Hey guys! Welcome to my Florence Itinerary. I visited the city over the third weekend in October and loved it. Here’s the lowdown on traveling there, where to stay and what to do…
Getting To Florence:
Air: Florence has an airport a 15 minute drive away from the city centre. You can take a taxi for €22 (€25 at night). Alternatively, there are frequent tram and bus services 7 days a week. They take 20 minutes and require the standard ticket costing €1.50.
Train: There are two train stations in the city centre: Santa Maria Novella and Campo Di Marte. Both are used for national and international train travel but Santa Maria runs more services. For me, a return ticket to Florence from Genoa would cost aprox. €35 and has at least one change.
Bus: I use FlixBus* when travelling throughout Italy and I love them! I find that bus tickets are generally cheaper than the train too. Flixbus also gives me the option to offset my carbon emissions from the journey which I love. My return bus ticket from Genova to Florence cost €18 and the offsetting was 38 cents. It took me just under 3 hours to get to Florence. If you have a studentbeans account or ISIC you also get a 10% discount.
NB: The bus stop is a 10/15 minute tram ride out of the centre of town, at Villa Constanza.
€50 A Night: I stayed in this Air BnB Apartment, a 10 minute bus ride or 30 minute walk out of town. It had a frequent bus service yet was in a quieter more residental part of town which I liked. The facilities and rooms were fab – as were the host’s parents who met me at the door and gave me some great recommendations.
Discount: For £25 off of your first stay with Air Bnb, then click here*.
€22 A Night: Florence also some cheaper options, such as this hostel* which is well rated and central and offers both shared and private rooms.
Budgeting, Prices & Useful Information:
Food: Breakfast generally cost me €2.50 as it was a coffee and a pastry. Expect to pay €8-10 per dish at lunch time in the touristy areas, and up to €15 in the evening. Wine is around €5 a glass and Coffee is €1.50 at the bars. I spent about €18 per day on food. This included breakfast, lunch, dinner and a gelato and coffee (or two…) with limited research into the cheapest places. I just went to whatever looked best and was nearby.
Useful Phrases: ‘Un caffè per favore’ (Espresso), ‘Un cappucino per favore’ (Cappucino – generally drunk before 11am) or ‘Un Caffè Americano per favore’ (Americano).
Attractions: Okay, if you take one thing from this post I want it to be that most places in Europe have reduced or free admission for EU citizens under 26. I spent €22 visiting 5 places of interest and without the discounts, it would’ve cost me €60! Despite what I read online about long queues, I didn’t think were that bad (about 15 minutes for the Accademia/Uffizi) so for me, the €4 pre-booking fee wasn’t worth it. However I think in peak travel times, it would be smart to pre-book if you’re not happy to wait. You can see more details & buy advance tickets on this website.
Accessibility: Florence is a mixed bag. There are lots of narrow, cobbled streets and lots of paths and buildings don’t have step free access. All state museums and most churches or private galleries have wheelchair access, lifts and ramps and offer free tickets (with a +1) with a medical certificate. The buses have a specific space for wheelchairs and some have ramps or can lower their deck. It’s a pretty flat city, and things are generally close together. You can read a full accessibility review here.
Transport: It’s pretty easy and cheap. Bus and Tram tickets cost €1.50 per 90 minute ride and you can change buses or trams as many times as you need within that timeframe. You can buy tickets from machines at some tram stops, the tabacconist or pay contactless on the bus. You need to make sure you have a ticket or can use your card before getting on the bus (the driver doesn’t check them) and validate by inserting the ticket into the yellow machine on the bus/tram! Over the weekend, I bought 6 tickets at €1.50 which got me to and from my apartment each day, and from Villa Constenza (where the flixbus stop is) and back. So overall I spent €9.
Useful Phrase: Un biglietto dell’autobus per favore (one bus ticket please).
Is Florence Eco-Friendly?
There are a lot of public transport options and all the bags I was given were paper. I recieved a lot of Reciepts, but most were recyclable. As with most of Italy, there were various places you could fill up your water bottle that were dotted around the city. I found it easy to avoid single use plastics.
10:15 – After breakfast, I got the bus into town and headed towards Accademia Gallery. I got there at 10:15 and queued for 15 minutes however you can pre-buy tickets online. The reduced price ticket cost €2 (Full Price is €12) and I personally only spent 20 minutes there as, after seeing David, there wasn’t a mass amount of other things to see. I did enjoy the room full of classical sculpture though. The gallery is on a street that leads to Santa Maria del Fiore/Piazza del Duomo. The entrance to the Cathedral is free but other things like climbing the dome and visiting the crypt cost €18. That ticket includes entrance to everything, but you generally need to book in advance (which you can do here).
11:00 – Next to the Duomo are some cafes, restaurants and shops. I got a coffee at Martincaffe, just next to the Dome. I would recommend standing at the window bar and taking in great view of the Cathedral. There is also a Magnum Ice Cream Shop where you can create your own personal Magnum! I went for vanilla inside, coated with dark chocolate. Raspberry, Pistachio and Rose petals for toppings – finished with a white chocolate drizzle. It was a pricey snack at €5 but it tasted great and I enjoyed the customising!
11:30 – A 5 minute walk away from the Piazza del Duomo is Basilica Santa Croce. Entrance is €6 reduced price, or €8 full. I spent about half an hour wandering around the church (and leather shop/museum). There is some really wonderful artwork and architecture so if you like that sort of thing then I would reccomend, but some people could find it dull.
12:30 – I left the church and walked around the shopping area. There are plenty of high-street, high-end and artisan shops but I had one specific place in mind: Aquaflor. I’d read about this perfumier on CNTraveller, so I decided to check it out for myself. It was just as i’d imagined! Lots of perfumes to try, super helpful and knowledgable staff and options for all budgets. I went with a 30ml bottle of perfume which cost €80 – a great momento from my trip. You can also do perfume making experiences where you create a custom scent.
13:00 – After making my purchases, I crossed the river Arno via the Ponte Vecchio and ate lunch in a random restaurant nearby. I got tomato soup and it wasn’t anything to write home about – most plates cost €9. I knew I was going to be having a food-filled afternoon so I went pretty light for lunch.
14:00 – To get a good view of the Ponte Vecchio itself, I crossed the river at the next bridge down. I then headed to the Palazzo Strozzi to see the Natalia Goncharova exhibition. It’s running until Jan ’20 and I paid €4 reduced price, €14 full. I loved it and would really reccomend to any art lovers, especially if you like fauvism!
16:15 – The class finished just after 16:00, so I visited the nearby Palazzo Medici Riccardi. The ticket cost €6 reduced and €10 full price for both the museum and exhibition. I find the Medici family fascinating so I really enjoyed this part of the trip. The Palazzo is really close to the shops and doesn’t take too long to visit (15-25 minutes).
17:50 – Once again, I crossed the river and made my way towards San Niccolo where I had booked a pizza tasting experience with Air BnB. As a solo traveller, it was so nice to spend an evening eating and drinking with other people. I lucked out and got the nicest group albeit they all ended up being from New Jersey! Even though they were on two seperate trips.
There were 10 different pizzas to try – ranging from the first style of pizza ever made to some more modern and eccentric inventions. I could only eat 7/10 pizzas due to being a vegetarian but I was still full at the end! Everyone shared a bottle of wine between two, and it was produced by the pizzaria owner’s father. After dinner, the whole group took a walk up to Michelangelo’s square where you get a panoramic view of the city. You can check out the experience here, and if you’re in Florence and have a free evening then I wholeheartedly reccomend it.
Discount: For £25 off of your first stay with Air Bnb, then click here*
10:30 – Sleeping through my alarm, needing to pack and Sunday bus services meant that I got into town a little later than I’d planned. I decided to head to a well-reviewed and popular cafe for brunch. It seems like other person between the ages of 18 and 30 did too. I queued for Rooster Cafe for 45 minutes! I was squashed in at the bar and whilst the food was good, it didn’t really seem deserving of the queue.
11:15 – At Rooster, I ordered avocado and poached egg on toast with feta and chilli flakes. I also ordered a free refil American coffee that never came. The space is small and the staff are really nice, just overworked. My breakfast cost €6, with the coffee that never came being another €2. I think if you went for a late lunch, or on a weekday then the wait would be a lot less.
12:30 – With Brunch eaten, I hurried to the Uffizi gallery – anxious about the queues being even longer than Rooster’s. I, thankfully, was not subjected to any more unnecessary queues and only waited 10 minutes to get into the gallery. It costs €2 reduced price and €20. I spent a fair few hours in this gallery as it was much bigger than all the others and had plenty to see, including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.
15:30 – Knowing I needed to leave the city and get to the place where my bus was, I had one last coffee and cake pitstop in the city. I walked to the other side of the river and had a break at Gelateria Caffetteria Vivaldi. The cafe was near to the Bardini, Boboli and Rose gardens which I had planned to visit but didn’t end up having the energy for.
16:00 – I took the bus to Santa Maria Novella Train Station and then a 15 minute tram ride to Villa Constanza where I grabbed a slice of pizza and a pot of tea before getting on my Flixbus back to Genova at 17:30.
I really loved Florence! One of my favourite things in a city is when you can be aimlessly walking and come across a building or place that takes your breath away. Whether you’re a foodie, art lover, explorer, history nerd or someone inbetween – you’ll enjoy Florence.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip, and have found the Florence Itinerary useful!
Have you visited this amazing city? Let me know your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below!
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