Florence in 48 hours: Must-see sights and hidden gems

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If you have just 48 hours to soak in the magic of Florence, Italy, get ready for a whirlwind adventure through a city that’s a living museum of art, culture and history. In this guide, I will take you through Florence’s must-see sights and some hidden gems, ensuring you make the most of your short stay in this enchanting city.

A bridge over a river in Florence, Italy.
Florence. Photo credit: Pexels.

Exploring Florence in just 48 hours is like a thrilling race against time, and I have done the same this summer with my family.

Our first day exploring part and beauty of Tuscany is all about art and history.

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Day 1: Art and history extravaganza

Kickstart your 48-hour Florence adventure with a day dedicated to immersing yourself in the city’s rich artistic heritage and uncovering hidden gems.

Morning: The Florence Cathedral or Duomo

Start your day at the heart of Florence, the magnificent Florence Cathedral, known as the Duomo. This architectural masterpiece is a testament to the city’s grandeur. Don’t just admire it from the ground; climb the 463 steps to Brunelleschi’s famous dome for panoramic city views. It’s a bit of a climb, but the vistas are worth every effort.

Skip the line for Duomo Skywalk to make sure to catch every single minute of the day.

Late Morning: Florence’s artistic icons

Late morning is reserved for Florence’s iconic artistic treasures.

Uffizi Gallery: Immerse yourself in art at the Uffizi Gallery. This is where some of the world’s most iconic works of art reside. Witness masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. Book your tickets in advance to skip the lines to make the most of your time. If you’re an art lover, you could spend hours here.

Art pieces, I will always cherish seeing in real life.

Ponte Vecchio: After your art immersion, stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, a picturesque bridge home to jewelry shops for centuries. It’s not only an excellent spot for photos but also for some light shopping and people-watching.

An ornate building with a clock tower in front of it.
Florence, Tuscany. Photo credit: Zuzana Paar.

Lunch: Tuscan delights

Lunchtime in Florence, Italy means indulging in authentic Tuscan delights.

Mercato Centrale: By now, you’ve likely worked up an appetite. Head to the Mercato Centrale, a bustling food market in the heart of Florence. You can savor Tuscan specialties like panini, pasta and fresh produce here. It’s a culinary adventure waiting to happen. Plus, the atmosphere is vibrant and bustling.

Mercato Centrale was my most favorite place out of the whole Florence trip. The dishes, the atmosphere, and the vibrant energy of the market made it a culinary adventure I will never forget. It is where I truly tasted the heart and soul of Florence’s food culture.

Afternoon: Hidden gems

The afternoon is dedicated to discovering Florence’s hidden gems.

Boboli Gardens: It’s time to explore one of Florence’s hidden gems — the Boboli Gardens. Located behind the Pitti Palace, these gardens offer a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. The beautifully landscaped gardens, sculptures and fountains provide a serene environment for a relaxing stroll. Remember your camera; there are plenty of photo-worthy spots.

Piazza Santo Spirito: After immersing yourself in nature, head to Piazza Santo Spirito. It is where locals hang out, and it’s a fantastic spot to grab a gelato and watch life unfold in this charming square. The atmosphere is authentic and provides a taste of daily life in Florence.

We had the best time tasting some of their most delicious gelato flavors.

You can pick from a 3-hour private walking tour or a few hours of a bicycle-guided tour to save some time.

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Day 2: Culture and cuisine

On your second day in Florence, dive deeper into the city’s culture and culinary delights as you explore iconic sites and indulge in authentic Tuscan cuisine.

Morning: The cradle of the renaissance

Morning in Florence, Italy takes us to the cradle of the Renaissance.

Accademia Gallery: Kick off your second day at the Accademia Gallery. It’s home to one of the most iconic sculptures in the world — Michelangelo’s David. The statue is a marvel of Renaissance artistry. You might want to book your tickets in advance to avoid the crowds and make the most of your time here.

Florence’s Historic Center: After visiting the Accademia Gallery, stroll through the historic center. Admire the impressive Piazza della Signoria and the Palazzo Vecchio. The piazza is an open-air museum with sculptures and historical buildings everywhere. It’s a great place to soak in the history and atmosphere of Florence simply.

A quick private tour with a golf cart is what you might need.

A statue in front of a building with statues.
Statue. Photo credit: Zuzana Paar.

Lunch: A taste of Florence

Lunch in Florence, Italy is a delectable taste of the city’s flavors.

Trattoria ZaZa: Now it’s time to satisfy your taste buds with some Florentine delights. Head to Trattoria ZaZa, a popular spot in Florence. Here, you can try the famous Florentine steak, a thick and juicy T-bone steak cooked to perfection. If you’re not a steak fan, don’t worry; they also offer a variety of homemade pasta dishes, hearty soup, famous pappa al pomodoro tomato soup and other Tuscan specialties. It’s a meal to remember.

Afternoon: Artisans and shopping

In the afternoon, we explored artisans and shopping in Florence.

Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella: For a unique experience, visit one of the world’s oldest pharmacies, the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. Here, you can explore various exquisite perfumes and skincare products. It’s a step back in time with a touch of luxury.

A private guided visit to Basilica is a great tip.

Evening: A romantic finale

Evening sets the stage for a romantic finale in Florence.

Piazzale Michelangelo: End your 48 hours with a romantic visit to Piazzale Michelangelo. This panoramic terrace offers one of the best views of Florence, especially at sunset. It’s a perfect spot to reflect on your whirlwind Florence tour and capture some breathtaking photos.

Dinner at the Oltrarno: Cross the Arno River to the Oltrarno district. This area is less touristy and offers a more authentic Florentine experience. Discover cozy trattorias on narrow streets and enjoy a romantic dinner with local wine.

There must always be time for another wine tasting and together with my husband, we have this truly enjoyed. 

If you still have extra time, take an early evening food and wine tour in the Oltrarno neighborhood.

An aerial view of the city of Florence, italy.
Florence, Italy. Photo credit: Pexels.

Conclusion: Florence’s timeless charm

In just 48 hours, you’ve touched upon the essence of Florence, and you are ready to continue and explore Tuscany’s enchanting villages. This city is a living testament to art, culture and history, with something to offer around every corner. While this whirlwind tour covers the must-sees, Florence’s magic lies in getting lost in its streets, savoring local cuisine and immersing yourself in its rich heritage.

Zuzana is the creative force behind her websites, Lowcarb-nocarb and Best Clean Eating. As a content creator, food recipe developer, blogger, and photographer, Zuzana brings diverse skills to the table with a dedication to sharing delicious, healthy recipes and helpful tips with the readers. Get her Best Keto Recipes Book for free.

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