If you are trying to choose between visiting Venice or Florence, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this blog post, I’ll break down the comparison of the two Italian cities into different categories, from architecture and museums to prices, to help you choose the one that best suits your travel needs and preferences.
- Which Italian city to visit: Venice or Florence? (Quick answer)
- Is Florence or Venice cheaper?
- How easy is it to get to Florence vs Venice?
- Is Venice more crowded than Florence?
- Is either city a tourist trap?
- Which city is easier to get around: Florence or Venice?
- Best architecture
- Accommodation options
- Top things to do in Florence vs Venice
- Day trip opportunities
- Wrap up
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Which Italian city to visit: Venice or Florence? (Quick answer)
When it comes to choosing between visiting Venice or Florence, you can’t really go wrong with either one. However, you might enjoy more one city than the other, depending on what you seek to do during your trip.
If you want to see a truly unique destination and you are interested in architecture then Venice is the big winner. However, if you are an art and history buff, then you’d better off visiting Florence.
Having traveled to both cities, I have to admit I liked Venice more, simply because it’s such a picturesque and one-of-a-kind location.
Also, I actually wrote an entire post on whether is Venice worth visiting or not, where I list pros and cons, so make sure to check that out for a more in-depth analysis.
Is Florence or Venice cheaper?
Considering how popular Venice is as a travel destination, but also the fact that it’s a relatively small city, it is only normal that it’s more expensive than Florence, especially when it comes to accommodation.
How easy is it to get to Florence vs Venice?
Both cities have international airports, but Venice is served by two: Marco Polo Airport, and Antonio Canova Airport in Treviso (commonly called Treviso Airport), making it better connected both internally and internationally.
So you may have an easier time finding a flight to Venice that will suit your needs and time schedule, than to Florence.
Is Venice more crowded than Florence?
While both cities are quite touristy, Venice is usually much more crowded than Florence, especially during summer, and the famous Carnevale di Venezia (which usually takes place during February, check the exact current dates here).
In the end, it all boils down to being a small city, but a very popular travel destination.
I actually made the “mistake” of visiting Venice in July and surprisingly enough it was not the crowds that bothered me the most, but the heat.
But generally speaking, I would recommend May or September for visiting Venice, while April – June and September – October are great for visiting Florence.
During these months the cities are usually not as crowded as in summer and the weather is pleasant enough for sightseeing.
Is either city a tourist trap?
In my opinion, neither Florence nor Venice is a tourist trap, even though both are quite touristy. These are cities with a long history and rich culture, so they are so popular with visitors from all over the world for a reason.
I do want to note that the gondola ride in particular has the potential to look like a tourist trap, but in my opinion, it’s a matter of perspective.
If you see it as just an expensive boat trip that you can only take in Venice (it’s around 80 euros for 40 minutes), then it might really feel like a tourist trap for you.
However, if you take the time to learn about its history and all of the craftsmanship and tradition that surround these flat-bottomed boats, then you’ll probably see the whole experience in a very different light.
Which city is easier to get around: Florence or Venice?
Both Florence and Venice are walkable cities and it’s easy to see most of the main attractions on foot since they are located fairly close to each other.
In fact, even if you only have 24 hours to spend in Florence, you’ll still get to see many of the main attractions.
As far as public transportation goes, in Florence, you can choose between trams and buses. Additional options like taxis and renting a bike or an electric scooter also exist. As for Uber, while it does exist, it only offers limited service, meaning Uber Black and Uber Van, which are more expensive.
In Venice, however, things are a bit different in the sense that there are no roads: you get around by vaporetti (water buses).
Honestly, both cities have amazing architecture. However, I still feel like Venice wins in this department because it’s literally built on the water and has a distinctive architectural style, usually referred to as Venetian Gothic.
It was developed to meet the specific building requirements of the city and was influenced by both Byzantine and Islamic architecture, reflecting the cultural diversity that Venice experienced because of its extensive trading network.
As I already mentioned, accommodation tends to be more expensive in Venice and not only that but there aren’t as many options as in Florence either, since space is quite limited.
Venice Travel Tip
The travel time between Venice Mestre train station and Venice Santa Lucia is only 10 – 11 minutes and there’s a connection every 4 minutes or so. A one-way ticket is 1.45 euros.
Top things to do in Florence vs Venice
Best things to do in Venice
Here are some of the best things to do in Venice:
- get lost on the city’s tiny alleys
- take a gondola ride
- visit St. Mark’s Basilica
- walk aroundPiazza San Marco
- explore the Doge’s Palace: you’ll also pass on the Bridge of Sighs during your tour of the palace (it’s said prisoners sighed in despair as they took one last look at Venice from the bridge, before going to their cells)
- climb the Campanile di San Marco
- admire the Rialto Bridge
- learn about Murano glass on Murano island
- walk around the colorful Burano island
- attend the famous Venice Carnival (usually takes place during the month of February)
- relax on Lido di Jesolo beach
- visit the Libreria Acqua Alta
Best things to do in Florence
I actually wrote a post dedicated to spending 2 days in Florence which I highly encourage you to read if you plan to visit the city. But long story short, some of the best things to do while in Florence are:
- climb on top of Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giotto’s Bell Tower
- visit the interior of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral and the Baptistery
- see Michelangelo’s David at Galleria dell’Accademia
- admire some of the most magnificent art pieces at Ufizzi Galleries
- visit Palazzo Pitti
- stroll through Boboli Gardens
- visit the Basilica of Santa Croce
- make a wish at Fontana del Porcellino
- admire Piazza Della Signoria and its statues
- visit Palazzo Vecchio
- eat the most famous sandwich in Florence at All’antico Vinaio
- stroll along Ponte Vecchio
- stop to rest at Giardino Delle Rose
- visit Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte
- admire the sun setting over Florence from Michelangelo Square
Honestly, both cities have enough points of interest to keep you busy for 2 or 3 full days. So for me, it’s really a tie.
Day trip opportunities
In my opinion, both Florence and Venice offer some really good options when it comes to day trips.
And the funny thing is that you can actually visit one of the cities as a day trip from the other since fast trains make the journey in around 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Day trips from Venice
- Verona: it is a popular choice for a day trip for people visiting Venice, as you can get to Verona in a bit over one hour by train.
- Lake Garda: you can get to Sirmione from Venice in about 2h and a half, by train and bus. However, I would suggest you spend one or two nights there as well, in order to be able to visit some of the other towns in the Lake Garda area (like Riva, Malcesine or Limone). Kids will also enjoy Gardaland Park, located near Peschiera del Garda.
- Padua: it is an easy day trip to make as you can arrive in Padua in just half an hour by train.
- Florence: around 2 hours and 15 minutes by fast train
Day trips from Florence
- Pisa: you can check out my DIY guide on how to visit Pisa as a day trip from Florence or you can book a tour: Pisa Half-Day Trip with Cathedral and Tower Entry.
- Cinque Terre: while visiting Cinque Terre from Florence as a day trip is doable, I’d recommend you also spend 1-2 days there.
- Luca: it is a lovely town with nice churches and squares.
- Siena: a beautiful medieval town located just one hour and 15 minutes away from Florence (Check out my lists of towns and villages near Florence where you can travel in less than 2 hours)
- Venice: around 2 hours and 15 minutes by fast train
I hope this blog post helped you decide which city to visit between Florence and Venice for your next trip to Italy, but if you are still debating maybe just take it as a sign to visit both.
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