By Marc Justin in Florence—
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.
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.
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.
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.