Enough cannot be said about Florence, birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and home to many of the greatest artists of the era, from Michelangelo to Leonardo da Vinci. View the city through the eyes of a local as you explore its plethora of statues, cobblestone streets and world-famous landmarks.
Florence is fabulous -- from the architecture to the art museums. Our guide was knowledgeable, but not very accommodating -- just walk fast and keep up. Lunch was disappointing -- sit where we tell you (despite the lack of space and an otherwise empty restaurant) and too bad, you can't sit with your party, rude guide and rude restaurant owner.
The two museums we saw were outstanding -- the Academia and the Uffizi -- just wish there was more time. Both were quite stunning -- and if you've only seen pictures of Michelangelo's David, prepared to be amazed -- the size and the incredible detail of this statue defies description. Our afternoon at the Uffizi (even the ceilings are stunning) was the highlight for me. We had a different guide -- he was not just knowledgeable, but had wonderful stories and information about the paintings, who commissioned it, the artist, and other wonderful details that really made these beautiful paintings and sculptures come alive. The churches and the other buildings are stare-worthy -- just wished for more time...
We're not huge art people, so we wanted to just go into Florence and explore. We're huge shoppers so the famous leather market and food market in Florence was a huge draw. I started a shared tour with Joe Banana Limo and we had 2 other couples join us on our roundtrip transfer to Florence. Driver was on time and very friendly. He even stopped on a hill top for us to take photos of Florence before dropping us off in the city. Would definitely use Joe Banana again!
My favourite stop of the cruise. A coach takes you from the ship to either the train station or the car park outside the port and we were picked up by our excursion company which was all a bit hectic as there were about 6 ships in!
Once in Florence we had a 10minute gentle walk into the heart of the city (coaches are not able to enter the centre). Most people then went off on their own to explore but we had a guide who walked us around the key sights sharing information and ensuring we saw all the most superb things, and boy there is so much to see!
It is a breathtaking place, compact and easy to walk round. Once the guide finished we were free to have lunch and stroll around on our own and shop in the leather markets or visit the museums (tickets in advance would be needed). A must see location.
From the title of the excursion we had expected no tour commentary, but had probably an hour or more of commentary on bus each way and then taken to 'buying spots' for drop off and pick up....not quite what we expected as we had wanted some quiet free time exploring without commentary
We had booked a tour to Florence, but it was so hot and crowded in Rome, that, after discussing it with the Land Discoveries staff, we canceled it. The boat ride around to canals of Livorno was quite nice and interesting, laid back. We discovered that August is sale month in Italy and Livorno had some excellent shopping.
Just over an 1/1.5 hours and we got nearly 4 hours in Florence to ourselves. Despite cobblestones Florence is very easy to get around main sights, although we went on a Sunday and didn't go inside cathedral etc
After the free Carnival shuttle to the parking lot, we were met with our guide- Chiara was excellent. Went to Pisa first with some 'own time'. Then to Florence - tour - own time for lunch - tour. They gave us water bottles and free gelatos too! Would highly recommend.
Unfortunately, we were in Florence on Monday when the main museums are closed. We made other plans but it turned out to also be Catholic holiday which closed Santa Croce and a Jewish holiday which closed the museum. We just wandered around, had lunch and gelato. The bus ride to and from was uneventful and overpriced.
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