7 Day Italy Itinerary- Roma, Amalfi, Firenze, Venezia
When deciding to go to Italy, everyone we spoke to who had visited the boot suggested I pick either the north or south due to our time constraints. After much deliberation I narrowed down the cities I knew I wanted to go to, and they ended up being all over the place. It was going to be my first time in Italy- how could I possibly choose between the beaches of Positano or the canals of Venice? So I decided to create my own itinerary.
Day 1: We were at a wedding in Chicago so we flew out Sunday evening on a direct flight to Rome landing around 10am. By the time we got to the hotel and cleaned up, we headed out to the Colosseum, which was within walking distance, by 3pm. Before heading out I bought tickets for the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill on Tiqets. This allowed us to cut the line, although to be honest I think the last week of August entering into September was the perfect time to go to Italy. It was warm, but not blistering hot, and the lines weren’t that long either. The Colosseum itself doesn’t take that long to walk around and after Hassan got a few snaps in quoting The Gladiator we were done in an hour. Since the Roman Forum and Palantine Hill closes around sunset, we ended up saving it for the next day since the ticket is actually valid for 2 days. We then strolled around and ended up at the Trevi Fountain, made a wish and had our first gelato. For dinner we decided to visit the Trastavere neighborhood. So many cute restaurants and live Italian music, perfect end to night one!
Day 2: Our second and last day in Rome was dedicated to the Vatican City. Getting there using the subway was easy and we decided to check out the Museums before heading to the Sistine Chapel. Loved walking through the museums and recalling as much as we could about Roman mythology. Following this we entered the Sistine Chapel, FYI ladies need to cover their shoulders and there are cloths available before you enter. St. Peter’s Basilica was next and the outside area, which was massive, was my favorite part to see. After the Vatican we went to the Spanish steps. They were still under construction when we went, but the window-shopping around the area was fun too. We ended the day back at the Roman ruins with our 2 day ticket from the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palantine Hill.
Day 3: Checked out of our hotel and headed to the Rome Termini Train Station. We used trains to get around Italy and decided to head south to Positano first. You don’t need to buy tickets in advance, we bought them at the train station and you can pick the high-speed train option. From Rome we got off at the Naples train station and were looking at buses to get to Positano, but decided with all our luggage it would be difficult to navigate from the bus stop to our hotel on the cliff so we grabbed a taxi. About 2 hours later, we were finally in Positano. The way everyone in Rome spoke about Positano we were incredibly excited; I’ll never forget the locals exclaiming “Ahhh Positano” every time it was mentioned. We walked down from our hotel to the beach and had lunch at Chez Black. It was cute to see the restaurant owners at the front munching on watermelon as they greeted the customers. What we realized in Italy is that a great percentage of the tourists are American, our neighbors during lunch were from the same town my husband grew up in. We heard more English than Italian that week. Again, I think the time we visited was the best. I’d read about the crowds in Positano, but the beach was easy to navigate when we were there and we even got to sit right in front of the water. After a quick dip we hiked up and explored the top of Positano too.
Day 4: I booked us a day trip to Capri on Bluestar Positano (http://www.bluestarpositano.it/). The pick up point is right on the beach and a total group of 10 shared the That’s Amore boat. I loved our day trip to Capri. The boat ride went smoothly, our guide was sweet, towels were provided after a jump in the water as well as floaties and snorkel gear. We had the option of checking out the famed Blue Grotto but as we passed the area and saw how long the line was, we all decided it wasn’t worth stopping for. There were several other grottos on our boat trip that we did get to see and personally I felt that was enough. On the route to Capri we also passed the Lover’s Arch and were told a kiss under the arch provides good luck in love, if you’ve ever seen those Dolce & Gabbana perfume commercials that’s where they were filmed. Once we docked in Capri we had a few hours to check the smaller island out. The first thing we did was to take the chairlift up to Mount Solaro. Looking below at all the boats and yachts from Anacapri was incredible. Since having gelato twice a day had already become the norm for us we had to try the gelato from Buonocere Gelateria and it did not disappoint. We ended Capri at the Gardens of Augustus before heading back to our boat. Sipping on homemade limoncello as we caught the sunset back to Positano completed our Amalfi Coast trip.
Day 5: Now it was time to see the North. We took a taxi back to the Naples station and from there got on the high-speed train to Florence. Throughout our trip thus far our hotels had been telling us there were no irons available. We figured once we got to Florence where we were staying at a more established chain this would change, but it didn’t! In Italy there are no irons allowed in individual rooms and the bigger name hotels will have a separate room (ours was by the fitness center) where you can bring your clothes down to iron. Pressed and ready to go, we headed to the city center. After exploring the area around the Duomo Cathedral we walked to Ponte Vecchio where everyone gathered around to listen to street performances. Remember how I said the majority of tourists are American and you hear English more than Italian? We were being serenaded to “Hey there Delilah” while we sat on the bridge. After soaking in the night, Day 5 came to a close.
Day 6: We started the day overlooking all of Florence at the Piazzale Michelangelo with Fun in Tuscany (http://www.funintuscany.com). This is probably the best view of the whole city and visiting in the morning assured us good picture taking space. We then went to the Chianti region with our group and the hills of Tuscany in the background looked just as beautiful as all the pictures I’d ever seen. Our first stop was at an organic farm where we got to tour the vineyards and visited with the Chianina cows that are used to make Florentine steaks. From there we went to San Gimignano, a medieval town where we had more gelato because why not. Our last stop was a family run restaurant that served us lunch with pairings from their vineyard and taught us about extra virgin olive oil. The hosts were adorable and their distaste for Costco was apparent. After lunch we headed back to Florence. With some time to kill before dinner we visited the Galleria dell’ Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David. It was our last night in Florence so wanted to end it with a Florentine steak. Our favorite meal of the trip, I would definitely recommend Trattoria Cammillo for their food and overall cuteness.
Day 7: Back to the train station we went for the last leg of our trip. During the week whenever we told anyone, tourist or local, that we were going to Venice they tried to sway us away and told us to skip it completely. What we gathered from everyone was that it’s a tourist trap, crowded and nothing special. I don’t know if Hassan and I just missed what everyone else felt because we absolutely loved it. Arriving at the Grand Canal before sunset we sipped on an aperitivo as we strolled the streets looking for art to take back with us. From the train area we had taken a vaporetto, a Venetian water bus, that took us around Venice first and we got to see how big the city actually is. It really took our breath away to see Venice this way and we were glad we chose to stop here. Back at the Grand Canal at night we went on a gondola ride, passing by the houses of Marco Polo and Casanova. Hassan kept comparing it to the Venetian in Vegas because it was so picturesque that everything looked like it was a movie set. It made my heart smile that our last night in Italy was spent on a romantic gondola ride through Venice.
Our trip ended up being everything I had hoped and I’m glad we chose to see the different areas of Italy. I would definitely make another trip to the boot, not only to explore new places, but to also re-visit the ones that stole our hearts.