Florence with a Difference: An Alternative Itinerary
For cruise passengers who wish to explore Florence without using one of the shore excursions offered from Livorno, those with limited time in Florence, or for those who wish to explore unique and unusual sights while in the city/area, here is a list of remarkable options to the ‘usual’ Florentine itinerary. We call this our “Alternative Florence”.
Some logistics if arriving by ship in Livorno: Taxis from the Livorno port to the train station average Euro 20.00. Round trip train service is available to Santa Maria Novella station in the heart of Florence every thirty minutes between 6:00AM and 11:30PM. The train trip takes an hour and twenty minutes each way. Fares range between Euro 9.00 per person to Euro 15.00 per person each way depending upon type of train/level of service selected.
Steps from Florence’s most remarkable monuments, including the Duomo and Piazza della Signoria, is the Palazzo Davanzati. Reopened in 2010 after a lengthy restoration, the palazzo affords visitors the opportunity to walk through a wealthy renaissance family’s private residence, complete with original furnishings, restored frescoes and tapestries. The beauty of the home is remarkable. Often overlooked, this is a treasure of the city and should not be missed.
The Palazzo is open Monday through Sunday 08:15 – 13:50. Closed the second and fourth Sunday of each month, the first, third and fifth Monday of each month, January 1, May 1 and Christmas Day.
The Ground Floor and First Floor of the palazzo are open without reservation. However, if you wish to visit the second and third floors of the palazzo, where some of the more spectacular rooms are located, you must call the museum in advance and reserve space on the tours scheduled offered each day at 10:00, 11:00 and 12:00 during regular opening days of the museum.
Tickets are: € 2.00
Via Porta Rossa, 13
Museum of Florence of the Age (Museo Storico Topografico di “Firenze com’era”)
A rare find: an almost free, rarely crowded, museum in Florence. Located two block behind the Duomo, this is an often overlooked, important, in the city center. Since 1956, the museum has been housed in the former convent of the Oblate Sisters. Contained within are numerous maps, etchings and studies of the city plans from the renaissance to the current day. Giusto Uten’s lunettes, paintings of the various Medici Villas, are displayed here as are the Giuseppi Zocchi’s 18th century etchings of Florence’s many churches.
A final treasure to note is the scale model of Renaissance Florence overlaid with the location of the city’s most well-known monuments. More than worth the € 2.70 admission fee.
Museo Storico Topografico “Firenze com’era”
Via dell’Oriolo 24 – Firenze – Tel. 055 2616545
Admittance time. Weekdays: Monday Tuesday Wednesday 9 am- 2 pm; Saturday 9 am – 7 pm; from June 1 to Sept 30: Monday and Tuesday 9 am – 2 pm; Saturday 9 am – 7 pm
Closed on: Thursday and Friday; from June 1st to Sept. 30th: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. December 25, January 1. –
Entrance: € 2.70
Along the curved stretch of the Via Proconsolo are the doors to a gorgeous and, again, often overlooked museum in the city’s center; the Bargello. While improvements to the façade of the museum now permit passers-by the ability to glance into the ground floor gallery, the museum is rarely crowded. An advantage to those who seek the greatest treasures of renaissance art!
Contained within are Michelangelo’s Bacchus, various works in a special retrospective of Baccio Bandinelli, works by dell Robbia and, most notably, the bronze David by Donatello. Michelangelo is reported to have said that had it not been for this bronze, and for Donatello’s skills as sculpture, the Renaissance would never have occurred. On the second floor is a bust of “Lady with Primroses”, attributed to Andrea dell Verrocchio and equally reflective of the genius of da Vinci.
The museum is normally open Monday through Sunday 08:15 – 13:50. The museum is closed the 1st, third and fifth Sunday, as well as the second and fourth Monday of each month, January 1, May 1 and Christmas Day.
Note: The museum is operating extended hours between April 9, 2014 and July 13, 2013, from 08:15 – 17:00 to accommodate visitors to the Baccio Bandinelli exhibit.
It will only be closed the second and fourth Monday of each month until the Bandinelli exhibit closes.
During the Baccio Bandinelli exhibit, April 9, 2014 – July 13, 2014, tickets for the museum are € 7.00 per person.
Ticket price will return to the usual fee of €4.00 per person after July 13, 2014.
Museo del Opera del Duomo in Florence CLOSED FOR ONE YEAR
The news that the Museum of the Works of the Duomo in Florence, famous for its Michelangelo Nicodemus Pieta, the Della Robbia and Donatello choir lofts and the Donatello Magdalene is closed for one year comes with mixed emotions. The final open day was May 19, 2014 and while no specific date has yet been announced for the grand reopening, Italian journals are mentioning late fall of 2015.
The planned restoration of the museum space will be stunning. Included in the expanded museum will be a replica of the original façade of Santa Reparata, the church which once occupied the Duomo’s land. Key pieces of Santa Reparata’s original façade, including the work of Arnolfo di Cambio, will be placed in the newly redesigned space.
Additionally, the original panels of the three Baptistery doors will be constructed, while copies stand outside on the actual structure.
In the interim, the city has placed a large painted canvas cover across the front of the museum and a large section of the Piazza Duomo to protect passers-by from the heavy work being done.
Be patient and come back next fall for what promises to be one of the Italy’s most incredible restorations to date.