After experiencing the peaceful canals of Venice and carefree days of wandering through Florence and the Tuscan countryside, it is natural to think you should head straight to Rome to complete your tour of Italy. If you are able to, however, hold that thought and take a small detour to the sleepy little town of Assisi. Located in Umbria, it is home to the infamous Basilica de San Francesco. If you are seeking a cathedral that stands out from the crowd, then this is the place for you. The cathedral is actually comprised of two separate buildings on top of each other: the one on the bottom, which contains the tomb of St Francis, is older and adorned with frescos. The top of the cathedral juts out of the mountain in a dramatic display of beauty. Of course there are many other things to check out in this city, but if you are able to make it there on a short stop, you will be rewarded with a single visit to this cathedral.
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130 Kms from Assisi
Rome 3 days Youth Hostel: Des Artistes This hostel is clean and close to the train station. Their roof terrace and buffet breakfast is a favourite among the travellers. Hotel: Tuscolana This is a value for money hotel five minutes from the metro line and half a block from the city bus line. There are some graffittis that spoil the neighbourhood's ambiance, but don't let that get to you. It is situated in a safe middle class neighbourhood.
130 Kms from Assisi
My days in Rome, Italy started at 9 a.m. and finished at 10 p.m. It was more than 12 hours of endless walking through cobbled streets. I stopped in-between only for food and drinks. Roma, as Italians call it, is without a doubt a beautiful city with pale white walls and history at every turn.It is not just the Colosseum and Roman ruins that make Rome unique. If you are wandering in Rome, there is a high chance that you will come across disintegrated castles, ruined theatres built centuries ago or dilapidated churches in the middle of the city. This is what I Iiked about Rome. You get your dose of history without paying for it.But hardly anyone goes to Rome just to roam around, do they? For such tourists who come on a week trip with an itinerary to cover length and breadth of Italy, the Colosseum and Roman Forum are obvious attractions. For 12 Euro, valid for two days, you can visit both places and that is money well spent.
135 Kms from Assisi
Florence 3 days Hostel: Ostello del Bigallo Hostels don't get more scenic than Ostello del Bigallo. It is built on a monastery dating back to the 13th century. A beautiful garden upfront and panoramic view of Florence from the terrace adds to its charm. The only catch is that the hostel is an hour's ride from the city and involves a 2 km hike. Hotel: Ginori al Duomo The staff is extremely friendly and its location, a short walk from the train station, is ideal. However, there is no getting around the three story climb as the hotel doesn't have a lift.
301 Kms from Assisi
"And the walls kept tumbling down on the city that we love Grey clouds roll over the hills bringing darkness from above But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?" -Pompeii, Bastille These words by the British band 'Bastille' accurately describe what must have gone through the minds of those dying while buried under several layers of lapilli as Mount Vesuvius erupted on the 24th of August, AD 79, leaving a ghost town of what once used to be a thriving settlement. The ruins of the city, replete with its temples, forums, public baths, markets, theatres and even brothels for that matter are captivating. Taking a guided tour from the station itself is a great idea because the audio guides that are available at the ticketing counter for around 7 Euros aren't of much help owing to the fact that the numbers on the map do not correspond with the numbers on the ruins. Avoiding this ambiguity is imperative because there is a lot of walking involved anyway. Keep yourself hydrated. Getting there: Pompeii and Vesuvius share the same train station with Pompeii being right across. Circumvesuviana trains run from the Naples Central Station to Pompei Scavi-Villa Dei Misteri and the ride is around 40 minutes. You might not get a seat in the train so beware of pickpockets. You have to shell out around 6 Euros for a two way journey and it is a good idea to start a little early in the afternoon. Tickets for Pompeii are available at the entrance 'Porta Marina' which is next to the station and come for 11 Euros for an adult. If you are visiting during the summer, the closing time is 7:30pm and 5:00pm for winters. It is advisable to see Vesuvius and Pompeii together by spending the first half of the day exploring Vesuvius and devoting the second half to Pompeii.
281 Kms from Assisi
Naples 1 day Hostels Two clear favourite emerged from my search: Hostel of the Sun and La Controra. Hostel of the Sun is bright, clean and equipped with a spacious locker. Meanwhile, La Controra is a historical building transformed into a hostel that is very much in the heart of the city. Hotel Barbato Hotel Barbato is near the airport, clean and in a friendly neighbourhood. You will enjoy the small but fresh breakfast on offer.
259 Kms from Assisi
5. Manarola, Italy
258 Kms from Assisi
With what probably is one of the most pristine seas ever, Riomaggiore sits right on the Gulf of Genoa. Serene, and extremely blue, its waters are untouched, and this place is perfect in all aspects.
106 Kms from Assisi
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.