Florence Is Like Disney World

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By Kara Goldfarb > Junior > Writing > Ithaca College

Leaving Rome for Florence is like leaving New York City for the suburbs. Or like taking a trip to Disney World. After taking the slow train in, we arrived around noon and were greeted by a few unfamiliar things: the two minute walk to the hotel (in Rome you have to deal with the trams, the metros, the taxis and the long cobblestoney walks across town). In Florence I felt like I could fit the whole district in the palm of my hand.

Additionally, being able to walk in the streets without playing a thrilling game of will-I-or-won’t-I get hit by a speeding moped was a refreshing change of pace. It was definitely an “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” moment. Florence felt like the perfect place to spend a relaxing weekend away from city life. Day one seemed to fill that quota nicely: We went to the market and checked out the famous Duomo (which was oddly reminiscent of the Small World ride). For lunch we came across a little place that changes its menu daily based on what’s fresh. Seeing as the place was extremely crowded, the owner asked if my friends and I would want to eat in the basement with his entire family. What was meant to be a quick bite to each turned into a delicious five-course meal surrounded by loud and friendly Italians.
Nighttime was when the Rome/Florence dichotomy really came out. The one street of bars enclosed by eerily quiet streets was different from the hordes of bars and clubs scattered all over Rome. The most conspicuous distinction came during the midnight food search. We combed the town looking for an open café or even a small convenient store. No such luck. We asked everyone we came across and then only response we got: “McDonalds.” In an act of desperation we made our way to the McDonalds, and low and behold, it was closed. Walking the short walk, in the streets, back to our hotel, I found myself longing for my Italian city.
Everyone loves going to Disney World, but at some point you know that you have to get back to the real world. After getting off the over packed train and taking the metro to the termini it was nighttime already and I was greeted by heavy rain as I came up the metro steps. Men tried to sell me umbrellas for two euros, but I let the rain splatter on me as I began the walk through Rome to my apartment, a smile on my face. To encapsulate: There’s no place like home.


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