Francesca Lascala is a student at Arizona State University and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Florence, Italy.
Spending a whole semester abroad means you have about 15 weekends to go anywhere you want. While some weekends you may want to go all out and head to the southern toe of Italy or fly north to Copenhagen, some weekends you might just want to take it easy and go somewhere close by, so you can sleep in your own bed again later that night. While you are already probably planning on visiting Pisa, Milan, Venice, or Siena, there are many smaller places worth seeing as well. Here are my suggestions for the best weekend destinations when you’re studying in Florence.
Florence is a hot city which means if you’re here for the fall semester, you will at some point want to get away to a beach. Castiglioncello is a hidden gem on the coast Italy. It is a quiet and peaceful town with crystal clear water. After visiting many other beaches, I can assuredly say that Castiglioncello was my favorite.
Everyone from around the world comes to study in Florence, but everyone in Italy goes to Bologna. When you go, it feels a bit more like a college town in a way. It is very similar to Florence where it feels large and small at the same time. This town is known for its food, and you have to eat Mortadella (the original baloney) and tagliatelle alla ragu (the real spaghetti Bolognese).
3. San Gimignano
ISA brought us on a wine tour on the outskirts of San Gimignano and then to the city itself, and this is one you cannot miss. San Gimignano is an amazing little town with amazing gelato (seriously, look it up). The wine tour was also amazing because the view of the countryside is spectacular. I also recommend just visiting the hills of Tuscany on your own and doing a Vespa tour.
4. Cremona region
This trip is probably only for those of you who love Call Me by Your Name. CMBYN was shot in much of the Cremona region (you can find maps and pinned locations online), and I had the chance to visit two film locations, Crema and Pandino. I did this as an extension to a weekend trip in Milan (because you will be taking buses from there), but it can be done in one long day too. If you are athletic enough, you can rent bikes in Crema and go to some of film locations off the beaten path like the Fontanile Quarantina.
With all this traveling in mind, I have some last-minute tips to give you.
- Plan transportation and routes before getting to a new city
- Leave some weekends open to explore Florence – it may seem small but there is a lot to see!
- Cheap trips here and there add up quickly, so keep a careful eye on your budget.
Now go out there and enjoy what Northern Italy has to offer you!
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