January 22, 2016, 05:32 PM
thanks! we are considering flights now, and we might have to choose the one that arrives earlier because theres just not enough time!
we are in the stone biz and someone told us theres a lot to see and do in the mountains above forte dei marmi. like visit old stone caves/quarries where michael angelo got stone from. any insight? is that something you just go exploring on your own or does one need to arrange a tour?
ps- cant wait to visit your beautiful country again!!!
January 23, 2016, 01:00 PM
Train vs car?
Thanks to everyone with your comments. They are so helpful.
Our itinerary is flying in to Milan > Florence 3 nights > drive to Sirmione 2 nights and do the Verona Fair Stone Show > two nights in Milan and depart Milan.
We will stay in the city center while in Forence and Milan we want to be seeing the historic sights.
Clearly we wont need a car in Florence or Milan. We definitely want to drive to Sirmione bcs its most practical to have a car while we are attending the show in Verona. But should we have a car for the rest of the time? Should we take a train from Milan airport to Florence? Should we ditch the car once we get to Milan and take a train from Milan to the airport? Is it a hassle to get to the train - I am just thinking in terms of juggling luggage while walking miles through the airport and terminals, etc...? I imagine its cheaper to take the train rather than pay to rent a car and then pay to park it for days........
Love to hear your thoughts!
January 25, 2016, 12:57 PM
Yes, me too I suggest you to stay minimun 3-4 nights in Florence, I think is one of the best city of Italy, a lot of tourist but there are also real Florentine people living in the town !
All the best !
January 25, 2016, 02:19 PM
The bulk of our "vacation" time is being spent in Florence. We will be there 3 night - so 2.5 days. Absolutely cant wait. Any inside tips on where to go and what to see are appreciated. Even for restaurants.
January 26, 2016, 03:33 PM
can someone help with hotel choice?
we will not have a car and want to stay within walking distance of everything. do we need to stay really close to the duomo (helvictia & bristol or palazzo nicola duomo) or would a hotel on the river (westin excelsior) be a nice way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas - is it far from the duomo/museums/etc...?
while I dont expect to be in our hotel/room a great deal while we are in Florence, how important is it to get a really nice hotel there? we have found some reasonable 5 star hotels but the rooms that are reasonable are very basic. are some hotels not so great/is it worth the extra money? would you expect to spend much time in the room at all or is it irrelevant because you would be out and about the whole time??
thanks so much for your help - its invaluable!
January 26, 2016, 04:40 PM
All of the hotels you mention are quite nice being 5 stars. I am sure their basic rooms are still quite great!
All are very central - Florence is small and walkable so even staying by the river in Pza Ognissanti, you are at most 15 min walk from the Duomo.
Choose what you like - if the services offered by the five stars is important, you should choose them over others. I have personally found great hotels even with lower stars can offer great hospitality and breakfasts. It is also true that if you're going to be out most of the day, the most important aspect will be having a place to rest/sleep and breakfast. But if you stay closer to the sights, you might also go rest more often between sightseeing so that is also to be considered.
If you would like a great place to stay at and are also interested in coming in close contact with your host, you can also look into staying at a B&B. I would suggest at Mariangela's Le Stanze di Santa Croce - and even suggest taking her market/cooking lesson to try something different
February 8, 2016, 11:11 PM
attractions and tickets
Which attractions are those that advance ticket purchases are required; viewing "David" for example. Any others, that have crazy waits/limited availability?
February 8, 2016, 11:53 PM
would you recommend doing tours at any of the attractions versus self guided?
February 9, 2016, 04:51 PM
The Uffizi and the Accademia (where you'll find Michelangelo's David) are the two main ones that always have crazy long lines and a ticket in advance is a good idea. The rest pretty much might have short lines at certain times of the day, but overall nothing in comparison and no waits.
Guided tours are actually a great way to see Florence, as there are so many things to see! With limited time, a tour that takes you around and shows you the main ones can be a great way to not feel lost.
If you love art, you might not need a guided visit in a museum, but if you know a little or nothing, it might actually be a great way to be able to understand it better. Most guides are great at placing the artists and the work into context, so that you have a better idea of what you're seeing and why it is considered important, even if you know nothing about it.
Take a look at the tours offered here: http://www.partner.viator.com/en/13618/
If you're interested in a guided tour at the Uffizi or Accademia, the admission ticket is included with the tour so don't buy separate tickets!
If you have the time, a wine tasting or cooking class are also really great experiences to have while here!
February 9, 2016, 05:12 PM
septemeber in florence
it occurred to me afterward to mention that we will be there at the end of September. Would you still recommend getting tickets in advance for the Ufizi and the Accademia? We hate to wait!!
thank you so much for your awesome insight!!