A 'must see' to visit Michelangelo's statue of David at the Galleria dell'Accademia. Additionally you see half finished sculptures by Michelangelo so you get an opportunity to see how the process of creating David must have taken.
The most important thing is getting in and avoiding the queues. Sometimes there are small queues while other times the queues can be quite big.
You can call +39 055 294883 to make a reservation in advance which costs an extra €4 onto the €11 ticket price. The phone operator will give you a six digit extension number which you quote when you purchase tickets. All the operator takes is your name and asks what your chosen day / time slot is.
The reservation will then allow you to go to a different door avoiding the long queues. The real beauty of the phone reservation is that you do not pay until you turn up so if there are any unforeseen changes to your schedule you don't end up out of pocket. Additionally if there are small queues, you would simply queue up and avoid paying the €4 reservation fee.
Phone reservation available Mon - Fri 08.30 - 18.30 (Italian time) & Sat 08.30 - 12.30.
Tried the online booking service but gave up as it kept falling over as I input the details of my UK credit card.
Nice tree lined square surrounded by pavement cafes.
Plenty of seating in which to relax, away from the more tourist parts of Florence.
One end of the square has the church of Santo Spirito dating back to the 15th century.
On the south side of the Arno river on the right as you come over the Ponte Santa Trinita.
Google map: bit.ly/LTXFOw
Historic Franciscan church located in the heart of Florence. When you consider that the artist Michelangelo, the political theorist Machiavelli, the composer Rossini and the scientist Galileo are all buried within the walls of this church, one can't help but be blown away.
The interior of this Gothic church is relatively plain (as befitting a Franciscan church?) however there are some 14th century Florentine frescos & paintings (by Giotto amongst others) around the altar. Great to see some of this artwork in their original surroundings.
Riva d'Arno is a new wine bar/art gallery on the banks of the Arno, a few minutes from Ponte Vecchio. It's beatifully designed with great views, fabulous food and wine and a new centre for art. It's a peaceful place to have a drink after walking around the city, a nice lunch overlooking the river or a supper as the sun goes down. It's definitely worth a visit.
Among the most beautiful Italian cities, Florence is a favoured location when it comes to romance. This Tuscan city is fairly small and its well-known attractions, such as the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio, are within walking distances. Although it is a very touristic destination, there are countless quieter spots for a romantic proposal. Couples can enjoy a stroll or a picnic in the Boboli Gardens, or use the service of a “Renaiolo” for a boat trip on the River Arno. Climbing the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo rewards visitors with stunning views of the city and a few more steps take you to another Florentine treasure: San Miniato al Monte. Of course a romantic weekend in Florence would not be complete without the delicious food, wine and ice cream on offer.
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the world's most incredible galleries, not known as a live music venue.
However if you go at 9pm on a Saturday evening in the summertime (when the gallery has late night opening), the windows are all open, the tourists have all gone, the cruise ships have set sail, you have the place to yourself.
The windows are all open to allow the summer breeze in and the live music being played by string quartets busking in the square below fills the rooms, making it one of the most amazing - unexpected - live music venues I have ever experienced.
Most of the pottery known as Tuscan pottery or Florentine pottery is actually made in Montelupo Fiorentino, one of the most important ceramic centres in Italy during the Renaissance and immediately after.
Considered for a very long time a minor pottery production centre, the role played by Montelupo pottery in the history of Italian ceramics was re-defined only a few years ago, thanks to the unexpected discovery of an old well full of kiln shards.
Hundreds of ceramic pieces from the Renaissance were found in the excavations thanks to the hard work of an association of volunteers. Now they are the core of the Tuscan pottery collection housed in a newly renovated Museum of Ceramics.
What makes the Museum so definitely worth a visit is the uniqueness of its large collection of ceramic works. Most of the 5,500 pieces belonging to the collection come from the excavations made in the area of Montelupo in the last 33 years. They provide an extraordinary opportunity to travel back in time through five centuries in the history of one of the most important ceramic centres in Europe.
More about Tuscan pottery Museum at www.thatsarte.com/blog/highlights/tuscan-pottery-museum-montelupo-ceramics/
Montelupo Museum of Ceramics
Tel. 0039 0571 51352
Far from the madding crowd, yet only 30 minutes from central Florence is San Giovanni Valdarno, a delightful, small medieval town in the heart of Tuscany, unstressed by tourists and traffic, where it is still possible to savour the taste of Italian daily life. Il Sillabo is a gem of a school, family owned and operated, that really makes students feel at home. Extra classes in History of Art, Drawing and Painting, Italian Literature, as well as fantastic food and wine.
Booking gets you in during the busy season. Sometimes you can arrive and do not need to use the reservations line so forget to mention the booking and save 3 Euros per person. Avoid June and try the winter period for a calmer visit.
They speak English and are helpful.
If you like your sculpture al fresco, then this is the place to come. It all seems slightly surreal, particularly the ‘Loggia dei Lanzi’, which is a specially built raised area housing the famous Rape of the Sabine Women, Perseus and a clutch of Roman priestesses. Near the wall of the old council chamber is a copy of Michelangelo’s David next to Bandinelli’s Hercules. To top it all off is the Neptune fountain and the Grand Duke Cosimo further out into the square. I’m not sure why there’s such a concentration on stonework at this spot, but at least it saves on the shoe leather.
Centre of the city
One time home of the Medici family who bought it from the eponymous rival family after it bankrupted them. This is opulence Italian style, all the trappings of people for whom money was no object are here, including paintings by Titian and Raphael. The Boboli gardens at the rear are pleasant enough, but if you have limited time, the Palace is much more interesting.
Italy's premier art gallery. Pre-book your timed tickets at the pre-booking office or get your hotel to do it in advance. Sunday is the busiest day. Closed on Mondays. Be advised, it does not have a lot of really well known art, so if you are a phillistine head straight to Room 10 and gaze at Botticelli's Birth of Venus. The rest of the place is, honestly, not so memorable unless you are a true art buff.
The toilets are a disgrace. Avoid if at all possible, especially if you are a woman. The cafe is well worth a visit, if the sun is shining. Sit outside at one of the tables high above the city.
Piazzale degli Iffizi 6
Tel: 055 23885
The place that houses Michelangelo's statue of David. There is other stuff in the building but this is the reason for going. Now he has been cleaned he looks great. The kids will like it - he has no clothes on!
The real tip is to book your tickets before you begin to queue. Get your hotel to do it, for a specific time or you can do it on the internet before you leave home. If you don't you will queue for hours along with a load of Americans who have not read their guide book info properly. There is a separate - and much shorter - queue for pre-booked tickets. Yes, it costs you 3 euros more per person but it saves hours of queuing.
Via Ricasoli 58-60
Tel: 055 2388609
This is the big Dome on the cathedral. You can go up to the top and look out from the viewing platform, over Florence. Simply the best sight in the city. It takes a fair amount of queuing - check times and make sure you don't leave it too late - and the climb to the top can take up to 20 minutes, but it is brilliant. Not only do you get a 360 degree view of the city but you see the inside of the Dome in close up, on the way up and way down. The one unmissable sight in Florence, in my opinion.
Ufficio del Duomo
Tel: 055 2302885
This clever card ("Friends of the Uffizi") gets you into all the state galleries for free - Uffizi, Accademia, many more. Plus - and this is the best thing - you get to jump all of the massive queues! It lasts for a year and it's genius.
25 euro for the under-26s, 60 euro for those above, and a family deal for 100 euro.
Dotted around the centre of the city are a number of small pasta bars that seem to serve the lunchtime needs of the city workers. Go in and grab a tray, select the pasta you want and the sauce you want, pay at the cash desk and then sit down with the workers to enjoy the true delight of beautifully cooked everyday Italian food.
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