Florence Stories and Tips

Planning Tools and Tips

In the Boboli Gardens Photo, Florence, Italy

USEFUL INTERNET SITES

  • Weekend A Firenze - On this sight you can make reservations and purchase tickets for many of the Florence galleries. That way, you don't have to worry about calling when you're there, making sure you get a spot, etc. If you can schedule certain days, then this is perfect. And the tickets are, on average, about $4 more than if you purchased and reserved them in Italy. It was worth it for me, the less worries there the better. These reservations MUST be made for the Ufizzi especially. Even on a rainy March day at 9AM, there was a LONG line. We literally walked up to a lady, handed her our reservations, and walked right in. I can imagine that the lines would be long at every gallery in Florence in May.
  • Fodors - A great website with restaurant recommendations AND customer reviews. I've found this nowhere else, and it's an excellent planning tool. What I did was make a list of the highest recommended restaurants in each city for my itinerary. Oh, and you can sort the restaurants by neighborhood, which is PERFECT! In general, I found that it was worth it to walk a few more blocks to one of Fodors.com restaurants instead of just "trying" one that looks good.

    Fodors also has short descriptions of most of the sites in Italian cities. I cut these descriptions and pasted them into our itinerary. We will be able to glance at what the sight is about, and then refer to our Blue Guide for in depth info. Putting the Blue Guide page number beside the sights has been handy.

  • Learn languages online! - Fun.
  • http://www.italyflash.com/italyflash/longt/rail/njsrail.shtml
    A difficult site to use, but it has train schedules in Italy.
  • http://bahn.hafas.de/bin/db.s98/detect.exe/bin/db.s98/query.exe/e?
    Believe it or not, this is a German company that has a website in English and sells train tickets AND seat reservations for Italian trips. Excellent service, even though the tickets arrive in German. We were wondering if the Italians will understand our German tickets, but they did. :) The service costs as much as it does in Italy, so it's just nice to have the tickets and seats in advance. I highly recommend this service. We had reserved seats, and the train was easy to find. The train was suprisingly packed, so those seats were really nice.
  • Rail Europe - they have everything from railpasses to point-to-point tickets. They also have more navigable train schedules.
  • Get This! Order your foreign currency online. The rates are great (much cheaper than change stations and competitive with banks). You get your currency via registered mail in about two days, even without express service. I really liked being able to do this. I was able to charge my currency!
  • Council Travel - A site to save money if you're under 26 or have a student with you. They have great rates on airline tickets.
  • Don't look too long on this site, because you will find SO MANY handy traveling doojiggeees.
  • E-Bags - Find the perfect bag, pack, or luggage. No hassle returns if you don't like it (they pick it up for you!).

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