We don’t know what it is with Italy, but it’s one of our favorite countries in the world. Perhaps it’s the food, culture, history, and everything else that Italy offers. Or is it the insanely beautiful coastline, the vineyard filled countryside and the opulent shopping streets.
Our first time to Italy was 3 years ago and we absolutely loved it. We went to Rome, Venice, and the Amalie Coast. We weren’t sure if we were going to stop by again on this tour but it happened so that we did. We had to fly out of Milan to go to Iceland so we decided to road trip through the northern part of Italy before we flew out. We went to Verona, Milan, Cinque Terre, and Florence. It was even better than what we remember!
This was supposed to be a quick stop over on our way to Milan from Slovenia. Quickly, it because one of our favorite towns in Italy. It’s big enough with plenty to do, but small enough to experience the Italian culture. From our experience, we found that in Verona, Italians speaks the least amount of English. When we think back to Italy, Verona always comes up because it showcases Italy so beautifully. The cobble streets lined with handmade-gelato stands, restaurants that have all their tables set out on the streets serving mamas pasta, the bars are filled with locals ordering dopio espressos before they run off to work, and the merchants tending to the tourists that will buy everything in sight. You get the picture 😉
Here are 7 things to do in Verona:
1.Visit Juliet’s balcony-
It gets very busy during the day so come early. We had an early flight and our Airbnb wasn’t ready so we decided to stop by at 7am which was perfect because there were only a few of us there. It’s a beautiful courtyard showcasing Juliet’s infamous balcony. You can also leave a letter on the wall in hopes of finding your true love.
2. Go shopping-
Whether it’s window shopping or a full on shopping spree, Verona is perfect for it. They have the major brands as well as boutique Italian brands.
3. Verona Arena-
Watch a show here. The venue is incredible dating back to the 1st century. You can really feel the history and magnitude of the place once you’re there. We loved the experience.
4. Castelvecchio Museum-
This is a Gothic castle that is huge and has bridges leading up to it. Make sure to walk on the bridges, very cool architecture!
5. Castel San Pietro-
Small hike up a hill to get the best views of Verona. Definitely worth it.
6. Piazza delle Erbe-
was once the towns forum during the Roman Empire but now is used for the market. We loved it here.
7. Get lost in Centro Storico-
Just wander the cobble streets, sip on espresso, and take in the Italian culture.
Where to stay in Verona:
- Stay near the center, you’ll want to walk everywhere
- Residenza Navona: amazing aparthotel that’s close to everything
More people than not, told us that Milan isn’t their favorite and that it’s just a big urban city. I (Liana) have always wanted to go there so despite other people’s opinion we decide to check it out for ourselves. Yes it’s busy, yes it’s touristy, yes it’s a BIG city but we loved it! We said if we were to live in any city in Italy, it would be Milan. There’s history there yet modern. Being the fashion capital of the world, all the locals look like they just stepped out of a magazine! It’s also very diverse with the people and cultures that call Milan their home.
We won’t forget the first time we saw the Duomo! The second after we turned the corner and saw the size and grandeur of it, we just stopped and couldn’t believe our eyes. We recommend going to Milan just to see it. We also loved going to the museum right next to it. It portrays how the Duomo was built and how intricate every piece of it is. We spent our time in Milan eating at the many cafes, shopping, and getting lost in the beautiful streets.
Cinque Terre Coast
Before we left Milan, Alex said he wanted to just book our hotels as we head down the coast. I wasn’t too thrilled about the idea but thought, “what’s the worst that can happen?” The drive wasn’t too long, and once we got to the coast, we went straight to the beach! We wanted to relax for a bit before trying to find a place to stay for the night.
I got on my phone to see if there was anything available in Bogliasco and it showed me that everything was booked! Alex said he’ll start stopping by places to see if there was anything available. To our dismay, nothing was available! We followed signs to a guesthouse which was also booked but the owner said he might know someone who has an available room and offered to take us there. His friend had an available room AND had the most amazing views overlooking the sea. We had dinner at one of the local restaurants where we had to order by pointing at other people’s food but we didn’t mind because it was so good.
The following day after some sun bathing and swimming, we decided to head down the coast some more.
We got to Moneglia just outside of the Cinque Terre towns and found a hotel that was perched on the cliff overlooking the sea. After some negotiating, we settled in a cozy room for the next few days. We spent our days here swimming in the sea, eating delicious seafood, visiting the Cinque Terre towns, and meeting other travelers. One thing that we were blown away at the Italian Coast is that they don’t have roads that go around the mountain ranges, they tunnel strait through them! We don’t have that in the states so we were amazed to go 4km in a tunnel.
There is a train that went from Moneglia to the Cinque Terre towns. So one of the days we picked 3 of the towns we wanted to go to and went of the train. We ate delicious seafood, did some cliff jumping (Alex, not me), and weaved through the tiny street to avoid the crowds.On the way back, we went on a boat and saw the beautiful cliff towns from the sea. What an amazing sight!
After making a pit stop in Pisa, we continued to Florence.
Alex’s sister and her family were meeting us there so we were pretty excited to be there. We got an amazing aparthotel that overlooked the cathedral and was right in the center of town. We spent our days here eating delicious food, touring the touristy spots, and enjoying our time with family.
Things to do in Florence:
- visit the II Duoo di Firenze, beautiful cathedral in the center of Florence
- Go shopping in the center, lots of high-end and chain stores
- Visit Ponte alle Grazie, a bridge with houses on it
- Watch the Tuscan sunset from any of the bridges on the Arno River
- Visit St. Trinity Bridge, oldest elliptic arch bridge in the world
- See Michaelangelo’s sculpture “David” at Galleria dell’Accademia
- Have a sandwich at “all’ Antico Vinaio”. Best sandwiches in the whole world.
Where to stay in Florence:
- B&B La Dimora degli Angeli Firenze: right in the center of Florence. They also have unlimited coffee and biscotti for their guests
In the end, we just cant wait to get back here!
That was all for our trip to Italy this time around. We love it, a lot! We can’t wait to get back to visit soon!
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