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sbrosnan813 Feb 4th, 2017 10:58 AM

4 or 5 days in Florence in July- Itinerary check/logistics
I started asking about a very rough idea of my Italy trip a few weeks ago, and you all have been incredibly helpful. Now that I am starting to narrow it down, I wanted to run a few things by you (again).

Planning on being in Florence for 4/5 nights in July (yes, I know there’s crowds and it will be horribly hot, but we’re both teachers so it’s summertime or nothing lol). I figured including an extra day or two in places like Florence would help us go at a slower pace to accommodate for the heat. I will DEFINITELY ensure I get rooms with AC. I’ve received some advice that said that museums and places with AC should be done during the afternoon with the outside stuff planned in early AM or late evening. Are the places like Accademia and Uffizi cool enough in the AC to do in the afternoon (as long as I have a ticket and don't have to wait in a queue?) or do the crowds take away any possibility of cooling down lol?

Anyway, depending on the days of the week that we will actually be there and when I can get reservations, but I was thinking of something along the following:

Day 1: Arrive from Levanto mid-morning/early afternoon. Check in, rest, freshen up. Walk around in the evening
Day 2: Boboli Gardens (early AM), Uffizi Gallary, and Vassari Corridor (mid morning to early afternoon); although I am not sure how the tours might go if we get one that brings us through the Vassari Corridor. In that case, maybe it will end up being Uffizi ->Vassari Tour->Boboli Gardens. Back to hotel area (TBD) for lunch and getting out of afternoon heat. Maybe Piazza Michelangelo and Oltrarno for dinner and sunset, or walk around Ponte Vecchio/ Piazza Del Signoria area during sunset
Day 3: Accademia (the main sights, plus their musical instrument museum because we're both music teachers/ musicians); Mercato Centrale, Piazza Santa Croce, do whatever evening walk we didn’t do the day before.
Day 4: Bapistry and Il Duomo (not sure if Il Duomo is best first thing in AM or later before it closes).

*one of these days would also most likely include an opera or musical performance, and someone suggested that we would probably like to hear the Gregorian chant at San Miniato al Monte (maybe the same day we catch the sunset at Piazza Michelangelo)

-I could technically add a day 5- either use it as a “buffer day” if we didn’t get through things in Day 1-4, or are the 4 days still enough even considering the extra time we’ll need because we’re going in July (super hot) and are battling the crowds?

Also, is there anything important that I’m missing that would have us want to stay a Day 5 in Florence? We like history and art, but wouldn’t necessarily need to spend an entire day in a museum… the only time we ever did that was when we visited Pearl Harbor and that included everything. We also like to just walk around and enjoy the area, but we already have that built into the first day. That being said, I know my husband enjoyed Florence the most out of the big 3, but I’m debating on if I should take that possible Day 5 in Florence and add it to our 3 days in Tuscany (most likely Pienza as a base).

Thank you SO much for your continued advice and input!

annhig Feb 4th, 2017 11:50 AM

Hi sbrosnan,

I like the idea of planning to take account of the heat, but I'm not sure that your daily plans take that fully into account e.g. day 2 you have the Boboli Gardens, then the Uffizi, and then the Vasari corridor - ok if you are staying in Altrarno, but if you are north of the river, you'll be crossing it once to get to the gardens, then going back to the Uffizi, [and possibly having to rush to get there in time for your pre-booked slot] and then back across the river in the Vasari corridor.

personally I'd drop the idea of starting at the gardens, and aim to get to the Uffizi early, see as much as you can before the hoards arrive, and then take the rest of the day at a leisurely pace, remembering that there will probably be the best chance of shade in the gardens.

one place you've not mentioned in your list is the Monastery of San Marco in the square of that name [near the Academia] - it only opens in the mornings and houses the works of Fra Angelico amongst others:


[that website is the official way to pre-book tickets for the uffizi and academia as well].

if you were in search of some relief from the heat, you could catch the bus from the other side of the square up to Fiesole where there are great views over the city and hopefully, some cooling breezes as well. There is also an archeological museum, a greek/roman theatre and a lovely restaurant in the centre with tables under the trees.

You could also take a day trip by bus to Siena or San Gim, or get the train to Pisa and/or Lucca.

jelopez33 Feb 4th, 2017 01:59 PM

Hi Sbrosnan!

You should check my information. But as far as I know the Vassari corridor is closed for at least two years.

I second you consider San Marco. Frangelico paints, the Annunciation is realy beautiful plus the clothes and many things that pertained to Girolamo Savonarola.

Santa Maria Novella is another good church to visit.


frencharmoire Feb 4th, 2017 03:39 PM

I thought I once read a long time ago that the warning about "mad dogs & Englishmen go out in the noon day sun" was specifically a jibe a people from Englad traveling in Florence, but maybe I am mixed up about that. But my only reasong for bringing it up is that I would probably not survive a visit to the Boboli gardens in July that started at noon or any later than about 9.30am, unless I was going in the evening. The summertime sun in that part of the world is tough to take, and the Boboli gardens are set on a hillside. I think the gardens are open at night in the summer, sometimes with music concerts. I don't know what kind of music it is though (or if I'm remembering correctly).

The Arno river isn't wide at all. The Uffizi is on one bank and the entrance to the gardens is on the other, so I don't see it as a big problem keeping to a schedule.

The bus to Siena is probably air conditioned but I wouldn't but on the one to San Gimignano being air conditioned. Again, even though these places are hill towns, they are very steep and made of stone -- not someplace I would go to on midday in summer if I was looking to get cool. It's simpler just to stay in Florence and have a long lunch and visit some churches or take a nap until it's enjoyable to go back outside & eat a lot of gelato.

Agree to go to Santa Maria Novella and to San Marco. Santa Croce and Ognissanti. If you see a church, go inside! It's usually fantastic in Florence, and cool if it is hot outside.

marvelousmouse Feb 4th, 2017 09:49 PM

What frenchamoire said. There are indeed hordes at Uffizi, but Boboli is both enormous and hilly. It was a workout even on January- I would have dropped dead doing the same pace in summer. Actually, assuming you want to see the attached museums- I would not do Boboli and Uffizi the same day. They are each nearly whole day events. Even without much interest in Museums- just a lot of ground to cover.

Academia, in contrast, is a surprisingly small museum- I spent the most time in the musical instrument section but I saw everything, and I don't think it took more than 2 hours. Then I killed another hour just staring at David and people watching. Not a full day museum, and I am pretty much capable of turning any museum into a full day affair. So maybe just swap Accademia and Uffizi.

In terms of coolness/crowds- like I said I was there in January. But I did notice that Accademia is one of those museums that big groups of people go to because they feel obligated...and then many of them just find a seat or crowd around a few specific woks- notably David. It was a lot more crowded that I expected, and they weren't mostly actively sightseeing- they were just either crowded around David or lurking on benches. So I suspect you and hundreds of your fellow tourists will either have the same idea about a/c...

Leely2 Feb 4th, 2017 10:36 PM

I was in Florence for a few days this past July (not my first visit). It was hot but oh well, I still enjoyed and I hate the heat and crowds bug me a bit and Florence isn't even my fave city. But it's Italy! FYI, I arrived late afternoon, had dinner, wandered about and then to my surprise noticed that Palazzo Vecchio, where I had never been, was open until 11pm in the summer. So if you need to siesta, seek out sights that are open late in summer.

In addition to San Marco, Santa Croce (which is big and wonderful and takes time) and Santa Maria Novella, try to get to the fabulous Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine.

Have a great trip!

sbrosnan813 May 14th, 2017 07:33 PM

Hello everyone!

I apologize for taking so long to respond- I was on a bit of hiatus with my planning because work was just crazy for a few months. I want you all to know that I took everything you said into consideration (the heat, adding some of the other churches etc. that you mentioned, maybe taking a day trip, visiting Palazzo Vecchio at night), and it helped me tremendously!

I am starting a new post with a revised and more detailed itinerary- hopefully it looks pretty good! :) Thanks again for your help! :)

annhig May 15th, 2017 01:22 PM

that's great, sbrosnan - looking forward to reading [and commenting on!] your detailed itinerary.

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