From the moment we opened the ancient wooden shutters to look out over the busy streets, we were in love with our Florence Airbnb apartment. By staying in a Florence Airbnb apartment, we were able to travel to Italy on a budget, spending less on lodging, and more on our daily expeditions.
A Florence Airbnb Apartment Helps You Travel to Italy on a Budget
Our Florence Airbnb apartment, located in the heart of the city, was within easy walking distance to the Duomo, Medici Chapels, and open-air markets. Morning cappuccino and pastries at the corner cafe thrilled our palettes as we planned our daily excursions to museums, cathedrals, and leather shops.
The huge oak doorway was tucked away, just steps from the hustle-bustle of shops and the delicious smell of bread baking in the neighborhood pizzeria. The charming landlady greeted us with warmth, making up for the inherent language barrier with her welcoming hugs.
The apartment’s interior spoke of many years of endurance, with its sturdy exposed wooden beams and plaster walls. The eclectic furnishings and assorted artwork evoked the romance of another era, one of history and of wartime. The original brick stove, the focal point in the main multi-purpose room, was converted from wood-burning to a modernized gas stove-top. One could imagine families of another time gathering around for warmth, comradery, and nourishment.
Save time seeing the Masterpieces with a Small Group Tour
Joining a small group tour in Florence will save hours standing in line to see some of the most famous works of art in the world. We chose ArtViva Tours to see the two largest museums, The Uffizi, home to the Masterpieces, and the Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s David.
Skip The Lines to See The Premier Sculpture in Florence — The David
Our ArtViva tour guide, Tatiana, was a virtuoso herself on the history and details of the Statue of David at the Accademia Galleria. Tatiana painted the scene of the 16-ton sculpture being moved to the gallery where it now stands from its original location in 1504, outside the Palazzo Vecchio, where it stood for over 300 years.
David’s noble face and eyes seem to look into your soul as he ponders his upcoming battle with Goliath. The veins in his hands and arms pulse with anticipation; his muscular torso, legs, and feet even indicate the victory to come. Viewing David is the single most significant experience in artwork in Florence.
Inside the Accademia, viewing Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures, the Hall of the Prisoners, you begin to fall in love with the artist’s talent. But nothing compares to the awe you feel when looking up to the 15-foot David, exposed under a circular skylight.
Music lovers will not want to miss the beautiful collection of musical instruments including Harpsichords, violins, wind instruments, and violoncellos in the Museum of Musical Instruments.
The Uffizi Gallery Where Tour Guides are Experts in Art History
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the largest and most-visited museums in the world. The gallery building, built between 1560-1581, housed the administrative offices of the Medici family business and Florentine magistrates. Exhibits of masterpieces owned by the Medici family occupied approximately 50 rooms.
Our expert ArtViva guide, Brenda, imparted details of the painting styles of the Masters. She pointed out facial expressions with eyes looking out of the painting to keep a permanent connection to the future. The artist, his family members, and commissioner of the art were often in the painting.
Brenda spoke with her hands, using lively expressions as she brought the history of each work of art to life. We were transported from 2018 to the 1500s simply through her vivid stories.
Visit Smaller Museums and Free Admission Venues
The Medici Chapels are home to Michelangelo’s sculptures amongst the crypts of the famous Medici family members. Visitors enter the chapels through an unassuming doorway on a small side street and are surprised to discover the vast works of art and architecture inside. The Medici Chapels include the Basilica of San Lorenzo, the New Sacristy of Michelangelo, and the Chapel of Princes of Buontalenti. The small entrance fee of around $8.00 opens the doors to a world of sculptures of the Renaissance era.
Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy
The Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy is a free venue. It is the oldest pharmacy in Italy, begun in 1221 by Dominican monks using herbs in an infirmary. Visitors shop for perfumes, soaps, and body and skincare products and peruse museum pieces of 16th-17th-century pharmacy operation. The entrance is easy to miss, with no large signage.
Dine in locally-owned restaurants for wonderful meals throughout Florence. You’ll have no problem finding delicious food in the small, unassuming restaurants. There are many family-style, family-owned restaurants that you will love.
As you take a look at the menu, notice if it appears to be popular with locals. If so, you’re sure to find a quality meal most any time of day or night.
Getting Around in the City
Walk Around the City to save time and money by using Google Walking maps or a similar smart-phone app. Using a Florence city map to get oriented is fine, but we found the street names hard to see, usually written into the brick of a building, above eye level. Taxis and other car traffic are limited in the busier sections, so walking seems to be the best plan. Wear comfortable walking shoes to protect your feet and ankles on the beautifully-ancient cobblestone streets.
Shopping Can Be Inexpensive. Florence has plenty of high-end merchandise in elegant boutiques. To get a flavor of the city, be sure and go into charming shops of leather goods, wine distributors, and designer clothing. Home to Gucci, Emilio Pucci, Versace, Pomellato, Roberto Cavalli, Hermes, Tiffany & Co, and Cartier, Florence is the prime place to find designer purchases. Don’t forget Ferragamo shoes, and you’ll find a Ferragamo museum for shoe lovers.
But you can choose souvenirs on a budget for the entire family in the open-air market of San Lorenzo and the indoor Central Market. Leather purses, wallets, scarves and more fit easily into your luggage and leave you with money to spare.
Take A Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour
Take a Florence Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour to get a feel for the city and to see areas that are harder to reach on foot.
The Grans love to travel and consider it all a luxury, but we don’t always have to spend a lot of money to feel blessed by our travels. We plan in advance, watch for specials on flights, and stay flexible when we reach our destination. If you would like any specific tips or where we stay on a trip, be sure and let us know. You can leave us comments on our blog posts or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Florence Airbnb is Ideal for a Trip to Italy on a budget.
Each day brought new adventures along the cobblestone streets. In the evenings, our tired bodies and overloaded senses found peaceful respite in the quaint Florence Airbnb apartment with the shutters open to the world.