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Hello from Atlanta!

Elizabeth Harty

New Member
I am going on a once in a life time month long trip to Florence and am planning to primarily do day trips but hang in Florence quite a bit as well. I haven’t been to Italy in almost about 25 years, so interested in opinions about the “can’t be missed day trips” and activities. thank you for any suggestions or help.
 

BethC

New Member
"Can't miss" depends on what you are interested in (Renaissance art? shopping? gelato?) and what you like to avoid (Renaissance art? crowds?).

Before I add my suggestions, could you tell us
What month will you be there?
What do you enjoy seeing and doing?
For day trips, will you drive, take mini-bus tours, or take the train?
Do you like to have tickets booked in advance, or go with the flow once you're there?

We went in April 2019 for three weeks and it was glorious.
 

Elizabeth Harty

New Member
I am going for the month of May. For day trips I will either take the train or get a driver. I don’t mind really small tours, but don’t want to do larger ones.
I prefer not to be in large crowds and really love a nice walk and trying all kinds of delicious food.
The first two weeks I have two friends joining me so for those weeks I prefer to have things
booked, I have booked a foods tour in Bologna , haven’t attempted to book the train rides yet, and a driver to go to cortona and montepulciano one day. That’s it for now.
 

BethC

New Member
This trip will be wonderful. I'm so excited for you!

The various museums and historical sites have varying days of closing, so there is always something open, even though it's hard to keep them straight. Closed alternate Saturdays? Or every Tuesday?

If you want to see the Uffizi or Accademia, the best of the timed tickets will probably start to sell out soon. I suggest buying tickets for the first entry of the day. The galleries will get crowded within 20 minutes, and if you're first through security check, you can stay ahead of the giant tour groups.

Similarly, strolling the Ponte Vecchio is best done in the morning while the shops are in the process of setting up for the day. Once the shops are open, the bridge may be gridlocked with pedestrians.

The Galileo science museum is an underappreciated treasure a couple minutes' walk from the Uffizi. Since the Medici were his patrons, his scientific instruments are works of beauty. The science exhibits upstairs are wonderful too, and I wish I had had more energy for them.

We loved most of the restaurants we tried, but the one we still talk about is Konnubio for both lunch and dinner (different menus).

In planning this trip, you have probably read about food court upstairs in the Mercato Centrale. It's fairly cheap and therefore very popular. The crowds made it difficult to get up to a counter to buy anything, much less grab a seat at a table. Beware of the street market near the mercato--it was full of Chinese knock-offs of Florentine leather goods sold by aggressive vendors. The Porcellino market was much better.

OK, that's more than enough from me about Florence. I hope to go to Bologna and Ravenna some day and would love to hear about your plans and experiences.

PS Fiesole is a worthwhile and easy day trip on the #7 bus.
PPS Museo Stibbert is an uncrowded and quirky delight. We took a cab there, but it's an easy, downhill walk to get to the bus stop for the return journey.
 

Elizabeth Harty

New Member
This trip will be wonderful. I'm so excited for you!

The various museums and historical sites have varying days of closing, so there is always something open, even though it's hard to keep them straight. Closed alternate Saturdays? Or every Tuesday?

If you want to see the Uffizi or Accademia, the best of the timed tickets will probably start to sell out soon. I suggest buying tickets for the first entry of the day. The galleries will get crowded within 20 minutes, and if you're first through security check, you can stay ahead of the giant tour groups.

Similarly, strolling the Ponte Vecchio is best done in the morning while the shops are in the process of setting up for the day. Once the shops are open, the bridge may be gridlocked with pedestrians.

The Galileo science museum is an underappreciated treasure a couple minutes' walk from the Uffizi. Since the Medici were his patrons, his scientific instruments are works of beauty. The science exhibits upstairs are wonderful too, and I wish I had had more energy for them.

We loved most of the restaurants we tried, but the one we still talk about is Konnubio for both lunch and dinner (different menus).

In planning this trip, you have probably read about food court upstairs in the Mercato Centrale. It's fairly cheap and therefore very popular. The crowds made it difficult to get up to a counter to buy anything, much less grab a seat at a table. Beware of the street market near the mercato--it was full of Chinese knock-offs of Florentine leather goods sold by aggressive vendors. The Porcellino market was much better.

OK, that's more than enough from me about Florence. I hope to go to Bologna and Ravenna some day and would love to hear about your plans and experiences.

PS Fiesole is a worthwhile and easy day trip on the #7 bus.
PPS Museo Stibbert is an uncrowded and quirky delight. We took a cab there, but it's an easy, downhill walk to get to the bus stop for the return journey.
Wow, thank you so much, this information is invaluable!
 

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