48 Hours in Florence
In the heart of Tuscany, Florence is where the Renaissance movement began. It is filled with art galleries, museums, and buildings that need to be seen during any visit. The first stop on this trip is to the city’s most popular art museum the Uffizi Gallery. The gallery is one of the best in Italy, and the world, and it includes pieces from famous artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Sandro Botticelli. Plan to buy tickets in advance because lines can be extremely long for purchasing tickets at the door of the Uffizi. The Uffizi Gallery is quite large and it will take a while to see everything, so after touring the gallery walk a few blocks to La Prosciutteria for a delicious panino.
Take a relaxing walk along the Arno River after lunch over to the Ponte Vecchio, a covered bridge that was rebuilt in the 14th century after the original had been destroyed. On the bridge there is a beautiful view of the river, a variety of shops, and even at times small performances such as marionette shows.
After crossing the Ponte Vecchio head to the Palazzo Pitti and its Boboli Gardens. A ticket can be purchased to have access to see the Boboli Gardens and Silver Museum inside the palazzo. The Boboli Gardens are huge and contain not just beautiful foliage, but also sculptures and fountains. If desired, another ticket can be purchased to see the rest of Palazzo Pitti’s exhibits, the Palantine Gallery, the Royal Apartments, and the Gallery of Modern Art.
For the second day grab a quick café (there are places to get one everywhere) on the way to the Galleria dell’Accademia. L’Accademia is home to one of the most famous sculptures in the world, Michelangelo’s David. The David towers at almost 17 feet high and this piece alone is worth the price of admission. There are of course many others including the other pieces by Michelangelo in the same “Hall of Prisoners”. These sculptures are unfinished and provide fascinating insight into the process the artist used when creating a sculpture. Like the Uffizi, lines can get very long, so buying a ticket beforehand is recommended.
Next, head to Florence’s Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in the center of the city. The cathedral is impossible to miss with its multicolored marble exterior and huge dome on top. It is free to go into the cathedral and there will be a line, but it’s worth it. You will be able to tour the inside of the church and then you can pay to climb to the top of the dome for an excellent view of the city if you wish.
Take a break after exploring the cathedral and grab lunch around the Piazza del Duomo at one of the many places to eat such as Panini Toscani. Close by is the Piazza Del Signorio where there are multiple things to see. In the piazza there are multiple sculptures such as Nettuno and a replica of David. There is also the Loggia dei Lanzi, an outdoor, covered sculpture gallery with a variety of pieces such Perseo.
The main attraction of the square is the imposing Palazzo Vecchio. The medieval castle can be toured a few different ways. Tickets can be bought to see the museum, the tower or both. The museum has another wonderful collection of renaissance art and allows for a great tour of the fortress. The tower also provides one of the best 360-degree views of the city, including a great look at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. If timed correctly, this can even be done at sunset for an especially breathtaking view. As the sun goes down stop for a nice dinner before you leave the city and try something native to the region of Tuscany such as a bistecca alla Fiorentina.
Uffizi Gallery: Go to www.uffizi.org for information on the museum and find the number listed to purchase over the phone or the proper websites are provided. Tickets can be purchased for €16.50.
*uffizi.org is not the official site, but provides good information on all major sites in Florence and where to buy tickets
Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens: Go to http://www.florence-tickets.com/boboli-garden.html?site=uffi#top for more information on the palace and gardens, and to purchase tickets for about €20.50. Tickets for the other museums inside the Palazzo Pitti can be found on the same website.
L’Accademia: Go to www.accademia.org for information on the museum and find the number listed to purchase over the phone or the proper websites are provided. Tickets can be purchased for €23.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore: Free entrance, €8 to climb to the top of the dome, €6 to climb to the top of the bell tower. Tickets can be purchased on site.
Palazzo Vecchio: Tickets can be purchased at the palazzo for the museum, tower, or both. Museum only is €10, tower only is €10, and a ticket for both is €14.