Bongiorno Tutti! Today I am talking about my experience in Italy and some of the amazing things you can do there. If you don't know, I am full Italian and it was great to finally see the country my grandparents are from. Although, we explored northern Italy and my grandparents are from the south, it just means I will have to go back very soon to see the town they are from. I would have loved to do all around Italy, it just didn't quite fit in our travel route and it definitely a trip I would love to do on its own. This trip I got to see the oh so popular Rome, Tuscany, and Cinque Terre. I am going to break down all the activities and highlights in each place, to get an idea of some of things to check out in those places
1. Colosseum Tour
So if your traveling to Rome, seeing the iconic colosseum is an absolute must! If you do your research you can find some awesome walking tours that take you through the colosseum and Palatine Hill . We found one that was fair in price, and the only downfall was the day we booked it on. This was completely out of our control as there was a bike-a-thon happening in the area and they shut down all entrances to the Colosseum besides one for all the tour groups. So unfortunately there was a lot of waiting in line. Besides that the tour was enjoyable and we had a great tour guide. A recommendation is to research events that are happening before booking any excursions so that you can avoid the chaos we went through.
2. Trevi Fountain
This was something on my bucket list ever since I watched Hilary Duff make her wish in The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Depending on the time you go this place can be VERY crowded. It definitely was for us. Rome is a very touristy city with more than 30,000 visitors a day, so crowds should be expected. My recommendation is to see the Trevi Fountain at night, where there is less crowds and its lit up. Especially for those who get easily claustrophobic, this will be the better option. There are also cute little shops around the Trevi Fountain and ice cream in every corner, so make sure to check those out as well.
Entering the Vatican can be quite expensive, however walking outside in the vicinity is free. This is definitely an option for those that are price sensitive on activities. When we looked into getting into the Vatican it was close to 40 Euros a person. if your set on visiting the inside, I recommend buying your tickets at home instead of there because you might score a cheaper deal. Also, there is a dress code that some people weren’t aware of but they are strict about clothing in entering all the churches. You have to make sure your shoulders and knees are covered before entering the church.
4. Iconic Monuments
There are so many other monuments and museums to check out in Rome, so just spending a day roaming the city is fun to do. We spent a whole day just taking the train to different places and exploring the area. We also ate A LOT of ice cream and pizza, as expected. The best pizza place was definitely just outside of the main area of Rome where are BnB was. It was called Pizza e Abbracci, and it was basically there version of fast food or “midnight food.” The place opened around 7pm and you could get a full pizza for only 4.00 Euros. It was honestly super cheap and amazing!
1. Full Wine Day Tour- Siena, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni
We explored other cities and towns in the Tuscany region through this tour including Siena, San Gimignano, and Monteriggioni. This tour included wine tasting a full authentic Italian meal. IT was beautiful to see these small towns, however I do wish we had more time in each place. The best part of the tour was definitely the meal and wine tasting in Siena. The tour was quite short and the tour guides weren’t the greatest, however the beauty of the towns and the food made up for it. This tour was about $60.00 per person, which was quite reasonable compared to many of the other wine tours in Tuscany. If you have some money to splurge in Tuscany I’ll leave some other recommendations for wine tours that we looked at, as well as the one we decided to book. Again, depending on when you are traveling prices can range. If your going to go on a wine tour, I definitely recommend somewhere in the Tuscany region!
2. Florence - Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and more!
Florence is another place full of places to see, so it was hard to do everything in a day. We only had one full day in Florence, and spent it exploring as much of the city as we could. Highlights to check out were definitely the Duomo, which was my favourite and absolutely beautiful. Again, if you want to go inside dress code does apply. In addition, Ponte Vecchio which is one of the oldest bridges in Florence was amazing and makes for beautiful photos. Lastly, we saw the famous David sculpture made by the one and only Michelangelo.
3. Leather Market/Shopping
The leather market was one of my favourite things in Florence, where you can score amazing deals on beautiful European handbags. So all my ladies, this is definitely somewhere you want to check out if your heading to Florence There are many vendors at the market selling identical bags but be careful because some might be fake leather. Also, be open to bargaining so that you can score an even better deal.
4. BnB in Rigano Sull’Arno
We had a total of five days in Tuscany, and had two days for exploring. The other three days was spent relaxing as our vacation was very go go go until this point. I wanted to talk about the beautiful country house we stayed in because it was my favourite BnB we booked. The only downfall about this place is its on the outskirts about half hour way from Florence. There are also no trains by the place so I recommend having a vehicle if you plan on staying here. The closest town would be Pontassieve which is about a 10 min drive down. Since it was on the outskirts we decided to spend majority of the time relaxing by the pool and enjoying the panoramic views. I loved the quietness of the area, and the beautiful views I was waking up to. Bernardo was a great host and I would 10/10 recommend his place. I will leave a link below of his Air BnB.
1.Hike from Monterosso to Vernazza
This beautiful hike will expose your to amazing views and photo opportunities that will not get any other way. The the short hike is about 3 hours and full hike is about 9 hours. Both will give you great photo opportunities, you will just get more on the 9 hour hike. We did the shorter one and didn’t actually expect it to be as intense as it was. We thought it was more of a walk, however it was definitely a hike where you should wear good runners or hiking shoes and dress athletically. Its a great workout, and really worth it. This was the only hike we did in Cinque Terre however, there are hikes to the other towns as well. Due to time, we decided to just take the trains to other places. However, if you have the time and love hikes I would definitely do all of them.
2. Fried Fish In Riomaggiore
Riomaggiore which is the closest tow from La Spezia had the best fried fish to go. The food in Cinque Terre was more on the pricier side but the fried fish was decent and you got a lot for what you paid for. The place was called Il Pescato Cucinato and If you love fish, this would be a great place to try.
3. Monterosso Beach
One of our last days in Cinque Terre was spent at the beach in Monterosso. The water here unbelievably blue and beautiful. There are many shops and restaurants near by for lunch, but you can also bring your own like we did. We just packed some sandwiches and snacks for lunch and had a gelato for dessert. This would make for a great relaxing day during a busy vacation
If your planning to head to Italy I hope you found this helpful, and decide to check out these amazing places. Next week I talk about my last stop of my Europe Travels in Paris. <3