Florence Highlights
Top Destination - Livorno Cruise Port

Top Things To See in Florence
for Cruise Travelers to Livorno Port
- How to Explore Florence, Shore Excursions Highlights,
Top Attractions To Visit on Your Own, How to Get to There.

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There is so much to see and do in Florence that time will always restrict what the traveler will be able to see and do. In particular, because you will not have more than 4 hours to visit Florence when docked at the Port of Livorno considering that it will take up to 2 hours to get there by bus, car or train.

Exploring Florence's Attractions

Inevitably, and regardless of the tour - be it a cruise excursion or a private tour/guides - even the excursions attempting to tour the highlights of Florence will always be forced to skip major sites. As such, the cruise traveler should consider traveling to Florence on your own by train to just explore one or two sites, enjoy lunch or a quick bit, and a bit of shopping. A good alternative, a bit more expensive, is to book a "Tour on Your Own", which are offered by all cruise lines.

Shore Excursions Highlights

Photo of David in Florence, Livorno Cruise Port Destination

David's Head (detail) in Florence

Photo Public Domain

Because of time restrictions, all excursions take cruise travelers to see a handful of really interesting sites but with few exceptions, you would not have time to go inside to more than one or, at best, two. Typically, cruise excursions will take you to see the Cathedral and Bell Tower (Duomo - Campanile), the Baptistery of Saint John (Battistero di San Giovanni) right in front, the Piazza della Signoria to see the Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) from outside, the Loggia dei Lanzi (aka Loggia della Signoria) and a walk outside the Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery) all the way to the river Arno to have a look at the Ponte Vecchio.

Photo of Cathedral in Florence, Livorno Cruise Port Destination

Cathedral in Florence

Photo © IQCruising.com

All these highlights will be seen only from the outside in a leisurely walk through the historical center. Only two sites will be visited inside: the Galleria dell’Accademia (Accademia Gallery) to see the famous David sculptured by Michelangelo and the Church of St. Croce (Holy Cross Church) to see the tombs of illustrious sons of Florence like Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and the memorial to Dante.

But many other highlights will have to be skipped. This doesn't mean that the shore excursions offered on cruise ships are bad or not worthwhile. The fact is that it is plainly impossible to see it all in one day and choices have to be made.

Top Attractions To Visit on Your Own

Erroneously, many a cruise traveler that has been in Florence before on a cruise excursion may be under the impression that has seen it all. If that's your perception, you couldn't be more wrong. There are literally over 30 other must-see places that are not included on ship excursions and that would take at least 1 to 2 hours each to fully enjoy. The Palazzo Pitti, for example, is a must see, which takes at least 3 hours to tour - not including the adjacent Boboli Gardens.

Photo of Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Livorno Cruise Port Destination

Palazzo Pitti in Florence

Photo © IQCruising.com

As a matter of fact, in twenty years of visiting Florence with organized excursions, the Editor never came across a tour offering visits to major highlights like the Laurentian Library, the Medici Chapels, San Miniato al Monte, Palazzo Pitti or the Synagogue. It has been in many other prior journeys to Florence that the Editor visited all these highlights.

Uffizi Gallery

For those wishing to admire some of the major artworks on display at the Uffizi be prepared to spend at least 3 hours at this fabulous museum with some of the most important works of the Italian renaissance.

Photo of Da Vinci's Annunciation in Florence, Livorno Cruise Port Destination

Da Vinci's Annunciation at the Uffizi

Photo Public Domain

Among other masterworks a handful must not be missed such as Da Vinci's 'Annunciation', Donatello's 'Birth of Venus' and 'Spring', Caravaggio's 'Medusa', Michelangelo's 'Doni Tondo' or Titian's 'Venus of Urbino'. The good news is that most cruise lines offer tours to the Uffizi or you can book tickets online to save time.

Religious Sites - Churches and the Synagogue

Among many other sites, cruise excursions also leave out wonderful churches with stunning artworks that must be seen like San Lorenzo (with masterworks by Michelangelo), Santa Maria Novella, Santo Spirito, Orsanmichele, the Basilica Santissima Annunziata, the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Ognissanti, the Chiostro dello Scalzo and the Great Synagogue.

Photo of San Lorenzo in Florence, Livorno Cruise Port Destination

San Lorenzo Cloister in Florence

Photo © IQCruising.com

Art and Museums

When visiting major churches and landmarks such as the Loggia dei Lanzi, the cruise traveler will literally stumble upon works by great artists like Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Giotto, Verrocchio, Donatello or Pontormo. However, the most precious masterworks are kept in museums. A visit to any of these museums will never take less than a couple of hours each.

Besides smaller and not as important museums, you should consider visiting the following: Bargello Museum (works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Giambologna, Della Robbia, Cellini, Bernini, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi), the San Marco Museum (with the best collection of Fra Angelico's frescoes), the Medici Riccardi Museum, the Duomo's Museum or the Galleria degli Innocenti.

There are also other lesser known museums that you may want to include on a must visit list such as the Davanzati's Palace Museum, the Galileo's Museum, the Horne Museum, the Stefano Bardini's Museum, the Stibbert Museum and the Marino Marini Museum.

Get to Florence on Your Own

The cruise traveler that wishes to visit any of these highlights and attractions or fully enjoy extraordinary art collections displayed in museums like the Uffizi or the Bargello will have to travel on your own as the Editor did (and does) when exploring Florence. Or take a ship tour that only offers the transfer to and from Florence. And what a delight it is to have the time and freedom to enjoy what you really want to see and do.

Photo of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Livorno Cruise Port Destination

Santa Maria Novella in Florence

Photo © IQCruising.com

The train has been the Editor's favorite traveling choice for one main reason - the railway station in Florence is centrally located. Just 5-minute walk away, Santa Maria Novella and San Lorenzo are two sites that organized excursions never visit. Learn more abou How to Get There on Florence Overview Page.

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