SUSAN’S GUIDE TO FLORENCE

Which is about stepping back in time into the arms of the renaissance & really good gelato. Florence is loaded with passion & personality. Get lost in the back streets. Stand at a coffee bar & watch the locals interact. Shop for world famous Florentine leather, gold & silver.

 

Hello : bongiorno or ciao (chow) / How are you? = come sta? / Good, and you? = benne, e tu?

goodbye = arrivaderci or ciao /   have a good day = buona giornata  / have good evening = buona serata

Please = per favore  / Thank you = grazie-eh / / excuse me = permesso  /  thank you or are you ready = prego

Find out where the locals eat by asking Ci puo’ consigliare un ristorantino locale non turistico per favore?

 

Sites

Santa Croce Church Tombs of Mich, Galileo & Machiavelli/ 9:30am-5:30pm

Palazzo Vecchio  Medicis’ palatial mansion & town hall.  Room after stunning room.

     Thur 9-2pm (last entry 1pm)       /Fri-Wed  10am-5pm

TOP TIP: Take advantage of the all day FREE visit to fresco courtyard & lobby.  Enter by statue of David.

TOP TIP: keep that water bottle and get free refill from machine by Palazzo/ choose still or fizzy

 

Ufizzi Gallery: best collection of Italian art in world, chronologically displayed to take you through the renaissance. Highlight: Botticelli room/ 8:15-6:50pm /  try ticket office #2 for timed tickets

Museo Galileo machines, globes, telescopes, microscopes since 1100.  Also see Galileo’s’ mummified finger.       Behind Uffizi on the river.  Piazza dei Giudici 1  /  9:30-6pm

 

I due Fratellini Locals sandwich window since 1875/ Order wine and set your glass on numbered wooden shelf on wall while you eat. Via dei Cimatori 38 off via Calzaiuoli / open until 8pm

Festival de Gelato is one of the best!  Off via Calzaiuoli, on via del Corso (seating & toilets upstairs).

Look for the pink & blue neon lights. They also have waffles and fruit cups.  Big portions and good prices.

Paperback Exchange: new & used English books/ open until 7:30pm (good used travel & fiction section)

TOP TIP: Walk past the shop & around corner to left to see stonemasons working on sculptures thru glass doors.

The Duomo, Florence. One of the most incredible structures in the world considering when it was built.

The Duomo, Florence. One of the most incredible structures in the world considering when it was built.

 

Duomo – Visit later for shorter queues.  Thurs 10am-4:30pm (May & Oct to 4pm) Fri-Wed to 5pm

Climb the duomo 463 steps, circle the cupola and enter into the dome in a dome. Outside viewing area. Not for those scared of heights or claustrophobic types., but a brilliant experience.  Entrance around the side.  8:30-7pm   Reservation required/ online or ticket office.

Giotto’s Tower  The bell tower beside the Duomo. Only 414 steps & less crowded   8:30-7:30pm

Duomo Museum (Mueso d’ell opera)The original Ghiberti door panels, sculpture smashed by Michelangelo,

first ugly sculpture ‘Habakkuk’, finger of  John the Baptist/ del Proconsolo 9 (behind Duomo)  9-7:30pm

Accademia See the original statue of David & Michelangelo’s the prisoners.   8:15-6:50 pm

If there is a queue, ask to buy timed tix from second ticket office in lobby (don’t let them send you down the street as this is a reserved ticket booth for next day tickets)/it costs more, but you might go straight in.

 

San Lorenzo Markets Lower end leather products. Iranian owned shops selling South American leather tailored in Italy. Be careful with leather bags, gloves & jackets. You buy cheap – you get cheap.  Good purchases are paper goods, souvenirs, jewellery, linens, scarves, capes and pashimas. Shoes & wallets can go either way.  9am-7pm ish

 

Central Market Food Hall Open until 2pm. Go in to take photos, learn all about olive oils from one of the special stalls, pick up a picnic lunch or try Nerbone cafe. Big roast pork or beef sandwiches with gravy is their specialty.  Just look for the bench tables full of locals on the outer ring of the food court. Cheap and authentic.

 

Pitti Palace & Boboli gardens across Ponte Vecchio & straight.  Get tickets for Art collection or costumes, money, porcelain & gardens or everything /prices vary  (can get timed tix) /open until 6:15pm/ in winter garden closes at dusk

 Salvatoro Ferragamo shoe museum  For everything you want to know about the famous shoemaker.  Walk along the river and pass the PonteVecchioBridge, then turn right at next bridge and museum comes up on right at pillar.  Open everyday 10am-7:30pm     Palazzo Spini Feroni At Piazza Santa Trinita

* Walk-in Aveda Salon On Via dei Neri for haircuts, treatments & natural products.  There is also a traditional barber & a pizza by weight shop on this street.