Trust me, when you're in Florence, it's like a whole new world! The Uffizi Gallery is amazing with the "Birth of Venus." The Pub Crawls are amazing for only $15 Euros to take the night in with other world travelers. And they have the best night clubs in the world! My favorite is Central Park in the downtown area but it's within walking distance from anywhere. A great city that is nearby to go to the beach is Viarregio where all the young, hot Italians hang out on Sundays -- and they even have a little beach pub to have a cold beer on a hot summer day! Prato is a nearby town where you can visit old-style living and rustic pubs to enjoy the afternoons. But there is the best shopping as well, with name brands galore! Enjoy Tuscany for all its wonders!
I can't believe that there are three Davids in Florence -- the two cloned ones are on the roads, but the original one is at the Galeria Acedemia. It's just superb -- no words to describe him.
Florence is one of the best cities in the world. I visited in summer 2005 and had the time of my life. My advice -- don't waste one second of your time there because no matter how much you see and do, you will leave wishing you would've went here or there, so go everywhere!
I lived in Florence for six months in 2002 and again for four months in 2005. Best advice for people who think the centre is too crowded is to cross Arno and explore San Frediano and Santo Spirito, where you will meet Italians instead of tourists. Learn a few phrases in Italian and they will love you! Go to all the famous places anyway -- even though there might be a lot of tourists, it's worth it. Never do your grocery shopping in the centre -- it's too expensive! (Penny Market -- Via Aleardo Aleardi -- is a bit messy, but cheap!) To avoid bad experiences at restaurants, go to the places where you can see Italians eating -- if they eat there it means the food is good! And instead of going to Piazzale Michelangelo, try the view from Bellosguardo (not from the piazza, though -- you can't see the city from there). While you're there, have a look around. There are some beautiful old villas in the area. If you give it some time and try to explore the not so touristed areas, you might be surprised of how much this fantastic city actually have to offer. Even though I have been there for a long time, I still find new places that amaze me. I'm going back in fifteen days -- can't wait!
Dane in love with Florence
What is the fuss? It is overrated -- full of tourists and there are better places to go in Italy. I'm glad I was only there for a day.
Florence is one of the best cities in the world. It's got a totally different feel from Rome -- the people are great, the shopping is great, and the museums are great (of course, you've got to see David). One of the best things about Florence is the shopping, and on Sunday mornings the streets are taken over with huge open air markets where you can buy awesome things and negotiate the price. Go to the Ponte Vecchio for great views and the jewelery scene. And give your self some extra time at the train station when arriving or leaving and go to the lower level for "Baby Yogurt." It's the best.
You have to go and see Michaelangelos David. You can't believe how sexy it is!
Living here now for 6 months -- if you want to visit, try November, December, or January (the latter two if you don't mind a bit of rain). As for the tourists, the fact is that the city has a population of 350,000 (approx), and there are just over 8 million (8,000,000) tourists a year. And they all pack into the centre of town as that is where all the great stuff is. So, yes it is noisy, crowded, expensive, and all that, but the cultural treasures here with respect to the Renaissance are unparalleld in terms of density. However, remember that most of the artists who started in Florence wound up going to Rome to seal their fame, and there are a number of really, really important museums (equally important to the Uffizi museum, for example) in Rome. To each his own!
This city has to be the noisest place with bikes in abundance. I spent 5 days and came home with sore ears and a weak heart after having several near accidents getting run over with mopeds!!! Will not be back...
I spent two weeks in Italy April 2005. I am sure Florence is a great city, but don't go during the tourist months like I did. It was so crowded. I wasn't expecting it to be the big shopping meca it was either. Worst of all, English was spoken everywhere. I had been doing so well speaking Italian all over Italy only to not use it in Florence! I saw the art at the museums and the trip was worth it for that but I would never come back again during the tourist season. It just wasn't fun.
Florence was THE CITY, it has the mos incredible church, il duomo is simply fascinating, and also great places to visit, and the nicest museums.
I studied in Florence last summer for 5 weeks. The second night in Italy I met the most amazing guy. We got to know each other and then it was time for me to go back to the states. I didn't understand what I was feeling, and after getting a million calls in the states from my new love, I flew back to Florence, for the rest of the summer. We are now engaged to be married and I have travelled to Italy numerous times since. You never know what may happen!
Go to Florence only if you really love art, don't expect to find the greatness of Rome. It's a very small city with expensive museums.
I spent last winter living in Florence and I never stop missing it. In fact, I'm returning in 2 weeks. I recommend just wandering aimlessly, living cheap but splurging on food & wine, and avoiding other tourists!
I've lived and studied in the city for two years, and keep coming back (finding amore helps, too :-P ). The worst months are the summer months, when the tourist groups come in relentless swarms of knee-sock-and-shorts combos and loud cries of "this isn't how it's done in [insert name of country here]!" -- worse than the mosquitoes, if you ask me. There is SO much to see in bella Firenze beyond the Duomo, though, and I hope that anyone who includes Florence on their itinerary takes the time to venture out and find it.
Yes the tourists pack in tight and sometimes the numbers are overwhelming, and yes the abundance of English can detract from feeling it, but Florence is romantic, beautiful, and, I hate to make this so dramatic but for lack of a better word, magical. Across the Arno is a different city, and it is one of the most charming places I have ever been.
The entire center is made up of drab colored stone. Factor in outrageous musuem entry fees, hordes of tourists and the lack of any parks or places to sit and you have one of the worst most overrated cities in Europe. Skip it and go to Cinque Terra!
I just spent 3.5 weeks in Florence studying. Most amazing place - you must put it on your agenda. Small city, but lots to see, great shopping, fantastic atmosphere. Loved it and will return...
I recommend visiting Fiesole for a brilliant view of Florence.
Florence is sort of a little-Rome. It has a similar feel, with several museums, cathedrals, and other assorted old stuff, but on a much smaller scale than the overwhelming abundance that Rome has.
Florence is a very walkable city -- the main attractions in Florence are located along the two sides of the river and you can walk from one attraction to another easily.
There are lots of hostels in Florence. If you can, try to book a hostel located along the two sides of the river or the Florence S.M.N. railway station. Most attractions are located on the north side of the river, but as long as the Florence hostel that you have chosen is near the river, it is very convenient for you to visit the attractions. Booking a hostel near the railway station is a good choice if you need to arrive at Florence at night, as it would take you less time to get to the hostel. The hostels in Florence may not have a clear sign, so check the exact location of the hostel before your trip and even try to remember what it looks like from photos on the internet.
There is a market located at about fifteen minutes' walk from the railway station -- you can buy some food for cooking in the market. But do beware, because the market closes quite early. You can also find a few tiny supermarkets in the central part of Florence, but they are not nearly as cheap as those in Rome. There are lots of restaurants on the north side of Florence; those located near the Duomo tend to be more expensive than those located near the railway station.