Truth, Venice is my favorite Italian city. However, Florence is a close second.
What do I love about Florence? Hmm…Where to start? I’ve been to the city of Renaissance several times, and each visit is a new pleasure!
1-Cappuccino and a croissant, at an outdoor café!
2- The art of course,
Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of David is there. You can view it in the Galleria dell’Accademia. Or, a replica stands in the Piazza della Signoria. I’ve seen both, but you can only take a pic in the piazza.
I have to admit, I have a fondness for Michelangelo. He danced to his own tune.
From Piazza della Signoria, it is a short six minute walk to the Basilica of Santa Croce, where Michelangelo is buried.
3-Pitti Gola e Cantina
I can’t talk about Florence without mentioning Pitti Gola e Cantina! Located in Palazzo Pitti, this wine tasting room/café was designed for the love of wine. If you enjoy wine and food, I highly recommend the Wine Tasting Lunch, three course meal with four wines included. Everything is impeccable, including service. The cost is 35,00 euro per person, and totally worth it.
Pitti Gola is a small place however, a few tables are set for outdoor use, (in warm weather) and maybe five inside. I would seek reservations, they are not required, but I strongly suggest it.
While you’re in the palazzo, take a tour through Pitti Palace. You’ll see renaissance paintings and art, and hear stories about the influential Medici family.
or Duomo can’t be missed! Literally!! This is a beautiful architectural marvel, and one of my favorites. Piazza del Duomo will be crowded, although this shouldn’t hinder you from getting some great shots.
Tickets are available to view the church’s interior, and also to climb its tower; the climb is challenging, but the view is well worth it, I’ve heard.
The duomo is also included with some “skip the line” tours.
Florence’s oldest bridge, stretching across the Arno River, is the most popular place for shopping.
Great restaurants, wine bars and even grocery stores are in this area. Expect a “packed house”, as they say.
Some Firenze Tips:
Arrive by plane or train
The streets in Florence are narrow and jammed with cars. The local drivers go wherever they feel they need to, to get through the mass.
I would recommend a hotel shuttle (if offered by your hotel) or shared transport, to your accommodation. A taxi is a good option, the line can get long, but it moves quickly. (At least at the train station.) A note here, do not accept help from a local offering to get you ahead in the line, unless you don’t mind paying several Euros for it.
Other than arrival, Firenze is very walk-able. Pick-up a map and enjoy exploring the city!
Protect your cash
We usually split money between us, and we also leave some behind locked in the safe in our room. Carry your wallet in your front pocket, or use a money belt. I use a small purse, one that I keep close to my body or even under a jacket. If I see the need for a backpack, I wear it in front instead of on my back. Pick pockets target the tourist crowds; be careful and aware of who’s around you.
Tip your tour guide
Tips is their livelihood. If you choose not to tip, and there’s a chance to get even, they will! I’m speaking from personal experience.