When it comes to Italy, what is the first thing that pops in your mind? There is no denying that one cannot help but think about their love for Italian cuisine? Apart from its scrumptious pizzas and pastas, there’s more to Italy. An extra-ordinary city like Italy deserves to be in your bucket list of one of the most anticipated European countries. The list of Italian places to visit is never-ending. Surrounded with towns, countrysides, and coastlines, Italy is the soul of Europe.
Starting off with Italy made it easier for us to experience Europe as a whole with ease.
Destination 1 - Rome: Rome was clearly not built in a day. So if you want to witness the magic of this city, stay close to prominent areas. After we landed at FCO airport, we took the Leonardo Express train straight to Roma Terminal. Considering feasible transport access, we booked our stay at Hotel Porta Maggiore.
Being the most popular destination of all times and one of the wonders of the world, we started our tour with "Colosseum".
To avoid any queue hassles, book your online ticket beforehand while on your way out to this destination. Also, do purchase ticket for Roman Forum, as its worth your time.
Standing true to its purpose, the Roman Colosseum provides a permanent built arena in the centre of Ancient Rome. It offers various forms of entertainment for the Ancient Romans which is truly a gift to Roman Citizens.
The best way to witness the city is by getting lost in its charisma. That way, you’ll not ensure every ounce of its beauty but also follow its rhythm at every step. As you move ahead with your journey, you’ll get to explore its culture and architecture. All you have to do is keep walking till you reach your destination since prominent tourist-areas have limited access to vehicles.
As mentioned earlier, this city is meant for strollers. To experience all things romantic in this city, grab your trainers and be prepared for long walks hand in hand. My wife and I started our walk from Piazza Barberina to Trevi fountain to Pantheon to Piazza novona. On our way, we ate, shopped, and repeated the same till the time we were in Rome
Day 3: Our next step was undoubtedly the Vatican city. Having only read about this city in ‘Dan Brown’ books, my wife and I were beyond enthusiastic to explore this place. Rich with art and architecture, Vaticano is the city within a city of Rome. The best time to visit Vatican City is early in the morning. The queues start forming early, so plan on getting there as soon as possible in the morning. Get down at Ottavino metro station and walk straight towards the Vatican gates.
The best part of Vatican City is a visit to cupola (i.e. top of the St. Peter's Basilica). Be prepared to tighten your trekking shoes, as the climb to this place is a mini adventure.
Our next stop was Vatican Museum. In case you are not a fan of ancient historic museums, you can give this little trip a miss. You can find a maximum number of shops and street food on your way.
Post Vatican visit we headed straight to Spanish steps and guess what? Once you’re here, trust me, you’ll be lost in the vibe and aura of this place. Here, you get to witness a Roman wedding ceremony every time you’re at this church. Post the wedding, the joy of a happily ever after will bring tears in your eyes.
Were you really in Italy if you haven’t tried the mind-boggling gelatos? Brace yourselves, because, their gelatos are legit the best ice creams you’ll have so far. Although expensive, the quality and premium-ness of these gelatos are worth every penny. Due to a plethora of available flavors, go ahead and try as many flavors you wish to eat.
Destination 2- Florence & Pisa: Since it takes 2 hours to reach Pisa from Roma, leave for this destination early so that you don’t disrupt your schedule further. In case you’re traveling heavy, keep your baggage in the luggage room at the station. In addition, take a bus for Pisa Tower. The whole vicinity was very beautiful. We spent around 3 - 4 hours and then headed back to Pisa station for forward journey.
Day 4: Florence - Post our visit to Pisa, we boarded a regional train to Florence. Typically, there is a train to Florence station in every 30 minutes. We booked our stay at the Hilton hotel which is 15mins away from the center. Once at Hilton hotel, be prepared to experience luxury at minimal charges. Their various deals and offers will make your stay a comfortable one.
Being famous for its architecture, Florence is a home to many masterpieces surrounding art and ancient culture.
Places to visit in Florence are:-
1. Santa Maria del Fiore
2. Ponte Vecchio (Bridge on auro river)
3. Piazza della Signoria
4. Palazzo Vecchio
Day 5: Venice- We boarded Train Italio from Florence station to reach Venice. Since Venice is a tad bit expensive than other cities, we decided to stay at Venezia-Mestre station, which is 10mins away by bus to Venice.
Venice has ‘ROMANTIC’ written all over it in bold. The magic of this place is what makes it a popular honeymoon destination. Once you’re here, you’ll find yourselves lost in its alluring alleys. Right from museums to canals, you’ll find everything to explore with your partner. Additionally, the foodie couples can binge on their favorite flavors of gelatos.
The canals of Venice makes it impossible to utilize vehicles. While the canals are mesmerizing, one must walk through the alleys to explore the city to the fullest. Below are few must do items in Venice:
1. Rialto Bridge (Grand Canal)
2. Piazza San Marco
3. Gondola ride on Grand Canal (private ride recommended for couples)
4. Murano & Burano Island Tour
Before visiting this place, book your tour to Murano, Burano & Torcello islands. You can get the ticket near the San Marco square. Ask any street vendor and they will guide you to the ticket counters. It is a half day tour which will take around 4-5 hours.
Day 7: Milan- We took an early morning train to Milan and reached in next 2hrs. Surrounded with Swiss Alps, the train journey makes your way to this city a mesmerizing one. The stunning view of snow-clad mountains still flashes right in front of my eyes, even today.
Since we had to leave for India the next day itself, we preferred to stay to Milan central station. Majority of the tourist spots are nearer, hence, traveling is not an issue at Milan.
We visited -
1. Duomo di Milano
2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
3. Milano Central Station
3. Cioccolatitaliani - Geleto Icecream
4. Spontini - Italian Pizza