Two weeks in Italy, somehow didn’t feel like enough time. The most beautiful country, with the best food and a great philosophy in life. It was a trip that I’d been talking about for a very long time with one of my oldest pals, Jacqueline, and I’m so happy we finally made the trip. I know I’ll be back again!
We went in early spring, right at the end of April and into early May. I’m pretty sure we couldn’t have picked a better time to visit. The weather was so gorgeous (probably too hot already for some travellers, but I love the heat). We were lucky to enjoy 30 degree sun filled days, while at the same time welcoming spring with tons of flowers and beautiful plants spilling over the balconies lining the piazzas and alleyways. We also visited right before the summer tourists were out in full force, although everywhere we went was pretty busy so I can’t imagine going in the heat of the summer with even more tourists. We stayed exclusively in Airbnbs, which I always highly recommend.
I’m not going to post a super detailed itinerary and all the ‘can’t miss spots’, since truthfully, that’s not the kind of traveller I am. But I will share a rough outline of what we did and some cool spots along the way! We practically skipped Rome, in favour of somewhat smaller cities, didn’t wait in line for one tourist spot and didn’t hit up any museums. My favourite way to explore new places is to spend time outside, walking absolutely everywhere, tasting food and drinks along the way. For most the the trip, we were hitting about 30,000 steps a day (close to 20km) and ending the day with sore feet and happy hearts.
You might be surprised to hear that I don’t bring my camera everywhere (I brought it out for one day in each spot). But I thought I’d share just a few of the photos I did take (the rest are cell phone photos of plates of gnocchi).
Day 1: We flew overnight to Rome and took the first train out of the city, up to Venice.
Days 2-3: Two days was plenty here. We stayed in the Cannaregio area, which I would recommend. Pack your running shoes- everyone here wears ’em (and somehow manage to make it look cute!) Walking is your only choice, other than paying for water taxis, which we managed to avoid. Hit up the Jewish Ghetto for pre-dinner drinks (a rare find in Italy) and just get lost in the endless alleys.
Days 4-5: Hopped on a high speed train to Florence and once again, did tons of walking. The duomo in the center of the city is hard to miss and is absolutely beautiful. My fave day here was walking up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, which overlooks the city and surrounding area. Tons of gorgeous gardens and pathways kept us busy for a few hours. We had a great dinner at Osteria Cinghiale Bianco (thanks to Ramon for the recommendation!) which is located just over the famed Ponte Vecchio.
Days 6-8: We rented a car to drive to and from Tuscany (we opted to rent near the Florence airport, to avoid driving through busy downtown Florence. The jury is out if that actually helped or not!) Three things that were lifesavers: spending the extra money to rent an automatic car since neither of us can drive stick shift, making sure the car had a GPS unit (don’t even bother trying to screenshot phone directions or anything like that) and having my passenger paying attention to the drive as well (who doesn’t want an extra confirmation on a roundabout in a foreign country?!) Tuscany was probably my favourite spot. The drives alone are absolutely gorgeous and make the trip worth it, up on top of winding hills with views that stretch as far as the eye can see.
We stayed in Castel San Gimignano, at an Airbnb with an amazing pool and even better views. There was very little English spoken out that way but we got by just fine without it! We checked out the surrounding hill towns, took drives, visited wineries, searched for the perfect row of cypress trees, ate tons of pizza, and enjoyed wine at sunset overlooking the rolling hills. Our hosts had a family restaurant around the corner, and it was the perfect dinner spot!
Days 9-13: Alright, I’m going to just say it. Amalfi was cool to see, but we spent way too much time here and honestly, most of the spots I wouldn’t need to go to again. Before you light your torches and run me out of Italy, hear me out! The Amalfi Coast is not an easy place to get around. We ended up staying right in Amalfi, but there are other spots I would likely pick now to stay (we booked a little late and couldn’t find anything affordable/in a good spot in Positano). However, Amalfi is a bus and ferry hub so it was easier to get to and from here than it would have been from smaller towns. From Amalfi, we took day trips all over the coast and back, and got to know the area pretty well. All of these little towns are suuuuuper touristy- the main stretch of them all sell the same things, all have expensive Americanized restaurants, etc. However- go deeper into the alleys and find the spots serving authentic Italian food (and even better, the seafood!) and spend time on your own exploring, instead of hitting up the overpriced tours.
My favourite day was the hike we did on Jacqueline’s 30th birthday. The Path of the Gods (Sentiero degli Dei, or sometimes called the Walk of the Gods) is SO worth it, however you find your way up to the top. Because of a holiday, buses that are normally tricky to catch up to Bomerano became impossible to concur on our chosen hike day, so we ended up forking up the money for a private ride up to the starting point of the hike. The views are incredible, and it’s all downhill and is quite a manageable hike. You have the option to stop your hike part way down, but we decided to walk all the way down into Positano and were rewarded with the best view of the iconic seaside town (plenty of photos of that below!)
I personally feel like Sorrento would be a skip (we went, you might like it if you’re into shopping) and Capri wasn’t my fave either. Positano is a must see from the coast. My other absolute favourite spot along the coast was Furore beach (or Canyon of Furore), a small secluded beach that is too picturesque to put into words. I found it on Pinterest before our trip and it was so easy to get to and well worth the wait for bus ride home!
Day 14: We got to Rome after taking a train from Salerno, checked into our Airbnb and did a whirlwind four hour walk to hit up as many of the major spots as we could on our last afternoon, just so we can say we did! The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Trevi fountain, and the Spanish steps all got a walk by.
Overall: Italy is a wonderful spot and I can’t wait to go back again soon. If you are planning a trip and have any questions please feel free to reach out and I’d be happy to share anything I can remember. Eat a gelato every day, slow down your pace, and enjoy the view!