Tivoli, Siena, Florence, and Santa Severa: My Italy Trips So Far!

Allison Derrick headshot
Allison Derrick
March 18, 2024
View of Siena, Italy

Having been in Rome for about 7 weeks now,  I've made four trips within Italy, and all are absolutely places I recommend going to! Traveling by train is probably my favorite way to go somewhere; it's affordable, fast, and reliable.  I love looking out the window at the scenery too, because you can see parts of the country you may not otherwise get to. After some close calls, my friends and I have finally learned the ways of the Termini train station, remembering to find our train number on the board and not look for the destination itself.  We also learned that we have to keep an eye out for platforms like 1EST or higher numbers such as 28, because it means you have to travel a bit further in the station to reach your platform.  

My first day trip was the first Sunday I was in Rome. I went to Tivoli with all of my roommates, and the train ride was quick and easy, with pretty views of the Italian landscape. The train was less than an hour from Roma Termini, and was less than 10 EUR round-trip. In Tivoli, we got a pastry and walked around the town for a while, wandering into the shops and looking at the little market that was set up. We were able to go to Villa d'Este for free, because it was a Sunday. Villa d'Este was full of fountains, gardens, and information about its history. We probably spent two or three hours just walking around. We also explored the streets around the center of the town and found out that there was a parade happening that day! It was super sunny and warm that day, and we stayed to watch the parade and get some lunch from a pizza restaurant, then walked around some more. We bought postcards from the garden to take back with us. This is absolutely somewhere that I recommend checking out if you're in Rome and have time for a quick day trip. 

My next trip, the second week of February, was an overnight one to see both Siena and Florence. We bundled these two places together because we worked out how much time we could spend and timed our trains well. The train was about 20 EUR one-way to Siena, and about a 3hr train ride from Roma Termini. We left super early and all fell asleep on the train. I have to say, Siena may just be my favorite place ever. I had visited it 5 or 6 years ago for my aunt's wedding, so this was an absolute must for me to return to.  I was happy to see that it had the same special feeling it did when I was fifteen, and it brought back so many wonderful memories of traveling with my family in the summer. This time, I got to see it in a new way and experience it with my friends. We walked all over, got lunch and gelato, and went into little gift shops and some churches. This city, as are most places in Italy, is so full of culture and tradition. There are 17 contrade, or neighborhoods, that all have their own identity and symbols, and there are parades and competitions and various involvements with the Siena community. I already want to go back to keep learning more about them!

After a few great hours in Siena,  it was time to catch our train to Florence. We got in around 7pm, and it was essentially absolute downpour from the second we stepped off of the platform to when we left the next evening. That being said, we had a wonderful time in Florence. We checked into our hostel for the night, then went back out to get dinner in Piazza Santo Spirito.  We got spritzes and pasta and were able to catch a break from the rain. Later that night, we explored some street bars and wandered around Florence and experienced the nightlife there. It's different from Rome, because everything is so close together, and there are not as many places to go. We liked how the scene was smaller and more walkable, so it was a nice change of pace for us. The next day, we hiked up a hill to reach a viewpoint of Florence where we could see the whole city, which was so beautiful.  We stopped for lunch at a place called Gustapizza, and had the best pesto pizza—might even be the best pizza I've had abroad so far! We shopped around for the rest of the day, walked around the Duomo, and saw as much as we could in the rain. This trip was a really successful combination of two cities that were on our list to see, some pretty train rides, and a lot of great scenery and food. 

About two weeks ago, my roommate, Ella, and I decided to find a beach that was close enough for a quick day trip. We went to Santa Severa, which was a 9 EUR roundtrip train ticket that was under an hour away. This is the off season for this beach town, so it was completely empty and we could walk all around the outside of the old castle, around the small village, and along the beach. This was the perfect place to get an ocean fix in and collect shells. Ella and I spent about two hours walking around Santa Severa, then got sandwiches from the beachside restaurant before getting back on the train home. This was a really simple, easy day trip on a sunny day where we got to see the water and spend some time outside the city. This is yet another place I recommend going as a day trip from Rome. 

These four places have been wonderful experiences, and I'm looking forward to my next trip within Italy!

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Allison Derrick

Hi, I'm Allison! I’m from Maine and a big fan of iced chai lattes, taking pictures with my 2011 digital camera, some good throwback music, and falling asleep on the beach. I'm in search of finding the very best pasta and gelato in Italy, so join me!

2024 Spring
Home University:
Lafayette College
Environmental Studies
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