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Trip Report Collection--Please Post Here

somewhere out there
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Trip Report Collection--Please Post Here

We did this very sucessfully on the London forum and so I hope it will work here.

Please post the link to your trip report on this thread so that they can be easily accessed by anyone who wants to read them.

Also if you have reports on other Italy forums please post the links here too.

And, if you have photos all the better!

141 replies to this topic
New York City, New...
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41. Re: Trip Report Collection--Please Post Here

Here's a link to my Florentine report, which has links to my Rome and Pisa reports contained within (with Venice forthcoming!).


Houston, Texas
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42. Re: Trip Report Collection--Please Post Here

Too tired to figure out the link thing. I will try to add them later.

Florence on Easter Sunday! This trip came up swift and fast, no reservations were available at Academia or Uffizi but I am spoiled with the Louvre. Next time, I will visit, promise.

We pulled into the city and found the Hotel Leonardo Da Vinci without a problem. Even found the parking in the back. An old Italian gentleman stopped us and was chattering up a storm. Turns out he was comparing his old Lancia to our new rental. Hotel review is pending but location and parking were the name of the game. We dropped bags and headed in to the Duomo to try to catch any part of the procession. We had just missed it but it was quite funny that the huge crowd was gathered at the doors facing the bapistry while we walked right in the side doors. Got the Easter blessing in several languages. Just walked around open mouthed at the size and quantity of buildings in the city.

I am a cheapo, so I didn't want to pay 10E for Boboli so we just wandered up and down the streets. Had some house wine and water at a cafe on Piazza della Signoria for 11E. Used to Paris prices, I was surprised we were not gouged at such a heavily touristic area. Bravo!

We went to Piazzale Michelangelo for our above Florence pictures. Continued upwards to the church of St. Mintano (spelled that wrong). Astounded by the frescos, design and sunset views. Good leg strength is required as the stairs are plentiful but so worth the ache. Went to dinner at the La Grotto Gelphia as my husband loves the price fixed menu. I went veggie and was quite satisfied with the meal, price and service. One waiter doctored up some white beans and they were fantastic! 58E50 for 2 menus with dolce and coffee. Back to hotel for the night.

Monday morning, time for the markets! leather goods, ceramics, glass everything, postcards, calendars and so on. Haggle for a discount. We got a cash discount on 40 Euros worth of stuff. Additional 5 euro off. Stopped for a couple of calzones and coke for 8E total.

My highlight, my MUST DO, my foot down event of Florence was the church St. Croce. Unbelievable! the amount of 13th -16th century art by the masters along side most of the tombs or markers of the masters. I could not believe that we walked right in, no line. It is undergoing some restauration so you could not see the Machavelli grave. The museum houses the holy cross, and several incredible frescos and art with the most vivid colors. I cannot understand how the colors remain so vivid after several decades. Just a great find that the throng of tourists didn't find that day. Stopped for a bit of insalate and some tastes of wine for 20E near Ponte Vecchia. Again, not gouged. I love Florence!

Wandered some more and stumbled upon a church St. Salvatore where Bottecelli (gosh where have my spelling skills gone to?) is buried. Had some pints at the Old Stove while deleting blurry photos off the memory card. Had a generic pizza dinner with a scoop of gelato on the way back to the hotel.

I could see spending a lot more time here poking around and exploring. Next time I hope to have reservations secured and make sure train appropriately for the hills.

Arcadia, California
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43. Re: Trip Report Collection--Please Post Here

Check out my blog about Italy at: florencemediainstitute.blogspot.com

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44. Re: Trip Report Collection--Please Post Here

From March, 2008


The Hague
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45. Re: Trip Report Collection--Please Post Here

A quick run-through of 5 days in Florence (first week of October 2009) :

- It's hot. 29'C/84'F . And it's October. Okayyy (It doesn't even get thís hot in the midst of summer where I live!)

- People, lots of people. Scooters, lots of scooters. Cars, lots of cars.

- Don't look up whilst walking down some medieval little alleyway, you may spray your ankle in the cracks in the pavement.

- Walking-tour of city-centre, with Artviva. Hmmm, you'll get the same info from a good guidebook.

- “Masterpieces of the Uffizi”tour. Great if you're into art-history. If you, like me, like the visual aspect of paintings, and don't care too much about whether or not this was the first instance of perspective used in painting, or that this one colour was applied somewhere else because it was so expensive etc. don't take this tour.

- “The birth of Venus” from the sea, by Botticelli,was unfortunately lost in a tsunami of humanity, some 200 people crowded into this one stuffy room.

- Basilica di Santa Croce. Beautiful! If only for the fantastic gravemarkers in the floor. And don't miss the little museum, with Cimabue's crucifix. Looking from the piazza in the right side of the church is in restauration.

- Pitti Palace. Whoaaa! The Palatine galleries sure are something! Don't know what's more beautiful: the ceilings or the fabulous paintings (I fell in love with “The Englishman” by Titian....)

- Boboli gardens. Uphill all the way, and what for? A view of a big brown lump of stone, aka the Pitti palace (and I can say that, I'm a (very) distant relation of the guy who started this palace... ;-) ) Lots of little lizzards on the way up (and down), that wa fun.

- Palazzo Davanzati. Now thére's a hidden gem. Still in restauration and only the ground and first floor are open, but very interesting. I certainly could sleep in a bedroom like thát!

- Basilica di San Lorenzo. Would it be too much “swearing in the church” if I said this place would be great to hold an indoor market? Many of my ancestors are buried here, but alas no grave-markers to be found.

- Bargello. I was too tired to fully appreciate it.

- Oh, and did those ancient Florentines know about stairs or what? Be prepared to climb endless flights of stairs everywhere.

- Basilica de Santa Maria Novella : from the outside it certainly looks like the Santa Croce, but inside it has distinctly different feel to it, more harsh I'd say. It's Dominican, “the dogs of God”, so maybe that has to do something with it.

Some other random thoughts:

- There are no trees in the city. In fact there's nothing green, apart from the age-old olive tree desperately clinging to life somewhere around the back of the Uffizi, and the grass in Piazza Santa Maria Novella.

- There are (almost) no flies (but mosquitoes in abundance though....)

- “Pedestrians only” means you have to share the space with taxis and cars.

- Even though you might find it impossible fullsize city-buses dó drive down little alleyways.

- Think the city is in need of a good city-planner. It feels like the city can't cope with the influx of thát many tourists, and is in need of a major overhaul.

Calgary, Canada
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46. Re: Trip Report Collection--Please Post Here

My trip report from December 23 - 30, 2009:


Bucharest, Romania
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47. Re: Trip Report Collection--Please Post Here

That is my trip report, a little "old", from 2007:


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48. Re: Trip Report Collection--Please Post Here

Here is my report on Florence:


Atlanta, GA
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49. Re: Trip Report Collection--Please Post Here

Just posted!


edmond, oklahoma
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50. Re: Trip Report Collection--Please Post Here

5.5 Days in Florence - July 2010

Day 1 - Arrived with no problems in Rome, and immediately caught the train to Termini Station, then on to Florence (our daughter is there for the summer). Thankfully no problems buying tickets, validating, etc., due to Tripadvisor advice and finding other Americans and english speaking people getting on the same trains. Had an hour to kill before the train to Florence, so we found an ATM and got Euros, went to the Conad store in station to buy snacks to eat, and got change so we could use the bathroom in Termini. After arriving in Florence, we got a taxi to Scandicci (suburb where our daughter is staying). Later, we learned what bus and tram to take into Florence, and went in to get our bearings. Found the Duomo with no problems. Really awesome! Had our first gelato at Grom - another great TA recommendation. Hit the hay early because of jet lag.

Day 2 - Had 9 a.m. reservations at Accademia to see "The David" so we got going early. No line for us with our reservation! It was great! Used the free Rick Steves audio guide and really enjoyed it. He only hits the highlights, then you can stay and read about the rest of the art if you want to. Noticed the Accademia was really full of people when we left at 10:30 a.m. Stopped for a little breakfast at a place on the corner, then on to see more! Went to San Giovanni (free) and San Lorenzo churches. Walked thru Market Centrale , then on to the modern library (about a block behind the Duomo) where we ate lunch in the cafeteria with a great view of the dome, another great TA rec. After lunch we looked around in Coin dept. store, then got gelato and relaxed in the loggia at Piazza de Signoria. We loved this place! We ended up here several times the next few days when we were really hot and tired because we didn't really want to go back to our little place in Scandicci. (It was about a 40 minute tram-bus-walk trip) Tried to get into Santa Maria Novella church by the train station but it was already closed, so we just walked around it and found a large grassy area where many people were relaxing. So we did too, and really enjoyed it. Finally went back to Scandicci for dinner at Gallo's. Excellent food and nice patio out back!

Day 3 - Started off early again with our 9 a.m. reservation at Uffizi. Long lines for those without reservations - we were feeling pretty smug but still was very crowded. Used Rick Steves free audio guide again! Afterwards we grabbed a sandwich and ate on the curb, then walked over the Ponte Vecchio since it was close! Then we got gelato and sat in the loggia again! Just to get cool, we went into the church Chiesa di Orsanmichele (free) and absolutely loved it. RS talked about it on the walking tour and it used to be a granary. Inside you could see evidence of that, plus what an amazing altar piece! Our daughter met us for the afternoon and showed us around Medici Chapel and Musee San Marco. Got tired of waiting on bus 12/13, so we took a taxi out to Piazzale Michelangelo to catch the view! Had dinner at Gallo's in Scandicci again, then to a piano concert - a requirement for the students that night.

Day 4 - Went to church with our daughter today and it was a nice slower paced day. Needed it after all that we'd been doing! Went to Bar Anquina in Scandicci for breakfast - it was really buzzing - I got the S'ofglia de Peara" or pear pastry and it was delicious! Were invited to eat lunch after church with the professor and students at their villa. Really enjoyed the meal of pasta, pork, salad, potatoes, lentils, fried zucchini flowers, and polenta. We went in to Florence late in the afternoon and toured the Palazzo Vecchio. If we had been thinking we would have done this later, as it was open until midnight this evening. But we weren't, and when we went to tour the Bargello later, it was already closed. So, we went to a store and bought my DH some more shorts since it was so hot!

Day 5 - Today was our long-awaited cooking class with Melani from "The Spice Lab!" We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this! She met us at the Market Centrale where we were given hints on how to buy fruits, meat, fish, etc. and we stopped at a booth for cheese and balsamic vinegar tastings. Then she drove us out to the family olive grove and we met her uncle who had picked some of our food we would prepare. We prepared a 4 course meal and learned so much. Got to eat it, too! Our zucchini stuffed ravioli was the favorite thing we made. At the end, Melani dropped us off near Santa Croce church since we were wanting to see it. Then we shopped the San Lorenzo market since we would soon be heading to Rome! I had checked prices at some of the other street markets the last few days, and I'm convinced San Lorenzo had the best prices. But be aware: not all goods are made in Italy. Be sure and check.

Day 6 - Half day before heading to Rome! Went and stored our luggage in the station, then on to the Duomo to climb the dome. Waited about 10 minutes (around 9:30 a.m.) then did the 463 steps to the top. Really worth the views! Read Brunelleschi's Dome for the whole story! Got gelato at Grom one last time, then stopped in Conad for some cheese and crackers to eat on the train.

We loved Florence but it was so hot. Just expect it and plan to go into some churches or department stores to escape the heat!

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