This seems basic but we can’t emphasize it enough. If you know you only have one day in Florence, you’ll need to take advantage of the amount of time you do have. The only way to do that is by having a bomb-proof plan for getting in, getting out, and which of the Florence attractions you really want to see. There are three main things to do before you go:
1.What time you arrive in the city and what time the last train leaves. If you go for less than 24 hours you need to write down your train times and bring them with you so you can budget enough time to get in and get out.
2. Where your accommodation is located and if they’ll let you drop off your bags (if staying for 24 hours). Ideally, you want to stroll off your train, drop your bags at the hotel and get going. Most accommodations in Italy have no problem with this, but it’s worth checking ahead of time. If you need help choosing the right neighborhood for you, check out our guide to where to stay in Florence.
3. Museum hours. Many major museums are closed on Mondays across Italy, especially during the off-season. It also helps to reserve your tickets ahead of time, either through the museum website or through tour providers, as buying your tickets at the door often means waiting in long lines.
When we spend one day in Florence with friends we follow a tried and tested formula that looks like this:
1 Must-See Church + picnic lunch + 1 Must-See Museum (or 2 small museums) + 1 Sundown Activity+ Florentine Feast = pure bliss.
There is some leeway in this formula depending on which spots you choose (more on that below) but if you take our formula and plug in the destinations of your choice you are sure to have a fantastic day. If you aren’t particularly interested in churches, you can always throw another museum into the morning, or if museums aren’t your thing, feel free to sub in another church or two. But whatever you do, don’t schedule more than one large church or museum (or two small ones) per half day.