Florence sights

Hello, I'll have barely two days in Florence on an upcoming trip in Dec and was wondering if the following itinerary is a bit too much. My daughter picked the places she wanted to see and I'd like to fit them in. Thursday-(half day, maybe arrive by noon)-walk through town, Santa Maria Novella & perfumery & then Duomo & sites there Friday- Ufizzi, Bargello, Galilieo Museum and Santa Croce.
If it's too much I may delay our departure on Saturday. Any opinions?

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2504 posts

Sounds like a trip with a lot of variety of sites. If you plan carefully I think you can do everything on your list. If you visit the Duomo in the afternoon, lines tend to be shorter (if there are any in December). The Uffizi may require advance tickets, so you'll know your entrance time within 15 minutes. No Accademia (Michelangelo's David among several other sculptures)? If you do decide to visit the Accademia, you'll need advance tickets there, too, and if you have an hour more to spare, up the street (Via Ricasoli) is the Museum of San Marco, where Fra Angelico painted frescoes in each of the friars' cells. Take note that most museums are closed on Mondays; the alternate closing day is Tuesday. Florence is very compact so walking distances between sites are short.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
633 posts

If you do only one thing in Florence it should be seeing the David. Make reservations to avoid waiting in line.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3342 posts

Friday is kind of heavy with 3 museums and one big church (which includes also the Cappella dei Pazzi, a must at the Santa Croce church). Plus you left out the following must see sites (imo): Accademia (David) Ponte Vecchio Piazzale Michelangelo with San Miniato church (with vista of Florence)
Piazza Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio (although you'll at least see the outside on the way to the Uffizi) And I'm leaving out a lot of other stuff (San Lorenzo church and the Medici Chapel, Palazzo Pitti, Boboli, Orsammichele, San Marco, Ognissanti, Santo Spirito, Chiesa del Carmine, Pzza Santissima Annunziata and the Hospital of the Innocents, Archeological/Etruscan museum, Palazzo Strozzi, Palazzo Davanzati, Dante's house, Museo di Firenze Com'era, La Badia, etc. etc.) I'm also sure that you'll also want to relax someplace to eat, have a gelato, visit the San Lorenzo market, etc. (between a site and the next). You could probably squeeze something more on Thursday. It doesn't take long to go to the Farmacia at Santa Maria Novella (it's in via della Scala, by the way) and SMN church. And you can do the walking around in the evening when many sites are closed. I think also that if it's your first time in Florence, you may want to do some of the major sites before you visit Santa Maria Novella. No doubt it's a beautiful Gothic / Renaissance church, but unless you have a special love for Leon Battista Alberti, I don't know if it would be more important than the David or Ponte Vecchio. Same is true with the Museo di Galileo, unless you have a special interest in the history of science. Florence in 1 and 1/2 day is tough and I'm not saying it just because that's the city where I was born and raised.

Posted by Jodi
Mountain House
53 posts

That's a good idea, to save "walking/sightseeing" for at night. We're staying near the Ponte Vecchio so I figured that comes easy. My daughter picked Florence as she is indeed a science history buff and is very interested in the science aspects of the Renaissance and wants to see anything to do with Galileo.
We are both very interested in sculptures, which is why we picked Bargello, but is the opinion that David/Accademia a better option for that? Thanks for the input! This board has been so helpful with my random questions.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2504 posts

Jodi, the Bargello has a wider selection of sculptures by various artists of the Renaissance, but if you and your daughter like Michelangelo, the Accademia has the David and several other (unfinished) works by him. A bonus at the Accademia that not many people take advantage of is the Pinacoteca (picture gallery) upstairs.

Posted by Cathy
Baltimore
49 posts

If your daughter loves Galileo and history of science, you will want at least a couple of hours in the Galileo Museum. I was there this summer with my historian of science husband and my two teens who are interested in science, and we found it really absorbing. It's amazing the items they have on display, and there are good videos in some of the rooms showing the scientific instruments being used. There's also a new interactive area where you can try out replicas of some of the scientific equipment. We also found it uncrowded and peaceful, a nice change after the crowded art museums.

Posted by gerri
lexington, il
351 posts

Jodi, If you don't have time to go to the Accademia, go to the courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio to see the copy. This is where the original once stood. It's close to the Science Museum.

Posted by Karen
Santa Rosa, CA
611 posts

We only scheduled one full day for Florence so I wanted a tour so we could see all the highlights and get some back ground and history, but didn't want to be in a big tour group. So we landed on a 3 hour Segue tour. Was fun, there were only 4 people on the tour, and there was headsets in our helmuts so we could hear everything the knowledgeable guide said. No way we could have seen everything by walking. Not sure how old your daughter is but this could somehting fun and different. Not inexpensive, but in my mind, well worth it. The only downside is that you are only seeing things from the out side, but that was fine since we scheduled the Ufizzi for later in the afternoon.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2504 posts

Jodi, the copy of the David is a copy of the David. Not a bad one, but Michelangelo had nothing to do with it. The Segue tour might be nice as an orientation, but it sounds like your list has more places where you want to stop and go inside, rather than just look at from the streets. Also keep in mind that December can be (not always) cold and snowy (google some images of "Florence in winter").

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

Just to second Zoe's post: Once I had seen the original David, I was astounded at the poor quality of the copy that was on view outdoors for free. In this case, you really do get what you pay for; it had nothing of the quality or impact of the real thing.

Posted by Jodi
Mountain House
53 posts

We're now leaning towards the Accademia and still fitting in Bargello. I was thinking of pushing Santa Maria to Saturday and Accademia on Thursday.
Question: It seems the Santa Maria Novella is near the train station, and that's where we'll be headed on Saturday. Is there a baggage check type of service at the train station so that we can drop our bags and walk to & from the church/perfumary? Thanks again for everyone's help!

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3342 posts

The train station (which bares the same name as the church) is behind the back of the church (across the piazza Stazione). The farmacia is around the corner from the piazza Santa Maria Novella in via della Scala. Yes there is a baggage check at the station (DEPOSITO BAGAGLI in Italian).

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

It's just an opinion. . . David at the Academia is wonderful, wouldn't miss it, but I'd pretty much skip the rest in favor of the Bargello, especially if sculpture is a priority. The Bargello never seems to be crowded, a couple of hours and you've seen it all. The Piazza della Signoria has several beautiful sculptures, so allow half an hour or so on your way to the Uffizi. The Uffizi could take awhile, if it's crowded (you never know). I know I shouldn't add, but the Medici Chapel in the San Lorenzo church is something to see, including several Michelangelos. There's not much to see inside the Duomo - if you miss it, you haven't missed it. But the museum is another treasure house of sculpture. It's not in the Duomo, rather in a separate building behind it. I think the official name is Museo dell'Opera. Opposite it is the Baptistry with wonderful doors (outside) and wonderful mosaics inside. It's often open until quite late.

Posted by Katherine
Philadelphia, PA, United States
173 posts

I second Chani's post. The Museo dell'Opere del Duomo (my prepositions are probably wrong) is fantastic. There is a marvelous Michelangelo Pieta, much later than the one in the Vatican, plus the originals of the Gates of Paradise from the Baptistry. Tons of other sculpture too, much moved inside to keep it from pollution.

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1139 posts

I think, when you decide what sites you want to visit for sculpture, you need to think about what art moves you. I was in Florence 5 times before I bothered to see the original David, and then did so only because someone wanted me to bring back something that required a visit to the Accademia; I wouldn't go back... just don't see the appeal of David, although there is a lovely international gothic collection upstairs. In contrast, I try to include the Bargello and Duomo Museum on each visit to the city - both of which have a range of offerings, including some very powerful pieces that I particularly love. I'd suggest you look at the websites and descriptions of collections and then make your own decision. While you're at Santa Maria Novella, visit the cloister if it's open; it's lovely and quiet place within the city. It's a separate entrance from the church, on the right side.