Florence, one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. The city is located in the sunny Tuscany and has numerous sights that date back to the Renaissance. The great thing about the city of Florence is that all the sights are close together and is a perfect stopover for a trip through Italy. The city is very centrally located and can be easily reached within 2 hours by train from Milan. Another plus about this city is that it is not as touristic as cities such as Milan and Rome. In short, perfect to spend 24 hours here! But how can you do that in the best way?… Let me explain you more about that.
Luckily I have been able to visit the city several times. The last time I was here, was a year ago in February. Fortunately, just before the outbreak of the corona virus. I took this trip with a good friend for our graduation project.
Flying from the Netherlands to Florence is a lot more expensive than flying from the Netherlands to Milan, therefore we chose the cheaper option. (+this way we could also get a glimpse of Milan)
In only 2 hours you can travel from Milan Central Station to Florence Santa Maria Novella by train. (Tip: book these tickets before your departure so that you know in advance what time the train will leave!) Each ticket also has a seat number linked to it, so that you always have a seat. Very handy since these trains travel up to 250 km/h.
About halfway the train ride takes you to Reggio Emilia Train Station, which was designed by the world-famous architect Santiago Calatrava. We took the train from Milan at 4.30 pm and arrived in Florence at 7 pm due to a slight delay.
We had rented an apartment for 2 nights. In this way we arrived in Florence in the evening and we could start exploring the city from early on the next morning.
Click here for the apartment where we stayed. Click here for all hotels and apartments in Florence.
A visit to Italy is of course not complete if you haven’t had pizza, so that same evening we went to eat pizza at “Pizza Napoli 1955” and then went to bed early.
The full day in Florence has started: The alarm went off at 9 am and unfortunately, because we weren’t staying in a hotel, we didn’t got our breakfast served. I had to go out and find the nearest supermarket to get us something to eat. Luckily there are many little supermarkets in the city center which often also have a backery section where you can buy fresh bread.
After breakfast we left for Piazza di Santa Croce. This is where the Basilica di Santa Croce is located, a church considered as one of the most important Gothic basilicas in Italy.
Then we walked via palazzo del polopo and Piazza della Signoria to the Ponte Veccchio. This bridge crosses the River Arno and is best known for all the small jewelers who are located here on the bridge.
The Ponte Vecchio connects the northern part of Florence with the southern part. You can walk straight to Pitti Palace from this bridge. The Pitti palace has a rich history and today functions as a museum.
This part of Florence is also a lot greener than the Northern part. You can find a few gardens and parks on this side of the city.
Now it is time to train the calf muscles and walk up the steep streets. That’s where Piazzale Michel Angelo is located. It takes some effort to get there but the view is spectacular. From here there is a panoramic view of the entire city (including mountains in the background).
Time for some food: After the view at Piazzale Michel Angelo we walked back to the street of our apartment. Here we saw a very long queue earlier in the day at a food store called “All Antico Vinaio”. Everyone walked out with sandwiches that looked delicious and we had to try this. The queue was long, but luckily it got very fast and it was our turn within 10 minutes.
And luckily we understood why all these people were queuing up here… the sandwiches were only €5,- each and the taste was delicious.
After this stopover we immediately continued… you cannot end your stay in Florence without visiting Santa Maria del Fiore (the cathedral).
The cathedral consists of various parts that can be visited. By buying a ticket at Piazza del Duomo 14 you can access all these attractions.
(If you only want to visit the cathedral from the inside, you don’t have to buy tickets! But keep in mind that there is often a long queue to enter the cathedral.)
First we visited the Baptistery. There is usually no long queue here and you don’t need a reservation to enter After the Baptistery we went to the bell tower (Campanile). Again, no reservation is required for the entrance to this tower, just scan your entrance ticket and you can continue. The tower is almost 85 meters high and you can reach the top by going up with very narrow stairs (not exactly an ideal situation for people with claustrophobia). The leg muscles are well tested again by the 414 stairs that lead to the top. But once up there, there is a 360 degree view of all of Florence and Brunelleschi’s dome.
After enjoying the view for a few minutes at the top, we started the way back down. Again via the narrow stairs and 414 steps.
Save the best for last! Finally it was time to visit Brunelleschi’s dome. To climb this dome, a reservation must be made in advance. TIP: set this reservation at about half an hour before sunset. This way you can enjoy an enchanting sunset on top of the dome. The viewing platform on top is located at a height of 91 meters, again offering a spectacular 360 degree view of the city. Unfortunately, there is also no lift here that gets you to the top, so 463 steps have to be walked up. Just continue all those stairs and narrow corridors because the view is more than worth it.
After walking up and down a lot of stairs it was time to end the day. This of course completely in Italian style with a delicious pasta.
The last day has arrived and so it’s time to start our trip back home #sad. We already bought the return tickets for the train before leaving for Italy, so we were able to adjust our planning to the time of departure. From Florence back to Milan and then from Milan back to the Netherlands. Trips always pass too quickly in my opinion.
Hopefully I have been able to give you an idea about how you can spend 24 hours in Florence. This beautiful city in Italy is definitely worth a visit some time!
Safe Travels, Enzo
I took these things with me on my trip: Backpack -> Click here Cap -> Click here Camera -> Click here Mini tripod -> Click here