August 30, 2009, 07:14 PM
Help with an itinerary
We (two middle aged couples) are visiting Florence for a short holiday. We arrive in the afternoon of Saturday, the 5th Sept and depart in the afternoon of Wednesday, the 9th. We have no other commitments and would like to enjoy and get a feel of Florence at a leisurely pace and also maybe take in a visit or two to the surrounding Tuscany countryside.
I have been left to organise the trip. I am not sure how best to create an itinerary and I would welcome your suggestions. Do you think that a half a day guided tour would set us up nicely and if so, could you recommend an english speaking guide to help us.
I look forward to hearing from you.
September 1, 2009, 05:11 PM
I am not sure whether you do need a guided tour or not, it all depends on whether you generally like having someone show you around. I've had both good and less good experiences, it all depends so much on the guide you get. I've heard good things about the walking tours run by Artviva (just run a search on google to come up with their site) although I've also personally found the tours with a theme (food and art, wine tastings and cooking course) offered by Vinarium to be particularly interesting. Both offer tours in English.
You might want to wait until you are here and walk around Florence on your own, then arrange for a tour, either of Florence or Chianti to get out and see a part of Tuscany. If this is the first time you'll all be in Florence, you might enjoy just walking around and just visiting whatever meets your fancy.
Visit the Cathedral (duomo) and the Baptistery, go to Piazza della Signoria and view Palazzo Vecchio. I highly recommend visiting the monumental quarters of Palazzo Vecchio - it is a wonderful treat to see up close the rooms where the Medici used to live in, see the grand Salone dei Cinquecento (Salon of the Five Hundred) from which the city was ruled in its heyday and marvel at the maps found in the Map Room.
If you like art, plan to spend a morning at the Uffizi museum. You can see a copy of Michelangelo's David in front of Palazzo Vecchio but if you want to admire the original, clean marble statue you'll have to go to the Accademia Gallery museum. Walk over Ponte Vecchio and admire all of the gold found in the jewelry shop windows. At least once walk up or take the bus up to Piazzale Michelangelo around sunset to admire a grand view of Florence and then how it shines at night.
You can get more ideas of what there is to see in Florence by browsing through the various sections on Visit Florence.
September 4, 2009, 10:50 PM
Molte grazie for your advise. Much appreciated. I have booked a walk with artviva and tickets to the museums(Uffizi & Accademia) and will try and visit all the sites you mention. We also want to enjoy Rificolona and hopefully get up on the terrace of the Duomo on tuesday.
We are so looking forward to this visit.