Day 2 was incidentally the first Sunday of the month when most of the attractions in Rome have free entry resulting in long queues. Plus Vatican is closed on Sundays. So instead of staying in Rome, we left for Florence.
It cost us about €65 per head (had done online booking) for a return ticket on the fast train that takes just 90 minutes. I had also done all attraction bookings online in order to avoid the ticket buying queues.
We decided to walk to Rome Termini since we had time on our hand and because it was a beautiful morning. The train was on time and we reached Florence around 11:30 am. We started our day with a visit to Baptistery of St John, moving on to the Cathedral and then climbed the bell tower with a beautiful view of the Florence city.
Each of these attractions have different opening and/or closing times so it's important that you know that in advance. For instance, Baptistery closes at 2 pm while cathedral opens only at 1:30 pm. Bell tower is open whole day till 7:30 pm. So the order we chose was based on timings. In addition, bell tower had longest queue before lunch and I knew most people wouldn't want to climb up 440 steps post lunch so I kept that for later in the afternoon. As a result we could spend enough time in Baptistery before it closed. Then we had time for a short lunch before cathedral opened. And after that bell tower queue had reduced to just 5 min wait (which was at least 30 min when we had landed in Florence)
Next on our stop was Uffizi Gallery that has really great collection of sculptures. It took us 40 minutes of waiting in queue to get inside as the entry to gallery was free. One can also buy reserved tickets (except for first Sunday of the month) to avoid queues.
We spent about 2 hours in the Gallery before we decided to head out for a gelato :) Slowly we made our way back to the station. The sun had vanished and it had started to drizzle but wind-chill was the worst problem. I wished I had carried a warm hat.
The Florence train station is very basic and has hardly any seating. It was tough to stand and wait for an hour after such a long day but soon we got lucky and managed to find seats. We reached Rome Termini around 8:45 pm. We were too tired to go out for dinner so we picked up a pizza at the station. We then hailed a cab to the hotel as it was cold and we were in no mood to walk another mile at that hour.
|Baptistery, Cathedral and Bell Tower|
|Some parade in front of Uffizi|
|Ceiling of Baptistery|
|View of Florence from Bell Tower|