Beautiful Florence! You have been on my wish list for so long, I almost cried when my boyfriend decided to gift me a weekend for my birthday to this amazing city! I had seen all the beautiful pictures just couldn't wait to see it all for myself. Florence it is!
But is this city really as it looks like on all the pictures or is there something they are not telling you?
As you know I'm a very critical traveler so if only want to hear about all the amazing history and the beautiful buildings this blog is not for you. Let's keep it real shall we? My last visit to Mykonos has made me very aware of the whole mass tourism in Europe so are you ready?
The honest truth about Florence
Florence is the capital of Tuscany and this makes it one of the most visited cities in Italy. And with this starts the first problem. Florence isn't a big city and with the millions of tourists visiting the city you can easily image how crowded it can be. Especially in the month of August, the number of tourist reaches its peak. The popular El Duomo can only be seen if you book your tickets in advance and even then you have to stand in line for hours to get in. At 8 am the line was already longer than 300 meters and it kept on growing longer by the minute.
Another one of Florence's biggest attraction is the Ponte Vecchio. This famous bridge with its cute little jewelry stores on both sides is a famous picture point. If you like to make some awesome pictures here you better be here before 7.30 AM. Any later and it looks like the bridge is about to crash under the number of tourists.
Another landmark that dominates the city is the Campanile di Giotto. Standing right next to the Duomo is the perfect place to watch over the city. As the temperatures in summer easily reach over 35 degrees, climbing the tower is something you need first thing in the morning. We went in at 8 o'clock with no lines. By the time we were down again the lines with tourists was already endless. If you don't feel comfortable in narrow spaces with lots of other sweating people trying to walk the many steps this is not for you.
Where to go?
But have all the tourist really taken away the glow of the city? Is it not worth your time anymore? I wouldn't say that. The city has so much to offer. Just stay away in the months July and August and really try to explore the city. We discovered the most beautiful streets by just getting lost a little bit. Skip the long lines and visit the other museums like; Pallazo Pitti, Cappelle Medici or the Basilica of Santa Croce and discover the true beauty of the city.
- Avoid travelling in August
- Escape the lines and book in advance for your favourite museum
- Watch out for street sellers. If somebody asks you the time IGNORE them and walk on
- enjoy the great Italian food
- get lost in the little streets of the historic centre
- visit the city beach at the Arno to escape the summer heat
- get up early and start exploring
- book a trendy Bed & Breakfast instead of a big hotel
Where to stay?
We stayed at La Torre Dei Salterelli. Just 5 minutes away from the Ponto Vecchio and in the middle of the historic centre of Florence. A great place to start your journey.
For more accommodation options in Florence please click below to find your best spot.
The truth about Florence? Yes, it's still a beautiful city absolutely worth your visit, but I do advice to travel off season, make your own schedule and don't forget the most beautiful spots are often not the main attractions.