one of the largest churches in Florence and is the burial place of most of the members of the Medici Family. The city's main market is located here as well as.

 

We went inside the Palazzo Medici Riccardi - the palace built in the 1400s by Cosimo de Medici, head of the wealthy banking family. This palace is known for its stone masonry and Renaissance art including frescos. 

In the 1700s it became the home of the Riccardi family who added Baroque touches to it. 

After touring the interior we went to the Medici Chapels where the Medici family is buried. Most of the architecture and art was designed by Michelangelo.

We had lunch on a small street not far from the Central Market.

Afternoon

This afternoon we joined a semi-private tour of the Uffizi and the Vasari Corridor. We booked our tour through our hotel. The line-ups are generally very long as they limit the number of people who can enter the museum at any one time. It's a good idea to either make a reservation or book with a guide.

The Uffizi Gallery is one of world's biggest collections of Renaissance art including works by Leonardo Davinci, Michelangelo, Botticielli, Caravaggio and Raphael. The building was originally built by the Medici family to house their private collection. It is now one of the most visited museums in the world.

Following the tour of the Uffizi our guide took us for an exclusive tour of the Vasari Corridor. This 1km enclosure stretching above the Ponte Vecchio bridge was built by Cosimo I, Grand Duke of the Medici. The Corridor served as a private walkway to connect the Pitti Palace, his new home, with his office, the Uffizi. Over the years the passageway has survived floods and nearby bombings and has become a restricted area under the care of the Uffizi Gallery. The Corridor is only accessible by advance reservation and entrances are extremely limited.

Once you enter the Vasari Corridor from the Uffizi you are in another world. It is very quiet and uncrowded. The walls are filled with gorgeous paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, including portraits and self-portraits by many masters.  

 

Evening

We went for a nice walk and headed to the other side of the Arno River for dinner.

Day 4

 

Morning

This morning we had a tour of Galleria Academia. The Academy houses Michelangelo's famous David which for reasons of conservation was brought inside from its original location, in the Piazza Signoria in 1873. The gallery also houses an important collection of Florentine paintings from the 14th to the 16th century, a collection of plaster casts of famous statues going back to the 19th century, and impressive collection of Russian icons.

From the Academy we headed to the Great Synagogue of Florence. This stunning synagogue was built between 1874 and 1882 through the estate of David Levi, a leader in the Jewish community. It was built in traditional Italian architectural style with Moorish design elements. It is still one of the largest and most beautiful synagogues in South Central Europe. 

Afternoon

We stopped for lunch and then for our daily scoop of gelato.

After lunch we went to see a special contemporary exhibit at the Palazzo Strozzi, a Renaissance palace occupied by the Strozzi family until 1937. This was a welcome change to the other museums we had been visiting as the Palazzo Strozzi showcases temporary, international art exhibits including contemporary and impressionist works.

 

The show we saw had works by three Spanish painters - Salvador Dali, Juan Miro and Pablo Picasso.

Evening

This evening we walked around the beautiful shopping area on the small streets around Via Degli Strozzi and Via della Vigna Nuova. We stopped in a small restaurant for our last dinner in Florence.

Day 5

Morning

We checked out of our hotel and headed to the train station.

Favourite Museums

Florence:

  • Pitti Palace. This Renaissance Palace and formal Boboli gardens house several museums including the Palatine Gallery, the Silver Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Museum of Carriages. The main exhibit is in the Palatine Gallery. It is located on the south side of the river.

  • Palazzo Davanzati. This palace-museum was built by the wealthy Davizzi family, and later bought by the Davanzati family. It houses the museum of an old noble, Florentine family. It is a good museum if you have a little bit of spare time.

  • Palazzo Medici Riccardi - This palace was built in the 1400s by Cosimo de Medici, head of the wealthy banking family. This palace is known for its stone masonry and Renaissance art including frescos and works by Michelangelo. It sometimes houses temporary exhibits.

  • The Uffizi Gallery. This is one of world's biggest collections of Renaissance art including works by Leonardo Davinci, Michelangelo, Botticielli, Caravaggio and Raphael. The building was originally built by the Medici family to house their private collection. It is now one of the most visited museums in the world.

  • Vasari Corridor. This 1km enclosure stretching above the Ponte Vecchio bridge was built by Cosimo I, Grand Duke of the Medici. It served as a private walkway to connect the Pitti Palace with his office, the Uffizi. Over the years it has come under the care of the Uffizi Gallery. The Corridor is only accessible by advance reservation and entrances are extremely limited. It is filled with gorgeous paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries.

  • Galleria Academia. This museum houses Michelangelo's famous David as well as an important collection of Florentine paintings from the 14th to the 16th century, a collection of plaster casts of famous statues going back to the 19th century, and an impressive collection of Russian icons.

  • Palazzo Strozzi. This Renaissance palace showcases temporary, international art exhibits including contemporary and impressionist works.

  • Duomo Museum. Located in the same Piazza as the Duomo. It was recently renovated and holds a collection of fine Florentine sculpture as well as artifacts from the Duomo.

Noteworthy Restaurants

Florence:

  • Trattoria Cammillo is an old-school trattoria on the south side of the River Arno. It serves delicious, rustic cuisine and is frequented by locals.

  • Vivoli Gelato, has been making gelato the old-fashioned, artisanal way, with the freshest ingredients since 1930.

Noteworthy Restaurants

Florence:

  • Trattoria Cammillo is an old-school trattoria on the south side of the River Arno. It serves delicious, rustic cuisine and is frequented by locals.

  • Vivoli Gelato, has been making gelato the old-fashioned, artisanal way, with the freshest ingredients since 1930.

Itinerary Add-ons

This itinerary can be combined with:

 
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