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Florence With a Side of Venice Trip Report

Since everyone was helpful in my planning for my trip, I thought I would give a report now that I am back.

September 3, 2022

  • Arrived in Venice. Took carryon only and was very quickly out if the airport.

-Bus to Santa Lucia Station. I had pre purchased a ticket so didn’t have to stand in line. No issues finding the bus and was able to board one straight away. Very short trip to Piazzale Roma. I had two hours to kill while waiting for my train. Rather than sit in the station, I walked around Venice and was great full only to have the carry on bag. It was very hot and sunny.

  • Train to Florence. I had prepurchased my ticket with Italo to take advantage of the lower prices. As my flight was on time, I had no issues with this. Trip was pleasant a just over 2 hours.

Stayed until September 9, 2022.

Hotel - Globus Urban Hotel. This is a reasonably priced, well located, modern hotel. Fully air conditioned with an elevator. I requested a bottle of wine from Tuscany to be placed in the room and that was there on my arrival. Staff were wonderful and breakfast had a good selection of hot and cold items. The night before checkout, a thank you note with cantucci were in a little bag on my door.

Leather Jackets - bought from Leonardo DaVinci Factory. I had a really helpful salesperson who was willing to negotiate.

Leather belts - bought from Papini. The belt I bought myself was custom fitted to my size and the other was nicely gift wrapped.

Favourite Restaurant- Osteria Pastella. I had the truffle pasta made in the cheese wheel at my table. The owner was so nice and the meal was just fabulous. Close second was Osteria Vecchio Vicolo.

Favourite Gelato Shop - Fontana’s. It had the best salted caramel I have ever tasted and the shop was beautifully appointed.

Attractions I visited:

Santa Croce Church - Pre purchased entry - Michelangelo’s tomb is beautiful.
Piazzale Michelangelo - free and awesome panoramic views
Ponte Vecchio - free. Did buy a beautiful necklace based on the rose window at the cathedral in Assisi from Humilis.

Baptistery and Giotto’s Bell Tower - prepurschased Giotto pass - there are several levels to the tower, so you don’t climb all at once.

Ognissanti Church - free and beautiful. Botticelli is buried here.

Uffizi- pre purchased ticked for 8:15 AM. Not too crowded at that time. Bought passepartout pass.

Pitti Palace - part of passepartout pass - magnificent

Boboli Gardens - part of passepartout pass. I was disappointed if I’m honest.

Tower at the Palazzo Vecchio - ticket bought on day. Must go with an employee, so only offered at specific times. Ticket to museum is separate. One of the more expensive places to visit IMO.

Dante’s Church - loved the simplicity of this church. Free

Dante’s House Museum - not free and disappointing although they’ve done the best they can considering nothing has survived of Dante’s.

Babae wine window- free, but part of the experience is to order a wine, which is not free.

Medici Chapel - beautiful, purchased ticket on the day
San Lorenzo Cathedral - purchased ticket on the day
Santa Maria Novella Church - purchased ticket on the day

September 9, 2022

Train to Venice - prepurchased with Trenitalia to take advantage of cheaper ticket. Mild panic as there was a train strike this day I had no knowledge until the hotel mentioned it at checkout. Luckily, my train was not one of the many that were cancelled.

Arrived late afternoon.

Hotel - Hotel Serenissima. Turns out this is a hotel Rick Steves uses a f there was BOI group there. I chose it due to inexpensive price and for the fact it is well located. No elevator. Air conditioning not powerful and they shut it off without your permission. It was hot in Venice so did not

Posted by
301 posts

Continued….

I did not really enjoy the restaurants I ate at. The food was good at one, but the service was terrible. The other, the service was good, but the food mediocre.

I had one full day and chose to go to Burano as this was my third time in Venice and I’d never been. I enjoyed the colourful houses, but it was so so crowded. Also, it has to be the most expensive place ever. I really couldn’t get over the prices.

Weather in both Florence and Venice was very hot and sunny every day. No rain.

Return to airport by Alilaguna. I did not enjoy this at all. It was hot and packed with people. You had to sit inside and masks required. Trip was an hour. Felt like I should have splurged for the water taxi.

While in Florence, I hired a van with driver and went to Cortona and saw Bramasole. It’s a beautiful town on a hill. Also visited Montepulciano and did a wine tasting and lunch at DeRicci Winery. I bought some paper goods from Koine.

Also did an afternoon in Pistoia and an evening in Prato, which was interesting as there was a festival on that night. This was also the day the Queen passed. Train tickets cheap and bought on the day.
Overall, I had a really enjoyable trip.

Posted by
6364 posts

Thanks, KB.

What restaurants in Venice did you not like?

Posted by
138 posts

Great report! We leave in two weeks for Venice, Florence and Rome and I’m very excited. Just like Jane, I wouldn’t mind hearing more about your dining experience in Venice. If we can avoid a so so meal and save some time and money that would be most helpful. Also want to know more about Boboli Gardens because I’ve been looking forward to seeing them. Were they possibly parched and not so beautiful due to the very hot weather?

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301 posts

In Venice I ate at Osteria del Lovo. The food was really good, but they were so busy and I don’t think they had enough servers to cover the number of tables. I waited 25 minutes before I was approached by a server for my order. No one came over before that to even ask about a drink order. I wasn’t in a hurry, but 25 minutes is really too long to leave someone. Further, the server later asked if I wanted another glass of wine. I said yes, but then the glass never came. By this point, I was done and didn’t bother chasing it up.

I also ate at Bialetti. I had steak, which was ok, but nothing spectacular and the only wine they offered by the glass was the house wine. It was not great wine at all. It tasted like the inexpensive table wine I can buy at home. The service however, was a huge improvement over the night before.

It was a very hot morning when I went to Boboli and the gardens are on a steep hill and you start at the bottom of the hill. Also, I guess I expected flowers and that. There were nine. There just wasn’t much to see. The grandest statue was covered in scaffolding.

Posted by
138 posts

KB that’s a long time for a weary traveler to wait simply for a refreshing glass of vino. I totally understand. Thanks for sharing details about your dining experiences in Venice. Thanks also for elaborating on the Boboli Gardens. I’m sure you were disappointed with the scaffolding covering the sculpture I know that I would be very disappointed too. Hopefully that won’t be the case when we go in two weeks but we are trying to be prepared for the unexpected.

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2491 posts

KB,
I was in Prato on Sept 8, we received word from our British guide that the Queen was under medical supervision, then that she had died. We arrived in the morning and were treated to a procession for the Feast Day for the birthday of the Virgin Mary. A medieval tradition enacted before our eyes! We also had a thoroughly enjoyable tour of the Museo del Tessuto. And a delicious lunch at a family owned restaurant.
Also, it was very hot, in the 90’s, every day that I was in Florence except for the last two days when the temperatures moderated. I was there Sept 2-11.

Posted by
301 posts

Judy B., That was the evening I was in Prato also with that same festival. I was there having dinner with my cousin who is teaching there. It’s a great little town.

Seems like we were in Florence at the same time. It was very hot every day indeed.

Posted by
3200 posts

Here’s a tip for visiting the Boboli Gardens if you don’t want to climb the hills on a hot day.
Go to the Bardini Gardens first, they are just up slightly up and along to the left of the Ponte Vecchio.
It’s a smaller hill to get to their highest point, and they are small and pretty.
Then, at the very top, there is a gate that you leave by, cross over a small road, then enter the gate for Boboli.
Then you are at the very top of the Boboli Gardens and can see it all by easily walking downhill!
The ticket is good for both.

Posted by
787 posts

Thanks KB! What a wonderful trip report with some recommendations I hadn't considered, though I've been to Florence & Venice several times. I REALLY appreciated the walk-through of sites & shopping in Florence, more to explore on our next visit! Thank you.