If there’s only one country I can spend two whole weeks in Europe, it has to be Italy. So I am putting together Part I of my two weeks itinerary…
3 things you should know before heading to Italy
- Be very careful about your valuables. The pickpockets are very skilful and I was a victim once in Rome. You don’t want this to spoil your holiday!
- I recommend taking train instead of driving for this itinerary because there is really no need for a car in cities listed here. It will also be difficult to drive in Cinque Terre. You should check for train schedules here
- Shoppers, this point is for you – Set your mind on getting specific items to buy so you don’t go wild at the factory outlets!
DAY 1 – Arrive in Milan
Of the three main cities in Italy, Milan is my least favourite but an essential pitstop because a trip to the Milan Cathedral is necessary and this is where I would choose to use as a base to go to Venice. It is also the fashion capital of the world, so definitely worth checking out the shopping there! Here’s some pictures from my last trip in Dec 2016.
I chose this beautiful airbnb because it is so gorgeous and the location is great. Within 20 minutes, you can reach Piazza del Duomo, where the Milan Cathedral is. The area behind it is where you can go wild shopping!
DAY 2 – Take a day trip to Venice
Venice, alongside Paris and Florence for me, is one of the most romantic places in Western Europe. A train ride to Venice takes around 2.5 hours (one way) from Milano Central Station. I recommend getting your tickets early so that your seats are guaranteed. Venice is sinking at a rate of 1-2mm per year and when I was there, the place was flooded.
OPTIONAL – If you have an extra day in Milan and the weather is good, I would suggest you take a day trip to Lake Como. It’s much nearer compared to Venice and I would avoid winter period though we did go during winter. Visibility is not that great as you can see below.
DAY 3 – Depart Milan for Genoa
I chose to use Genoa as a base to visit Cinque Terre instead of taking a day trip from Milan as I wanted to spend more time in Cinque Terre. Genoa is 1.5 hours away from Cinque Terre whereas Milan is 3 hours away. After two days with the herds of tourist in Milan and Venice, I was happy to escape to Genoa. Genoa is a port city and as it is not usually on travelers radar, you naturally don’t see that much tourist.
I stayed in this airbnb which kind of reminds me of the previous airbnb in Rome. I had a bit of difficulty locating this airbnb so just a heads-up. Once the host found us, it was a breeze.
Take a short day trip to Portofino if you have the time. Portofino is about an hour away (one-way) from Genoa by train. It is a small fishermen village, appreciated by the artists, always attended by celebrities from the world of entertainment, culture and finance.
DAY 4 – Take a day trip to Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre used to be off the beaten path but has fast gained popularity over the last few years. I went there in October 4 years ago and was glad that the place was not inundated with tourists then. There are 5 towns in Cinque Terre and each of them has a train station.
I hiked from Vernazza to Corniglia and it was beeauuutiful!!!
DAY 5 – Depart Genoa for Florence / Pitstop in Pisa
If you have set your mind on taking pictures with the leaning tower of Pisa, I would recommend a pitstop on the way from Genoa to Florence. There is really nothing to do in Pisa except photographing yourself with the tower so I think an hour in Pisa is sufficient. Place your luggage in the locker or lug it around with you. Everyone is a tourist here anyways. From the train station, I recommend you can take a bus to the Leaning Tower then take a slow walk back to the station. There are some shops along the way so you can check them out.
Start your day early and you will have the rest of your afternoon in Florence. The good thing about Florence is every thing is within 20 minutes walking distance so wear a pair of comfortable shoes. If you get lazy, just hop onto a bus. I recommend doing the following in this order starting around 2-3 hours before sunset: Florence Cathedral (shown below), Florence Baptistery (just next to Florence Cathedral), and Ponte Vecchio (the iconic bridge). From here, talk a stroll up to Piazzale Michelangelo to witness a gorgeous sunset. More pictures here
We stayed in this airbnb last December which is one stop away from the the main station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella. The first two times I was there, I stayed nearer to the Duomo. Frankly speaking, I didn’t feel much difference in terms of walking distance as Florence is just too small! Just a word of advise – if you live nearer to the Duomo, you would probably have to drag your luggage along the cobblestone path from the main station. Quite painful with your heavy luggage and especially if it is crowded. At least we got proper pavements and this apt is around 300m away from the train station.
Day 6 – Outlet Shopping!
Enough said. I have been to both the Space and to The Mall (which also has a Prada outlet) and think both are awesome. If you are focus on getting Prada and Miu Miu items, the Space outlet should satisfy you. However, if you are looking to get other brands as well, head to The Mall. Transport information to The Mall is here and to Space is slightly more complicated. First, you have to take a 30 mins train ride to Montevarchi-Terranuova station. When you are there, hop on to a taxi by paying 3 Euros to share the cab with others. It is 5-10 minutes ride. If you have a party of 4, pay 12 Euros and you have the whole taxi to yourself.
DAY 7 – Depart Florence for Rome
If you are a big Ferragamo fan, I did check out the Ferragamo Museum 😀 And you might think you like to squeeze it in. But the truth is, there wasn’t really much to see unless you are a huge Ferragamo history buff. I would skip this unless you have been to Florence for the third time and just want to check out something new.
There was this really huge nice toilet and a giant bottle of perfume… I just couldn’t resist not taking a picture! I have a thing for big, clean, nice smelling toilets and this toilet just nailed it.
So if you are planning to give this a miss, you are on to Rome! Till the next post 🙂