This comprehensive and fast-paced excursion begins with a scenic drive through the Tuscan countryside to the fascinating city of Florence. Walk to the Piazza del Duomo, Piazza della Signoria and Ponte Vecchio before stopping for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, enjoy some free time for shopping before proceeding to the historic town of Pisa. Here, you'll make a brief photo stop by Miracle Square where you can marvel at the exterior of the Campanile, better known as the Leaning Tower.
Note: The photo stop in Pisa is not guided and you'll have to walk from the bus parking area approximately 15 minutes each way. Your guide will join you in Florence, however you'll have an escort with you throughout the day. The walking tour in Florence will cover approximately 2 miles. Guests who are planning to visit religious sites during free time or on tour, please dress appropriately; no bare shoulders or shorts are allowed.
(6 Reviews) 6
Rating Snapshot(6 reviews)
4 of 6(67%)customers would recommend this to a friend.
We drove first to Florence and stopped at an overlook to see a fantastic view of the city. From there we were left at the drop off point and we made a long walk to the Uffizzi Gallery where we then had to wait around for our ticket time. On the way we saw the Ponte Vecchio but never had the chance to walk across it. In the Uffizzi our guide led us to many highlights and described each one. Even though we didn’t spend a lot of time there the visit was worthwhile. Leaving the Uffizzi, we walked through Signoria Square where we saw "The R--- of the Sabine Woman" (which I can't spell out because it gets rejected as "inappropriate language!") and a replica of “David” on our way to a gold store. This is the spot where “David” was originally displayed which is what I was most interested in seeing so I was pleased we at least passed by it. At the gold store we could use the restrooms and we were then given free time for lunch. Two plus hours was too long and could have been better spent touring. After meeting back at the gold store, the group walked about 10 minutes to the Duomo which we viewed from the outside. Although it wasn’t scheduled on this tour, our guide gave us 10 minutes of free time because several of us wanted to go inside the Duomo. We hurried inside to see the painting of the dome which gave a real feel for how scary it must have been painting up that high. We then made a long walk back to the bus and drove to Pisa. Again, it’s a fairly long walk from the parking lot. There’s not much to see here unless you want to climb the tower but if there’s a line you won’t have time. We felt the time allotted here was way too long. This was the most disappointing of all the shore excursions we booked. The Uffizzi and Pisa (which only takes a couple of minutes) were both worthwhile but I felt like most of our remaining time both with the guide and without him was poorly organized and much of it was wasted. There is a LOT of walking on this tour to see only the outside of a few sights which made it less satisfying than other tours we've had.
On this excursion, you get the best of Florence and Pisa! It was a great day to be in Italy. On the way to Florence, our guide provided a detailed talk on the culture and history of Tuscany. Then it was into the city of Florence. Like most tourist areas, Florence is usually pretty busy (a.k.a. crowded) with tour groups. Fortunately, the NCL local tour company uses an audio tour guide system where every guest has a radio receive and ear piece and the tour guide uses a microphone with transmitter. It works great in a crowd! You can hear your guide, while still have some freedom to walk around and take pictures. This is a walking tour and be prepared to walk! We start at the Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) and the beautiful cathedral. Then it was on to Piazza della Signoria with the old palace and archways filled with statues including a copy of Michelangelo's Statue of David. We really enjoyed a traditional Italian lunch in a local restaurant with time for gelato and some souvenir shopping. All too soon, it was time to move on to the city of Pisa. After a short walk from the coach park, we were on Miracle Square. Here… a photo of you holding up the leaning tower is a must! Along with photos of the Cathedral (Duomo) and the dome covered Baptistry. Lots of shops along the square to pick up your keepsake of a wonderful Tuscan day.
The drive out of Livorno to Florence is not the most scenic. Our group consisted of 40 people. Our young guide Cecilia walked very slow. Long walk from the coach drop off to the Duomo. The crowds were out which made iIt difficult to keep up with our local guide. We spent a good amound of time by the Baptistry. We didn't walk all the way around the Duomo and didn't go inside. After that we walked through the streets of Florence, to the river, passed the Uffizzi Gallery, to Santa Croce cathedral where we had a guided inside visit. We then walked to the Palace Borghese for big lunch. Wine, water, bread, cheese lasagna with pesto, meat and potatoes, and tiramisu dessert. Very good food and a lot of it. The dining room was grand, with huge chandeliers. The line to the toilets was very long as there were multiple other groups dining at the venue. We had to make our own way back to the square outside Santa Croce, where we had about 30 minutes on our own. It was very warm and there was no escaping the sun in this square. We then drove to Pisa. It was quite a hike from the coach dropoff to the tower, and quite congested. Crowds and street vendors made it difficult to move. Guys walking around selling umbrellas. We had about 30 min on our own to see the exterior of the tower area and make our way back to the meeting point. A very quick visit. Once back at the meeting spot a couple was missing, so we stood around for a good 20+ minutes while Cecelia looked for them. That time could've been better spent for the rest of us. Overall we saw very little of Florence and Pisa was a very short stop. It was a hot, crowded day. This was mid-September. I can't imagine was these places are like in June-August, with more crowds and more heat.
Whistle stop walking tour with lunch and free time
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This really is a whistle stop guided tour through the streets of Florence with little time to stop and admire the architecture. It wasn't far to walk at all. When we arrived in the Piazza di Santa Croce we had an hour to spare before lunch. You could go into the Santa Croce church at your own expense or explore the shops. Lunch was a typical Italian meal which was just OK. There was a bit more free time after lunch before boarding the coach to Pisa. 45 minutes to walk round Pisa on your own. It's enough to give you a taste but we were left feeling a little disappointed, even though it did take up the whole day.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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Review 6 for Florence & Pisa
I traveled with:Family
Cruise Date Month:June
Cruise Date Year:2011
Favorite port:Barcelona, Spain - as a debark (Gem)
I want to go here next:Europe
Date:July 9, 2011
Well worth it...
My husband & I loved this tour. The tour was quick paced because there's a lot to get in. The statues, churches and sites were amazing to us. The planned lunch was delicious. There was no time for shopping, which I really wanted. There are a lot of peddlers selling paintings etc. out there. The tour guide was good and very passionate about what she was saying. Pisa visit was short and that was fine because all you really need is to see the tower - there's nothing else to do there - except get some good gelato.