One thing about Florence: FLOCK OF TOURISTS! In big cities like Paris or Berlin, you will definitely encounter throngs of them, oh wait, I belong to the crowd… throngs of us, I mean. But normally the crowds are just along the famous sites which are more often far apart so you have a huge space in between to breathe. In Florence it is not the case because the streets are quite narrow and the sites are a stone’s throw away from each other. It’s really jam-packed everywhere so here are some tips you can try so you can have some air to enjoy your Italian holiday.
1. Plan Ahead
Obviously. I mean, for example, you need to know which museums fit your interests and reserve online or call when you are already in Italy. It’s cheaper with the latter. You can go all day with your Michelangelo’s and Donatello’s to tell your friends but if you don’t like what’s inside, you’ll end up whining about queues and all your money’s worth. If you’re tired and don’t know what to do, the Uffizi Gallery and the Cathedral complex are always safe bets. It doesn’t hurt to read a little bit and plan ahead to save time with reservations and to budget wisely. The lines are insane it should be one of Dante’s circle of hell. You have been warned.
2. The 200m Radius
It’s a rule I invented which often works depending on the layout or landscape around a tourist-flocked place. Normally, I move away at least 200m from where all the tourists flock and am often greeted with the best views without having to crop so many bald heads in my photos. For example, Ponte Vecchio is always overloaded I’m so amazed it can support all the tourist weight so, move up to the next bridge. You have less people and a better view of the famous bridge and also, you will discover hidden squares, churches, and even less crowded and cheaper restaurants the further you move along. Also, sometimes it’s hard to squeeze your way through the rails of Piazzale Michelangelo because the next person is taking a lot of time perfecting his/her selfies or panning his/her phone to fit a panoramic shot. I suggest you move up to the nearby Cimiterio delle Porte Sante. You don’t have to go inside if you are creeped out. Right across is a tiny park with the same views as the Piazzale’s but bordered with a mini-version of the postcard Tuscan hills – it’s amazing. The rule also sometimes works with restaurants.
3. Ask New Friends
Sometimes you just lose your way through the narrow alleys or after a steep climb for that I’m-not-a-boring-tourist-I-need-to-take-the-off-the-beaten-path deviant drama. Most of the time, well, you are not alone. More often you see tourists looking for the same thing on their way back so you can be friendly enough and ask what’s beyond! Of course you have to be careful but I think you can discern a crazy tourist from a scammer just from the load of gadgets, clothing or their gang. Or better yet, ask a local! Always best to pick someone who doesn’t look too busy because of course, they have to go run their errands while you bother their neighborhood with your touristic stuff but more often than not, locals are extremely friendly. So yeah, ask, gain a friend and catch that rare off-the-beaten experience!