Florence Things to Do Tips by craic
Florence Things to Do: 2,185 reviews and 3,989 photos
Ravishing decor inside.
After 3 days in Rome we needed refreshment, a pick me up. We went looking for music in a church in the Via del Corso but were transfixed by a notice for a solo piano recital by Alfred Brendel. So off we went to the prettiest little theatre in the world , dripping with ivy fronds - and of course - no tickets available. Full house. But the girls said maybe!!!! if we came by an hour before the performance at 5 there might!!!!!!! be some returned tickets.
So we fronted up. And joined a likely queue. But the queue did not seem to be behaving in a proper fashion. People were coming and going. Names were being called out.
One has to get one's name on a list.
Now - when I asked to put my name on the list the girl said - there are 30 ahead of you, there is no hope, go home, do not bother.
But I got stubborn and wrote my name in big letters on the list and told her how to pronounce it because Compton is difficult for an Italian speaker.
The queue was mayhem. We were waiting on people ringing saying they couldn't come. The odd issue of tickets happened from that. But mostly we were waiting on 10 to 5 by which time those people who had telephone reservations had to pick up their tickets. If they didn't pick them up they would be sold to us.
Names were being called out. Happy people were being sold tickets. I got to the front of the queue. I could see my name on the list and slowly the names above it being crossed out. Then when she got to my name she turned the sheet over and skipped me totally.
I made a fuss. Oh yes - she said - Compton.
We got our tickets.
I'd heard her telling other people there was no hope. And she was wrong. So if there is something you really want to see - insist on getting your name on the list and write it in big recognisable letters - get to the front of the queue - and watch them like hawks.
Uscita courtesy of United Colours of Benetton.
Oh - Primavera! Oh - Birth of Venus! (Don't the girlies look just like Cate Blanchett?) Oh there's a Goya! And a Michelangelo. Help help help. I'm drowning. Isn't Canaletto lovely? Although somewhat smaller than I expected.
This is the big one. Come emotionally prepared. The game I play of picking one piece to take home with me (if only) I took a beautiful little Caravaggio of a tipsy Bacchus.
And the building is as beautiful as anything in it. Strolling along the galleries - the view of the Arno, the decorated roof - put a paper bag on my head I am hyper ventilating.
Costs 10 euros.
This is Italy giving you a great big smack in the chops.
Address: City Center
Directions: next to Palazzo Vecchio
We had one day to do the Accademia and the Uffizi. And we made the wrong choice I think doing the Accademia first.
Yes, the real David is splendid. And it is great to be able to walk behind him and see his bum.
And the four unfinished Michelangelos - The Prisoners - struggling to escape from the stone as the soul struggles to escape from the body - are wonderful.
Then there is a room of quite inferior bits and bobs of sculpture, a lovely little room of early religious art and .... oh yes, a travelling exhibition of amusing musical instruments made of marble or shaped like dragons.
We got our 10 euro worth - we didn't feel dudded - but you could cap off an exhausting day by popping through the Accademia - no need to be fresh for it.
Glimpse the Duomo.
Many a long year ago - last century - I saw a postcard of the most beautiful building. A black and green marble church in Florence. It was so beautiful I went home to my flat and my husband and said - Let's board the cats, give up the flat and move to Florence until our money runs out.
Reason prevailed and we didn't.
But as we set out into the streets of Florence I was looking for this black and green church.
What a laugh. It is now a glistening pink and white and green church. They are in the process of cleaning it. You can see the black still on parts of it where the scaffolding is.
Inside it is quite plain and cavernous. Outside it is a riot, almost edible. But it is very beautiful I think. It doesn't quite tip over into kitsch.
Like so many churches in Italy you can't really get back far enough to see it all. As you move around the city, glimpses of Duomo.
Because it's there.
It cost 6 euro for both climbs. I knew exactly which one - neither. I don't like heights. We had been talking to two young American girls in the restaurant the night before and they had climbed the Duomo. It sounded fascinating - you get a close up look at the painting in the dome - but the climb seemed quite claustrophobic and vertiginous - and I'm thinking no thanks.
So Matt set off to climb the pretty tower. All pink and white and green and glistening like a sugar cake. He found it easy enough to do. The bells started ringing while he was half way up but he said the noise didn't knock you around. And there is a little man way up the top - I suppose he rings for the ambulance if someone has a heart attack and stops people jumping or writing graffiti. Matt was thinking poor thing - he has to climb up every day. Let alone toilet breaks. Unless he has a bucket.
Anyway you pays your 6 euro, you climbs the tower, you looks at the view and then you climbs down. Then you've deserved a sit down coffee.
Close to the Duomo
The concert was superb. This is the perfectly designed space to hear a piano recital.
One tiny problem. Four cubicles in the toilette - one of which in the Donne was guisto (out of order) and as the audience was mostly composed of very old slow moving ladies, I missed out. The usherette came and told us the concert was about to start. Matt said there was no urinal in the Gents and only four cubicles - but it worked out better for him because none of them was guisto.
The whole experience was perfect - I loved it when the very old lady sitting next to me asked me to read her her programme - which I stumbled through as best I could.
A small cultural difference. When a few people clapped in the wrong place the audience hissed.
I have never heard that before. People are always clapping in the wrong place - but in Australia the audience lets it go. Then of course the keen but ignorant keep on clapping in the wrong place because they never learn the error of their ways.
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