This afternoon I decided to take advantage of the beautiful day to go with my father-in-law on a bus tour of the city on one of the famous, red, City Sightseeing double-decker buses.
In the past, I’ve done this in other cities in Europe, and I must say that the tour of Florence was on par with the others I’ve tried.
Ticket can be bought both in hotels or on board and is valid for all three of the offered routes. We first took Route A that goes around the center and up to Piazzale Michelangelo, and then we took Route C that goes to the charming town of Fiesole that overlooks Florence from its hilltop perch.
Both buses were clean and the audio guide system worked well. You can choose between 8 different languages for the commentary, and you are given headphones by the staff on board.
The commentary was well synchronized with the route and included, in addition to descriptions of what you can see, various insights about the historical, sporting and culinary heritage of Florence.
If, unlike me, you have a steady hand, you can take gorgeous pictures, especially from the Viale dei Colli, from Piazzale Michelangelo, from along the Arno River and the San Domenico road that leads to Fiesole. The drivers are good. They slow down, when possible, to allow tourists to take
pictures of more tucked-away attractions such as the Synagogue and Palazzo Pitti, but traffic is often heavy, and as a result I took some blurry pictures. But some of them turned out, as you can see here.
If I were looking for a flaw, I would say that the route A In the historic center misses some major monuments such as the Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Croce, Palazzo Pitti, and Ponte Vecchio.
This is inevitable as all these monuments are inside the plethora of pedestrian areas that make the center of Florence so nice to visit. But, this problem can be easily remedied as the different scheduled stops along the route are all located in strategic points. You can easily walk from them to all the attractions that interest you.
A bit of advice for the fair-skinned like me: bring a hat or sunscreen because after one or two hours in the open-top bus, your forehead might get rather crispy.
It was a great experience, and I recommend it especially for those who are short on time and want to get a taste of all that our beautiful city has to offer.