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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Florence, Italy

Florence is a beautiful city with plenty of museums and art galleries. It also has delicous food and sumptuous wine you'd want to have as often as possible. I spent a few days here during a month long trip around Europe. 

Florence The Wandering Juan

Florence was a highlight and I would recommend others to visit.

Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Florence

Florence is the capital of Tuscany and is the birthplace of the Renaissance. During that epoch, Florence was the center for culture, art, economics, politics, and commerce. The city's influence spread beyond its confines to other parts of Europe. Its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its galleries and museums attract millions of tourists from all over the world. I spent a few days in Florence and loved each day. 

Getting a Visa

Italy is part of the Schengen zone. Once you have a visa from any of the countries in the zone, you can enter all of them. For this trip I got a Schengen visa from Czechia (my second visa). I got my first visa from the Austrian Embassy in the Philippines via VFS. The requirements and documents needed are similar regardless of where you lodge an application. 

Read more about my experience here: how to get a Schengen visa for Filipinos

How to Get to Florence

Florence Airport (FLR) connects you to different cities in and outside of Italy. There are regular flights to and from Florence. You could also travel by land from countries surrounding Italy. There are train and bus connections traveling to and from other cities. 

Things to Do and Places to See

When you're planning your budget and itinerary for Florence, you'll see plenty of attractions and things to do that fill your days. Florence was the birthplace of Italian Renaissance. There are many museums and art galleries that showcase the richness of the region's culture and history. 

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazza Duomo

Florence Cathedral The Wandering Juan

Florence Cathedral The Wandering Juan

The cathedral and dome are the most prominent landmarks in Florence. It's one of the most beautiful churches I've seen. The area surrounding the cathedral is also lined with fetching pieces of architecture. Construction of the cathedral began in the 1290s and finished in 1436. Pope Eugene IV consecrated the cathedral on March 25, 1436. One of the most attention-grabbing feature of the cathedral is its massive dome. Filippo Brunelleschi designed the dome which was built without a supporting structure. 

It's free to enter the cathedral, but you need to pay to see the dome up close, go up the tower, and enter the batistery.

Entrance fees:

Ghiberti Pass €15 includes the Baptistery, Opera del Duomo Museum, Santa Reparata

Giotto Pass €20 includes Giotto's Bell Tower, Baptistery, Opera del Duomo Museum, Santa Reparata

Brunelleschi Pass €30 includes Dome, Bell Tower, Baptistery, Opera del Duomo Museum, Santa Reparata

All 3 passes are valid for 3 calendar days from the date you chose. You can also choose a timeslot.

You can buy the passes here: tickets for Florence Cathedral

Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangiolo The Wandering Juan

This viewpoint provides you with sweeping, overlooking views of the city. From here, you can see and appreciate the massive dome that Brunelleschi designed. You can also see otehr famous landmarks such as Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio and others. On a clear day, this is the best spot to watch the sunset over the city. The viewpoint is also a popular spot for couples' engagement photoshoots. 

Uffizi Palace and Gallery

Uffizi Gallery The Wandering Juan

The Uffizi Gallery showcases some of the best pieces of art from the Byzantine and Renaissance periods. The Medici Family were patrons of art and commissioned many of the famous artworks created by Florentine artists. Art lovers could spend an entire day here, but for others like myself could settle for just around 3 hours checking out the exhibits. Some of the highlights include Portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by Piero della Francesca, Domenico Veneziano's Virgin and Child, Botticelli's Birth of Venus, The Tribuna, Michelangelo's Holy Family, Medusa by Caravaggio, and others.

Entrance fee: €20, you can buy a Passepartout Nominativo valid for 5 days for €38 or €18 depending on the season (the pass includes the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens)

You can buy a ticket online here: Uffizi Gallery ticket 

Galleria dell'Accademia

Academy Gallery The Wandering Juan

Galleria dell'Accademia or Academy Gallery is home to one of the most famous works of Michelangelo, the statue of David. There are replicas outside this gallery, but the one you'll see here is the original. Seeing this giant statue is the main reason people visit, but there are other exhibits. 

Emtrance fee: €16

You can buy a ticket online here: Galleria dell'Accademia ticket

Piazza della Signoria and the Loggia dei Lanzi

Piazza della Signoria The Wandering Juan

The Piazza della Signoria is one of the most popular squares in the city. The Neptune Fountain will immediately grab your attention. Here you'll also find the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi. The latter is an outdoor sculpture gallery.

Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio The Wandering Juan

The Palazzo Vecchio used to be the city's seat of power. The Medici Family commissioned architects and artists to design the palazzo. 

Entrance fees: 

Starts at €10

€14 for the Museum, Tower and Camminamento

€18 for the Museum, Tower, Camminamento and Archeological Trail

Santa Croce

Santa Croce The Wandering Juan

Santa Croce The Wandering Juan

Construction on the current church began in 1294. The church took more than a century to finish. Pope Eugene IV consecrated the church in 1442. The church is beautiful inside and out. inside you'll find elaborate burial monuments of some of the most renowned Italians such as Machiavelli, Galileo, Michelangelo, and Ghiberti. You'll also find fine examples of Renaissance religious art from Giotto, Gaddi, and Donatello. 

Entrance fee: €8

Pitti Palace

Pitti Palace The Wandering Juan

Pitti Palace The Wandering Juan

The Pitti Palace is another art gallery worth a visit. The palazzo dates to the late 1450s. Luca Pitti, a former Florentine banker, used the palazzo as his residence. The Medici Family bought the palazzo in 1549. Fast forward to today, it's now a renowned art gallery. Highlights include the Galleria Palatina and Royal Apartments. The frescoes you'll see here are spectacular. 

Entrance fee: €10, you can buy a Passepartout Nominativo valid for 5 days for €38 or €18 depending on the season (the pass includes the Uffizi Gallery and Boboli Gardens)

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens The Wandering Juan

Boboli is part of the Pitti Palace complex and is an example of a formal Italian garden. Centuries ago, many European courts drew inspiration from Boboli when they had their gardens designed for them. You can get views of the city form different points while exploring the garden. This particular feature was unique for its time. You'll also find statues, grottoes, and fountains in the garden.

Entrance fee: €6, you can buy a Passepartout Nominativo valid for 5 days for €38 or €18 depending on the season (the pass includes the Uffizi Gallery and Boboli Gardens)

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio The Wandering Juan

This fetching icon of Florence is centuries old and is one of the city's most popular attractions. It's lined with shops for those that have more than enough to splurge on jewelry. The Medici had the bridge built so they can frequently cross the river to reach Palazzo Vecchio and the Pitti Palace. 

Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella The Wandering Juan

This is another church you can add to your itinerary while in Florence. You'll see the usual marble facade with patterns you'll see on other churches in the city. Its interior has beautiful frescoes from renowned artists such as Giotto, Lippi, and Andrea di Bonaiuto.

Entrance fee: €7.50

Eat, Drink and be Merry

Florence The Wandering Juan

Florence The Wandering Juan

Florence The Wandering Juan

Florence The Wandering Juan

If I wasn't in a museum or admiring the view, I was eating and drinking wine in Florence. The food and wine was fantastic. Eating was expensive but not egregiously so, I was able to dine out and eat good stuff despite being on a budget. The places I ate and drank in were pretty good, I guess the restaurants and enotecas in the city were consistent when it comes to the quality of their offerings. 

Other attractions you might want to visit while in Florence include:

  • San Miniato al Monte
  • Bargello Palace National Museum
  • Palazzo Medici-Riccardi
  • Mercato Centrale
  • Bardini Museum and Gardens
  • Brancacci Chapel
  • Museo Galileo

When planning your budget and itinerary for Florence, you might be thinking you need to go on tours. However, the city is very DIY-able (if there's such a word). The city's attractions are within walking distance from each other. You can always go on a guided tour to learn more about the city, if you want to.

Getting around Florence

The best way (and the cheapest) to get around Florence is on foot. It's possible to walk to all of the city's main attractions. I didn't have to take public transportation within the city during my stay. Walking is also an ideal way to shed the pounds you gained eating pasta, pizza, and gelato. The city has buses, trams and taxis if you need to catch an early train or flight out. A single ticket costs €1.50 valid for 90 minutes after validation. You could also buy an Agile 10 card for €14. 

Day Trips from Florence

Florence is centrally located in Tuscany add that to Italy's extensive bus and rail network and you can easyl go on day trips to other popular destinations during your stay. I did a few day trips which you can add to your budget and itinerary for Florence.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre The Wandering Juan

Cinque Terre is a famous destination in Italy. I decided to go on a long day trip because I had time to spare. Views of the houses built on a cliff convinced me. Some of the villages in the region are centuries old. Walking trails, boats, and trains allow visitors and locals to move from one village to another. Cars will have a difficult time navigating the narrow roads that connect the villages. The Cinque Terre National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you have more time, you can spend a few nights here and take the longer walking trails. I took the train from one village to the next because of time constraints. Prices are cheaper in the low season (winter).

You can book a direct train from Florence to La Spezia. The latter is your jump-off point to the villages in Cinque Terre. Alternatively, you can transit in Pisa before boarding another train to La Spezia. I recommend buying train tickets in advance because not only are they cheaper, but also more comfortable than taking the bus. The one-way trip takes around 3 hours. I took the earliest possible departute time to maximize my stay in Cinque Terre. 

You can book train tickets in advance here: https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html

It's possible to DIY Cinque Terre whenever you plan your budget and itinerary for Florence. However, if you don't want the hassle of arranging things on your own, you can book a tour.


Venice The Wandering Juan

It's actually possible to do a day trip to Venice from Florence. Venice is a compact enough where you can see it's highlights in one full day. Visit St. Mark's Basilica, Piazza San Marco, Doge's Palace, Bridge of Sighs, Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Clock Tower, Campanile, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, and others. You could also ride a gondola for 30 minutes starting at €80. You don't actually have to ride any of the boats to most of the town since most places have bridges connecting them to each other. However, there are places that only boats can access. 

You can book train tickets in advance here: https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html

It's possible to DIY your day trip to Venice from Florence. However, you have to start early in the day to maximize your stay. I recommend booking train tickets in advance so that they're not too expensive.


Pisa The Wandering Juan

Pisa The Wandering Juan

The easiest and most popular day trip from Florence is Pisa. Everyone knows that it's most famous attractions is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Pisa Cathedral is just as beautiful and deserves your attention as well. The tower and cathedral are both centuries old and are exemplary of the architecture of their time. I walked from the train station to the cathedral and tower. The town was quite lovely as well so try sparing around 3 hours exploring the area to see the highlights.

You can book train tickets in advance here: https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html

It's possible to go to Pisa DIY, but you can also book a tour so you don't have to think about arranging your own trip. Tours also include other stops such as San Gimignano and Siena. You could also combine Pisa and Cinque Terre in one long day trip, if you start early enough.

Where to Stay in Florence

Florence has budget and luxury accommodations that fit any kind of budget. I usually stay in hostels because I spend most of the day outside anyway. It's also a great place to meet people. I would recommend choosing accommodation near public transportation to make getting around the city easy. I book accommodation through www.booking.com.


Budget for Florence

Florence isn't exactly a cheap destination. However, you can still save a bit while planning your budget and itinerary for Florence. I visited during low season so prices for accommodations and museums were lower. Expect higher prices especially during the summer.

Here's a rundown of the stuff I spent on during my few days trip.

Everything's in €

71.39 - 4 nights Hostel Santa Monaca

12 - City tax for 4 nights

101.60 - Food and drinks

18 - Passepartout Nominativo reduced rate from 38 (5 days pass for Uffizi Gallery, Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, and others)

16 - Galleria dell'Accademia

14.40 - Train to La Spezia

9.60 - Transportation around Cinque Terre

8.10 - Train to Pisa from La Spezia

8.90 - Train to Florence from Pisa

8 - Santa Croce entrance fee

5.80 - Miscellaneous

30.30 - Airport transfer for early morning flight                           

304.09 - Total for 5 days and 4 nights

That's roughly €60 a day. I stayed in a dorm room to reduce my expenses for accommodation. The food and wine were too good to constantly scrimp on them. The reduced price for the 5 days museum pass was a boon, was able to see the exhibits in the Pitti Palace and the Uffizi Gallery at a huge discount. You could definitely spend less if you don't go on day trips to places such as Cinque Terre and Pisa or Venice. The train tickets around Cinque Terre were also reduced because it was low season, so I got to save money there as well.

You might want to check my other posts about Europe:

Itinerary for Florence

Here's a sample itinerary for Florence.

*This assumes you start with one full day.

Day 1

Florence Cathedral 

Palazzo Vecchio

Piazza della Signoria and the Loggia dei Lanzi

Ponte Vecchio

San Miniato al Monte

Piazzale Michelangiolo

Day 2

Academy Gallery

Uffizi Gallery

Santa Croce

Day 3 

Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens

Half day trip to Pisa

Day 4

Santa Maria Novella

Palazzo Medici

You can add or remove places depending on your interests. Some people actually go to Florence for just a day. You can spread that out into two with a trip to both the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace along with the Florence Cathedral and Piazzale Michelangiolo. You can also spend a few days just eating delicious Italian food and drinking sumptuous wine. It's all up to you. Florence is definitely worth more than just a few days.  

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