View Full Version : What to do in Florence?

May 26th, 2004, 12:43 PM
Our family is on the July 1 RCCL and will be stopping in Livorno. We only have the day and we have hired a driver for the day.We have heard all kinds of suggestions to go see in Florence: Uffizi, Accademia, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza del Duomo, ect. Does anyone have suggestion on which ones to choose?
Santa Cruz CA

May 26th, 2004, 03:08 PM

We'll be there on the Millie in July, and have also hired a driver. We're letting him pick the sites to see for us to get the biggest bang for the buck in one day. Of the things you mentioned, I believe all of them are on his list. The Uffize and the Accademia are the two biggest sites with the Duomo a must see as well. I had asked our driver about seeing the Medici palaces, but he said they are actually multiple buildings, and we probably won't have time for them. I'm thinking that we might not spend as much time in the museums as some would; just seeing the highlights, and then spending more time just walking the central area. Of course, the worst thing that can ever happen would be to see a site on a travel show after we get back, having missed it! Lessee now.....how do we see all of Mediterranean Europe on a 12 night cruise?

Mike and Mary

7/8 Venice to Barcelona - Retirement Reward

May 26th, 2004, 03:52 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by trishs:
Our family is on the July 1 RCCL and will be stopping in Livorno. We only have the day and we have hired a driver for the day.We have heard all kinds of suggestions to go see in Florence: Uffizi, Accademia, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza del Duomo, ect. Does anyone have suggestion on which ones to choose?

All of the above should be on your list!! Hopefully your driver will be a guide as well and have tickets for you for the museums if not the lines may be quite long.Be sure to check out the shops on the Pont Vecchio as well as leading up to it.There is so much to do and see in Florence that your day will go by very fast.Enjoy.


May 26th, 2004, 06:16 PM
Thanks for the input. I will make sure we get to all of these. I would hate to miss anything. http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gifTrish

May 26th, 2004, 06:21 PM
Thanks for your input. I will keep all of these on my list and have my guide pre book the tickets. Trish

May 27th, 2004, 06:28 AM
My family will be on this cruise with you. I have two boys (11and 13) so I'm not sure how much art museum strolling they can take. We also have a private driver and we plan to stop briefly in Pisa on our way to Florence. We have arranged tickets for the Accademia, and from there will take our driver's suggestions. I might be tempted to see a little of the Tuscan countryside, especially if the fields of sunflowers are blooming.

May 27th, 2004, 03:09 PM
I will have my parents 70 who are in the shape of 40yr olds and 18 yr old daughter and her friend so everyone should be able to handle the pace of the museums, hope we can meet up somehow are you at eairly dinner or late seating?. Have you checked to see how much more time it will take out of the day to see Pisa?

May 27th, 2004, 04:46 PM
We have late seating. Pisa looks like it's right on the way to Florence, so my plan is to spend no more than an hour there. We don't plan to climb the tower. There are pictures posted on this site of the sunflowers. Magnificent! Perfect Christmas card opportunity. There is a thread for our cruise on the "roll call" part of this web site titled "July 1 Brilliance" Lots of people there chatting.

May 27th, 2004, 11:18 PM
We are on the same cruise. I have booked tickets to climb the tower at 9am, and then our driver will take us to Florence. Laura (family of 5)

May 28th, 2004, 12:13 PM
That's great we have others on the trip. I was beginning to wonder. I will check out the thread. Trish

May 29th, 2004, 09:30 AM
Thanks Laura,
That was a great thread. Thank you so much! Trish

May 29th, 2004, 09:32 AM
Oops I mean thanks to lansingisland. Trish

May 29th, 2004, 12:43 PM
We just returned from that cruise and I loved Florence. But the best thing we did was make reservations for the museums and were able to walk right in past all the lines. I got a calling card in Villefranche and called the reservation line in Italy and made the reservations for the next day. You also can call from the states well in advance. I found the number in Rick Steve's Italy Book. The person speaks English and was very helpful.

It was a great time saver.


May 30th, 2004, 07:00 PM
Thanks Sassy,
I called my driver and he is going to pick up tickets for Uffizi and Accademia museum. Did you go both? I have a calling card from MCI prepaid minutes. Does that work over there? So did you have a great time? Trish

May 31st, 2004, 10:18 AM
Hi Trish,

We did not get to go to the Uffizi because they were already booked. I called the day before from France and used a calling card that I bought in the port. I do not know about MCI's calling card. Yes we had a great time, although very tiring.

Have Fun!!!


May 31st, 2004, 06:08 PM
I'll check with my dirver to see if he has purchased the tickets. Trish

May 31st, 2004, 07:36 PM
Do not try to see any sights like the Uffizi Gallery (a must!!) or the tower in Pisa without advance tickets.

Even so, be prepared for disappointment: your timetable is painfully short and the amount of time you will have to soak in what you see- to SEE it rather than simply view it- will be painfully short. You could get lucky with timing, but the time of year you are visiting is the height of the season. There will be traffic on the roads and in the cities. Florence is very small with tiny, narrow streets; traffic can jam up. You will be cheek by jowl with many, many people. If this doesn't bother you, that's fine. Personally, I think this is quite rushed and will leave you regretting your rushed visit to what is one of the most beautiful places in the western world.

Were I in your shoes I'd find a small town nearer Livorno and enjoy the day drinking in the culture of a smaller town town. Make plans to visit Florence and the rest of Chianti/Tuscany when you are not rushed.

Buon Viaggio!

Stella Solaris '80
Carnival Celebration '92
RCCL Majesty of the Seas '01
Coral Princess '04

Chick's pal
June 1st, 2004, 01:24 PM
I've posted our experience before, but thought I'd re-state it, so that you know you CAN get a fair "overview" in one day. We hired a private driver through driverinrome.com.

Stopped in Pisa, first thing in the morning, had advance tickets (purchased on internet) for first climb up the tower. It was awesome. You really should climb it. Spent about an hour in Pisa. It was a great time because the other tourists had not made it there yet...no one in the way of photos.

Once in Florence, checked out David (advance reservations made by tour guide, you will then pay at the ticket office). You would be OK if you skipped the rest of the Accademia, since you will see or will have seen alot of art on this trip. (We'll definitely return when we have more than a day.)

Walked over to the Duomo and went inside the church, but did not climb the dome. Also viewed the baptistry doors from outside.

Went to the Church of Santa Croce, a very moving place, where you will see the tomb of Michelangelo and other illustrious folks from the Renaissance through modern times (i.e. Marconi). (You will find out the answer here to, "Who is worthy enough to design Michelangelo's tomb?")

Stopped for awesome gelato at Vivoli (near Santa Croce--if you have time, don't miss it).

Then on to Ponte Vecchio for an hour of shopping.

Stopped on a hill overlooking Florence for photos before the return drive to Livorno, and we arrived back in plenty of time.

This was an 8-9 hour tour. Was it comprehensive? By no means! But we took the European cruise to get a sample of these great cities and it certainly filled that criteria.


June 1st, 2004, 03:34 PM
Thanks for your input. My parents are 70 and they won't be coming back to Europe so I want them to see the best.

How much time did it take to drive to Piza then Florence Vs straight to Florence? part of me wants to go there but I have my driver getting tickets for Uffizi and Accademia and think we might be trying to cram too much in.
Thanks Trish

Chick's pal
June 2nd, 2004, 06:41 AM
From memory, Pisa is about 15-20 minutes from the ship. Florence was at least an hour more from there. It was freeway-type driving, and Pisa was just an exit on the way to Florence. Perhaps you could ask your driver to "drive by" the tower and the field of miracles. It would be exiting the freeway, but it's not too far from that point and you can get very close in a vehicle, and it seemed especially so first thing in the morning.

Good luck deciding. It's impossible to do these great cities in one day, but I think you will still enjoy getting a little taste of Florence and Pisa.

June 2nd, 2004, 06:20 PM
Dosen't sound like much time difference. I think we might just stop by to snap a shot. Trish

June 8th, 2004, 01:05 AM
There were two recent articles on Florence - one in the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45443-2004May21.html), and The Globe and Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20040605/ROCCO05/TPEntertainment/Style). There are also several others archived on the New York Times (http://travel2.nytimes.com/top/features/travel/destinations/europe/italy/florence/guide.html) website.

From the Insignia's Inaugural sailing (4/3/2004)

June 8th, 2004, 06:03 PM
Thanks, great articles. Trish