Day trip Guide: Viareggio

September 11, 2016

On Saturday, my friends and I decided to conquer the Firenze S.M. Novella Train Station (Santa Maria), which is the central train station in Florence.  It was a bit intimidating to go there because we were told to be on high alert for pickpockets.  We left early with plenty of time to get ourselves from our apartments to the station and then be able to find the place to buy tickets.

Once we bought our tickets, it got a little confusing because the whole ticket was in Italian, so we had no idea how to find what track we had to be on.  Even though we left ourselves a full 50 minutes from walking out the door to getting on the train, we still had to run to the track with four minutes to spare.  Thank God there was a friendly Italian couple at the station because they were able to show us what track we needed to get to make it to Viareggio.

We were on our way to Viareggio with absolutely no idea where we were going, but we had an end goal: make it to the beach.  We got off the train, and all just stood for a second and thought “well what in the world do we do now.”  We had planned the night before what time train to take but that was about as far as we thought… we didn’t make it as far to plan how to get to the actual beach.  Right then was where I thanked the internet for having google maps.  Advice: plan a little more than just transportation.

The beach was right down the street in front of us, Via Giuseppe Mazzini.  It was a straight shot for about 20 minutes all the way to the water.  At the end of the 20-minute walk, we could not believe what we saw.  There was a massive beach with matching blue and yellow beach chairs and umbrellas.  Different country flags were flying everywhere.  When you looked to the right, you could not believe how pretty the mountains were that had marble scattered all through them.  The beach right in front of us was private, so we turned right and went to the beach called Bango Amedea.

Once we got to the beach, our little bit of Italian that we had learned in class came in handy.  If you leave Florence, it is a lot harder to find people that fluently speak English.  The kind lady at the beach stand assisted us and for 30 euro: we were able to rent four beach chairs, a lounge chair, and two umbrellas.  We all split, so it was only 6 euro a girl.  It was my definition of perfection for a beach day.

We got settled in and ran into the water, and I am used to cold Lake Michigan, so this water was perfect.  It was easy to deal with the change of warmer water but a big shock when a mouthful reminded that it was salt water (something I am definably not used to).

I packed a small sandwich and grapes, and my friend and I had the most relaxing day.  We made our way back, thankfully, and we were very proud that we had accomplished our first-day trip problem free.  It makes us feel a little bit better with some of our bigger trips coming ahead.  Day trips are going to be something that we enjoy and continue to do since they are perfect for study abroad students on a budget.  In total, with round-trip train tickets, a drink at the beach, and the chair rentals, I spent 32 euro.  Make sure you always validate your train ticket before getting on a train, otherwise these day trips can get very price.  There are validation boxes hanging on the pillars right before getting to the train.  The day trip was worth every penny in my mind.  I have this coming weekend open, and since we are a little less intimidated by the Firenze S.M. Novella station we are hoping to plan another day trip, but it is TBD.

Hope you are all enjoying reading about my adventures!

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