Updated: Apr 20, 2020
There is one country in the world that has it all from food, beauty, charm and history. Yes, Italy! I have been lucky to have been visiting Italy for many years, with each visit creating wonderful and long-lasting memories. Today it's even easier to travel the length and breadth of the country via car, bus, train or plane. How will you travel and explore beautiful and charming Italy?
Italian Red Vespa Scooter In Medieval Verona ©MDHarding
Beautiful and Charming Italy
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Itinerary One - Rail Trip: Rome, Pisa, Florence, Naples, Sorrento and Capri (Two Weeks)
Do you have a bit more flexibility and looking for an adventure too? See more of Italy with a rail trip.
We flew return from Edinburgh into Naples then took the Naples Alibus airport bus shuttle between the airport the Central Train Station. It departs every 20 - 30 minutes and the journey takes between 15 - 20 minutes. Each journey is 5 Euros and you can pay on the bus. There are a few alternative arrival and departure airports available.
Naples is the third largest city in Italy after Rome and Milan. It's really easy to get around with local transport or why not jump on-board the hop on and off city sightseeing tour bus. While visiting don't miss the city's cathedral, the Duomo di San Gennaro, which is filled with frescoes. Other major landmarks include the lavish Royal Palace and Castel Nuovo, a 13th-century castle. Do you enjoy walking? Take the hiking train to see the legendary Mount Vesuvius.
Top Tip: Have you heard of the Naples Pass? Save time and money with a 3 day Naples Pass + Transports and Museums. It includes local transport and entrance fee to museums such as Pompeii.
Incredible city break offers for Naples.
Band Stand, Naples, Italy ©MDHarding
Sorrento on the scenic amalfi coast with it's sheer cliff edges, colourful houses and small fishing villages is only just over an hour by train from Naples, or perhaps you would like to take the Naples Sorrento ferry? While in Sorrento take the small ferry to the Island of Capri. One of Italy's most beautiful islands attracting the rich and famous. Don't miss the islands delicious cuisine, shopping and gardens. Which famous face will you spot while visiting?
Top Tip: Don't forget your refilled bottle of water.
Amalfi Coast with Stepped Colourful Houses, Italy ©MDHarding
Rome is a magnificent city with it's Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and of course The Vatican. The journey time by train from Sorrento to Rome varies between 2 - 3 hours. Put on your walking shoes, taste the delicious gelato and don't forget to make a wish at the incredible Baroque Trevi Fountain.
Top Tip: Save 10% on your next Booking.com hotel reservation with this link.
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, Rome, Italy ©MDHarding
This year Florence like many cities in Italy is celebrating the genius Leonardo Da Vinci. It's even more potent that it's his birthplace. Jump on-board an early departing high speed train from Rome and you will be there with ample time to explore before lunch! 168 miles covered in less than one hour 30 minutes. 500 years of Da Vinci, see more than 250 large scale models at the Da Vinci Museum located in the heart of Florence. The centre of Italian Renaissance is famous for the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. The Galleria dell'Accademia displays Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation.”
Top Tip: Remember to Slip, Slap, Slop - T-shirt, put on a wide brimmed hat and lots of sun cream!
Arno River, Florence, Italy ©MDHarding
A short fun filled few hours/day trip from Florence by train. Only just over an hour from Florence it's worth the visit to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Cathedral of Pisa and a stroll around the shops, eat then back to Florence. You might like to stay longer and enjoy the ambiance of this magical city. Did you know the Leaning Tower of Pisa was already leaning when it was completed in 1372?
Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cathedral of Pisa in Miracle Square, Pisa, Italy ©MDHarding
Itinerary Two - Rome & Picinisco (One Week)
Discover the bustling city of Rome and then spend a tranquil few days in the beautiful village of Picinisco. Travel by train from Rome (Roma Termini Station) to Cassino where a chauffeur will be awaiting your arrival to whisk you off in style to Vale di Comino and the beautiful village of Picinisco. Stay at Sotto Le Stelle (Under The Stars) - Albergo Diffuso Under the Stars. This 5 star unique accommodation is amazing! It will leave you dreaming of your return stay. Situated by the National Park of Abruzzo it is ideal for walking, hiking or just relaxing on the balcony enjoying a local fresh sweet treat from the bakery.
Scenic Views Over Vale di Comino ©MDHarding
Itinerary Three - Milan, Verona and Trentino (10 days)
Wow, does Italy have it all. The more I see, the more I dream about returning. Discover more about what not to miss in Duomo To The Dolomites my last travel blog. Have any questions? Anything I have missed? Please do get in touch @MichellesMonologues
Fancy a wee deal to Milan? Check out this city break offer to Milan 4* 2-3 nights including flights.
Rooftops Riva Del Garda, Italy ©MDHarding
Itinerary Four - Venice
A weekend break is perfect for those that don't have much time but would like to enjoy the island on water - Venice.
Venice is an all year round popular destination in Italy, with hotels commanding a great price especially those located by the famous Rialto Bridge on the canal.
We have visited on a number of occasions at various times of the year but my favourite has to have been during carnival in February. The costumes are incredible! It was extremely busy but worth it!
Top Tip: EasyJet flights went on sale this past Thursday. Did you manage to pick up a bargain?
Venice Carnival ©MDHarding
In luxury on-board the Simpleton - Orient Express
Travel in style on-board the Simpleton - Orient Express. The journey starts at London Victoria Railway Station where you check into the first class waiting room. Before long you are stepping back in time on-board one of the beautifully restored carridges from the 1920's, 30's or 50's on the British Pullman. Changing at Folkstone onto the 1920's classic continental sleeping cars from Calais to Paris. Enjoy the delicious cuisine in the dinning car as well as entertainment and drinks in the bar car. We all remember Murder on the Orient Express but the decadence, exuberance, class and sophistication has never been lost. Sit back and enjoy the ambiance on the 5 star historic train. Where will the journey take you?
Read more about this and more incredible train journeys with The Man in Seat 61.
Dish on-board Orient Express ©MDHarding
Itinerary Five - Cruising Italy
Would you like to visit Italy but not sure which part? Why not step on-board one of the worlds magnificent floating hotels and visit a few different places in luxurious surroundings by cruise ship.
Civitavecchia Port is located 45 minutes outside of Rome's historic centre. There are many cruise shore excursions to choose from.
The lovely town of Livorno is seen as the gateway to Florence and Pisa but well worth a look. It is known as Venice of the Mediterranean because of the many canals that run through it.
The busiest of the Italian ports with shore excursions to Taormina and Mt. Etna. The ancient archaeological Greek Theatre overlooking Mt. Etna is still used today for concerts, opera and theatre performances. Messina is famous for its zesty citrus fruits, tasty olives and rich wines all grown around the area.
"Try Messina specialty la ghiotta di pesce stocco, filets of cod or swordfish baked in tomato sauce with potatoes, capers and herbs. Sample Sicilianbucatini, which combines pasta with local sardines and North African-inspired flavors like saffron, pine nuts and raisins. Or hit up the street vendors for arancini, the cheesy balls of fried rice that are the ultimate Sicilian comfort food." Royal Caribbean
"Visit the Galleria V. Emanuele — the world's oldest active shopping mall, dating back to the 1800s — for artisanal crafts such as coral jewelry, hand-painted glazed ceramics and fine crocheted items." - Royal Caribbean
I remember the smell of lemons and each of the small shops selling Lemone in bottles. The colourful ceramics with the symbol of the head of Medusa (a head of snakes) surrounded by three bent running legs and three stalks of wheat. Did you know Sicily was known by the Romans as Trinacrium? Meaning “star with three points.” The word Trinacria means triangle and refers to the shape of the island.
Naples home to the original Margarita Pizza, archaeological sites such as Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae. Is well worth a visit! The Bay of Naples with stunning vistas to Mt. Vesuvius, natural beauty of the Amalfi Coast and out to the island of Capri. It's rich cultural history makes this city a cruise highlight.
As a cruise ship photographer many years ago at Pompeii.
I hope you have enjoyed reading and inspired to visit beautiful and charming Italy. Until next time, happy travels:)
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