If you ask me what me to name my favorite destination in Italy, I’d easily tell you it’s Florence!

This city in Northern Italy is famous for being the birthplace of the Renaissance and one of the most beautiful historical centers in Europe. It is rich in old architecture, history, and art — among them Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.

Florence is well-worth visiting on its own but what made me put it at the top of my bucketlist in Italy was its position as an excellent base to explore other travel goals nearby including the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa; wineries and well-preserved medieval towns in Tuscany; and the colorful seaside villages of Cinque Terre.

Traveling to Florence for the first time? This detailed travel guide will make it easy for you to plan a trip, save money, and maximize your time.

Scroll down to read must-know travel tips before you go, followed by a sample itinerary + budget breakdown, recommended hotels/places to stay, things to do/places to visit and lots of extra travel tips.

Florence Travel Guide Blog Contents

1. Get Started

2. Florence Itinerary

3. Florence Budget

4. Where to Stay in Florence

5. Travel Tips Before You Go

6. Places to Visit in Florence + Things To Do

7. More Travel Guides & Blogs

Get Started

How to get to Florence — Florence, in Northern Italy, is most popularly reached by train. Travel time is 1 hour from Pisa, 1 hour and 20 minutes from Rome, and 2 hours from Venice or Milan.

How many days in Florence? — I recommend that you consider planning at least 5 days to visit Florence and go on day trips to must-visit destinations nearby like Pisa, the Tuscan countryside, and Cinque Terre.

Book your hotel early — Stay within easy walking distance from Florence Santa Maria Novela central train station or anywhere within Florence’s historic centre. Grab rock-bottom rates and avoid fully-booked rooms by booking online as soon as you know you’re going. Click below to compare discounts and read reviews by other travelers.

Cheapest ratesBest hotel reviews

Check prices online and pre-book discounts — Save money by checking discounts on tours, museum/attraction tickets & transport. Booking before you leave also saves you time and avoid hassles of bringing/withdrawing cash during your actual trip.

See top discountsSee more

When to visit Florence? — Florence experiences a relatively mild climate that can be enjoyed all year. Each season has its charms but for pleasant temperatures and a high chance of clear blue skies, the best month to visit is around May or October. This time is also the high season, so book early.

Florence Itinerary

Here’s a sample 5 days & 4 nights (5D4N) itinerary for your trip to Florence. It’s suited for first-time visitors who want to go sightseeing in Florence and nearby destinations. This itinerary includes a day trip to Pisa, Cinque Terre villages and medieval towns in Tuscany in addition to 1–2 days sightseeing in Florence’s historical centre.

Feel free to tweak the activities & timings below based on your traveling style, schedule, & attractions that interest you the most.

Day 1: Florence arrival

TimeActivity

Train to Florence

Arrival in Firenze Santa Maria Novella (SMN) central railway station

Transfer to hotel

Florence hotel check-in

Day 2: Tuscany countryside

TimeActivity
8:45 am

Meet-up guide for Tuscany tour.

9:45 am

Monteriggioni

11:00 am

Siena historic center, Piazza del Campo & Siena Cathedral

3:00 pm

San Gimignano historic center

5:00 pm

Chianti area wine estate & wine tasting

7:15 pm

Back to Florence

Day 3: Cinque Terre & Pisa

TimeActivity
7:00 am

Florence to La Spezia train

Buy Cinque Terre card at the Cinque Terre point office in La Spieza station

9:25 am

La Spezia to Vernaza, Cinque Terre train

9:30 am

Vernaza sightseeing

Riomaggiore (optional)

3:24 pm

Train to La Spezia

4:10 pm

La Spezia to Pisa train

6:00 pm

Pisa train station to Leaning Tower of Pisa bus

6:15 pm

Leaning Tower of Pisa & Pisa Cathedral

Pisa to Florence train

Day 4: Florence historical center

TimeActivity
7:00 am

Bus to Piazzale Michelangelo

7:30 am

Piazzale Michelangelo

8:15 am

Piazzale Michelangelo to Pitti Palace bus

8:30 am

Boboli Gardens

10:30 am

Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti)

1:00 pm

Pitti Palace to Florence historical center bus

1:30 pm

Piazza del Duomo

2:30 pm

Florence Cathedral (Il Duomo di Firenze)

5:00 pm

Piazza della Signoria & Palazzo Vecchio

Day 5: Florence departure

TimeActivity

Continue sightseeing around Florence historical centre

Hotel check-out

Transfer to Florence SMN central station

Train to next destination

The itinerary above is very similar to what I and travel buddy, Gael, did during our trip to Florence.

We only spent one full day exploring Florence’s historical center, which was not enough time to appreciate the major sites. If you are interested in seeing the famous artworks and museums, I highly suggest spending at least 2 full days just for Florence (not including the day trips). In addition, move Pisa on a separate day, so you can have a more flexible full day visiting the different towns in Cinque Terre.

Florence Budget

Your travel expenses will largely depend on your traveling style and how much you plan to spend on activities, accommodations & food. To help you set your own budget, here are budget estimates if you follow the 5 days and 4 nights (5D4N) itinerary posted above. Make sure to review all discounts & online booking prices.

Transport expenses breakdown
EUR 28Florence to La Spezia roundtrip train tickets— EUR 14 per person per way x 2.
EUR 16Cinque Terre card — Per person. Includes entry fee and unlimited train rides within Cinque Terre.
EUR 6Bus fares within Florence & Pisa — EUR 1.2 per person per trip.
Activities/attraction costs breakdown
EUR 10Boboli Gardens — Entrance/admission ticket. Per person.
EUR 16Pitti Palace — Entrance/admission ticket. Per person.
EUR 50Guided tour of Tuscany (Siena, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni & Chianti) from Florence — Per person discount price online. Includes: Professional guide; Whole day transportation; Entrance fee to Siena Cathedral, Entrance to a rustic wine estate; Sampling of wines, extra-virgin olive oil and other regional productsBook discount here
Budget Trip – Backpacker Expenses
EUR 50Transport — Bus & train fares within Florence, Pisa & Cinque Terre
EUR 80Accommodations — 4 nights in a budget hostel. EUR 20 per bed per night x 2.
EUR 180Food — EUR 45 food budget per day.
EUR 316Sub-total — Excluding attractions/activities & flights. Including accommodations, food & transport. Excluding attractions/activities & train fares to/from Florence. Approximately PHP 19,456 / USD 370 / SGD 496. Or, a daily budget of EUR 79 / PHP 4,864 / USD 92 / SGD 124.
EUR 76Activities — Admission tickets/entrance fee on selected activities above.
EUR 386Total — Including activities & 5 days expenses above. Approximately PHP 23,766 / USD 452 / SGD 606. Or, a daily budget of EUR 97 / PHP 5,942 / USD 113 / SGD 152.
Other activities
EUR 46Guided Tour to Florence Duomo and the Secret Terraces with Fast Track Entry — Per person discount price online. Includes professional guide, fast track entry, entrance fees/access to the Cathedral, Crypt, Baptistery, Giotto’s Bell Tower and Brunelleschi’s Dome for 48 hoursBook discount here

Where to Stay in Florence

Most accommodations in Florence are conveniently located in the historical center, within easy walking distance to the main tourist spots.

If you’re looking for an affordable room, consider booking a budget hotel or hostel located in the area of Santa Maria Novella train station, but not too far from the Florence Cathedral (Duomo).

If you’re set on a splurge, book your stay in the area between the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and Santa Croce.

Book your room sooner rather than later if you already have your dates set. Cheaper-priced rooms tend to get fully booked faster, especially during busy days like weekends, holidays & peak tourist seasons.

Click below to see rates and compare hotels in Florence within your budget. The best locations & properties with the highest review scores are pre-selected to make it easy for you to pick the perfect place to stay.

Best Luxury Hotels in Florence

Splurge at the best 5-star and 4-star hotels in Florence.

Check all rates & reviews

Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

Historical Center

Book here

Horto Convento

Historical Center

Book here

EUR 200 / USD 234 / PHP 12,314 or less

4-Star & 5-Star hotel promo rates — Grab massive discounts on luxury rooms available for booking today.

Check all rates & reviews

EUR 120 / USD 140 / PHP 7,388 or less

Recommended 3-Star & budget hotels — Great-value rooms for travelers seeking comfort at affordable rates. Perfect for those traveling with family & friends.

Check all rates & reviews

Hotel del Corso

Historical Center

Book here

Hotel Jolì

Historical Center

Book here

EUR 80 / USD 94 / PHP 4,926 or less

Best budget hotels in Florence — For travelers looking for decent yet affordable accommodations.

Check all rates & reviews

Hotel Miceli

Historical Center

Book here

Hotel Dali

Historical Center

Book here

EUR 40 / USD 47 / PHP 2,463 or less

Best hostels & budget hotels — Cheap hotels & places to stay for backpackers/solo travelers on a tight budget.

Check all rates & reviews

My Friends

Historical Center

Book here

Plus Florence Hostel

Historical Center

Book here

EUR 20 / USD 23 / PHP 1,231 or less.

Cheapest places to stay in Florence.

Check all rates & reviews

Florence Travel Tips Before You Go

Italy tourist visa for Filipinos

How to get to Florence

Trains to Florence

Flights to Florence

The Philippines, Singapore & Southeast Asia to Florence

How to get around Florence?

What currency to carry when traveling to Italy?

Useful travel apps & websites for Florence

Should I book my Florence hotel online?

Pre-book your Florence tours & attraction tickets online

Italy tourist visa for Filipinos

Italy is part of the Schengen Area. As such, Pinoy travelers (Philippine passport holders) need to have a valid Schengen visa to visit Italy for tourism purposes.

Schengen visas can be issued by any country in the Schengen area (see list of Schengen member states here). Travellers must apply to the embassy or consulate of the country which they intend to visit.

In cases of travellers visiting multiple countries in the Schengen area, travellers must apply to their main destination’s embassy or consulate. Usually, the main destination is the country they intend to visit the longest. If the main destination cannot be determined, the traveller should apply for the visa at the embassy of the Schengen country of first entry.

In my case, I applied for a Schengen Visa in Greece because it was my main destination. With a valid Schengen Visa, I’m allowed to visit Italy as well as all other countries in the Schengen Area.

Learn more about the Visa policy of the Schengen Area.

How to get to Florence

Florence in Northern Italy can be easily reached by train from any Italian city or by crossing from France (southeast), Switzerland, Austria (west), and Germany (south via Austria).

Or, by flying to Florence Airport from many major European cities.

Florence is located between Milan/Venice and Rome.

If you are also visiting Rome and other destinations in Northern Italy particularly Venice and/or Milan, maximize your itinerary by traveling to Florence on your way to/from Rome.

Start your trip in Rome. Then take the train to Florence (1 hour and 20 minutes) before continuing your journey to Venice or Milan (2 hours to either city).

For example, you can follow these routes:

Rome – Florence – Milan – Venice

Rome – Florence – Venice – Milan

Venice – Milan – Florence – Rome

Milan – Venice – Florence – Rome

It’s okay to do it in reverse, ending in Rome or traveling onward to Southern Italy.

Trains to Florence

Florence’s Firenze Santa Maria Novella, commonly abbreviated as SMN, is the main central station of the city. It’s located right in the city/historic, a 10-minute/800m walk to the Duomo (Florence Cathedral).

Travel time by train is approx. 1 hour from Pisa, 1 hour and 20 minutes from Rome, and 2 hours from Venice or Milan.

Train tickets can be booked online on Loco2Italiarail and Trenitalia.

Italy Eurail Pass

Explore all of Italy with one rail pass – without the hassle of collecting multiple train tickets. Travel at your own pace and get unlimited train rides for 3, 4, 5, or 8 non-consecutive days. Price online starts at EUR 159 / PHP 9,600+.

Pre-book here

Flights to Florence

Flights to Florence arrive at Florence Airport, Peretola (IATA: FLR; Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola; Amerigo Vespucci Airport). This international airport is mainly served by full-service airlines and as a focus city of the Spanish low-cost carrier Vuellig.

Other more well-connected airports nearby include Pisa International Airport,
Rome Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport & Rome Ciampino airport

The Philippines, Singapore & Southeast Asia to Florence

There are no direct connections between Florence and The Philippines or any airport in Southeast Asia. So, the best option is to transit via Rome, Milan, or Venice.

In my case, I arrived in Europe by flying to Athens, Greece from Singapore. Then, flew to Paris and traveled by train to Florence via Colmar (Eastern France), Switzerland, and Milan.

How to get around Florence?

Exploring Florence, even on foot, is easy thanks to the compact size of its historic centre.

There are many options for hotels and accommodations in the historic centre or near Florence SMN central station. From hotels in the city, distances to most attractions are close enough to walk comfortably.

You can also go by public bus or hop-on/hop-off tourist buses.

In addition, frequent trains connect Florence to Pisa, other destinations in Tuscany Province, and nearby destinations such as Cinque Terre.

Public Bus

Florence’s public transport is largely served by city buses.

Bus routes are included in Google Maps’ transit directions feature.

The bus fare is EUR 1.20 each per ticket, valid for 90 minutes. You could get on and off onto different buses and you use the same ticket within the 90-minute allowance.

Alternatively, you can also buy a 4-ride ticket that costs EUR 4.70.

Make sure to buy your ticket before boarding the bus. Tickets can be purchased from the ATAF booth within the SMN train station or any shop/convenient store with the “ATAF” stickers on their shop windows.

Right after boarding the bus, remember to put your ticket in the ticket validating machine. The date and time are then printed on the ticket, starting the time validity of your ticket.

Passengers caught without a validated ticket risk fines of EUR 40–240.

Florence Hop-on Hop-off Tourist Bus

Tour Florence at your own pace. Hop on and off at any of the 41 available stops valid for 1, 2, or 3 days.

The price online starts at EUR 23 per person.

Pre-book here

What currency to carry when traveling to Italy?

Euro (€) is the official currency of Italy. Use ATMs to get money because they offer the best exchange rate.

Make sure to activate your card for international withdrawals before you leave. You can do this by calling or visiting your bank. If available & fees are not that high, changing money before you leave is also a good option.

Use credit cards & pre-book online whenever you can to avoid carrying large amounts of cash during your trip.

Avoid currency exchange stalls because they offer the worst rates.

Useful travel apps & websites for Florence

Google Maps — Remember to download the offline maps before you go to access the map even if you don’t have mobile data.

Use the directions feature if you plan to get around Florence on your own. I love this feature because I often like to wander around places that I visit & see the sights on foot. The directions on Google Maps is also super useful because it displays bus & tram routes in Florence. It only works online, so you will need internet access.

Maps.me — Excellent Google Maps alternative that automatically saves offline maps.

XE Currency — Free & easy currency converter.

Google Translate — Very useful when communicating with locals who do not understand/speak English.

Agoda & Booking.com — My go-to for convenient hotel bookings & cheap rates. For home/apartment rentals, check listings on Airbnb.

Skyscanner & Momondo — These top flight search apps make it super easy to compare airfares from multiple airlines. Download the app & sign-up to the price alerts for updates on cheap flights.

Get Skyscanner for iOSAndroid

TripAdvisor — Great for restaurant reviews & recommendations. One of the features that I use often is the “cheap eats” filter & the map view.

Go to website

Should I book my Florence hotel online?

Book your stay sooner rather than later if you already have your dates set. Cheaper-priced rooms tend to get fully-booked faster, especially during busy days like weekends, holidays & peak tourist seasons.

I frequently book my stay with the sites below to grab rock-bottom prices & enjoy hassle-free trips. Click below to see today’s lowest prices.

AgodaBooking.com

Having hotel reservations is very important when traveling abroad because immigration officers often require tourists to provide the address of their accommodation. In addition, here top reasons why I prefer to book online & why you should too:

Wide selection of hotels/hostels.

Often cheaper prices than walk-in rates. Earn rewards points for every booking. The more you book, the more you earn!

Trusted by millions of travelers. Read reviews from actual staying guests.

Instant confirmation and free cancellation on most properties.

Pay in your home currency. Worry less about bringing cash/exchanging currencies. Convenient & secure payment by credit card or Paypal.

Fast customer support.

Pre-book your Florence tours & attraction tickets online

I often book online to enjoy discounts and cashless convenience during my actual trip. Always check prices of tours and attraction tickets on these booking sites:

KlookGetYourGuide

Prices are often cheaper than booking on-site. Huge discounts on many activities.

Maximize your trip! Avoid wasting time queueing at ticket booths & shopping for tours.

Get a good idea what to expect. Knowing all the inclusions/non-inclusions & reading user reviews is very helpful to make an informed decision.

Earn rewards points for every booking.

Pay in your home currency. Worry less about bringing cash/exchanging currencies.

If you’re booking tours and you’ve already finalized your travel dates, book early, especially if you are traveling with family/friends to lock-in those open slots for everyone in your group.

Places to Visit in Florence + Things To Do

Check out these top tourist spots, best places to visit & things to do in Florence.

1. Piazzale Michelangelo

2. Pitti Palace

3. Boboli Gardens

4. Florence Historical Centre

5. Florence Cathedral (Duomo)

6. Uffizi Gallery

7. Palazzo Vecchio

8. Santa Maria Novella Church

1. Piazzale Michelangelo

A must-visit for stunning views overlooking Florence. Enjoy the best light by visiting during the early morning or late afternoon hours.

How to get there: Ride Bus #11 or #12. By foot, cross the Ponte alle Grazie Bridge or Ponte Vecchio Bridge and walk to Piazza Poggi. From there, follow the uphill trail to Piazzale Michelangelo.

Admission/Entrance fee: Free (public space)

Address: Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

2. Pitti Palace

Originally built for the Pitti family and later sold to the Medicis, this enormous residence showcases the lavish lifestyle of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. The Pitti Palace is now the largest museum complex in Florence.

The main attraction here is the Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments, which houses priceless Renaissance paintings and lavish rooms decorated in high baroque style. The highly ornate ceilings with frescoes and elaborate stucco work were jaw dropping!

Admission/Entrance fee:
EUR 16 from March 1 – October 31
EUR 10 from November 1 – February 28/29

Opening hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm/7:30 pm (depending on the season)
Address: Piazza de’ Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy.

3. Boboli Gardens

Part of the Pitti Palace complex, the Boboli Gardens is the largest green space in Florence.

You won’t run out of Instagram-worthy photos here with sprawling landscaped gardens, cypress-flanked trails, terraces and tunnels formed by the trees, fountains, and statues.

Admission/Entrance fee:
EUR 10 from March 1 – October 31
EUR 6 from November 1 – February 28/29

Opening hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm/7:30 pm (depending on the season)
Address: Piazza Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy.

4. Florence Historical Centre

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this compact and extremely beautiful historical center is where you can find almost all of the main sights you’ll be seeing in Florence. It’s easily walkable, perfect for travelers who love to wander around on their own.

5. Florence Cathedral (Duomo)

Known as the Il Duomo di Firenze in Italian or simply the “Duomo”, this architectural masterpiece is a must-visit in Florence. Its famous dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, is the largest masonry dome in the world.

Don’t miss climbing to the top of the dome for breathtaking views of Florence. On the way up, enjoy a close-up of the massive frescoes that decorate the entire ceiling (inner dome).

Admission/Entrance fee: EUR 18 per person. Includes entry to the Cathedral, the Dome, the Baptistery, Crypt, Campanile di Giotto and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

Opening hours (Cathedral): 10 am to 3:30 pm or 5:00 pm (depending on the month/season)
Opening hours (Dome): 10 am to 7 pm
Address: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy.

Guided Tour to Florence Duomo and the Secret Terraces with Fast Track Entry

Discount price online is EUR 46 per person. Includes professional guide, fast track entry, entrance fees/access to the Cathedral, Crypt, Baptistery, Giotto’s Bell Tower and Brunelleschi’s Dome for 48 hours.

Book discount here

Houses an impressive collection of priceless art, particularly from the period of the Italian Renaissance, including The Birth of Venus and other works by Sandro Botticelli, Giotto, Simone Martini, Piero della Francesca, Beato Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo and Caravaggio.

Admission/Entrance fee:
EUR 20 from March 1 – October 31
EUR 12 from November 1 – February 28/29

Opening hours: 8:15 am to 6:50 pm
Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

7. Palazzo Vecchio

The town hall of Florence. It overlooks the Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David statue.

Admission/Entrance fee: Entry ticket to the museum, archaeological site and battlements costs EUR 18 per person. Entry to the museum only costs EUR 10 per person.

Opening hours: 9 am to 7 pm
Address: Piazza della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy.

8. Santa Maria Novella Church

Located across from Florence SMN central railway station, it is the first great basilica in Florence.

Admission/Entrance fee: EUR 7.5 per person.

Opening hours: 9 am to 5:30 pm or 7 pm (depending on the season/month)
Address: Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 18, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Beyond Florence

1. Leaning Tower of Pisa

2. Tuscany

3. Siena

4. San Gimignano

5. Cinque Terre

1. Leaning Tower of Pisa

You can easily tick this world-famous landmark off your bucketlist by going on the 1-hour train from Florence to the city of Pisa.

How to get there: From Pisa Centrale train station, take the LAM Rossa (red) bus line to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The bus fare is EUR 1.20 per person. Make sure to buy the round-trip tickets at the station, before boarding the bus. Or, walk (2 kilomers/25 minutes).

Admission/Entrance fee: Access to the grounds and the Cathedral is free. If you want to climb up the tower, the entry ticket costs EUR 18 per person.

Opening hours: 10 am to 6 pm
Address: Piazza del Duomo, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy

2. Tuscany

I and Gael thoroughly enjoyed a guided tour around the Tuscan countryside that we booked on Klook.

On a full day tour from Florence, we were able to experience wine tasting in Chianti and wander around a few of the best-preserved medieval-era towns in the area including Monteriggioni, Siena, and
San Gimignano.

If like us, you have limited time, I highly recommend that you get a tour package to maximize your sightseeing instead of going DIY.

Guided tour of Tuscany (Siena, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni & Chianti) from Florence

EUR 50 per person discount price online. Includes: Professional guide; Whole day transportation; Entrance fee to Siena Cathedral, Entrance to a rustic wine estate; Sampling of wines, extra-virgin olive oil and other regional products

Book discount here

3. Siena

Siena is one of the best places to go in Tuscany if you’re seeking a medieval city experience. Here, you can wander around narrow cobbled streets lined with old brick buildings. Siena’s top attractions include the Piazza del Campo (biggest medieval squares in the world) and the beautiful Siena Cathedral.

4. San Gimignano

San Gimignano is another well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage site that’s worth visiting for its feudal atmosphere and appearance. This medieval hill town, encircled by high stone walls, is famous for 14 surviving towers (there were originally 72).

5. Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, translated as “Five Lands” in Italian, is a collective name given to five densely-built fishing villages renowned for their colorful houses, rugged coastlines, and romantic Mediterranean views.

I first knew about Cinque Terre from “Most Beautiful Villages in the World” viral listicles shared on Facebook. Back then, traveling to Europe and visiting places like Cinque Terre felt like a distant dream. Imagine my excitement after finding out that it’s easy to get there from Florence!

How to get there: From Florence, ride the train to La Spezia. Travel time is around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Train fare is EUR 14 per person. From
La Spezia, it’s a short train ride away to the five villages of Cinque Terre.

Admission/Entrance fee: The Cinque Terre Card costs EUR 16 per person. Includes entry fee to the walking trails and unlimited train rides within Cinque Terre.

Don’t Stop Here

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Check out these pages for more travel inspiration beyond Florence: