See the best of Italy in this quick 9-day itinerary!

22nd Feb 2017

Italy made a lasting impression on us and we’re already dreaming of going back one day soon! Be it the fashion mecca Milan, the dreamy Venice or the stunning historic Rome, the country has vast treasures and there is enough and more to see here. Luckily, it’s easy to travel around Italy and if one plans & chooses well, it is possible to extract the most of this wonderful country. Here, we share our itinerary to help give an idea on how this can be done.

Day 1 & 2: Land in Venice and live in the Renaissance

Venice is a place of mystery and beauty, with no car horns or modern inconveniences to break its magic spell. Our flight landed in the evening, and as we took a water taxi to the centre of the city, we saw what could only be described as a magic, fairy city before us. Venice welcomed us with twinkling old world yellow street lamps, a hushed atmosphere of mystery and its waterways-canals that had us all spell bound.

We timed our visit to the Venice carnival, an annual festival held in February, where people celebrate the Renaissance period by dressing up in gorgeous Victorian dresses and secretive Venetian masks – a once in a lifetime opportunity to see! We spent hours at Piazza San Marco, on the banks of the Grand Canal watching the carnival and visited the St Mark’s Cathedral, also known as the Church of Gold for its opulence!

Photo of Venice, Italy by ishani

While we deliberated taking a gondola ride, we didn’t find it to be value for money and hence didn’t do it. But we did gorge on yummy traditional foods and discovered so many new flavours in even basics like Margherita pizza or Tiramisu!

Day 3 & 4: Train to Florence & immersing ourselves in art

The Trenitalia network covers all of Italy and has convenient schedules to suit everyone. The train ride to our next stop Florence, was fun as the views changed from canals & water to farmlands with rows of olive shrubs and orange trees.

We visited the Santa Maria Del Fiore, a beautiful cathedral that has become the symbol of the city. Its roof was engineered and painted by Brunelleschi and many compare its beauty to the Sistine Chapel. We also explored the Palazzo Vecchio, the old city palace, home of the famed Medici family of Florence.

Photo of Florence, Italy by ishani

We couldn’t miss the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most visited museums in the world (book tickets in advance to avoid long queues)! And the statue of the one-and-only David by Michelangelo at the Gallery Accademia was a sight to behold. As we left the gallery, the day was winding down, we found ourselves listening to street musicians enthralling the crowds and entwining harmony into the very air we breathed.

Days 5 & 6: We go back further in time

Onwards from Florence, we reached Naples by train late evening. Though there are many things to see here, we chose to skip those as we had our sights on the bigger prize – the ancient city of Pompeii.

Pompeii is well known for being a 2000-year old city, that was buried & preserved under a sudden eruption from Mt. Vesuvius. To see the high degree of preservation oneself is a fascinating experience. We started off by seeing the gates of the city, some of the mansions of the rich, the smaller homes of the regular folks, the still functioning drinking water fountains, the restaurants, and the cobbled streets for the chariots. The loaves of bread were still preserved in the local bakery, the machine to iron clothes at the tailors, a large no of paintings, murals, artwork, frescoes on the walls, preserved, vivid bright in colour… Everything intact and preserved under a giant mound of volcanic ash for the past 2000 years! We felt like we were peeping into the lives of another world – a world which had slept for some time and was now just awakening.

Photo of Pompeii, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy by ishani

Days 7, 8 & 9: Finally, the royal city of Rome!

Our first stop in Rome was the iconic Colosseum. What a spell binding moment to see it for the first time! We then strolled around the Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum and the Arch of Constantine. As evening dawned, we walked around the city getting to know its ins-and-outs and ended our night eating yummy must-have gelato by the intricately carved, tourist favourite Trevi fountain.

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by ishani

The next day, we visited the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona with its stunning Fountain of Four Rivers sculpture by Bernini (famous for its beautiful depiction of the 4 most important world rivers including our Holy Ganges, and for the gruesome part it played in Dan Brown’s novel ‘Angels & Demons’). Here we met our guide for our highly anticipated Italian food tour– a great way to better understand a country. We went around all the favourite local haunts including the world-renowned Campo di Fiori market. We started with Macchiato coffee and then sampled cheeses like Burrata, different kinds of appetisers: Arancini & Supli, Margherita & Rosa pizzas, types of pastas and their wine pairings & finally desserts (Cannoli, Gelato)! Throughout the tour, our guide shared interesting trivia about the city and its food, historical titbits and jokes! It was a splendid evening learning, eating, exploring and making merry!

Of course, our trip to Rome would be incomplete without a visit to the world’s smallest country, the Vatican! We went to the Vatican Museum where we spent hours admiring the paintings, sculptures, tapestries, etc & ogling at the deliciously ornate walls & ceilings of the museum rooms. After a leisurely stop at the beautiful St Peter’s square, we were off to check out the Spanish Steps in the heart of Rome.

With this, our trip to paradise ended and it was time to say goodbye to the place we had fallen in love with. With a heavy heart, we boarded our flight back, only with a promise to return asap.