If you’re planning a trip to Italy, one city that doesn’t need much advance planning to enjoy is Florence. Packed to the gills with tourists year-round, the astonishing art and the lovely sights in the city’s center bring in travelers in all seasons, but particularly in the summer months. Of the three big cities that tourists visit in Italy (Rome, Venice and Florence), Florence is easily explored on foot with almost no advance planning and come away with an overwhelming appreciation of the art and a feeling of success in your travels.
Crowds and Planning
The only aspects you should plan carefully in your trip to Florence are access to the historical center of town from your hotel and advance tickets to the art museums. Florence’s center is close and flat making it ideal for walking tours and exploring on foot. Indeed, it’s almost impossible to explore the city in any other way. When booking your hotel room, be absolutely sure that it’s in the historical area of Florence and you’ll never need to worry about rental cars or public transportation during your stay.
The art collected in Florence is truly world class. It’s almost impossible to see all of the art in a single trip, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. With the crowds of tourists and the small, historical museums that house the art, you can expect long lines to visit. To avoid this, buy your tickets in advance online or by phone and you’ll be able to get into the museums more easily and have more time for enjoying other parts of the city rather than standing about for hours in the sun waiting.
Leather and Gelato
Two of the specialties of Florence are the leather goods manufactured and sold in the city and the amazing quality of the local gelato. Visit the outdoor markets that sell the leather items and haggle. There are wonderful deals to be made if you’re aggressive in your buying, but always guard your purse or wallet as pickpockets enjoy the markets as well.
While walking to or from the museums, markets and other sights, make it a point to buy a scoop of gelato at every opportunity. Try gelato form every shop you pass (and you’ll pass plenty) to see the amazing quality of the gelato in this city. If you don’t care for it, throw it out and try again in the next shop. You’re bound to be impressed.