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Rome daytrip from Florence

I know this sounds crazy, but hear me out....

My husband and I will be in Florence for 6 days (5 nights). (Mid-May)

We only have a certain amount of time in Italy so decided to go up to Venice for a few days from Florence. We left Rome off of the itinerary and plan to go back in a few years to do it justice, as I feel it needs a week to fully appreciate.

That being said....I see that we can get to Rome via a high speed train in 1.5hrs. We had planned to do a daytrip during our time in Florence anyways. I can not rationalize NOT seeing Rome, even if just for a brief moment to get a highlight. A teaser I guess for a future trip.

We have a toddler (who we are NOT taking), so I don’t know feasibly when we will get this chance again. And when I think about all of the day trips I’d like to take and what I’d regret not seeing most, it’d be Rome.

My thought was that we would walk a route from the (arrive via train near the colosseum) colosseum / Forum area - Trevi - Spanish steps - Castel Sant’Angelo - Vatican (depart the station in Vatican City).

The entire walking route is 51 minutes. We won’t go into the museums. And we won’t go inside of the colosseum.

So I am thinking we arrive very first thing in the morning. That gives us a few hours to just walk and enjoy the scenery (with full knowledge that we can’t really go inside and dig into many places), grab a quick lunch and coffee, then maybe do 1 short tour.

Reasonable right? I know we won’t be able to really go in many places. I really just want to walk outside and take in the scenery and architecture.

We will save the museums and tours for another trip where we can fully appreciate the area. I’d just hate to not get a small taste of the city before leaving. 😌

Posted by
5740 posts

With a toddler, such a day trip would be torturous. Even without a toddler, it'd possibly be too hard of a day trip. Save Rome for when you have sufficient time to see the city properly, and it's at least a 4 day city.
Travel with children often requires you to be very conservative on itineraries.

Posted by
2330 posts

No, No, No, you probably are not a seasoned traveler. Going to Rome for a day trip is like going to the best restaurant in a city and only eating an appetizer (and only eating half the appetizer).

Plan on coming back to Italy and staying 5-6 days in Rome. Instead take day trips to closer place around Florence, like Sienna, even Pisa, Perugia.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you sycthian!
We may just scrap the Scavi your and stroll around Historic Rome. Really I just want to walk and see the sites from afar, take in the architecture and sit at a cafe maybe on a square.

I am NOT taking my toddler. That’s the point. I want to just see highlights as I don’t know when we will get the chance to travel just as a couple again. :)

To others:
I’ve already stated we plan to visit the city properly down the road and I just want to walk through the city. I already know we can’t see much. I already know how packed the city is.

We are seasoned travelers; however we haven’t been to Italy.

If I’m taking a train an hour away regardless for a day trip to walk around a city, why not beautiful Rome?

I know my expectations going in. I’m not aiming to tour anything, go inside the sites or stroll thru museums. Obviously that would be a horrific plan. I simply want to walk thru.

Posted by
3275 posts

f I’m taking a train an hour away regardless for a day trip to walk
around a city, why not beautiful Rome?

I think because there are many equally (if not more so) beautiful trips you can take from Florence. Aside from Venice, what other places do you plan to visit during your time in Florence?

Posted by
16 posts

Emily - What would you recommend?

We are doing 5 nights in Florence and then leaving Florence for 4 nights in Venice. So we dedicated quite a bit of time already to each.

We want to do one day trip during our time in Florence and another day trip during our time in Venice.

Posted by
3275 posts

So many excellent day trips from Florence. I, in fact, prefer to stay in another town when visiting Tuscany and making a day trip to Florence. Some ideas - Siena, Lucca, San Gimignano, Volterra, many more. Tuscany is not Florence, Tuscany is the countryside and smaller towns and it would be a real shame to miss that. I know that Rome is tempting, but it will short change Tuscany in a big way.

Posted by
96 posts

If you have your heart set on seeing Rome even for just a short while, go for it!

If it were me, I would take a walk around the ancient Rome sites, and then do Steve’s Heart of Rome walk, stopping to have a coffee and maybe lunch. You can at least see several of the most famous sites in Rome (Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, etc.) and get an idea for later trips. It will be a rushed trip, but the heart wants what the heart wants! If you know you won’t be able to make it back for several years, you will have at least had the chance to visit one of the truly great cities for a few glorious hours.

I will warn you though that it will just whet your appetite for more, and you may find yourself finding a way to make it back more quickly than you thought you would!

PS, Make sure to throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return trip!

Posted by
537 posts

Hello Raf,

I've been to Rome twice (so far) in the past two years. I love it. The whole city is a walking museum, so you can't go wrong (anywhere.) Yes, a person should dedicate at least two weeks to Rome, if possible. And, even with that, one would never see "all of it." No, lol. Too big, too much.

I read your post, and it seems that seeing Rome, even for a short time, is really in your heart. Do it. Once you reach Rome, the excitement kicks in, and you go into adrenaline drive. As you stated, you won't have your toddler, so it will be easier to move around. You won't have to spend only 51 minutes.

Yes, you can go to Rome from Florence via high speed train. Try to get the earliest one possible. You'll be in Rome just under 2 hours. Get your bearings once you come out of Termini, perhaps grab an espresso and a Cornetto for some quick energy.

Just a reminder, take care to keep your valuables safe -- Passport, Euros, credit/debit cards, phone, camera, etc.-- either use a money belt for the bulk of your "bank stuff" and keep day money close, or maybe in a cross body bag.

I stayed in the Termini area twice, even walked around at night, took buses at night with no issues. Just keep aware with a big city attitude (I don't mean that in a bad way, lol.)

Since you stated you won't be going into most places that you need to reserve and will have long lines, you can see a lot of Rome even if it's only the highlights.

I'm linking the following to (only) give you some ideas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3pTI9je2ZQ to make the most of your time. Sean, one of the guides, is really fun, down to earth and informative. He's lived in Rome for over 10 years according to one of his videos. I don't know him personally, but, I just like their videos. Maybe browse some of their other videos for ideas.

With a day, it would be good to do a bit of research to map out the sites so you're not backtracking. Below is not in order; just some suggestions.

St. Peter's Basilica is at the top of my list. No entrance fees, but may be a wait in line; security moves along though. If you really want to go in, you could visit the Basilica in an hour or so and return another time if you love it.

Castel Sant'Angelo (close to St. Peter's Square)
Pantheon (Piazza della Rotonda) - beautiful (active) Church
Piazza Navona - beautiful with all the fountains
Campo de' Fiori - fun marketplace by day and lively at night (cute shops around the side streets)
Fontana di Trevi - breathtaking and mesmerizing (and crowded)
Piazza di Spagna - see the boat, read up on the story, climb the stairs to the top to see the Church (Trinità dei Monti)
Colosseo, you could see it from the outside and save the visit for next time.
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II - (Altare della Patria) - neoclassical architecture, very important and beautiful monument https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altare_della_Patria

For lunch or dinner, try to go away from the tourist ones. There is a restaurant I frequented often (two blocks from Termini) which has good food, family-style, friendly, English-speaking staff, homemade pastas, very inexpensive, open from 12:30 until 11:00 PM. Locals and travelers alike ate there. If interested, I could give you the name of the restaurant.

If you want gelato, and you're inclined to walk to it, (it's not far from Termini) try La Romana. It's very good! Via Venti Settembre 60, 00187 Rome, Italy.

Have fun planning. I think you'll love Rome, and one day, as you want, you'll return.

eta information.

Posted by
43 posts

I’d say fo for it also! It is not a long train ride. I would arrive early in the am and visit the colosseum with a skip the line ticket (reserve ahead). Skip the Roman Forum and Palentine hill since these can really take a big chunk of time. You can see some of the Forum and other sites as you walk through ancient Rome towards The Pantheon (must go inside) and Piazza Navona. Get a guide book and be selective as to what you want to see. 10 people will give 10 different answers as to what they would cover in a day trip.

Posted by
2460 posts

If you decide to visit Rome, note that no trains arrive right by the colosseum. You would need to take a train to Termini and then the Metro to the Colosseo stop.

Posted by
16 posts

Amazing advice! I really do have my heart set on seeing Rome. I wish we had the ability to adjust our trip to do a few days there, but for various reasons, we cannot.

Some encouraging advice that helps support our idea.

Thank you all for the varied feedback. :)

Posted by
3064 posts

I really do have my heart set on seeing Rome.

Although not usually a fan of "hit and run" day trips, your desire and enthusiasm appear to be such that I can on say "Go For It!!". Better to regret something you did rather than regret something you didn't do.

The nights allocated to Florence and Venice are good -- don't change a thing.

Posted by
326 posts

Rome is amazing. I liked it much better than Venice or Florence. Why not do 3 nights Rome, 2 nights Florence? If you want to see it so badly, then spend an appropriate amount of time there.

You can definitely "blitzkrieg" Rome in a day if you have to if you're determined to stay in Florence. I went with just the husband a few years ago and stayed a few nights. Came back this year with the kids in tow, on a cruise. We did a full-day tour including outside of the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Parthenon, Piazza Navona, and inside of St. Peter's. Those are some major sites to hit and my kids really liked them. You will need to taxi from the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain, and then from Piazza Navona to St. Peter's.

But again, I'd really reconsider the 5-nights-only-in-Florence thing.

Posted by
537 posts

Raf, the OP, states the below:

Amazing advice! I really do have my heart set on seeing Rome. I wish we had the ability to adjust our trip to do a few days there, but for various reasons, we cannot.

So they would be happy, for now, with a day trip to at least see some of the big highlights of Rome.

Posted by
2983 posts

With 10-11 hours, 12 of you use the ungodly 6:10 train. Two trains the 7:38 and 8:08 from Florence should give you ample time.

I'm not fond of the metro in Rome, and the bus will be too slow. For that reason I'd use taxis. You'll find stops here. https://m.tuttocitta.it/taxi/roma

Arrive Rome, taxi to Colosseum.

Walk by Roman Forum, then take the side steps entrance on your left into the back of the Victor Emmanuel monument. (For a spectacular view, take the elevator to the top).

Then either through the church or down the steps to Capitoline hill.
Walk down the steps (Michelangelo staircase) into Piazza Venezia.

From here good look at the front of the V E Monument.

Taxi to Piazza del Popolo.

Facing the Obelisk, with the Bernini gate, Porta Flamina behind. To your right is a fountain. Near this is the curving stairs up to the Pincio Terrace great views over Rome.

From Piazza del Popolo head to the Spanish Steps. Then on to the Trevi Fountain.

From here signs to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona down quaint streets filled with tourists shops.

At the back of the square head straight to the Lungomare and cross the Ponte Sant'Angelo and Castle Sant'Angelo ending in St Peter's Square.

Taxi back to Termini to catch the 20:20 train to Florence.

My granddaughter and I did this last fall, and had plenty of time for a "quick" lunch break, Gelato and early dinner.

Posted by
16 posts

Gerri - This is perfection! Thank you so much.

Posted by
10253 posts

Add me to the "go for it" column. If you really are more drawn to Rome than to places in Tuscany; if you accept that you are just getting a taste; if you don't waste time going inside too many places; and if you have decided that Rome is a personal "must see" on this trip; if all of these are true, then I say it's an obvious choice.

As for the logic that you shouldn't go because "you can't do it justice in a day" or some such, that's true. But you can't do it justice in a far longer visit, so as long as you accept the limitations going in, make the most of your one day there.

Posted by
855 posts

hey raf
i'm in the GO FOR IT club. years ago my first trip to rome, i was so determined to ride the "fast" train.my friend thot i was crazy, i am, so off we went to naples for the day. walked out of station to some place for pizza, walked down some small alleys to shop around and window shop. saw so much graffiti and garbage around, went to a piazza near the water, sat and people watched had some vino, got on a bus for a ride going south along the coast. it was a pretty ride, hillsides with gorgeous housing and gardens. heading back to train station pass by the "polizia"(carabinieri) in armored tanks and guns pointing up. never said a word until back on train to rome and laughed so much about our adventure we went on. our friends look at us and wonder, something always happens with you two with pictures to prove it. next morning so many people near our apartment in piazza navona area, a student protest is beginning LOL. did our best to get out of area, no taxis or shuttles, streets block by lots of police, more guns and armored tanks, pulling our luggage up this alley and down that street. found a lone taxi that took us to civitavecchia cruise port 150E for our transatlantic cruise. made lemoncello outta lemons on that trip, with many funny and happy memories. you will make them on a day trip to rome, stop for a glass of vino, people watch and gelato. gerri's post is great. enjoy
aloha

Posted by
9021 posts

Gerri offered up a great itinerary, IMHO, for a day trip from Florence. Rome has so much to offer that the trick is understanding in advance that there's only so much you can accomplish in a day...which you seem to have a handle on already! As she has suggested, I'd spend almost ALL of your time just exploring the exterior landmarks and save anything else for the next trip.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you Princess Purple! I know it will be a bit of a rushed day, but I’m so excited to see just a bit!

Posted by
170 posts

We've done day trips to Rome from around Montepulciano two times. Just plan your day and you will be fine. We had no interest in spending more than one day in Rome so it worked out fine.

Posted by
4189 posts

Maybe you should give yourselves permission in advance to just stop someplace for wine or gelato and enjoy "dolce far niente" -- the art and architecture will be there later when you have more time, just savor being in Rome.

Posted by
22 posts

Rome often is misjudged by people who try and rush through it on their first trip. with a baby, I think it will be a potential disaster. Just MHO (been to Rome at least 10 times/ 6 over the last 15 years). It isn't that you can't do it, but whether you should use a valuable day of your trip to try and conquer this beast.