We decided to break up our trip by visiting Florence with a 1 night, 2-day excursion. Although our trip was short and I felt we barely saw “the basics” in Rome if we had an extra day I would’ve spent it in Florence. It’s truly such a charming city and we only scratched the surface. There's also lots of history and incredible things to see in Florence so I highly, highly recommend. It's a little less busy than Rome too, so getting a break from that was nice. If you're wondering how to best spend a whirlwind 48 hours outside of Rome, see below for our Florence 2 day itinerary. Some of what we chose to do may be a bit controversial, but if you love wine, you must visit the Tuscan wine region (which is just 30 minutes away.)
Florence 2 Day Itinerary – What to Do, See, and Eat
[Day 1 – The Highlights of Florence (Firenze), Italy]
Photo Credit: Rich Seeger
We took the Train Italia (tix here) early in the morning, and while the wake-up time was absolutely brutal, the train ride through the Italian countryside ended up being one of the highlights of the trip for me. Plus, we don’t have fancy trains like that in the states, so this was a treat in itself!
After the train, we dropped our luggage at our hotel, Hotel Degli Orafi (which was another really great choice – we loved it!) and made our way over to see the David at the Accademia Gallery Museum. We bought skip the line tickets so we didn’t have to wait to get in. (See here.)
In the afternoon we took this guided bike tour all over Florence to really capture the highlights. If you like tours, taking different kinds (Segway, bike etc.) helps break up all of the information. If you can afford it, I also like tours because I feel like I get more of the stories and history of what I’m seeing than doing it all on my own. We loved our tour guide and Rich loved biking the city. Here's what our bike tour covered that I also recommend if you want to see on your own.
What to See in Florence:
- Main city center and the Oltrarno
- Santa Maria Novella, Palazzo Pitti and the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge
- Uffizi square and the exterior of the Santa Croce church
- Piazza della Signoria and the medieval district
- the Duomo and Piazza della Republica
Photo Credit: Rich Seeger
We squished in the Uffizi Gallery Museum in the evening before it closed, but we did it quite quickly. I was also exhausted at this point, so this is the main reason why I wish we had another full day in Florence. We ate dinner at iO Osteria Personale and then walked the Ponte Vecchio and browsed the shops at night.
[Day 2 – Tuscan Wine Country]
So here's what we didn't get to do in Florence that is almost always on the “must see” list:
- Inside The Duomo
- Medici Tombs & Chapel
- The Bargello Museum
- Inside the Church of Santa Croce
All of those would be EXCELLENT sights to see, but we chose to spend our second day quite differently and I'm so glad we did!
After our overnight at the hotel, we woke up the next morning and raced to the bus stop so we could meet the rest of our group for the all-day wine tasting. We went to three different wineries ranging from small and family-owned to bigger production sites, we also received a wine tasting lesson at each one and I did learn a few things about how to drink reds and how to treat “aggressive Chianti's.”
I craved more time in Florence, but this time in the countryside was so idyllic I wouldn't have missed it. Build this into your trip, whether you're a wine lover or not. The scenery is spectacular!
It so happened to be Thanksgiving Day for Americans the day we went, so it was nice to do the wine tour, lunch, and then a meal with a big group of people also celebrating the holiday. Rich booked ours through Grape Tours and had the best experience, but there are also lots of others that cover the area here.
We got back after dark and had some time to kill before our train back to Rome. We enjoyed a quick happy hour on the roof of our hotel, picked up our bags, and took the ride back to Roma.
P.S. Keep up with my travels on Instagram.