Touring Mediterranean by cruise ship and have the option of shuttle to Florence with 5 hours of sightseeing or a combination Florence and Pisa package. Any suggestions on the best decision?
We were going to do this last year and decided on Florence alone. Trying to combine both into one day was simply too much. Five hours wouldn't have been enough in Florence, but we would have taken what we could.
OK. I think you've convinced me. Does it matter that we will be on an organized (from the ship) tour?
If we have free time can you give me your top 2 or 3 things to do or see in Florence.
Thanks so much for the help.
Defnintely don't try both. Five hours is more than enough time for Pisa, but will only allow you to scratch the surface of Florence.
Stroll the center of the city from Plaza Signorina on towards the Duomo nearby. See either "David" at the Academia (visit can be short, may want to reserve tickets ahead of time). Possibly do the Uffizi if you have to see a lot of art.
Stroll the Ponte Vecchio, or other areas of the city, shop & eat. Go to the Plaza Michelangelo (you can walk there from center of town but since pressed for time, you might want to take a cab) -- from there is a lovely view of virtually all of Florence.
Santa Croce is a not to be missed. This is where you will find amazing artwork. The tomb of Michelangelo is here. He painted the fesco and it is gorgeous.
And the "basement" of the Duomo is worth the extra euros they charge...
Thank you so much for the helpful advice. Next question. Help me decide - Florence with 5 hours of self guided exploration or guided tour of Medieval San Gimignano?
Hmmm. Depends on your interests. San G. is charming and loaded with tourists. Go for the vistas, shops, and wine. Florence is loaded with tourists (more loaded than San G.), but you'd go there for art and architecture. The view from Piazzale Michelangelo is a treat. Florence would be easy to do as a self-guided tour. So, do you want a more relaxing experience (San G.) or a fast-paced, art-filled experience?
For us, there is nothing in Pisa but the leaning tower. There was nothing appealing about the rest. We were in and out. It is true that 5 hours will only scratch the surface in Florence. Here's our tips on Florence. Seeing "David" at the Accademia is a must. A number one pick. Second, unless you want to climb the il Duomo dome, there's nothing in the church itself. The inside of the dome is beautiful but you can't get under it unless you participate in the holy services. We were out in 15 minutes. The spectacle to behold is the Duomo museum behind il Duomo. The real panels for the "Gates to Paradise" (doors to the bapistry) are there. There is also a great work by Michelangelo and Donatello. Fantastic. There is also a Cezanne exhibit in Florence that went right up to the top of our sights list. It's there through July 29. Great painting by Cezanne and those painters who were either his teachers or those influenced by him. Great.
Thank you so much for wonderful advice! Florence it is! I am taking notes so please feel free to keep those tips coming.