When planning my trip to Italy it was very complicated to choose where to go, I had one week and I wanted to see everything! I finally decided on Florence and Pisa in the Toscana, Cinque Terre and Portovenere in Liguria and Bologna in Emilia Romagna and I am so happy I did. Even though I still have to go back and discover a lot more of this lovely country, I can give you some information if you want to follow the itinerary.
We did most of our trip with Trenitalia, Italy’s official train infrastructure, which is very good and has affordable prices. The trains go by very often and there is no need to buy them in advance if you’re unsure about the schedule you will have, the machines at the stations are very easy to use, and once you get the ticket you have a period of time where you can use it if you change your mind and want to take the one before or after.
It was complicated to see everything in Florence in a day, especially in the summer heat but we got to see the most important places: the beautiful and gigantic Duomo, Michelangelo’s famous David statue at Piazza Signoria, the Ponte Vecchio and the great panoramic views of the city from the Piazzale Michelangelo.
The night we spent in Florence we slept at Plus Hostel Florence and it’s one of the best hostels I’ve been to yet. We would’ve liked staying a bit longer and enjoying the pool and all the stuff going on. The location was great, it was close to the station so we could move on easily to our next stop and walking distance from the center.
See more: A day in Florence
From the central station in Florence we took a train directly to Pisa which takes around one hour. Pisa is smaller and easier to see in a day, so if you’re just staying for a night and then moving on to another place by train or plane I recommend to book a hotel close to the station (the airport is close by too), which is affordable and walking distance from the main attractions. This way you can’t miss the colorful Keith Haring mural Tuttomondo on the side of a church close to the station.
For our visit to the colorful villages we decided to stay at an Airbnb (get 35€ off your first reservation) in La Spezia, the biggest town closer to the Cinque Terre villages and around an hour away by train from Pisa. From there you can catch the regional trains that go by very often and take you directly to the five villages, taking around 5-10 minutes to rach the first one and the rest are the same distance between one another. Buying the Cinque Terre card you can move freely through the villages with the trains, buses and trails.
Cinque Terre is a whole of five little villages by the sea: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, all of them unique and beautiful.
See more: A weekend in Cinque Terre
Our last stop was the capital of the Emilia Romagna region, a lively city known for the numerous “Porticos” covering the streets (very useful to walk in the shade while exploring the city). It has many historic buildings and streets and the most important landmarks are the two towers “Torre del Garisenda e Degli Asinelli”, the Piazza Maggiore, where you can also find the Basilica of San Petronio and close by the fountain of God Neptune (considered one of the symbols of the city, it is nowadays being restored and will open again in September 2017). You can also take a peek at the canal that goes through the city which is only seen from a few places, the most interesting one is a hidden window in Via Piella.
Have you traveled through Italy? What other itineraries would you recommend?