Boasting jaw-dropping architecture, rugged cliff faces and the sparkling waters of the Ligurian Sea, there’s no doubt that Italy’s Cinque Terre is a must-see in a country full of rich culture and scenery. This strip of land lies just north of the Tuscan border and is home to a cluster of iconic villages perched precariously along the coast. The region is just a few hours away from Milan and Florence by train, with nearby airports located in Pisa and Genoa.
If you’ve added this UNESO World Heritage Site to your itinerary, you’ll probably start thinking about how to get there, where you can stay and how long you’ll need to get the most of your trip. However, it’s also a good idea to plan how you’ll get around once you arrive as there are a number of options available.
Travelling by train is no doubt the fastest and most convenient way of moving between Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore — the five villages of Cinque Terre. The daily timetable includes trains that stop at each village (a journey which takes approximately 15 minutes in total) along with express services between Riomaggiore and Monterosso.
Tickets can be bought from each station and the cost will vary depending on how far you need to go. A single ride will usually only set you back a few Euros, but it’s important to note that the ticket booths typically close around 7pm. For this reason, it’s a good idea to buy your tickets earlier in the day in case you end up stranded.
If you are staying in Cinque Terre for a few days and want to experience each village in a more relaxed manner, you may choose to take the ferry. A number of boats run regularly between each village (with the exception of Corniglia) and offer passengers a unique perspective of the colourful architecture splashed against rugged cliffs and lush mountains.
It’s worth noting that the ferries are not the cheapest mode of transport available, and each leg takes roughly 10-15 minutes. However, the incredible views and tranquil surroundings more than make up for it for those with tired legs and time to spare, and you’ll also gain access to the village of Porto Venere to the south.
Travelling by foot may be the slowest mode of transport, but it’s also the most rewarding. Each village in Cinque Terre is connected by a network of walking trails which extend along the coast and offer stunning views of both the villages and the open ocean. Trekkers have the option of walking directly between each village or taking a more demanding route through the mountainous inland region.
It’s possible to fit the entire trail into a single day, but we recommend spreading it over a few days to ensure you can proceed at a more relaxed pace and truly soak up the surroundings — particularly at night when there are less people around. That said, day trippers who don’t feel like cramming the entire trail into one day can simply walk part of the way and jump on the train or ferry for the rest of the journey.
The trail between Monterosso and Vernazza is the trickiest section, but it also offers some of the most beautiful views of the region. There are also some demanding stairs at points between the villages, but from an overall standpoint the trail is not particularly difficult; as long as you have some sturdy walking shoes, a bottle of water and plenty of time, walking is a fantastic option.
Driving through Cinque Terre is not really an option, as many of the roads are restricted to traffic or simply a headache to navigate. If you’re staying in Milan, Florence or any other nearby city, it’s easiest to leave the car behind and catch the train in. Otherwise, Monterosso is the easiest village to reach by car and also offers the cheapest parking, allowing you to freely walk or catch the train between the villages before returning to your car at the end of your stay.
Between the trains, ferries and walking trails, there are plenty of ways to see Cinque Terre. Low on time? Hop on the trains. Lacking cash? Tie up your laces and hit the trail. Sick of walking? Jump on the ferry. There really is no right and wrong way to do it, and it’s easy enough to switch between each form of transport between villages. You can even combine all three to get the full experience and soak up all that this beautiful sliver of Italy has to offer!
Italy truly offers an eclectic mix of sights and experiences when it comes to exploring Europe. From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the secluded canals of Venice, the architectural sights within the Vatican, to the hustle and bustle of Rome, you won’t be short of destinations to visit. For those looking to combine the iconic feats of engineering that Italy is famous for, with some if its unrivalled natural scenery, look no further than the Cinque Terre.
Situated in the Liguria region along the beautiful Italian Riviera, the Cinque Terre enjoys some of the most jaw dropping coastal scenery in the country, if not the world. This UNESCO World Heritage site is comprised of five unique fishing villages and is a hot destination for tourists year-round. If you’re planning a trip to Italy soon and don’t know what to expect in terms of weather when visiting the Cinque Terre, here’s what you need to know.
Shielded from much of Italy’s north winds by the Apennine mountains, the majority of the Liguria coast is mild in weather. When the north winds do blow in Summer however, they remove the humidity from the air and treat those present to fantastic, far reaching views. For lovers of hot temperatures, July and August in the Cinque Terre will be your preferred time of year. In regards to rain, there are typically short bursts of rainfall during spring and autumn that you can expect to experience rather frequently.
Best time of year to visit
Much like any foreign destination, there are pros and cons for each time of year. If you opt to go during the hottest months during summer, then you can expect all of the narrow, intertwining trails to be claustrophobic with tourists. On the other hand, if you choose to go during the rainier spring or autumn, you’re likely to have a much more rewarding hiking experience, while enjoying superior views. That being said, the heavier rains can sometimes wipe out sections of the trail, or pose a slippery hazard.
To find a happy balance, September during autumn is possibly the best time of year to go. The temperatures are still warm, yet not as dry as during July and the other summer months. There is generally an increase in rainfall, but not as much as October, which tends to be the wettest month in the Cinque Terre.
Just an hour from Genoa on the western coast of Italy lies one of the most exceptional parts of Europe. Perched on cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea, the Cinque Terre (‘Five Lands’) offers visitors breathtaking sights and unique experiences. While there’s much for families to do in the areas, many of the region’s most beloved activities are ideal for adults travelling. From wining and dining to exploring the local landscape, there’s much to do when you’re not having to worry about early bedtimes and boredom.
A landscape unlike any other in Liguria
The Cinque Terre is arguably most famous for its location. Built into the cliffs of the Italian Riviera and networked by former mule tracks now serving as hiking trails, it’s one part of the world where the journey is most definitely more important than the destination.
Sentiero Azzurro ("Azure Trail"), forms the spine of the region and connects the five villages that give the Cinque Terre its name. Expect to have uninterrupted and near constant views of the gorgeous blue waters of the sea that give the trail its name, blended with rolling farms and vineyards built into steep and often near-vertical hills.
Sections of the walk are wheelchair-accessible, but many sections are steep, winding and narrow, posing a challenge for even the fittest able-bodied walkers. If you’re a dedicated trail walker, you can walk the entire region from Riomaggiore to Monterosso al Mare in about five hours. A fantastic way to spend a day, with the added bonus of you won’t have an iota of guilt about really indulging at dinner that night.
What Italian journey is complete with fine food and wine?
Speaking of dinner, the Cinque Terre offers a wealth of scrumptious local delicacies and fantastic local beverages. Like much of Italy, there are local vintages to discover and regional specialties to delight with. Here, in the heart of Liguria and bordered by the sea, the specialties are anchovies and pesto – a green sauce made from basil, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese), salt, pepper and olive oil.
For centuries the fishermen of Cinque Terre have been pulling gorgeous, flavoursome anchovies out of the ocean, serving them any number of ways including marinated, salted, butterflied and deep-fried. You’ll find them offered in every course by most restaurants.
Pesto needs little introduction. Returning to its birthplace can be a transformative experience for lovers of jarred or homemade imitations, and it simply must be sampled over local specialty pastas designed to accompany the sauce. Some local chefs even offer courses in making pesto, so you can bring a little bit of Ligurian knowledge back home with you.
From boat trips to sailing courses to SCUBA diving, there’s much to do in and around the water in Cinque Terre. Speak to a Build My Trip representative today to plan your visit to this gorgeous part of the world.
Venice is by far one of the most talked-about regions of Italy. Tourists from all around the world flock to this magical floating city to experience the pure uniqueness of wandering cobbled streets bordered by channels of water. Steeped rich in history, Venice ranks high on plenty of bucket lists, and for very good reasons.
Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients that make Venice such a captivating city…
Rome is such a beautiful, historic city that it can feel almost like being a spoil-sport to remind tourists to be safe. Italy’s strict restrictions on gun-ownership and carrying mean that visitors are extremely unlikely to be held up at gunpoint or be a victim of violent crime. Rather, tourists should concern themselves with dodging petty theft, cons and traffic.
Fortunately, a little common sense and taking some extra care when you’re out and about can mean your time in this city is fun and relaxing, not stressful, anxiety-inducing.
Harmful to wealth, not health
Rome has an unfortunate and somewhat undeserved reputation as a city of pickpockets. While the city does have its thieves, it’s no more than any other popular tourist town and the solution is no different. Investing in a belt bag for cash, cards, phone and documentation keeps those critical items out of reach of sticky fingers. Not hanging your back off the back of your seat at a café or restaurant is also an obvious – and frequently overlooked – preventative measure.
Equally, being careful about who you approach for help can save you a lot of trouble. Many too-trusting tourists get taken advantage of in our country, especially if they’re not fluent or at least competent in Italian. You might spot someone on the street holding a cardboard sign advertising information for visitors. Sometimes these are legitimate local guides, but often they’re just regular people looking to distract you while your wallet is removed from your pocket.
Look both ways
If there’s one thing Roman streets are known for, it’s the loose adherence to road rules by drivers. Be extremely careful when crossing any street – even at a marked crossing – as vehicles will often not stop for you. The rule is look both ways, move quickly and don’t stop. This is where travel insurance can come in handy in the event of an accident.
A beautiful town worth your time
Don’t let any of this put you off visiting Rome. Like all major cities anywhere in the world, it has its share of petty criminals and minor hazards, but a little forethought can help you avoid any potential mishaps. Passports should stay in hotel safes, and you should only have the cards and the amount of money you need for the day. If necessary, visit tourist sites at off-peak times like early morning to avoid crowds. Planning to stay safe doesn’t mean avoiding having fun; it just means a few extra minutes each day to ensure you come back with everything you left with.
Venice is a magical city. Lined with canals, teeming with gondolas and filled to the brim with magnificent architecture and art, the city is a must-see destination on any Italian itinerary.
Located in northeast Italy on the Adriatic Sea, the city is famous for its intertwining network of canals and paved walkways. Take your walking shoes and get ready to hit the streets of this iconic city.
Although spending along time in Venice is always worth it, sometimes 24 hours is all we can squeeze in. And, in Venice, any amount of time is worth it. Here are our must-see destinations if you can only muster one day in the canal-lined streets.
St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco)
7am – During the day, the waterfront plaza is claustrophobic with tourists. Arrive before sunrise and you’ll find the area quite empty, leaving you to enjoy the beauty on your own. Stay to watch the sun come up over the water and leave as the square begins to fill with people.
9am – St. Mark’s church, located just off the square, is full of Byzantine mosaics for you to feast your eyes on.
Mercato di Rialto
10:30am – In Rialto, the city’s bustling shopping precinct, you’ll find markets overflowing with crafts, fresh local produce and special souvenirs of your trip. On the banks of the Grand Canal, the area is absolutely buzzing with locals and tourists alike. Grab some breakfast to fuel yourself for the day ahead.
Travel to Fondamente Nuove and take on Burano by boat
12pm – Visit Burano, a tiny island just of the coast of Venice. The only way to get here is by boat from Fondamente Nuove and, upon your arrival, you’ll be greeted by rows of brightly coloured buildings. This island is the birthplace of lume glasswork in Italy, so see if you can experience some gorgeous craftsmanship before taking a boat back.
L’isola di Pinocchio
3pm – Named for Italy’s most famous puppet, the name of this marionette workshop literally translates to Pinocchio’s island. Step into the workshop and you’ll find an assemblage of handcrafted wooden toys, finely rendered in their detail.
7pm – By this time, you will have worked up quite an appetite, so treat yourself to dinner at one of Italy’s best restaurants. La Bottiglia is rated number one on TripAdvisor, and no surprise there: the restaurant is a wonderland where you can order antipasto platters and prosecco to your heart’s content, to truly experience the best of Venetian cuisine.
Italy is a seductive feast for the senses. From the rolling hills in Tuscany, the ancient architecture of Cinque Terre and the sumptuous cuisines dispersed throughout, the country will provide endless opportunities for fun.
Perhaps the most interesting of the lot is Rome. A heady mix of historic architecture,
jaw-dropping art and winding streets, the Eternal City is one you’ll never want to leave.
Located on the Mediterranean coast, about halfway along Italy’s western coastline, the city enjoys mild winters and dry, hot summers.
Between spring and early autumn, the weather is pleasant – not too hot, but not cool enough that you’ll need to cart around a jacket, either. During these months, Rome is simply buzzing with festivals that could make your whole trip worth it. However, festival season also means that the streets are packed. If you can deal with the throng of people during this peak tourist season, this might be the best time to travel to Rome.
Any later, you may find the weather to be uncomfortably hot, as temperatures soar to 35 degrees Celsius at the peak of the day. Summer isn’t the best time to go for this very reason. The thing to keep in mind if you do decide to travel in June, July or August, is that you’ll be doing quite a bit of walking, which can make your perception of the heat even
Rome’s winters are mild, and snow is rare, which could be great news if you’re not a fan of the cold. Temperatures peak at around 13 degrees and drizzling rain is quite common. That said, the rain is not often enough to disrupt your trip. The best thing about winter in Rome is the Christmas celebrations that take place across the city. Even though the shops are want to close over Christmas itself, the numerous churches in the city love to celebrate the holiday. Pay a visit to St Peter’s Basilica on Christmas Eve to see the Pope presiding over a midnight mass.
The best time to go?
Arguably the best time to travel is during the springtime. During March to May, the sun has begun to come out, meaning blue skies and warm weather. As it’s not peak tourist season, you won’t have to contend with thousands of other tourists, which will make your stay a little more pleasant.
No matter what time of year you choose to go, you’ll always confront positive and negative aspects. Either way, try to make the most of your journey and pack right.
Do you like food? Wine? Art? Architecture? History? Culture? Markets? Any or all of the above? Florence is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet, and for good reason: capital of the renowned Tuscany region and dubbed “the cradle of the Renaissance”, the city is overflowing with things to see and do.
If you’re travelling on a budget, don’t feel like you have to spend a pretty penny to experience the wonder of Florence. Sure, you’ll have to fish out the Euros to visit places like the Galleria dell’Accademia or the Uffizi (which is certainly worth it), but there are plenty of free things to see and do in this special city. Here are our top five!
See the Duomo
Formally known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore or Il Duomo di Firenze, there is no doubt that this stunning structure is the jewel in Florence’s crown. Other than the fact that it towers over the sea of orange rooftops surrounding it, the Duomo is most recognisable by its dome and distinct façade.
The cathedral is located in Piazza del Duomo, meaning the public is free to walk around the circumference and admire the white, green and red marble that adorns the exterior. Don’t forget you can even enter the basilica free of charge—you’ll only have to pay for a ticket if you want to climb the stairs and enjoy the view from the top.
Explore the city streets and piazzas
Italy is famous for its vibrant streets, architecture and squares, and Florence is no exception. The historic centre of the city is dotted with numerous piazzas that are linked by a sprawl of charming thoroughfares and alleyways, making it easy to travel by foot. Piazza del Duomo, Piazza della Signoria and Piazza della Republica are great places to start, but there is plenty more to discover beyond the major squares. Pick up a map and go where your heart desires—there is no better way to experience the history and culture of Florence than on foot.
Visit the Ponte Vecchio
If your postcard doesn’t have a photo of Duomo or Michelangelo’s David, chances are it will have a snapshot of this iconic landmark. The Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence and home to numerous goldsmiths and jewellers—perfect for a night-time stroll and views over the Arno river. The bridge itself is quite a spectacle, so it’s worth heading further down the river to St Trinity Bridge for a view back the other way.
Soak up the panoramic views
While the view from the top of the Duomo is impressive, you can enjoy the cityscape from an even better angle at Piazzale Michelangelo. The other bonus: it’s free! While it lies across the Arno river and involves a bit of a hike up the hill, your reward is a magnificent view across the entire city. While you’re there, you can head over to the Palazzo Pitti and admire the palace’s spectacular architecture before taking in the greenery in the surrounding Giardino bi Boboli.
Take in an outdoor museum
Not all sculptures are behind red velvet rope in pricey museums. The Loggia dei Lanzi lies next to Piazza della Signoria and is basically an open-air gallery or museum of antique and Renaissance art. The displayed collection includes both originals and replicas, but the latter are so well done that you won’t notice the difference. Besides, it won’t cost you a cent so it’s well worth the visit.
Florence is quite possibly one of the most culturally and historically rich cities in all of Europe. Famous as the birthplace of the Renaissance, the city still boasts an unparalleled collection of priceless artwork and architectural marvels. Due to this, it is flooded with hordes of tourists every year looking to glimpse some of its famous treasures.
Florence was originally founded in 59 BC by Julius Caesar and named Florentia, which translated to flourishing. The colony was initially designed as a safe haven for retired military veterans and the city itself still bears some resembles to the pattern of how a military camp would be setup.
Rapid growth throughout the ages
Florence was ideally situated on a major travel route between Rome and northern Italy and it’s very fertile and farmable lands meant that the population grew steadily. By the time the 3rd century AD rolled around, it had grown from a small Roman settlement to the capital of Tuscany, then known as Tuscia. Becoming such a thriving commercial hub however came with some drawbacks.
In the early 4th century the German Ostrogoths and Byzantines were fighting for control of Italy, with Florence serving as the epicentre for many of their conflicts. The destruction caused was so far spread that at one point, legend suggests that the population in the city was reduced to less than 1,000 people. Peace was restored in the 6th century under the Lombard rule and the population was restored as the city once again prospered.
The most monumental period of Italy’s history and perhaps that of the art world in general, the Renaissance saw the birth of some of the most famous artwork to date. With the rise of dozens of artist guilds across the city, a great many of the era’s most influential artists migrated to the city to work on their masterpieces. Some of these artists, just to name a few, include Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Ghirlandaio and Michelangelo.
This significant period in Florence’s history saw an economic boom and a flood a immigrants moving to the city, allowing for the export of high quality wool and other such textiles throughout Italy and the rest of Europe.
Becoming one with Italy
It wasn’t until as late as 1861 that Tuscany became a province of the Kingdom of Italy, having been ruled by Austria and France in the previous centuries. In today’s day and age, Florence is a thriving banking power with many of its historic and artistic treasures continuing to draw tourists from all over the world.
Like much of Italy, the Amalfi Coast is rich in historical significance. From architectural wonders to religious sites to cultural icons, there’s a lot packed into this 50km stretch of coast. Visitors don’t have to be well read on Renaissance history or the decline of the Western Roman Empire to find something to love in this beautiful part of the world, recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 as a cultural landscape worthy of preservation. Read on to find a few of our favourite sites in this stunning place.
The beauty and age of Ravello
Comune di Ravello – a town of approximately 2500 people – is home to more than its fair share of historical masterpieces. Home to palazzi once belonging to some of the finest mercantile families in 12th century Italy, this is a city rich in sights for lovers of art and history. Notable amongst them is the famous Villa Cimbrone, now operating as a hotel. The villa’s terrace – called the Terrazzo dell'lnfinito (the Terrace of Infinity) – with its view over the Tyrrhenian Sea has been called one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
The Duomo of Ravello is a masterpiece of 11th century architecture. Nearly a millennium old, the Duomo is home to a number of artistic wonders and curios, including a beautiful pulpit rendered in marble, one of the few remaining bronze church doors in Italy and two murals depicting the Biblical story of Jonah and the whale.
Amalfi – the burial place of an apostle
The main town of the coast and its namesake, Amalfi has a long history as a centre of culture and learning. Beloved by composer Richard Wagner for its beauty, this town of about 5000 is littered with fine examples of medieval architecture, including the Cattedrale di Sant'Andrea (Cathedral of Saint Andrew), first built in the 9th century. The cathedral is most famous for its beautifully preserved Byzantine façade, its four paintings by late Baroque artist Andrea dell'Asta and – most of all – the preserved remains of Andrew the Apostle, one of the original disciples of Jesus Christ.
Explore the history of the region at the Gli Arsenali della Repubblica (Arsenal of the Maritime Republic), a view into the region’s past as separate state between the 9th and 13th centuries, and the Chiostro del Paradiso (Cloister of Paradise) a beautifully designed burial ground for the local noble families.
A stunning part of a gorgeous country
There is simply too much beauty on the Amalfi Coast to summarise in one article. Whether you’re considering adding Ravello or Amalfi to your itinerary or not, discuss your Italian trip plans with Build My Trip and make the most of your stay.
What usually comes to mind when you hear the word Venice? Yes, canals and a ride aboard a gondola. It's one of the few places in the world where riding a water taxi is a must, and an experience you shouldn't miss. But that's not the only thing that this city in Italy's Veneto region has to offer.
There are plenty of amazing places to visit and things to do in Venice. And every encounter is guaranteed to be a magical adventure. Make it your mission to find and check out the secret passageways, and you will know exactly the allure of Venice in Italy.
"One of the most world-renowned attractions in the city is St Marks Square"
This public square, locally known as Piazza San Marco, is surrounded by other tourist attractions in the area, making it a one-stop-see-all location. On the eastern end is the great church of St. Mark, the north side is dominated by a long arcade with buildings called Procuratie Vecchie, on the south side is another line of buildings called Procuratie Nuove, and opposite it is the Campanile of St Mark's church. Another dominant landmark in the square is the Doge's Palace or Palazzo Ducale.
Showcasing architectural grandeur and a history that dates back to the 12th century, exploring the square and its neighboring areas is a must when visiting Venice. But what makes these landmarks worth visiting?
Campanile of St Mark's church
The bell tower of St. Mark's is a free-standing structure that was rebuilt in 1912, following its collapse in 1902. But its construction actually began in 888, which would have made the campanile very very old had it survived. With a height of 98 meters, it was described by French novelist Maurice Barrès, in his book Ten Days in Italy, as the headlight of Venice.
The bell tower is home to 5 bells that each plays a special role. One peals during execution, while others when proclaiming a session of the Senate, during mid-day, when calling members to council meetings, and to mark the beginning and end of a work day.
The view from the top of the campanile is nothing short of amazing. It will give you a bird's-eye view of the buildings around St Mark’s Square and right through to the Adriatic Sea, or a glimpse of it.
This Gothic palace is the official residence of the Doge, or the elected ruler of Venice. While it is quite impressive overall, nothing compares to the lavish decoration that will welcome you at the chambers on the second floor, including the Sala del Maggior Consiglio (Grand Council Hall) where the Doge’s throne sits, along with a Paradise painting done by the son of a famous Italian painter.
Other remarkable features in the palace include the Doge’s Sala degli Stucci with 18 roaring lions as decoration, Scala d’Oro (Golden Staircase) with its 24-carat gilt stuccowork, Sala del Scudo (Shield Room), and a Terrace garden with a private entry leading to the Basilica.
With historical landmarks such as these, you know what to do in Venice – go sightseeing and enjoy its sights and sounds!
The Amalfi Coast is a beautiful coastline situated in the South part of Italy, 270KM south or Rome. It covers a few small villages and it's named after the characteristic town of Amalfi.
Amalfi Coast sure has a lot to offer to the tourist as it’s going to bring in panoramic vistas, pristine beaches, picturesque villages and colourful valleys which are definitely going to live up to the most sophisticated demands and personal preference. However, it’s not always possible to fully dictate your own travel schedule and make the decision of when to take a break and visit this beautiful locale simply because the meteorological conditions wouldn’t allow it. With this in mind, it’s worth noting that there are a few options in front of you, each one of which might suit different purpose, based on what you are looking out for in your vacation.
Is it hot in Amalfi?
While the temperatures might be deciding for the majority of tours that you would be taking around the globe, Amalfi Coast has fairly great temperature spans throughout the entire year. The average high temperature during the hottest months of July and August is going to be around 29-30 degrees Celsius, which is most surely bearable and nothing to be afraid of. Furthermore, the absolute low could go around 16-8 degrees during the same period, making it amongst the best periods to visit Amalfi Coast. This is especially true if you are looking to have a memorable time as during this period the majority of the local celebrations are held. There are a variety of different music on and off-shore festivals such as “Music on the Rocks” in Positano and “Africana”. However, you might want to take into consideration that these are the most crowded months of the year, and you might have to battle other tourists to find a spot to get a great view. That’s figuratively speaking, of course.
What is the Best Period to Visit the Amalfi Coast?
The month of May is by far the absolute greatest part of the year when you can visit this exquisite locale. The reasons are numerous. Right off the bat, the temperatures are mild, and they offer incredibly sightseeing opportunities. Furthermore, all of the coffee-shops, restaurants and vendors have already opened doors as they’ve already shaken off from the winter hibernation and have opened their doors for the sunlight and for tourists. You are also going to enjoy a calm vacation without having to go through crowds of hundreds of tourists in order to get to the desired attraction. While September is also not a bad time, May remains the favourite as the vegetation has already bloomed and the entire place is literally an explosion of beautiful colours.
Florence, this medieval city in the region of Tuscany in Italy is rich in history, culture and art. It is called many names, "the Athens of the Middle Ages" and the "cradle of Renaissance". It is also known for many things: food, art, wine, fashion, and luxury items. It is one of the most historic, developed and populous city in Tuscany, attracting 13 millions of tourists every year with its sight, taste and sound.
There will be no boring moments on your vacation here as you will find arts everywhere – from food to architecture and from theatrical performances to museum exhibits. This is why the Stendhal syndrome (or Florence syndrome) was coined in reference to the dizziness, rapid heartbeat, confusion, fainting and even hallucinations that people usually experience after being overwhelmed with their exposure to Florence attractions, particularly its dazzling arts.
So, are you ready to explore and experience this beautiful Italian city? Check out our list of things to do in Florence.
See and be awed with Renaissance art
If you've prepared a bucket list of things to see in Florence, Italy, make sure that you put Piazza del Duomo on top of the list. Climb the stairs to the bell tower of this historic cathedral at in the heart of the city for sweeping views of the cosmopolitan metropolis. See the octagonal Baptistery renowned for its three sets of bronze doors with relief sculptures. Stop by the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and be awed with Gothic and Renaissance sculptural masterpieces. Or simply explore the cathedral and get a feel of the city's most iconic piece of architecture.
Enjoy a cup of ice cream at Il Gelato Vivoli
After an hour or two of admiring art, give yourself a treat the city's best gelateria or ice cream parlor. Vivoli is just a few minute walk away from Santa Croce at Via Isola delle Stenche 7. Hazelnut, coffee and cream, or creme and limone – choose your flavour! Soft, silky and smooth, their ice cream feels like heaven in your mouth. A tip: a coppa (cup or tub) will give you better value than a cono (cone).
Visit Santa Croce
Also, include in your list of things to see in Florence, Italy the basilica of Santa Croce. After enjoying your ice cream in Vivoli, admire the basilica's countless paintings and other art works, including Giotto's fresco cycles. Pay homage to some of Italy's illustrious characters, including Galileo, Machiavelli and Michelangelo, who were buried in the church.
Enjoy the food feast at Mercato Centrale
Italy's food is something you shouldn't miss, and speaking of which, we just have the perfect place in mind - the Mercato Centrale (central market), which has become one of the popular Florence attractions for its fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and dozens of other gastronomic treats. This place is brimming with all sorts of seasonal delights which you can to whip up your own delicious Italian meals. it also have some food shops deserving Italy's favorites – pizza from the south, Chianti wine, gelato and chocolate, mozzarella di bufala, veggie soup puree, fresh pasta, and the not-to-miss Tuscany must: the Florentine Steak, a 1kg piece of meat that you will only be served raw or medium/raw the maximum. Don’t offend the locals asking for a well done Florentine Steak, you will definitely stand out as the “silly tourist” around.
Our 1-3 and 5 day Florence City guide is designed to inspire you with things to do, where to stay and where to eat in this beautiful Italian City with a step-by-step itinerary: check it out now.
Mestre is the closest city to Venice: it's a great alternative to explore the island of Venice if you don't want to stay continuously among the crowd and would rather explore a different part of the Venice surroundings.
Where should I sleep in Mestre?
When staying in Mestre, the best area to find accommodation at to have a good night sleep is near the main Square, called "Piazza Ferretto" by the Venetians. Locals love gathering at Piazza Ferretto in the evening and stop at the local bars and restaurants to have an aperitivo (pre-dinner drinks) with friends or family. If you stay in this area where you'll find most of the "action" happening in the evening, especially during the summer months, where events happen regularly.
Another good reason for staying near "Piazza Ferretto" is its location next to "Mestre Centro", which is one of the main stops to reach the island of Venice with the new tram service running the whole day.
Where should I eat in Venice?
If you are staying near the square and are looking for a nice meal, the restaurant Kofler could be a good option for you: it offers a large range of different food, from pizza to pasta and sandwiches, great place to go in large groups of people as it's a massive 2 storey restaurant. A few other restaurants are in the area, most of them of good quality and not too touristy: if you want to know more, our 3 and 5 day Venice City Guides include an day trip to Mestre.
The typical drink in the Venice area is called spritz: you just cannot miss on trying out this iconic drink which is simply loved by every local. Do yourself a favour and order it at any bar in Venice and surrounding areas: it comes mainly in 3 options: with Campari, Select or with Aperol (the last one being the most common version). It's made of 1/3 of Soda, 1/3 of Prosecco wine and 1/3 of the above alchool beverage.
Mestre is a great alternative if you have a spare day in Venice. In fact, most of the people that work in Venice actually live in Mestre: it's more livable being less touristy therefore it attracts the locals.
Everyone knows that every corner of Venice, it being an island, just can't be reached by car (you do, right?); so, what's the alternative options if you decided to reach this City easily with your own car? If you don't want to leave it in Mestre (which is considerably cheaper but obviously further) you have a few parking options you can consider:
#1 Let's start with the cheapest option: The tronchetto parking.
As you can see from the map above, this parking is very close to Venice Piazzale Roma (the bus terminal and the starting point to visit the island). It is extremely easy to reach the Tronchetto parking: coming from Mestre or the Highway, as soon as you cross the big 5km bridge that connects the mainland to the island you will arrive at a traffic light - turn right at the lights and then right again at the next roundabout. The Tronchetto parking entrance will appear on your right after about 500metres.
How much does it cost to park at Tronchetto parking?
Prices are as follow:
- For the first two hours (whole hours or part) = 3,00€/h
- From 3° hour to 4°hour whole hours or part = 5,00€/h
- From 5° hour up to 24 hours= 21,00€
- For each subsequent 24 hours or part = 21,00€
#2 The second option is the Autorimessa Comunale.
Coming from the 5km bridge, this time you must continue straight at the lights and, just past the first street on your right, you will find the entrance for the Autorimessa Comunale parking (normally a long queue of cars can be seen at its entrance).
How much does it cost to park at Autorimessa Comunale parking?
The charge is for 24 hours minimum! There are two different rates depending if you buy your pass on site or online and on the width of your car:
Rates ON SITE
Width less or equal to cm 185 € 26,00
Width more than cm 185 € 29,00
Rates ON LINE
Width less or equal to cm 185 € 23,40
Width more than cm 185 € 26,10
After you park, you will exit this parking directly onto Piazzale Roma.
#3 The third option is the Garage Sant'Andrea
Continuing straight past the Autorimessa Comunale, you must follow the road to the right: at the next little roundabout, take the right turn and you will find the Sant'Andrea parking in front of you. This is the ideal solution for those who need a parking for short stay in Venice: with a special offer of 2hours for 7Euros, it will be hard to find a cheaper ticket fare this close to Piazzale Roma
#4 The fourth and last parking option is the Garage San Marco
Literally across the road from the previous Garage Sant'Andrea, the Garage San Marco is
as close to Piazzale Roma as you can get.
How much does it cost to park at Garage San Marco?
Like the Autorimessa Comunale, at the Garage San Marco the minimum charge is for 24h and includes 3 fares, depending if you are paying on the spot or pre-booking online, or if you are using it just for the night.
Daily flat rate, € 30,00. (height max 2.10 mt)
Prepaid online 24h € 28,00.
Nightly rate from 5:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., € 15,00. (Expect Redentore and 31 Dec).
You can also find other smaller parking in Piazzale Roma, but those are mainly used for locals who live or work in Venice, so that doesn't really apply to your circumstances of visiting Venice for a few days.
I hope I've covered everything: make sure you print this guide to help you decide what parking best suit your needs for your next visit to Venice by car.
Whilst Venice is a relatively small island, there is so much more to see within its surrounds. If you only have 1 day to spend in Venice, it certainly better than none and there is plenty that you can jam pack in the space of 24 hours. A large part of the main tourist attractions in Venice are concentrated within a 1 km radius which means even if you a short on time you can still take a lot that Venice has to offer. Our 1 day Venice city guide provides you with a step by step itinerary for you to get the most of 24 hours in Venice.
If you have 3 days in Venice, it will allow you not only to visit the main island of Venice and all it has to offer but will also give you adequate time to visit other nearby islands such as Burano which is famous for it brightly coloured buildings, as well as Murano which is known for his famous glass. Travel to the outside islands can take you anywhere between 30mins to 1hour, so by the time you factor in take in considerations transfer time to and from the islands, as well as time spent to the island itself, it can take most part of the day. Our 3 day Venice city guide provides detailed recommendations on not only what Venice has to offer itself, but also the best islands to visit for a 3 day stay in Venice, including transportation details, cost and schedule.
If time is not an issue and you can spend 5 days in Venice, you won't be disappointed as there is much more to see than the tourist hub of Venice itself such as around St. Marks square. On the outskirt of the island you will find a quiet residential area away from the tourist hub and this will give you an insight into how the true Venetians live. You are likely to see the locals washing hung on lines stretching between balconies, you might even see the school children walking to and from their local school; or keep an eye out for an old "Nonna" attending the her precious garden. A far cry from the tourist mecca the Venice is known for. Also, on the south side of the island, you will find the beautiful and peaceful gardens which is particularly beautiful in spring as has an abundance of birds and flowers. Our 5 day Venice city guide will tell you where the gardens are located and will also suggest other outings to nearby town of Jesolo, which has a 15 km esplanade lined with shops, cafes and bars hosting 4.5 million tourists per year, or even the nearby island of Lido which is famous for its swimming beach; both Jesolo and Lido are popular with locals in summer and less known by non European tourists.
In the map below you can see how quick is a Vaporetto from St. Mark's square to Lido Beach: that's how far the beach is in Venice from the main tourist attractions.
Rome is the capital of Italy and undeniably one of the best places to visit in Europe. It's a major pilgrimage site for Christians since it contains the Vatican City within its boundaries. It's also a popular travel choice among history and archeological buffs since it has many monuments like the Pantheon, the Arch of Constantine, and the Colosseum, all of which have played important roles in history and have been around for a long time. The city is also a famous destination for those who want to experience Rome's vibrant musical scene, visit its luxury fashion houses, taste its delicious cuisine, and enjoy its stunning visual arts and performing arts.
With these in mind, it's no surprise if you decide to spend your vacation in Italy's capital city. Before you hop aboard a plane, though, you should first learn how to get around in Rome. Doing this is important since it will help you avoid getting lost in Rome busy streets and wasting precious hours. It will also assist you in maximizing your vacation time so you can visit all the attractions you want during your stay.
Ready to get started? Here are some of the transport options that will help you get around the Italian capital.
It's easy to take a public bus in Rome since the city has an extensive bus network. Hundreds of buses service the city from 5:30 in the morning until 12 midnight, although you can find around 20 night buses that run from 12:30 A.M. to 5:30 A.M. You can also get on electric buses, which are small enough to go through narrow alleyways and are designed to minimize the pollution in the city.
Rome has an overground tramway network that connects the city to the suburbs. The network also has several lines that connect different points within the city to each other, such as the Roma-Lido and the Roma-Nord rail lines. There's also a tramway that acts as an “express line” from the Termini Station in Rome to the Fiumicino Airport and back.
Rapid Transit System
Rome has an underground railway called Rome Metro, nicknamed Metropolitana by the locals. It has three lines called A, B (which has an additional B1 branch that goes from Bologna to Jonio), and C. Lines A and B cross at Roma Termini station, while Line C isn't connected to the rest of the network. Trains depart every 10 minutes or so, and they run from 5:30 A.M. to 11:30 P.M. every day (except Saturdays, wherein the trains run until 12:30 A.M.).
Just like any other city, Rome has a host of taxis roaming the streets. However, they're more expensive than other forms of transportation and are generally not necessary since buses, trams, and railways are usually sufficient. If you really need to take a taxi, go to one of the taxi ranks around the city instead of trying to hail a cab from the streets.
When you're in Rome, you'll need to buy a ticket before getting on a bus, tram, or train. There are several versions you can choose from, the most basic of which is BIT, which gives you 100 minutes of transportation. If you think you'll be moving a lot around the city, you can opt for the Roma 24H (which is valid for 24 hours), the Roma 48H (which is valid for 48 hours), and the Roma 72H (which is valid for 72 hours). The CIS is ideal if you're staying in Rome for a week or so since it's valid for 7 days.
“Is Rome easy to get around?” is the question that many tourists ask. Fortunately, the answer to this is “Yes”. With a comprehensive and well-organized public transport system, Rome is one of the places wherein exploring on your own is a simple and enjoyable experience.
Venice is suitable for all budgets. Even for as little as the cost of a bus or tram ride to get you on to the island can have the most budget conscious tourist having a wonderful Venice experience.
There are over 1,000 restaurants in Venice. You will find the most expensive restaurants in the most touristy areas- particular in Venice’s most famous square, San Marco Piazza (St Marks Square). Customers who dine here can sit alfresco if they wish and enjoy the popular pastime of people-watching while often being serenaded by a string quartet playing authentic Italian tunes. But be prepared to pay 6 euro for a glass of wine (where you can pay 2 euro elsewhere) or 5 euro for a cappuccino of coffee which can cost you as little as 1 euro at a less prime location.
Rialto Bridge is a beautiful attraction that is a must see when visiting Venice, however be aware the surrounding restaurants that have the prime view of the bridge are renowned for being pricey. Not only that, but they are often not of great quality either as they count on their view to attract the customers. This would be due to high rents to operate their restaurants from this location and so sacrifices are unfortunately made on the quality of the food.
If you can spare a few extra dollars a coffee or wine at one of these locations is a good idea but save your appetite for a quality restaurant that doesn’t charge through the roof.
Whilst we’re on the topic of food I always recommend to travellers to buy something light for lunch such as a panino (sandwich) or pizza which can be as little as 5 euro and splurge out for dinner if you can. A nice 2 course meal at a decent restaurant in Venice might cost you 50 euro for a couple.
There is a lot to see in Venice and meandering the allyways doesn’t cost a thing. Take in the sounds the smells (the good smells that is like pizza and coffee) and the sights. There are attractions such as San Marco basilica – Venice’s famous and beautiful church with amazing mural and architecture inside - that is free to enter but be prepared to line up (line up early). If you have some extra cash you may wish to pay for a ‘skip the queue’ ticket.
A gondola ride If you have the money is a wonderful thing to do in Venice and the cost starts at around 80 euro for the whole gondola for around a 20 minutes ride through the canals. You may want a romantic ride for 2 or to reduce your costs there is nothing stopping you from rounding up a few other friendly fellow tourists to share a ride with and share the cost.
There are hundreds of hotels, B&B’s and hostels in Venice, varying in prices. You can find basic accommodation in Venice for as low as 50 euro per night. Of if you’re cashed up you can find yourself staying in a 5 star gem close to the action. For budget savvy travellers you may like to consider staying on the mainland (in Mestre) where you have easy daily access by bus or tram into the island.
Our Venice City guide provides you with suggestions on where to eat in Venice for all budget types.
ACTV (Azienda del Consorzio Trasporti Veneziano) is the local transport company in Venice. It operates the Vaporetto boats around Venice and its surrounding areas, as well as the public buses as shown in the map below:
The vaporetto system (waterbus) covers the entire island of Venice. You can get on a Vaporetto from Piazzale Roma (the bus terminal) and from there reach almost any destination along the Grand Canal and other nearby Venice island such as Lido, Burano and Murano.
You have to get your ticket before jumping on a vaporetto. Generally you can buy your boat tickets at a "Tabaccheria" (tobacco shop), there is one located in Piazzale Roma. However to avoid the crowds of Piazzale Roma (given is the single central and very busy bus and taxi terminal which all visitors and locals pass through to enter the island) you can also purchase your tickets at one of the numerous ticket booths located at the boat terminals themselves.
Most of the staff at the ticket booths can speak English but if you want to try your hand at Italian you need to ask for a "biglietto del vaporetto" (ticket for the waterbus). Generally the operator will ask if you would rather buy a day ticket. I recommend you buy a 1, 2 or 3 day ticket which will cost more (20 euro, 30 euro or 40 euro respectively) however it gives you the flexibility to jump on and off the boats as many times as you please during your stay in Venice. A one way ticket will cost you around 7.50 euros however it is only valid for one way and a maximum of 75 minutes - in other words once you get off at your desired stop the ticket becomes invalid.
Remember to validate your ticket when you enter the vaporetto (or the buses and trams for that matter) by holding you ticket up to the ticket validation box until it beeps. You also need to validate your ticket again when you upon exiting. Fines for not purchasing a ticket can range between 300-1,000 euro.
Whilst the vaporetto system is a great option to get around Venice don’t underestimate the amazing experience and atmosphere that some old fashioned walking can offer you in Venice. In peak season (May to October) the public transport system can be VERY busy so sometimes walking can be a better option.
The public transport system in Venice is relatively reliable. Even though waterbuses run quite regularly, they are almost always overcrowded which can result in an unpleasant journey, especially in summer as the heat is unbearable on very hot days.
To reach Murano (the glass island) and Burano (the island famous for its lace history and its colourful houses), the water bus actually leave from another part of the city, called "Fondamenda Nove". You need to get on the water bus number 4.1 and 4.2: check the map below to find out the point where the Vaporetto leaves from to reach these 2 islands.
Staying in Mestre and surrounding suburbs
Mestre is a city on the mainland which can be a great cheaper option for your accommodation with easy public transport options to the island. The bus or tram are the most convenient and economical transport options to get you from Mestre to Venice.
In 2014, the construction of the tram line into Venice was completed and the local council is encouraging passengers that are going to Venice, to use the tram instead of the bus. As such most buses in Mestre will go to a bus depot called "Mestre Centro" where passengers disembark the bus and get onto one of the regular trams which will take you straight into Venice. The ride costs 1,50 Euro for one way.
If you are staying near the train station in Mestre, you also have the option to catch the train into Venice; almost every train that goes to Venice transit through Mestre station: the ride takes 10 mins and the ticket costs Euro 1.25.
If you arrive at the Marco Polo airport and staying in an accommodation near it, you have a few possibilities to get to Venice; again, you need to buy your ticket before boarding the public bus should you decide for this transport. In theory the bus driver should be able to sell you the ticket on board, but most of the times they don't have enough change or don't carry enough tickets for all passengers, so you are stuck with no ticket and risk the possibility of getting a fine.
Marco Polo airport is the major airport in the Venice area. It's situated about 15 km away from Venice and it's well connected to the island.
If you fly to Venice with a major national or international airline you will probably land at Marco Polo Airport. Another nearby airport is Treviso Airport (approx. 40 minute drive from Venice): you will land at this airport if you fly with low cost airlines such as Ryanair and Wizzair.
Marco Polo Airport is not a big Airport compared to other European hubs (such as Paris Charles de Gaulle or London Heathrow, which are much bigger in size). If you depart from the Venice Airport you will soon realise how small it is and notice its lack of facilities. There are a few cafes and small “restaurants”, both before and after the security checks, and there are a few boutiques of big brands and other small shops but overall fairly basic compared to other international airports.
I’ve just landed at the Airport, how do I get to Venice?
If you have just landed at the Marco Polo airport and you need to go to Venice island, you have a few options depending on your budget and how long you're happy for your transfer to take:
- Public Bus: this is obviously the cheapest option. The public bus company in Venice is called ACTV, and from Venice Airport buses 35 and 5 (n. 35 being the quickest) leave from just outside the airport and will take you to Venice Piazzale Roma (the bus terminal and the ultimate stop of any road motor vehicle in Venice). Journey time is anywhere between 20 to 30 mins depending on traffic. Price is 8 Euro one way or 15 Euro return.
- Taxi: this is the most expensive and therefore the most direct route. Keep in mind that taxi are quite expensive in Italy so be prepared to pay around 30 to 40 euro for a journey from the airport to the island.
- Boat: this is a relatively inexpensive way to go to the island via the lagoon: it will give you an understanding on how the transport in Venice works, which is obviously mainly by water. The water company name that provides the transfer service between Marco Polo airport and Venice is called Alilaguna. The journey is about 30 mins and the price is 15 Euro one way or 27 Euro return.
Public bus in Venice
To save some time at the airport, you can buy your tickets for the ACTV and Alilaguna services online. If you prefer to buy your tickets once you’ve landed, you will need to locate your closest “Tabaccheria” (Tobacco shop) or, if closed, ask for your ticket directly from the driver.
Where are the public buses to Venice?
When you land at the Venice Airport, you will leave the terminal on the ground floor: from the exit, just go straight out and you will find the buses right in front of the main exit (really hard to miss). This is also the place where the taxi rank and the main parking area are. The boat service Alilaguna will leave from behind the Airport, on the opposite side from the Bus stops. If unsure, you can ask the staff at the Airport, who generally speak good English
Build My Trip
Genuine passion for travels.
ABN 61 511 839 806