Sestri Levante, your best place to stay in Cinque Terre and Portofino

Sestri Levante

Five excellent reasons why Sestri Levante is the best place to stay in Cinque Terre and Portofino area and what to do and see there.

Sestri Levante is a delightful small town, mid way between Cinque Terre and Portofino, the most well known destinations of the Italian Riviera.

In my view it’s the perfect place to stay when visiting Cinque Terre and Portofino.

Let me explain you why.

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How to visit Naples in one day and why you shouldn’t miss it

An easy and enjoyable Naples in one day walking itinerary, including a detailed Naples map. Picturesque markets, amazing artworks and great street food.

Why visit Naples? It’s a no-brainer: because Naples is one of the most fascinating, peculiar and beautiful towns you may find in Italy, and, in my opinion, in Europe.

It’s an underrated gem you just can’t skip.

I’m not the only one to think it: the number of foreign tourists visiting Naples have been growing double digit for almost ten years.

The reason is simple: savvy travelers will find tons of art, history, culture, local diversity, beauty, sights, great food, warm people… and you’ll need to pass through Naples in any case, on your way to Pompei and the Amalfi coast.

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Spaccanapoli

So why not taking a day or so and spend some time to discover this amazing town?

In this post I will answer to some of the most frequent questions about Naples and share a one day walking itinerary in Naples city center, a Unesco Heritage site.

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How to visit Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome, and why you shouldn’t miss it

Castel Sant’Angelo is a not to be missed sight. His 20 centuries of history are intimately linked to Rome, views from the top are great and child love it!

A visit to Castel Sant’angelo is usually not in the bucket list of rushy Roman travellers. That’s surprising, because few monuments can give the same  sense of the Roman history along the centuries.

Visit Castel Sant'Angelo - night view

Castel Sant’Angelo, formerly Adrian Emperor Mausoleum, is one of the most famous Roman landmarks. And it’s just in front of you when walking along the tiber to Piazza Navona or getting out from St Peter’s Cathedral.

it has a fascinating history and offers one of the finest views of Rome from its rooftop terrace.

That’s why it would be a pity not to cross the scenic Ponte degli Angeli to visit one of the oldest and most fascinating Roman Monument.

You can visit Castel Sant’Angelo in an hour, after you are done with St Peter’s basilica. In this post I will address the main questions and interest you may have concerning Castle Sant’Angelo, such as:

  • What are Castel sant’Angelo hystory and facts?
  • What about Castel Sant’Angelo bridge?
  • What is inside Castel Sant Angelo?
  • How long to visit Castel Sant’Angelo?
  • Is Castel Sant Angelo part of Vatican City
  • What are Castel Sant’Angelos hours?
  • What’s the price of Castel Sant’Angelo tickets? Can I use my Roma pass?

 

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How to visit the Dolomites, Italy and its Top 20 unmissable destinations

Visit the Dolomites - Val di Funes

A complete itinerary about how to visit the Dolomites, Italy, in summer time: top 20 destinations, how to drive there, interactive map and travel tips.

Why should you visit the Dolomites?

Well, imagine long, deep mountain valleys, dense forests, bubbling rivers. Add still, cold lakes spread across the landscape, guarded everywhere by the dramatic pink-grey walls of stunning mountains.

Dolomites views are simply magic, and seem nicked straight off the pages of a fairy tale.

The Dolomites are simply one of the most beautiful and amazing destinations in Italy. That’s why you should have them in your bucket list.

Visit the Dolomites - Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Dolomites landscape – photo credits www.rei_.com

Even though they are mostly known for their amazing sky slopes, visiting the Dolomites in summer time is an experience you shouldn’t miss.

In this post I will share the answers to the most common questions about how to visit the Dolomites:

  •  When is the best time to visit Dolomites?
  • How to get to the Dolomites? Which airport is closest to the Dolomites?
  • What is the great Dolomites road? What is the great Dolomites road driving time?
  • What are the top Dolomite destinations, and how to get there by car?

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Everything you need to know before visiting St Peter’s Basilica in Rome

The 10 + 1 key things you need to know before visiting St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Tickets, opening hours, dressing code, when to visit and much more. 

Visiting St Peter’s Basilica is a highlight of any trip to Rome. That said, St Peter is is a holy place, the center of Christianity, with massive security procedure, and it’s normal for first comers to have many questions about their visit.

I tried to collect the most frequent questions about visiting St Peter’s Basilica and to provide answers and guidance, so to make your visit  smooth and enjoyable.

Here are the 10 + 1 questions you will find an answer to in this post:

  1. What is St Peter’s Basilica dress code?
  2. What’s the best time to visit St Peter’s Basilica?
  3. Why are queues to enter St Peter’s Basilica so long?
  4. What are St Peter’s Basilica opening hours?
  5. Is St Peter’s Basilica always open?
  6. How much are the tickets to enter St Peter’s Basilica?
  7. Is it possible to climb on top of St Peter’s dome?
  8. Can I take pictures in St Peter’s Basilica?
  9. When are St Peter’s Basilica Mass times?
  10. Can I visit St Peter’s tomb?
  11. (bonus question: you need to get to the end of the post to know)

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The Sacra di San Michele: legends and mysteries in Piedmont

Sacra di san michele - credits to Marco Rusinà

History and mysteries of the sacra di San Michele, one of the most important Northern Italy monuments, and how to get there from Turin and from Milan

Sacra di San Michele: location and history

The Sacra di San Michele is a very famous abbey and a symbol of Piedmont. It’s a religious monument of incomparable beauty and value, and one of the most mysterious in Italy.

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Climb on top of Etna Volcano, the highest active volcano in Europe!

Easy guide to learn how  to safely climb up the highest active Volcano in Europe. A perfect day trip from Taormina or Catania.

Why you shouldn’t miss Etna Volcano

You have surely seen mount Etna as the landscape of Taormina Greek theater. It’s an iconic view that can be seen in all postcards in Sicily and that makes Etna one of Sicily most popular destinations. That could already be a good reason to see the stuff with your own eyes!

The Greek theater and mount Etna

That said, there are many other reasons that make Etna Volcano is an experience not to be missed when visiting Sicily.

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Best aperitivo in Bologna: enjoy happy hour where locals do

Aperitivo in Bologna is taken very seriously. Here is a selection of Aperitivo bars popular with locals: enjoy appetizing drink, snack and perfect time out

After a whole day around the city it’s time to relax a little … and to taste one of the specialties Bologna is known for: the Aperitivo.

Aperitivo time starts around 6:00 PM, when the Bolognese finish their work and study activities, and can go on pretty late, often substituting the dinner: you may hardly still be hungry after a large cured meats and cheese “tagliere” and delicious “bruschette”.

Aperitivo in Bologna is an old and very popular tradition, just like in Milan and in Venice. On top of that, Bologna is a beautiful and lively town, so people just like to stay out, enjoy a drink and spend time with their friends.

You can literally find hundreds of great places to sip a glass of wine (or a cocktail, or a beer), chatting with friends and enjoying life.

Mentioning them all in this post is unfortunately not possible, so I’m just sharing my favorite places, the ones where I go when I’m in Bologna. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

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Como lake best kept secret: the Bellano ravine (Orrido di Bellano)

The Bellano ravine (Orrido di Bellano), near Varenna

Discover the Bellano ravine, one of the most mysterious and fascinating places that lake of Como can offer, just a foot step away from Varenna and Bellagio

The Bellano ravine (Orrido di Bellano), near Varenna

The Bellano ravine (orrido di Bellano) is a breathtaking natural wonder, just a footstep away from Varenna. Surprisingly, very few travelers visit it, which is another good reason to visit it. Starting from Varenna Station, you won’t need more than a couple of hours to complete your visit.

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How to visit Puglia in one week: Sea, Sun, Salento and Trulli

A fascinating Puglia in one week itinerary, to discover the best of Salento and of the Trulli district in just seven days, including top beaches.

 

Puglia is the heel of Italy’s boot, and Salento the southernmost part of it. It’s a magical region, still partially off the beaten path. Spending one week in Puglia is an experience you shouldn’t miss.

Seven day in Puglia will give you the opportunity to enjoy:

  • 25 centuries of history, starting from the Greeks. Actually local dialects still reflects Greek roots, and the Salento central area is called “Grecìa Salentina”
  • Amazing architectures: the Trulli country houses and their unique cones, secluded fortified country houses, the “masserie”, fascinating Barocco churches
  • Breathtaking landscapes, featuring endless century old olive trees plantations under the Mediterranean cobalto blue sky
  • Arguably some of the best beaches and cliffs of the Mediterranean.

Is that enough to motivate you? If yes, then hurry up.

So far mainstream tourist flows have mysteriously ignored Puglia. However, things are changing and this fantastic region is rapidly becoming a top Italian and European destination.

Your Puglia itinerary can be a self standing one week fly and drive vacation or the continuation of a “classical” Italian trip. Either way, you will be delighted!

What to see in one week in Puglia?

This tour combines the three main highlights of the region:

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How to visit Portofino and San Fruttuoso, and why you shouldn’t miss them

How to visit Portofino

How to visit Portofino from Milan, Genova or the Cinque Terre. Discover Liguria poshest destination and amazing San Fruttuoso abbey and beach.

Portofino is not as renowned as Cinque Terre outside Italy, but it’s a lovely and beautiful place you shouldn’t really miss when visiting the region.

Actually, Portofino is one of the most upscale destination you may find in Italy, and its name is a synonym of Jet Set, Luxury and high life. It is a place for the rich and the famous, and for ordinary people that enjoy contemplating upscale way of life.

Portofino delightful colored tiny harbor hides fashion boutiques, starred restaurants and luxurious hotels. It’s completely different from Cinque Terre, and will give you a different flavor of Italian taste for beautiful locations.

In this post I will tell you how to visit Portofino in one day, either from Cinque Terre or from Milan. I will also disclose a hidden jewell you may miss otherwise: secluded San Fruttuoso abbey and its amazing cove.

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15 amazing things to do in Matera, Italy, and how to plan a trip there

Matera - Road to Belvedere

Perfect guide to the best things to see and do in Matera Italy, in one day or more. How to get to Matera, best cave hotels, top restaurants, sunset viewpoint.

Matera Italy, is a unique and unmissable destination, and you should do your best to squeeze it into your Italian itinerary.

Matera is getting more and more importance as one of Italy Must Sees, and for excellent reasons. Unesco site, 2019’s European Capital of Culture, movie set for Mel Gibson The passion of Christ, 7000 years of history. What else would you ask for?

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Garda lake in 1 week – a 7 days itinerary to discover the amazing lake Garda region

A Garda lake 1 week itinerary to discover one of the most charming Italy destinations.  Disclose Garda lake must sees such as Sirmione, Garda SPAs, Gardaland

Garda lake in 1 day - Sirmione Castle

Spending 1 week at Garda lake will give you enough time to visit this beautiful areas and the surrounding region, and to enjoy a number of local experiences.

Garda lake is the largest Italian lake and, in my view, the most beautiful and interesting one to spend one week. First, the sights: you are in the Dolomite region, and the light grey-pink cliffs plunging in the lake are just  breathtaking. Second, the history: Garda lake was part of the Serenissima,  and you can see everywhere in the ancient hamlets the influence of the Venetian beautiful architecture. Third, you are close to a number of great day trip destinations, such as Verona, Mantova and Trento. Fourth, food and wine are great, from Amarone to Prosecco, and wine tasting at a local estate is an unmissable experience. Fifth, the theme park, such as world known Gardaland. Sixth… well, you’ll need to read the post to know more…

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How to visit Bergamo in one day from Milan

Bergamo in one day - Bergamo Alta view

Bergamo is a perfect one day trip from MIlan. Spending one day in Bergamo will allow you to discover its lovely city center and lots of art and culture, on top of its delicious food specialties.  Here is a  one day trip itinerary from Milan to Bergamo, including a Bergamo Alta  walking map.

Why a day trip to Bergamo, Italy? Well, you have spent some days in Milan, enjoyed the bustling life, the glamorous atmosphere, fashion, design, and all the Milanese typical excitement. If you are now looking for something completely different, closer to the “Italian” cliché of history, art, nature and traditional food, then spending one day in  Bergamo, Italy is the best option for you.

Bergamo is a delightful small town, perched on a steep hill side and surrounded by impressive walls. Actually, there are two Bergamo: Bergamo alta (“upper Bergamo”), the historical center, and Bergamo bassa (“lower Bergamo”), built in  more recent times. In this Bergamo in one day post I will focus on Bergamo alta, but if you have time Bergamo bassa is worth a visit as well. If you plan to spend one full day in Bergamo you will have enough time to visit both.

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How to go from Milan to Bellagio – a self guided tour

From Milan to Bellagio - Bellagio pier

How to go from Milan to Como lake main destinations: Como and Bellagio. A complete set of options and travel tips from MIlan to Bellagio and a travel map.

Como lake (actually we should call it Lario lake) is one of North Italy  top destinations, and lovely Bellagio is its pearl. Despite being relatively close to Milan, getting there as independent travelers could be tricky. So here is a quick guideto go from Milan to Bellagio, for a day trip or for a longer period.

Just in case you feel happily on holiday and not interested in handling Italian public transports: click here for a nice day tour from Milan!

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Best 20 things to do in Umbria: discover Italy most underrated region

Best things to do in Umbria

A insider’s guide about the 20 best things to do in Umbria, one of Italy most fascinating regions of Italy, still off the mainstream touristic itineraries

It’s hard to select just 20 best things to do in Umbria, Italy. In my view, Umbria is one of Italy best kept secrets. It displays fascinating towns and villages, tons of culture, beautiful sceneries, fantastic food, cultural events and much more. And, despite that, it’s still ignored by mainstream tourism. Therefore, you won’t find the tourists crowds that will give you a hard time in Florence or San Gimignano. On the contrary, you will enjoy an atmosphere of bygone times, among the medieval paths, the palaces, the castles and the fortresses of charming villages.

This post is aimed at disclosing the best things to see and do in Umbria. I’m sure that after reading it you will want to squeeze Umbria into your Italy trip plan!

So here we go with the top 20 things to see and do in Umbria, Italy.

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One day in Burano – discover Venice lagoon islands

One day in Burano

One day in Burano: self guided day trip from Venice to discover Burano amazing colored houses,lovely Venice lagoon islands, secluded wineyards and delicious fish restaurants.

Tired of crowded Venice? Hungry to discover a completely different environment, where the scenery seems frozen in time? Then what you need is to spend one day in Burano and to enjoy the calm and beauty of Venice lagoon.

Actually most travellers visit 3 island at the same time, either self guided or with an organized tours. Murano, Burano, Torcello, in this order. My suggestion would be to go directly to Burano, so to skip the masses and to enjoy the island all for yourself.

You can then proceed to Torcello, before or after lunch, as you wish. If your pockets are deep enough, a lunch at the worldwide known Locanda Cipriani is a great experience, but an aperitivo could be good enough.

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Day trip to Cinque Terre

A short video to share what to do and see in a day trip to Cinque Terre. Explore the Monterosso – Vernazza trail, the scenic Sentiero Azzurro.

The easy walk from Monterosso to Vernazza is arguably the  most scenic and famous path in the Cinque Terre. You will walk among the renowned Cinque Terre vineyards (ever heard of Vermentino and Sciacchetrà?) and enjoy breathtaking views of the steep cliffs, blue sea and beautiful Monterosso and Vernazza sights.

Here is a quick video to anticipate what you will see when you get there.

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What to do in Italy at Christmas time

Centuries old Italian Christmas traditions, delightful Italian Christmas markets, delicious Italian Christmas cakes: here is the list of the five (plus one!) best things to do in Italy at Christmas time.

Discover Italian Nativity scenes

Delightfullyitaly.com_San Gregorio Armeno_131

Preparing a Nativity scene (“Presepe” in Italian) is a widespread Italian Christmas tradition, especially in Southern Italy. Every church will display a nativity scene, and some are real masterpieces, with moving elements and detailed scenes displaying Italian rural life in the XVIII and XIX centuries. Unsurprisingly, baby Jesus is only displayed after December 25th, while you will have to wait until the Epiphany to see the three wise men!

The largest and most famous nativity scenes can be found in St Peters square and on the Spanish steps, but exploring Rome or Naples churches to find the Nativity scenes you like the most can be a really funny way to spend an afternoon, especially on Christmas day when museums and other attractions are closed. If you travel with your children, they will surely enjoy! Continue reading “What to do in Italy at Christmas time”

How to visit the Cinque Terre in one day

 Key info and tips to visit the Cinque Terre in one day from Florence or from Pisa. Discover and enjoy the most of the Cinque Terre if you only have one day: charming Monterosso, Vernazza and Manarola.

Ideally, you would like to dedicate at least a couple of days to explore beautiful Cinque Terre, plus maybe two or three days more to visit Portovenere and the Golfo dei Poeti, Santa Margherita and Portofino, and beautiful Abbazia di San Fruttuoso. Unfortunately, not so many travellers have more than one day to visit Cinque Terre, and many want anyways to get a glimpse of the Cnque Terre while staying in Florence or in Pisa.

So this post if aimed at the rushy travellers, who want to see in just one day Cinque Terre key highlights: Monterosso, Vernazza and Riomaggiore. It is intended to give you the hints to visit Cinque terre on youself, which is not that difficult.. Alternatively, you can participate to an organized tour, which will probably alow you to see more. In case you are interested, click here for a very good Cinque Terre day tour.

The cinque Terre are five hamlets built on steep hills overlooking the Mediterranean sea., they are accessible from Florence via Pisa. Cars are not allowed, so only way to visit is by sea or by train or, of course, by walking the many trails. This is the cinque terre map, where you can see where the five hamlets are actually located and the main trails.

The cheapest way to organize the trip is to use train. You have many trains leaving from Florence and getting to Moterosso in as less as 2:10 hours, with a change in La Spezia to catch the Cinque Terre Express, the shuttle that connects the five hamlets.

Returning to Florecne will take the same amount of time, so check Trenitalia time table to select and to reserve the train best suited for you.

cinque-terre-map_credit to James Martin
Credits to wanderingitaly.com

The most popular (and, unfortunately, crowded) trail is the so called “Sentiero Azzurro” (blue trail), which is the closer to the coast, and the only one that requires an entry ticket (7€). You can’t do it all in one day, so my suggestion would be to limit your walk to the Monterosso – Vernazza segment (roughly one hour), so that you can visit the first two hamlets and use the frequent local train to visit Riomaggiore and Manarola, if you still have time, or continue walking from Vernazza to Corniglia (another hour).

Unfortunately, the famous Via dell’Amore (a beatiful trail linking Riomaggiore to Manarola) is presently closed due to a land slide.

So here we go with your tour.

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