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Thread: General advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    3

    Default General advice

    Florence solo for two weeks in late October with a 3-day excursion to Rome, 2-day to Cinque Terre, and 1 day on a Siena/Chianti tour. After way too much interweb research, I think I have most everything worked out except these few uncertainties. I’d appreciate confirmation, correction, counsel, etc. from experienced voices.
    Car - Other than aforementioned excursions, I’ll be in Florence visiting the standard list of “must sees.” Since it is all so geographically compressed and I’ll be on trains to Rome and Cinque Terre, a tour van to Siena, and, if I read the ATAF site correctly, a weekly bus pass is only $20; just in case. Also, I am fit and have no problem walking. Is there any compelling reason at all to rent a car?
    Cell phone – I’m not wed to a device and certainly don’t want to visit Italy with my face stuck in a screen. Since I intend to be somewhat off-the-grid/disconnected and don’t anticipate needing text capability, I am considering just buying an inexpensive pre-paid flip phone in case I need to make a call. Is there any critical convenience I’ll miss by not having my Android? I’ll still have tablet and laptop and my broom closet has wi-fi. (yup, any space that small can’t reasonably be called a room) Is there any compelling reason to bring/buy a smartphone?
    Weekends/Weekdays? – my excursion to Rome is firm, but the other outings are flexible; so I intend to arrange things where I can string 3 consecutive days together in Florence to make use of a Firenze Card. In late-October will the weekend crowds be significantly worse than weekday? (My stay will not overlap a first-free-Sunday) Should I avoid weekends in the museums/galleries if possible?
    (Lourdes, thanks for your “Monday Museums” chart on visitFlorence; incredibly helpful!!!!)
    Backpack – I’ve read numerous confusing and conflicting descriptions of the backpack prohibition(s), or lack thereof. Is there a uniform standard applied amongst the galleries and museums? Would a small daypack—something for camera, raingear, etc.—be allowed? (what about the Colosseum, if you have any insight there?)
    Many thanks for all advice! Phillip

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    1,174

    Default phones, buses and more

    Buongiorno,

    Sorry if we had you waiting for some answers, here is a bit of information. I hope it is useful:

    Car rental: there is no need for you to rent a car, and if you really want one then you can get it for the day. It seems like you have the main day trips already covered, and there are many things that if you decided you want to do them, you can arrange it with public transport. I can only imagine that maybe one day you will want to travel on your own into Chianti or Mugello...but then again, maybe not

    Bus Pass: I believe you are talking about the 7 day pass (http://www.ataf.net/en/fares/tickets...=9424&LN=en-US)
    Another option is the Carta AGILE (30) ( http://www.ataf.net/en/fares/tickets...=9423&LN=en-US ) which is not limited to a timeframe but a certain number of trips. Personally I am more for the Carta Agile, because Florence is not really that big and sometimes you will want to walk there (or back…) so with 10 Euro more you might be able to cover the full two weeks you are in the city.

    As for your cell phone, there are several places that have WiFi - so you might still be able to use your phone without too much of an extra expense - I call home all the time with What’s App - and it doesn’t cost me anything...however, if you feel that you really need a phone, then an inexpensive phone with a “pre-pagata” card - this means pay as you go - could be a good example.

    Buon Viaggio,
    Donna Denise

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Florence, Italy
    Posts
    2,808

    Default

    Sounds like a great 2 week itinerary!

    Car- agree, no need to rent a car at all. Florence is quite small, even the bus pass is likely not needed. To give you an idea, you can cross main part of Florence in 20 minutes or less walking. The Carta Agile is 10 rides, each 90 minutes, a year to use them up.... but you might end up not using it at all, particularly if you're staying in the center.

    Phone - if you already have a smart phone, you could bring it and get a prepaid SIM card if you do think you might need to make some calls, but if you only use wifi when it's available for data, you might not even need the SIM card. You can download onto your phone maps of the cities you're visiting (you can do this with google maps) so that you can have them on your phone without need of data.

    Day trips -- if your dates are still flexible, check the tour you have planned for CT as late october will be low season and they might only run on weekends. The Rome and Siena/Chianti should still be running fairly often.

    Late October is still busy in Florence, even if crowds start winding down a bit. I'd still try to avoid museums on the weekend, particularly if you get the Firenze Card to avoid an overlap with Monday since the Uffizi and Accademia are closed then (glad the Monday list is useful, make sure to note the weird museums that have closing every other Monday, like the Bargello). Unless you really plan to concentrate all of your museums in Florence into just 3 days, I would actually recommend you spread the visits out during your 2 weeks and pay as you visit. It will be less stressful than having 72 hours into which to fit everything in or making sure you have 3 straight days in Florence. This itinerary https://www.visitflorence.com/itiner...-florence.html
    was designed in trying to fit the most to make the most out of the Firenze Card but as you can see, it has a lot of museums and the days are really full. If you really want to see all of these museums, several are actually free and you can add more
    http://www.visitflorence.com/itinera...-for-free.html
    to your time in Florence.

    Backpacks - the main museums allow small day packs, nothing that is too cumbersome that if you turn around you risk hitting someone or a painting or sculpture. Anything bigger and they'll ask you to check it in, but something small for a camera, raingear should be fine (I'm thinking of Uffizi, mainly).
    It's been a while since I've been to the Colosseum but day packs were allowed there as well. Even with security measures in place, I don't believe you should have problems if that's what you take on your trip to Rome and use during the day.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    3

    Default Thanks!

    Thanks, Donna. The Carta Agile 30 will work great. I downloaded WhatsApp and called a friend... WOW, clarity was amazing! Uber-cool vid/pic/voice utilities within the app, too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    3

    Default Thanks again!

    Lourdes, Thanks for the good info! Did not know about the map d/l for offline use; excellent. I’m doing the CT and Rome “da solo”; Chianti day trip is the only tour and I will confirm the dates.
    Regarding the Firenze card, I have no intention of sprinting, so you’re probably right about the a la cart approach; besides, a few euros one way or the other is irrelevant in the big picture. Grazie mille, Phillip

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Florence, Italy
    Posts
    2,808

    Default

    Note for anyone who decides to purchase the Carta Agile cards -- they deduct a bus run every time you put them up to the machine when you get on the bus, even if you still have part of your 90 minutes to use up.
    So if you want to check how much time is left on the card, there is an "INFO" button on the machine, press that BEFORE you put the carta agile to the monitor -- and be quick to read, because if you don't see the time or how many "tickets" are left on your card -- once again, press the INFO before putting the card to the machine again or it will once again deduct a ticket! Speaking from experience here ;-)
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