An Italian Summer - 12 days -Venice, Florence, Tuscany, CinqueTerre, Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi & Naples

Tripoto
21st Jun 2019
Photo of An Italian Summer - 12 days -Venice, Florence, Tuscany, CinqueTerre, Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi & Naples by tamanna tripathy

No wonder Italy goes by the phrase - "Il Belpaese" - which means beautiful country. It is truly difficult to not fall in love with Italy. This boot-shaped country has everything - from oceans to mountains, from cuisine to culture, from its rich history to heritage, from Pope to famous painters, from fashion to fiesta, from pasta to pizza, from vineyards to volcanoes, and much more.

Most people visit only the popular destinations such as Venice, Rome, Pisa and Milan. However, the variety of places you can visit and the activities you can enjoy in just this one country is almost unparalleled.

Our itinerary: Mumbai ---> Venice ---> Florence (Pisa, Cinque Terre, Chianti) ---> Rome ---> Sorrento (Positano, Amalfi, Capri) ---> Naples ---> Rome ---> Mumbai

We would have loved to fit in the northern sojourn (Milan, Turin, Lake Como, Lake Maggiore) but we did not have the luxury of time to get an extended vacation. The distance between places is not much, so if you have time and are ready to put in efforts into planning your own trip - you could choose from a variety of things to do.

VENICE

Grand Canal, Venice

Photo of Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy by tamanna tripathy

One of the many alleyways

Photo of Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy by tamanna tripathy

San Marco Piazza

Photo of Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Murano Island

Photo of Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Spritz

Photo of Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Rialto Bridge, Venice

Photo of Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Venice - We landed in Venice on a Saturday afternoon. We had reserved a cozy Airbnb outside of Venice in the mainland (Most places in the Venice island are expensive and crowded). However, if you like to be amidst the beautiful canals and bridges throughout your stay, please choose to stay in the island). We purchased the 1-day ACTV pass (20 Euros) that allowed us unlimited trips on the tram, buses and boats (vaporetto). The tram ride from our Airbnb (in Favaro Veneto) to Venice was 20 mins. Since we arrived in the evening, we chose to walk around in Venice through the narrow alleyways, exploring the numerous stores with their glass artefacts, masks, fruits, gelatos, and everything else. Walking along the Grand Canal and crossing over the beautiful ponte Accademia and Rialto (bridges) was our favorite thing to do. We even took a joy ride on the vaporetto to get to the San Marco square from the Rialto bridge. Since it was late in the evening, we decided to skip exploring the Doge's palace or the St. Mark's Basilica. The next day we took the vaporetto to Murano (if you have more time, you should explore Burano island too - which is further away and takes about 1.5 hrs boat ride from Venice). Murano is a tiny village with many glass factories and souvenir shops. While in Venice, do not forget to get one or many glasses of the Spritz - it is a wine-based cocktail that originated in Venice, and is commonly served as an aperitif in Northeast Italy

FLORENCE

Lornano Winery in Tuscany

Photo of Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Ponte Vecchio

Photo of Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Vineyard

Photo of Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Castello de Monteriggioni

Photo of Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Photo of Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Piazza della Signoria

Photo of Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Florence - This is a picturesque Renaissance city that has enough old-town charm owing to its beautiful monuments, artistic sculptures, numerous piazzas, delectable Tuscan cuisine and a vibrant city and night life. You can base yourself in Florence and visit places like Pisa, Cinque Terre, Tuscan villages, Sienna etc. We had reserved a beautiful Airbnb right in the centre of the city, very close to the SMN station, that gave us quick access to visiting nearby places via the regional trains. We spent 3 night in Firenze exploring its food and culture (mostly on foot). Highlights within the city - Piazzale Michelangelo (aerial view of the city), Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi gallery, Piazza del Signoria, stroll along the Arno river. We also did a day trip to Pisa and Cinque Terre (details below). Pisa is just an hour away (by train) from Florence.

Another highlight was a half day tour to the quintessential Tuscan vineyards - we spent a beautiful afternoon tasting the world famous Chianti Classico, other red wines, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. This was booked through Viator with the tour company - mytours. The tour was comfortable, informational and above all - enjoyable.

CINQUE TERRE

Vernazza, Cinque Terre

Photo of Cinque Terre, SP, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Vernazza , Cinque Terre

Photo of Cinque Terre, SP, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Cinque Terre

Photo of Cinque Terre, SP, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Monterosso, Cinque Terre

Photo of Cinque Terre, SP, Italy by tamanna tripathy

"Cinque means five" and "Terre means land"- Cinque Terre is a series of five sea-side and cliff-side fishing villages that oversee the beautiful azure blue waters. The nearest regional station is La Spezia, which is easily accessible from Florence and Pisa. To do justice to these five villages, you need to spend a night or more in one or more of these places. However, we just had the luxury of a day trip from Florence, so we utilized the time visiting just three of the five villages. Note: You can get a Treni pass that allows you unlimited train rides to and from any of these villages. However, you may also want to hike or take the boat to commute from one village to other. The entire hiking trail covers a 12 km stretch and ranges in levels of difficulty. Whatever mode of commute you choose, I bet you will fall in love with the colorful architecture of the houses perched up on the cliffs, the narrow alleyways gushing with tourists and locals alike and the much relaxed way of life. This is a place you should definitely not miss.

ROME

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Vatican City

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Colosseum

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Trevi Fountain

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by tamanna tripathy

The Vatican

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Villa Borghese

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Villa Borghese

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Colosseum

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Trastevere

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Best desserts and gelato at Pompi Tiramisu

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Best desserts and gelato at Pompi Tiramisu

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Trastevere

Photo of Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Rome is one of the most historical cities of the world. The rich heritage and history intermingled with amazing artwork, culture and a cosmopolitan lifestyle, makes Rome one of the most visited tourist destinations. If you plan to go around a lot, you might want to explore the Roma pass. Alternatively, just a 24-, 48- or 72- hour metro/ tram/ bus transport pass will be enough to manage your commute and take you to places. We had a tiny little airbnb booked right in the heart of Piazza di Spagna (it is one of the very central locations). We were just a stone throw away from the Spanish steps, half a kilometer away from the Trevi fountain and about a kilometer away from the Villa Borghese.

We spent the first evening exploring the buzz of the nearby areas. Listening to live performances while devouring a gelato on the spanish steps and tossing a coin over at the Trevi Fountain were few of the first things we did that evening.

The next day was reserved for a tour of the Vatican city. Easy to access by metro or bus, we reached the Vatican city and joined our tour group, organized by "City Wonders" tour company, booked through viator. We spent the first half getting amazed by the Vatican museums. Final destination was the Sistine Chapel, famous for the beautiful ceiling frescoes painted by Michelangelo. There's a huge food court where we had lunch and then moved towards the St. Peter's Basilica and square. The church is one of the largest in the whole world, and rests over tombs of many previous popes. One of the most impressive parts of the Basilica is its incredible dome. The view of the St. Peter's square, lined on the sides by the columns and pillars and statues, was breathtaking.

That evening, we explored the busy neighbourhood of Trastevere, famous for its colorful and bohemian vibe. It's abuzz with street-side cafes and bars and is a hotspot for street performers, locals, and tourists alike. The cobbled-street and faded buildings add to the very local vibe that Trastevere stands for.

We spent the following day visiting the Colosseum and the Roman Forum in the morning. The evening was spent exploring 'Villa Borghese' - the largest garden in the heart of Rome, located on the Pincian hill. Watching the sunset and listening to live music at the gardens, was a perfect ending to our Roman vacation.

SORRENTO

Positano

Photo of Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Villa Communale, Sorrento

Photo of Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Syracuse, open bar in Piazza Tasso in Sorrento

Photo of Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Positano view

Photo of Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Vallone dei Mulin, Sorrento

Photo of Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Villa Communale

Photo of Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy by tamanna tripathy

Amalfi Coast

Photo of Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy by tamanna tripathy

The ultra-famous Limoncello

Photo of Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy by tamanna tripathy

As we reached Campania, which is the coastal region in Southern Italy, we experienced a completely different landscape and vibe. We had moved from the historical and cultural hub to a more carefree, quaint beach-town of Sorrento, that overlooked the Bay of Naples. Sorrento is a tiny little town, that is easily walkable end-to-end in 1-2 hours. It is perched on a cliff, and has many small beaches (public and private) that can be accessed by stairs and/ or elevators. Our gorgeous BnB was just 5 minutes away from the Vesuviana station. We spent the evening exploring the town on foot. Few of the spots we went to - Piazza Tasso, Vallone dei Mulin gorge, Marina Grande, Villa Comunale. The setting sun view from Villa Comunale, with the Mount Vesuvius backdrop was gorgeous. Late evenings are particularly happening at the Piazza Tasso owing to the lanes full of open bars and cafes that are bustling with people.

Most people choose Sorrento as a base location and then plan their day to Positano, Amalfi Coast, Ravello, Salerno and the many more beach-stops on the way. We did too ! The next day we purchased a day trip ticket for the SITA bus that departs from the station and went on the explore the beautiful beaches of Positano and Amalfi. There are many semi-private/ private mini vans/ buses, cars, and boats that you can book for this trip as well. The Amalfi drive is considered to be one of the most spectacular drives in Europe - and it's definitely worth the hype. Cliffs on one side and pristine blue ocean on the other - the views are spectacular. Visit to these towns and beaches were the highlight of the trip, specially Positano with its pebble beachfront and steep, narrow streets lined with boutiques and cafes.

NOTE - When in Sorrento, don't forget to try and buy the famous Limoncello and other lemon goodies.

NOTE' - Capri is another destination (island) that is accessible from Sorrento and/or Naples and makes for a good day-trip

NAPLES

The next day, we headed to Naples to experience one of the oldest and largest cities of Europe. Naples was very different from the other cities we had visited so far, mostly because it did not seem very touristy. We spent the day exploring the Via Toledo, Piazza Garibaldi, Castle Nuovo, Bellini neighbourhood etc. I must admit that we were a little concerned about safety in this city - there are numerous articles and blogs that suggest that Naples is a crime hub and tourists need to be careful.

We ended our trip by traveling back to Rome, enjoying a relaxed evening in the hotel and taking a flight back to Mumbai the next day.

It was a vacation full of life and color, history and culture, art and architecture, mountains and beaches, gelatos and drinks and much more - Italy is definitely worthy of being called one of the most beautiful and romantic countries of the world. 

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