Florence Journals

Four days in Florence and Siena

A September 2001 trip to Florence by Defiant1

Uffizi Gallery Photo, Florence, Italy More Photos
Quote: I spent four days in Tuscany (three in Florence and one in Siena) in Sept. 2001 as part of my trip to Italy. Birthplace of the Renaissance and nestled in a green valley, Florence is a spectacularly beautiful city. Walking its streets, I could not help but feel that I was following in the footsteps of genius. So many great artists and minds lived and worked here. Their accomplishments live on in the form of the city's beautiful churches, architecture, and incomparable artwork. I also spent a day in Siena, a small town just south of Florence. Equally charming in its own right, it makes for the perfect daytrip. Tuscany = Perfection.

Four days in Florence and Siena

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Overview

Florence Photo, Florence, Italy
Quote:
The Uffizi in Florence is a definite must-see. Easily the world's greatest collection of Renaissance art, its works are mind-boggling. Catching a gorgeous sunset from the Ponte Vecchio and riding a scooter through the hills of southern Tuscany were other cherished memories.Quick Tips: Wander! Simply exploring the side streets and back alleys of Florence can provide you with a unique insight on this most incredible of cities. See how the locals live away from the tourists and gain a greater appreciation for the city.Best Way To Get Around: Getting to Florence is easy from other European cities by train. There's also a small airport but I recommend the train. The city itself is q...Read More
Quote:
Just a couple minutes walk from the Duomo is the Albergo Firenze. Clean, modern, friendly staff, and an unbeatable location just off the Via del Corso.

All rooms have private bath, phone, and TV, which is a nice touch. I wouldn''t call them charming though. No "Italian" touches can be found at all. They resemble fancy hospital rooms, if anything else. Still, they do the job, which is to provide you with a comfortable night''s sleep.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 27, 2002

Albergo Firenze
Piazza Donati 4
Florence, Italy
055 214 203

Ristorante Le Colonnine

Restaurant | "Le Colonnine"

Quote:
Just down the street from the Ponte delle Grazie is Le Colonnine. A classic Italian restaurant with outside tables that serves hearty portions with great prices. Friendly waiters give you the option of either an English or Italian menu. I had spaghetti with meat sauce and Florentine steak (a local specialty). The meal was incredible! Having such a fine meal outside at sunset with the local street life passing by made for a perfect Italian experience.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 27, 2002

Ristorante Le Colonnine
Via Dei Benci 6r
Florence, Italy
+39 (055) 234-6417

Uffizi Gallery

Attraction

Uffizi Gallery Photo, Florence, Italy
Quote:
In a word, stunning. I studied Italian art history in school so to see all of these paintings in the flesh, so to speak, was awe-inspiring. Room after room after room of famous masterpieces created by geniuses. It's almost too much to soak in and absorb.

I highly recommend that you make a reservation (either online or by calling the museum's special number) to avoid the lineups. I booked mine for 8:45am and there was already a very long line when I arrived. By the time I left, the line was snaking all over the courtyard.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 27, 2002

Uffizi Gallery
Piazzale Degli Uffizi, 6
Florence, Italy 50122
+39 05523885

Galleria dell'Accademia

Attraction | "Accademia"

Galleria dell'Accademia Photo, Florence, Italy
Quote:
One word: David. Michelangelo's most famous statue is sheer perfection. If you're visiting Florence, you HAVE to see this work of art. There are copies elsewhere in the city (Piazza della Signoria & Michelangelo, to name two) but you'll be kicking yourself if you don't get to see the original. Also of note in the Accademia are Michelangelo's "Slaves", conveniently located in the same room as "David". However, the paintings can be safely skipped. To avoid lineups, go about an hour before closing. Since there are only two noteworthy things to see here, that should be more than enough time. Warning: photography is banned in the Accademia but there's only one guar...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 27, 2002

Galleria dell'Accademia
Via Ricasoli 60
Florence, Italy
055 238 8609

Museo dell'Opera del Duomo

Attraction | "Museo delle Opera del Duomo"

Quote:
This is the museum of the Duomo. It houses works of art that were part of Florence's main cathedral.

The history behind the Duomo's construction is also presented with models and charts. It's all quite informative and a must for art history buffs.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 27, 2002

Museo dell'Opera del Duomo
Piazza Duomo
Florence, Italy 50122

Boboli Gardens (Giardini di Boboli)

Attraction | "Boboli Gardens"

Quote:
Behind the Palazzo Pitti lie the spectacular Boboli Gardens. Built by the Medici family, the gardens are massive, elaborate, and provide fine views of Florence and the Tuscan countryside.

Fountains, statues, snaking paths, and of course lots of greenery can be found. I visited the gardens just before sunset and it was the perfect way to finish my day of sightseeing.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 30, 2002

Boboli Gardens (Giardini di Boboli)
Behind the Pitti Palace
Florence, Italy 50122
+39 (055) 2388786

Galleria Palatina

Attraction | "Galleria Palatina (located in Palazzo Pitti)"

Quote:
In one word, WOW! Although it only takes up a part of the Palazzo Pitti, the Galleria Palatina is massive and filled with rooms and rooms of artwork. The rooms are marvels in themselves, all of them decorated to the hilt. It's just mind-boggling how the Medici family managed to live in so much opulence. This sight is a definite must-see for anyone visiting Florence.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 30, 2002

Galleria Palatina
Piazza Pitti, 1
Florence, Italy 50125
+39 0552388614

Palazzo Medici Riccardi

Attraction | "Palazzo Medici-Riccardi"

Palazzo Medici Riccardi Photo, Florence, Italy
Quote:
Although it was one of the homes of the powerful Medici family who ruled Florence for most of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi is somewhat lacklustre. I think most of their treasures were sent to the Palazzo Pitti.

I would classify this palazzo as somewhat barren. Not a whole lot to see compared to other similar sights. If you have a yen for anything Medici, then go by all means. If not, it's an easy pass.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 30, 2002

Palazzo Medici Riccardi
Via Camillo Cavour
Florence, Italy 50129
+39 0552760340

Santa Maria Novella

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Attraction

Santa Maria Novella Photo, Florence, Italy
Quote:
A truly stunning church in a city full of stunning churches. Located just south of the main train station, SM Novella is a marvel in green and white striped marble. The church itself is light and airy, the embodiment of Italian Renaissance architecture.
But the true gem is the Green Cloister next door. You have to pay a little extra to enter it but it's worth it. When I was there, I had the cloister all to myself which was so spiritual.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 30, 2002

Santa Maria Novella
Piazza Santa Maria Novella
Florence, Italy 50123
+39 055215918

Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge)

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Attraction | "The Ponte Vecchio"

Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) Photo, Florence, Italy
Quote:
One of the most unique and enchanting bridges you'll ever come across. All of Florence's other bridges were demolished during WWII (and have since been replaced), but the Ponte Vecchio survived as even the Nazis could not bring themselves to destroy it. Today, the bridge is lined with expensive jewellery shops and a few souvenir merchants as well. Be sure to get a good seat in the middle of the bridge (where there's a gap in the stores) at sunset to witness the heart-stopping sight of the sun sinking into the Arno. It's out of this world and free!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 30, 2002

Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge)
Over the Arno River
Florence, Italy 50125

Santa Maria del Fiore & Baptistery (Il Duomo)

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Attraction | "Duomo-Santa Maria del Fiore"

Santa Maria del Fiore & Baptistery (Il Duomo) Photo, Florence, Italy
Quote:
Easily Florence's most visible sight, the Duomo is truly stunning. You just can't miss it. You'll probably walk around it several times while you're in Florence. It completely dominates the piazza.
Inside, the church is rather spartan in contrast to its extravagant exterior. It's as if all the money was spent on the outside and they ran out when it came to the inside.
Make sure to check out the gift shop in the basement when you're there. It's one of the most well-stocked I've ever seen.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 31, 2002

Santa Maria del Fiore & Baptistery (Il Duomo)
Piazza Del Duomo
Florence, Italy 50122
+39 055294514