You did what? 4 things you shouldn’t do in Florence


Florence's Santa Maria Novella train station
Waiting around for a train in Florence's Santa Maria Novella station? Stamp your ticket! Photo: Vexela

Instead of my usual banter about the best things to do in Florence, I’m going to try something different. No recommendations this time. At least, not the usual kind.

Instead, here are some activities to avoid – expensive bad ideas, hence the crummiest things to do in my city.

Can you see the Duomo from your restaurant? Hmmm…. Photo: jennconspiracy

1. Eat Near the Duomo

It might seem like a good idea at the time. You are walking arm in arm with a your partner who has taken on a Casanova-like persona since landing in Italy. You see the Duomo shining into the night like Pegasus and notice a quaint little restaurant with a menu posted in the window. Even better, it’s entirely in English. What next? You sit down, you order a pizza that tastes like a shoe and when you get the bill you end up leaving your Rolex for collateral.

2. Forget to Validate Your Train Ticket

So far, everything has gone to perfection. You’ve made it to the train station, you’ve figured out the electronic ticket distributor, you’ve purchased the right ticket (you think) and you’ve found the track where your train is departing. You are a champion. As an added bonus, you not only score two seats on the train, but they are even facing each other. You begin to imagine scenes of barefoot frolics on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Then the controller appears and you proudly present him your tickets which you have forgotten to validate in one of the little yellow boxes on the platform. You pay him almost 200 Euros as a fine. You feel shame. You feel alone. And cold.

Just say “no” to knockoff bags in San Lorenzo market. Photo: Eric.Parker

3. Go Shopping for Counterfeit Goods

You are at San Lorenzo Market after reading one of my previous recommendations. You see a table of “Gucci” bags and “Swiss” watches. You pay an unbelievably low price for the same purse you once saw in movie staring George Clooney. You can’t believe the savings and buy another one for your sister back home. You figure what the heck and buy one for each of your colleagues and relatives. You high five the merchant and go on your merry way.

You are stopped by the foot-patrolling police squad with twenty counterfeit bags over your shoulder. You pay a very hefty fine. You are out of money and must return to the homeland. You are traumatized from the experience and develop an extreme fear of Italian accessories.

4. Go Swimming in the Arno

It is a 110 degrees and Florence is an inferno. This wasn’t in the travel guide. Neither was anything stating that you were not supposed to dive into the brown goodness of the Arno river. You find a nice spot and dunk your toe to test the temperature. The water is surprisingly warm. You slip down to your trunks and cannonball into the water.

When you emerge your skin feels like Tabasco Sauce. A local fisherman drags you onto his boat and brings to you to the Santa Maria Novella Hospital. You dish out lots and lots of money for a translator. You call your insurance company and they laugh at you. You count your change and use your last three Euros to buy yourself a shower.

Your advice?

Have a touristic temptation to add to our list of activities NOT to do in Florence? Add yours to the list by leaving a comment.

About the author

Marc Justin Cinanni

About the author: Marc Justin Cinanni has recently begun experimenting with polenta without much success. You can follow him on Twitter here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

8 thoughts on “You did what? 4 things you shouldn’t do in Florence”

  1. Unless you are a young party animal, do not stay near the Santa Croce. By the time the partying stops at around three in the morning, you have a window of around three hours before the cleaning trucks come along. And that’s on a quiet night. You could draw the short straw as I did and be there when they are building scaffolding for a concert. Four days to erect, one night only concert (thankfully) and two days to pull it all down again. Be warned!

  2. Don’t even THINK about a day trip from Florence to the Cinque Terra during mid or high season….not only will it take 1/2 day of train travel (r/t) but when you finally get to these little villages, you can’t enjoy them properly as the hordes of tourists and tour groups clog up the drain….train, too.

  3. rjt-pdxtraveler

    Sure, the food isn’t great near the Duomo, but you aren’t there for the food…. it is the view that is special. We ate twice near the Duomo, light meals which were a bit over-priced for the food….but pretty reasonable with the view.

  4. John B. Gardella

    Don’t drive and try to park in Florence thinking that you are going to the mall in the United States. Florence was not deigned with your auto in mind hunreds of years ago and they do not want your auto in town. If you do drive, it will be very expensive. There are no exceptions to this. Take a train or bus into town.

  5. As living in Florence for many years, one of the BEST restaurants is really close to the Duomo, and has one of the best pasta dishes in town.

  6. You are not sure if you are allowed to drive past that corner up ahead. What harm could be done? It’s not like there are cameras taking pictures of license plates. Oh, yes, there are, and you’ll find out a few months later with two bills: one from Florence and one from your rental company. Park on the outskirts and ride the bus into town.


Follow Us