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layanluvstotravel Jun 3rd, 2013 06:01 PM

Florence itinerary with teens- reasonable?
Here's our Florence 5 night itinerary (visiting July with 3 teens- need to be careful about museum overload- even with my DH). Your comments are highly appreciated! Also, we'd like to eat out at least once at a decent place in Florence. Any recommendations for a nice place that won't break our budget?:

Florence 5 night itinerary:

First night: Get settled in, walk around. Explore Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, San Lorenzo Market. Go to Basilica di San Miniato al Monte for view of the city.

Second night: Early morning reservations for Uffizi (we decided to leave kids at hotel), Go inside the Duomo, climb it, Boboli Gardens. Walk to Piazzale Michelangelo for view of Florence. Basilica of Santa Croce.

Third night: Day trip to Cinque Terre (50/50 chance of going; will decide when we get there).

Fourth night: Day trip to Lucca then Pisa (or should we start with Pisa then Lucca)? We’ve decided to climb the tower so it would probably stress me out to be in Lucca first. I’d rather do Pisa first. Thoughts? I need to make reservations very soon.

Fifth night: Day trip to Siena by bus. This will be on a Sunday- will that be a problem? Don’t have major plans other than walking around to explore the city and then coming back to Florence. The next day will be a long one—train to Naples then Pompeii on our way later to Sorrento. Hmm, wondering if we should skip Siena for something closer? Thoughts?

ellenem Jun 3rd, 2013 06:35 PM

San Miniato al Monte and Piazzale Michelangelo are right next to one another, so it makes no sense to go to one on the first day and the other on the second day. For a different view over Florence on your first day, take the bus to Fiesole.

joannyc Jun 3rd, 2013 06:55 PM

I suggest seeing Lucca first then go to Pisa. The late afternoon sun makes for some wonderful photos at the Field of Miracles.

Good place to eat in Florence:

Peter_S_Aus Jun 3rd, 2013 07:06 PM

Boboli & Piazzale Mich will be about 2 1/2 hour walking.

Jean Jun 3rd, 2013 08:32 PM

I can't imagine teenagers getting much out of the Boboli Gardens. You don't say what time of year, but walking around in full sun could be pretty uncomfortable on a hot summer day.

I would visit Mercato Centrale. Some photos:

For your dinner out, consider Osteria Zio Gigi near the Duomo.

BigRuss Jun 3rd, 2013 09:08 PM

<< Also, we'd like to eat out at least once at a decent place in Florence>>

That statement is ridiculous.

You will be in ITALY. You will have to exert a LOT of effort to find crappy food. If "decent" means "expensive" or "upscale" you need to reconfigure your definitions.

Considering that there is only one museum on your list, your risk of museum overload is pretty small.

And Siena has a duomo that is the equal of any cathedral in Italy. Well worth the visit.

Hez Jun 3rd, 2013 10:12 PM

Rather than doing day trips I would look at staying overnight those nights - maybe something like...

Third day - Cinque Terre, overnight in Lucca
Fourth day - Lucca/Pisa overnight Lucca
Fifth day - Sienna, overnight Sienna (maybe stopping in San Gimignano on the way).

This requires a car so if you're not comfortable with that it wouldn't work. But you could pick a car up in Florence and then drop it off somewhere like Chiusi and take the train from there.

Also, I understand not overloading teens with museums, but not giving them the opportunity\incentive to experience one of the great museums in the world - well, I just don't get it. If it were me I would take them and give them an hour to wander and find the most bizarre work they can find and report back with the name of the work, artist & year it was created. It will inspire them to look more closely at the works, probably find some crazy stuff that you would never noticed, and make them more aware of different time frames in art and various themes that repeat during those times. Oh - they should remember where the works are as well as they will each need to lead you to their chosen work and explain why it was the most bizarre. You and your DH could play too!


asps Jun 3rd, 2013 11:23 PM

Too many day trips. You would have only one full day in Florence, it makes me wonder why stay there. I would begin by dropping the trip to Cinque Terre.

ThulaMama Jun 4th, 2013 12:37 AM

"That statement is ridiculous."

Not a ridiculous statement at all. It's just as easy to eat badly in Italy as it is in most cities. One of the worst pizza I've had, which looked and tasted like cardboard, was near the Spanish Steps in Rome. (Not my choice of restaurant that night).

Go by recommendations and stay away from restaurants huddled around major tourist spots and you may strike some gems.

KTtravel Jun 4th, 2013 01:42 AM

No David? Even if you decide the kids will skip the Ufizzi (and I would bring them there over the Boboli Gardens) I would definitely try to have them see Michaelangelo's David. My kids, who are not big museum lovers, still talk about seeing it as one of their highlights of our trip to Europe.

ecovanavoce Jun 4th, 2013 04:19 AM

Hi! I know Firenze very well because I studied at the Florence University.

About San Miniato-piazzale Michelangelo-Boboli: ellenem, Peters_S_Aus Jean are right! Piazzale michelangelo-san Miniato are 5 minutes on foot, but pedestrian path is steep.

About food: I agree with ThulaMama, generally is better "turn the corner" from "hot spots"!
By the way: in florence there are some of the worst ice cream I have ever tasted. The best? in San Giminiano, here:

About museum and teens: it depends on theyr interests. Florence offers more than 100 museums... They can be a good choice during the hottest hours of the day.
The most famous are Uffizi, "galleria palatina" in Palazzo Pitti. Pallazzo Pitti is adjacent to Boboli and it contains 5 museums).
Accademia Gallery is famous too, (for "David" by Michelangelo, the original, the one in piazzale Michelangelo is a copy!)
Maybe, whit teens (expecially girls) a good choice could be "galleria del Costume", on Pitti Palace. The collection comprises six thousand items including costumes dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries, theatre costumes and accessories.
Have a look at this site (in english) to choose:

Historical centre of Firenze is not too large, in two days you can't really see everything, but you'll have a good experience anyway. Only for example:

first half day: Santa maria novella church and square (don't miss, it takes less than one hour) and then San Lorenzo's zone. They are close on foot, about 5-10 min.
In San lorenzo "hot-spot" you can found the Church (outside is bare, but the interior is the first example of Italian Renaissance architecture, designed by Brunelleschi) "cappelle medicee" museum and market.
The indoor market -for food- is closed on Sundays. The outdoor market -for leather or art-paper items- is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
San Lorenzo is a good zone for lunch.
Don't miss "cappelle medicee": they aren't museum with paintings, they are interior architectural spaces really impressive, even for teens. You will find some important statues By Michelangelo. The visit does not require too much time.
Second half day: Duomo (choose between climb to the cupola -463 steps!- or the Giotto's bell tower -414 steps!-) then Piazza Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio (outside) and Ponte Vecchio: Enjoy!

second day: Boboli and a museum in the morning and then Santa Croce in the middle of the day (take the bus, save your feet!). Santa Croce is my favorite church in Firenze, here you can elevate your spirit and... refresh your body (last entrance at 17.00)! This is also a good area for lunch, out of the "tourist -traps" of the square, of course!

Bifore it, you have all time to go "oltrarno" by bus, and visit San Miniato and Piazzale Michelangelo. It is very beautiful at sunset...

Excursion from Florence
In order to optimize time, I suggest you an organized trip by bus (there are agencies in florence, ask in your Hotel) or rent a car.

Siena: in the same day you can include San Giminiano too. It's easly feasible.
Pisa and Lucca. First Pisa! The most interesting part is the "square of miracles" (with the leaning tower) and then you can spend all the time remaining in Lucca and relax. Caution: use sneakers to climb the tower, in some places the marble could be slippery.
5 terre: from Firenze are about 2 hours but you can try.

If you decide to rent a car:
stay overnight in Lucca if you want to go at 5 terre.
Decide which is the best solution for you to visit Siena. Consider that to go from Siena to Pisa, the most convenient way is return to Florence and take the highway.
If you leave Florence forever after renting a car:
Pros: save time to leave and return to the center and you will have no parking problems.
Cons: you will be one evening less in florence!

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