Florence, Italy – Navigating the Crowds

Florence, the powerhouse of Italian renaissance art, packs in more tourists even in the first week in October than just about anywhere in Europe. Reservations at the city’s top two attractions, Ufizi Gallery and l’Accademia, the site of Michelanelo’s David, are a must. We had no difficulty making reservations by telephone* a day ahead of our visit, but still had to stand in a long line (30 minutes) to enter l’Accademia. Better than the line for people without reservations which didn’t seem to move at all. No photos are allowed in either of the museums.

On our short one-day visit we used the Rick Steves’ podcasts (can be downloaded for free here ) for the Uffizi gallery, Renaissance walking tour, and ending with the l’Accademia. He also offers podcasts for other walking tours in Italy as well as other European destinations. If you can bully your way through the hordes crowding around the bigger attractions it’s an educational and enjoyable way to tour the city with the right blend of historical insight and humor.

Between our visits to the two museums we stopped for lunch at the OK Bar on an amazingly quiet street with views of the Duomo. Pasta, pizza and frittatas are tasty and well priced. They also offer free WiFi.

*  To make museum reservations by phone call 011-39-055-294-883 from the US, or 055-294-883 within Italy. Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30-18:30, Sat 8:30-12:30, closed Sun. An English speaking agent gives you a confirmation number that you present at the museum ticket window where you must pay in cash. The cost of the reservation is 4 Euros per ticket above the museum ticket price, which at the time of writing was 11 Euros. We also tried the online system www.firenzemusei.it with no luck. Other online systems charge 10 Euros per ticket instead of 4.

October 2, 2012

For links to all the posts in this series see the Tuscany page.

2 thoughts

    1. I agree. I’m a huge fan of his. He has done so much to make independent more accessible for the average tourist. I just wish he did more outside of Europe.

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