Welcome to Wisdom of the Masses, wherein we tap the global intelligence of our readers on matters you won’t necessarily find covered in Lonely Planet or Tripadvisor.
This edition is going to be personal: I’m turning to you guys for some highly specific insight (and if you’ve got long-lead travel questions yourself, send ‘em in for possible future installments). My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy, which will end in September with a mini-whirlwind: two nights in Florence and one night in Rome. We’re driving into Florence from the countryside and hope to return our car and ditch our bags by noon or 1 pm Friday, which gives us Friday afternoon and all day Saturday in the city. Come Sunday morning, we’ll be taking a direct morning train to Rome. We need to be at FCO little more than 24 hours later, 11 am on Monday morning, for our flight back to the States.
These are crazy quick visits to cities we’ve never seen, but all of it comes at the end of a long and mostly relaxed trip, so we’re okay with a little frenzy. More importantly, we’re not fixated on hitting every must-see attractions—we know we’re not spending enough time in either place to do them justice and we lean towards chilling, anyhow. We’re experienced travelers in our mid-30s and enjoy staying in neighborhoods that are heavy on local atmosphere, cafés, and shops, and not insanely touristy—think Le Marais in Paris, or Barcelona’s Gràcia—but still conveniently located so can see a sight or two. Also important: We need to get to and from the train stations without mad hassle.
So with all that in mind, what are the best neighborhoods for speed-crashing in Firenze and Roma? I defer to you, well-traveled experts.
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