Dec. 6, 2012
We woke up bright & early (5:00am!) to head to Termini Station for our 7:45am train to Firenze (Florence). Instead of catching a taxi, we opted to walk from our hotel to the train station which was about a 30 min walk. I’m glad we walked because it was so peaceful being out so early. Plus we got to see things we normally wouldn’t and we got a better feel for the city. We had time to stop by a cafe to get a cappuccino and an italian croissant which has a citrus flavor to them. The coffee & pastry were both delicious! Many locals were up having coffee that morning at the bar so we fit right in :).
On our walk we saw the Victor Emmanuel Monument & Piazza della Repubblica lit up at night.
We finally arrived at Termini with an hour and a half to spare. Termini Station has a lot of shops & restaurants but most were closed because it was still early. On the bottom floor there is a little convenient store where you can get fresh made sandwiches, pizza, bread, snacks, personal items, etc. We stopped by there to pick up drinks and small snacks for the 1.5 hr train ride.
I passed out on the train due to jet lag so unfortunately I didn’t get to see the Roma & Firenze countryside. If I were to do it again, I’d probably book our trip to Florence later in the week. When we got to Florence, it was literally freezing. Luckily I brought my scarf and wore a fur lined jacket. Ant & I both wore our Nike freeruns which was a big mistake! Before heading to the Il Duomo from the Firenze SM Novella Station we purchased a map of Florence at the train station for 5 euros. The feel of the city is so different from Rome. The presence of Renaissance art & architecture is apparent as soon as you turn toward the Il Duomo! This was our first stop.
We spent the morning visiting the many churches in this square. Next up on the itinerary was to visit Galleria dell’Accademia to see the Statue of David. We realized during this trip to Italy that we aren’t museum people and decided to just skip it. We did see a fake replica which I’ll post a picture of below!
Hungry we set out to look for a good place for lunch. We were still thinking about our meal last night from L’Archetto so we were hoping to find something equally delicious. I didn’t do enough research on Florence because we didn’t find anything! Florence definitely does not have as many eateries as Rome. While looking for a restaurant we did some shopping.
We hadn’t anticipated the cold weather so we ended up getting matching gray hats to keep warm. They were about 22 euros ($30 usd) each which was not bad!
We finally stopped by at a place called Ristorante Queen Victoria where they serve pizza, pasta, pasta salad, salads, gelato & coffee. The place was busy so we figured it’d be good…. DO NOT GO HERE! The pizza was the worst we had. The crust was like stale bread. So disappointed. Luckily we only bought 1 slice to share. The fact that this restaurant was located on Ponte Vecchio is probably a sign it is a tourist trap. Oops! We clearly don’t think when we’re hungry -_-.
Next up on our itinerary was Ponte Vecchio. We took pictures near the Piazza della Repubblica where we got a full shot of the bridge & river. The sun came out after a cloudy morning so thankfully it was the right moment to be at the bridge!
We crossed the bridge and window shopped at the many jewelry shops Ponte Vecchio is famous for. We were curious to see what was across the bridge so we continued walking straight for about 30 minutes. Once you are away from central Florence you get into the suburbs. There are less tourists around and you see more locals out and about. School kids are on ‘recess’ and the few restaurants open are vacant since everyone is at work. It was quiet & peaceful.
After exploring what was across Ponte Vecchio, we came back and took more pictures. Our return train home wasn’t until 8:45pm so we had a lot of time to kill. We did some more shopping, had lunch again at a better pizza place this time near Piazza della Republicca and then spent the remainder of the time in a small cafe with wifi. Our final stop before heading to the train station was the Disney store & bookstore because it was warm inside! hee!
We caught our return train home at 8:45pm and decided we wanted a late dinner so headed back to L’Archetto! Most people would try a new restaurant but we figured why not go back? How often are we going to be in Rome! Don’t mess with what you already know is good. This time we ordered the Mt. Vesuvius pizza which is similar to a calzone except the dough puffs up like an erupting volcano. It was filled with cheese, prosciutto, mushrooms and onions. For pasta we had spaghetti with ham & cheese. So simple but so good.
This time around we easily found our way back to the hotel from the restaurant. It felt good to be back in Rome. Tomorrow we are headed to the Pantheon, Tazzo D’Oro & Piazza Navona.
In all honesty, I didn’t love Florence as much as I was expecting to. Friends & fam we talked to before going on our trip fell in love with Florence. Maybe I didn’t do enough research but I felt like there wasn’t much to do aside from museums, Ponte Vecchio and shopping. Perhaps it was because of the weather, food & jet lag that contributed to our disappointing time. I’m glad we got to experience Florence. It was still beautiful at night with all of the Christmas lights.
***Travel Tips to Remember***
❤ Don’t plan a day trip that requires travel time the day after you arrive
❤ Avoid restaurants near major tourist attractions
❤ Check the weather and dress appropriately….
❤ Don’t eat somewhere just because it’s crowded