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Florence, Italy Trip March 2012 Report

Hello All, I just wanted to leave something to let others know about my recent trip to Florence, Italy in March 2012. It was also my first trip to Europe in General and I traveled by myself. I read Rick Steve's book before went and read various message boards about how to be safe and what to look for. Reading these had me worried about pickpockets and others trying to take advantage of me but all this worry was really for nothing. I mean as most people said you need to be aware but really it wasn't anything to worry about and I had no problems. After the second day I left my money belt at the hotel because no one was trying to bump into me or look over my shoulder at an ATM or short change me. In fact everyone was quite nice and honest and not really worried about what I was doing at all. I actually went to the ATM at night twice and no one was trying to look over my shoulder or anything. The trip I bought was through orbitz and it was 1180 for my flight and hotel. I stayed at a Hotel Montreal in Florence along via della Scala. It was a GREAT location and about a 10-15 minute walk from most of the popular sites. The room while small had everything I needed but I didn't go there to sleep. Even still the bed was a little hard so next time I might try and upgrade hotels.
I don't speak any italian but I had my phrase book and really didn't have any problems paying for things and getting directions. I walked do much I thought my legs would fall off. People told me I need to visit Siena, Pisa and the other surrounding towns but this being my first time there was SO MUCH to see and do in Florence that that's where I spent most of my time. I hit all the big spots like the Uffizi, Accademia, Ponte Vecchio, Duomo, Baptistry and other museums. I made the walk up to the Piazzale Michealangelo as well.

Posted by
2000 posts

It sounds like you had a perfect trip you did your homework, and took your time seeing one fabulous city, and resisted running all over the place. I too have made the walk from center of town to Piazzale Michelangelo - loved the view from there.

Posted by
9363 posts

Sounds like you had a great time! I think sometimes the pickpocket/ATM issue gets a little overblown. Obviously, only people who have had a problem take the time to post about it. You don't hear about the millions of times people travel with no problems. Awareness is key. I had a similar experience in Madrid a couple of weeks ago. I was warned, even by my hotel, to be cautious, but I had absolutely no issues (or even potential issues).

Posted by
20 posts

I have to comment about the beds:I spent three month in Italy last year with a study abroad program. We traveled and slept in many different places. The beds were hard in all of them! I didn't want you to think you had to pay more money for a softer mattress, since it appears to be far from a given.

Posted by
238 posts

I've had comfortable beds in all the apartments I've rented in Italy, so the hard beds must be a hotel thing. As a matter of fact, we spent one night at a hotel in Florence and THAT bed was incredibly hard.

Posted by
3580 posts

I've been to Florence a few times and thought I'd had "enough." Recently I watched a program about the Medici and it sparked a renewed interest in visiting Florence. I think there are some things I missed. I learned that "Uffizi" means offices in Italian. The two large buildings facing each other at the Uffizi gallery are the former offices of Cosimo di Medici II. He ran most of Italy from there, according to the program. The hidden walkways were to insure the safety of Cosimo as he moved about the city.

Posted by
264 posts

Mo, you probably live in a more dangerous place than the cities you visited. I to have had almost no problems when I traveled in EU. Except for Madrid, where my wife had her small backpack pick pocketed. Quick lesson on staying alert to your surroundings and maintaining your guard up. But I believe that being informed is invaluable. So when you read all these posts about gloom and doom, they make you aware that this is not Disney World and bad things can happen. Being informed is usually the best way to be aware of all your surroundings and how to keep things from happening to you. With that, I'm glad you had a great time and being a single traveler must be an awesome experience.