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Florence - Worth It, If Not A Well Studied Art Person?

We plan to go back to Italy for a our 2nd trip since 2001 in September or October? We skiped Florence last time in favor of Rome & Venice & Chinque Terra. We loved Venice and Chinque Terra and see no need to go back to Rome. So we definitely want 3 nites in Venice again, @ least 2 nights in Chinque Terra and are open on how to spend the remaiining 3 nights I have allocated for Italy. We eventually plan to end or begin our trip in Paris depending on airfare. We want to be gone no more than 14 days total. Probably leave Minneapolis on a Sunday and return on a Sunday from ?

So, we enjoy spending an hour or 2 in a art museum but rarely know what we are looking at unless it's world famous. We ususally cruise right by any art that doesn't catch our interest on 1st glance regardless of it's pedigre or historical significance. Is Florence a facinating place to walk in? We love to walk and enjoy historical architecture and neighborhoods. Also we don't shop for local crafts or souviners. Is Florence for us or should we go to Lake Como or lake Garda? Or, should we hit one area of Tuscany. I am a serious wine geek but my wife doesn't want to spend much time on winery visits.

Should we skip Florence again?

Posted by
43 posts

Thanks Kent,

What I'm trying to sort out is whether it's mainly a serious art lover's dream destination or whether the rest of the cityscape holds enough interest to make it worth the vlauable time allocation? Lake Como looks pretty inviting too.

Posted by
3313 posts

Are you determined to fly in and out of Paris to do this trip? You'll spend two of your 13 days in Europe (remember that if you leave Minneapolis on a Sunday, you'll arrive on Monday) in transit to Italy and back. So before resolving whether or not to spend three nights in Florence, I'd wonder about traveling all that way to Italy at all.

Don't get me wrong - I'd want to see Venice if at all possible. But I think the Cinque Terre is a low value destination with so little time. It's beautiful. It's relaxing after a few weeks battling the traffic of the large cities. But to spend all that money and a large portion of your time to hike through some vineyards and see some painted houses seems an odd priority.

As far as Florence itself goes, yes it's worth a stop. The art can be overwhelming, but there are some good guidebooks to help. The historic buildings are fascinating. For example, the Church of Santa Croce has the tombs of many famous figures of the Renaissance.

Posted by
1003 posts

I'm not even an art fan at all, don't really enjoy museums even for an hour or two (Yes, I skipped the Uffizi and was in Florence for 5 nights), and I LOVED florence. The food is fantastic, the city itself is beautiful, the gelato is yummy, the people are lovely, and I found the city to have a beautiful soul where, even if you're not a fan of the art, you can feel the soul breathing its artful past, if that makes sense. Anyway, walking through florence is wonderful. There is the Oltrarno neighborhood which is a little more "rough" (and I mean less touristy, more localsy), there's the tiny little backstreets with beautiful little churches. I can go on and on about things I liked about Florence that have nothing to do with art :)

Posted by
7737 posts

Okay, not exactly the advice you asked for so feel free to ditch it.

I too wonder why you're going into and out of Paris. Why not fly into Venice for a few nights, then Florence for a few, then Lake Como, ending in Milan (easy flights out of there)? Lake Como in September is beautiful and it will remind you of what you enjoyed about the Cinque Terre while still giving you a new experience. Maybe add Lucca to your itinerary.

Posted by
43 posts

Chinque Terra & Venice are in for sure. Chinque Terra is one of the top 3 most beautiful places I've ever been is relaxing. Actually I can't imagine anyone who has actually been to Chinque Terra not wanting to go back every time they're in Italy? I have to go back to Venice and explore the less beaten path more. So they are both in ...for sure. I'll extend our trip a day or 2 of need be but hard to believe it would be necessary?

Last time we went to The Rhine - 2 nights in Rudesheimer, Salsburg 2-nites, Venice-3 nights, Rome - 3 nights, Chinque terra 2 nights, Bern Oberland - 2 nights, Burgundy - 2 nights, Loire 2-nites, Normandy -1 night and Paris 3 nites. We did five countrys in 23 days. I should be able to do some of Italy and Paris in 14-15 nites... I hope? I would like to spend 3 nites in Paris too with a stop somewhere in between like the south of France? I will give thought to making it an Italy only trip though as suggested.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and continued ideas. I am taking all of your advice seriously.

Posted by
479 posts

Sounds like you're a lot like me and my wife. We did Florence as a day trip from Siena and loved it. We didn't see the Uffizi and the only thing we feel like we missed out on was a long couple of hours of looking at a lot of stuff that we're neither educated nor enthusiastic enough about to fully appreciate.

My advice for you is to spend some cheaper and more relaxing time in Siena. Get yourself a rental car and tour the Tuscan countryside. You can easily spend 3 nights worth of time doing that.

Posted by
2007 posts

I think Florence is a fascinating, fun city, with lots of excellent shopping, eating, people-watching. If you go, should should see "David" for sure and of course you can't miss the Duomo if you are out and about strolling. That said, I just got back from a stay in the Tuscan Countryside (Cortona)
and it was unbelievably beautiful -- so staying in a Tuscan hill town is a great alternative. Read guidebooks and find one that appeals to both you and your wife! But I think you will both like Florence.

Posted by
43 posts

Thanks guys for your opinions and sharing your experiences. How far do we need to drive from Florence to experience a Tuscan hil town? I'm now leaning toward 2 nights in Florence, 2 nites in Venice(since its a repeat for us), 2 nites in Chinque Terra and then a couple nights somewhere else like Como or Tuscany?

BTW, I think will start w/ 3 nights in Paris and head south with 3 nights in Avignon before heading into Italy.