When planning my trip to Rome, I wanted to make sure I made the most of my time in Italy. I had only been to Florence once, and only for a couple hours, so I knew I had to make a day trip happen. Luckily, the Italian train system is spectacular and inexpensive.
I booked train tickets through Captain Train, which I highly recommend. They have a super user-friendly interface that reminds me a lot of Airbnb. After experiencing a few technical difficulties on other ticket sites, this is the only way I’ll buy train tickets in Europe from now on.
Being the planner that I am, I had to schedule the shit out of the day. Once the train tickets were all set, I immediately bought tickets to the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze. Most museums in Italy have timed entrances so make sure you’re taking into account how much you want to spend in the museum and how much time you want in between visits. I love museums but don’t normally spend a long time wandering the halls, so I know I’ll be in and out in about an hour. Even though I’m done quickly, I never really book anything back-to-back. That way, I can stroll from one place to another and not feel rushed.
As you can imagine, my day in Florence was fairly jam-packed. Luckily, it wasn’t overwhelming at all. Here’s a recap of my 8-ish hours there.
The hour and a half train ride from Rome was a piece of cake. We booked seats in first class on the fast train, and it’s was clean and quick. One thing to note is that, when they say fast, they mean fast. Your ears will likely pop. Pro tip: consider bringing ear plugs to help with the pressure.
As we walk from the train station, we pass by the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo. This is one of the most beautiful buildings that I’ve ever seen. The colors, the decoration, the windows – everything is gorgeous.
Since we arrived fairly early in the morning, coffee was at the top of our list. We found a touristy spot in Piazza della Signoria. Everything on the square is expensive. I’m not sure what we paid for our coffees, I know it was a lot, but it served its purpose.
Will call for Uffizi tickets is 15 minutes prior to your entrance time, so after our coffee, we head that way. Our entrance time was at 11:30 a.m., and since it’s not far at all from the piazza to the museum, we took our sweet time. I was able to shoot a few pictures of the Ponte Vecchio and of the Uffizi architecture before heading into the museum a little early.
The museum was once a Medici palace, so you can imagine how ornate it is. I have a hard time believing that people used to live in these buildings. The rooms are stunning and the art collection is mind-blowing.
One of the stand-out pieces is Bottecelli’s Birth of Venus. It’s a must-see. We had to wait in line to enter the gallery, but I was so happy we did.
My words can’t do this museum justice. If you are in Florence, it’s so worth a visit.
I’M HUNGRY. We head to a restaurant that’s close to the tourist area but not located on a piazza… and has great reviews. Birreria Centrale.
We decide to split a few things. Everything was OUTSTANDING. No lie, I’m drooling.
After our nice leisurely lunch, we head up to the Academia to see Michelangelo’s statue of David. I had heard that David is a sight to behold, and, holy shit, he is massive. What an incredible work of art!
After the Academia, we head back toward the Arno river, walk over the Ponte Vecchio and stroll along the cobblestone streets of Florence.
We manage to find the designer shopping district and window shop as we head toward the Piazza della Repubblica.
We’ve grown accustomed to having a happy hour at this point so we head to the roof of la Rinascente Firenze department store for a Negroni and views of the city.
We hang on the roof until it’s time to catch our train.
It was a beautiful day and after this trip, I can truly say that I’ve been to Florence. And I can’t wait to go back!