Florence, Italy is unlike any other city you will ever visit. No, it’s not hype. You see, there’s a good reason it is among the top three most visited Italian cities.With centuries of history, architecture, monuments, and a warm, friendly people you’ll soon find yourself getting sucked into the very soul of the city as you explore and learn more about this charming medieval-modern town that has a history reaching way back to the Roman empire times.Take a look at this article to learn all of the basics you need to know for visiting Florence, things to do,where to stay and transportation.
So, before jetting out to Firenze – as the locals call it – here are things you should know.
Where to stay
Florence even though tiny has several unique neighborhoods. Depending on your preference and budget you can stay at the center of the city – which means you’d be considering lodging near Duomo. If you’d want a bit of the nightlife, then Santa Croce is your best bet.
Don’t worry, you can easily find an accommodation that fits your budget – from student lodges, hostels to luxury suites in Florence.
Time of the year
The truth is, the time of the year you visit could impact tremendously on whether you enjoy your stay or not.
It’s significantly going to decide whether you’re going to share with hundreds of other visitors the limited Florence space.
When to visit?
June – September is the peak tourist season – it’s the months when hordes of vacationers descend on the city. And the city can get unbearably hot too.
So, if you don’t mind having a crowd of camera-carrying folks around then, it’s probably the best time to visit.
November – February the touristy season is cooling off; fewer visitors are around at this time of the year. However, prepare for rains. Carry along water resistant shoes and wears.
The upside is you have fewer people around to scrambling for the same space and often things a bit cheaper too.
Transportation around the city
Florence offers a working public transit system you can take advantage of. The train just as in the whole of Italy works pretty fine.
You can choose between the Regionale – doesn’t require a seat reservation, a bit cheaper though has several stops – and the InterCity – be sure to make your reservations ahead of time.
However, remember to time-stamp the tickets to validate them at the station usually for the duration of the journey often for 6 hours. There’s a hefty fine for not verifying the ticket.
Walking; though, is still the best way to get around the city as most of the touristy places are within walking distances of each other.
Eating in Florence
Florentines eat dinner late unlike what you may be accustomed to. Dinner is often ready from 8 PM – 9 PM; it’s not uncommon to find restaurants still closed by 7 PM.
So, if you’re hungry before the typical dinner time, you may consider going for Aperitivo – it’s the Italian version of happy hour. Also, it’s not mandatory to leave a tip after receiving service.
As you travel around, you discover each country have their unique peculiarity. For the Italians, it is their afternoon siesta. Between 1 PM to 3.00PM, it’s not out of place to find restaurants, cafes, and the majority of shops closed.