Dreaming about Florence, Italy

I am currently in the final stages of planning a visit to beautiful Florence, Italy and I am very excited.  Reservations are all set, and now we are making a list of the places we must see while there.  We have a full week to explore the city and take a day trip or two to the surrounding area, so our list can be pretty long.  If you think I missed something important, please comment!  It is not too late!

florence-01-duomo-gettyimages-504655313
photo courtesy of cntraveler.com 
  1. Obviously, the Duomo is high on our list.  This is Brunelleschi’s masterpiece.  Here we will see the actual Duomo, the famous Baptistry with its Gates of Paradise and mosaics.  There is also the Museo dell Opera del Duomo where we can see the Pieta by Michelangel amongst other exhibits. I am thinking that we will be here for a full half of a day.
    03
    Photo from uffizi.org
  2. Next, we will need to spend at least a half day to 3/4 of a day at the Uffizi galleries.  I am hopeful that since we will be visiting in March, the crowds will be not as oppressive as usual.  Rick Steves tells me in his 2016 book on Florence and Tuscany that the Uffizi has the “greatest collection of Italian paintings anywhere”  .  It is particularly rich in Renaissance art by Giotto, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Titian, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Carvaggio and more.
    01
    photo from accademia.org
  3. The Accademia seems to be most famous for Michelangelo’s David, pictured above.  It seems that we could spend a morning here visiting David, but also to see other works of Michelangelo , Buonarroti, Botticelli and others.
    350px-palazzo_pitti_gartenfassade_florenz
    photo from wikipedia
  4. This former home of the Medici family, the Pitti Palace,  could take almost a full day to tour all it has to offer.  We will probably pare down the visit to highlights.  From what I can see the highlights are the Royal apartments themselves, the costume exhibit, the Grotta Grande cavern with statues and casts of Michelangelos slaves, the galleries of Modern art, the Boboli gardens, if weather permits, and of courst the Art galleries and the Galleria Palatina with Frescoes by Cortona.  My DK Eyewitness Travel guide tells me this is “second only to the Uffizi”. Here we can see works of Raphael, Rubens, Titian Cortona and many others.
    ponte-vecchio-reflections
    photo from discovertuscany.com
  5. It won’t take very long, but I can not imagine going to Florence without visiting the iconic Ponte Vechio bridge.  My husband will love taking photos here.
    venere
    photo from museumsinflorence.com
  6. The Bargello Museum will be worth a visit of a few hours.  It is built in a former police station and houses an impressive sculpture collection.  Here we can find multiple works of Michelangelo, Donatello, Cellini and Giambologna.
    sanmarco
    photo from florenceitaly.com
  7. The Museo di San Marco is located near the Accademia, so we may visit this on the same day.  This is a a 15th century monastery which is known for its incredible collection of art by the Renaissance master, Fra Angelico.  Frescoes and paintings are located throughout the building, and upstairs are 43 cells decorated with Renaissance art.
    view-from-piazzale-michelangelo-florence1
    photo from tuscany.com
     
  8. We will have to visit the Piazzalle area so that we can see this beautiful view!  The husband will have a lot of fun with his camera up there!
    villa_matrimoni_siena_10
    from villedeimedici.com
  9. A day trip to Siena is a definite on our list.  The Duomo is such a famous sight, as is the Il Campo square in the photo above.
    250px-piazza_cisterna_01
    photo from wikipedia.com
     

     

  10. San Gimigano will be a great day trip as well.  This well preserved Medieval town is a very popular excursion out of Florence, but I am hoping the crowds will be lighter in winter.
  11. We are also considering visits to Assisi, Cortona or the Chianti area.  We will see if we have enough time!

I am very excited to visit Florence for the first time!  If you have any suggestions for me to add on my list, I would love to hear them!  I will report back after our visit this winter.

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38 thoughts on “Dreaming about Florence, Italy

  1. If u want some info about Siena, I gladly give u since I live there im order to attend university 😊 I recommend you to visit Corridoio Vasariano in florence too!

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  2. This is a great list, Diane! Florence is the only place in Italy that we have visited twice! Only thing I’ll add to the list is the town of Fiesole. It’s on the outskirts of Florence and it’s beautiful!

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  3. If I may recommend, get a schiacciata at All’Antico Vinaio for lunch. The place is FAMOUS and for a good reason. For the lack of a better word, you could say that the schiacciatas are sandwiches but they’re enormous and simply delicious, topped with the freshest and tastiest Italian delicacies. It’s in Via de Neri, you can’t miss it because there’s usually tons of people queuing, but it’s worth the wait for sure. I lived in a small town close to Florence for some months and I have been there about a million times, never disappointed! If you’d like, check out some of my blog posts for more Tuscany related input πŸ™‚ Enjoy your time there! Safe travels πŸ™‚

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  4. I’m so thrilled for you, and can’t wait to follow your journey. I do have a few suggestions if you have time…Fiesole is a great half day trip, easy cab or bus ride from Florence. Palazzo Vecchio next to Uffizi is beautiful, historic seat of Florence’s government (at the very least walk into to first floor courtyard, it’s free to enter). Not too far away from there is Palazzo Davanzati, a museum representing what an upper class home was like during the Renaissance. If you have another few hours, you may want to visit the church of Santa Maria Novella, by the train station, and the Laurentian Library/Medici chapel. Church of San Miniato is also amazing to see when you are at Piazzale Michelangelo, just a quick walk. I hope I haven’t thrown too much at you!

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    1. Thanks, Stacy! Yours is the second recommendation for Fiesole! We will definitely need to check that out!I actually have almost everything else you mentioned on my list of things to do if we have extra time! Palazzo Davanzati is the one i didn’t have. Thanks so much!

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  5. Such a great list! We loved Florence when we went it’s such a beautiful city. We hope you enjoy it! Are you planning on climbing the top to the Duomo? If so your time there may take longer then a half day. It’s tough but the views of Florence are beautiful from the top. If you are looking to get a city view that includes the Duomo go to the top of the Palazzo Vecchio Tower we got some amazing photos up there and enjoyed exploring the tower ☺️

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  6. We so enjoyed Florence last fall. Our daughter is studying architecture, so we added a day trip to Pisa to visit the leaning tower. (This is a church so dress appropriately.)

    We also took the Walks of Italy Tour while in Florence. Charles did an amazing job of sharing his love of The city and great knowledge of its art and history. The three hour tour flew by. Definitely worth every penny.

    Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks! We definitely plan on a walking tour of the city and probably some sort of guided/skip the line tours through Acadamia and Uffizi . We already saw Pisa while on a Med cruise a year or two back, so we can skip that. No worries about covering up, because it will be February, haha!

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  7. Hi Diane, a few years ago we did the same trip. We stayed then in San Gimignano, just outside of the city walls. This small town is really amazing! Although we were in the summer, the crowds were still OK (compared to Mont St Michel in the spring, where I almost suffocated…). Get on one of the towers and you will have one of those breath-taking 360 degrees panorama on Tuscany. Don’t miss Volterra – one of the places where you can learn more about the Etruscan and their history. The museum in Volterra is absolutely worth the visit!

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  8. Great list you got here! My girlfriend and I visited Florence this time last year. Pisa is reachable by a 45 minute train and was only €8 if I remember correctly (the train that is). Check out what we did and see how it compares!

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    1. Thanks. I will check it out! We did Pisa while on a med cruise with the kids not even two years ago, so we probably won’t take the time to revisit this time. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Have a great day:)

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  9. Great list. Having been to Florence last year I can tell you that winter times are much less crowded. I would also suggest that you stay in Siena 2 nights. Siena at night is an amazing place. Not to be missed. Also Lucca is a nice small walled town which I liked a lot. You can read about it in my blog if u you wish. Enjoy your time in Tuscany.

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    1. Thanks, Annabelle! We just returned and it was even better than I expected. We spent 8 days there, and that was the perfect amount of time to get a nice feel for the place. It might be my favorite Italian city now… although Venice is great… and Rome… and Portofino… and Amalfi.. and all the ones I have yet to see, hahaha!

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  10. I’m planning my first-time Florence trip at the moment and am so happy about some of your choices, especially the Museo di San Marco! I must confess, my itinerary currently consists of visiting the Arezzo churches and a full day dedicated to Florentine churches too.

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