Saturday, December 10, 2011

Florence Takeaway Thoughts and Tips

  • Florence is the perfect base if you want to do daytrips of nearby towns. I believe some places deserve an overnight exploration, it can be exhausting packing and unpacking everything (for me, because I am a pack rat).
  • Florence is filled with tourists. The cobblestone streets are narrow and noisy. I didn’t find any quiet alley unlike the streets of Venice.
  • If you can't read a map to save your life, Florence have these street signs which leads you to the popular tourist spots. 

  • Almost everything in the leather market are similar. Learn how to haggle. See that belt? You’ll see it in another vendor’s stand just a few steps away.
  • The real David is NOT the one outside Museo di Palazzo Vecchio. It is inside the Accademia. It is forbidden to take pictures. Forbidden, not impossible. :P
  • The lines for Uffiziand Accademia can be unbearably long  - especially if the sun is mighty high. Buy your tickets in advance. I think they only sell a number of tickets online. If there are no available tickets online, try to call the museum’s ticket office to reserve your tickets. Your last bet to avoid the lines is to purchase from some third-party site which will cost you more than twice the price of the actual ticket (the provider forever sends you spam mail  after).
  • You have to be at the museum 15 minutes before the time indicated in the ticket. You have to claim your reserved ticket first – which is a different line from entering the museum. If you want an audioguide, that is not included in the ticket price and there is a different line for that.
  • Florence offers a Museum Card which costs €50, valid for 3 days in numerous museums and some public transportation lines. Considering that I am not a fan of museums, this was not a choice. €50 is really pricey. (The Paris Museum Pass also costs this much but I got that one because it was really a good deal).
  • Good food is hard to find. I stumbled upon Nerone Trattoria which is just a few steps away from Archi Rossi. They have reasonable-priced food and it tastes superb. SUPERB. I ate two dinners there – which cost me around €20 a meal – including my €2 tip. A glass of wine (€3) costs less than Coke or juice (€4-6).

  • If your plain spaghetti is crappy, then everything else is crappy. This is the simplest dish so it better be right. 

You can add all the parmesan cheese you want.  Nomnomnom.

  • You are still in Italy, you still have to eat two scoops of gelato a day. By this time, I got more adventurous and I tried out different flavours instead of my usual pistachio/ chocolate/ coffee flavors. 
With a waffle piece on top.
  • Because of the gelato, I developed this scratchy throat which kept me a bit weary during my adventure. I bought some bananas and tea in the grocery store. 
The fruit zone

  • It is fun to buy bottles of wine and olive oil in the grocery. Of course, there’s that probably of how to ship them home.

  • As a solo female traveler, I felt safe wandering around Florence at night. There are a lot of tourists and there are roving police cars all over the city. 

  • Accept the fact that you may not be able to see and experience everything that Florence can offer. Just choose the ones you think that you will enjoy the most - the rest can be done when you visit Florence again.

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