Florence is one of the most beautiful cities and popular destinations to visit in Italy. In fact, at least 2 days in Florence should be a part of any Italy itinerary. The city is referred to as the “Birthplace of the Renaissance” and with good reason. It is rich in history, art, and Florence features some of the greatest achievements in architecture. But what’s the best way to spend 2 days in Florence?
When in Florence, do as the Florentines do –walk!
Walking is a fun way to soak in the sights, smells, and sounds of Florence. However, walking may be easier said than done if you’re a more mature traveller or have health problems or mobility issues.
Don’t let age or physical conditions get in the way of enjoying your dream Tuscan and Italy vacation!
A great way to build your Florence itinerary is to choose attractions that are accessible, easy to navigate, allow for rest breaks, and comfortable surfaces to walk on.
Here are 8 top attractions in Florence that will allow you to enjoy the tour at a slower pace. They can be built into a Florence 2 day itinerary to give you the highlights. Best of all, you can book them directly from this post with instant confirmation, no lines and free cancellation up to 24 hours before your activity. Browse activities below for Florence and continue searching for the rest of your Italy itinerary.
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The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The skyline of Florence is a breath-taking panorama of spectacular structures and monuments that are inspiring reminders of the creativity and architectural genius of the Italian Renaissance.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (aka “Duomo”) and is one of the standout masterpieces that define Florence’s skyline. The Duomo is made up of several ‘parts’ – Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Campanille, the Baptistry of San Giovanni, the Crypt of Santa Reparata, and the Opera Museum.
To truly appreciate the beauty and magnificence of The Duomo, take your time in exploring each of these unique buildings/monuments.
Consider joining a private tour rather than joining a group.
With a private tour, you can walk at your own pace and take in the complete Florentine experience at The Duomo. A private tour may last 1 to 2 hours but if you’re feeling tired, ask the tour guide for a few minutes of rest.
There are 463 steps that lead up to Brunelleschi’s Dome which may not be an option for you. But if you’d like to give it a go, at least with a private tour you can go at a slower pace.
The stairway that leads up to the Dome is quite narrow. On average, the climb up the Dome will take 20 to 30 minutes.
Michelangelo's Statue of David
Michelangelo is considered one of the greatest artists in history. He created many masterpieces – La Pieta, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and the Creation of Adam – to name a few.
However, none may be more revered than Michelangelo’s David that can be seen at the Galleria dell’Accademia. Michelangelo created David from a gigantic block of Carrara marble.
Several sculptors tried and failed to turn the marble into a work of art. Michelangelo turned the marble into a 14-foot representation of the Biblical hero, David.
The story has it that Michelangelo envisioned his David at the moment before the hero kills Goliath.
Michelangelo’s David is one reason why the Galleria dell’Accademia draws 1.46 million visitors every year! You can expect long lines especially on weekends.
A visit to the Galleria dell’Academia is an ideal complement to your tour of The Duomo because the museum is only 300 metres away. It will be an easy and relaxing walk as the road leading to the museum is flat.
You may also want to book a private tour of the museum so you can move at your own pace.
The great thing about visiting the Galleria dell’Academia is that the museum took into consideration the visitors with impaired mobility.
The museum has elevators, platforms, and lifts available for those who have difficulty walking and for people with health issues. It should be a part of any 2 day Florence itinerary! If you have less time, you can combine The Duomo and Galleria dell’Accademia into the afternoon or morning portion of your one day Florence itinerary.
The Palazzo Vecchio or “Old Palace” is a must-see attraction in Florence. Historians have described the museum as the best representative of the Italian Renaissance period.
The Palazzo Vecchio was originally conceived to be the workplace of the Republic’s officials. Its design has been described as a cross between a castle and a tower.
Inside the museum you will come across several rooms. Each room has a different design to reflect the distinct personalities of the individual officials of the Republic.
If walking is difficult, you can access the Palazzo Vecchio from the side entrance on Via dei Gondi. The museum has also made improvements to make the 2 main floors more accessible to visitors with disabilities.
After you get the most out of the museum, rest in Piazza della Signoria, the beautiful square that surrounds it.
Gaze at Ponte Vechhio Bridge
The Ponte Vecchio or Old Bridge is a much-loved attraction in Florence and should be part of any Florence itinerary. Before 1218, the Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge to the Arno River and interestingly, the Germans didn’t destroy it during World War II under direct command by Adolf Hitler who had visited Florence previously.
Visitors flock to Ponte Vecchio with their amata (loved one) because the bridge creates the perfect conditions for romance.
When the shops close down at night, the wooden shutters give one an impression of seeing a charming collection of suitcases or wooden chests. Of course, the amazing views of the river add to the romantic ambiance of the place!
For those who cannot stand or walk for long periods, the Ponte Vecchio is great attraction to visit in Florence.
You can take a relaxing boat ride along the river to get good views – and pictures – of Ponte Vecchio.
Explore Palazzo Pitti
The Palazzo Pitti was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and built by his student, Luca Fancelli in 1457 for the Pitti family. It is one of the biggest monuments in Florence and remains an amazing testament to the architectural achievements of the period.
From a residence of royalty, the Palazzo Pitti has become the residence of a treasure trove of paintings, jewelry, sculptures, and other wonderful artifacts from the Renaissance Period. The Palatine Gallery is the main exhibit hall of the Palazzo Pitti and houses over 500 Renaissance paintings.
A guided tour of the 100,000 square foot Palazzo Pitti may take you over 2 hours to complete. For those who have difficulty walking or are disabled, the Palazzo has made available a Palazzo Pitti Wheelchair Guided Tour.
The special tour will take you through accessible paths that don’t have curbs or steps. You will be accompanied by an official Palazzo Pitti tour guide who is fluent in English and can provide assistance if you are using a manual wheelchair.
If you’re up for it, extend your time in this location and visit the Boboli Gardens just a short distance behind Palazzo Pitti. They’re a stunning Italian garden complex which influenced many Royal gardens around Europe.
Tour Uffizzi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery is located near the Piazza Del Signoria and is widely recognized as one of the most important museums in Italy because it houses an impressive collection of fine art, statues, busts, and other priceless works from the period of the Italian Renaissance.
Although the gallery was built in 1581, it is considered one of the world’s first modern museums because this was where the Medici family’s art collections were donated by the last remaining heiress of the Medici family, Anna Maria Luisa.
It is at the Uffizi Gallery where you can marvel at the works of Simone Martini, Pierro Della Francesca, Beata Angelico, Leonardo, Rafaello, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio to name a few of the 14th-century’s greatest artists.
For visitors who are using a wheelchair or who cannot climb steps, the Uffizi Gallery has installed ramps near the della Ninna. There is also an elevator available near Buontalenti Gallery that goes up to Room 38.
A stair lift is also available for persons with disabilities who want to visit the Café and the terrace.
Visit San Lorenzo Church
The San Lorenzo Church was once regarded as the Cathedral of Florence and is reportedly the oldest church in the city. There may be some truth to this as historical records state the church was consecrated by Saint Ambrose in 393.
For more than 300 years, the church was the parish of the Medici family and for the time was considered the duomo of Florence.
The Medici Chapels can be found at San Lorenzo. It is a monumental complex that took almost 200 years to complete and is considered to be the “official” church of the Medici family.
Michelangelo was commissioned by Pope Clemens VII to design and build the family museum. From 1524 to 1533, Michelangelo worked on the sarcophagi and the sculptures that you can see on the walls of the chapel. Michelangelo worked on the tombs of Lorenzo de’ Medici and Giuliano de’ Medici at the same time.
Persons with a disability and those who need special assistance to get around will enjoy the walking guided tour as it is wheelchair accessible.
Visit The Basilica of Santa Croce
Santa Croce is where you can explore the Basilica di Santa Croce that was built by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1294. Many great and famous people from Florence were buried in the Basilica. These people included Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli.
You can discover many beautiful frescoes in the Basilica. In the Capella Maggiore, you find a fresco that was created by Gaddi in 1380. Meanwhile, at the Bardi and Peruzzi chapels, you will see the fresco designed by Giotto. The Anunciation by Donatello can be found at the south nave wall.
The Basilica di Santa Croce is composed of 16 family chapels and is considered the largest Franciscan church in the world. Legend has it that Saint Francis founded the Basilica in 1212.
The Basilica di Santa Croce has 2 built-in ramps to help persons with difficulty walking or those who need a wheelchair to move around.
The ramps are located at the entrance of the Basilica and near the exit of the Monumental Complex. Wheelchairs are available free-of-charge.
Now You Know How to Spend 2 Days in Florence
Florence is like a bottle of Sassicaia 2012 Tuscan Cabernet Sauvignon. To enjoy the experience, the wine must be savoured and allowed to breathe. Plan ahead and find out which attractions are accessible for those with mobility issues and health issues. Perhaps climbing Giotto’s bell tower of Florence Cathedral, but you can enjoy the views on the Piazza del Duomo and fall in love with your surroundings.
Take your time and savour every minute that you are in Florence. You cannot stop or turn back the clock to experience the Italian Renaissance. However, you can make time seem like it’s standing still by moving at a slower pace.
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Matt Adams is a blogger in Italy, living in Florence. Originally from Australia, Matt made Florence home to live the dream of Italy and take in the rich history, culture and beauty the country has to offer.