Florence Travel Guide (Itinerary + Budget)

Florence, Italy

From the rough-hewn brick balcony of Piazza Michelangelo, I looked out as the fog covering the mountains and the historic city of Florence that is crowned by the iconic Duomo, slowly revealed its splendor. Florence (Firenze), the capital of Tuscany, is one of the most beautiful and architecturally significant cities in Italy. It is crammed with orange-tiled roofs, age-old buildings, jewel-box churches, impressive piazzas, ornately-painted museums, and grandiose palaces. The tourist attractions in Florence are tightly packed within its historic core, connected by maze of narrow, cobbled streets that are perfect places for leisurely wanderings.

If you plan on visiting Florence, here’s my blog on Florence Travel Guide with Florence Itinerary and Budget.

 


ABOUT FLORENCE, ITALY


 

Florentines, just like the rest of the people of Tuscany, are very proud of their roots that they trace back the Etruscans who moved to Italy roughly around 900 B.C. because of its minerals. The Etruscans produced jewelries, weapons, and armours that they traded with Greece. Eventually, their power was overshadowed by the Roman rule after their war.

But if there is a period ascribed to Florence, it’s the Renaissance. The city is believed to be the celebrated birthplace of Renaissance that eventually spread across Europe during the 14th to 17th century. Its influence is heavily exhibited in arts, music, literature, politics, philosophy, science, and religion. One of the reasons for the rise of this new cultural movement in Florence is the Medici dynasty that held power from 1434 until 1743. Cosimo il Vecchio (Cosimo de Medici) also called “The Elder”, son of the merchant banker Giovanni di Bicci who founded the Medici fortune, was the first member of the Medici family to rise to power. During the Medici clan rule, wealthy merchants and bankers invested in medieval palaces and Renaissance plazas. Their family was responsible for commissioning some of the legendary works of the Renaissance, a period that gave rise to Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Dante, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, etc.

 


FLORENCE ITALY PRACTICAL INFORMATION


 

 Best Time to Visit Florence: We visited Florence in January, during the winter season (November to March), and we loved it because of lesser crowd, cheaper hotels, and discounted shopping! We really enjoyed the massive sales in January, up to 70% off on several goods. Florence has two major sales period: January and July.

But if you don’t like traveling during winter, spring (April to May) is your best bet with temperature ranging from 45 – 65-degree F coupled with a bit of sunshine and rain showers.

Peak season is June to September, expect hotel prices to soar, so best to book in advance. September to October (autumn) has mild season. Summer (June to July) is beach season, and is packed with festivals.

 

Visa in Florence:  If you are a Philippine Passport Holder, you need a Schengen visa to visit Florence, Italy. We applied for our Schengen visa at the Greek Embassy in the Philippines. For more information, you can click the link below and read my blog.

 

 ALSO READ: SCHENGEN VISA via GREECE EMBASSY

 

 Documents You Need to Bring:

Passport with Schengen Visa – This is no brainer.
Your travel itinerary
Copy of return flight to the Philippines
Hotel bookings
Employee ID (if applicable) or copy of business permit
We brought with us copy of the requirements we sent for our Schengen visa, just to make sure.

 

Language in Florence: People generally speak Italian, but staff of hotels, shops, restaurants, and tourist destinations can speak English. Many signs are also in English.

 

Florence Mode of Payment: Cash and credit cards are accepted, but make sure to call your bank and inform them that you will be traveling to Italy and provide your travel period so that your transactions will be allowed. My friend’s card was temporarily put on hold after one purchase because the bank thought it was a fraudulent transaction. To avoid such hassle, call the bank before leaving the Philippines.

 

Currency in Florence: Italy uses EURO, current exchange rate is 1 EURO = PHP 63 /USD 1.17/SGD 1.60/MYR 5.

 

Money Exchange in Florence: The best rate is still the bank’s rate, withdraw money from international ATMs scattered around the city. Avoid exchanging your money at money changers especially around touristy areas as they have terrible rates. I tried to exchange my Swiss francs left from our Switzerland trip but I ended up keeping them due to pretty low rate.

 

Florence, Italy Power Sockets: Italy generally uses Type F, E and C electrical sockets, 230 volts, 50 Hz.

 

Florence Pocket Wi-Fi: For security reasons, I always encourage people to have their own Wi-Fi when traveling, instead of using Airport Wi-Fi or free public Wi-Fi.

If you are coming from the Philippines, you can try Flytpack, they charge PHP 500 a day for Europe and a PHP 2,800 deposit.

If you are coming from any of the countries below, you can rent a pocket Wi-Fi for Europe through the link:

Hong Kong:  RESERVE HERE 

Singapore:  RESERVE HERE 

Taipei: RESERVE HERE

Bangkok: RESERVE HERE

Malaysia:   RESERVE HERE

 

Florence, Italy Simcard: If you plan on getting a local sim card in Florence or other parts of Europe, make sure that your phone is unlocked, and by unlocked it means you can insert other sim cards on your phone. So, if you are still tied to a Globe plan for example, then this might not work for you.

 

Florence has four major TELCOS: TIM, Vodaphone, Tre, and WIND. Charges usually start at EURO 30, good for 30 days at 2GB. If you are a heavy data user, make sure to top up so you will save yourself from the hassle of returning to the store to top up your balance. You can purchase sim at Florence or Pisa Airport or buy at a store in downtown Florence. Make sure you bring your passport with you and have the staff set up the sim card on your phone.

 

Drone in Italy: Drone is allowed in Italy; however, they have pretty strict rules, for example, you can’t fly your done higher than 230 feet or farther than 650 feet. You can only fly your drone during the day and good weather condition, but it must be far away from houses, railroads, buildings and people, and your drone must weigh less than 25 kg.

 

 Florence, Italy Safety: Generally, Florence is safe for tourists, we felt safe walking its street, but as much as possible avoid side-streets, and take the well-lit roads instead.

Beware of purse-snatching and pickpockets especially inside the trains, train stations, touristy areas, and other crowded places in Florence and other parts of Italy.

Leave your passport in your hotel, just bring a photocopy copy of it. Best to scan or take photos of all your IDs and save the documents on your external hard drive, and your Google folder or Dropbox folder.

Don’t carry all your cards and cash with you. Put them in a safe in your hotel.

Put your cash in different sections of your purse or bag.

Keep a list of important phone numbers that you need to call in case your stuff gets stolen, like your bank’s phone number, your Embassy, etc. File a police report and keep a copy of it so you can file claims for your travel insurance.

There are many scams in Florence, but we only encountered the rose scam. Basically, a stranger usually offers couples with roses and if they accept it, they will be hounded for money, and the price isn’t cheap. We were mistaken as a couple while dining beside the Duomo, but we just declined firmly, and the guy didn’t bother us anymore.

 


HOW TO GET TO FLORENCE, ITALY


 

Florence Itinerary - Train

SINGAPORE/MANILA TO FLORENCE, ITALY

1.There are no direct flights from Singapore or Manila, Philippines to Florence, what we did was, fly from Manila to Athens, Greece via Scoot Airlines. Fare starts at PHP 10,000 one-way. Visit www.scootairlines.com.

2. From Athens, Greece, you can fly to Rome, Italy via budget airlines like Ryan Air.

3. From Florence Airport, take the airport bus to Florence, Italy.

4. See “Getting Around” section below.

 


 ITALY TO FLORENCE

 

The best option to go to Florence is to transit via Rome, Venice or Milan. You can take a train, book tickets in advance.  RESERVE TICKETS HERE

If you plan on traveling around different cities in Italy , you can avail of the Eurail Pass for Italy.

RESERVE EURAIL PASS HERE


 OTHER EUROPEAN CITIES TO FLORENCE, ITALY

 

The fastest way to get to Florence, Italy is by flying. You’ll be surprised at how cheap the flights within Europe are. Try budget airlines such as Ryan Air.

Alternatively, you can also travel by train from other European cities. You can check the train fares  HERE.

Otherwise, you can use the Firenze card.

If you plan on traveling around different cities in Europe , you can avail of the Eurail Pass.

RESERVE EURAIL PASS HERE

 


FLORENCE AIRPORT TO FLORENCE CITY CENTER


 

For first-time tourists in Florence, the usual question is, how to get from Florence Airport to Florence city center? If you are flying to Florence, Italy and you need to go to the downtown centre where your hotel is most probably located, you have 2 options if you are commuting:

 

BY BUS

From Florence Airport (Amerigo Vespucci Airport), you can ride the Volain Bus to central Santa Maria Novella (SMN) train Station, just beside the Florence Old Town. The Volain Bus to Florence Airport leaves from SITA Station located beside the SMN train station.

Fare: EURO 6 /PHP 383 (one -way) / EURO 10/PHP 638 (roundtrip)
Transit time: 20 minutes

Bus Availability and Frequency: (Daily)
Florence Airport to City Center: 5:30 AM – 8:30 PM, every 30 minutes
8:30 PM – 11:45 PM, every 1 hour
1:00 AM – last trip

City Center to Florence Airport: 5:00 AM – 8:00 PM, every 30 minutes
8:00 PM – 11:00 PM, every 1 hour
12:30 AM – last trip

Important: You can pay the driver once you board the bus for the one-way ticket, prepare exact fare. But the roundtrip ticket, you need to purchase it at Bus Italia ticket booth.

 BY TAXI

Alternatively, you can also take a taxi, good for 3-4 passengers, fixed price is EURO 20 (PHP 1,242 – USD 23) to downtown Florence plus 1 Euro for each piece of luggage (maximum 5 Euros).

If you are riding the taxi on a Sunday, there is a EURO 2 (PHP 127) extra charge. And for night service from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM, there is an additional EURO 3.20 (PHP 204) charge.

 


GETTING AROUND FLORENCE ITALY


 

Florence Itinerary - tourist spot

 

BY WALKING: What I like about Florence is, most of the tourist attractions around the historical center are walking distance of each other. So, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and clothes as you will most likely do a lot of walking. Check out my Florence itinerary below.

 BY BUS: While we did mostly DIY walking tour around Florence, we also tried getting around by bus.

Almost all Florence buses begin and end at Piazza Stazione fronting Firenze SMN Station (Florence SMN Train Station). The bus that you will most likely use is the small yellow mini bus with 4 lines: C1, C2, C3 and D.

Now if you plan to go to the outlying centre, here are the buses that you will most likely use:

Bus # 12 or 13 – Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato al Monte

Bus # 7 – Fiesole

 

Florence Bus Fares:

Regular Ticket (90 minutes) : EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2/MYR 6

Double Ticket (90 minutes, good for 2 persons) : EURO 2.40/PHP 148/USD 3/SGD 4/MYR 11

Quadruple Ticket (90 minutes , good for 4 persons) : EURO 4.70/PHP 290/USD 5/SGD 7/MYR

24 Hour ticket : EURO 5/ PHP 309/USD 6/SGD 7/MYR 22

3 Day ticket :  EURO 12/PHP 741/USD 14/SGD 11/MYR 23

7 Day ticket: EURO 18

 

Where to buy Florence bus tickets? You can purchase bus tickets at newsstands, tobacco shops and cafes/bar/coffee shops. Look for a sign that says ‘ATAF-Linea’ (the name of the bus company) or just the T sign on a brown background.

If you buy your bus ticket onboard, it’ll cost EURO 2/PHP 123/USD 2.31/SGD 3/MYR 9.  You may also use your Firenze card museum entry pass.

 

How to use the Florence city bus: Once you hop on the bus, you have to stamp your ticket in the machine.  If you purchased the regular ticket, you have 90 minutes to use it, meaning, you can get on and off as many buse and routes.

 


BY TRAM: You can also go around Florence by using the tram. T1 tram runs from its own station on Via Alamanni near the SMN train station to Villa Costanza (Scandicci) from 5:30 AM to 12:00 AM daily. It stops at 14 different stops along the way and the whole trip would take about 25 minutes. Same with the bus tickets, you can purchase the tram tickets at SMN Station or authorised stores – coffee shops, newspaper stand and pharmacy with “ATAF” sticker. Take note that you can use the ATAF tickets too on the bus. Best to purchase tickets in advance to save a few bucks, if you buy the ticket onboard, it’ll cost more. See bus ticket price above, it’s the same price for the tram tickets.


BY HOP-ON HOP-OFF BUS: Recently, I’ve become a fan of hop-on hop-off bus, because it makes my trips easier, hassle-free and saves me time because the bus zips from sight to sight, way faster than city buses. Unfortunately, during our trip to Florence, Italy, Klook doesn’t offer it yet, so we usually take a cab to get to our destination.  Thankfully, Florence Hop-on Hop-off bus is now available. Click the link below to book a ticket.

 RESERVE TICKET HERE


BY GROUP TOUR

You can avail of guided tours in Florence for a reasonable price.

RESERVE TOUR HERE

 


FLORENCE ORIENTATION


 

Florence Itinerary - downtown center

Florence key tourist spots are concentrated in a compact area:

City Center East: This is where you’ll find the Duomo, the Campanile, and the Baptistry. Beside the them is the Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo where the works removed from the Duomo, and Baptistry are displayed.  The Palazzo Nonfinito is also nearby which is currently the Anthropology and Ethnology section of the Museum of Natural History of Florence (Museo di Storia Naturale di Firenze). Piazza Della Signoria is also located in this area. Santa Croce that contains the tomb of many well-known Florentines is also here, well as Museo Casa di Dante (Dante’s House), a medieval house dedicated to Dante’s life and works.

  City Center West: This area is where the main train station of Florence is located – the Florence Santa Maria Novella Station (SMN).  About a 5 minutes walk is the Santa Maria Novella Church. Piazza Della Republica as well as Piazza di Santa Trinita can also be found here. You can also walk to Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence that is crammed with shops.

City Center North: This area is dominated by the characters of Cosimo il Vecchio, the man who founded the Medici dynasty and one of the great visionaries of the Renaissance in Florence. He commissioned architects and artists to construct the churches of San Lorenzo and San Marco, both located in this area. The Medici family’s home is also situated here – the Palazzo Medici Riccardi. This is also where you’ll find Mercato Centrale.

Oltrarno: The location of Palazzo Pitti, and Boboli Gardens and also, Palazzo Guicciardini is just nearby.

 


FLORENCE TOURIST SPOTS


 

Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Florence, perfect for first-timers.

  Piazza del Duomo

The Cathedral de Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence Cathedral, which is popularly known as the Duomo, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site flaunting Gothic architecture with pointed arches and angular vertical spaces. It was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296. After 124 years, Filippo Brunelleschi designed its iconic dome that remained a question for decades. Going inside the church is free, but its ground floor is quite bare, the Florence Cathedral’s highlight is the Dome. Tourists can climb the Dome, but there is an entrance fee. You can also book a guided tour to be able to appreciate the church’s history and get VIP access to some areas that are prohibited to tourists.

RESERVE DISCOUNTED TOUR HERE

Florence Itinerary - Florence Duomo

Address:Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Church Open Hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Thursday: 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM

Saturday: 10:00 AM – 4:45 PM

Sunday and public holiday: 1:30 PM – 4:45 PM

Dome Open Hours: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM Mondays-Friday, Saturday – 8:30 AM –  5:40 PM

Entrance Fee: EURO 18/PHP 1,114 / USD 21/SGD 28/MYR 83 , includes entry to the Florence Cathedral, The Dome, The Baptistry, the Campanile di Giotto and the Museo dell ‘Opera del Duomo.

Dress Code: No sleeveless shirt, blouse, dress, etc. No excessive shorts.

 


  Piazza Della Signoria

Walking distance from The Duomo is the busiest plaza in Florence – Piazza Della Signoria. This square was were the ruling body of Florence, known as Signoria used to work and reside, hence the name. Many executions took place here years ago.

 

Florence Itinerary - Piazza della Signoria

 

Address: Piazza della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Entrance Fee: Free

How to get there:

1.Piazza della Signoria is about a 15 minute walk from Florence SMN Station (1.5km).

2.Ride the D line small electrical bus at Piazza Stazione at the ‘Galleria’ stop (near big area for taxis) in Florence SMN train station. It stops at Ponte Vecchio. Bus fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6, good for 90 minutes use. From Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria can be reached by foot. Refer to Google Maps for directions.

3.If you are coming from Piazza del Duomo (The Dome), it’s a 5 minute walk to Piazza della Signoria. Head south toward Piazza di San Giovanni, 20m and then continue to Via dei Calzaiuoli, 340 m. Turn left to Piazza della Signoria.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 6 (Sta. Croce)

Nearby Tourist Attractions:Uffizi Gallery, Piazza del Duomo, Ponte Vicchio, Accademia Gallery

 


   Ponte Vecchio

Currently the oldest bridge in Florence that stood the test of time, even the devastating World War II. Ponte Vecchio spans across the Arno River, originally surrounded by varied shops. Don’t miss the Vasari Corridor, a kilometre-long passageway that connects Uffizi Gallery with Palazzo Vecchio. It now houses collections of 16th to 17th century artworks from different artists.

 

Florence Itinerary - Ponte Vecchio

 

Address: Ponte Vecchio, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours: 24/7

Entrance Fee: FREE

How to  get to Ponte Vecchio:

By Bus: Take the D line small electrical bus at Piazza Stazione at the ‘Galleria’ stop (near big area for taxis) in Florence SMN train station. It stops at Ponte Vecchio. Fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6, good for 90 minutes use.

Alternatively, from Stazione Orti Oricellari bus station near the Florence SMN Station, take bus C2 towards Piazza Beccaria. Fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6. Transit time is roughly 6 minutes. Alight at Orsanmichele. Then walk towards Ponte Vecchio. Refer tro Google Maps for directions.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 15 (Frescobaldi)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Uffizi Gallery,Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Pitti Palace and Ragazzi Museum

 


  Uffizi Gallery

Situated right next to Piazza Signoria is the beautiful Uffizi Gallery with frescoed ceiling. This gallery houses the world’s most important collections of Renaissance arts. This is the place to go if you want to see the masterpieces of Florentine artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Giotto and Botticelli.

Uffizi Gallery Guided Tour with Fast Track Entry (ticket included):  RESERVE HERE

Address:Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:15 AM – 6:50 PM

Entrance Fee:

November 1  to February 28

Adult – EURO 12/PHP 744/USD 14/SGD 19/MYR 56

Children (European Union citizens only 18-25 y.o): EURO 6/PHP 372/USD 7/SGD 9/MYR 28

Children (European Union citizens only 18 years old below) : FREE

March 1 to October 31:

Adult – EURO 20/PHP 1,240/USD 23/SGD 32/MYR 93

Children – EURO 10/PHP 620/ USD 12/SGD 16/MYR 46

How to get to Uffizi Gallery

By Bus: Hop on the D line small electrical bus at Piazza Stazione at the ‘Galleria’ stop (near big area for taxis) in Florence SMN train station. It stops at Ponte Vecchio. Bus fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6, good for 90 minutes use. From Ponte Vecchio, you can walk to Uffizi Gallery.

 Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 15 (Frescobaldi)

Nearby Tourist Attractions:  Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Pitti Palace and Ragazzi Museum

TIP:If you are visiting Uffizi Gallery, you may also check out the famed Vasari Corridor, a kilometre-long elevated, enclosed passageway that connects Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi on the other side of the Arno River.

 


  Accademia Gallery

If you want to see the original sculpture of David by Michelangelo, head to Accademia Gallery. You can also find other artworks by other great Florentine artists here, such as Ghirlandaio, Uccello, del Sarto, and Botticelli.

Florence Itinerary- David by Michelangelo

Address:Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8:15 AM – 6:50 PM. Closed on Monday, January 1, May 1 and December 25

Entrance Fee: Full price EURO 6.50/USD/SGD/MYR , Reduced Price EURO 3.25/USD/SGD/MYR

How to get to Academia Gallery:

 By Foot: It’s about 20 minutes by foot from Florence SMN train station. Refer to Google maps for direction.

 By Bus: If coming from Florence Airport (Amerigo Vespucci Airport), you can take the Bus Italia SITA Nord “Vola in Bus” bus shuttle that runs between the airport and the Florence St. Maria Novella Train Station. Fare is roughly EURO 6/PHP 618/USD 10/SGD 9/MYR 28 one way.

Then at Florence Sta. Maria Novella Train Station, you can take Line 1B (Stazione Nazionale to Boccaccio) then alight at Piazza di San Marco stop (FM0084). Transit time is roughly 7 minutes. From there, you can walk to Accademia Gallery for about 5 minutes.

Alternatively, from Florence Sta. Maria Novella Train Station, you may also ride Line 1 A (Stazione Nazionale to Salviati FS) and get off at Piazza di San Marco stop. Then, head to Accademia Gallery by foot for approximately 5 minutes (refer to Google Maps for direction).

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 3 (Donatello)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Piazza del Doumo, Leonardo da Vinci Museum

 


  Piazza Michelangelo

One of my favourite places in Florence is Piazza Michelangelo, you can go here by cab or taking bus # 12 or #13 from downtown Florence. Here, you can get a gorgeous panoramic view of Florence and its historical centre. Best time to visit is during sunrise or sunset. This plaza was built by Giuseppe Poggi in honour of Michelangelo. His artworks were supposed to be displayed here, but the plan never transpired. Today, you can see a statue of the great artist manning the square.

 

Florence Itinerary - Piazzala Michelangelo

 

Address:Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours:Daily 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Entrance Fee: FREE

How to get to Piazza Michelangelo:

By Bus: Take bus #12 or 13 from Florence train station. Fare is around EURO 1.20/PHP 74 / USD 1.29/SGD 2/MYR 6.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 10, Line B –> Bus Stop 8

Nearby Tourist Attractions: San Miniato Monastery

TIP: From Piazza Michelangelo, you can walk for about 5 minutes to the monastery of San Miniato al Monte which is standing on top of a hill. It is dubbed as one of the most beautiful Romanesque structures in Tuscany.

 


  Pitti Palace

Another impressive design by Filippo Brunelleschi for the Pitti Family is the Pitti Palace. The structure was later on bought by the Medici Family, an influential political dynasty in Florence. The Pitti Palace is Florence’s biggest palace, housing several collections of 16th to 17th century paintings including the work of Raphael that is housed in the Palatine Gallery on the 1st floor.

 

Florence Itinerary - Pitti Palace

Address:Piazza de’ Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours: 8:15 AM –  Tuesday to Sunday 4:30 PM/7:30 pm depending on the season. Closed every Monday, January 1 and December 25

 Entrance Fee:

March 1 to October 31 – (Full) EURO 16/PHP 989/USD 19/SGD 25/MYR 74, (Reduced) EURO 8/PHP 494/USD 9/SGD 13/MYR 37

November 1 to February 28/29 – (Full) EURO 10/PHP 618/USD 12/SGD 16/MYR 46, (Reduced) EURO 5/PHP 309/USD 6/SGD 8/MYR 23

 

Combined ticket for Palazzo Pitti + Boboli Garden + Uffizi Gallery(valid for 3 days and fast track entry) :

March 1 to October 31 – (Full) EURO 38/PHP 2,349/USD 44/SGD 60/MYR 176,

(Reduced) EURO 21/PHP 1,298/USD 24/SGD 33/MYR 97

November 1 – February 28/29 – (Full) EURO 18/PHP 1,112/USD 21/SGD 28/MYR 51,

(Reduced) EURO 11/PHP 680/USD 13/SGD 17/MYR 51

How to get to Pitti Palace:

By Foot: From Firenze Sta. Maria Novella Station (Florence SMN Station), it’s about a 15 minute walk.

By Bus:Ride the D line small electrical bus at Piazza Stazione at the ‘Galleria’ stop (near big area for taxis) in Florence SMN train station. It stops at Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. We took this bus and fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6, good for 90 minutes use.

Alternatively, at  Florence SMN Station you can take Bus 36 to Cascine del Riccio and alight at  Pescaia di Santa Rosa. Walk for about 9 minutes (700 m) to Pitti Palace.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –>Bus Stop 14 (Pitti)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Boboli Gardens, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery

 


  Boboli Garden

Just right behind the Pitti Palace is the sprawling Boboli Garden littered with gardens, gigantic oak trees, sculptures, and fountains. It’s a good place to hang out in Florence. There’s also an area here where you can see The Duomo from afar. Best to visit this place during spring, or autumn. It was winter when we visited so there’s no flower in bloom.

 

Florence Itinerary - Boboli Garden

 

Address: Piazza Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Open Hours: Daily 8:15 AM – 6:30 PM

Entrance Fee:

November to March 1: (Full) EURO 6/PHP 376/USD 7/SGD 10/MYR 28,

(Reduced) EURO 3/PHP 188/USD 4/SGD 5/MYR 14

March 1 to October 31 – (Full) EURO 10/PHP 627/USD 12/SGD 16/MYR 47

(Reduced) EURO 5/PHP 313/USD 6/SGD 8/MYR 23

How to get to Boboli Gardens

By Foot:If you are coming from Ponte Vecchio, you can cross to Boboli Garden and Pitti Palace.

By Bus: Hop on the D linesmall electrical bus at Piazza Stazione at the ‘Galleria’ stop (near big area for taxis) in Florence SMN train station. It stops at Pitti Palace and Boboli Garden. Bus fare is EURO 1.20/PHP 74/USD 1.39/SGD 2.18/MYR 6, good for 90 minutes use.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –> Bus Stop 14 (Pitti)

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Pitti Palace,Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery

TIP:Don’t miss the view of Florence from the Forte Belvedere.

 


OTHER TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN FLORENCE


Florence Church - SMN

Sta. Maria Novella Church: If you are arriving at Florence Santa Maria Novella Station (SMN Station), you can make a side trip to Sta. Maria Novella Church, about a 5-minute walk. This church houses 2 main artworks: The Crucifix by Brunelleschi and the Holy Trinity by Masaccio. Also, make time to check out the 600-year-old perfume store here called Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella.

Sta. Croche Church:The largest Franciscan Church in Italy housing the tomb of key Tuscans like Machiavelli, Galileo and Michelangelo. Check out another important work of Brunelleschi here – the Capella dei Pazzi.

Basilica di San Lorenzo: The last uncompleted work of Brunelleschi before his death is the burial palace of the Medici family. This is one of the largest churches in Florence.

Galileo Museum: Inside Palazzi Castellani is an important and different kind of museum – the Galileo Museum housing Medici’s astronomical and mathematical instruments of great Italians.

 


DAY TRIPS FROM FLORENCE


 

 

PISA

Tuscany - Pisa

 

Like Florence, Pisa is also part of Tuscany Region. The main reason why tourists go there is because of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But unknown to many, Pisa is also home to many historic churches, beautiful bridges and age-old palaces.

RESERVE DISCOUNTED TOUR HERE

 

Open Hours: 08:30 AM – 10:00 PM

 How to get there:

1. From Florence, take the train to Pisa Centrale Station. If coming from Florence SMN Station to Pisa Centrale Station, fare is roughly EURO 11.

2. At Pisa Centrale Station, buy the roundtrip ticket to Leaning tower of Pisa. Fare is EURO 1.20 per person.

3. Ride the LAM Rossa (red) bus to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

4. Entrance fee to the Leaning of Tower Pisa and the Cathedral is free. But there’s a fee for EURO 18 per person if you want to climb up the tower.


 FIOSELI

The Roman Amphitheater dates back to the 1st century AD located outside the walls of Florence.  Unknown to many tourists, just a few minutes away from Florence is Fiesole – founded during the 5th century B.C in northern Etruria.  The Etruscans has long dominated central Italy before the Romans.  This place has existed long before Florence.  If you purchased a ticket to a Hop-on Hop off Bus in Florence, you can easily reach this by taking Line B and alight at Bus Stop 16. You can visit the Etruscan Temple inside the Archeological  Park as well as the complex of Terme, Roman baths and the Roman Amphitheater. There’s also a museum here displaying artifact from the site itself and surrounding areas.

Address: Via Portigiani 1, 50014 Fiesole

Open Hours: April to September: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM, March and October: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, rest of year: 10:00 AM -3:00 PM except Tuesday.

 How to get to Fiesole Roman Amphitheater:

By Bus: Take Bus #7 at Piazza San Marco in Florence. Travel time is about 20 minutes and fare is roughly EURO 2/PHP 125/USD 2/SGD 3/MYR 9.

By Taxi: If you take a cab, fare is roughly EURO  26/ PHP 1,631/ USD 30/SGD 41/MYR 142 one way.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop:  Line B –> Bus Stop 16 (Fiesole)

 


  TUSCANY

 

Florence Italy - Tuscany

Tuscany beckons tourists because of its history, arts, and gorgeous landscape. Immerse in traditional Tuscan farms sprinkled with olive groves, and vineyards with fields of barley and corn to feed the cattle and chickens. Adding up to its allure are the flame-shaped cypress trees often planted as windbreakers in farms along the road.

A typical Tuscany countryside tour includes a visit to Monteriggioni, San Gimignano, and Siena. We tried this tour and we really enjoyed it. You can book through the link below since it is affordable and hassle-free. I highly recommend it since you’ll be able to maximise your time in Tuscany.

RESERVE DISCOUNTED TOUR HERE

 

Siena

We got to stroll around the cobbled streets of Siena fringed with age-old building and Gothic churches including its own version of Duomo.

 

 San Gimignano

We also visited San Gimignano, a wall medieval town in Siena dubbed as “The Town of Fine Towers”. It’s pretty amazing to walk around its street fringed by medieval architecture. I fill like walking inside an ancient sprawling castle littered with churches and shops. The surrounding view of Tuscan farms is also one of the reasons why I love this place.

 

 Monteriggioni

Another medieval walled town in Tuscany is Monteriggioni that houses several piazzas. It is blissfully situated on top of a hill with its proud towers. The town is said to be fringed by coal that would be lit in case of attack. It was mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy. It’s quite small compared to San Gimignano. Here, you can visit the small yet charming Church of Sta. Maria Assunta. Meanwhile, the Armoury Museum showcases replicas of Renaissance and Medieval weapons and armours. You can even try the armours and have a souvenir photo taken.

RESERVE DISCOUNTED TOUR HERE

 

 Chianti

When in Tuscany, don’t miss to taste the high-quality Tuscany wine and discover why is it the most famous of all in the Italian wine region. Visit Chianti, a hill region in Tuscany peppered with castes, churches and medieval villages and famous for its panoramas and wines. It can be done as a day tour from Florence, usually included in the typical Tuscany countryside tour.

RESERVE DISCOUNTED TOUR HERE

 


 CINQUE TERRE

Florence Side Trip - Cinque Terre

 

The colourful villages of the remote Cinque Terre have been on the tourists radar in recent years. Often included in the list of most beautiful places in Italy, Cinque Terre is composed of 5 villages, namely: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, all part of the Cinque Terre National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cinque Terre is hemmed in by ancient terraces constructed by the locals themselves on rugged and steep terrain of cliffs that plunges to the sea.

RESERVE DISCOUNTED TOUR HERE

 

How to get there:

1.From Florence, take the train to La Spezia Station. Transit time is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Fare is roughly EURO 14 per person if coming from Florence SMN Station.

2.At La Spezia Station, purchase the Cinque Terre Card for EURO 16 for unlimited train rides and free entry within Cinque Terre.

3.At La Spezia Station, ride the Cinque Terre train. Train stops at the 5 villages: Riomaggiore (1st stop), Manarola (2nd stop), Corniglia (3rd stop), Vernazza (4th stop) and Monterosso (5th stop).

 


  ASSISI + CORTONA

Tour around Assisi, a famed UNESCOI Heritage Site and discover the life of Saint Francis de Assisi. At the same time, you can also make a side trip to Cortona and marvel at the jaw-dropping Tuscan landscape.

RESERVE DISCOUNTED TOUR HERE

 


WHERE TO STAY IN FLORENCE, ITALY


 

A hotel in FLORENCE ITALY A

 

One of the things I like about Florence, Italy is, there’s a wealth of budget hotels peppered around the historic district, making it a practical base when exploring Italy especially Tuscany region.  If you are a budget-conscious traveler, here’s a list of top-rated budget hotels in Florence, Italy’s historical center.  To check the room rates, click the link below and change the date to your preferred dates and hit search.

 

Hotel Ottaviani

Piazza degli Ottaviani 1, Historical Center, Florence, Italy,

CHECK ROOM RATES

We stayed here during our trip to Florence, Italy, and it was our cheapest hotel during our Europe tripThis hotel in the historical centre has seen better days. Staff are very helpful and friendly and they clean the room every day. Only downside is, the bathroom has see-through door, so we had to hang our blanket on the door. What I like about it is, it’s only a 5-minute walk from Florence SMN train station (and Sta. Maria Novella Church), very convenient.  The major tourist spots can also be reached on foot for about 15-20 minutes.  There’s also a bus stop right in front of the hotel and a grocery store. Restaurants and bar are within walking distance. Self-service laundry is also very near.  There’s also a taxi line nearby.

 

 Adre Majestic View

Via XXVII Aprile, 4 50129 Firenze. For Check-in at Hotel Veneto in via Santa Reparata, 31, Historical Center, Florence, Italy

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

 Hotel Savonarola

 Viale Matteotti, 27, Historical Center, Florence, Italy

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

 Hotel Veneto

33, Santa Reparata Street, Historical Center, Florence, Italy, 50129

  CHECK ROOM RATES

 

 


WHAT AND WHERE TO EAT IN FLORENCE, ITALY


We only tried a few restaurants in Florence as most of the time we were outside the city center, exploring other destinations in Tuscany. We just dined in whatever we encountered near our spot since we no longer have time to look for the best places to eat in Florence.

 

Where to Eat In Florence

MERCANTO CENTRALE

But if you want to eat authentic local food at reasonable prices, Mercato Centrale, just 2 blocks away from Florence SMN Station.  Here, you’ll find  delightful local produce and you can try the free taste of some meats, cheeses, etc. that are typical to the region. You can eat at some stalls here and sit elbow to elbow with the locals at the communal table.

Address: 50123 Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy

Open Hours: Daily 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM

Entrance Fee: FREE

How to get to Mercato Centrale: It’s about 5 minute(500 meters) walk from Florence SMN Station.

Nearest Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stop: Line A –>Bus Stop 1 (Florence SMN Station), Line B  –> Bus Stop 1 (Florence SMN Station)

 

Cafes and pasticcerie are also scattered around Florence where you can buy sandwiches, pastas and pizzas sold by weight.

We tried some restaurants near the historic center and tourist attractions. As a general rule in Florence and other countries in Europe, the nearer the restaurant is to a touristy place, the more expensive. We tried one right beside the Duomo. The strip of restaurants and cafes there are known for its hefty prices, but we found a really cheap one that sells, pizza, pasta, coffee, and wine, and we were able to grab a seat outside, just right beside the Duomo. Talk about perfect spot for photo op while dining! LOL But, really, there’s nothing special about their pizza. We also tried another restaurant just across the Pitti Palace, and it only cost us about EURO 20 (PHP 1,274) each and the food was quite good.

 If you really want to stay on a budget, large supermarkets are your best bet, plus you can find anything that you need there. We were lucky enough that our hotel was right in front of a small convenience store where we bought a couple of snacks, food, water, drinks and even wine, all at reasonable prices! But then again, you’re in Florence, it’s a must to try the local dishes!

 


FLORENCE ITINERARY


 

Here’s a sample Florence itinerary with budget, good for a 5 day 4 night stay. This is quite similar to the itinerary that my friend Marcos and I followed. Feel free to make necessary adjustments.

If you want to do this by Hop-on Hop-off Bus, you can  RESERVE TICKETS HERE.

 

Florence Itinerary 5 days

 

DAY 1

ARRIVAL IN FLORENCE

07:00 PM

ETA in Florence, Italy

07:30 PM

Airport Bus to Florence City (EURO 6/PHP 380)

08:00 PM

ETA SMN Station

08:05 PM

Walk to hotel

08:10 PM

Hotel check-in (EURO 20/PHP 1,265 per person)

08:30 PM

Dinner (EURO 20/PHP 1,265)

09:30 PM

Sta. Maria Novella Church (Free)

10:00 PM

Back to hotel. Sleep.

DAY 2

TUSCANY COUNTRYSIDE TOUR

08:45 AM

Meet up with tour guide.

08:50 AM

Tuscany Tour. (EURO 54/PHP 3,400)

  RESERVE TOUR HERE

09:30 AM

Monteriggioni

11:00 AM

Siena tour: Piazza del Campo + Siena Cathedral

12:30 PM

Lunch (Free with tour)

03:30 PM

San Gimignano

05:00 PM

Chianti area wine estate. Wine tasting.

07:15 PM

ETD Florence City.

08:15 PM

ETA Florence SMN Station.

08:30 PM

Dinner (EURO 20/PHP 1,265)

09:00 PM

Walk back to hotel.

09:15 PM

Sleep. (Hotel EURO 20/PHP 1,265 per person)

DAY 3

CINQUE TERRE + PISA, ITALY

07:00 AM

Florence SMN Station to La Spezia train, (EURO 14/PHP 886)

09:11 AM

ETA La Spezia Station

09:12 AM

Purchase Cinque Terre Card at La Spezia Station

(EURO 16/PHP 1,012)

For 1 Day unlimited train rides in Cinque Terre

09:25 AM

La Spezia train to Vernaza.

09:35 AM

Vernaza Sightseeing.

12:00 PM

Lunch (EURO 20/PHP 1,265)

12:30 PM

Train to Manarola

12:45 PM

Manarola Sightseeing.

02:00 PM

Train to Riomagiorre

02:15 PM

Riomagiorre Sightseeing.

04:00 PM

Train to La Spezia Station

04:20 PM

Alight at La Spezia Station

05:15 PM

Train to Pisa Centrale Station (EURO 8/PHP 506)

06:25 PM

ETA Pisa Centrale Station

06:30 PM

Buy roundtrip ticket for LAM Rossa Bus.

(EURO 1.20/PHP 76)

06:35 PM

Walk to Stazione 1

06:45 PM

Ride LAM Rossa (Red) Bus to Park Pietrasantina

07:00 PM

Get off at Piazza Manin.

07:01PM

Walk to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

07:07 PM

Leaning Tower of Pisa + Pisa Cathedral. (Free)

08:00 PM

Take LAM Rossa (Red) Bus back to Pisa Centrale Station.

08:15 PM

Buy train ticket to Florence. (EURO 11/PHP 696)

08:32 PM

Train from Pisa Centrale train to Florence SMN Station.

09:32 PM.

ETA Florence SMN Station.

09:40 PM

Late Dinner. (EURO 20/PHP 1,265)

10:15 PM

Walk to hotel.

10:20 PM

Sleep. (Hotel – EURO 20/PHP 1,265 per person)

DAY 4

FLORENCE CITY TOUR

07:00 AM

Bus # 12 or #13 to Piazzale Michelangelo

(EURO 1.20/PHP 76)

07:30 AM

Piazzale Michelangelo. (Free)

08:15 AM

Bus to Pitti Palace + Boboli Gardens. (EURO 1.20/PHP 76)

08:30 AM

Boboli Gardens (EURO 10/PHP 633)

10:30 AM

Pitti Palace. (EURO 16/PHP 1,012)

12:30 PM

Lunch (EURO 20/PHP 1,265)

01:00 PM

Bus to Florence historical center. (EURO 1.20/PHP 76)

01:30 PM

Piazza del Duomo Tour.

 RESERVE DISCOUNTED TOUR HERE

02:30 PM

Florence Cathedral (II Duomo di Firenze)

05:00 PM

Piazza Della Signoria

07:00 PM

Dinner (EURO 20/PHP 1,265)

07:30 PM

Shopping

09:00 PM

Back to hotel. (Hotel – EURO 20/PHP 1,265 per person)

DAY 5

FLORENCE CITY TOUR

08:00 AM

Ponte Vecchio. (Free)

09:00 AM

Palazzo Vecchio. (EURO 4/PHP 253)

10:00 AM

Uffizi Gallery. (EURO 12/PHP 759)

11:00 AM

Piazza Santa Croce. (EURO 8/PHP 506)

11:30 PM

Walk back to hotel.

12:00 PM

Hotel check-out.  (Hotel – EURO 20/PHP 1,265 per person)

12:30 PM

Lunch (EURO 15/PHP 949)

01:00 PM

Airport Bus to Florence Airport. (EURO 6/PHP 380)

 

 


FLORENCE, ITALY TRIP BUDGET


 

Here’s a sample Florence trip budget if you follow the Florence itinerary above. This assumes you will be staying at a EURO 20/PHP 1,265 per person hotel and your food budget is EURO 20 (PHP 1,265) per meal or less.

 

 

DAY 1

 

ARRIVAL IN FLORENCE

Airport Bus to Florence City

EURO 6 – PHP 380 (USD 7 – SGD 10 – MYR 29)

Hotel (per person)

EURO 20 – PHP 1,265 (USD 23 – SGD 32 – MYR 97)

Dinner

EURO 20 – PHP 1,265 (USD 23 – SGD 32 – MYR 97)

 

Total Expenses for Day 1

 

EURO 46 – PHP 2,910 (USD 53 – SGD 74 – MYR 223)

DAY 2

TUSCANY COUNTRYSIDE TOUR

Tuscany Tour

EURO 54 – PHP 3,400 (USD 63 – SGD 261 – MYR 86)

Dinner

EURO 20 – PHP 1,265 (USD 23 – SGD 32 – MYR 97)

Hotel (per person)

EURO 20 – PHP 1,265 (USD 23 – SGD 32 – MYR 97)

Total Expenses for Day 2

EURO 94 – PHP 5,930 (USD 109 – SGD 325 – MYR 280)

DAY 3

CINQUE TERRE + PISA, ITALY

Train to La Spezia train

EURO 14 – PHP 886 (USD 16 – SGD 22 – MYR 68)

Cinque Terre Card

EURO 16 – PHP 1,012 (USD 19 – SGD 26 – MYR 76)

Lunch

EURO 20 – PHP 1,265 (USD 23 – SGD 32 – MYR 97)

Train to Pisa Centrale Station

EURO 8 – PHP 506 (USD 9 – SGD 13 – MYR 39)

RT tickets for LAM Rossa Bus

EURO 1.20 – PHP 76 (USD 1.40 – SGD 2 – MYR 6)

Train to Florence SMN Station

EURO 11 – PHP 696 (USD 13 – SGD 18 – MYR 53)

Dinner

EURO 20 – PHP 1,265 (USD 23 – SGD 32 – MYR 97)

Hotel (per person)

EURO 20 – PHP 1,265 (USD 23 – SGD 32 – MYR 97)

Total Expenses for Day 3

EURO 110.20 – PHP 6,971 (USD 127 – SGD 177 – MYR 533)

DAY 4

FLORENCE CITY TOUR

Bus to Piazzale Michelangelo

EURO 1.20 – PHP 76 (USD 1.40 – SGD 2 – MYR 6)

Piazzale Michelangelo

FREE

Bus to Pitti Palace + Boboli

EURO 1.20 – PHP 76 (USD 1.40 – SGD 2 – MYR 6)

Boboli Gardens

EURO 10 – PHP 633 (USD 12 – SGD 16 – MYR 48)

Pitti Palace

EURO 16 – PHP 1,012 (USD 19 – SGD 26 – MYR 78)

Lunch

EURO 20 – PHP 1,265 (USD 23 – SGD 32 – MYR 97)

Bus to Florence historical center

EURO 1.20 – PHP 76 (USD 1.40 – SGD 2 – MYR 6)

Piazza del Duomo

EURO 18 – PHP 1,139 (USD 21- SGD 29 – MYR 89)

Dinner

EURO 20 – PHP 1,265 (USD 23 – SGD 32 – MYR 97)

Hotel per person

EURO 20 – PHP 1,265 (USD 23 – SGD 32 – MYR 97)

Total Expenses for Day 4

EURO 107.6 – PHP 6,807 (USD 87.20 – SGD 173 – MYR 524)

DAY 5

FLORENCE CITY TOUR + DEPARTURE

Ponte Vecchio

FREE

Palazzo Vecchio

EURO 4 – PHP 253 (USD 5 – SGD 6 – MYR 19)

Uffizi Gallery

EURO 12 – PHP 759 (USD 14 – SGD 19 – MYR 58)

Santa Croce

EURO 8 – PHP 506 (USD 9 – SGD 13 – MYR 39)

Hotel per person

EURO 20 – PHP 1,265 (USD 23 – SGD 32 – MYR 97)

Lunch

EURO 15 – PHP 949 (USD 18 – SGD 24 – MYR 73)

Bus to Airport

EURO 6 – PHP 380 (USD 7 – SGD 10 – MYR 29)

Total Expenses for Day 5

EURO 65 – PHP4,112 (USD 76 – SGD 104 – MYR 315)

GRAND TOTAL

EURO 423 – PHP 26,730 (USD 453 – SGD 853- MYR 1,875 )

 

 

 


FLORENCE, ITALY TRAVEL TIPS + REMINDERS


 

 

Every first Sunday of the month, all state museums in Florence have free entrance.

Do not exchange money at money exchange shops especially in touristy areas, they have terrible rates. Withdraw from ATMs instead.

Tipping is not customary in restaurants in Italy, you can just round off the bill.

You can purchase a Firenze Card for about EURO 85 (PHP 5,417) per person, a 72-hour pass for Florence that allows access to roughly 30 museums as well as free use of the public transport system.

  Alternatively, you can also avail of the Florence City Pass for approximately EURO 59.90 (PHP 3,818) for 1 Day Pass, EURO 69.90 (PHP 4,555) for 2 Day Pass, and EURO 79.90 (PHP 5,092) for 3 Day Pass. This pass entitles the holder to free admission to the top sights and museums in Florence.

  Supermarkets charges a small fee if you will use a plastic bag for your groceries.

  If you go shopping in Florence or in other European cities for at least EURO 154.94  (PHP 9.872), ask the shop for a tax-free form and have it filled out. Now at the airport when you are about to fly back to your home country, have the form approved by Customs and claim your tax refund. You can do this at any European Airports even if you purchase the product in another European country.

 


ALSO READ:

THINGS TO DO IN FLORENCE AND HOW TO GET THERE

 VENICE ITINERARY 

 ATHENS ITINERARY


About the Blogger : Gael is a Filipina travel blogger. Her work has appeared in local and international publications.

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