Florence: Day 1


Friday morning we woke up and took the high-speed train from Rome to Florence.  In only an hour and a half, we were standing at the Santa Maria station in Florence.  After arriving, we checked into our apartment.  Rather than stay in a hostel this trip, we decided to rent an apartment through  Having never used before, we weren’t really sure what we were getting ourselves into.  A little hesitant, we opened the door and found ourselves standing in a beautiful loft apartment.  The frescoed ceiling and queen size beds were nothing like the hostels we had been living in.  More importantly, we only five minutes from the Duomo!   

After quickly unpacking our things, we headed to the city center for lunch.  For four euros at I Due Fratellini (, we bought a delicious sandwich and glass of Chianti wine.  Sitting down outside the sandwich shop, we people watched while we ate our lunch.   

Energized, we were ready to see the city.  Wanting to see the whole city at once, we climbed the 463 steps of the Duomo for a view of Florence and the surrounding Tuscan countryside.  We couldn’t have picked a better day to climb the Duomo.  The temperature was perfect and the sunshine sparkled off the gold buildings. 

On the descent, we walked on the inside of Brunelleschi’s dome.  We were so close to the dome’s frescos that I almost felt like I was one of the character in the painting looking down at the parishioners below. 

We left the Duomo and reemerged into the city – this was only the beginning of a fabulous trip!  


Crystal Cascante, University of Florida

Happy Backpackers

I've been in Europe since the beginning of January and have traveled every weekend. This Easter Weekend was by far the best one. The hostel was perfect and super convenient, I made a ton of new friends, and our guides (Andy, Rhianne, and Elena) made sure we saw absolutely everything in the city. The meals included were all absolutely delicious, and Andy even brought snacks every once in a while to hold us over in between meals. We were given our Easter Mass tickets the night before and strategically planned to be in the front for mass. We followed Andy's suggestions and got to sit in the very front for Mass. The wait was worth it and so was every cent of the trip's cost. I barely spent any of my own money, just on transportation to and from the airport, gelato, and food on my last day there. I would 100% recommend this company to all of my friends!

Crystal Cascante, University of Florida ~ AIFS London, Spring 2016

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