Embarking on a solo escapade to the vibrant streets of Florence was like setting off on a quest for the ultimate me-time. Picture this: I had a rough plan in mind, fueled by a speedy Google and TikTok search of "Top 20 things to do in Florence." Thank you, internet wizards, for saving me from drowning in a sea of travel guides! With my newfound wisdom, I booked a 7 a.m. train from Roma Termini to Firenze Santa Maria Novella, hoping to hit the ground running by 9 a.m. As the train rolled into Firenze Santa Maria Novella, my excitement skyrocketed—the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore was a mere nine-minute walk away! The timing was impeccable; the place was serene. But, oh boy, by 11 a.m., the tourist wave descended upon me, armed with selfie sticks and cameras, turning the scene into a full-fledged photography carnival for Instagram and Facebook.
Post-cathedral, my stomach decided it needed a say in the itinerary. While my taste buds yearned for local pastry havens, destiny led me to the siren call of Starbucks— sacrificial move for the sake of convenience, I swear! After that caffeine pitstop, I waltzed through Palazzo Vecchio, a bustling yet charming hub where fellow travelers savored coffee breaks amidst breathtaking surroundings. Many children laughing and running around which warmed my pure heart.
Next on the agenda? A date with glamour at the Gucci Gardens aka the Gucci Museum! Flashing my student ID, I snagged a ticket for 5 euros. Inside, a parade of iconic pieces, from scarves to luggage, awaited my eager eyes, including Hilary Swank's show-stopping dress from the 2011 Academy Awards. Feeding my hunger for Florence's charm, I took a stroll along the Arno River, soaking in the mesmerizing view. Jewelry stores glittering like treasures demanded my attention, captivating me but only window shopping had been done. Budgeting is key! Unless it's worth it then maybe it's ok to splurge!
Predictably, hunger struck again. My quest for heart-shaped pizzas led me to Gusta Pizza, where, the heart-shaped dream was shattered. The margarita pizza more than compensated for the lack of a geometric shape. After this delightful detour, I wandered into unique stores and hiked my way up to Giardino Bardini, promising a panoramic view of Florence. The uphill struggle was real, but the breathtaking view and a charming bar made it all better and healed my breathless body. Bonus: I stumbled upon a man who was finger-painting the whole view. The precision and color scheme was an impeccable sight to see aside from the true side behind it. Hungry for one last panoramic spectacle, I dashed to Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset. The view? Majestic. But the real MVP was a street hip-hop dancer, injecting a whole flow of high energy into the crowd. The crowd was into him! He was not afraid to get people out of the crowd to come bust a move. It was awesome to witness!
Back at the Arno River, the universe gifted me a moment straight out of a romance movie... pink skies, glistening waters, and me standing on a bridge, soaking it all in. Of course, a day like this called for a sweet treat, so gelato it was!
Wrapping up my little solo adventure at the leather market, I triumphantly snagged a perfectly sized red purse! As the day waltzed into the evening, I reluctantly boarded the 8 pm train back to Rome. Exhausted but beaming. Florence, you're a showstopper, a must-visit place. Solo travel? Do it. It's thrilling. It's unknown. It's uncomfortable but very enriching. Man, would I go back tomorrow! Arrivederci Florence! Until next time.
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Hello! I'm Emilie, a junior at Villanova, passionate about beauty, fashion, adventures, and meeting new people. Fun fact: I studied abroad and lived in London for high school. Can't wait to explore Rome and indulge in the finest gelato!