“You can't really miss it, as it's in the center of everything, but WATCH YOUR WALLET/PURSE!”
Before I went to Florence for 2.5 weeks this past spring, several dear friends warned me to be hyper-vigilant about the gypsies. I was told that they would never harm me, but were very adept pick-pockets. I saw plenty of them, but was merely annoyed at the extremely persistent panhandling. They follow you as you try to walk past, attempting to engage your pity in any number of languages in which they are surprisingly fluent.
However, I never felt more safe in any city in my life, walking around alone after midnight in amazement. The Piazza is a very safe place to be: well-lit, well-populated (sometimes too much so), and well-patrolled by the carabinieri. I'm not going to tell you about all the wonderful things you can see and do in the Piazza del Duomo area. There are countless guide books that can do a better job that I ever could.
I will tell you, however, that I made another trip to Florence this autumn, and this time, I WAS pick-pocketed. Truthfully, I feel ashamed to say it, but it was definitely the gypsies, who are Romanian, and stick together, working as a team. I know it's not "politically correct" to call them out, but this is exactly what happened. I was sitting on a bench, admiring the Campanile while resting my weary feet after a long walk. So far, so good. I unlatched and unzipped my satchel/purse to take out my cell phone; the idea was to update my Facebook status. I know, I know. And although I fended off a few panhandling gypsies who came right up and all but sat down in my lap, I never saw sticky fingers glide into my bag, and a few minutes later, walked back to my apartment to find... well.... to NOT find my beautiful python wallet.
With my credit card. And debit card. And Drivers License. And euro from the ATM where I'd just been. Had I been watched as I withdrew the cash? All I can say is that I suddenly found myself in a foreign country with no cash on me, and no way to access any. Not a pleasant experience, and unfortunately, I was told that this occurs many times over, each and every day in every piazza in Florence.
So this is my "Different Sort of Review" of Piazza del Duomo. It's been said since time immemorial: be aware of your surroundings. Even the locals have been pick-pocketed numerous times; just ask them. It's not violent crime, but it's definitely crime.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.