Are you planning to visit Florence, Italy for the first time and looking for tips on the best things to do while you're there? Here are my top five things you should know about Florence before packing your bags!
I myself found to have quite the love-hate relationship with this great city - what I had imagined and what I actually got to experience while being there, where two very completely different things. So here are some things I wish someone told me before going.
1. The Ufizzi Galleries are a hot mess! Literally. Thousands and thousands of people waiting to buy tickets, waiting to get in, and scrambling to take pictures of every square centimeter of the galleries make for one suffocating experience. I wouldn't even know where to begin on what to suggest to make life easier for the Ufizzi visitor. We pre-booked tickets (which was supposed to help you bypass the crowds) and still found the whole thing overwhelming. I heard they offer a virtual tour now. By all means take it and avoid the craziness!
2. I highly recommend replacing the chaos of Ufizzi with the serene vibe of the next door Galileo Galilei Museum. Not only, it hosts an epic collection of scientific and astronomical instruments, but it provides you the one precious thing that the Ufizzi can't: breathing room to take it all in, to be in the moment and to enjoy your experience. Not to mention that it also features some amazing views of the Arno that you won't have to wrestle anyone for.
3. The Ponte Vecchio bridge is an ideal spot to get you wallet stolen. That being said, if you enjoy being squeezed in a mass of people desperate to buy overpriced jewelry, groups of tourists herded like cattle and the occasional dog tied to a stroller, don't let me stop you!
4. Just minutes away from Ponte Vecchio you'll find Ponte alle Grazzie. Taking this route across the Arno will give all the best Florentine feels! The view from this bridge is amazing (you get to take a selfie with the Ponte Vecchio craziness instead of being in it) and you get to stop and "smell the flowers" without anyone elbowing you or breathing down your neck.
5. I thin the best decision during my time in Florence was visiting the Boboli Gardens. Escape to this secret oasis and get lost throughout the romantic alleyways, take a break by the water fountains and take in the amazing view of the city. Bring a book and some snacks for a picnic and make a day out of it. You'll thank me later!
Have you visited Florence before? What were your impressions of the city?
Have a brilliant day!