October 16, 2014, 07:50 PM
You have a few options:
1. Do Boboli Gardens all the way from the entrance in Piazza Pitti and work your way down to the end in Porta Romana and exit the gardens there. Catch the bus line 12 up to the Piazzale.
Take a look at the map at the bottom of the page here as it is highlighted there:
2. Enter Boboli Gardens from Porta Romana and make your way up the gardens to end up by the Forte Belvevere. There is an entrance/exit there. The fortress is at the top of hill. Go past the Forte Belvedere and either continue down Via di Belvedere and then back up Via del Monte alle Croci OR take the longer way along Via S. Leonardo and then on to Viale Galileo to make your way to the Piazzale. This is longer but it offers good views AND avoids going DOWN one hill and back UP again the other hill. This cannot be appreciated on a flat map, but the Boboli gardens are on 2 hills so there is a lot of climbing already inside the park.
3. Go toward Ponte Vecchio then follow the blue route along Via de' Bardi shown on the map linked on the page above. It is the more traditional route, with only one hike up the hill to the Piazzale.
Up to you to choose what you feel like doing once you're here
October 17, 2014, 09:55 PM
Thanks, Lourdes! I had looked at that map before and as you have confirmed, there is no direct, or straight, walking route between the Piazzale and the gardens, even if you go through/around Belvedere Castle. But, your #1 idea is great - taking the bus - that way, I can enter the gardens from Pitti and meander through the entire garden at a leisurely pace, and then exit at the far end without retracing my steps. And, I won't have to walk up or down hills! You must put a lot of work and research into your forum responses, info and resources. You must also have been everywhere! Grazie!
October 18, 2014, 06:55 AM
Yes, love Florence and Tuscany and love to wander and explore the area... so kn w those are the most "direct" ways from one to the other. There are hills in Boboli, so expect those... and if you have the time in Florence, also go to the Bardini Gardens - they offer a spectacular view of Florence just like Piazzale Michelangelo but a little "closer" as it nearer to the sights.
October 18, 2014, 09:09 PM
Well, this thread has branched out from day trip to Pisa! I have done a little research on Festa della Rificolona, but realize you would have "insider" informaton, so I thought maybe you can give me more detail than I found online! I want to try and be in Florence for this festival. Do you think it is difficult to get lodging at that time? If so, how far in advance would you recommend booking? Also, where could I get my own lantern, and what would be the best place to pick up the procession? Or better to be at the end in the Piazza SS Annunziata? What time to be where? Any assistance would be great! Thanks!
October 19, 2014, 09:17 AM
It has certainly branched out ;-)
The Festa della Rificolana in Florence has lost a lot of the religious importance it used to have. But it is still great fun for families to go with their children. You can buy a paper lantern the days before - you'll see them being sold by "cartoleria" - the paper shops as well as toy stores. You'll just see them on sale in a lot of places the days leading to the festival.
I didn't have a chance to go this year but the procession usually starts only once it's dark so not sure at what time might be the best to join it somewhere... I know it does make its way down Via dei Servi toward Piazza SS Annunziata. So if you go to the Duomo and hang around this street you can join in along the procession once it hits this area. The piazza is beautiful with all of the lit lanterns, older kids have fun throwing spit wads at other lanterns... when they used to be have a real candle inside, this made many of the lanterns catch on fire. Smaller kids would cry - now many of the lanterns have a small LED light inside so I suppose has taken away some of the fun for some kids.
The day after is the Virgin's birthday, as the cathedral is dedicated to her they open up the rooftop for free visits - the rooftop is usually closed so it is a special occasion. If you are here then, I highly suggest putting that on the list of things to do that day
October 21, 2014, 06:11 PM
Sounds great! I did read about the spit wads - interesting tradition! I have run into a snag, though. Originally, I was going to do Rome, then Florence/Tuscany, then end my trip in Venice. But, I looked into the flights to/from U.S. and found it will work out much better to do Venice first and end in Rome. HOWEVER, Venice has the annual Regatta the Sat/Sun before the Festa della Rificolana. Which means horrendous crowds and higher prices in Venice. (Am I right?) Plus crowds and higher prices in Florence for the date of the Festa. (Right?) That's not something I prefer to deal with. So, sadly, now it seems I must change my dates for travel, missing the Festa in Florence. :-(
October 21, 2014, 06:48 PM
Venice is expensive, no matter what time of the year...
the regatta this year was actually on the exact same day as the Rificolona in Florence (see the official site for the regatta here: http://www.regatastoricavenezia.it/?lang=en&pg=1&page=1) so it seems it is planned for the first Sunday of the month of September, and not a precise date while the Rificolona is always on Sept. 7th. Looking at the 2015 calendar, it would seem that the Regatta might fall on Sept. 6th 2015 which means you might make it to both if you plan on leaving Venice on the 7th and be in Florence by early afternoon.
As for the Rificolona, it isn't a major festival that makes prices levitate or draws crowds for that precise date. The dates are important for local customs and traditions. Many towns in Italy do have celebrations on the 8th in honoring the Virgin Mary but don't have the Rificolona, that is a Florentine tradition.
Being early September, do expect normal summer crowds in Florence - weather is generally beautiful, Florence draws many visitors year round but are higher in the summer and early September is still quite busy. So prices will be what they generally are for that season, and not tied to the festival.
October 22, 2014, 04:37 AM
Lourdes, thanks again; you are such an incredible resource for Italy information! Grazie for your hard work and for helping everyone in this forum! I imagine it takes a good amount of your time!
I think I want to AVOID the regatta in Venice, that's kind of what I was asking you- it would be very crowded there and lodging rates would go up for that weekend, right? If you think not, then I can proceed, and yes, then I could see both the regatta and the Rificolona. Hmmm....... I'm just afraid Venice would be overcrowded, moreso than the usual.
I had noticed, regarding lodging in Florence, that September is considered part of the "in" season, and prices are still up then, but I did not have any idea that tourism is still active that much. I generally travel in April and September, when temperatures are milder, cooler, and kids are back in school! (Arrival in Florence on 9/7 is a good idea, though, as it takes up a day when many sights are closed, and solves THAT problem!) Then I would have my 4-5 days in Firenze and would have to deal with Monday closures in Rome instead! ;-) So much to consider, but your idea may have just solved some of that issue!
October 29, 2014, 02:09 PM
Yes, I imagine it will be crowded during the regatta... but every time I've been to Venice has been crowded so it's pretty much a given, even in the winter ;-).
As for Florence and Tuscany, September is a very good month to visit and prices in some places will still be higher, the mid/low season for most starts in mid-October to be honest. So unless you can come later, I think you'll have to accept some of those rates.... BUT there is all kinds of accommodation in Florence, so if you have a specific budget per night, share and I'll see what I can find that fits in your budget.
I highly recommend staying in a B&B over a hotel or even an apartment with your kitchen, if you're staying for 5 days you can enjoy some meals "at home" rather than eating out for every single one of them. It means you take of your own breakfast as well, but often cost per night is lower than in other places.
Not a given, of course... but something that might work out.
Take a look at these, for example, which have apartments for 2 people:
http://www.florenceaccommodation.com...bo-suites.html (the Leonardo suite is for 2).
Of course, many hotels/B&Bs tend to offer double rooms for single travellers with some sort of discount off the double occupancy rate, so keep that in mind as you search.
November 1, 2014, 01:11 AM
Hi! Well, it's good to know Venice is always crowded, then. So, it sounds like it won't make much/any difference if I am there during Regatta. I am leaning towards your idea of leaving Venice on Monday morning, Sept. 7, to arrive in Florence that day. Then I will get to see the Regatta in Venice on Sunday and the Rificolona on Monday. Just some fun to add to my trip!
Yes, I can change dates, but it's going to be an expensive trip no matter what, so I'll just do what I can for lodging prices in Venice and go in September. I always rent apartments when I travel and I have finished working on Rome and Florence and have moved on to my Venice planning. I am familiarizing myself with neighborhoods and apartments now - I spent all last week looking and bookmarking apartments that are within my price range and in the locations I prefer. Most apartment rates do NOT go up during the Regatta, they do go up during Carnivale.
I'd like to stay Eu 130/night or lower (and there are many lower than that in Venice, that look nice) and in San Marco or San Polo. I know those areas are more touristy, but I really prefer not to be as far out as Castello, Cannaregio, or Santa Croce, for all the sights I plan to see. I also prefer not to be too far from the train station for the morning I leave to go to Florence. Over the weekend, I will try the links you sent in your last post. I have a few websites for apartments and have looked into some, but will definitely check those you sent. Thanks again for more excellent resources and offers of assistance! You are so kind to spend your time on this! And I have found your information to be VERY helpful in making some decisions!