Tag Archives: Florence Navigate Italy

6 Preparations to Successfully Navigate the Intercity

The first time I tried to get from point A to point B in Rome I failed miserably.  The city was so busy and not clear marked – or so I thought – to properly direct me anywhere.  Yesterday I caught up with a friend who just spent the past year traveling the world.  Her trip was very missional in focus and she spent a lot of time helping orphanages, fighting against human trafficking, and working a variety of building projects.  During out conversation, I brought up how much I like Rome, She immediately said “I hated Rome.” I was surprised, especially after seeing a huge chunk of the world.  She said “It was too busy and it took me forever to find things I wanted to see.”

It made me realize that she was right.  I have spent so much time in Rome that I forgot how difficult it is to navigate the intercity.  As I thought about it most of the cities I visited for the first time were a headache to try and “figure out” for the first time.

Here are just a few European cities I had trouble navigating the first time through:

  • Rome
  • Naples
  • Venice
  • Munich
  • London
  • Frankfurt
  • Salzburg
  • Vienna

Most of these cities are fairly straight forward and I realize everyone’s’ struggles are different.  For me traveling came with a learning curve.

Here are 6 intercity preparations I make before traveling to a new city – or an old one.

  1. By reviewing a metro/bus map online before you arrive. Sounds straight forward but know where you need to be and how you are getting there are invaluable.  Just waving down a cab and saying “to this address.” Isn’t going to cut it.
  2. By downloading free Smartphone apps:  Most metropolitan cities have bus, metro, or tram apps available for your Smartphone. I have found a lot of them to be free. They can mean a 20 minutes difference.
  3. By asking locals opinion before you venture out.  Most locals are very proud of their city. And, if the city is visited often by tourists, they will be used to people asking questions.  They can be a great resource to double check information.
  4. By knowing what options you have available.  Not all cities offer all the same amenities; not all people prefer to travel on a train.  By knowing what public transportation is available to you before you arrive will help take the stress off of getting to your destination.
  5. By budgeting accordingly.  Most people do not even think about budgeting for metro or bus tickets; especially, when one only costs €1,50.  Most cities have website that will give you an idea of what tickets will cost and if there are any package deals available.
  6. By allotting the proper amount of time.  This one always gets people.  There are many who underestimate the amount of time it takes to get to any given destination – especially during peak tourist season. You generally know one of two of these people.  I recommend at lease an extra 15 to 20 minutes, depending on where you are headed, per location or sight.  It is always good to see 100% of all the items for that day – verses 80%.

The preparation time you have before a trip will make or break you.  These tips save time and allow for smooth navigation while traveling.

Question of the day:

In your opinion, what is the worst city to try and navigate?

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Firenze | Florence

When I was looking at places to visit for my last trip I automatically omitted Florence, or Firenze, from the list. The mental image that came to mind – as I reflected on the people I talk with about this city – was overweight, loud mouth Americans, who loved the fact no Italian was needed to enjoy the city. As I got over the hordes of tour groups – wearing Hawaiian shirts, lead by a small flag down the streets of Florence – in my mind, I decided, now is as good of time as any to go for a visit. Maybe I should clear this issue up.

Let’s get one thing clear; I am proud to be an American. I am blessed to live in a place like the United States; however, our people don’t represent our country well abroad. For are readers who have witnessed an ugly American, I sincerely apologize. There will be more to come on this topic – I am mulling over a blog post on cultural do and don’ts.

But after I spent a week around the city, my opinion of the city was quite the opposite. I found Firenze to be great and I cannot wait to return. In my opinion the best parts of the city are;

Size: Smaller than Roma, with a similar feel, you can absorb the city much easier.

Cleanliness: Not to say other cities are dirty, but it would appear Florentine people scrub the streets every night.

Gastronomy: The food is great. It’s true country Italian-famous for their stake. As for the wine, there is no better city for quality and price, than Firenze. The only down side is the bread. It’s terrible. Too dry, and turns to crumbs in your mouth.

Culture: The people in Firenze dress like the fashion elite. It is the capital of European country living. It’s as if a magazine comes to life.

I give Firenze 83 pts out of 100. It is a great city; I will be back.

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