Help planning time in Florence

Mar 23rd, 2014, 11:15 AM
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Help planning time in Florence

We will be on a "hosted" tour of Italy in early May meaning the tour company arranges hotels and transports us between Rome, Florence and Venice. We have an orientation tour in each city which in Florence includes a visit to the Academy to see David. We want to book the Uffizi on our own and wonder the best time of day to visit, first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon on a Friday? Thank you in advance.
Scootoir is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 11:33 AM
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I think first thing in the morning is kind of nice; go out on the terrace for a coffee break if the weather is fine.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 11:44 AM
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same here - another advantage of an early morning visit is that you can get round before most of the groups and coach tours arrive. and when you finish, you have the rest of the day free, instead of having to keep and eye on the time all day.
annhig is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 09:12 PM
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I am not a morning person and one must get up very early in the morning to beat the tour groups at the Uffizi. I prefer to time my visits to museums to the final entry when other people are leaving.

In general though I would say that unless you are particularly interested in the history of Italian religiou painting or have a list of individual paintings that you don-t want to leave Florence without having seen then there are much more memorable places to visit in Florence than its biggest conventional museum of painting.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 09:29 PM
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Sandralist--What is on your list of must sees in Florence?
Scootoir is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 10:17 PM
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We never miss walking through the Mercato Centrale.
RonZ is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 10:40 PM
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We visited Florence last Oct, and our hotel booked us into the first session at 9.30am, which was really great - no queuing, and no crush inside. We loved wandering through the Pitti Palace, and were surprised that it does not get the coverage it deserves in the guide books. Definitely worth visiting. We also really enjoyed Palazzo Davanzati - once again not so well-known, and therefore a more intimate experience of a wealthy family's villa, beautifully preserved. But be aware it closes at 2pm each day.
rosemaryoz is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 10:49 PM
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You did not ask everyone, but Santa Croce is at the top of my must see list for Florence.
Sassafrass is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 04:52 AM
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I actually don't believe in "must sees" I can only tell what I have found most rewarding to do and also point out that Florence was in its prime the center of an extraordinary culture of commerce and creativity so if you have a particular interest -- like clothing or engineering or music or color or ceramics or gardening or perfume or jewelry or science or cocktails (just touching on the highlights here) -- then you can find a connection in Florence that could make your visit very meaningful.

When I am in Florence I like to visit places that can never be moved from Florence. For me the most eye-opening places to visit have been the Museo San Marco (which is not really a museum but a former monastery where each of the monk's cells have a small and beautifully colored contemplative mural painted directly onto the wall by Fra Angelico). I also have been amazed by the richly decorated small unique chapels that only take a moment to see but have glowing frescoes inside. My favorite of those is the Magi Chapel in the palazzo Medici Riccardi. If your walking tour does not take you inside the Bapistery next to the Duomo then you might want to enter it on your own to see its fantastic ceiling mosaic.

Florence has always been a place of intense commercial activity and although today many of the souvenir shops are tacky it is still possible to find historic shops selling goods of exceptional craftsmanship and quality. Many of these shops are beautiful and very characteristic of the high love of delicacy and refinement in Florentine culture. I seldom buy anything more than a cookie or a bar of soap but I enjoy the beautiful window displays and appreciate that these places have survived.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 05:44 AM
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We find the Uffizi to be easiest to see in the morning. It is very difficult to enjoy once the crowds arrive as you are often trapped in mobs within the museum and can't move at your own pace. And, if you go late in the day after you are tired, it could be an ordeal.

I absolutely agree with sandralist's suggestions and would add Santa Croce and the Bargello to the list. We return to Florence often to both repeat visits to old favorites and find new ones. Everyone should see the Uffizi at least once but we haven't returned for several years.
mamcalice is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 06:11 AM
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The Gregorian Chants at San Miniato, across the river (oltrano), just above Piazzele Michelangelo, is interesting. This is the real deal, not some presentation for tourists. They start about 5:30 p.m. and last for about 30 minutes. Just walk into the church, go down the stairs and take a seat.

You will also see one of the best views of Florence from both San Miniato and Piazzele Michelangelo. This two web sites provide more details, including bus:
CaWino is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 07:32 AM
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Some good recs here. Book your Ufzi tix in advanc using the phone service. No extra charge, no waiting in line, and no charge if you don't show up.

If you're interested in climbing the Duomo for a view of Florence, do it early in the day to avoid the crowds.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 07:41 AM
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The Uffizi is one of the great art museums in the world, like the Prado and the Louvre. The Uffizi is not as big as either of those, just full of choice Italian Renaissance paintings, very easy to enjoy. It would be #1 on my list of museums in Florence, a town which to my mind is all about the Italian Renaissance.
Mimar is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 10:40 AM
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How much time do you have in Florence?

I also suggest Santa Croce. One of the most interesting things we've done in Florence is go on the guided tour up the scaffolding in Santa Croce for a close-up view and explanation of the fresco cycle in the apse.
[scroll down to "Thematic Visits"]

Also in Santa Croce is the Cimabue crucifix which was seriously damaged in the flood of Florence in 1966 and became the symbol of the city's recovery. Inside the basilica, on the wall near the main doors, you'll find a painted line that reflects how high the water rose inside the church.

The Last Supper and Tree of Life frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi in the refectory adjoining Santa Croce are excellent.

I also agree with the suggestion of the Bargello, esp. if you're interested in sculpture.
Jean is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 12:02 PM
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Scootoir; I clicked-on your name and saw your trip report on Washington, DC and noticed a special interest in the 'Air and Space' museum.

Perhaps this museum will also interest you, for me it was the highlight of a week in Florence, I enjoy art very much but science trumps it for me.

Room VII was the biggie for me, it has 2 of Galileo's telescopes plus THE telescope lens he used to discover the moons of Jupiter and other of his instruments and also a few of his fingers and a tooth.
Rostra is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 01:42 PM
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A little out of the way ( but not that much) - the Boboli Gardens.
KMacK_ca is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 05:09 PM
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TXtraveler2013 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 11:04 PM
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Rostra, Mr. wonderful might enjoy that museum so We will look into it further. And KmacK I am a gardener and have been wondering if the Boboli is worth finding our way to. Great information.
Scootoir is offline  
Mar 25th, 2014, 03:17 AM
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If you are a gardener you might enjoy visiting the small garden and the museum of the pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella. Since 1600, monks (and now others) have been making perfumes and cures from flowers and aromatic plants, and it is probably the most beautiful pharmacy in the world. It is VERY near the train station, which means it is very close to your hotel:

It is easy to get to the Boboli gardens (there are many books and guides you can look at ahead of time) and you could also consider taking a short bus ride from the Florence train station to visit gardens in some of the villas in the hills. Not all are open to the public, but some are. This one is easy to reach by bus:

I am not suggesting the tour company in this link but just giving it to you so you look up more information about the gardens mentioned to see if you might like to go

The original name of the city was Florentia, and throughout history Florence has had an important relationship to gardening and to flowers.
sandralist is offline  
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