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Please critique my Florence Itinerary for a senior citizen and impatient 9 year old

Please critique my Florence Itinerary for a senior citizen and impatient 9 year old

Old Jul 6th, 2024, 08:40 PM
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Please critique my Florence Itinerary for a senior citizen and impatient 9 year old

Hello Fodorites! I am taking my 74 year old mom and 9 year old daughter to Florence for 3 days. My brother and his girlfriend are joining us for most of it. So I will have some helping hands. But I am trying to plan out an itinerary that does not require a lot of walking or a lot of heat for my mom and is interesting for my 9 year old. Unlike her older sister, she is not the best traveller in the world. My older one has always been a very patient, enthusiastic and engaging traveller. My 9 year old, not so much. Moreover, she will be missing her sister on the Florence portion of her trip, so that may contribute to an even fouler mood - haha! But she does love her grandmother and has told me that she will try her best to be patient and enjoy herself as this is a bucket list trip for her granny! We'll see how it goes!

We are staying in the city center (right next to Ponte Vecchio) so that will make getting around on foot hopefully easier. Here is our itinerary, please provide feedback and answer my questions, please. If there is something else we should do instead or if you have any tips for senior citizen travel in Florence, please let me know. Thank you!

Day 1 -
  • Arrive in Rome at 7:30 am. Car trip to Florence, arrive in 12:00.
  • Lunch. Nap / rest.
  • Walk on Ponte Vecchio towards Mercato Centrale
  • Stop at Piazza Della Signora. If we have time - hit up the carousel, Riviore, relax a bit
  • Continue walking to Mercato Centrale. Dinner here. Shop for groceries for breakfast.
  • Take a taxi back. Anyone know the best way to get a taxi from Mercato Centrale? And roughly how much it costs to get back to Ponte Vecchio?

Day 2:
  • Duomo (skip the line tickets)
  • Lunch - Any recommendations for good places near by? Especially with views of Duomo?
  • Nap / rest for my mom. My daughter and I head to Piazza Della Signora so she can do the climb
  • Pick up mom and visit Uffizi - just a quick 1-2 hours (I don't think the senior citizen or my daughter can handle any more than this)
  • Dinner. Walk along Arno
  • My brother and his girlfriend join us in Florence in the evening

Day 3:
  • Take a taxi up to Piazzale Michelangelo. Lunch at La Loggia del Piazzale Michelangelo. Anyone reco this place? Seems really nice in the pics with nice views.
  • Drop off mom to the apartment for nap / rest. The rest of us head off to Leonardo Interactive
  • Pick up my mom and visit Santa Maria Novella

Day 4:
  • Option 1 - Pisa and Lucca
  • Option 2 - Just Pisa and come back to the Florence and do Santa Croce and anything else we did not get to see from above in case we are running super slow
  • We have a SUPER EARLY flight (6:30 am) from Florence to Athens the next day, so we need to try and retire early
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Old Jul 6th, 2024, 09:22 PM
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Suggest you rethink Day One - treat it as a recovery day, forget the walking to the market. Limit your after arrival nap to no more than 2 hours. Stick to the area close to your accommodations. Maybe indulge in a good gelato and call it an early night

Day 2 - Do you have advance tickets for the Uffizi? Lines can be estimable, so best to have timed entrance tickets ahead of time. For lunch, consider All.Antico Vinaio on via dei Neri for their legendary sandwiches. On the same street is one of the best gelato shops in Florence, Gelateria dei Neri. Don't know of any places to eat with views of the Duomo, mostly unremarkable quick eats places nearby and it will be thronged with tourists. Better to eat on the way home.

Day 4 - would just do Pisa.
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 12:52 AM
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Do not recommend a nap on the first day. Did that once in Rome with an 0630 arrival and when we awoke it was dark.
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 07:11 AM
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To get a taxi from Mercato Centrale you can use a couple of different apps: appTAXI or IT Taxi, or you can walk over to the train station (SMN) a few blocks away and get one from the taxi stand there. You can't hail a taxi in the street in Florence.

Also to note: the carousel is in Piazza della Reppublica.
Are you staying on the other side of the Arno? In Oltrarno? That is the only way you would be walking across the Ponte Vecchio toward the Mercato Centrale, otherwise if you are staying in the historical centre you would not need to cross the bridge to get to the market.
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 07:41 AM
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There is a lot of walking to do the Uffizi. Is the Uffizi part of your Mom's bucket list? If not, you might want to think about replacing it with the Accademia to see Michelangelo's David, also something to reserve ahead so you can skip the line.

Does your Mom really need a nap after lunch? Your mornings are not particularly strenuous (I say that as someone only a couple years younger than she is, I tend to take a short rest and put my feet up before dinner). Maybe after a leisurely lunch, she would be OK moving on to something else rather than spending so much of her limited time back in the hotel? (If she has physical problems preventing this, forget I mentioned it.)

Last edited by SusanP; Jul 7th, 2024 at 07:49 AM.
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 09:05 AM
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You can borrow a wheelchair at the Uffizi: "Wheelchairs and walkers are available at the following distribution points: for the Uffizi at the accessible entrance at Door 1." I've borrowed wheelchairs in other museums when recovering from an injury and they made visits much more pleasant. I also became the portable "coat closet."

I, too, think visiting the Accademia should be on your list. Also, frequent stops for gelato!

Day 4 Pisa and Lucca would be too much.


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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 10:31 AM
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Thanks Seamus Thanks for your feedback and restaurant recos. Yeah, will just do Pisa on Day 4 now

mjs - yikes! Yes, something to think about for sure!

raincitygirl THANKS for the info on the apps and taxis! I downloaded the apps last night. Yes, I had the wrong Piazza for the caraousel. Yes, we are staying on the other side of the Arno.

SusanP Yes it was on her bucket list. But I am thinking that we'll just timebox it. Just 1-2 hours max. See whatever we can and then leave. Or see some of the "major" ones. Yeah, let me think about the Academia. And yeah, perhaps less napping is okay. I just wanted to build it in. No physical problems as such. She just cannot walk for long periods at a time (like more than 45 minutes)

ktravel Oh yes, good idea on the wheelchair. I will ask her. She is usually very anti wheelchair because its psychological. But perhaps I can convince her. Yes, just doing Pisa now on Day 4.
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 12:04 PM
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Other than 1-2 hours in the Uffizi (unless she uses the wheelchair), being able to walk 45 minutes should be more than enough, it would be even for someone who walks as slowly as I do! I tend to take advantage of benches whenever I come upon one, and even a few minutes' rest makes quite a difference.
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 02:46 PM
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I also do not think you should do Pisa and Lucca on the same day. Note that the leaning tower is a 20-25 minute walk from the train station but you can take a bus or taxi. Might consider Sienna instead of Lucca.
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 04:36 PM
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Manisha, tell your mother I was delighted to use wheelchairs in museums and I was 20 years younger! She will want to save her energy to see as much as she can of bella Italia.
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 07:45 PM
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The other thing about wheelchair use is that in most places staff give priority to wheelchair users!
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 11:21 PM
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KTtravel and Seamus So true! And will use as selling points in my wheelchair sales pitch to her. Thanks again!
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Old Jul 8th, 2024, 09:42 AM
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Just my humble opinion. We toured both the Uffizi and Academia on our only trip to Florence. Though I enjoyed the Uffizi, especially the views of the city from there, I can't recall much else. However, I will NEVER forget that first view of David while rounding the corner as it came into view. It takes your breath away.
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Old Jul 8th, 2024, 12:07 PM
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When will this trip to Florence be? it's hard for anyone to keep going in very hot weather
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Old Jul 8th, 2024, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by rncheryl
Just my humble opinion. We toured both the Uffizi and Academia on our only trip to Florence. Though I enjoyed the Uffizi, especially the views of the city from there, I can't recall much else. However, I will NEVER forget that first view of David while rounding the corner as it came into view. It takes your breath away.
I totally agree with this!
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Old Jul 8th, 2024, 05:56 PM
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Somehow, I can just picture your mother pushing the 9 year old around in the wheelchair!
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Old Jul 9th, 2024, 07:38 AM
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rncheryl and SusanP - wow you have given me something to think about! I will take a closer look at Academia

Vttraveler - We are going end of July. Yes, it will be VERY VERY hot. I am going armed with neck fans, umbrellas, hats, sunglasses, etc. We will stick out like sore thumbs (lol!) but I don't want my mom or daughter to pass out. That's partly also why I wanted to build in breaks in the afternoon for naps during peak heat time. We could do museums and other indoor activities during this time.

KTtravel - LOL! I could see this happening too It has actually happened on a earlier trip where we took along my mom's wheelchair and she refused to use it. My 9 year old and her friend proceeded to sit in it and had a gala time.
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Old Jul 9th, 2024, 08:51 PM
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Manisha, we'll also be in Florence in late July - not the best in terms of weather but it's what works for ll concerned's schedules. We've been previously in similar circumstances, and found your strategy of doing things in the early morning or late afternoon/evening is sound. Sunscreen, protective hats, lightweight long sleeve shirts, etc and lots of water are deffo in order.
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Old Jul 9th, 2024, 10:50 PM
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It has been a very long time since I climbed the Tower but I don't think I would let my 9 yo climb it. Probably not a good idea for your mom either.
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Old Jul 10th, 2024, 01:44 PM
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The Uffizi is a huge museum. Even just seeing the "highlights" would involve a lot of walking. It has a rather narrow focus on paintings from the Italian Renaissance, rather heavy on religious paintings, many of which were formerly in churches. It's a museum that I think would be especially uninteresting for a child.

My daughter and I once spent seven hours in the Uffizi, on two successive days, and still didn't see everything we wanted to see. I don't see the point of going there for an hour or two, unless there are one or two paintings that you're dying to see.

There are many other museums in Florence that I think might be more interesting and easier to manage. The Bargello Is a sort of sister to the Uffizi, focusing on sculpture rather than paintings. (In my experience, children are in general more captivated by sculpture than paintings.)

The Museum of the Opera del Duomo is a very interesting museum. It has a lot of the art that was once in the Duomo, and it has many interesting exhibits about the history of the church and its construction. For instance, there is a lifesize reconstruction of the former facade of the Duomo, including many of the statues that were once in niches there. It has the original of the Door of Paradise from the Baptistery; on the Baptistery it's been replaced by a copy. The original is breathtaking. I always feel like telling people who are crowding around the Baptistery to see this famous door that they should walk around to the nearby Museum to see the real thing.
​​​​​
The Baptistery is a very ancient church, whose vault is covered with splendid golden mosaics. Unfortunately, they're being restored now, so they're not visible.

There are several churches in Florence with spectacular art. One of my favourites is Santa Maria del Carmine, which has many works by important Renaissance artists, and the splendid Brancacci Chapel. Another favourite is Santa Maria Novella, very near the train station, which is practically a museum of Renaissance art. It's never crowded, and an hour spent there probably wouldn't bore your child. Finally, the former monastery church of San Marco, now a museum, has monks' cells decorated with frescoes by Giotto.
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