Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. It is a bit smaller and cheaper than the other major cities. This beautiful city is tucked and weaved with beautiful works of art as it forms part of the origins of the renaissance. To get the most out of your backpacking trip to Florence plan an itinerary of three to four days.
Backpackers on a tight budget can squeeze a jam-packed two-day itinerary. The best time to visit Florence is during fall and spring. During the summer months, the city is crowded with tourists and the temperatures during winter are not friendly. Here are some of the top things to do on a budget that you cannot miss out on your backpacking trip.
Go Sight Seeing At Santa Maria Del Fiore
The Santa Maria del Fiore is a beautiful dome cathedral known by the residents as Il Duomo di Firenze. The dome is a magnificent sight to see from the outside and take note that its towering presence can be viewed from any part of the city. The interiors are modest. One of the highlights of your tour here would be climbing the 500 steps that lead you to the top of the dome. The dome is free to enter so expect long queues of visitors waiting in line.
Take A Tour To Uffizi Gallery
This is an art gallery that showcases exemplary works of art by famous painters. If you are into art then this is one place you cannot miss out on. The Uffizi Gallery is also a popular tourist destination. Here you will encounter long queues that can take you about two and a half hours before you get in. It is therefore advisable to book online before you get there otherwise you will waste a lot of time in line.
Do Some Exploration At Bargello Museum
Bargello Museum has a special focus on sculpture works of art from artists such as Giambologna, Donatello and Cellini. It also has medals, tapestries, and textiles, some of these collections are from private donors. This museum does not encounter long lines like other museums. It is located in a building that was initially built for the Capitano del Popolo.
Tour The Accademia Gallery
The Accademia Gallery also known as The Galleria dell’Accademia is the first gallery of its kind in Florence. Now what makes this gallery unique is the David statues by the famous sculptor Michelangelo. There are so many replica David statues, however, when you visit Accademia Gallery you will get the rare opportunity of seeing the original sculpture.
Take A Free Walking Tour
Florence has free walking tours. The tour happens twofold the Reinnasance tour and the Medici tour that is done in both English and Spanish. The English tour starts at 11 am and the Spanish tour starts at 10 am. The expedition starts at the oblique at the front of a local church called The Church of Santa Maria Novella. This tour happens every day of the week and no reservation is required to take part in it. These tours roughly take about one and a half hours to two hours. It is therefore advisable to get yourself a comfortable pair of shoes, sunglasses, a light bag with essentials such as lip balm, a hat and some snacks.
If you plan on visiting more than one museum then it will be advisable to buy a Firenze Card. The card costs 72 Euros. The card lasts 3 days after purchasing it and it gives you an all-access to the museums Galleria dell’ Academia, Duomo Monuments, and Uffizi Gallery.
Artistic Places To Visit
All the state museum galleries are free on the first Sunday of the month. The only disadvantage is that there are very long queues. To get the best of this, go at least an hour or 2 before they close. Florence Italy has some beautiful squares that are a must-visit so be sure to include these into your itinerary.
The Piazzale Michelangelo is another place that is a must-visit. From here you will get an excellent view of Florence Italy. The best time to go and experience the views is either in the evening when the sun is setting or in the morning when the sun is rising.
Another area you must pass by is the Piazza Della Signoria. Here you will see some of the most magnificent sculptures without having to pay the expensive entry fees for museums. At the fountain of Neptune, you will find replica sculptures of David located in an open-air gallery at a place called the Loggia de Lanzi.
The Gioco di Calcio Storico is a football tournament whereby those participating in the game come dressed up in medieval wear to play against each other. This tournament takes place on the last week of June.
Another event that happens on Easter Sunday is the Scoppio Del Carro. During this event, locals pull an old wagon that is full of fireworks along the streets of Florence. When the wagon reaches Duomo, the locals light it up using a dove-shaped rocket.
February in many parts of the world is known for the Valentine’s Day for loved ones. The Artisanal Chocolate Fair happens just around the same time. All expert chocolatiers from all over Italy come together at Piazza Santa Maria Novella to offer town residents an interesting experience of different types of chocolates beyond the regular ones.
Traveling For Backpackers
There is the option of public transportation. In the event you want to take a break from walking, there are buses available. The Le City Line de Firenze is a bus that covers routes within and around the city. The bus has four main routes namely: C1, C2, C3, and D. There is also the LI-nea and the ATAF buses if you want to go beyond the town. These buses can be boarded near the main train station. There are tickets available for one for 90 minutes that cost about 1 Euro and another for about 4 Euros that will last you 4 bus rides. There is also a 24-hour pass that costs 5 Euros and a 3-day pass that costs 12 Euros.
Bus tickets are available at newsstand vendors and those who sell tobacco. Since you are on a budget avoid purchasing the ticket from the bus driver as these tend to cost more than those you purchase on the street. Remember to validate your ticket before you enter the bus, failure to do so will result in a fine.
Some Tips To Get You Around Florence
Some of the local foods you cannot miss out on when in Florence Italy, include, gelato. Here is one interesting fact about Florence Italy; it is said to be the birthplace of the delicious dessert called gelato. You have to be careful about where you purchase this dessert as some of it is substandard.
Avoid using public bathrooms as they are not free. You can, however, use the ones within the museums you will be visiting. To avoid the long lines that are experienced at the museums, plan to visit these areas at least one or two hours before they close.
Florence tends to have so many tourists, if you go in the morning or during the day you will experience long waiting times which could be spent elsewhere. Be sure to reserve your visit time well before you reach the destination.
Some of the popular places where you will get the best gelato to include Festival de Gelato where you will get over 60 flavors of the dessert. Gelateria Dei Neri is another popular place where they serve classic gelato and in fact, can work up a delicious gelato sandwich for you. If you come across Vivoli, you could also sample their flavors and the place is known for serving fresh dessert and will not serve anything that goes beyond a day.
Accommodation prices are generally higher during peak seasons and on weekends. While paying for accommodation, there is an extra amount of tax that costs between 1.50 -5.00 Euros for accommodation. This cost is not normally included together with the accommodation and you will be required to pay extra.
You are now officially ready to set off for your trip to Florence Italy!