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How To Spend A Long Weekend In Florence

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By Lucy Cocoran on 15th December 2023

When it comes to Italian cities, Florence is a sought-after destination.

Beloved for its rich food and wine scene, cultural heritage and outstanding art and architecture, there are myriad reasons to visit any time of year.

Of course, you could easily spend several days soaking up the magic of this city, but sometimes we can only spare a weekend. If you are planning a quick visit to the Renaissance city, keep reading to discover The Sybarite’s long weekend recommendations.

Where To Stay In Florence 

Visitors are unquestionably spoiled for accommodation options in Florence, but there are a few standouts, depending on the type of stay you’re seeking. 

Hotel Calimala

Despite its central location, the hotel retains a distinctly secluded feel. Rooms have a rustic yet charming ambience and the outdoor terrace makes it a perfect lodging during the summer months. 

Address: Via dei Lamberti, 5, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

La Gemma Hotel 

his divinely restored 19th-century palazzo feels like it has been lifted from the pages of an interior design magazine. Velvet green headboards, checked marble flooring, and dramatic gold finishes make for a very aesthetically pleasing stay. 

Address: Via dei Cavalieri, 2/C, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

The St Regis Florence 

Offering unparalleled regality in a historic building, this hotel needs little to no introduction. Boasting breathtaking interiors and service staff who will happily go above and beyond, this luxury property is truly in a league of its own. 

Address: Piazza Ognissanti, 1, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

The Perfect Three-Day Florence Itinerary

Friday 

Depending on your arrival time, Mercato Centrale is a great first stop, giving you an introductory taste to Florence. In the San Lorenzo district these indoor market halls allow you to shop for groceries or gifts, sample a range of hot or cold artisanal delicacies, and even attend a class at the Lorenzo de’ Medici cooking school. First time visitors rave about Mercato Centrale for a reason, so be sure to drop in, if only for an aperitivo. 

Address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Via dell'Ariento, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

On the first night,  enjoy dinner at a traditional trattoria.  Buca Lapi can be found in the wine cellars of Palazzo Antinori, and, given it dates back to 1880, makes it the oldest running restaurant in Florence. Inside, find yourself embraced by the warm aesthetic of a classic Italian trattoria where the open kitchen puts on a show and the food is hearty and wholesome. Florentine steak is a specialty dish here, followed closely by their handmade pasta, all of which can be complimented with a glass or two from the restaurant’s extensive wine list. 

Address: Via del Trebbio, 1r, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

For those seeking to end the evening on a sweet note, pay a visit to one of the city’s hidden dessert spots, such as Gelateria Pasco , which is just a four minute walk from the restaurant. Overlooking the Santa Maria Novella, a generous scoop of pistachio gelato can be enjoyed while absorbing the view. 

Address: P.za di Santa Maria Novella, 16r, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy


Saturday 

Start your day bright and early with a visit to Gino’s bakery — a family run establishment which is famed for their cannolis. The perfect balance of rich, creamy, sweet and flaky goodness, these are a melt-in-your-mouth triumph that will have you dreaming of that first bite for weeks afterward. 

Address: Via de' Guicciardini, 3/5, 50041 Firenze FI, Italy

Given that the city is famed for its architectural achievements, paying a visit to one of its biggest landmarks is a must-do. The gothic-style cathedral, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, has been a city fixture since its initial inception in 1296, and despite the passing of several centuries, still remains a key symbol of Florence’s renaissance. 

The inside of the cathedral is free to visit, but the remaining parts (the dome, baptistery 'baptisterium', museum and the bell tower) require tickets, which can be purchased here

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Sightseeing can be a tiring activity, meaning your body will likely need an energy fix before the evening’s activities. 

Vivoli, Florence’s oldest gelateria is a must-stop destination for any caffeine enthusiast. Dating back to 1930, this cosy coffee shop serves approximately 350 of their signature drinks a day, pouring one out for tourists and locals alike. Their iconic Gran Crema Caffè is made by spreading vanilla gelato into a cappuccino cup, leaving a square in the centre, which is then filled with espresso. When combined, the result is a deliciously creamy affogato that you won’t forget in a hurry. 

Address: Via Isola delle Stinche, 7r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Saturday night is the time to pull out all the stops for your evening plans. So, for an unforgettable fine dining experience which is equal parts culinary and theatrical, a dinner at Locale Firenze is necessary. Featuring an otherworldly menu showcasing local, seasonal produce with a strong creative slant, the degustation offering — comprised of a delicious 12 courses —  is unmissable. 

The bar, which made the World’s 50 Best Bars list for 2022, is a masterclass in mixology, providing the opportunity to sample an innovative drinks list you won’t find elsewhere. Pre-dinner aperitivos are popular here, so be sure to arrive at least an hour before your reservation. 

Address: Via delle Seggiole, 12r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Sunday 

On your last day, seize the morning with a stroll along the Arno River. Boasting wonderful views of the cities’ picturesque, old world architecture, you can cross the historic Ponte Vecchio bridge which was reconstructed in 1345 and drop into any espresso bar for a quick energy hit at the counter. 

Around 11am, you might notice people holding something wrapped in red and white paper… in order to join them, you’ll need to head to All’Antico Vinaio.  Somewhat of a social media sensation, the outpost’s schiacciata sandwiches are a rite of passage for anyone visiting Florence. What began as a simple sandwich shop is now a multi-million dollar international franchise, seeing thick slices of Florentine flatbreads filled with cured meats, creamy local cheeses and fresh vegetables — come hungry! 

Address: Via dei Neri, 65r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy


With a full belly, it’s time to absorb some of the culture Florence is so famous for. Lauded as the most famous gallery in Florence, art lovers find themselves drawn to The Uffizi for good reason. Home to some of the most significant works from artists of the Renaissance and Baroque eras, over 100 rooms store around 2,200 artworks, making it easy to spend several hours, if not an entire day here. Within its walls, you can view Sandro Botticelli’s 1480 work ‘The Birth Of Venus’, Raphael’s 1505 ‘Madonna of the Goldfinch’ and Michelangelo’s 1507 ‘Doni Tondo’, to name a few. 

Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

If you have time for an early dinner, we would suggest heading to Gustapizza for a memorable last bite. Queues surrounding the perimeter of this restaurant are nothing out of the ordinary, but the pizzas they serve are nothing short of extraordinary. Another family-run Florentine institution, the outlet brings an authentic taste of Naples to the citys’ riverside. Thick, puffy crusts are created in the woodfire oven which can be seen from every inside table, with a range of classic flavours on offer including marina, calabrese and tartufo. 

Address: Via Maggio, 46r, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy 

FAQs

What is Florence Italy best known for?

As the capital city of Italy's Tuscany region, Florence is renowned for many things, including but not limited to its notable art scene, Renaissance architecture, cultural heritage and food offerings.

What are the best places to see in Florence?

As mentioned above, the incredible Duomo Cathedral is an absolute must-do while visiting the city, with tourists travelling from far and wide to revel in its magnificent architecture.

Other notable landmarks include the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Uffizi Gallery, Uffizi Gallery, Cappelle Medicee, Arno River and Mercato Centrale.

How many days are necessary in Florence?

Depending on how much you would like to see, around 3-4 days is an ideal amount of time to stay in Florence.

What are the opening times of the Duomo Complex?

According to the most recent information, The Cathedral is open Monday to Saturday from 10:15 AM to 4:45 PM and closed on Sundays. The Dome is open Monday to Friday from 8:15 AM to 7:30 PM, Saturday from 8:15 AM to 5:15 PM, and Sunday from 12:24 PM to 5:15 PM.

When is the best time to visit Florence?

It is largely agreed that the best months to visit are April, May, June, September, and October. These months offer the best of peak season (meaning most attractions will be open) along with pleasant weather. However, given its popularity, it is important to note that these months are also the busiest and most expensive times to visit.

How can I get around Florence?

The best way to get around Florence is actually by foot. You can walk from one end of the city to the other in roughly 30 minutes, passing several landmark sites along the way. Of course, if you would prefer to get the bus or tram, the city has regular public transport services which allow you to do so.


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