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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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 North Italy destinations.  Navigate on Garda lake to discover must sees such as Sirmione, indulge in Garda lake SPAs, have fun in Gardaland, enjoy wine tours and off the beaten path jewels. This and more in this 1 week Garda lake itinerary.

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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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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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

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.

Your gateway to Cinque Terre will likely be Monterosso. This is the largest of the Cinque Terre, the only one with a beach and the one with the highest number of hotels and Pensions.

The railways station  is located on the main beach, close to the Tourism office, to get to the old town walk on your left for less than half a mile and take the short tunnel.
Monterosso beach

Moterosso is a delightful ancient village, which has kept all the charme of the past. You will find some very good restaurants, my preferred is the one just on the small cove.

Monterosso main square

The Sentiero Azzurro starts just on the beach, just follow the many panels.

Monterosso – the trail to Vernazza

The trail starts climbing on the hill, and you will shortly be walking among some of the most amazing vineyards you may think of.

Monterosso vineyards

The Cinque Terre are reputed for their wines, you should taste the Vermentino (fruity white whine) and the Sciacchetrà, a sweet whine very typicall.

Monterosso to Vernazza trail – the old staiirs

The trail can be quite steep, and very hot during summer time. I suggets to take plenty of water and, in summer time, to avoid the cenral hours of the day. luckyly, you will find many shade areas along the trail.

Following the trail to Vernazza

The trail proceeds fairly high in the hills, and offers breathtaking views of the coast and of the villages.

Amazing view of Vernazza from the top

After roughly one hour, you will get in view of Vernazza.

Vernazza from the Sentier Azzurro trail

Vernazza is in my view the most interesting and pictureque of the five hamlets. Don’t miss the old romanic church and the remains of the castle, from which you can enjoy a great view.

Vernazza, the view from the castle
Vernazza: the romanic church

Vernazza enjoys a bunch of good restaurants, and after all this walking you surely deserve a delicious fish delicacy. Anchovies are one of the local specialties.

Vernazza delicacies: acciughe and sardine

If it’s not too late (and you are not too tired) you can proceed along the trail to Corniglia (1,5 hours at least) or take the Cinque Terre Express to Manarola and Riomaggiore. You can take the train to Corniglia a s well, in that case take the bus from the station, so not to climb all the stairs.

The coast towards Corniglia
Corniglia breathtaking terrace

Riomaggiore is the last of the Cinque Terre,and one of the most visited.
Riomaggiore view from the sea

From Riomaggiore you can catch your Cinque Terre express to La Spezia, and from there back to Florence or Pisa. Italy top destinations and travel itineraries, off the beaten path is the blog for all the ones in love with Italian culture, Italian sights, Italian monuments .. and with Italian food! If you wish to visit Italy for the first time, or if you already discovered Venice, Rome, Florence, the Amalfi coast, but still want more, is here to disclose to you Italian Must See as well as Italian hidden treasures. And if you like what you read, why not follow and get free updates?

The ten best restaurants in Milan, plus one

Great pasta, risotto and other local delicacies in the ten best restaurants in Milan. Delicious Italian food in lovely locations at reasonable price.

Forget Pizza ans spaghetti Bolognaise: here we are talking about some of the best food you can taste in Italy, in posh locations and with a great service! This is my very personal selection of the restaurants in Milan with the best quality/price ratio, those where I usually have dinner with my friends and family.

I will not present the true Milan top dining places, such as Savini, Cracco, Joia, Aimo and Nadia, Armani Nobu and the similar (much too expensive for most travellers), but rather 10 excellent Milan restaurants when you can enjoy a a fantastic meal in a great location, spending around 50-60 € per person (the wine you will choose could be a major driver of your bill…).

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Milan in one day walking itinerary: best places to see and things to do

How to visit Milan in one day, without losing any of the top places to see and things to do. An easy Milan walking itinerary to discover Italy new top destination highlights at your own pace.

www.delightfullyitaly.com_walking tour Porta Nuova_01

Why should you spend one day in Milan? You probably didn’t plan so far to visit the second town of Italy. Once an industrial pole, Milan was usually not included in mainstream tourist itineraries. However, things have changed. The universal exhibition Expo Milano 2015 has driven over 20 million visitors to Milan, and has made this town one of Europe key destinations in 2015 and beyond.

On top of this, Milan is a vibrant city, rich of cultural events, artistic masterpieces, design and fashion shopping and great food. One day in Milan would make absolute sense in your Italian itinerary, and you may actually consider spending a night in Milan and enjoy its restaurants and night life.

In case you are looking for a great place to stay, have a look at my page: where to stay in Milan: the best 3 and 4 stars hotels.

Even if you don’t have time to sleep there, you may likely pass through its airport or its station, so why not spending one day in Milan? In case you decide to do so, here is a (pretty extensive!) walking itinerary, designed to cover in one day Milan main highlights (click on the image to use the interactive Google map).

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Cremona, home of stradivari


Cremona, it is located on the border between Lombardy and Emilia Romagna and lies on the left bank of the Po. It’s a charming town rich of history and art, and the wonderful piazza del Duomo is a blend of Roman and Renaissance jewels.

But on top of its monuments, Cremona is home to the families of the world’s most famous luthiers: Amati, Stradivari, Guarneri. A visit to the Stradivari museum is an experience not to be missed (click here for more info).

Cremona is perfect for a day trip from Milan (roughly one hour by train)


Bergamo: Lombardy’s hidden jewell


Bergamo Alta is a fascinating medieval town perched on a hill, surrounded by 16th-century cyclopic defensive walls. Its old city center hides real treasures, such as the piazza vecchia, the Duomo and the cappella Corleoni, an amazing renaissance master piece.

Bergamo lies just 40 km east of Milan and is a perfect day trip destination. Click here to go to the complete post.


Expo Milano 2015: 5 good reasons to care about it

Learn more about Expo Milano 2015, and all the related activities and initiatives who will light up your 2015 trip to Italy

Feeding the planet

Just 110 days to the biggest Italian event of 2015, which is expected to welcome over 20 million visitors. Expo 2015 is the next scheduled Universal Exposition after Expo 2012, and will be hosted by Milan, between 1 May and 31 October 2015.

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Trendy Milan: walking tour in Corso Como and Porta Nuova

Top places to eat, drink and shop in posh Corso Como and Porta Nuova Milan neighborhoods


In this walking tour I’d like to share one of my favorite areas in Milan for shopping, food and Aperitivo: corso Como and the brand new Porta Nuona neighborhood.

Milan may not have Rome or Florence classical beauty, but it is indeed a fascinating city, full of contrasts and always balancing between its historical roots and its aspiration to the future. Nowhere else in Italy you will feel the same energy, and nowhere else you will find the same refinements in terms of food, fashion and design. This itinerary will allow you to discover some of the most trendy places in Milan, included the brand new Eataly store, where you will be able to find, purchase and eat the quintessence of Italian food.

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Secret treasures of Milan renaissance

A walking itinerary to discover Milan hidden renaissance jewels, beyond the Duomo and the Last Supper


Milan is universally recognized as the economic capital of Italy, but it is also a city of art. Historical buildings, villas, monuments, modern-architectural buildings, churches and abbeys all offer a variety of styles and striking details that are well worth getting to know.

Yes, there are the well known clichés: il Duomo, La Scala, La Galleria,  Santa Maria delle Grazie (feturing Leonardo’s last supper…), Sant’Ambrogio, the Castello Sforzesco. But the truth is that there’s much more than that. Milan can reveal fabulous treasures from its twenty centuries history,  if only you take your time to look for them carefully, since most of them are very well hidden. In this post I would like to walk you through fantastic renaissance churches, some of which date back from the end of the Roman empire: after all, Milan was the town where Constantine issued the edict legalizing Christian worship in 313.

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Day trip to Como and Bellagio from Milan

Como lake is an easy one day trip from Milan. Travel directions and tips to discover Bellagio and Como Lake Villas, an unmissable Italian destination.

Few places are as romantic as Como lake, and even fewer have the elegant beauty of  Bellagio. Called the “Pearl of the Lake”, Bellagio is one of the most famous travel icons in Italy, and is characterized by century-old buildings, stone lanes, picturesque cobbled stairways and gorgeous villas, on top of its fabulous views on the Como lake, the “Lario”.

A trip to Como lake and to Bellagio can be easily organized in one day from Milan. you can also find many organized tours, in case you are short of time. Here is a good one.


Bellagio_Hotel Villa serbelloni
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Best aperitivo in Milan – top places to go for posh cocktails and buffet

Anguria assassina

Milan has a long lasting rivalry with Rome, and has often been nominated (likely by Milanesi themselves)  the True  Capital: the business capital, the moral capital, and so on and so forth.

We may endlessly argue about which town of the two could aspire to the title, but one thing cannot be denied: Milan is the capital of Aperitivo.

In no other city of Italy, not even in Venice (read my post on Cicchetti – , or in Bologna, post to come), aperitivo is such a widespread social habit and nowhere else it reaches the same level of locations, glamour and food.

Yes, food. In most Italian cities, the typical aperitivo consists of a drink accompanied by modest snacks such as potato chips and olives (if you are lucky enough not to receive only the drink…). In Milan,  you can expect to be offered an endless variety of dishes such as pasta, risotto, salads, ham, cheeses, meat balls, sausages, bits of pizzas and even exotic food such as sushi or curry, often served as an “all you  can eat” buffet.

For this reason, for many busy Milanese, as well as for the smart travelers,  the aperitivo becomes a clever alternative to dinner at the price of a cocktail (from 5 to 15 Euro).

Top locations are usually poshy and trendy and, during the good season, they may give you the opportunity of discovering and enjoying carefully hidden gardens and courtyards.

There are literally hundreds of nice places to have aperitivo, and new ones pop up every day. I’m going to share with you my favorites, leaving to you the pleasure of working out your own selection.


TIP: the coolest locations usually get pretty crowded, and it’s not uncommon to see a huge crowd of happy drinkers gathering on the sidewalks, a glass in their hands. That’s perfectly OK, but if you prefer to relax instead of standing up, you should consider reserving your seat.

TIP2: Most of these places offer Sunday brunch

Best places for Aperitivo - Map



One of the most trendy places for an aperitivo. The Milano is the last creation of the Royalto group (which includes the also Royalto and the Invillà, all recommended).

It is build in a huge former garage (!!), which has been furnished in a ’60s style, with original furniture. Hence, the Milano  looks more like a trendy living room than like a bar. Several food islands, catered by Indian personnel, will serve you cold and hot dishes (sizes are minimal, you can eat how much you want, but will have to queue again!).

In the summer time you can eat on a nice terrace to escape the heat.

Diana Majestic

Diana Majestic

The Diana is the bar of the down town Sheraton. Located in a crowed area, 100 meters from Porta Venezia, you would never imagine that the 19th century building hides a large and beautiful garden.

That’s why the Diana gets fairly crowded in the summer time. To escape the mosquito  or when the weather gets colder, you can sit in the “normal” bar, under gigantic desk lamps.

N’ombra de vin

N'ombra de vin

Located in Brera, N’ombra de Vin is a fantastic wine bar, build in an ancient basement, which used to be the refectory of the Agostiniani friars. Original marble columns supporting the vaulted ceiling, wine bottles of all sizes everywhere, low lights: old atmosphere at its top!

You should come to N’ombra de vin if you are looking for excellent wine and for the feeling of ancient Milan. N’Ombra de Vin also organizes wine tasting lessons.


Bulgari café 1

Italian sophisticated elegance at its best. The Bulgari is the bar of the Bulgari Hotel, one of the best hotels in Milan.

Here again, you will discover an incredible garden, where you could indulge sipping a glass of Gewurztraminer , while observing the “bel mondo” (“high society”) sitting next to you.

Prices are not cheap (18 € for a glass of wine), but the appetizers being served with the aperitivo is excellent and the waiters will keep on refilling your plate until you leave.



Very popular, located in the pedestrian area around Arco della Pace, the Living is one of the many successful bars created by Fabio Acampora (the others, also recommended, are the Circle, the Exploit and the Refeel).

You will find a huge selection of appetizers  but expect to fight hard to get to the counter in the busiest hours. You can either eat inside or outside, with a nice view on the park.

In the same pedestrian area you will find many other nice bars and restaurants, all worth trying.

Novecento café

Caffé novecento

It’s a simple bar, but gives you the possibility of sipping a drink in beautiful corso Como, while contemplating the contrast between the pedestrian 19th century street and the 21st century skyscrapers that are popping up all around.

The waiter will serve you basic appetisers, but you can fill (and refill) your plate at the buffet inside the bar.

In front of the Novecento you will also find the famous,  trendy (and expensive) 10 Corso Como, which you could try for a drink or a dinner if you are looking for a fashionable evening.

 Just Cavalli

Just Cavalli Café 2

Exaggerated, kitsch, expensive, well, exactly what you could expect from the famous Italian Fashion designer Roberto Cavalli.

The Just Cavalli is located in a fantastic location inside Parco Sempione, just under the Torre Branca (same entrance, you could take the opportunity of enjoy the view after you are done with your drink).

I wouldn’t suggest having a dinner there, but the place is perfect for a posh aperitivo.


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