March 25, 2010, 11:55 AM
I'll let you know how it goes on Saturday. For the Duomo you only need a ticket if you want to climb up to the dome, otherwise entrance into the cathedral is free. You also need a separate ticket to climb up the bell tower.
March 27, 2010, 11:07 PM
Ok I went to the Pitti Palace this morning and there were maybe just 3 people in front of me at the ticket office. The line to get in was at the metal detector, not very long, took me less than 10 minutes to get in. Since there are several museums in there, after the metal detector you just head to the one you're interested in, there are people but the place is large so it doesn't feel like there are crowds at all.
I also went into the Boboli Gardens, there was another short line there as they checked tickets - there are two tickets for the Pitti Palace, one gets into the gardens and some of the museums, another gets you into the other museums and not the garden so pay attention at the ticket office when you ask for tickets. The gardens also have two other entrances - on via Romana 37 and at the top right next to the Forte Belvedere.
The Accademia gallery today wasn't very full when I passed, there was practically no line. I asked and members of Friends of the Uffizi go through the normal ticket line to get in through the metal detector, then there is the ticket line inside. I have to say I passed at 1pm so being lunch time here, it might for that reason that the line was pretty short.
March 29, 2010, 06:22 PM
Thank you so much!
You have been extremely helpful. I am deeply grateful.
Since Florence is expected to be crowded during Easter weekend, would it be better to visit Pisa, Lucca first, then concentrate on Florence itself after Monday?
March 29, 2010, 09:23 PM
You're very welcome!
While I think it might be fun to hang around downtown to see the parade of the Cart through the streets of Florence on the morning of Easter Sunday (the area in front of the cathedral where the fireworks go off gets really packed), I do recommend that you concentrate most of your visit in Florence (museums and churches) to Easter Monday and after. Pisa and Lucca would be good alternatives, you might markets and church services for Easter in any case but I think the towns will not be too crowded.
Hope you have a fun and safe trip, do come back and let us know how everything turns out! We'd love to hear about your experiences.
March 31, 2010, 08:49 PM
Thanks again!. We are leaving tomorrow. I feel both excited and a little apprehensive.
Has it been raining lately in the Florence area?
My children all wanted to stay in Florence on Sunday to see some of the festivities. The area around the Duomo will probably be too crowded to see anything. Any suggestions as to the best places to visit on Sunday?
April 1, 2010, 12:21 PM
This week in Florence it has been cloudy with lots of sun at certain times as well as light rain. Predictions for this weekend are cloudy with chance of light showers on Sunday.
For Sunday morning I'd likely just walk around the historical center and stick around the area around Via Roma and Piazza della Repubblica to see the cart as it passes by. The area in front of the Duomo gets really packed but you might still be able to see the fireworks from down Via Calzaiouoli once they start without being right in the throng of people. If the weather permits it, I'd head to the Boboli Gardens and take a stroll through the gardens. Although picnicking is not really allowed, some areas of the garden are pretty secluded with benches and green grass with rubbish bins nearby. Make sure you just don't leave trash around, and you might have a very nice Easter lunch out. You can pick up delicious sandwiches to take with you just off Via Calzaiouoli on Via Cimatori at this small shop called I Due Fratellini... except they are closed on Sundays! They make pretty cheap delicious sandwiches, maybe you can try them for a quick lunch on another day - there is no place to sit down, so order and take your order back to a bench or back along the Arno River. In any case, you'll find shops along the streets that will likely be open where you can get panini and water bottles if you do want a picnic, otherwise there will be restaurants open for sure. If you see someplace you like on Saturday, stop and make a reservation for Sunday lunch or dinner, just in case.
Hope you enjoy your time here and have a safe trip!
April 4, 2010, 05:57 AM
Thank you Lourdes. We have arrived in Florence. Yesterday we visited the Duomo, but the line to get in was too long. We climbed the bell tower. It was much harder than I thought. I guess I'm really out of shape.
We have also visited the Uffizi briefly. We joined the Amici degli Uffizi. We will probably go back later during the trip.
I have a question regarding visiting Santa Miniato al Monte. It is little to far to walk, I think. Do you have any info about the buses? After some research, I think Linea D will work. It will also take us to Palazzo Pitti. I have been told I must purchase bus tickets in stores. If I don't use all of the tickets, are they returnable? Any idea how often the line D runs? Do you think it would be better if we try to hail a taxi instead?
I have really enjoyed the food here. I have not tried Bistecca Fiorentina yet, but definitely will. I have oredered half portions for the children. But when the bill came, we were charged the full price anyway, is that how it is supposed to be?
April 4, 2010, 06:04 AM
P.S. The water from tap tastes a little funny. All the resturants offer bottled water. Is tap water safe to drink?
April 5, 2010, 01:48 PM
Actually tap water is safe although it does have a taste that might be funny to those that don't normally drink it. Most restaurants only offer bottled water and it is hard to get them to give you tap water instead. A few offer microfiltered water at slightly less cost.
Buses - you need to buy tickets from bars or tabacco shops or newspaper kiosks before you get on the bus. You can also buy tickets on the bus but at higher rate. Then once on the bus you put the ticket in the machines a little inside to get them stamped with time and date. If you end up buying more tickets than you need you can't return them so buy a few at a time. Tickets last 70 minutes, so you can get off and transfer to other lines if you need to without problems. The time stamped the first time you get on is what matters.
The best bus to get up to Piazzale Micheleangelo and San Miniato al Monte is bus 13, you can get it on Lungarno Serristori near Ponte alle Grazie. This is the first bridge to the east of Ponte Vecchio. It goes up the hill, while bus D goes to Pitti along the river, it doesn't go uphill. You can also take bus C3 to get to the Pitti Palace.
As for half portions - yes, you'll still be charged complete dishes. It is better if you order a full portion and ask for an extra plate to divide them up between children or share from your own plate with your children. Sorry if this wasn't clear before.
Hope you are enjoying your time in Florence, did you already make it to Pisa or Lucca?
April 5, 2010, 09:29 PM
Thanks for your reply.
So far having a great time. Thanks for your advice. We plan to visit Pisa and Lucca tomorrow. I will probably not hear back from you before I leave, but, is it better to visit Pisa then Lucca or vice versa? I am assuming Lucca will take more time, and I must also allow time for lunch in between.
I have tried Bistecca Fiorentina. It was good, but not as good as I thought it would be. I guess I had unrealistic expectations based on my readings.
There is a railed electric trolley that runs by S M Novella station. I can find very little info on it. Where does it go?
Last edited by ianlin; April 5, 2010 at 09:35 PM.