How long do I need to spend in Florence?

Old Jan 7th, 1999, 08:58 AM
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How long do I need to spend in Florence?

I'm planning a trip to Florence--quite tight budget--and don't know how long is long enough to see everything. I love art, architecture, medieval heritage and literary history and want to combine elements of these in my visit.

I'm also looking for somewhere to stay. Hotels seem very expensive. I wouldn't really want to pay more than $100 per night and would prefer a smaller pensione to a large hotel.

Any suggestions would be gratefully received!
Old Jan 7th, 1999, 09:23 AM
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We staye d at the Pensione Centrale and at the Hotel Academia, both around $100 and very nice. Check Rick Steves book.We usually just stay in Florence for a couple of days because while it is very interesting, it is also very polluted, lots of Vespas, and very crowded.We really prefer Venice for a much quieter place to stay aand the countryside of Tuscany and Umbria. However , be sure to go to the Convent of San Marco to see Fra Angelico's lovely frescoes.Go to San Gimignano and spend a night there and maybe in a villa in that area, too.
Old Jan 7th, 1999, 10:31 AM
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I went to Florence and Venice for the first time October 98. I fell in love with Venice, but it didn't hold a candle to Florence strictly in terms of the wealth of art.I had 5 days in Florence (one was spent in Siena) and it was just long enough to hit most of the art high points, and I am a very energetic sightseer.
(I cannot help but also strongly recommend Siena
for its historical preservation and its magnificent Duomo, inside and out.If time is short, it's an easy daytrip)
I found Florence to be easy to get around on foot, Vespas and narrow streets aside. It was somewhat crowded in early October, more so in the summer
I expect. Seeing Michelangelo's David
was a not-to-be missed experience, and that's only one of the art treasures.
I will add that Florence's museums are not easy. They have no elevators for the most part, no place to check your coat or totebag, lots of long, steep
stairways, and very little in terms of tourist aids like signs (in any language), guides, cassette tours, pamphlets, etc. I read recently that the Uffizi just (Dec 98) improved some of its tourist amenities, but they had a long way to go as far as I was concerned. Take a good guidebook.
I liked Fodors's for Florence, did not like the Eyewitness Guide for Florence although others may disagree. Also, order your Accademia and Uffizi museum tickets in advance ON line ( is the web site I used)
to avoid waiting IN line. The Accademia and Uffizi museum lines can be hours long if you don't have advance tickets. Also do a search on this forum site as there have been previous postings about Florence that can advise you.My hotel was more expensive than you want, By the way,my complaints about the museums are not intended to discourage you, I wouldn't have missed Florence for the world.It is art heaven.
Venice was just plain heaven,but that's another topic.
Have a wonderful time.

Old Jan 7th, 1999, 11:10 AM
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Zoe, I think you can do it justice in
3 days----add a 4th for the day trip to
Siena---not to be missed. Try the web
site for Hotel Casci for good value.
Old Jan 7th, 1999, 12:23 PM
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Heartily agree with Bob. Three days...and you go into cultural overload. Keep a diary. You will be back, I guarantee. The trip to Siena is not to be missed. Combined with San Gimigniano, it's a marvelous experience.
A nice place to go one afternoon is nearby Fiesole. Bus takes you there in minutes.
Old Jan 7th, 1999, 12:37 PM
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I second the recommendation of Fiesole. Find a cafe that overlooks the valley and sip and/or eat your way through dusk to darkness... The bus sounds good... my first experience getting to Fiesole was on the back of a vespa driven by a crazy young Italian!
Old Jan 7th, 1999, 12:37 PM
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My previous (attempted) post got sucked into a vortex. Condensed version is I agree with the recommendation for a couple of days in Siena and would vote for five days in Florence, given the variety of your interests. Five days is enough time to see and enjoy the biggies--I don't know if it's possible to see "everything" no matter how much time you have. I for one would love to try. I love Florence.
Old Jan 8th, 1999, 02:12 AM
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Thank you to everyone for the replies--and so quick! I think I'll plan for 4 days--3 to see Florence/Fiesole plus a day-trip to Siena.

Thanks Elaine for the tip about ordering tickets on-line. I would never have thought to do that and I certainly will now.


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