It’s been a quiet summer. I’ve been landlocked for a variety of reasons, mainly family-related. I haven’t been on a plane since April and I’m going wacky. But YAY, FINALLY I’m going to Italy in a few weeks.
The last time I went to Rome and Florence was over 20 years ago. It was a girlfriend trip to Italy and France and we stayed in small inexpensive hotels or pensions – I don’t remember the names or locations, but we had a blast! I really loved Florence. I recall the beauty of the Pitti Palace and also discovering a restaurant we liked so much that we stayed an extra day. I also remember being stung by a yellow jacket bee. And shopping a lot. A LOT.
What I don’t remember is long lines at attractions and museums. Apparently, that has all changed now.
Well, I’m going back to Rome and Florence and I’m psyched. Dave (aka Won’t Run) has never been to Italy and is excited about the trip, but true to form, he has not helped one bit (see, 10 Tips When Your Boyfriend is a Reluctant Traveler).
We are flying on British Airways to Rome (FCO) via London (LHR). The price for the round trip ticket from New York JFK to FCO was only $335 per person (using the AARP discount).
Directly from Rome Airport we will take a train to Florence.
There is a non-stop train to Florence, but it is less than an hour after we arrive in Rome, and it is simply too close to call. After that there are plenty of trains that go, with a change of trains at one of the Rome stations. Any tips other than that? I’ve already purchased the ticket for Florence to Rome three days later.
We are staying at cute boutique hotels this trip. The one in Florence has a historic edge – something to do with the Medici family. I found the hotels via TripAdvisor and a lot of research and am optimistic about each one. (Nevertheless, I keep doing what I do best and that’s continuing to look at prices or award availability for some of the larger named hotels. Why do we keep doing that?).
We will be in Florence for 3 nights (but essentially only 2 full days), and in Rome for 5 nights.
Walking Tours – I understand that there are good free walking tours in both Rome and Florence. If you have suggestions, I’d appreciate it.
Food Tours – Bitemojo has invited me to take a self-guided food tour in Rome.
Running Tour – Livitaly invited me to go on this morning running tour in Rome. It sounds fabulous as long as they don’t mind a slowpoke.
Most of my questions relate to day-to-day matters. I’d be grateful to receive pointers on what to do or not to do and on where to go and where not to go.
Some of the topics that come to mind are getting around cities, transportation, restaurants, activities, safety, bargains, deals, etc.
Obviously, some of the museums and sights I must visit, even if I’ve been there before. However, I don’t typically feel a need to go to every single museum or visit every single sight (I do like Unesco World Heritage sights though). I like exploring and walking around and I like seeing local life. I like parks. I like art, but tire of religious art after a while. I love public art and street art. I like food and wine and I like both restaurants and food markets. I like shopping – the whole gamut from Prada and Gucci to flea markets.
Day Trip Suggestions –
As we will only be in Florence for 2 full days, I doubt that we’ll be taking any day trips. Accordingly, I’ll have to save places like Pisa and Siena for another trip.
We will be in Rome for 5 nights, so an organized tour or a self-planned train ride somewhere one day would be perfect. Where do you suggest? Someone mentioned Orvieto?
Thank you so much for your help – I can’t wait!!