Florence...Why or why not?

Old Apr 7th, 2006, 03:42 PM
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Florence...Why or why not?

Please help us decide if it is worth it to go to Florence for 3 days.

After doing research, it seems that many didn't think Florence was worth it. Originally we were going to nix Rome (believe it or not), but after exploring more about it, it's one we can't miss.

We will be doing Venice, Tuscany, Umbria, Cinque Terre, Rome, Naples and Amalfi during a 21 day 1st time trip in October for a 10 yr Anniversary.

Thx for your input.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 03:49 PM
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Florence is our favorite place in Italy. Your mileage may vary. Try it and see what you think
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 03:52 PM
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For the art and the culture, of course. I have never been to Florence or Rome, but I know that I am drawn to Florence because of the wealth of renaissance art...which is my fave. I would love to be able to say that I saw David up close and personal in my lifetime!!!

I wholeheartedly recommend Florence.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 04:08 PM
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This is not a comment against Florence (as I have never been) but you already have 7 places listed for a 3 week trip.

So figure you actually have only 2-1/2 days each place, counting the 1/2 day you use to travel in-between them.

If you add 3 days in Florence... well (doing obvious math) now you have 8 places (8 hotels, 7 days spent traveling when you move from one place to the next, etc.).

That's already a pretty packed itinerary to my eye.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 04:08 PM
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David is the single most memorable piece of art I saw in Italy. I also had the best pizza I've ever had in my life in Florence in a tiny little pizza place (four tables, two kinds of pizza, one guy who did everything - wait tables, make pizza, bus tables, run cash register). And also the best gelato anywhere, ever: riso (forget the name of the place, but I think it's mentioned in several guidebooks). Other than that... eh.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 04:10 PM
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I dream about Florence- from the first time I visited 35 years ago. Never can get enough of it. 3 days is nothing. I could spend that in cafes.
Even if you don't like art or history you can shop and wander the narrow oltrano streets and visit Fiesole.
But if you love art and history you can't get enough of it-three days is nothing. If you have a chance-borrow a copy of The Medici, godfathers of the Renaissance [videorecording] / produced by Lion Television in association with PBS. It helps explain how the city evolved into such a center of art and shows many of its architectural as well as artistic achievements.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 04:18 PM
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I loved Florence. My first trip to Italy I did not include it because I had also heard quite a bit of negative stuff. Now I can't even remember what. I just fell in love with Florence, and I spent 6 days there. My next trip to Italy I will definitly go back there. And it's not just the art, the whole feel to the city is wonderful. How about skipping Naples, I can't imagine it could be better than Florence, although that is the one place on your itinerary that I have not been. All the others are great.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 04:22 PM
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Apart from us shouting out our favorites to you, it would help to know why you are going to Venice, Naples and Rome (and why you decided not to skip Rome after first thinking you would nix it). Also, where you are going in Umbria and the other parts of Tuscany, and why you are going there? (I think I can guess why you are going to Cinque Terre.)

As another poster pointed out, you already have plenty of destinations, covering a wide geographical swath of Italy. Adding another doesn't make sense, unless there are things there that you are going to other cities to find that you should in fact being going to Firenze to find, only you don't know that.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 06:19 PM
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Skip Naples and spend the time in Florence.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 06:36 PM
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Ok. I'll say skip Florence and make sure you don't skip Naples.

Like I said above, that's the kind of advice you'll get -- people giving your their preferences -- if you don't add details about your interests in Italian cities.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 06:41 PM
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This thread is related to your question: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34571730
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 06:43 PM
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I can't say that I think Florence is not worth it, but I can say that we did not like Florence when we visited in 2002, and we were glad to see it in our rear view mirror when picked up our rental car and drove out of town.

To me, Florence had a hard edge. I think of Florence and I think of narrow streets with vespas blasting by. It is packed with tourists, and to me, it seemed to exist for them, as if it had stopped its development at the end of the renaissaince and now exists as a rather noisy museum.

Rome, on the other hand, has managed to develop and maintain a life of its own, a reason for being beside tourism. To me, it's just a stunning place, with amazing art at every turn and a vibrance that can't be duplicated.

I'm glad that I saw the Uffize and David and the Santa Croce church and the Dom. They are almost required viewing. However, for Florence itself? Nah.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 07:00 PM
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Spent two weeks in Italy in October, '05. We divided our stay between Milan, Lake Como, Venice, Rome & Florence. I would do Florence again. Great food, wealth of art & architecture, beautiful scenic walk along the Arno river. Also, the hop on hop off tour bus is relaxing & educational. I was not in Naples but have heard it is somewhat depressed. However, to each his own. Happy travels.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 07:30 PM
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I am amused when people ask if (name-of-the-place) is "worth it". Worth what? Looking around, eating, finding a hotel?

Florence is probably not, unless you have read "The Agony and the Ecstasy" and "The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini" or "Brunellesci's Dome".

This was the cradle of the Renaissance for heaven's sake.

You are *doing* 7 locations during a 21 day trip, right? With travel time between destinations I really can't see what you are going to get from this *experience*.

I don't mean to sound so negative, but, friend, rethink. Do some reading and some better research. Otherwise you are in a "If it's Tuesday it must be Belgium" mode. Lots of ground covered, very little seen or appreciated, or learned.

If you are not interested in some of the best art and sculpture amd architecture in the world, then NO, Florence is not "worth it".
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 07:57 PM
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I love Florence, too. But I could see how it might not be for everyone. But, then I don't care much for Rome, so, it is all in what you want to see.

The home of the Renaissance is Florence. If art is your thing, as it is mine, you will love Florence, too. Don't forget the suburb, Fiesole. If Florence's crowds get too overwhelming.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 07:59 PM
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Well, I like both Florence and Rome. Now I want to go back to revisit them and see more of Italy. I am sure you are more confused now.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 08:22 PM
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The first time I went to Florence, it was in February, and I spent about 4 days there. I loved it. There were relatively few tourists there at the time, and aside form the Vespas buzzing past, the pace seemed fairly relaxed and I was able to just meander all over town. The restaurant owners and shopkeepers, etc., all had far more time to spend with me. I absolutely fell in love with it.

The second time, I spent only 1 and a half days there, and it was high tourist season. I enjoyed the city far less this time because of the rush and the huge crowds everywhere. Given the compactness of the city center, and with all those tourists, residents and Vespas competing for space, it just got to be very hectic.

Just my experience, in case that helps.
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Old Apr 8th, 2006, 03:38 AM
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I just want to point out that the very crowded streets full of tourists is a relatively small part of Florence - around the Duomo and between there and the Pont Vechio. Yes, that area is full of tourists in the summer time. But walk a few blocks away and it's totally different. Any of the places on your list, certainly Venice and Rome, will be the same way. I have been to all of them in summer and found them all to be very crowded right around the major "sites" but considerable less so just a few blocks away. You say you are going in October, it might be less so then.

If you go to a city and just move from one museum to monument to another, then of course expect to run into a few other tourists. Don't skip those things, but the beauty of these cities is also in the sections of them that are not full of tourist sites. And it doesn't take weeks or months to enjoy them. Even with only 2-4 days you can get a feel for a place. Of course, that's if you don't try to see EVERY museum and monument and church listed in the guidebooks. I highly recommend picking one or two "sites" in a city and spending the rest of the time wandering, shopping and eating.

And I don't think your itinerary is all that rushed. As I said, I'd probably skip Naples but otherwise it looks fine. They are all in the same relatively small country. It's not like your travel between them will take that long. The people who are saying 7 locations in three weeks is too many would be correct if you were talking about 7 different countries, but not just different places in the middle of one country. Look at a map, it's very doable.

Another suggestion would be to base in Florence for your stay in Tuscany, do day trips to Siena and Pisa/Lucca, then do one or two of the smaller towns on your way to where ever you plan to stay in Umbria.

You don't mention how long or in what order you plan these stops. If it were me this is what I'd do: Venice 3 nights, train to Florence (2-3 hours), 5 nights with two day trip by train/bus, train to Cinque Terre, 2 nights, then pick up car and drive around Tuscany/Umbria 5 nights, Amalfi 3 nights, then finish in Rome for 3 nights and fly out of there.
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Old Apr 8th, 2006, 07:09 AM
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People aren't saying such a crammed itinerary isn't possible geographically. They are saying 3 nights in Rome, for instance, means you will be unable to see much of what Rome has to offer, unless you are only interested in a small part of it. Likewise Umbria, Tuscany, etc. Yes, you can get there and gallop around. Some people love that. Many people regret it.

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Old Apr 8th, 2006, 09:38 PM
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Hi all...
Thank you for all the input. My hope by posting this post was to gain an essence of your own personal feelings about Florence. Since each region of Italy seems to have it's own flavor, I wanted to see if there was something there (on/off the beaten path) that made sense for us to explore Florence.

Isabel...you pretty much nailed our current "rough" itinerary. Naples we will do for a day (to at least try the pizza) before we head to Amalfi. If we do Florence, we will have to take a couple days or so away from our 7 day Tuscany/Umbria experience.

We're hoping to gain a nibble of Italy from each region we explore...and hopefully to return someday and stay put in an area we fall in love with. We thrive on hopping from place to place when we travel and although this is not the norm in everyone's travel plans, this suits us perfectly. For us to stay in one hotel/inn for 4 nights is a bit boring to us. We enjoy anticipating what awaits us around the bend.

Thank you again for your personal insight on Florence.



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