Ciao, La Spezia (Florence and Pisa) Italy 🇮🇹
Updated: Mar 26, 2019
For our Italy excursions, we used “Shore Excursions in Italy” for all three port visits. We found that the excursions booked outside of the cruise company can be up to 50% cheaper! Obviously, there are risks associated with this method. Make sure you research trip advisor and are able to communicate effectively with the owner prior to purchasing. I also appreciated the fact that we only had to make a deposit of 100 Euro per excursion. Therefore, if something went wrong, we did not lose all of our money!
The excursion we chose included a private Mercedes van and English speaking driver to take us to Pisa and Florence. The cost for this excursion was 650 euro.
Our driver was holding a sign for “family Hills” and we spotted her immediately. We hopped in the van, and headed to Pisa first! The drive was about 45 mins and the driver pointed out the interesting landmarks and wineries along the way. When we arrived in Pisa, we parked within 5 minutes walk to the monuments and spent about 30 mins taking pictures and reading the placards. After, we walked along the cobblestone steps and popped in the market for a water and Italian drink. Dave tried the orange San Pellegrino and it was awful🤢 (think of the Italian soda at club cool in Epcot!). The kids and I enjoyed the lemon tea! We walked to the river and back to the Leaning tower. *Tip alert: I would not spend time walking around the city when time is limited. We wished we would have spent less time in Pisa and more time in Florence.
We left Pisa and drove another hour to Florence. First stop was at a square overlooking the city of Florence. A replica of David is in the center of the square.
Following this brief stop, we drove down to the Florence. Let me say, this city is amazing! The cobblestone streets are narrow, and everywhere you turn, there are statues and magnificent cathedrals. We didn’t have time for a long lunch, so we settled for pizza and beer take away. Finally we stopped in Valentino! One of my favorite souvenirs are shoes from local designers. As silly as it is, every single time I wear them, I will remember exactly where I purchased them! I let the children help me chose! The sales people kept going on and on about how well the children were behaved🙌.
We finished up our tour of Florence with a walk over the Old Bridge. The Old Bridge is lined with small shops selling gold jewelry and leather.
Overall, we would absolutely love to come back to Florence. It was everything we could imagine and more and we did not have enough time there. This is certainly a con of cruising😊!