Thanks to Jim Kennedy (FOB) for the city write ups and help with 'things to do!'
If you have any questions for him, he is more than happy to field travel questions so please fill out the form to the right and he'll get back to you soon!
Traveling by train, you will want to make sure your ticket is to the Firenze Santa Maria Novella station.
The amount of history, art, and culture in Florence borders on overwhelming. The more historical information you have been able to gather prior to your visit, the more meaningful your days in Florence will be. The influence of the Medici family cannot be overstated. As background information, the Netflix mini-series Medici: The Masters of Florence provides a backdrop of what life was like during the 1400 and 1500s and what impact their family and their family's wealth had upon the Renaissance. If you are more of a reader, the House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall by Christopher Hibbert is a good one. https://www.amazon.com/House-Medici-Its-Rise-Fall-ebook/dp/B0089LOLA2/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489088138&sr=1-2&keywords=medici
Most of what you will want to know and want to do in Florence (as well as the rest of Italy) is in Rick Steves Italy 2017 guide. It is full of great tips on what to see and how to get around. Study Rick’s recommendations, decide what you want to see and follow his advice on getting tickets and avoiding long lines especially at the Uffizi (Renaissance Art) and Accademia (statue of Michelangelo's David) museums. Highly recommended. https://www.amazon.com/Rick-Steves-Italy-2017/dp/1631214438/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
- Pricey: All'Antico Ristoro di Cambi (known for its large portions of local Chianina beef) https://www.yelp.com/biz/allantico-ristoro-di-cambi-firenzeVia S. Onofrio, 1r 50124 Florence Italy (across the Arno or Oltr'Arno)
- Pricey: Trattoria dall Oste (also known for large portions of local Chianina beef; https://www.thefork.com/restaurant/trattoria-osteria-dall-oste/58707, Via Luigi Alamanni, 3/5r (near SMN train station)
- Highly rated by locals L'Osteria di Giovanni https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1077844-Reviews-L_Osteria_di_Giovanni-Florence_Tuscany.html Via del Moro 22, 50123 (half mile from SMN rail station)
- Highly rated by locals: Vini e Vecchi Sapori https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1110760-Reviews-Vini_e_Vecchi_Sapori-Florence_Tuscany.html Via dei Magazzini 3R, 50122, near Pizza della Signoria
- Highly rated sandwich shop: SandwiChic Via San Gallo 3/r 50129 https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d6740021-Reviews-SandwiChic-Florence_Tuscany.html (near Accademia)
- Highly rated sandwich shop: Alimentari Uffizi https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d6748181-Reviews-Alimentari_Uffizi-Florence_Tuscany.html fresh meats and cheeses to go, Via Lambertesca 10r, 50100 near Ponte Vecchio
- Pizza: Mangia Pizza Firenze https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d6580845-Reviews-Mangia_Pizza_Firenze-Florence_Tuscany.html Via Lambertesca 24/26, 50122 near Ponte Vecchio
- Gelato: Marco Ottaviano https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d6864989-Reviews-Marco_Ottaviano_Il_Gelato_Gourmet-Florence_Tuscany.htmlVia Matteo Palmieri 34r (Santa Croce)
- Gelato: Gelateria dei Neri https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d2075392-Reviews-Gelateria_dei_Neri-Florence_Tuscany.html Via De' Neri 9/11R, 50122 (near Ponte alle Grazie)
Sfusi: Very happy to report that Florence also has sfuso, which is wine that is available in bulk. Some stores ask that you bring your own container (empty water bottle or something larger), and some will put it in their own containers for you to take out. It is inexpensive and delizioso.
- Bacco Nudo https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d8397640-Reviews-Bacco_Nudo-Florence_Tuscany.html Via De' Macci 59, 50122 (near Santa Croce)
- Il Santo Vino https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187895-d7159011-Reviews-Il_Santo_Vino-Florence_Tuscany.html (in San Spirito Oltr'Arno)
Rick Steve's plan for seeing Florence in One to Five Days is a good one. It hits the highlights and you can pick and choose which ones you can fit into your schedule. https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/italy/florence/planning-your-time
To avoid lines you will want to plan ahead and make reservations at the most popular museums of interest to you. The Firenzecard is the official museum pass for Florence and grants admission to the major museums, churches, villas and historical gardens in Florence and surroundings. It is valid for 72 hours from its activation, which starts from the first entrance into a Firenzecard museum. At €72, it is pricey if you will only be in Florence for a few days. For a shorter stay, you may want to consider just making reservations at the museums you plan to visit. https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/read/articles/making-museum-reservations-in-florence. The €4 reservation fee is in addition to the entrance fees but is recommended to avoid wasting time in lines.
Florence is THE place to see Renaissance paintings, marble sculptures and bronzes. The magnificent works of Michelangelo, Botticelli, DaVinci, Raphael, Titian, and so many more are all here. The Uffizi and Accademia museums can get quite crowded so save yourself some time and get a reservation as mentioned above.
Bring a picnic up to Piazzale Michelangelo for a magical panoramic view of the Florence skyline (as seen in the photo above!)
Take the Renaissance Walk to familiarize yourself with some of Florence's highlights. Download the podcast here. http://podcasts.ricksteves.com/walkingtours/RenFlorenceWalk.mp3