One thing that has been particularly great about studying abroad in Florence is easy access to public transportation. Back home in the United States, we often lack reliable options for public transportation. However, in Italy, between busses, trains, and metros, there are so many options to help you travel around on a budget. Taxis, Ubers (which are actually illegal in Italy), and car sharing can easily get pricey, especially for travel over long distances. With reasonably priced tickets for the various modes of public transpotation―and their frequent departure times―traveling on busses and metros within a city is incredibly efficient. Meanwhile, riding on trains is a perfect way to travel between towns―even countries!
Over the past few months, I have completely lost count of the train, bus, and metro rides I have taken, which is not something I ever expected to say coming into this semester. While I do miss driving a bit, riding on public transportation has started to become one of my favorite time-savers. Whether the ride lasts two hours or only 20 minutes, I am able to spend that time doing other things I enjoy. Sometimes I read a book―other times I just look out the window and take some time to think about life. Florence is definitely a hustling and bustling city, so being able to take any amount of time to just slow down and think is greatly appreciated. That being said, I sometimes just sleep for the duration of the trip―enjoying some downtime.
While some of the stations in Italy, like the one located in Sesto Fiorentino, are smaller and less crowded, others are incredibly huge and busy. The Milan Central station (referred to as Milano Centrale) is particularly impressive. The building contains countless restaurants and shops, and its tall ceilings are covered in beautiful paintings, making for a wonderful view for each passerby.