In May last year I had spent months planning my big trip across Italy, the biggest challenge was trying to cram it all into one week. Well here I will tell you all about how I managed to cover 5 major cities and 4 islands and the experiences I had. Part 1 will focus on the first part of my journey through the beautiful country as I arrived in Rome, took a train to Florence and popped into Pisa.
Rome was always the first on my list and not simply because it is the capital city, more so because there was so much to see and do in Rome that i knew I had to get it done first and get it done my way. The plan was to spend 2 and a half days in Rome and try get everything on my checklist to fit that time frame. One thing I didn’t anticipate is the extent of queue’s to major location, luckily I had done my research and got a Roma Pass Card. The 3 day card was perfect as it included all public transport, discounts and access to 2 museums. Although it says Museum, this included going through the fast track for the Colosseum (Left) and the Roman Forum (Below) which help save a tremendous amount of time. This allowed for the remained of our day to be spent walking through the shopping district and the Spanish steps as well as enjoying a cocktail and lunch at the Piazza del Popolo.
What I didn’t expect was the proximity of all the points of interest were incredibly close, just by wondering around I found most of the popular locations such as Trevi fountain, Piazza Venezia and Castelo Sant’angelo.
On the second day we devoted it to the Vatican. I was told prior to going how long the queues can be to get into the Vatican, but once again I wasn’t prepared for what I had seen. It winded around the walls of the Vatican for at least a full Kilometer!!! What i was told and what i will tell you is that tour guides for this part of travelling is a gift. Yes we had to pay more but hey we didn’t queue, the guided tours bring you through the Vatican Museum, out to a private viewing area of the Sistine Chapel and access (without queue) into the St.Peter’s Basillica. I mean what more can you ask for really. When you go to the Vatican make sure to go to the post office before you leave, get a post card and a stamp which have the Pope himself on them, i mean how cool is that!
In the midst of all the sightseeing we manage to find a lot of time for the pizza dinners and amazing red wines.When planned out, you can get all the sightseeing done and have plenty of time to relax which I believe i have mastered through my travels.
Following the 2 and a half days of the tourist filled Rome, we got on the train to Florence. I had pre-booked all of our train journeys for the week using TrenItalia which turned out very affordable and very convenient as the trip took only 1hr 30mins. As Florence was a smaller city I had only allowed for 1 day to spend there, how wrong was I. Especially with the Pisa trip being squeezed in too, we felt like there was barely any time to see the city.
Our hotel was situated in the middle of the city right by the massive market place which in itself was a sight. We climbed up to the very top of the Florence Cathedral which gave an absolutely stunning birds eye view of the city with the terracotta roof tops. The stairs were unforgiving but the view is worth it. Make sure you get your ticket to go to the top before heading to the Cathedral which is only across the square its on. To finish off our trip in Florence we went for breakfast a Piazza della Signoria and had a look at the Ponte Vecchio. Florence is packed with locals on mopeds, once you get a taxi you realize why the mopeds are the preferred method of travel. The roads are barely large enough for one car to drive though, the aspect seemed unreal and kind of fascinating. As we got a taxi to the train station we could hear a constant beeping which wasnt getting any fainter, it took at least 5 mins to realise that the noise was coming from the car itself as he manuevered through the small streets.
Pisa was squeezed into the Florence day, the train takes less than an hour from Florence. The city is small and very quiet. As we walked towards the general direction of Piazza dei Miracoli where the Leaning tower was located we weren’t even sure if we got off at the wrong stop. After some significant walking we finally got to it. Even though you know what to expect the moment i seen the tower I was stunned. It seems unreal how much it really leans. After some walking around and the obvious leaning tower posed pictures we got some ice cream and headed back to the station. Personally i was satisfied with the time i had allocated for Pisa, and seen no reason to stay there overnight as only a couple of hours in the day is sufficient to see such a small town.