Florence is one of my fave towns - so here's the list not necessarily in priority
1) Eat gelato often - part of the expereince -the street vendors are fine
2) Get Rick Steve's book on Italy or Florence and follow his ideas to some inexpensive places to eat and/or stay
3) Just walk around reveling in the architecture - Bruneleschi's (sp) dome is magnificent, as well as the other Renaissance architecture. Lots of plazas with flea market type sellers and just neat atmosphere - things to buy in Florence - leather, gelato (see above), Tuscan food--it will be expensive
4) Must see "David" by Michelangelo - will knock you socks off -is in the Galleria dell'Academia - it's on a tight corner a bit away from the center of town - worth the visit.
5) Must see the Uffizi - best pictures (in my estimation) are the Boticellis - Venus in a Clamshell, Primavera - I also loved the famous round picture of the Madonna with child (blanking on painter name) - in any case a great museum
6) The Ponte Vecchio is cute but a bit over-rated in my estimation
7) Across the Ponte Vecchio is another museum the Palazzo Pitti - the best part of that was the garden - it rises up and the view of the Tuscan countryside from the walls is phenomenal.
Most of the above was either paid for or owned by the Medici family.
The name of the race in Siena is Il Palio - Siena is a beautiful walled town in Italy - another one on top of a hill is Orvieto.
Enjoy and report back - ohh, I miss living in Europe - so many wonderful historical and interesting things to do.
Deserat aka Bridget
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” - George Orwell/Winston Churchill