Florence’s central location allows for easy travel to other must-see spots throughout Italy. Trips to these three incredible destinations can be coordinated within short notice, as they are just a train or car ride away.
Just a two-hour train from Florence, Venice is arguably the most unique city you will come across during your travels abroad. Situated entirely on canals, a gondola ride is the best way to get to know the island. You will pass historic buildings, churches, and get a true feel of city. There is no doubt that you must check out Piazza San Marco. It’s Venice’s most famous square and is dominated by St. Mark’s Basilica and the Clock Tower (side note: it is also filled with pigeons). We suggest a stop at the Jewish Ghetto, an area that had once housed thousands of Jews during World War II. It’s a beautiful sight with a rich history. While there, stop at Gam Gam for a delicious lunch of matzo ball soup and falafel.
If you have time, take a water taxi to two of Venice’s most famous islands: Murano and Burano. Murano is renowned for its specialized glass blowing techniques developed over centuries. There are many factories and artisan shops where you can watch live demonstrations and buy beautiful hand made glass pieces. Just fifteen minutes away is Burano. This island is known for its lace, but even more so for its beautiful buildings which were originally painted in bright colors so that fishermen could find their way home. Although there is a lot to see, a trip to Venice can be done in a (busy) day.
Rome is one of the world’s oldest cities and thus offers endless historical attractions and sites. The Colosseum and the Pantheon are mandatory tour stops, as well as the Roman Forum and Trevi Fountain. We suggest stopping at the area near the Spanish Steps. It’s a good place for high end shopping and a traditional Roman lunch. Another unique place to visit is Aventine Hill. Here you can admire the stunning panorama of the city and get a look through a keyhole to the Vatican. The Vatican City, both a city, a state, and home to the Pope, is a must see. In addition to the famous works of art in the Vatican Museum, you cannot leave Rome without experiencing the incredible work of Michelangelo. The intricate detail on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the immaculate design of St. Peter’s Basilica are sights you will never forget. To avoid the long line to get inside, we suggest you buy tickets to the Vatican Museum online and in advance.
The Tuscan countryside is a great place to escape the busy atmosphere of Florence and is just a convenient twenty minute drive from the city. A Tuscan wine tour is definitely at the top of our list of suggested activities. However, if you are looking for an adventure, a bike tour is the way to go. But be prepared, there are a lot of steep hills!
Another way to capture the beautiful scenery is with a van tour. These types of tours usually include stops at different vineyards for wine tastings and end with a delicious lunch. It is a very peaceful experience and a great way to spend a day.