Florence 1st time in 2 weeks

vanessa

New member
Hello All,

My husband and I, both in our mid 50's, will be heading to Florence from Nice, France arriving via train Saturday November 26, 2016 thru Wednesday November 30, 2016, then we head to Rome. I have been reading a lot about Florence and am feeling very overwhelmed. My husband and I both love museums, but I don't want to spend my entire time in Florence in museums. I would like to dedicate one day to visiting nearby areas. We have a moderate budget and could afford to splurge a little on a tour, (having saved on travel by using all our saved airline miles for flight).

I would love suggestions regarding day trips/tours to nearby areas. We are considering renting a car to explore on our own, but I am afraid I would miss out on the history without having a guide. Are there special requirements for car rental in Italy?
I have also explored the bike tours suggested on another thread but am having a very hard time narrowing things down. My husband and I are both foodies and enjoy wine. Please help. Thanking you in advance.

Vanessa
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Vanessa,

You will both fall in love with Florence and Tuscany! If you can, I do suggest planning for more time here ;)

I would suggest planning to mix time in Florence and visiting the city (as well as any museums you really want to visit) in with half or full day tours nearby.

For example, you can visit the Uffizi Gallery one morning and then spend the rest of the day just exploring the historical center on foot (it is very small and walkable) and just heading into what you deem interesting.
This itinerary gives you an idea of the top sights in Florence:
https://www.visitflorence.com/itineraries-in-florence/two-days-in-florence.html
while this one gives you a few ideas on how to plan a walk around: https://www.visitflorence.com/itineraries-in-florence/three-walking-itineraries.html (you can do the one in the main center).

On another day, you can head to Pisa in the morning (by train), then head on to Lucca for the afternoon and return by evening.
Here's a few more ideas of top day trips from Florence.
https://www.visitflorence.com/itineraries-in-florence/top-day-trips-from-florence.html

You don't NEED to rent a car, as you can certainly many of the top places by taking bus or train to them without worrying about car rental, parking and avoiding no-traffic zones in historical centers. If you're open to the idea of a bike tour, I highly recommend Piero and Elena from Bike in Florence (read more about what they do here: http://www.discovertuscany.com/tuscany-by-bike/bike-in-florence-and-tuscany-tours.html )
I did a tour with them last spring between Castellina and Siena that is very doable as most of it is downhill and includes heading into Siena for a couple hours. I've heard good things of the San Gimignano tour as well. They include stops at small wineries for tour and tastings, so this is one way to include both bike + Chianti + wine ;-) You can see they have another tour with more wine stops, too!
If you want to do the wine tastings without the bike, take a look at the variety of tours offered here: http://tours.discovertuscany.com/en/8357/travel-tips/Wine-Tasting-in-Chianti-and-Tuscany/ttd
This way you don't have to worry about DRINKING and enjoying your wine at all, while seeing the great Tuscany landscapes as well!

If you do want to look into renting a car, read this article for more info: https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-car-rental/useful-tips-for-car-rental.html
The main thing to consider is this: many cars are stick shift AND many historical centers in towns are off limits!
 

vanessa

New member
Best way to enjoy the Museums

Thanks so much for your prompt response. I will explore the links you provided. Thanks again.

Hello Again,

Please advise me on best way to explore the museum with my limited time frame. As I mentioned, I will be visiting Florence this month from Saturday Nov. 26 through Wednesday November 30th. Are the museums open all of those days? Is there a pass that would allow me to visit most museums and skip the lines, similar to The Romapass? Is it best to buy ahead of time online or is it okay to purchase one we arrive in Florence? I am planning on taking your advise and doing a bike tour on Sunday and exploring the museums on the weekdays in the hope that they will be a little less crowded. Any suggestions you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

Vanessa
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
By the end of this month you should not find the city too crowded. I would suggest waiting until you get here to see whether you need to get the Firenze Card or not -- if lines are short at the Uffizi and Accademia, it makes more sense to just buy tickets on the spot than to get the card and then try to visit enough museums to make it worth the expense.

All museums should be open -- just make note Uffizi and Accademia are always closed on Mondays. There are other museums you can visit on Mondays: https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-museums/open-on-mondays.html
 

vanessa

New member
By the end of this month you should not find the city too crowded. I would suggest waiting until you get here to see whether you need to get the Firenze Card or not -- if lines are short at the Uffizi and Accademia, it makes more sense to just buy tickets on the spot than to get the card and then try to visit enough museums to make it worth the expense.

All museums should be open -- just make note Uffizi and Accademia are always closed on Mondays. There are other museums you can visit on Mondays: https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-museums/open-on-mondays.html



Thanks so much. I am so excited!
 
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