Inspiring Italy

Roman history, Christianity & religion, art & cultural renaissance, inspiring fashion & brands, pizza & pasta cuisine, charming villages, sunny beaches, Tuscan scenery, architectural marvels, romantic Gandolas are just some of the many moods of Italy.
We debated for sometime on Italy vs Spain as the next European destination. While Spain has its own charm, we decided on Italy for the variety of tourist options and experiences it offered. Our itinerary was to cover Rome, Florence / Tuscany, La Spezia, Venice in 9 nights.

Historic Rome
We reached Rome late afternoon and had only the evening to venture around. The best places to visit in an evening through a walking tour covers Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Walk around through the small crowded alleys in old Rome, grab some quick bites and enjoy a beautiful dinner in Piaza Navona amongst artists, musicians and a perfect ambience.
Day 2 was all about history - Ceaser and the imperial power, legends and gladiators, politics and war. Start from the Colosseum (our Roma pass came in handy to bypass the queue), Roma Forum and Piazza Venezia. Inspiring structures with great stories of war and emperors, gods and mortals are written all over these monuments and you are taken to times of BC. Start early to cover these 3 by lunch and be ready for a walk! Post lunch head to the smallest and yet powerful state of Vatican to cover St. Peters Basilica and Sistine Chappel. Some of the great pieces of art, sculptures, paintings adorn the walls with peace and holiness.

Day 3 you can either plan a day trip to Tivoli or Capri, Amlafi or cover some bit of Rome more. We planned to stay put in Rome and covered Villa Borghese and the gardens, hang around at Spanish Steps and off course some shopping.

Scenic Pisa & Cinque Terre
Board an early morning train from Roma Termini to Firenze and then onwards to Pisa, keep your luggage at Pisa station, and take the bus to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Besides the obvious Tower, the entire Cathedral and Baptistery displayed beautiful white marble carvings and opulence. The small restaurants behind offer delicious food and deserts. Beware of pickpockets in the area especially when boarding buses!
Back to Pisa station by late noon, we continued our journey towards La Spezia. A small coastal town La Spezia is the gateway to Cinque Terre – a set of 5 charming villages around the sea and are located merely 5-10 mins by train from each other. These historic villages are lost in time, small colorful houses set on rugged hills and dramatic coastal views can bolster most jaded spirits. Walk and trek through its famous romantic and scenic cliff edges and enjoy some breath taking views.

After the day trip, we took a train from La Spezia to Florence to reach by late evening.

Cultural Florence (Day 6)
Florence played a crucial role during Renaissance and is evident from its literature, cultural and artistic expressions. The main city attractions can conveniently be covered in a walking tour. Cathedral, Piazza Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi, Ponte Vechio, Pitti all can be covered in 3- 4 hours leisurely walking through the Cashmere, Leather and jewellery street shops in between. Its one of the most beautiful and varied walks within Italy.

Tuscany is best seen through road and hence we planned for a Day Trip covering Sienna, Chianti Wines and San Gimignano. The drive takes you through beautiful Tuscan hills, historic village of San Gimignano with wine tasting over lunch in a Chianti vineyard. Siena, a beautiful gothic town, famous for its medieval cityscape and Duomo is a good 3 hour stop to end the day trip.

Romantic Venice
A morning train from Florence, followed by a Waterbus through the Grand Canal and we were in the floating city -  Venice. Walking through canals, bridges, waterbus, gandolas is the best part of the city. Food, drinks, casino, shopping is all available in plentiful.
Next day we covered the glass island of Murano and the colourful Burano. The bright multi-coloured houses of Burano is a picturesque location and photographer’s haven. The bylanes have beautiful shops displaying croshia work, masks for masquerade party, local fashion shops, scarfs and several stoles.

We departed back to Mumbai from Venice airport carrying beautiful memories of Italy. Ciao!