Buongiorno Italia!

Italy is a beautiful country and I’ve always had a soft spot for the country especially after learning Italian for 7 years in primary school. Italy was full of rich culture, stunning scenery, beautiful architecture, great food and even better wine and drinks (especially aperol spritz)!
Some of the highlights…
Milano
I met Elena on the plane who was Italian but living in Sydney and she helped me get to Milano Centrale from the airport and we decided to keep in touch and meet up in her hometown, Florence.
There are lots of gypsies in Milan so you really have to be careful. I witnessed one girl who was very naive get help from one of them using the ticket machines at the station (it’s all in English and really simple to use!) and she got her 50€ stolen. I gave her some coins so she could at least get the metro out of there!
Stayed at Ostello Bello hostel for the first night and it was a small, great hostel. The staff were warm and friendly and really looked after you! The hostel bar downstairs was popular amongst locals as well as tourists. Had aperitivo downstairs and made some new friends and headed out after on the first night. Going out and partying really helped with not getting any jetlag!
I had the best panzerotti in Milan at Luini Panzerotti. Although it is near the duomo, the most touristy part of the city, there were both locals and tourists lining up. Had a proscuitto and mozzarella one and it costs only 2.70€! Also had gelato at Cioccolati Italiani which was delicious and a custom made Magnum from the Magnum store.
The duomo is spectacular. We went to the top by stairs (250 steps) and it was so intricately designed and you could see the view of Milan from above! Wandered around Sforzesco Castle where the king used to live.
We went to Sand Cafe for aperitivo and had a cocktail and food such as pasta, risotto, bruschetta and salads which was nice. Stroll through Navigli canals where there are lots of restaurants, cafes, bars and boutiques giving it a vibrant atmosphere!
Duomo
Up in the duomo
Gelato
Hot Italian man in Milano


Como

I did a day trip to Como on the second day. We caught a train from Cadorna station to Como Nord Lago which took about 55 minutes then caught the public ferry from Como to Bellagio. The whole ferry ride was breathtaking! I explored the city of Bellagio and it was just beautiful to walk around in the sun and explore the many laneways and tiny stores.
Bellagio
Lake Como

Venezia

We made our way to Venezia by train from Milan! We stayed in Athi’s uncle’s beautiful house right in a small square near San Zaccari making it the perfect location but still away from the hustle and bustle. We explored the canals of Venice, went to the Rialto Bridge, strolled through Piazza San Marco, went to Doge’s Palace, up San Marco Basilica and went on the rooftop of the dome and up the bell tower. We went to Harry’s Bar and had the bellini as it was created here and a bar where Ernest Hemingway used to hang out there. The best part was drinking aperol spritz on the rooftop with new friends!

A day trip to Burano, a sleepy fishing village with bold, colourful houses was a great way to get away from crowds of people and also check out the lace stores which Burano is famous for.

I really loved Venice as it is a beautiful canal city, however the hoards of tourists could really ruin some of the experiences there – it is ridiculously overcrowded at times. I would suggest coming in May or September when there are less crowds but when the weather is still pleasant.

 

Rooftop aperols
Venice views
Dinner with Anki & Athi
Aperol Spritz on the rooftop
Rooftop party
Burano


Roma 

Rome is full of ancient history and culture and there is so much to see and do here! We visited the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Pantheon, explored Vatican City and saw the Sistine Chapel, visited the Castel for a view of Rome, Trevi Fountain, went to Piazza Navona, Campo Di Fiore, walked up Piazza Espana and saw the Spanish Steps, went up the hill to Gianniccolo for a sweet view of Rome. We had aperitivo at Bar Del Fico (very recommended) and explored Trastevere with its many restaurants and bars and its cool vibe.

Roman Forum
St Peter’s Basilica
Views of the Vatican from above
Views of Rome from Gianicolo
Trevi Fountain


Firenze

Florence was a favourite of mine not just due to the beauty of the place and the abundance of things to see and do but it had a certain atmosphere that was enchanting. I can’t wait to come back here as I feel I didn’t have enough time here at all!
The duomo in Florence was beautiful and we went up the bell tower where we got the best view of the city. Went to L’Accademia for Michelangelo’s Statue of David but we had to wait around 45 minutes to get in. Walked around Ponte Vecchio and up to Michelangelo Piazzale where you could see another great panoramic view of the city. The statue of David was also located here. Met up with Elena and walked around the city and she recommended to go to Kitsch Bar for aperitivo. It was the best aperitivo I have had with a huge range of pasta, pizza and salads! Afterwards, Athi and I walked past a park with live music, lots of people and a bar so enjoyed some drinks there.
Grom is a must for the best gelato – the raspberry and apricot flavour was spot on! We also found a great pizza spot at Nerone Trattoria on Via Faenze for dinner. Had a pesto pizza and a prosciutto and mozzarella pizza and they were so simple but bursted with flavour. It was the best pizza I’ve had in Italy!
 
Sneaky shot
Panoramic view of Firenze
View from the duomo
Florence from above
Cinque Terre
I have always dreamed of going to Cinque Terre for it’s beautiful seaside (and known as the Italian riviera). I found a cute little apartment on airbnb in Vernazza and we were in prime location. As soon as we arrived, we headed to the sea and went for a swim which was very refreshing! For dinner, we headed to Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre and we ended up eating breakfast and dinner again there because it was SO good!
We caught the train to Monterosso to start a hike through all five villages. Each village has it’s own charm and it was great walking through each one. We made an attempt to go explore each village as well. At Corniglia, we went for a quick swim and relaxed for a bit. At Manarola, we had a seafood lunch and there wasn’t too much to do in Riomaggiore so looked around then headed back to Vernazza.
I recommend saying in Vernazza as the sea and station are so close to the centre and it is the most picturesque. Corniglia has so many stairs and walking from the station to the centre took over 10 minutes and another giant set of stairs to reach the sea so would be ridiculous especially if you have a backpack or suitcase.

Maranola
Vernazza
Cocktails at Il Pirata

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