The Roman Guy’s top tips for visiting Florence on a day trip from Rome.
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Where to eat, how to get reservations to museums, how to get around, the best hidden gems and what are the top sights to see for first time visitors.
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Hi. Welcome to The Roman Guy How 2 Series. Today, we’re going to show you to get the most out of your day trip to Florence.
A lot of people refer to Florence as a city, but it has much more of a small village type feel. It’s perfect for a day trip because it’s centrally located between Milan, Venice, and Rome, and very easy to get to by fast train. It’s an hour from Rome, two hours from Venice, and an hour and 40 minutes from Milan. Think of it this way, it’s a three-hour car ride from Rome to Florence or a one-hour train ride.
Our first stop is Accademia which is about 13 minutes by foot from the main train station. Be sure to RSVP tickets to Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David. You can call ahead to get the lowest price or book online with one of our partners.
I recommend getting inside by 9:30 AM. Be sure to give yourself at least 30 minutes between your reservation and your train arrival time.
It’s heavily debated on what Michelangelo’s masterpiece is, but David is an amazing work of art with a great story. After David’s completion, Michelangelo was asked why he worked so fast. His response was, “I saw an angel trapped in that marble and I carved him until I set him free.”
The central market of Florence is about a seven-minute walk from Accademia. In Italian, it’s referred to as il Mercato Centrale. It’s a great place to grab a coffee, some fruit or snacks to keep you going all day.
After the central market, you should head to Brunelleschi’s Cathedral, which is Florence’s central focal point. You’ll hear the massive cathedral being referred to as il Duomo. It’s recognized for its captivating color scheme, bronze doors, and magnificent cupola, or dome. The cathedral took over a hundred years to build and was consecrated in 1436 during the height of the Florentine Renaissance.
Right in Piazza del Duomo is a great artisanal gelato shop called Gelato Edoardo Bio. It’s family-owned, organic, and has recipes that are over a hundred years old.
The Basilica of Santa Croce, is not only a beautiful church but the final resting place of Michelangelo and Galileo. One of the best parts about Santa Croce is on the outside. This lively piazza is a people-watchers dream.
There are plenty of outdoor restaurants in Florence but consider La Cantinetta Verrazzano. This is a local favorite and recommendation of one of our guides in Florence.
From here, you should pass by one of Italy’s most famous bridges, the Ponte Vecchio or old bridge, famous for its shops physically built into the bridge. Today, most of them sell gold, but they’ve been selling different artisanal goods here since it was constructed as far back as the 12th century.
Now you’re right around the corner from Piazza della Signoria. This square is connected to one of the world’s most impressive collections of Renaissance art, the Uffizi Gallery.
Piazza della Signoria is host to a beautiful array of outdoor statues, monuments, and fountains. The most notable building in this square is Palazzo Vecchio which is the Town Hall of Florence.
By now, it should be getting late and you should consider going to All’Antico Vinaio for a Florentine sandwich.
On the way to the train station, you should stop by La Fontana del Porcellino. It’s a bronze statue of a boar and Florence’s most famous piece of folklore. You put a coin in the boar’s mouth and let it slide out. If it successfully falls the grate below, it ensures a safe return to Florence. This tradition was documented as early as 1766.
From here, you’re only 10 to 15 minutes from the main train station, but by a rule of thumb when in a foreign city, you should try to get there 20 minutes early.
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