Florence Walking Tour

11:15:00 AM Brooke Neal 3 Comments

There probably isn't much I can say about Florence that hasn't already been written.  Home of the Renaissance and an art lovers paradise, Florence hits the ball out of the park every time!  Good food, a fascinating history and one precious work of art after the another makes this city on the Arno a must see. 

I like taking a walking tour the first day we arrive in a new city to acquaint ourselves with the "lay of the land" and also get an idea of which sites I really want to know more about or pay to get into. Florence Free Tour came highly recommended by Trip Advisor so that is who we toured with. 
The Details
Meeting Point: Santa Maria Novella Church
Hours: 11am Renaissance Tour, 2pm Medici Tour
Cost: gratuity 
Time: 1.5-2 hours
Tip: I took both tours and each guide stood in a different place in front of the church, so look for the guide holding a small red placard. 
Review:  I like walking tours and I really like history/architecture, so this suit me very well.  Walking tours also work well for my family members who aren't as keen because there is always a plaza to run around, a pigeon to chase and since we are constantly on the move there is something new to look at every few minutes. I have found, and this is especially true if the group is large, that I have to stand very close to the guide if I actually want to hear what he is saying. Plus, when we are walking between sites I can then ask any additional questions I might have without holding up the tour. 
As I mentioned, I took both tours --I was a little worried we might cover a lot of the same ground, but aside from the church where you meet, the itinerary is different.  Personally, I liked the Medici Tour better, but that may be in part because the guide was better spoken and louder. 
Most Italian cities are a nightmare of intersecting streets, but if you notice the map below, the center of town is laid out in a rectangular plan with straight streets.  This is typical of Roman towns--which is what Florence began as when the Romans settled here in 59BC.  It wasn't until the middle ages when the city out grew itself and expanded that the roads became disorderly.   
This little door in the wall is literally just big enough to put your hand through.  This is one of the locations were early Florentines got "drink."  In the absence of clean running water, beer and wine were the sustenance of life.  According you our guide Florentines drank early and often to support their heavy/hard labors.  
The masterpiece of Florence--the Duomo, Giotto's Bell Tower and the Baptistry.  I will revisit these monuments in another post.
 Palazzo Vecchio--One thing to note, you do not go inside any of the buildings you pass on the tour. 
This is my newest tip for families--Bring bubbles!  Eden delighted herself with bubble creations while we walked around the city and since we were outside, she could! You'd be amazed at what a jar of bubbles can do to improve the mood of your child and hence improve your ability to enjoy the tour. I think I am genius for this one! 

So there you have it.  This is just a smattering of what we saw on the tours, but you get the idea. It's a lot of walking and talking.  My sister and I are very different travelers--she would like the tour because it offers an overview of the city and that's all she's interested in.  I like the tours because I find out which buildings are worth a more in-depth look, so walking tours really benefit every kind of traveler. 




3 comments:

  1. Beautiful shots, and I am going to send a link on this to a friend who is going to be going to Italy for the first time very soon. Nice lighting and depth of color in the first shot!

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