Exploring Italy & Paris (Detailed itinerary)

3rd Aug 2016
Photo of Exploring Italy & Paris (Detailed itinerary) 1/1 by Briony Gonsalves
The beautiful Positano

(All photo credit www.instagram.com/pixeljhol - Joel Gonsalves)

15 days (inclusive of travel) trip exploring Italy & France covering Paris (1 night) – Venice (1 night) – Florence (3 nights) – Rome (3 nights) – Positano (2 nights) – Paris (4 nights)

Day 1: So we had a 3:40AM Qatar Airways flight from Mumbai to Paris via Doha. Unfortunately, we had a 9-hour layover in Doha which I thought would be really bad, but it wasn't really. Doha airport had a nice family room to sleep and time just passed. Landed at CDG airport in Paris at 8:40PM and took the airport shuttle to our hotel. We checked into Premiere Classe Roissy - Le Mesnil Amelot at 10:30PM. This was just for a night layover near the airport for our next day flight to Italy. Yes, we spent this entire day only travelling.

Day 2: Checked out of the hotel and took the shuttle to the airport. We had a morning 9:00AM EasyJet flight to Venice - as some call it 'The Floating City' or 'City of Romance'. Landed at Venice airport around 10:40AM and took the Alilaguna public waterway transport to get to our hotel in Castello. We checked into Ca Malipiero at 1:30PM. Headed out for lunch and then visited St. Mark's Basilica & Museum, St. Mark's Square, Rialto Bridge, took the gondola ride and then later headed to Ponte dell'Accademia, this is a bridge where you get really nice pictures. We then later chilled for a bit at St. Mark’s square to witness the nightlife in Venice before returning to the hotel.

The Gandola

Photo of Venice, Italy by Briony Gonsalves

The view from Ponte dell'Accademia

Photo of Exploring Italy & Paris (Detailed itinerary) by Briony Gonsalves

Day 3: Went back to St. Mark's square and walked through the lanes of Venice, visited the square near Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Castello. Checked out of the hotel and took the water bus from Rialto to the train station for the 1:25PM train to Florence. Checked into Hotel Lombardi at 3PM. We headed to explore the city of Florence, we went towards Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral square), then Piazza Della Signoria which has a replica of David. Headed to Ponte Vecchio, this bridge is famous for the gold shops. Then in order to get a good view of Ponte Vecchio, we headed to Ponte Santa Trinita which is just the next bridge. Then went to a pub chilled for a while and after having a few drinks headed back to the hotel.

Ponte Vecchio

Photo of Exploring Italy & Paris (Detailed itinerary) by Briony Gonsalves

Day 4: Post breakfast we headed to the cathedral and purchased the €15 combo ticket from the Bell Tower which is valid for 2 days and covers The Dome (Cupola), The Baptistery, Opera del Duomo Museum, Giotto's Bell Tower (Campanile), Crypt of Santa Reparata . We first climbed about 400 steps of the Bell Tower (Campanile) to get a spectacular view of 'The Dome' and of the city of Florence. The views are outstanding. We then visited The Baptistery and then stood in the long lines to enter the beautiful cathedral - Piazza del Duomo. Beware they are very strict about the dress code. Within the Cathedral, there are steps to go underground to visit The Crypt, this has remains of about 14 centuries of history. We then headed to Galleria Accademia and stood in the long queues to visit the ever famous Michelangelo's David. Walked through the market and then had lunch. Post lunch we climbed the 470 steps to the top of The Dome (Cupola) which again gives spectacular views of the city of Florence. We also scanned through the Opera del Duomo Museum. We then headed to the train station from where we got a bus to Piazzale Michelangelo for amazing sunset views over Florence. This was quite a long day, we did cover a lot of things and climbed a lot of steps – 870 to be precise.

Sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo with a view of the Duomo

Photo of Exploring Italy & Paris (Detailed itinerary) by Briony Gonsalves

Day 5: We rested during the morning before heading to the train station to take a 12:10PM train for a day-trip to Siena. Since it was a Sunday we got to know there would be lesser transportation in terms of buses. Siena was about an hour and a half from Florence. It is recommended to travel by bus as you get to pass scenic vineyards on the way. We walked from the station to the city center through the quaint little streets; there we visited Piazza del Campo which is a huge square. Siena is a walled city and the entire city has medieval brick buildings. Given it was a Sunday, most shops were shut which also meant lesser tourists. We then had lunch at one of the cafes in the streets and then went to the Siena Duomo, Cathedral of Siena. Then headed to the bus station and took an express bus back to Florence passing the picturesque vineyards. We later strolled through the streets of Florence and then had our last dinner in Florence.

The streets of Siena

Photo of Exploring Italy & Paris (Detailed itinerary) by Briony Gonsalves

Cathedral of Siena

Photo of Exploring Italy & Paris (Detailed itinerary) by Briony Gonsalves

The gate to the walled city

Photo of Exploring Italy & Paris (Detailed itinerary) by Briony Gonsalves

Day 6: We had a morning 9:08AM train to Rome and arrived at 10:40AM. We checked into Hotel Massimo. Then headed to the Termini, had lunch and bought the 48-hour travel pass in Rome since all spots were far from each other. We visited the Pantheon and then Trevi Fountain which was packed with people but we managed to get a spot near the fountain. From there we walked to the Spanish Steps that was unfortunately shut for renovation. We then went to the Orange Garden or Giardino Degli Aranci for an amazing view of the sunset with the Vatican in the background.

Trevi Fountain

Photo of Exploring Italy & Paris (Detailed itinerary) by Briony Gonsalves

Sunset from the Orange Garden or Giardino Degli Aranci

Photo of Exploring Italy & Paris (Detailed itinerary) by Briony Gonsalves

Day 7: Post breakfast we visited the Colosseum, the enormous amphitheater and then the ruins of the Roman Forum. We went back to the hotel and rested for a bit and in the evening headed back to Trevi fountain to see it by night but it was still crowded. We then went to see the Colosseum at night and it was amazing with the moon shining upon it.

Sun kissed Colosseum

Photo of Exploring Italy & Paris (Detailed itinerary) by Briony Gonsalves

Day 8: We got up early to go to the Vatican City for the Papal Audience at 10AM. We reached there about 8AM and there were long queues. When we got closer we realized that the Papal Audience was taking place in the Auditorium and not St. Peter’s Square which meant limited audience. And then they stopped entry to the auditorium and many tourists like us missed the papal audience. However, they had put up large screens in St. Peters Square to witness the same. We watched for a bit and then headed to St. Peters Basilica, they again are very strict about dress code. We directly headed to climb the basilica dome – we were lucky as there was barely any crowd. We took the elevator half way saving the climb of 320 steps. We had to still climb the remaining 230 steps to get to the top of the dome from where you get an amazing view of Vatican City or rather St. Peters Square. We then headed to explore the Basilica which is so enormous and stunning. We also visited the tombs of the Popes which is below the Basilica. We later went to the Vatican Post Office to send postcards home through the Vatican Post. We then walked through Vatican City had lunch and headed back to the hotel. We did some shopping on the way back and later headed out for our last dinner in Rome.

The view of The Vatican City

Photo of Exploring Italy & Paris (Detailed itinerary) by Briony Gonsalves

Day 9: I was super excited as we were going to Positano - a quaint little town on the Amalfi Coast. This was a place which was “Love at First Sight” for me when I saw pictures online. It is a task getting there from Rome (2 trains with about an hour's journey in each + an hour's journey by bus + walking) but definitely worth it. It took us about 5 hours from Rome to our hotel in Positano. We took the 8:48AM train to Naples which arrived at Naples around 10:15AM. We then took the 10:41AM local Circumvesuviana train from Naples to Sorrento which reached around 12noon. It was pouring on the way but luckily got sunny later on. We missed a SITA bus due to the long queues and then had to wait for about half an hour for the next bus. We got a bus at 1PM and were lucky to get a window seat on the right side of the bus to get to view the amazing Amalfi coast. On reaching Positano, the bus stops on the main road and you have to walk down to your hotel, we had to walk quite a bit with our bags. We checked in at Hotel Royal Prisco at about 2:30PM. Had lunch and then headed down to the beach. We then walked through the lanes of Positano, bought some pizza, wine & limoncello to enjoy an amazing dinner on the balcony of our room under the stars.

Vintage in Positano

Photo of Positano, Province of Salerno, Italy by Briony Gonsalves

Day 10: Purchased tickets from the tabacchi and took a SITA bus towards Amalfi. We got off on the way at Furore Bridge, which is very picturesque with a small little beach down. Unfortunately, the path to the beach was broken or shut and hence none of the tourists could visit the beach. We clicked a few pictures and took the next SITA bus to Amalfi town. Walked through the streets of Amalfi, saw the cathedral there but did not go inside. We bought limoncello from there which is really nice and strong. We took a 4:20PM ferry back from Amalfi as we wanted to witness the entire coast from the sea and get a view of how Positano looked from the sea and it was indeed spectacular. We then headed to see the other quieter beach in Positano. We went back to the hotel, freshened up and went for our last dinner in Positano.

The quaint town of Positano from the sea

Photo of Amalfi, Province of Salerno, Italy by Briony Gonsalves
Photo of Amalfi, Province of Salerno, Italy by Briony Gonsalves

Day 11: We booked the Positano shuttle at 7:45AM to take us to Naples Airport. We had a 12Noon flight by EasyJet which was delayed and we ended up reaching Paris CDG airport at 3PM. We checked into our hotel Provinces Opera at 5PM. Unfortunately, the AC in the hotel wasn’t working. We then freshened up and went out to explore Paris. We picked up snacks and walked to River Seine, sat down on the banks of Seine and had a little picnic. We then thought of visiting the Eiffel Tower to see how it looks at night, we reached there around 9:45PM and once we were there the sight of the Eiffel Tower lit up was amazing. The first sight of the enormous structure leaves everyone in awe. It then started twinkling around 10PM for 5 minutes and it looked so pretty. We then headed back to our hotel.

Day 12: We bought the 3 day travel pass to travel around Paris. Visited the Louvre, as usual, there was a crowd around the Mona Lisa painting and the rest of the Louvre was quite empty. From there we went to the Catacombs for which we had to stand in the queue for about an hour but was worth it. The eerie feeling of being amidst human Parisien remains was extraordinary. We then headed to Arc de Triomphe, where you have to climb about 284 steps to reach the top. You get an amazing view of Paris from up there. We chilled on top for quite some time and waited for the sun to set and then waited for the Eiffel Tower to light up. It’s amazing to see the Eiffel tower from the top of Arc di Triomphe. We then visited the ever famous Laduree store at Champs Elysees and picked up their macarons and headed to the hotel.

The moon shining over the Eiffel tower

Photo of Paris, France by Briony Gonsalves

Arc di Triomphe

Photo of Paris, France by Briony Gonsalves

The eerie Catacombs

Photo of Paris, France by Briony Gonsalves
Photo of Paris, France by Briony Gonsalves

Day 13: Visited Sainte-Chapelle which is has stained glass windows and then Notre Dame which is such a pretty church. It was Assumption Day hence we were lucky to get the 11:45AM mass. We had lunch and then headed to Eiffel Tower where we sat on the steps leading to Trocadero Square where there was a group performing a street dance, they were really good and kept the entire crowd entertained. We then purchased tickets and went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and waited for sunset and for the lights of the tower to come on. Had dinner near Eiffel Tower and headed back to the hotel.

The beautiful church of Notre Dame

Photo of Paris, France by Briony Gonsalves

The stained glass Sainte-Chapelle

Photo of Paris, France by Briony Gonsalves

Day 14: This was our last day of our trip as well as last day in Paris. We headed to Montmartre which again is a really nice white church. We took the Funicular to go up to Montmartre, visited the church and then had brunch near Montmartre. We then went in search of the Lindt store to buy my favourite Lindor chocolates. We visited the Boutique Lindt Paris Opéra store, picked up a lot of chocolate and then went to Boulevard Haussmann which is the next street to do some shopping. We then went to a supermarket Monoprix close to our hotel to do some local shopping. We then freshened up and walked along River Seine and went to the different bridges near Notre Dame, from there we then went back to the Eiffel Tower to take a river cruise of the Seine at night. Had dinner and headed back to our hotel.


Photo of Paris, France by Briony Gonsalves

Day 15: We had a 10:30AM flight to Mumbai via Doha. Checked out of the hotel and headed to the airport.

Day 16: Landed in Mumbai at 2:40AM.

1 Comment(s)
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Lovely post and great photographs. Bur you missed the Vatican musuem and the Uffizi gallery in Florence. You may like to visit my blog diytravelexperiences.wordpress.com. Best. Dhiraj
Fri 03 03 17, 17:55 · Reply · Report