A Week in Italy Part 1: Rome & Florence

Oh, Italy! Where do I begin? The food, the history, the culture, the wine, THE FOOD?! A couple summer’s ago I visited a friend who was working in London. She spent a whole semester in London and wanted to explore more of Europe so we decided to do a week in Italy.

Day Trip in London

It was almost three years ago and I can still feel that warm Italian air and taste the rich flavors of the food. There is so much to explore but since we only had a week, we had to narrow down our itinerary to make sure we had enough time in each place to see enough while still taking full advantage of our time there. Here is how we planned our week-long trip in Italy.

Day 1-3: Rome

We started our journey in Rome and stayed near Trevi Fountain in a small hotel called, Night and Day. When I travel, I look for simple, inexpensive accommodations in wonderful areas. There are so many places to choose from in Rome but this hotel was within walking distance to all of the main attractions. The one downside was that we had to share a bathroom with other guests, but the hostess was extremely accommodating and gave us a few restaurant recommendations all over the city which made up for it.  Our favorite place happened to be the one right next to our hotel called That’s Amore. They make homemade pasta daily and you can take cooking classes at the restaurant to be part of the process.

Highlights of Rome:

  • Rome is the home of carbonara and tiramisu so make sure to try them at least once.
  • Trastevere is a neighborhood where the energy feels authentically Italian. The restaurants are amazing and there are outdoor markets during the day. Along the river, there is a nightly festival where lots of young people hang out and you can play games, hear live music, and mingle with the locals. Since my trip, I stumbled across the blog, Heart Rome. She lives in Trastevere and has amazing recommendations.
  • Aperitivo is basically Italian happy hour. We stumbled upon the bar Mimi e Coco right around aperitivo time and had the best time enjoying house wine and listening to the bustling sounds of the city.
  • Ladies: if you’re as unfamiliar with Italian/Catholic culture as I was, make sure to bring a shawl or have your shoulders covered if you are planning on visiting churches. Some of the churches even require you to cover your thighs (aka don’t wear shorts). We were denied entrance to the Vatican because of our naivety and poor clothing choice. In our defense, it was mid-summer and over 100°. 😉

Rome Recommendations

Day 4: Florence

We took the train from Rome to Cinque Terre but on our way, we decided to spend the day in Florence. Let me just say, one day was not nearly enough time in Florence but we definitely made the most of it.

Florence Recommendations

Highlights of Florence:

  • Since we had such a small amount of time, we did a bike tour. The tour lasted the whole afternoon and the tour company, FlorenceTown, even stored our luggage for us. The tour was amazing! Our tour guide was from Florence and she showed us all of the main attractions. It even included a stop for gelato at the end. If we had more time, I know we would have done another one of their tours.
  • We ate dinner at a small osteria in the Santo Spirito neighborhood, which was recommended to us by our guide. Tons of little restaurants surrounded the main square and they all looked amazing, but we clearly picked the right place because not only was the food amazing but it was also served to us on Italian porcelain plates. Bonus, the church in Santo Spirito actually has a crucifix sculpted my Michelangelo!

Best Restaurants in Florence

Next we journeyed to Cinque Terre which could be a whole blog post in itself and since this was getting long, I made a Part 2 for days 5-9. Check it out here!

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