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Florence - Yes or No

I am planning my May ’08 trip to Italy. Should I put Florence on my itinerary if I’m not a huge fan of Renaissance art? I can appreciate any city for its architecture, people, churches, food, floodlit buildings at night, concerts, and was curious if Renaissance paintings and sculpture were the main draw to Florence. Thanks for any help.

Posted by
1003 posts

Well, I don't have first-hand experience to offer as I'm going this September, but I am definitely not an art fan at all (I am skipping the Uffizi) and I am really excited about going to Florence. There is so much to do there - street markets, food, great architecture and many amazing-looking churches, the Pitti Palace/Boboli Gardens, shopping, etc. I'm spending 5 days there and plan to take one full day trip to Siena. I was originally hoping to also go to Lucca another day, but as I delved further into my research I realized that I would probably need the extra day just to see more of Florence!But only you can decide what you want to do. If you think other places sound more interesting, go there instead; there is an endless selection of places to go and see in Italy! I'd suggest maybe getting Rick's Florence book from the library and see if it interests you and read some stuff online. If not, go elsewhere - don't go to florence just b/c lots of other people do :)

Posted by
241 posts

A most intersting question, Lamont. See my comment about the dome on the duomo of Florence in a post of yesterday. I have been the facilitator for two trips to Italy where I found out, only after beginning, that the male of my travel companions was not interested in art, whereas before going I thought he was. Therefore, I ask, think of what you ARE interested in, and then rephrase your question to us. Scenery and/or views; History, either Italian or the interaction of Italian and American; Architecture; agriculture(Italian is a big ag country); Industry; Big city vs small town; military things...lots here re that; food and eating; won't find bourbon here, just scotch, wine: immense. Trains and buses...everywhere. You want some links to historic Italian trains? get the idea. Heat...come to Italy in July and August.

Posted by
6898 posts

Interesting question. After visiting Florence for 6 days, the 200-year Italian renaissance can be defined as "Madonna con il Bambino" and the "Deposition" (crucifixion). We spent 2.5 hours in the Ufizzi and that's all we saw. Almost every painting was either of Madonna with the Chrsit child, the Madonna or Christ being Crucified. Occasionally, you will see major paintings of the "Madonna con il Bambino" with the 3 maggi and a bunch of the Medici family in attendance of the birth. However, my wife and I did enjoy seeing the statute of David in the Accademia and the Duomo museum. The rest is masses of people and a lot of walking. This time of year, it's also very hot. Next time back, we'll avoid Florence and spend time day tripping out of an Agri-tourismo. Day visits to Siena, Assisi, San Gimignano and others were delightful.

Posted by
1501 posts

I am not a huge art fan either, and 2 nights and 1 and a half days in florence was enough for me. Having said that - seeing the David is an amazing experience. As another poster suggested skip the Uffizzi, but making a trip to the Accademia to see the David if nothing else.

If you appreciate architecture then you will really enjoy the Duomo, and the best and most memorable meal we had on our 5 week trip through Europe last summer was in Florence.

Posted by
705 posts

GO. It is a wonderful place. I'm not a huge fan of what I term 'religious art' either but Florence has so much more to offer. Go and see David but also go to the Bargello. It is really good. There is also a museum over the road from the Duomo which houses all the treasures from the Cathedral and also the original architectural drawings. Fascinating. Medici palace is good to even if you only walk through the gardens. Just as a place Florence is terrific, well worth the trip.

Posted by
239 posts

The Boboli Gardens are amazing. David, of course, is amazing. I thought the dome of the duomo was incredible. Florence has the best gelato. I bought a beautiful leather jacket there. It's not all Renaissance art. If for no other reason, I would make a side trip just to see David.

Posted by
104 posts

This thread has been helpful to me as well. I am going to be in Florence for 3 nights in September and am also not a huge art fan, especially of religious art. I tend to like statues more than paintings, and I found the Louvre in Paris with its crowds among the painting galleries miserable. The only refuge for me was in the Greek and Roman statues collection. I think I might do a bit more research in Rick's Florence book section of the Uffizi tour to see if there's anything I really want to see. Otherwise, that would be one less reservation I need to make!

Posted by
53 posts

WEll. tricky question. I spent about 6 days there leading up to and including Easter. I loved it and I am not by any means an art lover. I will flat out tell you: See Florence before you leave this Earth, but dont spend any more time than you want. Perhaps just dont plan your itinerary so tightly and you can leave when you have had enough. When you leave you will be ready for some slower paced hill or coastal towns for sure. Enjoy the shops, people, and Food. Remember, Experiencing Italy is'nt about 'seeing' the sites, Its about being with the people.