Posted - 11th August 2018
If you’ve read our other blogs, you may have seen that we LOVE Italy. Sam feels he should be Italian! We love the architecture, we love the people, we love the language, we love the food and we love the lifestyle. We wanted to spend an entire week in Italy, but also wanted to visit as many cities in the north of Italy as we could in that little time, so we set off on an adventure.
Here is our itinerary for one amazing week in Italy.
Day 1 – Venice
Everyone knows about Venice and it’s windy canals, it’s houses on the water, it’s gondolas, it’s romantic scenery and it’s masses of tourists. We were told that Venice was dirty, overcrowded and stinky due to it’s canals, but we were honestly surprised about how completely untrue and wrong these people were. This may be due to the fact that we went in May, which meant we already hit the nice weather, but the masses of tourists haven’t hit the city yet. The canals were clean, they didn’t smell and were just beautiful to look at.
We decided to take it easy the first day, and didn’t actually plan to see anything in particular, other than the San Marco square, so we just walked around, and crossed as many bridges as we could (I think we managed to cross around 50!).
Fun fact: Did you know that there are over 400 bridges in Venice? We couldn’t believe that before we went, but once we saw Venice with our own eyes, and walked the streets, it made complete sense!
The cool thing about Venice, and I think it is pretty unique to Venice (in Europe at least), is that there are literally no cars, no bikes and no scooters, everyone commutes by foot of by boat. That really baffled us at first, but after being there one day, it just worked. It gave the city a completely different vibe, and we liked it!
As our stay in Venice was quite sweet and short, we only really walked around the main San Marco island, but still managed to squeeze in quite a lot of the tourist sightseeing.
As you can imagine, there are gondolas EVERYWHERE, and sure, it’s quite romantic to sit on a boat, and flow through all the little canals, but we felt that it was much too expensive for what it was. So we decided that walking around as much as possible, plus getting the water taxi between the island was enough to satisfy our needs. The water taxi is a really good way of getting around Venice, and you could get a daily pass, or however many rides you needed, and you were good to go. They were very frequent, so we never had to wait for longer than 10 minutes.
We were lucky to find a very nice and new hotel, right in the middle of Venice, which meant that we were able to spend the night just strolling around the streets, and getting lost in all the alleyways.
Tip: If you don’t have google maps, you need to get it before visiting Venice, it’s just a must. There are so many alleys and roads, where some literally lead to dead ends, so google maps is your friend, and guides you the best way to walk around. There have been many times during this trip where we just ended up at a dead end, and that’s even WITH google maps… it gets really confusing, but exciting at the same time, as it feels like a labyrinth.
Only downside with Venice is that it really is expensive. Going out for dinner in central Venice was quite pricey, so we stuck to the basic pastas (which were ridiculously delicious anyways). They also have a cover charge for sitting at a restaurant table, so don’t be surprised when you see that on your bill at the end!
Day 2 – Venice | Verona
We spent the morning in Venice but we planned to make our way to Verona, our second destination, in the afternoon. We decided to wander off to a more quiet part of Venice, which really paid off! If you’d like to read our more thorough guide to Venice, please read our A Day in: Venice blog.
The good thing about Italy is that it is really well connected by trains, these trains are quite cheap (or very cheap if you are comparing them to UK trains), and they’re very frequent! As we weren’t very confident with driving around Italy, that was the best solution for our travels, and we were really happy with it, as it worked out brilliantly. We didn’t have to book in advance, we just turned up to the station whenever we were ready to go to the next city, got our tickets right there and then, and off we went…
When we arrived in Verona, we realised how underrated this stunning city really is. This is where Romeo and Juliet was set, and you can feel the love and passion of this city when you just stroll the streets. We were astonished that this little Italian city is so over looked by everyone. We spent most of the afternoon just wandering around the city, visiting Juliet’s famous balcony, Romeo’s house, but our most favourite moment by far (and location) was the lookout by Castel San Pietro.
We spent the afternoon just watching the sun set over the city, with the river flowing under the Ponte Pietro, beers in our hands, snacks on the ready and GoPro time lapse on the go.
We stayed at the most beautiful little airbnb called Residenza Elisabetta, with the most welcoming hosts. I wanted to give them a shoutout in this blog because we really had the most comfortable and relaxing stay.
Day 3 – Verona | Bologna
The next morning we spent exploring some other sites of Verona, such as the Arena Di Verona, Museum of Castelvecchio and Porta Dei Borsari.
It was lovely hot weather, and we really enjoyed Verona, so we really didn’t want to leave, but we had another train journey ahead of us to Bologna. For a more detailed guide to our stay in Verona, read our A Day in: Verona blog.
(I know I’ve mentioned this already but..) Travelling by train is so convenient, there are just so many options, and it gets you straight into the city you need. The journey from Verona to Bologna was super easy. And we found a hotel right in the city centre by the Piazza Maggiore.
To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of Bologna, as I felt it wasn’t as beautiful as Verona and Venice, but we still had a nice time walking around. We even went up the Two Towers. Did you know that the Tower of Asnelli is actually more leaning than the leaning tower of Pisa? We had fun climbing up top, and the view of Bologna was stunning.
One of our favourite thing in Bologna was the food and their food markets. It wasn’t as expensive as the previous places we’ve been to, so we found a cute little butchery on Via Pescherie Vecchie street, and indulged in cheeses and meats of all kinds.
Day 4 – Bologna | Florence
We were super excited about getting to Florence, and as the train journey was quite long, we decided to leave Bologna quite early in the morning, and made our way to beautiful Florence. But if you’d like to read more about our stay in Bologna, please read our A Day in: Bologna blog.
We chose to take the scenic route and train (as the fast train was much more expensive) from Bologna to Florence, and although it look much longer, we did see some beautiful scenery of the nature around us.
We decided to splash out a bit, and found a lovely air bnb with the room overlooking the Ponte Vecchio. The location was superb, and we could really not ask for a better spot to stay.
We heard that the nicest view, by far, is from the Piazzale Michelangelo. So keeping in with our tradition, we decided to get ourselves some snacks and beers, we hiked up the hill to the Piazzale, and watched the sun set over the city of Florence.
Day 5 – Florence
The next day we spent an entire day in the city of Florence, mainly around the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, really taking in all the beauty of the city. We visited some other Cathedrals around the city, we had some ice cream and we took as many photos as we could. For a more thorough account of our stay in Florence (and tips and tricks), go ahead and read our A weekend in: Florence blog.
Day 6 – Florence
As the weather was going to be very hot the next day, we decided to spend most of the day across the Arno river in the Gardens of Boboli and the Bardini Gardens. We felt like we were completely away from the city, it was so tranquil and spacious and nice. Was Sam’s favourite spot of the entire holiday.
We really took it easy that day, it was coming to the end of our holiday, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t come home tired!
Tip: If you go to Florence, you must try the local steak there, it is glorious! We saved our most extravagant dinner to the last day, and dined at the La Buchetta Food and Wine Restaurant, and it was so worth it! I really had to give them a shoutout. The staff were so kind and nice, but you must get a table booked as they get super busy…
Day 7 – Florence | Pisa
On our last day, we were flying out from Pisa in the evening, so we took the quick train from Florence to Pisa. This was great, because it meant we could spend one day in the infamous Pisa, and we’ve heard many people say that one day in Pisa is more than enough.
We walked around this small town, and of course managed to see the Leaning tower of Pisa. As it was quite busy around there and we didn’t have much energy left, we just looked at it, and didn’t bother climbing up. The best part was actually seeing all the tourists trying to pose in the funniest way in front of the tower, so we spent about 30 minutes just staring and laughing at everyone!
We had a quick bite to eat and made our way to the airport, and off we flew home.
Hope you enjoyed reading our blog on our week in Italy, and hope this inspired you to take this road trip. It’s super simple and you get to see so many lovely cities!
Xoxo Ani and Sam