(Photo is from Castel Sant’Elmo in Naples)
While living in Florence for the past few months I’ve had some great opportunities to travel around. Almost all of my travels have been exclusively in Italy, with each city being unique and having different sights and experiences to offer. So far in Italy I have visited: Milan, Siena, San Gimignano, Livorno, Venice, Lucca, Palermo, Naples and Pompeii. My only trip outside of Italy was to Greece, where I visited Athens and Sparta.
Being in Italy it couldn’t be easier to travel, with such a widespread railway system making it very easy and convenient to travel pretty much anywhere on the country’s mainland. And even if you can’t speak Italian all the train schedules on the website and in the station are in English. Traveling in northern Italy for a non-Italian speaker is quite easy as most places you go you’ll be able to find someone who speaks english. Heading down to southern Italy can be a bit tricky for a non-Italian speaker though, as finding an English speaker is a little more difficult but at the same time not impossible. Greece however, was a different story, being in a country where not only can you not speak the language but you also can’t read the words can be very unsettling. Additionally, when I scheduling my trip from Athens down to Sparta I was unable to find a definite bus schedule and ended up just walking an hour to the bus station on the day I was supposed to leave for Sparta in the hopes of finding a bus that was headed in the right direction (luckily I did). However, the majority of people in Greece speak english (oddly enough many of the bus station employees did not speak english) so if you can’t read something or don’t understand what is being said, there’s no need to worry.
However, some weekends you might not want to travel and instead just remain in Florence. Don’t worry there are plenty of things to do! I happen to live right above a really great restaurant called Trattoria Cesarino, the food there is amazing and actually authentic as compared to some of the more touristy restaurants in the city center. If you want to go to the movies you could head down to the Cinema Odeon which is a movie theater that was built inside of the old Renaissance palace, Palazzo dello Strozzino. The interior of the theater is beautiful and definitely quite different from the movie theaters back in the U.S.. But, perhaps you’re looking to spend a day outdoors. You could take a nice stroll around the city center and along the Arno for a nice view of the city, but you could also catch a quick bus ride to the country side and enjoy a nice hike in the rolling hills of Tuscany. Florence is an amazing city and definitely has something for everyone, it’s only a matter of finding it!
Until next time,