I guess I'm Italian in another life, I am drawn there again and again. I recently was able to spend a week in Florence, my third visit. The first time was a one-day, full-out, grab-the-low-hanging fruit kinda visit. We had been in Tuscany with friends (scarily with a car) and we were stopping in several hill towns and vineyards, and Florence became just another stop on the list. I skimmed the major works in the Uffizi Gallery and saw David and ate pasta.
The second visit was last year when I was to meet my friends from the U.S but their flights were canceled at the last minute due to Hurricane Sandy. I was practically already on the plane, so I put on my big-girl panties, and went for a week on my own. That was pretty dicey because I had relied on my friend to plan the whole itinerary and so I found myself in Florence with a new guide book. I enjoyed myself very much. I could spend as much time as I wanted in the museum or gallery of my choice. I could sleep until I wanted, eat where and when I wanted -- and generally it was very relaxed. I went back to all the "first tier" tourist sites and soaked it all in.
Might I suggest May for your trip to Florence. And I'm glad my most recent trip was in the spring time because the roses were in full bloom and the bright Italian sun was a sure remedy for the dismal British spring I left back home. The planets aligned and my U.S. friends arrived shortly after I did and, despite their jet lag, we were off. I loved the second and even third tier sites and was introduced to some real Italians -- connections of my friend who just published her historical novel, "The Sign of the Weeping Virgin" which is set in the 1490s Florence. We followed the footsteps of her characters (the well-known Medici and Vespucci families) into small churches and original hospitals that still exist today. We talked about poisons and back alley doors that will be in her sequel. The views, the light, the food, the Italians -- it was a very special trip for me.
I've posted some of the photos in an album here and attempted to write some captions that might convey the immersion into Florence that I experienced. I'm pretty sure there's a fourth visit in my future, Rob needs to slow down and trip through the narrow streets with me -- without our Baedeker.
p.s. I noticed that Dan Brown's new book is EVERYWHERE -- "Inferno" -- another Robert Langdon adventure based in -- Florence!
Here are some links worth remembering:
Palazzo Strozzi (Seasonal Exhibitions)