Florence top 10 list

Feb 1st, 2008, 11:22 AM
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Florence top 10 list

I'm planning my first trip to Italy and would like to get some advice on Florence from all of you experts out there.

I have 2 days in Florence in early May and want to get ideas of what to do and how to set up my itinerary. The only things I have on my list so far is Uffizi & Accademia (my hotel is looking into making reservations for me). We are staying at the Hotel Davanzati.

Thank you!
ap2000 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 11:40 AM
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Piti Palace is my favorite of all.

de Medici Chapel is an amazing monument to ego. I never cease to amazed at it. Usually not too crowded and is fast in and out. I have been known to leave my wife shopping at the San Lorenzo market and sneak back in for another look.

Palazzo Vecchio is very worthwhile. I am palace fan though. there is a hidden elevator behind the ticket desk that will save lots of steps.

charlesg is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 12:06 PM
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The Duomo. The Duomo. The Duomo.

No trip to florence is complete without a visit. Here's my top ten:

1. The Duomo
2. Accademia
3. Palazzo Vecchio
4. Medici chapels
5. Boboli gardens
6. Uffizi
7. Piazzale Michaelangelo
8. Sante Croce Church
9. Bargello
10.ponte vecchio
ssachida is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 12:16 PM
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A great museum that many people miss is the Bargello, which has lots of sculpture as opposed to paintings. It's especially interesting there to see two other Davids, one by Donatello and one by Verocchio. They are so different from Michelangelo's!! Legend has it that the Verrochio is a likeness of the young Leonardo da Vinci, an apprentice in Verrochio's studio, who was said to be an extremely good-looking young man. And also there is the Donatello statue of Mary Magdalene which is so sad.

When you are at the Accademia, don't miss the unfinished sculptures of slaves emerging from blocks of marble. Michelangelo said he carved statues by removing the stone that did not belong, allowing the statue to emerge from the stone. You can really see what he meant!

For a different experience, go to the Mercado Centrale (Central Market) which is full of specialty food stalls that will just amaze you! This is only a few blocks from the Accademia where the Michelangelo David is. Do not confuse it with the outdoor market in Piazza San Lorenzo, which is mostly clothing.

Also go to the other market under a loggia a block from the Piazza della Signoria where there is the bronze statue of the wild boar, called Il Porcellino (Eel pour-che-leeno'). There's lots of handicrafts there, and the idea is to rub the snout of the boar for good luck. Its nose is shiny from all the multitudes of rubs it's received.

Go to the Piazza della Republica (a couple of blocks from the Duomo) and have a coffee at Gilli's Cafe. (Pronounced Jilly's) It is really fun. You can stand at the bar inside like the Italians, or sit outside at a table where you will pay about 3x as much but also get to get off your feet and watch the passing parade. Their pastries and other desserts are wonderful.

And I, too love the Medici chapel.

Climb to the top of the Duomo if you are in good shape. (Not for those with bad knees!!) But before you go, read "Brunelleschi's Dome" which tells you all about the engineering puzzle it was, and about the competition to get the contract, and how Brunelleschi solved the problem Then when you climb up into the dome you will see what it was all about.

If you still have any time left go to the museum of the works of the Duomo (Opera dell Duomo) and see the original golden doors of the Baptistery (the ones outdoors on the Baptistery today are copies). By the way, that is a competition Brunelleschi lost to Ghiberti.
charnees is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 12:35 PM
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Also go inside the Baptistery--great mosaics.
ellenem is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 12:57 PM
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*The Duomo, including a climb into the dome (best understood/appreciated if you read the Ross King book first)
*The Bargello
*San Marco (beautiful Fra Angelico frescoes)
*Santa Croce
*Santa Maria Novella
*View of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo, with visit to San Miniato al MOnte
*Fiesole (don't know if this really qualifies as a Florence top 10...)
Vttraveler is online now  
Feb 1st, 2008, 01:23 PM
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Try to go to Farmacia Santa Maria Novella on Via Della Scala which is in a convent. They have wonderful things--soaps, creams, potpourri, etc.
nini is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 01:25 PM
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"We are staying at the Hotel Davanzati."

YEA!! They are wonderful!!
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 01:28 PM
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I'm not sure you'll find unanimity on only 10. It all depends on everyone's interests.

Not mentioned yet:

Museo dell'Opificio delle Pietre Dure (amazing inlayed semi-precious stones; much finer workmanship than pieces in Medici Chapels)

Brancacci Chapel

Dante's House and the neighboring Badia Fiorentina (the city's oldest monastery)

Convento di San Marco (Angelico fresco)

Santa Spirito (another Brunelleschi church) and its neighborhood

Santissima Annunziata (cloister and temple, with an image of the Virgin Mary considered "miraculous")

Palazzo Medici Riccardi (garden, town council meeting rooms and Gozzoli's fresco "Procession of the Magi")

I could keep going, but, like I said, it depends on your interests.
Jean is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 01:39 PM
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If you asked my DH this question, he would say, "Leo's"

Leo’s (Via Torta 7R – www.florencerestaurant.com open for lunch and dinner – closed Mondays – phone 055 210829)

(lol, it truly was his ultimate favorite "site")

You also can visit Santa Croce while you are in the neighborhood.

Enjoy Firenze!
Tiff is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 01:44 PM
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This thread just makes me shake my head in wonder at those who "don't like" Florence!

At this point, adding anything more to these top spots would just make your head spin, so I won't. Oh wait, I can't help myself:


ellenm mentions the mosaics inside the Baptistry. Fantastic.

And don't miss the Mercato Centrale if you are at all interested food.

You could read about each of the places mentioned here and then figure out which you want to see. All incredibly worth your time.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 01:58 PM
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I second Leos! We hd a fabulous dinner there! And when you visit the central mercado, go for lunch and eat the incredible boiled beef sandwich at Nerbones stand(just look for the crowd!) One of the best things we ate in 10 days of amazing food in Italy.

I was one who didn't love Florence. It was too crowded and there were too many beggars and vendors everywhere. But the art was amazing and food was wonderful.
plafield is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 02:30 PM
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helenoftroy is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 05:50 PM
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Museo de Duomo is a must-see that is frequently overlooked
Brancacci Chapel across the river for the Masaccio frescos
Medici Chapel behind San Lorenzo
Good Luck
The_Judge is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 05:59 PM
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Unless you really love to buy rather nice but expensive creams and lotion type things, I would skip Farmacia Santa Maria Novella on a two day trip to Florence. It isn't really in the beaten path, and although it is a very nice shop, it is a shop.

I'll probably get drummed out of the corps for the above suggestion, but the list you have going here is pretty extensive and contains many fascinatings sights. Two days in Florence aren't that many.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 07:07 PM
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stokebailey is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 07:18 PM
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We really enjoyed climbing to the top of the campanile. The view of the Duomo is unforgettable!

hlocke1 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 07:48 PM
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I would definitely recommend the science musuem behind the Uffizi(cannot think of the name of it now). It consists of two floors with globes,maps,etc .and other science stuff from Galileo and all sorts of interesting medical equipment from the Renaissance era. There are numerous things of interest in it and it is a wonderful change if you are "getting sick of all the art".(I say this as someone who studied French and Italian Art in Florence for a college semester!)

I would also take the local bus from the Accademia up to Fiesole for a wonderful view of Florence and have a stroll through the great Roman ruins up there for an afternoon.There are some cute restaurants up there as well.
There is a thread from year's past on some of the other wonderful things to do in Florence so check it out on the search feature.
dutyfree is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 08:21 PM
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Visiting Florence in Sept - bookmarking!
tara3056 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 09:24 PM
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Have lunch or a snack in the cafe at the Uffizi, halfway through your visit. Sit outside on the rooftop patio because the the view is spectacular.

Go see the Piazza della Signoria at dusk when the crowds are gone.

Try the gelato at Carabe on your way to or from the Accademia. Also try the gelato and buy some pasteries at Cafe Gilli.

If you visit the Branacci Chapel in the Oltarno, take a bit of time to explore the neighbourhood. You can buy a pair of Italian-made kid leather gloves in any colour imaginable for 20 euro at Roberta's on Borgo San Jacopo. They come in several difference sizes for both men and women.

Get out early in the morning for a walk, ideally before 8am. When you hear the vendors' wagons rattling on the cobblestones, it's time to go back home for breakfast, or to bed for another hour's sleep.
Apres_Londee is offline  

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