Europe Day 12: Travel Day and Sightseeing – Train from Rome to Florence

Happy travel day everyone! Today we left Rome and took a train to Florence, our next city destination and our second to last on our trip. We woke up around 7am and wandered down to breakfast at 8 since we weren’t in a rush; our train was at 12:15pm and we didn’t have to do anything else except finish getting our stuff together beforehand. I had a mini chocolate donut-type thing that was a good start to my day, along with the other protein items like eggs that I’ve had every morning. We went back to our room and packed everything back up before check-out at 11am.

After check-out, we got some snacks for the ride at the supermarket and hauled our bags to the train station. The train ride was about an hour and a half and it was very relaxing, I just watched more Riverdale and ate some snacks to tide me over since we were waiting to eat until we arrived in Florence. We also had pretty views since we got to see more of the countryside of Italy. We arrived in Florence around 1:45pm and checked into our hotel, the Glance Hotel, which seems really nice so far and even has a swimming pool!

As soon as we dropped off our stuff in our rooms (in this hotel we have two rooms instead of one because their rooms are smaller), the guide for our day tour tomorrow met with us in the hotel to give us our information/schedule and a map with other places to see in our free time. After meeting with her, we ventured out into the city. Our first stop was to drop off all our dirty laundry at a laundromat since we were all running out of clean underwear and such. We didn’t eat a real lunch since the train ride was right around our normal mealtime, so we ate at a restaurant around the corner- I got a margherita pizza, of course! It was really good and I ate the whole thing for once since I was starving.

We wandered through the streets and saw the Duomo, which is even more grand and beautiful than I imagined. We didn’t go inside since we weren’t wearing appropriate clothing but it was just unbelievably stunning from the outside. However, we did stop for gelato- I got Oreo flavor (my go-to when there’s no mint chocolate chip) and it was the perfect treat especially with the heat today. I knew summer in Italy is hot and I figured I would be used to it from California summers, but the humidity is another element thrown into the mix that I was not prepared for. The town square type area adjacent to the Duomo and near the gelato place was bustling with life, and we continued walking towards more of the shopping area (but there’s honestly adorable shops on every street here!). There was another Brandy Melville that we popped into and I purchased a shirt that said Firenze on it for a souvenir (Florence in Italian). All of the typical high-end and middle-end shops we see in America were there plus more I hadn’t heard of that must be exclusive to Europe.

Eventually we came to the Ponte Vecchio bridge and began making our way down that area. My mom was looking at all the different jewelry vendors in search of a ring, and all of the options were so beautiful! There’s definitely unique pieces I’ve never seen anything like back home. We took some pictures of the river and the view from the bridge which was nice, but we eventually started to overheat so we made our way back to the hotel. We relaxed for a little bit and my parents went to sit outside by the rooftop pool while my brother and I chilled out in the rooms on our beds. I joined my parents just to see the view but I didn’t go in the water, it seemed warm though.

We continued resting for a bit and set out for dinner around 8pm. Originally we planned on going to the Hard Rock Cafe for hamburgers but we ended up at a nicer restaurant around the corner that had burgers as well as normal Italian foods for the sake of my brother. It was in a piazza that had a carousel and a nice view of the city nightlife. I got a plain hamburger with fries and it was exactly the protein I needed- I love Italian food but I miss certain foods from home! My brother got dessert and my mom got coffee after the meal so it took a while and we stayed at the restaurant for over 2 hours total. We headed straight back to our hotel after eating while observing the beautiful streets lit up at night and then got ready for bed around 11, ready to wake up bright and early for our guided tour tomorrow.

Florence is definitely a beautiful city and I already like it better than Rome. Even though I’m exhausted and starting to lose stamina for this leg of the trip, I’m trying my best to pull it together. Florence seems to have the charm, unique shopping, and smaller-town vibes of Sorrento while at the same time having the city atmosphere, architecture, and beauty of Rome. Not as many people speak English here and while it’s definitely still a huge tourist destination, it still is way less overcrowded than Rome at least in the streets. It’s definitely still the best of both worlds compared to our visits of Sorrento and Rome and I look forward to exploring it more tomorrow. I’ll update you all as always!

-Brooke

A few angles of different portions of the Duomo from the outside- we were too close up to fit the whole thing in a picture.

The street/bridge of Ponte Vecchio and all the jewelry vendors.

The view of the river from Ponte Vecchio.

The rooftop pool and view of Florence from the roof.

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