Thanks to movies like Eat Pray Love, Letters To Juliet, Under The Tuscan Sun, I was already in love with Italy. And the more I virtually explored this country, the more I wanted to go explore it. I had heard all about the food, the cooking, the beaches, the notorious crimes and above all just how crowded all of Italy was!
I took a trip to Italy last winter to get my first taste of some of the top destinations that I have wanted to experience. Planning your trip to Italy sounds super easy. But when you get on it, it becomes super tough!
When I started my research, I was certainly confused with the range of information that was flooding around the internet to explore Italy on a whole.
So, for my actual trip, I chose to experiment with a mix of options to explore Italy better.
We had planned to spend 2 weeks/ 14 days in Italy and evenly distributed our itinerary across Venice, Florence (including Pisa & San Marino), Naples (including Pompei & Sorrento) and Rome (including Vatican City).
We wanted to ensure that we spent little time traveling across cities since there was so much in there to explore already. So, we considered our options well!
Italian trains are simply fabulous. They are spacey, comfortable and connect all major and even smaller routes. We traveled across major cities spread across Italy by train. All these trains can be traveled by using your multi-country Rail Europe pass or your Italian Train Pass. There are also special trains that take you directly to attractions such as Pompei, Sorrento leaving your closer to the town center.
You can read our review of the Trenitalia Trains here.
Italy has great quality roads and the same can be said about the quality of public buses. There are many buses that offer combined packages to take you across towns and tourist destinations near major cities like Roma, Naples, Milan, Florence.
Hiring a car was essential in Rome. There are plenty of options to travel within-in the city ranging from metros to taxis and tour buses. But to get out of the city a car is essential. Again, as mentioned trains and buses are great option to travel out of Roma. But if road trips are your thing or if you have a romanticised impression of Italy in your head, get yourself a car.
Italian road trips are great fun. You can take trips to the gorgeous towns of Positano, Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Cinque Terre, Capri by driving around.
There’s no better way to explore these stunning places than through a road trip.
The most important outcome is the ability to visit all destinations at ease. That too without having to worry too much about the timings and tickets. You can find easily find great deals on car rental in Rome.
We did consider renting a Vespa too, but for a group of four traveling with big cameras, cars were definitely better suited and cheaper.
Another key commute on each trip has always been the intracity travel. It has always been easier to explore smaller cities like Prague on foot because everything is right next to each other. But for big cities like Rome, you need to plan your commute well to ensure that you don’t get lost or tired or late as per your itinerary.
We obviously shuffled through our options.
There are no two ways about this. I believe that you haven’t truly explored a city unless you’ve walked around it. And it’d be criminal to not do in any of the Italian cities. I for one cannot decide which city I loved walking around more from Venice, Florence, Pisa, Naples or Rome!
Each city had a unique vibe to it which could only be explored while walking around.
We also bumped into Conan O’Brien while walking around Rome. I told you, walking has its perks!
We traveled a lot by metros in Rome. And until then, I never thought European metros could get any more crowded than the ones in Paris. But metros in Rome, at all times, were overflowing with people.
The upside, we could skip the traffic and make the most of our time for all that grief.
Hop-on- Hop-Off Bus
We took the Big Bus in Rome. Roma is vast, area wise. Hence, getting around, especially getting to all the tourist attractions would’ve been a task without these buses. The first time around, we simply hopped on from the starting point to get a proper audio-guided tour of each destination to get a gist of what we were to explore in the coming days.
It was a great idea, to begin with!
We also took a Segway tour in Rome to explore the city differently. Honestly, it was quite a rejuvenating experience and we covered quite a lot of spots in our tour duration. The highlights of our little Segway adventure were racing at the Circus Maxima (you read that right!) and catching the sunset with a panoramic view of the city!
Water Taxis (Only in Venice)