OK, so I was trying to catch more attention with the sensationalist title. First of all, I have read and researched the forums on these areas before posting. Secondly, this is my second trip to Florence. The first time I was there for one and a half days with my mother at her request and liked it so much I resolved to go back with my wife and two kids (12, 14).
Many thanks to Anon whose advice made for a very smooth and pleasurable visit last time (April 2009). In fact this time we will stay in Florence for six nights so we can really experience the city. Again we will stay at Il Perseo (recommended by Anon and liked very much by my mother), so thanks again Anon.
We get there on Sunday at noon (April) and plan on just relaxing, walking around and eating gelato, etc. Monday also we want to just soak in the atmosphere of the city (since major museums are closed) and maybe sit in the piazzas and sketch some of the architecture etc. Tuesday we are all going on a private tuscan wine tour from Siena with someone named Donatella that apparently is the number one recommended private wine tour operator in Siena according to Tripadvisor patrons (all honest reviews? I guess we'll find out). Wed and Thurs are dedicated to David and Uffizi and Piazzale Michelangelo, etc and just going at a slow pace. Friday is the day that is open at this time. Saturday we will browse in some shops, relax, walk around Florence again and in the pm leave for Milan. Sunday we go see Milan on the cookie-cutter tour (just to see the Last Supper primarily) and Monday back to Michigan.
Which brings me to my question. Since we would have already seen Siena and possibly an afternoon 3-4 hr trip to Pisa (my 12 yr old son has to get a photo of himself in front of the leaning tower holding a slice of pizza, whatever....go figure!! Boys will be boys) I do not really want to do San G. We were thinking of booking the Cinque Terres tour cause it is ranked really highly but looking at the Trenitalia site for a friend (who is going to do a day trip to Florence from Rome) got me thinking. I've never been to Rome. Chances are we may not make it to Italy again for at least 5-10 years (we have lot of other places to see). It is barely 1.5 hrs by train. We can get there at 8.45 am and catch the 7 pm train back to be in Florence by 8.40 or so. If I arrange for a private guide to pick us up and take us around it sounds like we may be able to hit the highlights (Vatican, Colussem, Pantheon, Forum, Piazzas, etc) in one hectic day. If we love it we could always go back.... Is this a feasible thing?
Also, I know the area around SMN Firenze can get shady at night. Around 8.30-9 should not be too bad, right? Anyone have any other ideas?
So sorry for the extra long post. Thanks again