A Day In Florence
The Torre di Sopra is only 20 minutes from Florence so you might want to go more than once, but if you only have one day we've got the perfect guide to everything to see and do as well as eat and drink.
If you are travelling into Florence by car there are a couple of things to watch out for. First off there are strict no driving rules in the centre. Secondly, look out for spaces with BLUE lines, WHITE are for residents. The pay machines tend to eat coins (around €3 an hour). Try parking at the Piazza Poggi, it’s about as close to the centre as you’re allowed to get, but it is pretty small and you might have to wait for a space. Alternatively there’s an underground car park at Piazza Becarria.
If you’re starting from San Marco it’s worth taking a look at the Fra Angelico affescos, he was one of the most renowned members of the San Marco religious complex, along with the preacher Girolamo Savonarola.
If you want to check out the Benozzo Gozzoli affrescos at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi then you should pre-book. There’s a fabulous depiction of the Procession of the Magi.
Then round the corner to the San Lorenzo market is good for shopping especially leather handbags and accessories, you can also get 'cashmere' scarves for 10 Euros. If you’re ready to eat head over to Mercato Centrale. The market stalls take credit cards and are obliged by law to give a receipt, KEEP IT because you may be challenged by the police to produce it. We think the San Lorenzo market is cheaper than the Porcellino Market, so consider that and insider tip.
Ok, now you’re fed and done with your shopping so it’s back to exploring the cultural delights of Florence. We suggest visiting the Michelangelo Chapel in San Lorenzo, or walking down Borgo San Lorenzo to Piazza del Duomo.
The Duomo is more interesting from the outside than the inside unless you’re feeling up to climbing the cupola. And there are often long queues, you can pay for a tour to skip the queues, you should also book in advance if you would like to climb the cupola or the belltower. If you’re not quite that energetic try visiting the crypt. Only recently opened to the public the crypt is part of the original church, Santa Riparata. That makes it one of the oldest places in Florence and it’s of particular interest to us as there is a fragment of fresco that’s exactly the same as the ones at Torre di Sopra! These fresco’s are very rare so we’re pretty lucky to have a whole room of them.
After visiting the Duomo, cross the piazza and walk along Via Calzaioli, to your right you will see the church of Orsanmichele. Pop in for a moment and if possible visit the upstairs museum. It is an amazing building, originally a grain store and well worth a quick visit.
If by now you are desperate for ice-cream Perche Non, one of the oddest and best gelaterias is in the street opposite
If you need to sit down, Rivoire in Piazza della Signoria is one of the most exclusive bars in town. It costs a bomb to sit outside but it is worth it just to sit and look at Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi.
Round the corner is the Porcellino Market and Por Santa Maria that leads to the Ponte Vecchio.
If you really want to visit the Uffizzi then queues are unavoidable and you will need to book in advance, if you don’t have much time try visiting the Bargello instead. It has lovely sculpture including Donatello's David.
If you haven't already had lunch try Vivoli near Piazza Santa Croce.
Santa Croce is also worth a visit but even more beautiful is the Capella Pazzi by Brunelleschi, just to the right of the church.
Little known secrets….
The Church of Santa Felicita, nestled in the tiny Piazza Santa Felicita, just round the corner from the Ponte Vecchio on your way to Piazza Pitti: immediately on your right when you enter is the wonderful 'Deposition from the Cross' by Pontormo.
And last but not least you might want to see the Marino Marini Museum. The museum was designed by the architect Bruno Sacchi (who owned and converted Torre di Sopra), and houses a collection of sculpture and painting by Marino Marini. This museum is the only one in Florence to house modern art. So it’s well worth checking out anyway.