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My First Weekend Away: Florence

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

Hi All,

I’m sitting on the train on my way back from my first weekend trip away from Rome & can say that it was a blast!  I am definitely going to try to explore Rome as much as I can during the week & travel as much as I can every weekend.  I went with two people from IES Rome that love art.  In hindsight, I don’t think I could have picked two better travelling companions!

The train that took us from Rome to Florence was amazing – much better than the trains I’m used to riding when I go to visit my Dad at work!  It was clean, the seats were comfortable & it was fast – the trip from Rome to Florence only took 90 minutes!

Inside of the Bullet Train

One of the people I was traveling with had a friend in Florence, so he met us at the train station & took us to our hostel (which was in a great location).  The hostel we stayed at was running a special where you can stay three nights for the price of two, so I paid 28 euro for three nights at a hostel.  The hostel was called “Plus Florence” and probably the nicest hostel I will ever stay at.  It was very clean, had a nightclub downstairs with a restaurant/bar, game room, a pool, a sauna, and a steam room.

On Friday, we woke up early and hit the two big museums in Florence before lunch time. We wanted to make sure we beat the crowds.  As I mentioned before, the people I traveled with are studying Art History I school, so I was the beneficiary of a free tour of all the important pieces of art. We went to the Academia first and saw Michelangelo’s “David”.  It was absolutely amazing.

You're not supposed to take a picture of the Statue of David, but everyone sneaks one in!

You’re not supposed to take a picture of the Statue of David, but everyone sneaks one in!

After the Academia, we went to the Uffizi.  This museum was huge!  We were in it for three hours!

After the Uffizi, we met up with some a few more people one of my friends knew from back home and a few people from our program in Rome.  We had a quick bite to eat and then five of us headed over to the Ponte Vecchio.  They all bought leather jackets, I decided not to get one because I’m hoping to get a suit while I’m over here instead.

Over the past two days, we went to all the major churches in Florence – the Duomo, Santa Croce, San Lorenzo, and Santa Maria Novella.

The Duomo

The Duomo

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

Basilica di Santa Croce

Basilica di Santa Croce

The one thing that really surprised me about Florence was how small it is.  We walked everywhere we needed to go and were never walking for more than a half hour at a time.  Florence was a beautiful city, but I am happy I’m studying in Rome.  As a Finance major, I do not appreciate art as much as I should.  Now that I have seen everything I wanted to see, I am happy to be looking at the beautiful Tuscan countryside out of the window of my train back to Rome.

Note: This post was originally published on February 20, 2011 in a blog entitled “Romeing Around Europe” which chronicled my study abroad experience.

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