Florence

Having a 'mare planning for Florence. I don’t want to get gallery/museum fatigue, so feel free to let me know what’s definitely worth doing, what’s overrated and any quirky things I wouldn’t necessarily find out about otherwise. Cafes and cheap eats also very much appreciated!

I usually enjoy holiday planning but the guidebooks and usual websites just list endless amounts of marble-floored big buildings. It’s hard to know which are essential and which are box-ticky.

Nothing to add except that I will also be in and around Florence for a few days this summer, and would welcome any tips as well…

For cheap eats head to the Mercato Centrale:

Ground floor has lots of fresh produce stalls. First floor galleria has loads of food stalls and bars. Had some excellent burrata here. It’s far enough away from the cathedral that it’s not mobbed but close enough that it’s not a chore to get to.

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If you have time, I’d recommend a day in Siena.

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Definitely worth seeing:

  • The Uffizi - as world-renowned galleries go it’s very compact, you can probably see everything in about an hour and a half.
  • The Accademia - whether or not you go here depends on whether or not you think seeing David is worth €13, because there’s really not much else in it. David rules though, I’d highly recommend paying him a visit.
  • Boboli Gardens - big sprawling sculpture garden, my favourite thing I saw there (the dude riding the turtle is worth the priceof admission alone). Not loads in the way of shade though, which is worth bearing in mind if you’re going in summer.
  • Santa Maria del Fiore - unless you’re a proper afficionado renaissance cathedrals can all blend into one a bit so if you go to this one you can probably skip the rest. It’s utterly enormous, believe it’s the third largest Catholic cathedral in the world after St Paul’s in London and St Peter’s Basilica.

Foodwise there are a lot of tourist traps and booking in advance can be quite hit and miss, but the Oltrarno district south of the river is full of good places and just far enough from the tourist epicentre to be popular with locals so the quality is high.

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Perfect post; cheers. We’re staying south of the river, so will check out Oltrarno. :+1:

Don’t be tempted to pass on the Uffizi. It’s amazing. Book in advance and avoid the queues.

Would also recommend Boboli Gardens, nice views over the city too.

The Boboli gardens are lovely as mentioned above.

If you are tempted to go and see the statue of David in what is a bit like a car park that overlooks the city (it’s been about 5 years and 2 children since I went so I’m afraid the names of things eludes me) at sunset as many people do then make the small additional effort to go a bit further up the hill to the church and watch the sunset from there with about 25 people instead of 2500.

I also enjoyed lying on some grass down from the big ol’ bridge with shops on it and reading a book.

Got a bit bored of pictures of Jesus and Mary and that after a single visit to one gallery/museum so will not provide advice on that.

Had success just booking dinner at places we liked the look of during the day too, of which there were plenty tbh.

This would be the Piazzale Michaelangelo, just East of the Boboli Gardens. If it’s not too hot, the walk further up the hill to Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte is worth it too.

As others have said, the best place to stay, eat and drink is South of the river. Just follow your nose and your ear, and if a place is busy with locals, it’s a safe bet for price and quality. The side streets off Piazza del Carmine are a good place to start.

Highly recommend the Bargello sculpture gallery as an alternative to the Academia, its always been next to empty when I’ve been even though it has arguably better stuff.

Gustapizza was my locals recommendation like 15 years ago, now it’s super famous but I’m assured the pizzas are still excellent.

if you’re vegetarian and sick of pizzas this place is lovely https://il-vegetariano.com/

Book to see David it’s unbelievable in person

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There is a Firenze Card/city pass thing available that covers loads of the attractions which saved us a lot of time queuing and money despite not doing loads of the sights/galleries. This was back in 2015 though

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I adored the Museo Galileo - was probably the high point of my trip there, apart from staring agog at the Duomo

This place does the best gelato I’ve ever had, really outstanding stuff. I’ve not got the biggest sweet tooth, but I went straight back for another scoop as soon as I’d finished, and we went here twice in the four days we were in Florence. Really modern, interesting flavours, highly recommended.

My two eating recommendations are…

All’Antico Vinaio - maybe this is a tourist trap, I dunno? Best sandwich I’ve ever had in my life and a sandwich and a beer was something like €8. Probably one of my all time favourite eating experiences if I’m being honest. If you go between the main eating times of the day you’ll only have a short queue but lunch and dinner times you can wait over an hour. Worth it if you go off-peak.

O Munaciello - really nice pizzeria, really enjoyed what I had and I think the owners are Neopolitans, they were showing the Maradonna documentary on repeat when I was there.

Can’t remember other specifics but really enjoyed Florence just for chilling and getting a beer/coffee/gelato and watching the world go by. It’s a busy place though, be prepared for that. Think it ranks 3rd in terms of visitors in Italy behind Rome and Venice? Agree the gardens are really nice and worth a visit. Make sure you get some pistachio gelato.

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Another plus 1 for Boboli gardens.

Going to the top of the Duomo is a good experience.

The eyewitness travel book has some really good walks around the different eras of architecture.

We got a train out to Pisa to see the tower, was @ an hour each way on the train.

Would definitely recommend the Florence card mentioned upthread if they still do it.

Food wise I’ve got a card lying around from an amazing little cafe that did fantastic platters. I’ll see if I can dig it out

Also the central food market is a good shout as well. Standard colourful European food market downstairs which is good for wandering, photographing, sampling etc and then upstairs is a food hall with loads of stuff to choose from.

Definitely lives up to the hype but they do a very specific sort of sandwich, it comes between two massive thick pieces of very salty foccaccia. An excellent sandwich but even with a drink my mouth was arid by the time I finished.

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