I really did NOT like Rome. There. I said it! I had no intention of even visiting Rome in the first place. My plan was to go straight to Florence, but NOOOO, everyone said: YOU MUST DO ROME and YOU CANNOT GO TO ITALY WITHOUT SEEING ROME and so I went there and guess what? I couldn’t stand it.
For the most part, my frustration with Rome was due to two factors:
- Rome is a big city and it feels like it. It felt so busy busy busy move move move like New York or DC to me. And that’s not really what I was looking for on this trip. Although I didn’t know it (what I was looking for, that is) until I got dropped down into the confusing
fire pitcity center that is Roma.
- It’s apparently high tourist season in Italy, so Rome is crowded. Very, very crowded. On the buses, on the trains, on the streets. There are WAY too many people walking around trying to do the same thing I’m doing. And no one seems to know where they’re going!
Seeing How Real Romans Live
Shopping at a Real Italian Supermarket and Cooking My Own Dinner
Photo Gallery: What an Italian Grocery Store Looks Like
On the third day…I rose and got my butt up OUT of Rome. I was tired from walking 10 miles getting lost in the city and ready to explore what the rest of Italy had to offer.
I took the $23 euro bus from Rome to Florence. The woman at the ticket counter kept trying to tell me that this particular bus would drop me off ON THE HIGHWAY and I should probably wait for the next one to come in about 5 hours. But I wanted to be OUT of Rome that very day and in Florence before nightfall, so I ignored her warnings and hopped on the bus that was leaving right then.
The bus dropped me off on the side of the damn road.
I was ON THE HIGHWAY, just like the woman at the counter said I would be. Cars whizzed by as I shook my head, laughing at myself. Why did I have to be so hardheaded? The bus driver instructed me to walk up the road a few minutes and wait a little while. There would be a city bus coming by soon that would take me into the center of Florence. “Number 37,” he said in stilted English. It was hot as a furnace outside and I had on jeans like a dummy. Sweat dripped down my chest. 20 minutes felt like an hour as I waited. And waited. I nearly ran to the bus as soon as I saw those two blinking numbers: 37. Just 15 minutes later and I was in the heart of Florence. Finally!
Of course, the first thing I do when I get off the bus is stop at a gelateria. As I stand outside to eat my little cup of strawberry sorbetto, the world once again feels light and refreshing, my gelato a cool reminder of how glad I am to be out of Rome and in Florence, capital city of the Tuscan region. It already feels like the Italy I’d imagined in my dreams.
Read my previous Travel Diaries:
- Travel Diary: My First Day in Greece and City Circus Hostel
- Travel Diary: Exploring Monastiraki, Plaka and Acropolis in Athens
- Travel Diary: Shopping in Athens, Sunset in Santorini
- Travel Diary: 7 Reasons Why I Fell in Love with Greece (Especially Santorini!)
- Travel Diary: How I Almost Got Arrested in the Santorini Airport