Sight-seeing takes on a whole new meaning when I go on a Florence free walking tour.
Although I have been to Florence quite a few times, I had always avoided ‘official’ Florence walking tours preferring to wander at my will. However, on my last trip, I took advantage of the Ostello Archi Rossi walking tour. Well I figured since I was staying there, and it was free…..
I ended up learning a lot about Florence and gaining a deeper appreciation for it’s history and culture, not to mention gelato.
What To See On The Florence Free Walking Tour
The hostel runs two different Florence walking tours on alternate days, both of them are free. The one I joined started promptly at 10am and was headed by local Florentine guide Costanza. There were around 10 or so of us in the group of all different nationalities.
Costanza instantly took us back in time with her historical tour of Florence which included:
- interesting architectural facts about Santa Maria Novella church,
- the purpose of those tiny medieval wine doors in the sides of houses,
- the differences between medieval and renaissance palaces,
- a visit inside Strozzi Palazzo,
- a gelato stop,
- medici family dramas,
- the history of Palazzo Pitti,
- the intent of the Vasari Corridor
- historical titbits about Ponte Vecchio
Highlights of the Florence Free Walking Tour
What I liked about the Archi Rossi walking tour was that Costanza was a born and bred Florentine and she had an obvious passion for her subject. She also kept good control of the group, rounding up stray members and keeping our interest up at all times.
The length was two and half hours which was plenty of time to see all we needed to and also indulge in a gelato stop. It was also fun to talk to other people in the group from other countries along the way. A tour can be a great way to meet others if you are travelling by yourself.
What to Wear & Bring on a Florence Free Walking Tour
The season will dictate what clothing you wear on your Florence free walking tour. I was there mid-September and it was a scorcher, so cool clothing, comfortable shoes, a hat and a water bottle were a must. Make sure you take some cash as well, as if you stop for gelato you don’t want to miss out. It’s not a good look to ask the guide for a loan.
Finally, don’t forget your camera, there are lots of opportunities to take photos, and lots of people willing to do the honours if you want your photo taken.
What are the Best Florence Walking Tours?
In summary, and although I have only been on one Florence tour, I would say the best Florence walking tours would be those which:
- Are free, or don’t cost the earth,
- Aren’t too long (around 2 hours is plenty),
- Take in major and minor historical sites of interest,
- Give a good overview of the history of Florence,
- Have a guide who takes control and answers questions but doesn’t get distracted
And most importantly;
- Make a scheduled stop for gelato
For more information on this Florence free walking tour visit Ostello Archi Rossi.
(Photo by photo_fiend)