Florence is an amazing city. So much art, so much culture, so much fashion. So much great food. But going to these culture-rich cities can be a little overwhelming. Especially if you don’t have that much time. But take it from someone who usually only has 24 hours to scope out a place, most of the “must-dos” are usually not worth it. My recommendation? Use these five ideas as a starting point.
When in Florence…
Now, this isn’t a long and profound travel guide about Florence. This is just a little mini reference guide to set you off. Everyone goes to Italy for different reasons. I’m not an art fan – I can appreciate it, but I could never look at a piece for more than a minute and tell you all the things it makes me feel and the strokes that the artist used and how it represents his/her emotions. If you are one of those people, then this guide might not apply to you. Expect for the first tip. That applies to everyone.
Eat all the Grom
Grom is an Italian gelato shop that uses only natural, organic ingredients. Their ice cream is free from gluten, emulsifiers, preservatives and colours. And it tastes so freaking good. On a hot summers day, the sorbets are the best way to refresh and cool down. My personal favourites are anything with caramel!
Spend the day wandering around Pitti Palace
I know that the sound of dedicating a whole day to something when time is precious is a bit daunting, but Pitti Palace is worth it. I spent hours just wondering around the grounds and exploring all the exhibitions. The Boboli gardens are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. And yes, I did try to find secret passages al la Inferno. Take the Ponte Vecchio to cross the river, and you’ve ticked off another point of interest.
Learn some fashion history
Take a break from standard museums and head to the Museo Ferragamo. The galleries in Florence are amazing, but they are all pretty much the same and feature a lot of very similar works (hope you like The Virgin Mary), the Museo Ferragamo is a refreshing change with more fun and modern exhibitions.
Don’t stress about fitting all the galleries into your schedule
Now don’t get me wrong. I love Florence. It is by far one of my favourite cities. But not everything that you are supposed to like is likeable. So many people, my mother in particular, fret about scheduling in ample time for the galleries for no reason. Of course, if you are an avid art lover then this may not apply to you, but I laced the Uffizi in around an hour and a half, and Accademia and about 40 minutes.
My recommendation would be to plan half a day for each, visit on separate days and go first thing in the morning.
Visit the Temple of the Italian Glories
Santa Croce is the largest Franciscan church in the world and the burial ground of Michelangelo, Galileo, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini. And for the past 500 years funerary monuments have been erected for the likes of Barsanti, Da Vinci, Dante and Bruni, to name but a few., giving it the nickname, Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio Dell’ltale Glorie). With sixteen chapels, as well as tombs and cenotaphs, you can spend a good few hours here.
Who else has been to Florence? What was your favourite thing to do?