This past summer I downloaded the app, Hopper. Soon after setting travel alerts for different destinations I’d like to go to, I had a notification pop up one day. “Fly roundtrip to Rome, Italy for just $312”! I thought it was too good to be true and probably 30hrs of travel or a bad airline, but sure enough I clicked on it and it was a nonstop from Dallas to Paris, then Paris to Rome through Air France. I quickly texted my boyfriend and asked if he could go those dates, and within a few hours the trip was spontaneously booked! We went in mid October for one week, and visited Rome and Florence. I’ve been to both cities before, but it was my boyfriend’s first time in Europe so I got to be his tour guide… good thing those are two of my favorite cities in Europe!
Here was the itinerary we planned as well as recommendations for the trip:
Day 1: Arrive in Rome
We stayed three nights in Rome at a nice hotel we got for free with credit card points. Once we checked in to our hotel we took a quick nap then walked around the area to get acclimated to the new time zone. That evening we watched the sun set with a glass of wine at the rooftop of Etich Borromini and the view was so worth it! They are very strict on reservations, so we called a couple weeks in advance to make sure and get one.
Day 2: Rome
We woke up and started our full day in Rome the next day. We decided to do the Hop on Hop off bus as an easy way to get around, since it picked up right outside our hotel. It took us to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Spanish Steps (and we saw all of town from the rooftop of the bus). We had an amazing lunch of pizza and Cacio e Pepe (a must-have pasta in Rome) at a plaza near the Spanish Steps. We then ventured off to the Borghese Gardens and walked around the whole park to see some amazing views. That night we had dinner at Luciano Cucina, famous for it’s delicious carbonara.
Day 3: Rome
We aren’t much for guided tours, but the one we did take was a flash tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel through the Roman Guy. This tour is great for anyone like us, with little patience, but we got to learn the essentials and explore the rest on our own. We then walked to the Trevi Fountain, then took a bus to Travestere to stroll through the streets and stop for a drink. For lunch we ate at Dar Poeta Pizza, which was delicious. In the afternoon we attempted to go see the Roman Aquaduct Park… after several failed attempts of metro, buses, and taxis, we finally got there. It was a beautiful park to walk around, picnic, or ride bikes. We then realized there was a metro stop right where we needed to go (the subagusto station), so we took that back to our hotel. For dinner, we went to the famous restaurant that invented alfredo, Alfredo Alla Scoffra. They stir up the pasta table-side and it was genuinely the best alfredo I have ever had. That night we went back to our favorite place, Piazza Navona, and brought a bottle of wine with us to drink while watching street performers.
Day 4: On To Florence
When we arrived in Florence we checked into our Airbnb, which was a cute 1 bedroom apartment near the Duomo. We walked around the city just to explore and get gelato, of course. That evening we had dinner at Golden View, which literally had the “golden view” of Ponte Veccio. Food was okay since it was likely a tourist trap, but it was worth it for the view.
Day 5: Tuscany
On our second day in Florence we woke up and got an early start to the day, beginning with breakfast at Simbiosi Organic Cafe. They had amazing coffee and such a unique atmosphere. We then went to the famous San Lorenzo Market and spent wayyy too much on the Italian leather goods. For lunch we got sandwiches at All’Antico Vinaio, which always has a pretty long line. However, it was the BEST sandwich I’ve ever had, so well worth the wait. In the afternoon we had a wine tasting and cooking class tour booked with The Accidental Tourist. This was by far our FAVORITE part of the whole trip, and one of the best experiences I’ve had in all my travels to Italy. We were picked up in the city by van with a small group of just 5 others, and taken out to the countryside of Tuscany where we visited the Castello di Volognano. The winemaker himself gave us a very informative tour of their cellars and how the Chianti wine is made. We then enjoyed tastings and conversation with the winemaker. Next, the tour took us to their family villa, where we began our cooking class. We learned to make homemade ravioli and tagliatelle while the family got to know the group and even sang Italian opera for us! After we finished cooking, we were served unlimited wine and ate together as a “family”. It was such a wonderful, authentic experience, and the best pasta we had over the trip.
Day 6: Florence
For our last full day in Florence we conquered all the tourist must-sees: the David, the Duomo, and the Uffizi Gallery. We bought skip the line passes for the David which is a MUST… some people were waiting in line for hours just to get in, and we were in and out in thirty minutes. For lunch we grabbed GustaPizza, famous for it’s heart-shaped wood fired pizzas. The key to getting one is saying, “voglio una pizza cuore, per favore” when ordering. We ended the afternoon by hiking up to Pizzale Michaelangelo to watch the sunset. They had stands selling snacks and drinks so we bought a mini bottle of wine to sit and take in the amazing views. After the sunset we walked back to town and had our last meal in Italy at Trattoria Za Za, known for it’s massive Tuscan T-bone steaks.
After six wonderful days and a trip to remember, we were very sad to leave. We both plan to go back to Italy someday soon and explore more cities together. Ciao for now!!