Three days in Florence – Renaissance art on your doorstep – day 2
While day one has given you the chance to see what Florence has to offer, day two is all about taking a deeper look. Now that you’ve got your bearings in the city, time is of the essence and there’s no better way to dive into Renaissance art than by visiting some of the world’s most famous protected sites.
Step into the world of the powerful noble family, the Medicis, who were responsible for much of the artistic heritage that Florence is most famous for.
10:00 – cradling the Renaissance
Art lover or not, a trip to one of the most famous museums in the world is a must during your stay in Florence. Traipse through the Renaissance period in Florence by walking through the wide corridors of the Uffizi and see works by names such as Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Caravaggio, and Raphael. This museum was originally built by the Medici family to house their personal art collection. Make sure you book in advance in order to avoid the museum’s infamously long queues and if you get the chance, see if you can see the Vasari Corridor – the secret passageway of the Medici Family.
12:00 – do a bit of people-watching
In Piazza della Signoria next to the Uffizi gallery is an outdoor sculpture gallery called Loggia dei Lanzi. Wander over here for some good people-watching opportunities, and you might even be inspired to join the hordes of art students deep in concentration with their sketches. Most notable is the bronze statue of Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini, depicting the mythical Greek hero holding his sword in his right hand and triumphantly holding up the Medusa's decapitated head in his left.
12:45 - early lunch at a bustling Osteria
While Italians normally eat lunch around 1-1:30pm, sometimes it pays to go a little early to grab a spot at one of the best local haunts. Adjoining Piazza della Signoria is the street Via dei Cerchi, where you’ll find Osteria il Buongustai - a place where locals and tourists intermingle in an intimate setting. Worth waiting for, its dishes are very affordable, with generously sized portions, and represent traditional local food. We recommend trying a dish on the daily changing menu, and of course one of their delectable desserts.
14:00 - Michelangelo’s masterpiece
A visit to the Accademia delle Belle Arti to see Florence’s most famous ‘resident’ – Michelangelo’s sculpture of David is an absolute must for any visitor to Florence. Standing at over five metres tall, David is a marble colossus, and a breathtaking sight to behold up close. We recommend reserving tickets in advance and don’t forget the other great sculptures in this museum; some of the unfinished work is absolutely stunning.
16:00 - panoramic views
Grab a coffee at nearby Piazza San Marco and head towards the main train station to catch Bus 12. We’re heading up the hill to see one of the best views in the city, at Piazzale Michelangelo, a panoramic viewing spot built in 1869 by Florentine architect Giuseppe Poggi. Take your time milling around, exploring the different photo opportunities. The views are absolutely remarkable and if you walk just a little bit higher you can visit one of the most beautiful churches in Florence, Chiesa di San Miniato al Monte, an almost 1000-year-old structure. At around 4 or 5pm every day you can hear the monks’ Gregorian chants from within the inner cloisters of the church.
17:30 - winding down the day
After all of this sightseeing, there’s no better way to finish off the day than trying some local wine and cheese at a beautiful little Piazza close to the Ponte Vecchio. Visit Le Volpi E L'Uva at Piazza de' Rossi 1, a charming wine and cheese bar with a wide selection that’s sure to please any palate. Always bustling, they have wonderful cured meat, cheese spreads and crostini. You may want to make a reservation if you would like to sit outside on the terrace. One fun fact: above this piazza is part of the famous Vasari corridor.
This winds up day two of your whirlwind Florentine adventure.