Browsing Tag

Florence

Driving, Europe, Italy, Travel

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

May 8, 2017
5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

For the past two summers, I have rented a car in Italy. Not only do I feel a little more local when I do this, but it also allows me to see the smaller towns that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Don’t worry driving in Italy isn’t as scary as people make it sound and Italian road trip is one of the best road trips!

Renting a Car

Renting a car in Italy is easy. I would recommend using Auto Europe, click here to check rates. I used them the last time I rented a car in Italy for the month, and they offered the best rates.

Rome is my starting point for renting a car because I cannot drive a manual transmission and there are more automatic cars available in Rome. Also, the rental desks are open till midnight. If you want to spend time in Rome, then I recommend renting the car after your time in Rome as parking in Rome is difficult and expensive.

Day 1 – Rome to Amelia

Once you arrive at the Rome Fiumicino Airport and rent your car, get on the road to your first stop or stay the night to rest up. If you come late in the day or are jet lagged, I recommend spending the night at the Hilton Rome Airport, check rates here. It is a short walk to the terminal and will allow you not to have to rent the car right after getting off the plane.

The first stop is the Parco di Monstri in Bomarzo, about one hour and a half from the Rome airport. This historic park is full of scary and wacky sculptures. Built by Pier Francesco Orsini in memory of his wife, Giulia Farnese in the 16th century. Both from well known Italian families.  The park is only accessible by car, so it is a must do while on a road trip in Italy. Allow 1-2 hours to explore the whole park.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

The next stop is Amelia, which is only about 45 minutes away from the park. Amelia is one of my favorite towns in Italy, and some say it is the oldest city in Umbria. The walls are ancient and in fantastic condition. There is an archaeology museum and many beautiful churches to explore. For dinner, I recommend La Locanda del Conte Nitto, which has beautiful food and views of the ancient streets of Amelia.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

Day 2 – Amelia to Assisi

Spend the morning finishing exploring Amelia and then head to the town of Assisi. If Assisi sounds familiar, it is because it is where St. Francis of Assisi was born. At the end of the town is the famous Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. The Basilica is stunning with views outside of the surrounding valley and colorful frescos inside. I recommend going early to beat the crowds.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

After that walk, through the town to the other side and head to the Rocca Maggiore. The Rocca Maggiore is the town’s ancient defense fort and overlooks the whole area. If you head to the top of the tower, you get an even better view.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

Stay the night in Assisi. You will want to, after all that walking. There is a public car park near the Nun Assisi Relais & Spa Museum hotel, which is the hotel I recommend in Assisi, check the rates here. Not only are the rooms located in a historic nunnery, but the hotel has a spa located in the Roman baths below. You can get a massage till eight at night, which is just the cure for you aching feet. Not only that you can eat with great views at the in-house restaurant of Eat Out, where the menu is seasonal and local.

Day 3 – Assisi to Gubbio

After enjoying your breakfast in Assisi, take the short drive to Perugia. Perugia is the capital of Umbria. It is known for its celebration of the arts. The highlight here is seeing the underground fortress, Rocca Paolina. The fort was started in 1540, and most of it was destroyed by the 19th century. Now you can explore the cellars and basements that are still standing.

Find more history in the short drive to Gubbio. Gubbio is a town built into the side of a small mountain and makes for stunning views of the city and the valley below. Due to it being integrated into the side of the mountain, you can take elevators from different levels of the town. There are tons of things to see in this city, but the architecture of dark gray stone buildings is intriguing and makes you fee like you have stepped back in time.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

Make sure you make it to the top level of the town to see the Cathedral of Gubbio. It has a stain glass window that is gorgeous. The views from up here are almost a must see. If you are really brave, you can take the funicular up to Basilica of Saint Ubaldo.

Day 4 – Gubbio to Siena

Spend a few hours in the morning exploring the things you didn’t get to see yesterday in Gubbio. Don’t forget to see the Palazzo dei Consoli built in the 14th century with running water. Then make a long drive to Siena. You are now in Tuscany! The entire historic center of Siena has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highlight of this is the Siena Cathedral with its amazing gothic architecture.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to FlorenceThen make a long drive to Siena. You are now in Tuscany! The entire historic center of Siena has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highlight of this is the Siena Cathedral with its amazing gothic architecture.

If you go to Siena in the summer, try to be there around the historic Palio di Siena. It is a medieval horse race that takes place in the Piazza del Campo. Who doesn’t want to see men ride horses through an ancient town in costume!

Day 5 – Siena to Florence

Given the short drive from Siena to Florence, you can spend the morning in Siena before heading to my favorite city in Italy, Florence. You will begin to see the rolling hills of Tuscany on this route. Driving through Umbria has you driving through the mountains, but now you will drive between them.

In Florence, you will return your rental car as driving in the historic center of Florence is limited to residences and can carry hefty fines if you do. Parking is also expensive. You will most likely have to return the car at the Florence airport. You can then take a taxi or the “Vola in Bus” shuttle, which takes you to the Florence train station.

There is so much to see in Florence, so you will need a few days to see it all. But on this first day, I recommend finding a museum that interests you and only do that on the first day. This way you won’t wear yourself out and can enjoy Florence to the fullest. I recommend the Hotel Plaza Lucchesi in Florence. I have stayed here on every trip I have had in Florence, check rates here.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to FlorenceBook tickets in advance and see the Uffizi Gallery on the second day. You will avoid the long lines to get in this way. The Uffizi Gallery has something for every art lover. Be sure to see Botticelli’s Birth of Venus while you are there.

Have you gone on an Italian road trip, what was your favorite place? Share with us in the comments.

Italy, Travel

Florence, Italy: A Photo Essay

November 28, 2016

FlorenceFlorence is my favorite city in Italy. The whole city is a museum and as you all know I am a museum nut! I have been to Florence three times this year, so here are some of my favorite photos from my visits.

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

 

Hotel/Accommodation, Italy, Travel

Sleeping in History: Hotel Plaza Lucchesi, Florence

September 20, 2016

Plaza Hotel Lucchessi

Classic luxury is the phrase I would use to describe the Hotel Plaza Lucchesi in Florence, Italy. From the Murano glass chandeliers to the gold-plated elevators to the elegant rooftop bar and pool, the Hotel Plaza Lucchesi makes you feel special when you stay there.

Plaza Hotel Lucchessi

Both weekends I visited Florence, I stayed at Plaza Hotel Lucchesi. I originally chose the hotel because it was close to the sights, had parking, but was outside the limited traffic zone. This is an area in which you have to be a resident to drive through. After the first weekend, I knew I would come back to Florence, and I knew I would stay at this hotel again. 

Plaza Hotel Lucchessi

My first weekend there, I was given a room with a view of the Santa Croce and the Duomo! To this day, I am still not sure how I got that room. In addition to the amazing view, it had two balconies! The room was large and had a great bathroom. Once I came back for the night, I discovered the bed was very comfortable as well. While this room had a great view, it did have some negatives. One was that the wifi did not seem to want to work in that room. It worked everywhere else in the hotel. The other was that it was next to the stairs to the rooftop bar, so when people left the bar, they were loud. However, I would choose this room again and just wear earplugs! 

Plaza Hotel Lucchessi

Plaza Hotel Lucchessi

The next weekend, I was given a room with a view of the Arno River. The room was again large. While there was no balcony, there was a bathtub. The wifi worked great in this room, and it was very quiet. It was nice to see a different view of Florence.

Plaza Hotel Lucchessi

Plaza Hotel Lucchessi

Plaza Hotel Lucchessi

The service in the hotel was outstanding. Everyone was very helpful, nice and remembered me the second weekend. The breakfast was simple but good. Both weekends, I parked my car with them. The first weekend, I had to pay because I didn’t make a reservation in their garage and it was full. The next weekend, I knew to reserve a spot. The first weekend, valet saw me checking out and retrieved my car for me right away! 

One of the best things about this hotel is the exceptional views from the rooftop bar and pool. You can see the Santa Croce, the Duomo and the Arno River all at once. At one end you can see the Ponte Vecchio. I did not swim as it was still chilly for me. No one else was either. Happy hour time attracted many people to the bar. If you are planning to go there for happy hour, I would make a reservation so you can sit at a table with couches.

Plaza Hotel Lucchessi

Staying at the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi was a splurge for me, and I probably couldn’t afford to stay there again. However, for a night or two, it was definitely worth every euro. At least when I go back to Florence, I will know where to see the sunset with a view. 

%d bloggers like this: