A Tale of Florence....


Jun 4th, 2006, 07:31 PM
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A Tale of Florence....

I arrived in Florence on a monday afternoon.
Since the florence airport was undergoing construction at the time of my flight purchase, I arrived at the Pisa airport instead. When going to the ticket counter and inquiring about the train (trenitalia) to florence, the agent told me I would have to catch a train to that train. Uhm, ok. She said I could take a bus instead. At 7.50 euros it didn't sound too bad too me.

The bus was great airconditioned, clean, with plenty of room. Travel time around an hour. Got to see plenty of Italy slightly off the beaten path.

Arrived at Santa Maria Novella Stazione, and walked to my hotel, Bed and Bed Cassia. Though Florence is very small, I would suggest catching a cab to your hotel since traveling can be tiring in and of itself. Lugging a suitcase on cobbled streets doesn't make things easier, either.

Met with the owner or manager of B&B Cassia. Very nice person and he helped me greatly with my lack of speaking Italian.

The B&B Cassia has a tiny communal fridge (very clean), and a L'azza espresso machine with free espresso pods. Great treat! I was able to go to the nearby markets and buy food.

About the room.....more than enough room for one person. Tiled floor, day bed sort of bed. Very clean bathroom. TV. There were about 5 or 6 other rooms on my floor, plus an additional bathroom. Place was extremely clean! Only downside is that while I was not bothered by any noise from the outside, the going-ons of the people upstairs, or the other boarders on the floor, and their coming-and-goings was very audible.

I settled in after feeling very tired and exhausted and went to look for an atm. The first ATM I tried before reaching my hotel couldn't process my card for some reason. Got slightly freaked out for a minute (hotel doesn't accept credit card), but found a Banc Automat and got my cash easy.

Found a local store and stocked up on Florentine bread (not sure of the name, but very little salt used in the bread), some water (it was very hot, but not humid), and some crackers (went excellant with the free espresso).

I settled into the room for the night and found myself learning more of the Italian language via the tv!!
ilovetotravel29 is offline  
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Jun 5th, 2006, 05:38 AM
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A nice start, IL.

ira is offline  
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Jun 5th, 2006, 08:30 AM
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And we're ready for more.
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Jun 5th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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Part Two--

I awoke bright and early to head off to my appointment at the Uffizi. The tips I received on here about making my reservation in advance paid off extremely well.

Here is a tip----make your reservations in advance, and you can purchase your ticket at door #3--that is for purchasing tickets for those already w/ reservations. If you wait until you arrive to make a reservation, you could get a late time the next day, or even two days later! Or you could always just wait in that loooong line. But in the heat in Italy, I wouldn't recommend it.

Got in to my appointment in under 15 minutes. The reservation is free to make and there is no surcharge like the kind that other businesses may charge for making the reservation for you.

The Uffizi is not a very large museum, but it is densely packed and there is usually a crowd definately in the more popular rooms. As a side note, all the security guards looked a little bored. Also, make sure to bring your walking shoes....your best best is to use the stairs!

I had a wonderful time seeing the works of art, and got my first (or rather second experience) at noticing the big difference between the "take away" prices for food, and the "eat here" prices. But nonetheless, sometimes the difference is worth it if you can get a view as I did from the top of the Uffizi cafe.

The gift shop is heavenly and far better than the Academie gift shop.

After about 1.5 hours (including my late breakfast/early lunch), I left the Uffizi (but not before using their post office and sending some cards to my friends--again, the clerk looked like she would have been much happier somewhere else) and headed out to do some walking around the different palazzas (sorry, I may be spelling that wrong).

Oh my! Since Florence in so small, let your feet do the guiding!! Stop for a quick small cup of gelato (why the super humongous sizes of gelato, I don't know, since even the small size will give you two different flavors and because of the intensity of the flavors a little bit goes a very long way!), and tour all the little merchant shops and the little stalls selling souvenirs, cheap journals, fake scarves, etc.

I will write more later.......
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