Making the most of a Firenze Card

Melany

Well-known member
My plans are about finished for my trip to Florence. Can you look over my itinerary and let me know if it's realistic please? I plan to purchase the Firenze Card, so I want to get the most out of it in 3 days - I know those will be packed days.
Day 1, we arrive in Florence early on a Monday and I know we'll be worn out from the flight, so I don't have a lot planned. Just purchasing the Firenze cards, and maybe the Orsanmichele Church (because I really want to go inside the museum that's only open on Mondays)
This will be our "recover" day with resting and walking around, getting our bearings.

Day 2 (first day using Firenze Card): Climb the Dome before the crowds and heat sets in. Pitti Palace/Palatine Gallery, Brancacci Chapel, Bargello, and if I have any energy left - climb Giotto's tower.

Day 3: Uffizi, Santa Croce, Casa Buonarroti, Baptistry of Duomo, Duomo museum, palazzo Vecchio

Day 4: Accademia, Museum of San Marco, Medici Chapel, Medici Riccardi palace, Santa Maria Novella. In the evening - San Miniato Church/gregorian chants and sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo.

Day 5 is dedicated to Pisa and Lucca

Day 6: Santo Spirito Church, Santa Felicita Capponi Chapel, and inside the Cathedral if we don't get to it during the 3 "Firenze card days".

I don't plan to spend hours inside any of these places (Uffizi and Accademia might be the exceptions). There are certain things I want to see in each place, but I won't be rushing through either. Depending on how pooped I am on the day we arrive, I might be able to move the San Miniato and Piazzale Michelangelo over to monday evening.

I've been careful to plan my schedule around opening/closing times, but I'm not sure about geographic feasibility.

I used your "Florence in 3 days" article, as well as Rick Steves' Florence tour book.

Is it do-able? :cool:

Thanks!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Melany,

The itinerary looks pretty good! Monday - day 1 - is good both for recovering as well as just walking outside and enjoying the piazzas and monuments since you'll spend the other days indoors... also many museums in Florence are closed on Mondays so it makes sense to do as you've planned. Starting the Firenze card on day 2 makes perfect sense, as your 72 hours start from first use.

Some other notes about the itinerary:
- the Duomo museum is currently closed for renovations and only the main gallery is open, still worth visiting.
- definitely leave the inside of the cathedral to after your card expires, as entrance is free!

It will be a full week but it is definitely doable!
 

Melany

Well-known member
Some other notes about the itinerary:
- the Duomo museum is currently closed for renovations and only the main gallery is open, still worth visiting.
!

Oh no! 3 things on my "must see" list are here - Ghiberti's doors, Michelangelos Pieta and Donatellos Mary Magdalene.

Thanks for the information.
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Opera del Duomo Museum

I just called the museum to make sure and unfortunately was unable to talk to someone who knew WHICH parts of the museum are closed, but did receive confirmation that not everything is closed as they renovate! Ghiberti's doors are in the gallery which is definitely open, but to know about the Pieta' and the Mary Magdalene I was told to call back tomorrow.

So I'll call and let you know what they tell me - when exactly will you be in Florence? they might just tell me what is currently open and might change by the time you arrive.
 

Melany

Well-known member
Thank you Lourdes!
I arrive next week on the 15th. I plan to visit the museum on the 17th.
 

Melany

Well-known member
OOPs! I just thought of another question (not really related to JUST Firenze card, but most of the museums are on the card)

I understand that most museums (Uffizi, Accademia, etc) do not allow photography inside. However, since I'll be walking to more than just the museums, I'll have my camera, and I wear it across my body with a camera strap. Will I be allowed to wear it like that, or will I have to check it?
What about a small camera bag? If I bring a bag it will be small, but I'll have extra lenses in it and then my camera won't fit.

I know that in Rome, the Borghese Gallery doesn't allow bags of any kind - even a purse. Are the museums in Florence the same way?

Thanks again for your help!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Melany,

Ok just called the Opera del Duomo and got confirmation that the museum is closed for restoration and only the Gallery is open - which is where Ghiberti's Doors of Paradise are. They also moved Michelangelo's Pieta' to the Gallery since it normally isn't there, so those two works can be seen. Unfortunately, Donatello's Maria Magdalene is part of the restorations so is not visible. She's made of wood, so maybe the Gallery would not be a good place to have her at, but if she's due for restoration, you wouldn't be able to see her even if the museum wasn't closed already.

As far as the camera and bags, only the Uffizi makes you check in large bags and backpacks. If you take a smaller bag, then you should be able to take it in with you, with the camera strapped around, lenses covered. Whether they are very strict about putting it in a bag really depends on the custodians of the moment.....
You can't take pics of the rooms, but you CAN take pics along the corridors of the OUTSIDE - so of Palazzo Vecchio on one side, and of the Arno and Ponte Vecchio on the other.
So a camera would still be nice to have along with you. The route through the museum is long, so you could plan on two bags, leaving the larger one below and carry the smaller one with you...
most of the other museums are not as picky about bags or cameras, but they will tell you again that you can't take photos.... some of the museums do allow for pics, so just check when you enter.
 

Melany

Well-known member
Thanks for your help Lourdes.
I'm bummed about Mary -- It would be amazing to see a wooden statue THAT old. I wonder how they "restore" something like that -- maybe a good oiling or waxing? Some Lemon Pledge? :D
I've seen her in my Art History books, but I never really realize the actual size till seeing it in person.

I'm getting my schedule finalized now. I realize I had the Brancicci Chapel scheduled for a Tuesday, but saw on their website that its closed on Tuesday. Things have been rearranged to fit.

I'll be there on Monday morning! Look for me then -- I'll be the American wearing a camera. :cool:
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Sounds like you're pretty much set! :D

Hadn't caught that about the Brancacci chapel, glad you did! I am sure you and your son will have a great time in Tuscany :D Hope you can let us know how everything turns out afterward, if things go as planned or even if they don't! sharing your experience will definitely be useful to everyone else who happens on our forum :)
 

Melany

Well-known member
I'm finally here! I arrived this afternoon after missing my layover in Frankfurt and enduring an unexpected delay.

I purchased my Firenze Cards yesterday. My reason for this post is to tell you (if you don't already know) that the price increased from 50 Euros to 70 on 1 July. The IT lady told me there was no announcement, and they didn't know until it happened.

We bought one anyway, hopefully it will be worth the cost in time savings! In my brief walk today, I saw the long line to get into the Cathedral, (the crowds in that area was awful) I can just imagine what the Accademia line will look like. I was amazed from what I saw on the outside, though - WOW.
We also walked into Orsanmichele. I thought it was closed on Monday except for the museum. What a beautiful church.


On a good note, I had gelato! Malone was like ice cold fresh, sweet, juicy cantaloupe! It took me back 20 years when I lived in Aviano!

Now I sit in my hotel, suffering from jet lag and sore feet LOL
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
have a great first full day exploring Florence!

Yippee, you're here!! Sorry to hear you had delays with layover in Germany, unfortunately that happens way too often.

Thank you for letting me know about the price increase.... actually someone else had just alerted me to the price hike a week ago and I just updated the article on the site about the Firenze Card:
http://www.visitflorence.com/florence-museums/is-firenze-card-worth-it.html
New cost is 72€ per card... which, in my opinion, is now way too expensive and not worth it if you don't visit a many museums in those 3 days. I believe it will be worth it for you and your son, as you do have a full schedule planned but I think for most, it will no longer make sense.... you can buy advance tickets for the Uffizi and Accademia to skip the lines and pay less than the card.

Also a new pass/card that just came out about a week ago: a 10€ pass for all of the Duomo monuments, including the baptistery, the dome, the bell tower, the gallery of the museum. Of course, if you wanted to climb up the dome, then the pass is a good deal because that is what the climb cost before on its own - now you get everything else included! But it is only valid for 24 hours so you have to do everything that day. Can you do me a favor? if you pass in front of the baptistery, can you take a look at whether you can pay to just enter that without buying the pass? because before it would have cost less and as this is a new thing, I am just wondering how things are. Also no news were out about this new pass before I found it by casually going to check something out on the opera del duomo site, haven't been able to figure out whether you can visit the monuments individually or not yet. My impression is you can't so if you just happen to go by and take a look, that would be great... otherwise don't worry about it, I'll go soon to check it out!

The crowds in front of the cathedral are crazy but it is often just people standing around, gazing up, taking pics.... among all of them, you have to figure out what the line really looks like to go in. Even if longish, it moves fast so don't worry about it too much! Its cool inside too, enormous, so you won't feel like there are too many people inside.

Hope you got some rest tonight and are up and about exploring! Have a great day :)
 

Melany

Well-known member
I just came from the Baptistry, so I didn't see your request till now. I know that the "climb the dome" ticket won't get you into the Baptistry. I had to get a ticket for each - the dome, the baptistry, and the baptistry museum. It would be so much easier if I could just scan my Firenze card instead :)

The Dome climb kicked my butt! But I got a good cardio workout in. We arrived at 0820 and was in the first group to go up. When we came back, the line to get in was down the sidewalk. It's cooler in the AM as well, I feel sorry for those in line right now. I never imagined it would be THAT hard to climb up (down was pretty easy), I can't imagine doing it in the afternoon heat.

I've started a daily blog, mainly for myself so I can remember what I did each day when I get home. I'm also putting my thoughts there as well, so it's more personal in nature. If you'd like to follow my progress, here's the link: http://fineartamerica.com/blogs/florence-italy-day-1.html (it's where I post my photos, so those will be posted here as well)

Lourdes, I really appreciate your help. Your advise has been invaluable! Tomorrow, we'll tackle the crowds at Uffizi first thing in the morning (maybe beat the crowd again?) Wish us luck!! Tonight - Piazzale Michelangelo and the sunset.
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
wait a minute, you didn't have to pay for the dome, baptistery and museum, right? those are included in the Firenze Card! unless you're waiting to start it until tomorrow.....

duomo is 463 steps, yes, it's a workout! the dome is the highest in the city, the bell tower is shorter with only 414 steps, are you planning to do that one too? :) then I think you'll need several gelatos every day ;)

Perchè no! is a great gelateria (in via tavolini) - there are many other good ones in the area.... I like Grom (via delle oche) but it has gotten so popular it has long lines, I now skip it.... do try Mordilatte on Via dei Servi, to the north of the duomo.
On via dei Neri there is gelateria dei Neri I like.... the Festival del Gelato on via del Corso is very touristy and gaudy with the neon lights but it's actually quite good. You won't have problems with gelato around here :)

As for the Uffizi - it used to be mornings were good but everyone has had the same idea lately and you might find lines even then. If you do get there and find lots of people, see if you can move it around in your day and do another museum in the morning - at the Uffizi, there are less crowds at lunch and from 4pm onwards.

Enjoy the rest of the day and view from the piazzale!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
p.s. checked out your blog - great details, useful to know for me for when I offer suggestions for others.
Also saw your photos - beautiful!! loves the bison shots - and looking forward to seeing some of your shots of Florence and Tuscany, sure they will be amazing!!
 

Melany

Well-known member
wait a minute, you didn't have to pay for the dome, baptistery and museum, right? those are included in the Firenze Card! unless you're waiting to start it until tomorrow.....

duomo is 463 steps, yes, it's a workout! the dome is the highest in the city, the bell tower is shorter with only 414 steps, are you planning to do that one too? :) then I think you'll need several gelatos every day ;)

Perchè no! is a great gelateria (in via tavolini) - there are many other good ones in the area.... I like Grom (via delle oche) but it has gotten so popular it has long lines, I now skip it.... do try Mordilatte on Via dei Servi, to the north of the duomo.
On via dei Neri there is gelateria dei Neri I like.... the Festival del Gelato on via del Corso is very touristy and gaudy with the neon lights but it's actually quite good. You won't have problems with gelato around here :)

As for the Uffizi - it used to be mornings were good but everyone has had the same idea lately and you might find lines even then. If you do get there and find lots of people, see if you can move it around in your day and do another museum in the morning - at the Uffizi, there are less crowds at lunch and from 4pm onwards.

Enjoy the rest of the day and view from the piazzale!

No, we didn't have to PAY, but we had to go to the ticket office and get a ticket for each - weird! We just had to show our cards.

We had gelato at Perche No! Last night. My plan, is to try a different geleteria each night, and a different flavor :-D

I had the bell tower on my list, but I'm crossing it off after today's climb LOL. We still have to climb the Tower of Pisa! It was just too much for me.

Thanks for the Ufizi tip! Since marking off the bell tower, we can easily do it in the afternoon if the morning is crowded. I plan to be in line when the door opens ;-)

Thank you for complementing my photos. I hope I get some good ones while here -- my son had his video camera on at the top of the climb this morning. All you see is my feet going up the steps, and heavy breathing LOL. I have another blog ready to post tonight, but we're going to Piazalle Michelangelo and San Minito soon, and I want to add that. Any suggestions of places to eat up there??
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ok, got it! weird you had to get tickets anyways, likely their way to keep track of number of people inside by ticket stubs....

As for places to eat, there are a few places up but they tend to be very touristy and expensive.... so I'd head back down to the Porta di San Miniato in the San Niccolo' area (right around that tower you climb by heading up to the Piazzale) - there are several nice restaurants/trattoria in the area. There is an OSTERIA called S. Niccolo' that we ate at a few months ago, with tasty local dishes and good/quality ratio. If you pass by there on the climb up, maybe you can stop and take a look ;-)
 
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