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Trying to balance time between Florence & Venice

Montgomery Village...
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Trying to balance time between Florence & Venice

I need some input from experienced travelers.

I'm arriving via train in Florence early Friday afternoon 7/21. I fly out of Venice on the morning of Wednesday 7/26. I am trying to figure out when to make the switch. I don't really know much about either. My goal is to relax and see the main attractions. My wife and I aren't too big on museums.

In Venice, I want to see St. Mark's and ride a gondola. Are there any other ESSENTIALS?

I don't really know yet what all there is to do in Florence, but we're aiming to take a (as) quick (as possible) detour to Pisa. Any suggestions for ESSENTIALS there?

MAIN QUESTION: Am I better off spending 2 full days in Venice or Florence? (Should I make the switch Sun 7/23 PM or Mon 7/24 AM?)

UK
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1. Re: Trying to balance time between Florence & Venice

In Venice besides St Marks there is the Campanile which is well worth a visit on a clear day you can see the alps, there are many churches that are worth visiting, its,worth getting D&K Top Ten Venice Guide book it is small, but lists the top ten of all aspects in Venice ,the weather could be hot and humid In july so best to get the sights in early in the day,also not so busy, as then the day trippers arrive queues get horrendous,

Thats the time to wander off the beaten track, its so peaceful you never know whats a round the corner, I have been to Venice loads of times and can always find something new to marvel at,if you are not into muesums I think I would spend the most time in Venice,Florence too is not that big and no quiet Canals too stroll along there, as for Pisa a couple of hours would do ,the tower,ThePiazza del Duomo not much else lots of tacky stalls selling little leaning towers,

Think you will both Citys they are so different.

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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for Tuscany
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2. Re: Trying to balance time between Florence & Venice

Most people on this forum lean towards spending more time in Florence than Venice, but I guess you could expect that on the Florence forum!

There is so much more to Florence than museums, there are the churches, gardens, wonderful architecture, markets, great shops, quiet side streets to wander along giving tantalising glimpses of beautiful courtyards. Climb the duomo for the view, have dinner in the Piazza della Signoria watching the sunset change the colour of the walls of the Palazzo Vecchio. Or enjoy watching the sun go down over the whole city from the Piazzale Michelengelo, especially magical if you catch the church bells all ringing out too. Go jewellery shopping on the Ponte Vecchio or treat yourself to some fine leather goods (workshops all over town), have a drink in the Piazza della Rupublicca watching the street entertainers. I could go on & on....

My advice would be to buy a good guide book and see what each city has to offer, when you have decided what appeals to you then you will know how to divide your time.

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3. Re: Trying to balance time between Florence & Venice

Make the switch on Monday. Anyways the state museums are closed in both places. I doubt you have time for Pisa.

Enjoy!

Naperville, Illinois
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4. Re: Trying to balance time between Florence & Venice

I loved florence and just liked venice.

Florence is beautiful and peaceful and relaxing and the people are great. Venice is very pretty but much more commerciaized and very very crowded. I would do three nights maybe in florence and maybe two nights in venice. You could also consider doing the overnight train to venice. It is also very very expensive in venice and the food is not so great. We did the gondola ride and st marks square and enjoyed both sites. I would have loved to see the glass blowing and burano lace site though. Maybe next time...

enjoy

Florence only takes about 2 hours to walk from one side to other.

Venice is walkable on the main island with 1-1.5 hours.

Wandering is fun in both areas

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Trying to balance time between Florence & Venice

I'm a Florence fan too. In May Venice was already really crowded-especially on the weekend. Florence a bit less so (a bit). I prefer Florence because it has a lot of college students, it moves a bit more like a city, there are more locals, you can easily walk from place to place, and there are more really god restaurants. I am not big on throngs of people, and we found more open relaxing space in Florence. We ate at 2 really good restaurants, (Za Za, and Osteria Santo Spirito), wondered through the Boboli gardens, and gawked at Daid and the Duomo. The shopping in Florence is great too.

If you like water-then go for Venice. We stayed at the Gardena hotel right across the canal from the train station and really liked it (if you get a good price). It sits near the intersection of the main canal, and a smaller canal and across the street from a park. One afternoon, I was sitting in my room and within the course of a few minutes 4 groups of gondolas with singers came past my window. I went to the window and waved. Many people want to stay near Saint Mark's but I liked being off the beaten path. There was also an awsome wine bar next door with great appetizers. I made it my dinner one night.

So it all comes down to what you like better. You really can't lose either way.

Chicago
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6. Re: Trying to balance time between Florence & Venice

We too are Florence fans.

Make the switch Monday . Aren't too big on museums - then a trip to Pisa would be ok (maybe on Sunday). I believe bus No1 from Pisa Centrale goes to the tower. Make sure you validate the train tickets to / from Pisa in the yellow boxes near the tracks.

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7. Re: Trying to balance time between Florence & Venice

I just returned on monday , spent 3 nights in florence then 3 nights in Venice . I wish I would have spent more time in Florence and less in Venice! Definitely try a day trip in Tuscany, we booked a full day tour with Alessandro , it was the highlight of our trip! Let me know if you want more info.