It had been my dream to visit the countryside of Italy and when I got the flight booked few days earlier than Bologna’s Children Book Fair, I quickly agreed to follow my illustrator friend from Indonesia, Evelyn, to visit Arcidosso, a commune located in the Grosseto province, Tuscany region.
When I arrived at Fiumicino Airport in Rome,Italy, I quickly got on the next Leonardo Express (Trenitalia) train to Roma Termini, the main railway station of Rome, Italy. I paid Euro 14 for the ticket. I know I could get on the cheaper train but I was running late to meet Evelyn. I promised her to be at the termini around 1pm. The time was 1.30pm.
The station has regular train services to all major Italian cities, as well as daily international services to Paris, Munich, Geneva, Basel, and Vienna. With twenty-nine platforms and over 150 million passengers each year, Roma Termini is one of the largest railway stations in Europe.
Termini is also the main hub for public transport inside Rome. Both current Rome Metro lines (A and B) intersect at Termini metro station, and a major bus station is located at Piazza dei Cinquecento, the square in front of the station. However, the main tram lines of the city cross at Porta Maggiore, some 1,500 metres east of the station.
When I reached the station, first thing I did was to look for Evelyn. I found her at the main entrance waiting with her host in Rome, Pasquel. She got herself on airbnb room for few days at Pasquel’s home. Before we leave for Grosseto, I got myself a Vodafone prepaid data sim card for Euro 35. It is valid for one month.
Later, Evelyn and I bought our tickets to Grosseto by using one of the ticket machines located almost everywhere at the station. The fare to Grosseto is Euro12.95 each. We got the 16.20pm ticket so while waiting for the time to board the train, we walked a bit to Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore just to pass the time. I had been there before.
The piazza (or square in English) is a place where Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and Baroque bronze statue of Mary and child are situated. The current church dates from the time of pope Sixtus III, who reigned from 432 to 440 while the statue was erected in 1614.
After sitting at the piazza for an hour admiring buidings, we walked back to the station to catch our train to Grosseto.
The journey took us about 2 and a half hour before reaching Grosseto Station. Took some pictures along the way.
By the time we got there, the night already fell. We bought a bus ticket of Euro 4 to get to Arcidosso.
At first we did not know which bus to take. We asked around and a bus driver told us to take bus number 15 or 30. Then another bus driver came to us. He had heard our conversation. He told us to take any bus to Sienna, get down at Paganico and take another bus to Grosseto. He spoke in Italian with a little bit of sign language so that we understand what he was trying to convey. He had been so helpful and we thanked him In Italian words: grazie mille (million thanks). He seemed happy that we speak a little Italian.
If he had not told us that, I think Evelyn and me would’ve ended in the middle of nowhere in Tuscany. But I did told Evelyn that if we got lost, we should find any hotel and stay for the night before finding our way to Grosseto the next day.
A bus came and we saw that the sign shows that it will go to Sienna, so we boarded the bus. The journey took more than two hours to reach and we had to change bus at Paganico before reaching Archidosso. When we reached Arcidosso small town, it was around 9pm and most shops were already closed. As we walked looking for the place that we would be staying (Lorenzo’s Place), we saw one pizza shop that was about to close. We dropped by and ask for direction. The boy was so kind to show us the way and finally we reached Lorenzo’s Place.
Stay tuned for my blog post on Archidosso.
Getting to Rome: KLM operated 2 time(s) daily from KUL to FCO (Rome).