If you see the sign shown in the first photo here:
Acqua Non Bevible - Do Not Drink the Water
Although there are a number of places to get water from Italian fountains (we filled up our water bottles on several occasions) just watch out for the sign above.
This sign was on the fountain that you see in the 2nd picture. So just look around or wait a while and see if someone else partakes before you quench your thirst.
I learned about the love locks that couples put on bridges (and other places) shortly after arriving in Europe. I found it an interesting story and at the time did not realize how popular this idea has become. Even in Florence, on the Ponte Vecchio in the center near the bust of Benvenuto Cellini, lovers try to immortalize their love by placing a padlock on the bridge.
However, Florence does not share this enthusiasm for love and has clearly advised would-be lockers to beware that, if caught, they face a rather steep fine of €160. The locks can not only cause an eyesore, but they were proving to do some damage to the bridge as they multiplied and rusted from weather. On our first visit to Florence, I saw quite a few locks despite the fine warning. On my second visit, there were less locks in this area; although I didn’t see anyone monitoring the area for would-be lovers with locks in their hands.
One more thing before we leave the Ponte Vecchio – look for the Vasari Corridor, a raised walkway from the Medici era.
You say you are just an ordinary tourist minding your own business? You say that nobody would really care what you were doing? You never thought about those cameras and paparazzi lurking around every corner?
Did you wear your under garments today?
Just imagine you are out for a nice walk in Florence. You remembered all those VirtualTourist tips about not wearing shorts or having your shoulders bare as you plan to visit many churches. But then, blocks away from your hotel you suddenly realize what had been bugging you for the greater part of the day. YOU FORGOT PART OF YOUR WARDROBE! And suddenly you see yourself along with the myriad of other pictures of celebrities who were getting into cabs, cars or horse drawn carriages who have suddenly found parts of their anatomy splashed across magazines from country to country at all the grocery check out aisles and in every European magazine kiosk.
FEAR NOT! In the popular Piazza Della Signoria (where the replica of the Statue of David is located) you will find a very convenient dispenser to help you "save the day". So after discretely putting in your One Euro coin and getting your special treat you can hop into the little store behind the dispenser, slip into your newly purchased item, maybe buy another gelato and be on your way to cover some more of the city with just a bit more um uh covering!
No, not this page, but a lot of churches, monuments, pillars, etc.
This obviously can be applied to many sights around the world that have been around awhile. In the United States we see some of this but no where near the scale of the work constantly being done on all the above mentioned structures in Europe.
Others here on VT and I have commented in other tips and forums about how to expect to see some of this on going construction and that you are just going to have to deal with it in your pictures.
The picture on this page captured in a Piazza in Florence at least give us an idea of what the finished product (in this case a column) will look like when the restoration is complete.
In order to keep the tourist coming through you will probably see a lot of local beat policemen and many policewomen keeping things "moving along".
On 2 different public squares we saw the local peace officers (I like that term), making sure that other then a short sit down everybody kept a move on.
In the first couple of pictures you can see a homeless man being woken up by 2 of the officers. He was asleep because as I watched one of the officers lightly tapped him with his shoe to see if he was indeed sleeping and not otherwise incapacitated.
In the last picture a group of younger travelers, with an empty alcohol bottle, were told to move it along.
I didn't watch either of the episodes until their conclusion and still wonder what the local peace officers had in their white shoulder bags.
It was snowing when I was in Florence in 2009 and at that time I was there I noticed that there are no visible roads/street signs to warn pedestrians regarding big potholes.
While walking on the street in Florence (from my hotel to the market), I stumbled and fell down on a pothole, bruising my left knee that until now I have a hard time recovering. I have arthritis on my knee now and have caused me a lot of money on medical/pharmacy bills. (My trip there was not a great experience for me because of this accident!)
Make sure to walk on the side of the business establishments instead on the street (Sometimes you can't avoid walking on the street because of blockage of deliveries to business establishments at night and early morning).
At night, the streets are not well-lighted (which was very weird to me because Florence is a tourist-destination area). Make sure to walk on well-lit areas.
The streets are not well-lighted and there are no street signs or warning signs of potholes.
Zona Traffico Limitata...restricted traffic zone.
In common with many Italian towns and cities, Florence has (thankfully) restricted the traffic in its historical centre.
Hiring a car when you visit Florence is, imo, unnecessary but if you do so then you really must pay attention to ZTLs. They are monitored by CCTv cameras and if you stray into them without the relevant permit you *will* get an automatic fine, taken from your credit card sometimes months later.
Your hotel or apartment owner may organise a temporary ZTL permit for you (you can get 2-hour permits which allow you to leave bags etc) but some will not bother. You may find that you need to park outside the ZTL and then walk, or take public transport, into the centre.
All ZTLs are very clearly signed..there really is no excuse for driving where you should not.
You can find a map of Florence's ZTL here Scroll down the page.
You can buy your tickets in advance at the site below and avoid the very long queues. Be aware that you get a time on your ticket so you can't just turn up and expect to get in if it's not the same time as your ticket.
A maximum of 30 people are allowed in every 15 minutes (during the busy season) so you can wait forever to get in. If you reserve online then it's problem solved. If you get here and it's really quiet then at least you don't need to find some spare Euros to get in......
Using your ATM card to draw cash is a cheap and easy way for international travellers to pay their way. However, in Florence we came across what we believed to be a dodgy operator at an ATM in Piazza Santa Trinita.
We approached the ATM and took our place third in cue behind a lady using the machine and an Indian male behind her. The lady seemed quite upset because the machine had "swallowed" her card. It was after hours and the bank was closed. The Indian male behind her very suspiciously tried to convince her to keep on entering her PIN number to see if the transaction would go through, all the while leaning over her shoulder. It is only after I stepped in that he hurriedly departed the scene, and I saw him get into the passenger seat of a nearby vehicle and the car sped off!
Always conceal your PIN number when entering it on the keypad. Inspect the keypad and insertion slot to guard against attached skimming devices.
How is anybody from northern Europe to know that December 8 is the day of Santa Maria Immacolata and therefore libraries close, cafes close, post offices close.
Be careful about `befana' (6 January): another such day!
There are two museums with long queues and to avoid them, it's better to book in advance. I tried to use internet, but DANGER, I don't know if it happened with that site or with all of them, but they tried (luckily I saw it before pressing "proceed"), to charge more than 35 € (Galleria della Accademia) and more than 82 € (Galleria degli Uffizi). Reason?: "Online service Euro" and "Booking Euro".
Book by phone, the museums charge 3 € (Sep. '07) or ask your hotel to do it for you (my hotel did).
For Museo Casa di Dante (pic), it's not necessary to book in advance.
Here, ther a lot of valuable painting and arts placed in this museum. Because of this, thousand ppls visit this museum everyday. Make a reservation before you come to FLorence. Otherwise, you have to Q since 8.00am and its very long Q. So, make a reservation for a ticket!!!
Please be careful with your drinks in Florence. I am a young female student who was travelling in Europe in summer 2007. My friend and I went to Bar Astor near the Duomo and our drinks were spiked by two of the bar staff. There seems to be a widespread problem in Florence in particular - never leave your drinks unattended, dont accept any free drinks, and go to the bar for drinks where you can watch them being poured, rather than having them brought to your table.
If you are a single woman traveling alone, I wouldn't recommend going to Piazzalle Michaelangelo alone...especially in the evening/at night. As I was walking up the hill with another female friend. We saw a man in the bushes. I didn't get a clear look at him because I was paying attention to the road, but my friend saw him. He was naked and doing something really disgusting with himself. After she saw it she screamed and we ran. We almost ran back down but instead decided to go up because we knew there would be a lot of people on the top. However, there were not a lot of people walking up with us at the time. There are a couple different ways you can get to the top. We were talking about it later and some locals told us that was not an uncommon thing. Although it doesn't happen a lot, they are not surprised that it did happen. On the way down, we made sure to try and walk with other people and we tried to walk a slightly different way. Don't let this detract you from going up to enjoy the view, just bring a friend to enjoy it with you.
In train stations double check from which platform(binari in italian) your train would leave. Specially the local or regional trains as they do change tracks once in a while and the public announcement is in Italian.. maybe I missed the English one... I had this experience and somehow I just managed not to miss my train from Pisa to Florence.
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