How to travel from Florence to Pisa by train in a day

Easy day trip planning to go from Florence to Pisa by train. How to buy train tickets, get to the cathedral and climb on top of the leaning tower

Florence to Pisa trains are fast and convenient. This makes visiting Pisa an easy day trip from Florence, or a stop while going to or coming back from Cinque Terre (it’s the same train line). This is what the itinerary looks like: Continue reading “How to travel from Florence to Pisa by train in a day”

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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…).

Continue reading “The ten best restaurants in Milan, plus one”

Amazing Amalfi coast: best itinerary to discover Amalfi, Positano, Ravello

Amalfi coast Italy_view from Villa Ruffolo Terrace

The Amalfi coast is an amazing destination. Here is how to discover Amalfi, Ravello, Positano and beautiful minor sites, including logistics and travel tips

Imagine ancient white hamlets perched on high cliffs, overlooking the deep blue Tyrrhenian sea. Add cytrus fields, steep light grey mountains, medieval churches, hidden fjords and beaches. Complete with amazing sea food and a “dolce vita” feeling stronger than anywhere else in Italy. That, and much more, is the Amalfi coast, Italy: you can’t really say you know Italy without visiting this delightful destination.

While you can have a glimpse of it in a day trip from Naples or from Sorrento, the Amalfi coast deserves at least two or three days, if not an entire week.

Amalfi coast Italy_villa Cimbrone

So here is my personal Italy Amalfi coast Italy itinerary. It will let you explore all the area, including off the beaten path jewels such as the mills valley and the astonishing “path of the gods” trail . My recommendation is to complete this tour by one or two days in Capri, which could be easily reached by hydrofoil from Positano. In my view, Sorrento can be skipped, but I leave this to you.

A last tip: like most central Italy destinations, best time to visit the Amalfi coast Italy is from May to early July, and, even better, from mid September to October’s end. Weather is perfect and the area is not too crowded (better to avoid week ends if possible). Absolutely avoid July and August, when the heat and the crowds would spoil most of the enchantment.

 Amalfi coast Italy five days tour: click on the image to get to the interactive Amalfi coast map

Amalfi coast italy - Map

Continue reading “Amazing Amalfi coast: best itinerary to discover Amalfi, Positano, Ravello”

Florence in a day: all Florence must sees in an easy walking itinerary

How to discover Florence in a day by foot, including some hidden jewels, off the beaten path. Includes an interactive Google map.

Let me tell you before hand: visiting Florence in a day is possible, but this wonderful town would deserve more than one day of your Italian itinerary. But if you have to rush, here is a walking itinerary to have a glimpse of Florence in just a day.

Continue reading “Florence in a day: all Florence must sees in an easy walking itinerary”

Tremiti islands, pearls in the Adriatic sea

How to plan a trip to the Tremiti islands, one of the best kept secrets of the Adriatic sea, and how to get the most out of your stay.

In front of the Gargano peninsula, in the Northern part of Puglia, lies a miniature paradise surrounded by the blue sea: the Tremiti islands.

Tremiti Map

Tremiti are a delightful archipelago of three islands (San Nicola, San Domino and Capraia), 36km offshore of the Gargano peninsula, in the Northern part of Apulia.

Its picturesque sight of raggedy cliffs, sandy coves and thick pine woods, surrounded by the glittering dark-blue fascinates the happy few travelers happy enough  to spend there a few days . Tremiti islands are a maritime reserve, and their surprisingly clear deep blue water make them a real wonder of nature for snorkeling and. diving enthusiasts.

Continue reading “Tremiti islands, pearls in the Adriatic sea”

San Galgano and the sword in the rock

Italy owns its peculiar Sword in the Rock: you can find it close to the awesome San Galgano abbey ruins. Galgano Guidotti, a knight and later a saint, stabbed it in the rock nearly 800 years ago as a cross pilgrims going to Rome could worhip (read here Galgano Guidotti full story).

San Galgano abbey and the sword in the rock in the nearby Rotonda di Montesiepi are an unmissable destination when exploring southern Tuscany.

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Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

 

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is a beautiful ancient church, off the mainstream Trastevere restaurants and night life district.  5th-century church in Rome, Italy, devoted to Saint Cecilia, in the Trastevere rione.

The church is devoted to the Roman martyr Cecilia, martyred by the late fifth century. St. Cecilia was a native of Rome, of a good family, and educated in the principles and perfect practice of the Christian religion. In her youth she by vow consecrated her virginity to God, yet was compelled by her parents to marry a nobleman named Valerian. Him she converted to the faith, and soon after gained to the same his brother Tiburtius. The men first suffered martyrdom, being beheaded for the faith. St. Cecilia finished her glorious triumph some days after them.

Santa Cecilia hosts a poignant statue of the saint, which depicts the three axe strokes described in the 5th-century account of her martyrdom.

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www.delightfullyitaly_Rome-Walk in Trastevere 28

If you wish to visit Sante Cecilia, have a look at my walking tour in Trastevere post.

Hell in Bologna

The Basilica of San Petronio is the main church of Bologna, and the fifteenth largest church in the world (132 metres long and 66 metres wide).

One of its most fascinating masterpieces is the Chapel of the Magi, hosting the awesome Heaven and Hell fresco by Giovanni di Pietro Falloppi. It depicts Dante’s vision of “Inferno”, with a gigantic figure of Lucifer consuming sinners.

Cinque Terre travel tips

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Cinque Terre are five amazingly constructed fishing villages, set amid dramatic coastal landscapes. Cars are mostly banned, so you can only visit them by boat, car or foot!

However, all the Liguria coast from Portofino to Lerici is worthwhile visiting. So here are my Cinque Terre travel tips.

 

What to see:
– Cinque terre: 5 tiny colored villages (Monterosso,Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore –  clinging to steep hills, in front of a deep blue see: it’s a natural reserve and a Unesco heritage. Here is the link to the local tourist board.
– Portofino, posh and beautiful village, one of the main “dolce vita” spots in the ’50s and San Fruttuoso medieval abbey, located in a secluded beach . You can only get there by boat or after a long hike. Here is the link to my Portofino and San Fruttuoso post.
Sestri Levante, picturesque Liguria village, with a beautiful small beach (the baia del silenzio) and a gorgeous promontory overlooking the sea.
– The “Golfo dei poeti” (poets’ gulf), with Portovenere and Lerici as main highlights.
How to get around:
Having 2-3 nights (equivalent to 3-4 days) will allow you to visit most of these places, and to have some time to relax as well. And the good new is…  you don’t have to trek (if you really don’t to)! These places can all be easily reached by train or, much better, by ferry boat.
That said, you have many fantastic hikes, the most famous of which, the Via dell’Amore (more a romantic promenade than a real hike, indeed), is unfortunately still closed due to maintenance works. Nevertheless, a (short) hike among the Cinque Terre vineyards is an experience I strongly recommend! Easiest one goes from Monterosso to Vernazza.
Enjoy Cinque Terre!

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.

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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).

Continue reading “Milan in one day walking itinerary: best places to see and things to do”

Sant’Antimo Abbey, a Tuscan romanic jewell close to Montalcino

The romanic Abbey of Sant’Antimo is a former Benedictine monastery a few kilometres from Montalcino. It’s located in a breathtaking natural setting, close to the Via Francigena, the medieval pilgrim route to Rome, and is an unmissable destination if you plan to visit the Val d’Orcia area.

Learn more about Sant’Antimo Abbey and nearby Val D’Orcia

Bologna in one day – amazing itinerary in Italy food capital

Italy in 4 weeks Bologna

Visit Bologna_Mortadella

Mortadella made Bologna towers

Free walking itinerary to explore Bologna in one day. Discover Bologna amazing art and culture, its lovely porticoes and its delicious food.

Surprisingly enough, the vast majority of tourists see Bologna only from the window of a high speed train, moving from Venice to Florence and vice versa. A real pity for them, indeed.

Though neglected by  the mainstream touristic flows, Bologna is home to the oldest university in the Western world,  and is known for its lavish porticoed walkways and squares, its fascinating medieval center and its bustling night life. Bologna is also one of Italian food capital: great pastas such as tagliatelle, lasagne, tortellini as well as delicacies such as Parmesan Cheese, Balsamic Vinegar and some of the finest cured meats in Italy hail from Bologna and the surrounding Emilia Romagna region. Continue reading “Bologna in one day – amazing itinerary in Italy food capital”

Lucca cathedral masterpiece – Ilaria’s funeral monument

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Famous Iacopo della Quercia gorgeously sculptured the Ilaria del Carretto tomb in the 15th century.

Ilaria died when she was only 26, giving birth to her second child. This is not only one of the most awesome funeral monuments in Italy, but also a moving witness of teh ethernal love for this unfortunate beautiful lady.

The funeral monument can be visited in Lucca’s Cattedrale di San Martino.

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Civita Bagnoregio, the dying city

Civita Bagnoregio is a delightful ancient hamlet, noted for its striking position atop a plateau of friable volcanic tuff overlooking the Tiber river valley.

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Perched on top of a tufa hill among a desolated valley made up of calanchi, Civita Bagnoregio is an Etruscan town with over 2500 years of history. The continuous erosion makes the soft tufa rock becoming thinner and thinner: the hills edges fall off, leaving the buildings built on the plateau to crumble. Civita Bagnoreggio is slowly dying.

Continue reading “Civita Bagnoregio, the dying city”