This is an article in the 36 Hours In… series. To find more in the series, head here.
Welcome to Tuscany, Italy! Florence is a beautiful city that is home to inspiring art, fascinating architecture, and delicious food. There is so much to do in Florence and the surrounding region that we could not hope to cover everything in such a short 36 hour period. But this is a start! In this article we explore Florence and the nearby towns of Pisa and Lucca.
You’ve just arrived in Florence, and it’s time to get acquainted with the city. Florence is a stunning city, and it is fun getting lost in the narrow back streets and exploring all that the city has to offer. We recommend finding street stalls and grabbing a cheap bite for dinner.
After breakfast, find your way to Piazza del Duomo and marvel at the Cattedral di Santa Maria del Fiore and the famous Duomo (dome).
It costs € 10 to climb the Duomo, and it’s well worth it to get an amazing view over the city. You climb up 463 steps, squeeze through the roof space and pop out near the top of the dome. Look at the ant-like people from above and marvel at the view over the city.
On your way back down, take a close-up look at the frescoes on the inside of the dome. The cathedral is magnificent!
If you’ve got time, visit the Uffizi Gallery before a late lunch. There are many beautiful artworks in the gallery and the view over the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio can’t be beat.
Wander across the beautiful Ponte Vecchio and into the other side of town. You can escape the city confines quickly and find yourself in the countryside – but don’t get lost like we did!
Find your way to Piazzale Michelangelo for a stunning view over the city, taking in the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and Florence’s lovely terracotta roofs. Perhaps this would be a good place to enjoy the sunset?
Florence is famous for aperitivo, or finger food before dinner. It’s fantastic for budget travellers! If you can find a bar that provides a good spread, you can eat enough for dinner but only pay for your drinks. We visited a bar called Moyo, and the food provided was enough to feed a small army – we had pasta, salads, pizza, fries, and more!
Today will be a big day! Catch an early train from Florence to Pisa (a 2 hour trip), home of that famous tower on a lean. Take in the leaning tower and the cathedral nearby, and take that clichéd photo of you propping up the tower (cheesy, but fun!). Pisa is a lovely town and worth a stroll through on the way back to the train station. Hop on the Lucca-bound train, which will take about one hour.
Lucca has a historical city centre that is bounded by walls (the walls were actually designed by Leonardo Da Vinci!). Walking or cycling along the city walls is a great way to get yourself oriented and see the city from a higher vantage point. Be aware that not much is open on a Sunday, but the city centre is still lovely to walk around. Amazing pasta can be found in the restaurants in Piazza Anfiteatro, an oval-shaped piazza in the middle of town.
Head back to Florence on the train to finish your wonderful weekend in Tuscany!
We visited Florence, Pisa, and Lucca in winter, and this itinerary reflects what we got up to. We would love some tips on must-do’s in other seasons for the next time we visit – share your thoughts below!