The daughter of one of my clients will be spending a few weeks in Florence, Italy, in January as a part of a study abroad program. If you’re planning a trip any time soon to this lovely city in the Tuscany region, here are some things to do in Florence.
(taken directly from my note to her)
“Valeria will most likely have a pretty full schedule, but if she gets any spare time, here are some places we enjoyed:
Uffizi Gallery – Purchase tickets online so you can skip the long ticket lines. There’s a rooftop café with great views and pretty good food. It’s the perfect place for a museum break.
Statue of David – If you go with a guide, you can skip the line and have closer access.
Il Duomo – You can view everything on your own, but you get more “behind the scenes” access if you go with a guide.
Outdoor statues – There are mini-versions of famous statues (including David) in the big piazza. It’s open 24 hours per day. It’s fun to picnic there or just relax there in the evening.
When my husband won an essay contest, the grand prize was a trip to Paris and Florence. While on this trip, we were introduced to a company called Florence Town. They offer various activities, and everyone we encountered from the company was extremely knowledgeable and friendly and wanted to bring us the local flavor of Florence. We had a 2.5 hour walking tour. We also were gifted two cooking classes: pizza and gelato as well as a combo market tour and cooking class. Both were fun and delicious. We were also gifted a day trip through another company. Let’s just say that there was a definite difference in quality and service, and Florence Town was superior.
A guide who wasn’t affiliated with Florence Town but gave us an excellent walking tour – including access to David -was Paola Barubiani.
If there’s time for some day trips or an overnighter, Siena and Assisi are lovely towns to visit. If you want a great overview of the towns plus some insider info from a local, here are two wonderful guides to contact:
Assisi- Alessandra Pettinelli
Siena– Roberta Piccinetti
If there’s access to a car, driving through Tuscany is a must.
Pisa is nearby, but other than the tower, there’s really nothing else to see there. The place was crawling with pick pockets and annoying salespeople when we were there.
San Gimignano is a cool medieval town – perfect for wandering and enjoying a café crawl.
January will be cold, and there will probably be snow, so there won’t be any flowers blooming. One of our trips to Florence was during Christmas, so we bundled up and enjoyed strolling around and looking at all of the lights. The air was clean and crisp, so we also enjoyed some great views from the Duomo Tower as well as a hillside looking over the town.
Please give Valeria my best. Hope she has a fantastic time!”
If you’re scratching your head and wondering, “Why so many travel-related blogs in a time management blog?”, the answer is simple. Getting away from it all allows our bodies and brains to take a break. Going on vacation – no matter how long and no matter where – will do wonders for your productivity. But sometimes properly planning for the type of vacation that lowers your stress levels (and doesn’t add to it) can take a lot of time. To save you time and stress, I’m sharing my travel tips with you.