Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and although it is a small city, it is packed with things to do as it holds one of the largest collections of artwork in the world. Since it was the first time for my husband and me in Florence, and we only had two days in our hands, we decided that doing a tour with an expert company was the best option.
After some research, we decided that the Small Group Walking Tour with David run by Livitaly Tours was a great choice. Livitaly is a small family run company that specializes in private and small group tours.
We met our guide Raffaela and the rest of the group in Piazza della Signoria, in the heart of Florence. This particular square is home to the Palazzo Vecchio, which is now the city’s town hall and the Loggia della Signoria which is an open air art gallery that includes many great sculptures. Also, the replica of Michelangelo’ s David overlooks the square. Our guide explained to us how the square was the center of the political life of the city and the role of the Medici family in the history of Florence.
After passing through the courtyard of the Uffizi gallery where the offices of the Florentine Magistrates used to be during the Medici era, we headed towards the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge. On both sides of this stone bridge, one can find shops selling jewelry and art. It used to be butcher shops but because the Medici were disturbed by the smell they were replaced by gold merchants. Above the bridge also runs the Vasari Corridor that connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti (the old and new house of the Medici family). Luckily, Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge that wasn’t destroyed during World War II.
We then made our way through the small alleys of Florence and got a glimpse of the everyday life of its inhabitants. As the tours are for a maximum of 6 people we had the chance to interact with each other and ask a lot of questions not only about the history of the town but also about the present; how people spend their days and how life is in Florence and Italy in general.
On our way to the beautiful Piazza della Republica, we stumbled upon the Il Porcellino, a small bronze pig situated by Mercato Nuevo. You are supposed to rub his nose and put a coin in his mouth if it falls in the grate below you will have good luck and return to Florence.
After admiring the Piazza della Republica we made our way towards the impressive Piazza del Duomo. The square is home to the cathedral complex that includes the Duomo, the Baptistery, and Giotto’s Campanile. All three are declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
It was then time to head to the last stop of our tour, the Galleria dell’ Accademia to admire one of Michelangelo’s great works, David. Our tour included a VIP access to the museum, which means that we skipped the really long line and went straight inside. Apart from David, the museum holds a collection of other sculptures made by Michelangelo and many Renaissance paintings.
The highlight of our tour was our guide Raffaela, her knowledge of Florence helped us understand the great history of this city. She has a great ability communicating information in a very understandable way which kept us engaged throughout the 3-hour tour. Although she is Italian, she has an amazing American accent that made it easy for us to understand her. The small size of our group allowed us to interact with each other and learn more things. The tour felt like we were on a walk with a friend that was showing as her city. Raffaela also shared with us tips on how to recognize the best gelato and helped us organize the rest of our holidays in the area by suggesting places we shouldn’t miss. Another plus was that we skipped the lines in Accademia and saved hours waiting in the queue.
If you are in Florence, I highly recommend that you book a tour with Livitaly. I can certainly say that it was the best part of our two days there.
You might also like: My 10 day Italy itinerary.
I was a guest of Livitaly but as always opinions are my own.