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A tip for visiting Santa Croce in Florence/poor quality tablet guides

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Recently my husband and I re-visited Florence on a day trip. Because we had been there before, we only had a short list of places we wanted to see that we had missed before. We preferred not to carry a heavy guidebook for all of Florence just for these few places, so we printed out detailed information from the internet for the places we wanted to see.

However, after we visited these places, we still had time left over, so we decided it would be nice to re-visit Santa Croce again, because the first time we were there we felt we would have liked to study more of the details.

We hadn't printed out any material for Santa Croce from the internet, but we assumed we could buy a book or printed guide at Santa Croce. The only ones they had in stock were for children, but they offered us the rental of an Ipad tablet, which we were happy to accept.

But we found that the tablet was really inconvenient to use. The screen often froze or didn't respond to finger swipes or pressing. It came with only one head set to share which made it difficult to use. The narration for some of the chapels was very fast and hard to follow. We found ourselves having to start and stop the narrative, and it was very time consuming. We tried using the video section instead and we found it was done it a style that was meant to be more "entertaining" that about the serious history of the artworks. If you tried to just use it like a book and read the information, there wasn't much detail.

I realize most people going to Santa Croce will probably be carrying a guidebook, although I have noticed in the past that many guidebooks only have a paragraph or two about the inside of the church, which doesn't tell you much.

If we had known, we would have stopped at a bookstore or kiosk on our way to Santa Croce and bought a printed guide just for the church. I can't remember how much it cost to rent the Ipad, but even if a book was more, it would have been worth the extra euros.

If you are planning to visit Santa Croce for the first time, look in your guidebook before you leave home to see how much information it has about the details of the artwork. You might want to print out a few pages from the internet to supplement it. The entire complex is very interesting, and it is sort of frustrating to be there and be asking yourself questions about what you are seeing and not be able to know the answers.

I posted something else on Fodor's and lots of people responded by saying I should learn to control my husband, that I probably was fat, and that they would never post on Fodor's without expecting stupid replies, so I have no idea how people will react to this tip but maybe somebody about to go to Santa Croce will benefit from our experience!

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