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Help with the must do's in Florence

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kent
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Help with the must do's in Florence

Hi, We’re going to Florence for 3 nights next Spring, arriving early-ish the first day and leaving late-ish the last day, so we’ve 2 full days and around 2 half days to see the sights. I imagine the Uffizi and Accademia galleries are a must do, regardless of whether you really love the art and sculpture they house. I expect the Cathedral is another must, as is the Ponte Vecchio. Would you agree with this reasoning and is there anything I’m missing that I shouldn’t miss while I’m there. Thanks in advance for your help.

Tallahassee, Florida
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1. Re: Help with the must do's in Florence

I don't agree that you should vist a museum like the Uffizi if you don't really love art. Everyone's "must sees" are different depending on what their interests are. I enjoy doing research before my vacation so I understand the history and after much reading then I decide what I'd like to do. I'm not somebody who feels a need to tick off items from a list of what others deem important. Although, now knowing I love sculpture I would put the Bargello museum on my list since that has been highly recommended by various people on this forum. So - tell us what your interests are and you'll get lots of suggestions based on that.

kent
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2. Re: Help with the must do's in Florence

I see what you’re saying. If you find art a complete bore, then there is little point going to a gallery, no matter how good it is, because you’re still not going to enjoy it.

However I doubt that many people are really into Egyptian history, but most that go to Cairo usually make the effort to go out and see the Pyramids, because of their fame and uniqueness.

Likewise, I still want to see Michaelangelo’s David, in the same way I wanted to see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. I’m not going to go to Florence and then visit just the shops because I like shopping and disregard the so-called great works of art that are around me in that city.

I’m not having a go, I hope you know, I’m just explaining my position.

Although of course some people who visit these galleries are die hard lovers of that style of art, I guess most are either those who prefer other styles of art, like myself, or those that wouldn’t profess to be interested in art and are just curious.

The reason I have posted this topic is that I have been to places myself and discovered something outstanding that wasn’t one of the “obvious” things to do/see and it was either luck, my own research or somebody’s recommendation that made me aware of it. And the great thing about Tripadvisor is all those kind people out there who are only too happy to share their knowledge and experience. So if there is something other than the places I have already mentioned that have to be seen or done, regardless of whether you are crazy about architecture, art or what have you, then I’d like to know so I don’t miss the treat. Once told I can then decide for myself whether it is something I am fussed about doing myself because of my own tastes and opinions.

Roma
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3. Re: Help with the must do's in Florence

I agree with Ljaguar: Florence is full of things to see, and everyone's "must-see" depend on oneself. I don't think that one has to force to go to an art museum like the Uffizi, facing a long queue, if he/she is not interested in art (or rather: in Tuscan painting of the centuries from the 13th to the 17th, because this is what Uffizi offer: you won't find there Greek statues or Picasso's paintings). I don't even think there the most popular places, or those where most people go, are compulsorily the best for each one.

If you like Tuscan painting, then in fact the Uffizi are not to miss. The Accademia in my opinion might be skipped: it is expensive and the best in it is the David from Michelangelo, but you can admire a perfect copy in open air in the Piazza della Signoria. This square is so full of sculptures, perfectly harmonised with the architectural environment, that it is like a free open air museum: visiting it in-depth could be actually regarded as a "must". If you want to see a sculpture museum, I think that Bargello is more satisfying than the Accademia.

The Cathedral is a wonderful church, but the outside is much more beautiful than the inside. And to enter the most churches of Florence one has to pay. So, among the churches I would suggest above all Santa Croce: the church is not less beautiful than the Cathedral, the complex of the burial monuments of famous Italians is very impressive, and entering you are allowed also to a little museum. There are also other famous churches (San Lorenzo, Santa Maria Novella, San Marco...) you can walk to each of them to see the outsides, but in my opinion the best is Santa Croce. In front of the Cathedral, don't miss to have a look to the Baptistry, especially the golden east doors (to the Cathedral).

The Ponte Vecchio is very beautiful to see from the banks of the Arno; going on it could be a little deceiving, beacuse you can see just the jewelries that border it. It is at the same level of the streets, so it is possible you walk on it without realizing! Just in the middle of the bridge you can have a view over the river.

Some other ideas: the Casa Davanzati, near Piazza Santa Trinita, is a good preserved example of a Florentine merchants' house of the Middle Ages (and the entrance is free, what is not so common in Florence); a trip to Fiesole, a little medieval village in the hills around Florence, with the suggestive church-monastery San Francesco (you can get there by a bus starting from the railway station Santa Maria Novella).

Greve in Chianti...
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4. Re: Help with the must do's in Florence

Somebody better tell Andrea Mantegna, Titian, El Greco, Correggio, Parmigianino, Hugo Van der Goes, Gentile da Fabriano, Raffaello, Piero della Francesca, Albrecht Durer, Perugino, Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese, Rubens, Van Dyke, Caravaggio and a great handful of others that the Uffizi is the home of Tuscan painting!

It sounds to me like you're not exactly an art buff, but that you also want to expose yourself to whatever exeriences Florence can offer you to grow in your interests. If I'm correct, than by all means DO visit the Uffizi and the Accademia. Even if you prefer modern or contemporary art, remember that even Picasso studied the masters. That said, don't discount the GAM (Galleria di Arte Moderna) in Palazzo Pitti!

On the other hand, painting in general may leave you cold while architecture may be your thing. In that case, don't avoid the duomo's interior only because it's not covered with frescoes. Its elegant and stately architecture is breathtaking, as is the history of the building itself.

Ooo-boogar, it's very difficult to help out in determing "musts" when we have little or no information to go on. Give us a hint! :-)

5. Re: Help with the must do's in Florence

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kent
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6. Re: Help with the must do's in Florence

thanks aristofane and imprimatur for the suggestions you've already mentioned.

If I'm brutally honest, gardens are probably my favourite thing these days. Having said that i'm not going to Florence to see gardens, which I am sure there are some of. I'm spoilt where I am for that, coming from the garden of England. I'd only regard a garden abroad, a "must" visit, if it was fairly renowned or I was stuck for anything else to do. Next, it would be ancient history. I know, having been to Rome and Pompeii that there is an abundance of this kind of history in Italy, but whether Florence has it to the same level is questionable in my mind. What Florence excels at, arguably more than anywhere else in the world, is of course art and that's mainly what I want to see whilst I am there (it seems a bit silly to go there for any other reason really), but would also be happy to take in any spectacular church, cathedral, bridge (which seems to be the case there), or anything else for that matter out of the ordinary in between the art. I could have chosen other European destinations to visit, but feel some places aren't really worth visiting whilst there are places like Florence that I have still to visit, even though I am not art mad. I suppose you could say I'm going for "whatever experience Florence can offer" me, in the short time I'm there.

I don't intend to spend 4 hours plus in each gallery, looking at every painting and reading the notes for them. When i went to the Louvre last year, I only spent an hour or so in there, seeing a dozen or so works that were listed on a highlights of the louvre tour i found somewhere. This was ideal. I got to see the masterpieces I've heard of, as well as some I hadn't heard of, without having to spend hours looking at many other paintings and getting to the stage where they all merged into one in my mind. This gave me time to see other galleries I found more interesting and more to my taste in Paris, such as the D'Orsay and the Picasso Museum, as well as the other touristy things. That said I still enjoyed the Louvre and I'm glad I went in, so i expect the same will apply to the Uffizi and the Academia. I expect I would appreciate GAM more, but you don't go to Florence for this type of art, well i don't at least. ;-)

7. Re: Help with the must do's in Florence

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8. Re: Help with the must do's in Florence

Of course the poor OP doesn't know whereof they speak, that's why they asked a perfectly reasonable question at the beginning of this thread. I sincerely hope that my contribution will not result in my head being chewed off.

I enjoyed short tours of the Uffizi and Accademia, despite not being a fan of Renaissance art, and was glad I went . Fiesole and its ruins were also worth the bus ride. Other than that I agree with Aristofane's suggestions, but would also include the Piazza Michelangelo for the view if the weather is good.

Have fun ooo-boogar and I hope the reactions of some haven't put you off posting again.

9. Re: Help with the must do's in Florence

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10. Re: Help with the must do's in Florence

I would personally give a hoot about what does not interest me. But if you do wish to visit the Uffizi and Accademia, you would do very well to prebook either asking your hotel to book for you or phoning ++39-055-294883 about two months in advance.

And do take a look at gardens like the Boboli and the Bardini.