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What's the best way to see Florence - Guided tour/ on your own?

What's the best way to see Florence - Guided tour/ on your own?

Oct 31st, 2013, 11:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8
What's the best way to see Florence - Guided tour/ on your own?

Hey all!

Four of us will be in Florence for just ONE DAY in November. I'd like to see most of the city's attractions in a day. So, wondering which of these options are the best:

1. Book a full-day guided bus tour, which includes Uffizi, Academia & others - 94 Euros
2. How about getting a private guide for the whole day to take us through the whole city? Will this be cheaper than paying 94/person x4 for the four of us for a bus tour?
3. Book a half-day tour which includes City tour + Uffizi (49 Euros). Then visit Academia on your own with a reserved ticket.
4. Book an introductory walking tour of the city (25 Euros) & then visit Academia, Uffizi & Medici Chapel on your own with reserved tickets.

Really confused! Help please!

msandeep is offline  
Oct 31st, 2013, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
1. Absolutely not. Buses cannot go into the historic center (between the Accademia and Uffizi) so it would be pointless to be on a bus.

2. For only 1 day, a private guide is the best thing you can do. It will probably be more than the bus tour but will be worth the expense as you'll have someone who can tell you about the artwork in the museums and take you quickly from sight to sight, explaining the history of Florence as you walk.

3. Don't know what the half day tour includes so can't comment.

4. Alternative to private guide and less expensive.
adrienne is offline  
Oct 31st, 2013, 11:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Well, aside from the fact that you can't see "most of the city's attractions" in one day, option 3 probably will work best. It would be good to know what the tour includes so it would be easier to comment.
mamcalice is offline  
Oct 31st, 2013, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
Dear L-rd, 94E for a one-day tour? That's $125!

First choice of your options = #3.
BigRuss is offline  
Oct 31st, 2013, 12:16 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,560
You might be able to squeeze in Accademia, Uffizi and the Duomo but it will be rushed. Accademia and Uffizi will require reservations. If you want to spend two hours at each, get an audio guide and/or rick steves guide which indicates the most important works and then head to the Duomo. A private guide would be helpful but you can do it on your own. Make sure you understand the opening and closing hours of the various spots and get tickets in advance.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2013, 12:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,552
Well, if you were willing to spend on the bus tour, I think you should consider a private guide. They will be able to get you quickly through the sites/sights, and have valuable information to give.

It sounds like you are truly interested in the art, architecture and history, so why not get the most from your one day, by using an expert guide?

Of course you can do it on your own, but 4 people aren't always that easy to herd and hurry about, but tend to listen to a "leader". I say go for the private guide.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Oct 31st, 2013, 01:05 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,963
None of these are "best". If you do your homework with a DVD or three and a good book or three, carry a map or the digital equivalent thereof, maybe rent the audio-guide contraption, you could be "best" off on your own. You don't have to listen to a sermon about an item that you know leaves you cold as soon as you see it, don't have to pretend you're interested in the umpteenth Madonna With Child, don't have to spend big bucks on a guide and walk at the guide's pace - guided tours are not for everyone and certainly not "best".

Make your own bookings, no more than two a day - the Uffizi take longer (unless you are seriously interested in very early art, accelerate through the first suite of rooms) than the Accademia. Behind the Duomo is the museum where all art works formerly from the inside of the Duomo are now housed in climate-controlled rooms for better viewing. Don't miss that one!
michelhuebeli is offline  
Oct 31st, 2013, 08:12 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,714
I'm confused, too, msandeep! I would encourage you to think about what you and your travel companions hope to accomplish in Florence in just one day. Seeing even Florence's highlights can easily take 5 days or more! So: Do you want to see one or two things in particular? Get a feel for the architecture? Glimpse at least a few of the Uffizi's treasures? Be able to say you went to Florence? I suspect that if you know why you are going, you can figure out which option suits you best. Good luck!
kja is offline  
Nov 1st, 2013, 03:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,394
I agree with michel. Do it on your own.
panecott is offline  
Nov 1st, 2013, 07:47 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8
Thanks all! We'll probably do an introductory walking tour that takes about 2 hours and charges 29 Euros - just to get a hang of the place. The rest we'll do on our own with reserved tickets.
msandeep is offline  
Nov 1st, 2013, 09:02 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
You do NOT want a bus in Florence. Many of the major sights are in the central pedestrian zone - and everyplace you want to see will be easily walkable.

Do not waste time/money on a bus. Just get a Michelin green guide and go see what you really want (buying tickets in advance - David, Uffizi) to avoid wasting time.
nytraveler is offline  

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