Travel Tips about Florence.
In this article I would like to give you some practical tips to help you save time and money while traveling in Florence. Each of the tips come from my personal experience, my trial and error, so each of advice has its real value. By the way, most of these tips will also be relevant in any other tourist town.
1. Planning a trip to Florence highlight as much as possible the time for visit it. Because, as I said in each of the museums are so many interesting things, that you will have to stay for a few hours on each of them. Florence museums are so rich and interesting that you can not just run one and go to another. Also because, what is the point go to a museum, if you do not want to enjoy what’s inside?
2. Plan your journey in weekdays. Because in this case, you will have more chances to get into the museum and walk through the streets without crowds. If you arrive on Saturday or Sunday, even in late October will face a huge queues and crowds of people on the streets. We arrived in Florence on Thursday night and we had Friday and Saturday for to visit local attractions. On Friday morning, after breakfast we went to the Galleria degli Uffizi. The time was about 10 am, and at the entrance to the museum was already a small queue.
Since the queue was small, then for 15 minutes we had already bought the tickets, and within 20 minutes were in the museum building. You know what I saw around the entrance to the Galleria degli Uffizi at the same time on Saturday? The line was such that, even after two hours, I would hardly managed to get to the gallery. By the way, that’s why I did not manage to see the Campanile di Giotto and La Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore inside. Because on Friday after visiting several museums, I decided to go shopping, knowing that in a stock I still have a Saturday. On Saturday, when I went to see those are museums, I saw the queue for tickets-long two hundred meters. After that I had not the desire to look at anything at all. Because I knew that I will spend more time to stand in line, rather than something to enjoy the sights. And so, I went for shopping again. ?
3. Now, many sites offer to buy tickets in advance, so that you can get out of turn in any museum. In this case you pay the ticket price plus commission. I’ll tell you a free way to not stand in queues. By the way, I saw these two lines close to La Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Those who had tickets were purchased in advance, standing in line at the two shorter, but if you remember that the length of the queue was about two hundred meters, you realize that you would have had to defend at least one hundred meters line.
The two main secrets that will help you to visit the museums without the long lines for free. First, go to Florence at the time, when the season is finished. Given the weather conditions in this part of Italy, you have the opportunity to catch the beautiful sunny days including the autumn. Secondly, go to visit museums at a time when the main crowds busy with other things, such as lunch. At this time, as a rule, tourists who go to museums in the morning, already hungry and begin to disperse at the cafe. And you wake up in a comfortable time for you, take a late breakfast and around lunch time go visit the half-empty museums. ?
4. In addition to visiting museums, you have one more reason to visit Florence is the shopping. Italy is one of the fashion trendsetter, so there you can really enjoy shopping. Previously, near Florence, was one of the best outlets in Italy, Barberino (Barberino Outlet), it was about three years ago. Now in the same place is located McArthurGlen Designer Outlets. McArthurGlen Designer Outlet is a typical American outlets, which presents American brands and some Italian brands. The quality of it, of course not good, and most things look as if they were a hundred years lie there. So I suggest you enjoy shopping in Florence itself, where you can find all kinds of Italian, British, American brands. The quality is much better than in the outlets, but the prices are a little more expensive.
5. Another nice bonus from the purchases in Italy, if you are a foreigner, is the ability to recover the tax (TAX FREE). As you know, this rule applies not only in Italy but also in any other country. I like a man who has long did not buy his clothes in Italy, because the last time I bought it in America, was very surprised by how much tax refund rules have changed. It turns out now, if you want to return the money from the Tax Free, you can not wear the purchased item. First you have to show it to the customs officer at the airport, then the customs officer should put a seal on the sales receipt, then you need to go to the money back office and after when get your money back, you can wear new thing. If you want to return the tax, if not, you can immediately enjoy the shopping and do not bother.
Second, the tax refund offices at the airport do not work all the time, they worsk for a limited time. So, if you want a refund, you will need to make sure to arrive at the airport in advance and go through all the procedures. I recommend you in advance check on the company’s website, which will give you the Tax Free, the working time of their offices at the airport.
Another disadvantage is that in order to show Customs officers, all the things you bought, you need to put them in your hand luggage. Because first you need to check in and then go to the customs officer. Thus, you will not be able to send them in your luggage. I can understand that if, for example, I flew to Italy and bought myself only one small bag, there is no problem to put it in my hand luggage. But what do I do if I flew to Italy to buy a lot of things? Where should I put them? Knowing, that the size and weight of hand baggage, limited too!
Fortunately, it turns out that in the cities, now also appeared refund offices. That is, buying a new thing, you do not need to wait until you fly away from Italy to wear it, you just have to come to one of the money-back office, which is located in Florence and they are will return to you tax. But there is one big “BUT”, it all depends on how much did you spend. Because in an office in the city, the maximum amount what they will return to you is 500 euros. At the airport you have a chance to take back up to 3000 euros.
Unfortunately, at the time of my stay in Florence, I do not know about all these innovations. Therefore arriving at the airport I was very surprised when I saw the closed office return. And I flew, and did not get my money back. Offices were closed, because I was at the airport at 5 am, and they opened at 7. So, once again I recommend you pre-acquainted with all the nuances of the tax return, on the website of the company that will provide you these services.
6. I have not seen in Florence any free entrance museum. Maybe they are exist, but I do not know about them. The average cost of tickets varies in the range of plus or minus 10-15 euros. Therefore, if you are coming to Florence with a plan to visit museums, keep in mind that over the entrance to each of them, you will need to pay.
7. Better to book the hotel in the city centre. For one simple reason, Florence is a city during a visit which you will walk a lot and naturally will be tired. Therefore, by selecting one of the hotels in the city centre, you can always go back to it, even just for 15 minutes in order to relax, take a shower, lie down.
I will be agree with those, who will say to me, that in Florence hotels are quite expensive, especially in the city centre. But here, you can see another advantage to go there in the off-season. Prices at this time fall at least twice. Plus, fortunately, in Italy now there are many “Bed and Breakfast”, where you can stop, with a little bit lower conditions, but also cost less.
8. The Tuscany one of the most “delicious” Italian regions, as well as in this region produces the famous wine Chianti. Therefore, if you want to taste the real Tuscan food, I highly recommend you go for dinner outside the city, in one of the restaurants in the picturesque hills that surrounded Florence. In the city, it is very difficult to find a restaurant, where you can taste “real Italian dishes”, at least in its centre. Because in the city centre, the restaurants settled for the tourists.
Thats all! I wish you a pleasant journey to Italy and especially Florence! Share your impressions in the comments for the article!