To Florence or Not to Florence?

Old Aug 19th, 2003, 09:59 AM
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To Florence or Not to Florence?


My friend just called and told me that I "just have to take the train to Florence." I had planned to stay in Rome for 10 days and only take an overnight to Naples/Pompeii. Now she has me thinking that I should take a daytrip to Florence. Is it true that it's only 2 hours by train and that there are "tons" of markets there?
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 10:01 AM
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Yes, it's only that far and there are 3 markets in Florence that I know of with the biggest containing leather, Florentine paper, etc.
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 10:03 AM
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For markets, check out this site:http://made-in-italy.com/shopping/florence/markets.htm
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 04:21 PM
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Yes, many markets, but I can't imagine spending my one and only (partial) day in Florence just shopping. I'd stick with your original plan and leave Florence for another trip when you can explore the entire town and not just the markets.
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 04:29 PM
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If you want to see a market in Florence, check out THE LEATHER SCHOOL. It is located in Santa Croce Church where Michaelango is buried. Enter the church and go to the far right corner and you will find the school. Nice things of good quality that some people do not know exists.

But I agree with above: Florence is a great city. Save it for another time when you have time to see the city and not simply shop.
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 04:30 PM
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I agree that Florence is worth seeing for a day, especially if you are an art lover. However, we were there for four days and never got to see "everything."

Personally, I don't think of it as a shoppers haven, but if you have a day, the Accademia and Uffizi, along with strolling the streets, enjoying the cafes, and seeing the Duomo are worth the trip....if you are into art, that is.

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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 04:31 PM
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I have to say YES to Florence and it is possible in a day, although you'll find it very difficult to leave!

Consider it getting a taste of a friend's meal at a restaurant. You'll love what you have (Rome) and glad you ordered it but the taste of the other plate will convince you that you have to return to the restaurant soon to enjoy the dish to its fullest.

There are lots of markets, but I suggest you spend your time walking and seeing the major sites. I did a trip report a couple of years ago - search on Ger and it should come up, or I can send it to you.

Regards ... Ger
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 05:08 PM
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I would leave Rome for several days and spend a few nights in Florence.
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 05:14 PM
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Of all the cities in which I've spent time in Italy, Firenze is probably my least favorite. If I was to leave Roma for a day or two, I'd go to a smaller city instead of trading one metropolis for another. How about Orvieto? Siena? There are better choices.
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 07:32 PM
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Florence is a beautiful city. I would definitely spend more time there. And even think about spending time in Siena or San Gigimiano which are between Roma and Florence
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 08:39 PM
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Donna and I are on the same page.

We hated Florence.

The "markets" are a complete sham and are essentially the same mass-produced goods available elsewhere (I can't speak about Bob's suggestion of the school). All we saw were "Today Only" sales and the hard-sell for mediocre quality.

We also thought it was a charmless town full of spoiled American college students.

It wasn't charming, it wasn't that clean and it was a tourist trap.

Yes, the museums are great, but not worth it in my opinion.

Rome is great to see, but ten days is a long time. I'd advise that you rent a car for two days and drive into Tuscany. See ITALY. You won't regret it.

Hope this helps.

PS: Watch for pickpockets EVERYWHERE. Don't think that you "know better".
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 11:04 PM
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My husband once spent a day in Florence and he wasn't impressed - too slick, and absolutely overrun with tourists. I also heard that the opening hours of the museums are very inconvenient. We much prefer Bologna where we have been many times.
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 02:55 AM
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Rippowam
My answer to you would be - Tripe!!!
I have stayed in Florence three weeks and used it as a base to explore Tuscany and never felt threatened in any way shape or form by anyone or anything. Sounds like you have an attitude problem, to all art lovers Florence is the mecca, 70% of the art in Italy is there. Also the surrounding outskirts have many sights and sites to explore, you don't have to spend all your time within the walls.
And a day tells you nothing.
The college students are actually from all over the world so you are incorrect on that assumption also.
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 05:01 AM
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We love Florence! Having been to both Florence and Rome 6 times, I still want to return to Florence. I don't have the same desire to return to Rome. However, if this is your first trip to Italy, you must see Rome. With 10 days, you have plenty of time to visit Florence for one day or even two. I'm not much of a shopper when I travel - there is so much else to do. However, if you want shopping, Florence has lots of it - leather, gold, ceramics, Italian shoes, paper, etc. And, as it is much smaller than Rome, it is very manageable in a day or 2. I guess in summary I would recommend that if you are going to Florence only to shop, don't bother. If you love art and architecture and wonderful food, spend some time in Florence.
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 05:38 AM
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I agree with mamc.
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 09:49 AM
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We spent a week in Florence this year and loved it, but we are more interested in seeing art than countryside. It is certainly a bustling and congested city, and shopping would be complicated because there are many vendors of questionable repute, while at the same time many with fine merchandise.

I would not go there for a single day, however, as your travel time (back and forth) and finding your way around the city would leave you no time for shopping. Having said that, we found a beautiful leather coat for our daughter in a shop near S. Croce, and some sandals my wife loves at a small shop also near there.
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 10:44 AM
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Mizz-eve
I alos LOVE Florence- I would suggest at least 2 days.
I will be posting a trip report in early Oct. will be in Florence for 4 days.This will be my 4th visit.
Best of luck
Fluffy
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 11:17 AM
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fluffy, when will you be in Firenze? I start my first trip On Sept 20-Oct 5. Will be in Florence 24-26 and can't wait
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 12:09 PM
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MizzEve,

I think a day trip from Rome to Florence is perfectly feasible. Early train in, later train out. For one day, unless you art real art fans, I would skip the Uffizi. (Yes, I said it.) I have an art degree, but you may be tired of Madonnas by the time you reach Florence. I don't think it will take much time to figure out how to get around, the city is much more compact than Rome.

Think of this day trip as a taste. If you MUST see one of the great art masterpieces, see Michelangelo's David--a quicker visit than the Uffizi. Then just stroll the town, choosing a few churches as destinations. You will pass all kinds of shopping along the way. My choices for churches: Santa Maria Novella, San Lorenzo (surrounded by markets), Duomo and Baptistery, Santa Croce (leather shopping), Santa Felicita (reached across the Ponte Vecchio).

Have a nice lunch.
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 10:16 PM
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To say that Florence museums are not worth it, you must be living on another planet. Of course Florence is not a place for shopping,
if you want to shop go to Bologna, Rome or Milan. My family spends 3 weeks every year in italy and we never feel threatened. Anyway you must always take precautions in ANY country you visit, tourists are always easily identified.The small restaurants in the Tuscan villages around Florence serve excellent food, most villages are served by a bus or train service, although the best way is to hire a car and explore these small villages.
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