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a VirtualTourist member asked on Jul 1, 2016

Florence

A day in Florence - what to see or do to have best experience

Hi, I will be staying in Rome with my hubby for 4 nights in last week of july & have already booked train tickets to visit Florence in a day (early morning till late evening).

As this is our first time to Italy, please advise what should we see or do or try? Both of us are good with walking. Food, shopping and history are our interests.

Thank you for your help!



11 Answers


answered on 7/1/16 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

Hi - There are tons of things to see and do in Florence. There are also attractions which really demand advance tickets to eliminate standing in VERY long lines.

A good place to explore the options is our VT travel guide for Florence:

[original VT link]

I have some info on my own pages for Florence, and I would highly recommend purchasing a good guidebook for Italy as well.

[original VT link]

One note: the National museums are closed on Mondays so if you plan to do any of those, I wouldn't choose that day. And honestly, with such a short time in the city I wouldn't spend any of it shopping.

The historic center of Florence is pretty compact so walking everywhere isn't difficult (we have.) For history I'd recommend the Bargello (National museum in a Medieval structure), Piazza della Signoria/ Loggia de Lanzi, Santa Maria Novella, the duomo and baptistry, Museo di San Marco and nearby Piazza Santissima Annunziata, Ponte Vecchio, and a walk up to Piazalle Michelangelo/San Miniato al Monte. If you're not really into Renaissance art I'd skip the Uffizi and Accademia. The Uffizi was top of my personal list but I'm an art lover and both of these museums will be terribly crowded during high season. The Uffizi can also eat up a lot of time.




answered on 7/1/16 by
a VT member from Calgary

To your question about food, Florence restaurants, for the most part, seem to have resisted lowering their standards in order to cater to tourists. Still, avoid the ones located on busy piazzas (where you will never find a local), and explore the small side streets where the food and prices are better. I highly recommend splurging on the local specialty of bistecca Fiorentina, a massive T-bone steak prepared and served unlike any other. We have eaten at Osteria Il Mostrino twice and can highly recommend it.




answered on 7/1/16 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

As Goodfish says, you are spoiled for historical choice in Florence but the upside is that it has a pretty compact and very walkable historical centre.

If you want to visit the Uffizi do book your ticket online in advance to say queueing....and the same applies if you ant to see David in the Accademia. The Uffizi always has long queues, the Accademia less so but with only one day you won't want to waste any time. Official site in English for online ticket purchase for both:

b-ticket.com/b-ticket/uffizi...

Apart from those two (and only if you want to visit them...I didn't) I'd suggest that the Duomo, Baptistry & Campanile are absolute essentials, along with the Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, Basilica Santa Maria Novella, the church of Orsanmichele and...for observation and, if you wish shopping...the San Lorenzo street market. The Mercato Centrale (central food market) there is also good, though you'll need to go in the morning because most food stalls have closed by around 1-2pm.

How you organise your itinerary really depends on your starting point but do try to include the above. Many people like to watch the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo above the city...there are excellent views at all times of day. To get there you can walk (it's quite a way and steep in parts) or take bus 12 or 13 from outside Florence's main station. Bus timetables and route maps in English on the official site:

ataf.net/en/timetables-and-r...

[original VT link]




answered on 7/1/16 by
a VT member from Cabo San Lucas

There is a lot to see in Florence for just one day. Check here what shound´t be miss no-fodors.com/world/europe/ital... , as for food, thry the local city market, it is close to the best spots




answered on 7/1/16 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

hunkinparadise...I note you joined VT in 2006 but this is your first forum post. That suggests to me that you are probably not familiar with the site.

There is far, far more information in the VT Florence travelguide about what to see and do, where to eat etc etc than on Fodors or any other travel wqebsite. And most importantly, it is all written by members who live there or who have actually visited the city!

I'd also note that there is not just one 'local city market' in Florence. There is the Mercato Centrale, as I mentioned above...it, and San Lorenzo streetmaket, are primarily aimed at visitors. But there is also another large daily market in the historical centre, complete with its own central food hall, which is primarily aimed at locals:

[original VT link]




answered on 7/1/16 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

I'd agree with above. There is more here on VT than anything Fodor's online has to offer, and they don't publish my favorite of guidebooks. Dreamyjez, please ask more questions as your plan starts coming together?

Oh, a couple of restaurants we had really good meals at in Florence:

Ciro and Sons: http://www.ciroandsons.com

Francesco Vini: http://www.francescovini.com/

But if you're a BIG foodie, take a look at Mercado Centrale:

http://www.mercatocentrale.it/en/




answered on 7/2/16 by
a VT member from Rhode Island

Shopping is fun. TIp: let them wait on you. Museums, obviously....otherwise eat, eat eat!!!




answered on 7/2/16 by
a VT member from Los Angeles

Lots to see and do in Firenze! I imagine you will have a meal there. Here is a great restaurant we went to:

[original VT link]




answered on 7/2/16 by
a VT member from Cabo San Lucas

Try to join VT and i didn´t remember i was in it before, i learned along the way, that if you want to try real local food, first look for 'Local city market' or as we call it in Mexico 'Mercado Municipal'. For me, Florence is a city that really stand above many others. I´ll check VT ;), thanks for the reply




answered on 7/2/16 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

What you say about local city markets is often true...but not in Florence, where the Mercato Centrale is now very much aimed at visitors.




answered on 7/2/16 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

Leics is absolutely spot on but a visitor may find the Mercato interesting enough!





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