Traveling to Italy, What to Know and See in Rome, Florence and Venice

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Florence is a quick train ride north of Rome with trains leaving hourly. In Florence, you can walk everywhere. From one end of the historic center to the other is only a 20 minute walk. The city invites strolling and meandering, with traffic limited to essential vehicles only. Of course, as a first timer, you’ll want to make time to visit Michelangelo’s most famous statute, the David, and the nearby Uffizi gallery, and marvel at Brunelleschi’s dome, but don’t stop there. Florence is an art and history lovers paradise. As the birthplace of the Renaissance and our modern world, it is a city from which to drink deeply. The best way to enjoy Florence is to take advantage of the Firenze Card, your 3 day pass to the city. Just pay attention as you plan out your visit as the museums have erratic schedules that can change in an instant and if you’re in Florence over a weekend, pay particular attention as many of the top sights are closed Sundays and Mondays. Whatever you do, make a little time for the Bargello. Sometimes this museum is overlooked by its flashier neighbors, but the Bargello, among other things, offers sculptures by Michelangelo and Donatello that are well worth your time. Housed here is Donatello’s David that provided a catalyst for so many sculptures of the Renaissance period and beyond. The building itself lends interest as it served once as a police station and a prison.

Venice is so unique that everyone should experience it at least once. The maze of islands and canals and bridges is inviting - accept the invitation to wander - and don’t worry about getting lost, it’s a small island. Somehow the Venetians have learned to survive in this constantly sinking and ever flooding environment. Along with the occasional bit of water in San Marcos’ square, Venice is inundated each day with daytime visitors and cruise ships. The crowds can be a problem and make for an unpleasant visit. However, it doesn’t take much to find your own little nook of Venice to enjoy, just get off the main street of shops and restaurant and let yourself get lost in the back alleys and bridges. You’ll discover a Venice that most tourists miss. For an amazing birds eye view of the Island and San Marco’s square, take the Vaporetti (Venetian ferry) from San Marco to San Giorgio Maggiore and climb the bell tower, you’ll get a Venice perspective that most miss.

Once you’ve tasted the obvious Italian flavors, you’ll find reason to go back to this inviting country time and time again and try something new. Certainly you’ll discover your own hidden gems and favorites that you can then share with your friends and family. Buon Viaggio! 

Lara Maxfield

If I can help plan your next trip to Italy, or where ever you'd like to go, please contact me:

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City: Salt Lake City, UT 84111
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