Italy

Table of Contents

We tried to plan this trip to include a balance of city art and architecture and natural beauty and walking. We also tried to intersperse locations with intense sightseeing with more relaxed destinations.

I visited Venice and Florence in 1983 when I backpacked around Europe. (I’d also planned on Rome but my itinerary changed en route.) Steve has never been to Italy. With a full month we hope to see a lot and yet not feel rushed. 

Table of Contents

We tried to plan this trip to include a balance of city art and architecture and natural beauty and walking. We also tried to intersperse locations with intense sightseeing with more relaxed destinations.

I visited Venice and Florence in 1983 when I backpacked around Europe. (I’d also planned on Rome but my itinerary changed en route.) Steve has never been to Italy. With a full month we hope to see a lot and yet not feel rushed. 

Days 1-3: Venice

Planned Activities

  • St. Mark’s Square
  • Doge’s Palace
  • St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Day trip to Padua

The Plan: I spent a couple of days in Venice in 1983 and I confess I didn’t love Venice. It didn’t smell very good, for one thing. If it were just me I’d probably skip returning here. But Steve hasn’t seen it and I think he should. I thought about only allowing a single full day here but decided with jet lag and potential delays we should play it safe and spend two days. If we have time and inclination, it looks like a day trip to Padua is easy. Or maybe we just wander the city.

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Fly from home

Stay at Locanda Casa Querini

Get around by walking

Days 4-6: Castelrotto (The Dolomites)

Planned Activities

  • Hiking
  • Museo Archeologico dell’Alto Adige

The Plan: I recall the beautiful mountains I saw on the train from Salzburg to Venice in 1983 and want to see them again. This should also be an opportunity to get some walking in. If we get tired of that maybe we’ll hit the museum in Bolzano or take a day trip.

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Train and bus from Venice

Stay at Hotel Cavallino D'Oro

Get around by walking

Days 7-10: Bellagio (The Lakes)

Planned Activities

  • Hiking
  • Self-guided ferry tour from Rick Steves’ guide
  • Villa Carlotta

Actual Activities

  •  

The Plan: After seeing the lakes in Star Wars and James Bond I wanted to see them in person. We planned four nights here since it will take most of the first day to get here. 

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Train and bus from Castelrotto

Stay at Residence la Limonera

Get around by walking

Days 11-14: Monterosso (The Cinque Terra)

Planned Activities

  • Hiking
  • Some beach time?

The Plan: The Cinque Terra looks and sounds beautiful.  We picked Monterosso as our base because it should have more tourist infrastructure and is maybe not as steep as others! It sounds like it should be easy to get to the other villages. Once again we’re spending four nights because it will take a while to get here. 

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Train and bus from Bellagio

Stay at Albergó al Carugio

Get around by walking

Days 15-19: Florence

Planned Activities

  • Duomo
  • Bargello Museum
  • Uffizi Gallery
  • Accademia
  • Medici Chapels
  • Pitti Palace
  • Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Day trip?

The Plan: While I was underwhelmed by Venice, I loved Florence when I was here before. There is a lot to see in Florence and with about four and a half days we hope to fit in all of our must-dos without wearing ourselves out. And that we don’t get worn out by the onslaught of art. If time and inclination allows maybe we’ll take a day trip to a smaller town in the area. 

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Train from Monterosso

Stay at Hotel DalÍ

Get around by walking

Days 20-23: Lecce

Planned Activities

  • Basilica di Santa Croce
  • Day trips?
  • Wandering the town?

The Plan: From Florence to the “Florence of the south.” I wanted a break in the touring frenzy between Florence and Rome, and originally thought about spending three days in Orvieto. Then I realized that by reversing our itinerary for southern Italy we could have that break and end in Rome, for an easier return to the USA.

We don’t have a lot planned for Lecce; this will be more a few days to just “be” and explore spontaneously. 

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Train from Florence

Stay at B&B l'Orangerie D'epoque

Get around by walking

Days 24-25: Matera

Planned Activities

  • Wandering the town

Actual Activities

  •  

The Plan: I went back and forth on Matera, whether it was worth spending a couple of days here or not. In the end I decided that we could fit in a couple of nights. 

Getting to and from here won’t be simple. It looks like the bus from Lecce is quickest and cheapest, but it doesn’t leave until afternoon, so we may end up on a train based on schedule. We’ll see as it gets closer. 

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Train or bus from Lecce

Stay at Il Belvedere

Get around by walking

Days 26-30: Sorrento

Planned Activities

  • Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods)
  • Pompeii
  • Naples day trip
  • Capri

Actual Activities

  •  

The Plan: Sorrento looks like a good base for day trips to other parts of the area, rather than packing up and moving every day. I don’t know that we’ll fit them all in; it will depend on public transportation. 

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Bus from Matera

Stay at Margió House

Get around by public transportation

And walking within Sorrento

Days 31-35: Rome

Planned Activities

  • Colosseum
  • Roman Forum
  • Pantheon
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Vittoriano
  • Palatine Hill
  • Capitoline Museums
  • Borghese Gallery
  • Vatican Museums
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Castel Sant’Angelo

Actual Activities

  •  

The Plan: So many sights to try to pack into probably too little time! I think we will only be able to take so much of Rome, though, so we’ll do the best we can. We’re staying centrally so it will be easier to get around without public transportation. This will be the last mad rush before we head home. 

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Train from Sorrento

Stay at Arch Rome Suites

Get around by public transportation

And walking as much as possible