Help! Is Florence just museums??

Old May 13th, 2013, 07:16 PM
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Help! Is Florence just museums??

My teens like museums but don't want to visit too many. The guide books seem to praise every single museum so I'm having a hard time narrowing them down. Is Florence museum land?? We have 5 nights there and I'm starting to think that may be too much (since we don't plan to visit too many museums). We'll do a day trip to Pisa/Lucca, another long one to cinque terre and a third maybe to Siena. Besides the uffizi, what's another must visit museum? (I know the museum with David but it just doesn't appeal to us, not sure why).
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Old May 13th, 2013, 07:25 PM
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Whoa, just museums!? After studying there for five months last spring I will attest there is so much more to do than museums. I was a 21 year old college with a wide array of interests (art, history, cuisine, outdoors, walking, music, wine) so there was much to offer.

I am not sure about particulars for teens but I think you should re-consider all the extra trips. Florence deserves much more time, there are just too many MUST try restaurants if youre going to have the given time in Florence. I would do maybe a day and a half trip to Cinque Terre and maybe if youre feeling motivated a half day in Pisa (since I think that's all it really warrants, sorry )

I think the Palazzo Pitti is pretty much a MUST see if you want to see something in addition to Uffizi. Boboli Gardens is a must. I would love to be more specific if you need something because I feel like I am being overly broad.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 07:28 PM
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Well, surely you are familiar with the relationship between Florence and the Renaissance, which of course marks it as a museum mecca, but of course there are many, many other venues. Do you have a good guidebook?
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Old May 13th, 2013, 07:38 PM
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I'm wondering why you selected Florence as a place to spend five days?
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Old May 13th, 2013, 07:51 PM
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Yes, it seems a little odd that you would pick Florence for 5 days. Why not another destination and a day trip to Florence?

Perhaps the suggestion that more time in the Cinque Terre is a good one for your family. Hiking and train rides and maybe a boat ride too would be fun. You could stay 3 nights and day trip to Pisa and maybe Lucca, where they might want to rent bikes and ride the walls. . Then put in two nights in Florence.


If they don't like museums much, how do they feel about churches? There are certainly plenty of them.

For something completely outside of history, art and religion, Florence has markets, and teens like markets.

I think two nights in Florence would suit your group. The Uffizi and markets, the Duomo, climb something, and you're outta there.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 08:07 PM
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What about the highest end designer shops? They are way cool for teens who like design. Window shopping is like looking at art, the items are so precisely shown.

I liked Florence a lot, when we visited in early May. The gorgeous weather and lack of crowds allowed us to really enjoy strolling around Florence. DD had studied there for a semester and knew her way around.

I think Florence is small enough and safe for your teens to spend time investigating on their own. Maybe not at night. But that's true for any city.

If you aren't wild about museums, what about architecture? The museums are in amazing buildings. We missed the Pitti Palace, unfortunately.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 08:34 PM
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I agree, most folks don't do 5 days in Florence, particularly with teens. What was your thinking on that?
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Old May 13th, 2013, 09:40 PM
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Yes, Florence is a mecca of Renaissance art, but there's a lot else.

In terms of museums, I would suggest the Uffizi, the Accademia - the primary reason to visit is David, and even if you spend a lot of time admiring him, your time there would easily be less than one hour. And if you want to visit one other museum, the Bargello is nice. It's also not so huge, and focused on statues.

Many churches in Florence have great artwork and sculptures, so they make for a good place to see some famous art without being overwhelmed.

The markets are fun; we like the food market the best.

The piazzas are great places to hang out with a glass of wine or beer. Often, in or near Piazza della Signoria, there are singers (American or otherwise) singing American music.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 09:41 PM
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^^I agree, most folks don't do 5 days in Florence, particularly with teens. What was your thinking on that?^^

Maybe the poster read somewhere on the internet that Florence is "a museum mecca, but of course there are many, many other venues." What are these other venues? Churches? Or are you also referring to shopping? The poster said the original post she has several guidebooks.

Actually it is very typical that most people who have never been to Italy book at least 2 days in Florence -- which is all this poster's family is spending in Florence. Does someone here think that 2 days is too much time to be spending in Florence with teenagers?

layanluvstotravel,

If you are spending 3 days out of Florence on day trips, I don't think 2 days in Florence is too much. If your teens "like" museums but don't like too many, I think you are on the right track making personal family choices, like skipping the Accademia. Take a look at Museo San Marco, which isn't a conventional museum at all. It is not like the Uffizi, which is an enormous warehouse of Italian painting which is very crowded, making the paintings very difficult to see. If your teens clamor to see the Uffizi, put it toward the end of your visit, so that the family doen't burn out early, or if they feel they've seen enough art, skip it.

If you move your "base" to Siena, it will be much more difficult to visit Lucca and Pisa, and vice versa, and nearly impossible to visit le Cinque Terre. There is much more life in Florence at nighttime than there is in smaller Tuscan towns on the train line. Try staggering your time in Florence, breaking it up with the day trips, rather than try to jam a whole load of Florence sightseeing your first day.

I recommend arriving in Florence, maybe climbing the Duomo, seeing the bapistery, calling it quits for cultural sightseeing for the day. Next day Siena. Next day, le Cinque Terre. Back to Florence. Next Day Lucca (bike rides) and Pisa. Final day Florence, and you can leave early for your next destination.

If you all hate Florence on sight, you can have a nice time taking the bus up to Fiesole, or try a day of swimming and spas at Montecatini, a short train ride away. It is also not difficult to get to Bologna, or you can take a long-ish bus trip to San Gimignano.

But I don't think you will hate Florence on sight, and don't feel obliged to see the so.called must-see museums. There are quirky shoe museums, anatomical medical museums, science museums. Head into the tourist office for information on concerts and where to find the public swimming pools.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 09:59 PM
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Five nights is only 4 full days. IMO, not too long in Florence (by a long shot).

A climb to the lantern/top of the Duomo is an interesting exposure to the dome's construction at a time (15th C.) when little was known about how to build a dome that wouldn't collapse. If your kids have any interest in architecture and can read a bit about the story of this church, they might think this was more than just a climb. If not, the views from the top are still spectacular.

http://www.pbs.org/empires/medici/re...nelleschi.html

You can take Segway or bicycle tours of Florence. Or look for a pizza-making and/or gelato-making class.

Besides the day trips already mentioned (Pisa for the Tower, Lucca to bicycle atop the city walls), there are other excursions using public transportation or by joining a day tour. Fiesole is a village in the hills outside Florence. You can take a bus or taxi to the village and see the ruins of a Roman theater and baths, Etruscan walls, etc. Viator offers single-day, guided tours to Siena and San Gimignano, a biking tour from Florence into the Tuscan countryside, and horseback riding.

If there are any car nuts, you could take a tour of the Lamborghini factory outside of Bologna. Reservations are required.

http://www.lamborghini.com/en/herita...factory-visit/

If they enjoy science, go to the Galileo or Da Vinci Museums in Florence.

http://www.museogalileo.it/en/visit/miniguides.html

http://www.mostredileonardo.com/site...=10&idPagina=3

If anyone might study medicine, consider going to La Specola (Natural History Museum).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Specola
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Old May 13th, 2013, 11:21 PM
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I thought Florence was boring when I was younger, , sorry folks, its definatley not a hot spot for most teens.. perhaps some , but I think I would base yourself somewhere else.. Cinqe Terra maybe for 2-3 days, and then 2 days in Florence.

I also thought Pisa was boring.. so guess that shows where my head was at 30 years ago.. lol
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Old May 14th, 2013, 01:27 AM
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I don't think you'll run the risk to see your children getting bored. Museums in Florence are not just rooms with paintings inside.
They are true-to-life ancient palaces and walking in it you can really breathe another time life. I guess your children will have the time of their life in visiting Florence!
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Old May 14th, 2013, 04:35 AM
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To add on to Jean's suggestions:

When trying to decide among Florence museums your teens might enjoy, give a priority to "museums" that are actually palaces or converted monasteries, where the art is part of the rich decor, rather than going to the museums that are huge gallery spaces where the art is propped up in isolation in an otherwise bare room (like in the Uffizi or the Bargello.

Also give a priority to the bite-sized places to look at art, like a single chapel, or a set of monastery rooms. People often learn more about what a fantastic outburst of ideas and wealth the Renaissance was by seeing just one or two interiors of a palazzo or monastery. Not by walking past painting after painting or statue after statue.

The carved doors of the Bapistery, the small chapel of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the monastery museum of San Marco, along with touring the town to see the market, the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio lined with jewelry makers, can leave a very vivid impression of just what an amazing tiny city Florence was in its heyday, with a competition between bankers and churches for control of the culture of the town.

It is a very dramatic place in history, and if your kids know anything about American history, they might appreciate seeing where many of the ideas of modern governance, modern science and modern banking came from.

To me, whether or not you decide to take them to le Cinque Terre instead (can't they do that for less money at home?) partly depends on where you would going after le Cinque Terre. Travel time between le Cinque Terre and other places of interest is often very long, consuming an entire day of your trip along not particularly scenic routes.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 07:13 AM
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Question- for my day trips (if we decide to do them on our own- we usually do stuff on our own) I suspect we can purchase the train tickets early in the morning from the train station? These are regional trains? (Pisa/Lucca/Cinque Terre)? Also, for Siena, I've read that the bus is a better option. Can we buy that same day/time? We are traveling in July.

Thanks everyone! I originally planned on being in Florence for 3 nights then 2 in Cinque Terre. I changed that based on several factors (including hubby/kids don't like to move a lot, got a good "deal" on the florence hotel and it just seemed to make a good base for possible day trips).

steve and jean- I'm going to follow your recommendations. A little about our family- we love walking around, getting lost in the city/village we are visiting and doing "mundane" stuff like grocery store shopping, walking around neighborhoods, looking at buildings/architecture, visiting parks, etc.

I think I'm going to keep our plans as they are. Whomever (from my family) is up to leaving Florence for a day can join me and whomever wants to just hang around and eat gelato walking in one of the World's most awesome streets (like I suspect my hubby will prefer to do) can stay in Florence

I do appreciate all of you guys' advice! Thanks again.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 08:14 AM
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Tabernash2, you may have found Florence uncrowded in early May, but it will be stuffed to the gills with tourists in July. To the OP, you may like the option of getting out of Florence during the day and returning at night, when the crowds have eased.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 08:18 AM
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Yes. And New York is just skyscrapers.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 08:44 AM
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@BigRuss- lol.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 10:08 AM
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Yes, Mimar, that was my point.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 10:10 AM
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To the OP, Cinque Terre is not an easy day-trip from Florence. It is further than you think on the train.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 10:58 AM
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Say what you want but when you have a couple of kids who, in the OP's words: don't want to see "too many" (meaning what? more than one???) museums I don't care how WONDERFUL Florence is (and yes I do think it is) or even if Lorenzo and a few others come back from the dead and MEET you there...it could be a long few days.

Reality: OP: can you possible change your itinerary OR tell the kids to suck it up?
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