Tour of Italy: A Two Week Trip
For my first official blog post, it only seemed right to write about one of my favorite vacations.... a two week trip to Italy! Between the stunning coast, the incredible history, and incredible food, it is no surprise Italy is a popular destination. For our two-week trip, we started in Florence, then went off to the coast of Positano, and our final stop was in stunning Rome. Come along with me as I take you through the top highlights from our trip while pointing out the must-see spots and some travel tips I learned along the way that may help you plan your Italian vacation.
My first tip is this- before we planned our vacation, we joined a Facebook travel group that had so many incredible recommendations for our vacation. It was great to connect with people that had traveled before and learn some of their favorite tips and must-see spots. They cover everything from flights to hotels to food recommendations. I highly recommend doing this, as it was such a help in planning our trip. Now that this has eased some of the planning worries it's time to travel to Italy!
FIRST STOP : FlORENCE
Our first stop was stunning Florence. Upon our arrival in Rome, we took a train to Florence. The countryside was a dream to see during the 1 hr and 30 min train trip. We were a little nervous to travel by train as we were not familiar with the system, however, the train was extremely easy to navigate and helped speed up our travel time. I would recommend the high-speed train, which cuts time from over three hours to an hour and 30 mins.
After arriving in Florence and finding our Airbnb, we began to explore the city. When we chose to do our vacation in June, I do not think we realized just how hot Florence could get. Of course, we absolutely still had the best time, but it is just something to note if the weather plays an important factor in planning your vacations. As I mentioned for this trip, we stayed in multiple Airbnbs, which I think is a great way to stay in the cities, meet locals, and explore the less-touristy spots. (I will also be doing a post regarding Airbnb experiences along with tips that can be useful when considering your Airbnb for traveling.)
While exploring Florence, there were a few highlights of activities we found to do which stood out to me. I wanted to list a few, and I would highly recommend looking into doing some of these activities if you have the chance.
Climb to the Top of the Duomo: We booked our tickets online using this website with ticket cost at around 45.00 for a person above the age of 15. For the exact tour The full roundtrip of climbing to the top of the Duomo takes about an hour to complete. This of course depends upon your speed climbing, etc. Some factors to consider when deciding if this is a great idea for you are the weather (it can get pretty toasty in the narrow stairs), as well as how comfortable you are with tight spaces. Some of the walkway with the stairs can run rather tight.
See the Original Gucci Store: If you are a fashion lover like me, you must stop at the original Gucci store at 7 Via Della Vigna Nuova. It is neat to step inside the original store and look at all the gorgeous pieces. Everyone is so friendly and helpful inside as well. This is a must see!
Walk Around the Uffizi Gallery: I highly recommend making this a part of your vacation. The Gallery is stunning and filled with many extraordinary, famous pieces of art such as Madonna and Child by Filippo Lippi, The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, Medusa by Caravaggio, and many more. The gallery is astounding to walk through and a must-do when in Florence. It does take some time as the Gallery is quite large, so plan accordingly to spend a few hours here.
Visit the Galleria dell'Accademi: This was one of my favorite parts of visiting Florence. Much like the Uffizi Gallery, the Galleria dell'Accademi is home too many famous works of art. One of these works of art is the infamous David by Michelangelo. To be able to see this statue in person is incredible. I was surprised by the size and scale of just how large the scale is in person. One thing to note is this gallery is smaller in size compared to the Uffizi, and does not take as much time to walk through. You can buy your tickets at the entrance as well.
SECOND STOP: POSITANO, CAPRI, + POMPEII
Our second leg of our vacation began with a train ride to Naples. In Naples, a driver, arranged with help from our Airbnb hosts, picked us up and drove us to Positano. Rounding the corner and finally seeing the view of Positano is breathtaking. The water here is the bluest I have ever seen. Our driver dropped us off at our Airbnb located in the nearby village of Montepertuso.
I cannot say enough good things about our Airbnb the stunning Villa Laura. After researching Airbnb and reading the reviews I knew it was the perfect place for us! From breakfast, every morning to helping us arrange transportation our hosts were truly the best! As I mentioned previously I will definitely be doing a more detailed post regarding our Airbnb spots in Italy and the amazing time we had staying at Villa Laura.
Below are just a few of the incredible highlights from our trip to Positano. To say Positano is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen is an understatement. It was one of the highlights of my trip for sure, and I hope a few of these activities help you plan your next vacation.
Walk the path of the gods: When you first start your hike on the path of the gods, it can be a little tricky to figure out where the starting point is. We took a bus from Montepertuso to Bomeron and started with the path ending in a town called Nocelle. During the hike we did cross people who began in Nocelle and planned to end in Bomeron, so I believe either way works. Also, there are some things to think about when considering if this hike is the best for you. The first thing is that you should know the path can be tricky at parts with no hand railing and rough terrain. You are right on the side of the cliffs during the hike, and it is extremely high up. If you have a fear of heights, I might not would recommend. The walk can be tricky, so please consider these things before going. We watched a lot of youtube videos to understand and research the hike before deciding, which I also recommend doing. Videos really show just how high up you are and how close to the edge the path can run. We started our hike around 5pm, so due to us not wanting to be up there during night fall with little light, we only hiked for about an hr and a half roundtrip. After speaking with others, we learned the hike can take over three hours from one end to the other.
A Day Trip to Capri: We decided to take a day trip to Capri. After having lunch on the waterfront in Positano, we boarded our ferry and headed to the island of Capri. We bought our ferry tickets the day of at the waterfront, but I would recommend considering purchasing ahead of time. We ran into some timing issues as one of the ferries was not running. When we arrived in Capri, we met up with our boat tour guide for the next two hours. I found the boat trip on Airbnb as well. I 100% recommend doing this and looking into the different options. Four our two hour boat trip it cost a little over 200.00. There were some longer boat tours available as well as different experiences. The boat trip took us completely around the island of Capri, and I even got to stop to jump into the world, which was the bluest water I have ever seen. It was amazing to see the caves up close and the beach clubs along the island, and we even got to see some ancient Roman ruins as well. Sadly, when we were in Capri, the blue grotto was closed, but our tour guide did take us into other caves, which were incredible. We also took the boat right through Faraglioni rocks!
Stop in Pompeii: On our way back to the train station from Positano, we asked our driver if we could stop in Pompeii for a few minutes, and he was happy to say we could stay for a few hours. I am so glad we were able to stop and visit. Upon arrival, you buy your tickets, and you then have access to the grounds and the museum, which I highly recommend stopping in. You could easily spend hours touring. In the two hours we had, we were able to see a number of the sights and visit the museum. It is such an incredible experience and absolutely worth the visit to see the ruins of history which have been preserved.
THIRD STOP: ROME
Our final stop for the vacation was in Rome. We arrived on the train from Naples and then made our way to our Airbnb near Vatican City. The area we stayed in was great with food and shops close. We even ate at the most delicious creamery shop called Gelateria Cremilla by our Airbnb, where you could watch it being made daily. I think we were here nearly every day (sometimes even twice in one day!)
Since we were within walking distance from Vatican city to our Airbnb, we spent all of our time here on our first day. Here we visited places such as the Sistine Chapel, which is stunning, toured the Vatican museums, and saw St. Peter's Basilica. Vatican city is an all-day thing to do. There is just so much to do you will spend lots of time here.
After a long day of touring the Vatican City, we headed to rest for our next days in Rome. Over the next few days, we saw so many incredible sights Rome that has to offer. We also were able to try some unique experiences as well that I think could be great for your next trip to Rome. I wanted to list a few of my favorites below.
Golf Cart Tour: We found our lovely golf tour guide through the Facebook group I mentioned earlier. He was incredibly accommodating and so nice as well. He picked us up right at our Airbnb. He took us on a tour through the city on a golf cart, and because a golf cart is much smaller than a car, you are able to go down side streets and places you cannot normally reach. Overall the tour lasted about two hours and was a little over 200.00 US dollars. We saw everything from the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Piazza Navona just to name a few. This experience is super unique as well. Our tour guide let us stop at each destination to take pictures, as well as explained the history of them as well. Also, as our trip was made up of mostly walking to places, it was nice to sit and relax for a little while. It is such a great way to see the entire city.
See the Trevi Fountain: We arrived at the fountain around noon. There was a crowd, but I was able to get amazing pictures. Be sure to toss a coin in to guarantee your return to Rome in the future!
The Spanish Steps: What I really loved about going to see the Spanish steps was the atmosphere and area around them. The Piazza di Spagna is stunning, and the atmosphere around is just as great. If you love to shop there are also many designer shops around that are great to pop into.
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